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JBL Releases Updated Iconic JBL L100 Speakers

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JBL L100 Speakers

JBL L100 Speakers

Summary

  • Product Name: L100
  • Manufacturer: JBL
  • Review Date: January 11, 2018 16:00
  • MSRP: $4,000/pair
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • Buy Now

3-Way Bass Reflect Design

  • JT025Ti1 1-inch (25mm) Titanium dome tweeter mated to a waveguide
  • JM125PC 5-inch (125mm) cast-frame, pure-pulp cone midrange driver
  • 1200FE 12-inch (300mm) cast-frame, white pure-pulp cone woofer
  • Dimensions: 25.5" H x 15.5" W x 13.75" D

Executive Overview

HARMAN International, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. focused on connected technologies for automotive, consumer and enterprise markets, is introducing the JBL L100 Classic, a modern take on the all-time best-selling JBL L100 loudspeaker. As with the legendary L100 3-way bookshelf loudspeaker released in 1970, itself a consumer version of the popular JBL 4310 Pro Studio Monitor, the new L100 Classic follows on the heels of the successful 4312SE 70th Anniversary Studio Monitor model launched in 2016.

The new L100 Classic loudspeaker system features an attractive, 1970's-style retro design, with vintage JBL styling including an iconic Quadrex foam grille in a choice of three colors — black, orange, or blue -- all with a black and bronze JBL logo. The enclosures are finished in a genuine, satin walnut wood veneer with black front and rear panels.

"The original L100 speakers were not only JBL's all-time, best-selling loudspeakers, but, from all indications, they were the best-selling loudspeaker system of the decade,"

said Jim Garrett, Senior Director, Product Strategy and Planning, Luxury Audio, HARMAN.

"The original L100 was introduced at the 1970 CES in Chicago, and here we are almost 50 years later with retro products and designs in high fashion. There is still a huge appreciation and desire for these great looking, great sounding vintage JBL loudspeaker systems. We think consumers are going to love this loudspeaker."

The original L100 production run included the L100, along with the subsequent L100A and L100 Century evolutions that quickly followed and ran thru the end of production in 1978. That fundamental compact 12-inch 3-way design is maintained in the L100 Classic with improvements made to the transducers, enclosure tuning, and crossover network design. Designed by Chris Hagen, the same acoustic system engineer that created the L100T3 in 1988, the L100 Classic benefits from decades of JBL engineering prowess along with the world’s most advanced acoustic engineering resources available in HARMAN’s Northridge, California design center.

JBL L100 Classic

JBL L100 Classic Renovated - note the waveguide on the tweeter and other upgrades

The L100 Classic uses the newly developed JT025Ti1 1-inch (25mm) Titanium dome tweeter mated to a waveguide with an acoustic lens for optimal integration to the JM125PC 5-inch (125mm) cast-frame, pure-pulp cone midrange driver located directly below. The vertical HF and MF transducer arrangement is slightly offset to the right of the woofer below, with HF and MF attenuators located on the upper left of the front baffle. Low frequencies are delivered by the 1200FE 12-inch (300mm) cast-frame, white pure-pulp cone woofer operating in a bass-reflex enclosure system that is tuned via a single, front-firing port tube with flared exit. Connections are made via a pair of gold-plated binding post terminals located on the rear-panel.

This passive, 3-way bookshelf loudspeaker measures approximately 25.5" H x 15.5" W x 13.75" D and can be oriented either vertically or horizontally. Optional black metal floor stands are available with included adjustable carpet spikes. The walnut wood frame grille is available with the iconic Quadrex foam insert in a choice of black, orange, or blue.

The L100 Classic will be available in Spring 2018 at an MSRP of $4,000 per pair.

Initial Impressions

JBL L100 ClassicAlthough big bulky speakers are no longer posh, and often suffer performance disadvantages due to unoptimized off-axis response inherent in wide baffle designs, one can't help get excited about this product. Any audiophile (myself included) that grew up in the era where large speakers didn't cause a war between the spouses, holds a special place in their heart for classic JBL designs like these. When the L100 was first introduced nearly 50 years ago, few speakers could match their performance. They had lots of slam, good bass extension, ability to play very loudly, and they just didn't break. Take a look on E-bay and you will note people selling restored versions of the original L100s for $1k/pair (sometimes more).  The popularity of vintage JBL doesn't diminish with time. Harman knowing this, decisively revamped this classic with modern driver technology and crossover design benefited from decades of research to usher in a new era of vintage audio done right.

We got a chance to listen to Pink Floyd music on these babies at CES 2018 and found them to offer a large soundstage, warm midrange, a deep tight bass response that predecessor JBL monitors have been known to produce. One can't help wonder how much these new JBL L100s will fetch 30-40 years down the road online for audiophiles that seek out classic JBL sound and aesthetics. Will you be one of them? Please share your JBL stories in our related forum thread below.

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About the author:

Gene manages this organization, establishes relations with manufacturers and keeps Audioholics a well oiled machine. His goal is to educate about home theater and develop more standards in the industry to eliminate consumer confusion clouded by industry snake oil.

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Recent Forum Posts:

<eargiant posts on June 06, 2018 19:23
sterling shoote, post: 1252254, member: 48878
If you hear a pair of JBL L300's and do not concluded that they sound better than anything you've ever heard it would be shocking. This 40 year old design is selling today for about $8,000 a pair, quite a bargain when it's replacement, the JBL 4367 sells for about $15,000 a pair.

…and look at the beautiful JBL restoration work Kenrick Audio does in Japan. They are highly coveted and fetch top dollar.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=kenrick+audio
sterling shoote posts on June 06, 2018 13:16
hk2000, post: 1252191, member: 55934
JBL speakers were ugly then and they're still ugly now. And their new stuff is just as ugly- I wouldn't pay $500 for these, or any amout, for that Matter!
If you hear a pair of JBL L300's and do not concluded that they sound better than anything you've ever heard it would be shocking. This 40 year old design is selling today for about $8,000 a pair, quite a bargain when it's replacement, the JBL 4367 sells for about $15,000 a pair.
MrBoat posts on June 06, 2018 11:52
Bucknekked, post: 1252243, member: 81008
MrBoat,
I dunno. When I saw these particular speakers my wallet nearly jumped out of my pocket. They were so stinkin' cool looking I really wanted them bad. Then I learned they were “custom builds”. My heart was broken.

I built some kind of ugly speakers but it seems to match the performance somehow. I wasn't out to make them aesthetically pleasing beyond perhaps a hotrod sense of the term based on performance.

I built up a Kawasaki H2 triple and it was ugly for my living room but I parked it there anyway. That smell of burnt Bel-Ray, though. . .
Bucknekked posts on June 06, 2018 11:40
MrBoat, post: 1252237, member: 80705
I can honestly say, that I have never bought a pair of speakers based on appearance, or what my wife thought they should ‘look’ like.
MrBoat,
I dunno. When I saw these particular speakers my wallet nearly jumped out of my pocket. They were so stinkin' cool looking I really wanted them bad. Then I learned they were “custom builds”. My heart was broken.
24519
MrBoat posts on June 06, 2018 11:13
hk2000, post: 1252191, member: 55934
JBL speakers were ugly then and they're still ugly now. And their new stuff is just as ugly- I wouldn't pay $500 for these, or any amout, for that Matter!

I can honestly say, that I have never bought a pair of speakers based on appearance, or what my wife thought they should ‘look’ like.
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