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JBL is reissuing the classic L100 speakers

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Monsieur Gadbois, Aug 14, 2018.

  1. Pali Gap

    Pali Gap Gin & vinyl

    Mad Dog likes this.
  2. cbucki

    cbucki Forum Resident

    Milwaukee, WI
    "That was THE deal of the year"...Evidently not.

    The sale is likely postponed, not completed. I consider it a bad time of the season, weather conditions and Covid concerns helped block what probably would have been likely sales.

    The truth is that I had virtually NO serious interest in these speakers. Tire kickers, frauds, you name it...they responded. Two shops made VERY fair and suitable offers, but no private parties.

    My oft-frequented guitar shops have told me that since the Covid lockdowns, sales have doubled, but fraud is up 8x the typical situation...be careful!

    At this point, I have an unopened box of L82s in-house. I think I'm going to abort that mission because the stands have yet to be shipped. Nice job, retailer. After further review, I don't think I see that change as viable or worthwhile at the moment.

    The easiest road is keeping the L100s long-term.

    Second option: Trade the L100s for Harbeth C7ES-3. Might have already happened if the Harbeths were actually available (the numbers worked). Having never heard a Harbeth...I have no idea if this is an actual sonic upgrade...but I lose (at fair value) the L100s which are not future shipment-friendly.

    At the moment, my plan is to return the L82s in-person, then proceed to the Harbeth dealer for a demo session of the C7ES-3 (XD). Probably time very well spent.
  3. DavidR

    DavidR Forum Resident

    Sorry to hear that, if you have the L82's I would have a listen.

    My L82's replaced my Harbeth 30.2 XD's and I could not be happier. Going to the C7ES would probably be a backwards step...
    Fruff76 likes this.
  4. Bill

    Bill Senior Member

    Eastern Shore
    I'd take out those L82s and see how they sound. The retailer from which you bought them has a 60 day, full satisfaction guarantee. If you don't like them, preferring either the Harbeths from your listening session or the trusty old L100s, put them back in the box and return them. David R speaks the truth!
    Fruff76 likes this.
  5. cbucki

    cbucki Forum Resident

    Milwaukee, WI
    It's actually very tempting to open them and give them a try. I do have monitor stands available, just not the prescribed JBL models.

    Under normal circumstances, I probably would, but...

    I got some really off-putting, unprofessional customer service from Music Direct when I asked about the status of shipping the stands.

    I simply asked why they didn't ship with the speakers if they were in-stock. The order was placed at the exact same time, and the website read: "In Stock: Ships 2/11/2021".

    The attitude-copped was "You'll get them when you get them, there's nothing we can do". Odd...I was willing to pick-them-up Friday so I imagine it could have been resolved with a little tact?

    That's why I really want to make this order become a distant memory (ASAP).

    Professionally, I fix problems like the non-shipment issue all day. I simply don't do business with companies who foul orders and follow-up with dismal customer service.

    Yet, out of decency, I think it's wrong for me to provide them an open-box return item to sell if I honestly don't believe they will be superior to the L100s.

    Plus, there's no apparent home for the L100s, other than my indoor storage unit. I'm actually fine with that, or I wouldn't have ordered the L82s.

    Maybe when the weather improves, I'll rent a white van and sell them on a college campus!

    It's truly a tough decision, but the entire situation is making me a little ill at this point.
  6. Doug Sclar

    Doug Sclar Forum Legend

    The OC
    When I got my AR3a's in 1971 they were really pushing me to get a pair of the original L100s at Wrights House Of Hi-Fi in San Diego. There was no comparison and I went with the AR's. Perhaps these new versions are improved. Btw, they asked me if I listened to rock or classical and said if I listened to rock, the JBL's were the speakers to get. What about rock with strings?
    Casino likes this.
  7. DavidR

    DavidR Forum Resident

    It's really not worth getting ill over, in these strange times things are going to be far from perfect.

    Maybe just enjoy the L100's and revisit things in 6 months...
    SunSon and Fruff76 like this.
  8. otaking241

    otaking241 Well-Known Member

    Tokyo, Japan
    Updated review:

    For my birthday this year I bought myself a McIntosh MA7200 integrated amplifier (international version of the MAC7200 without the FM tuner). Upgrading from the 60WPC (80WPC into 4 ohms) Cambridge CXA60 I had been using to the 200WPC MA7200 has been nothing short of revelatory in terms of what it has done for my L100 Classics.

    I had always loved the L100s for rock and that has not changed, but other genres of music sound markedly better driven by the MA7200. Jazz and classical especially I had always thought sounded slightly lethargic and a bit muddied, but the additional wattage seems to give a firm and solid grip on the drivers and really opens up the space around the notes, reproducing spatial information that was lacking with the lesser amp.

    Bass also has improved dramatically. The 30cm driver has always made a good amount of bass but with the MA7200 it is much more taught and punchy. "Taught" is actually a good description for the overall effect on the speaker--things feel much more lively but at the same time controlled.

    I still feel like imaging is overall inferior to more precise speakers--I do now get a sense of soundstage but not the uncanny 3D effect I've experienced elsewhere. On the other hand I continue to appreciate the way these speakers seem to "swing" with the rhythm and drive of music, and I don't think I'd be willing to sacrifice that musicality in favor of a more clinical approach. I had bought the MA7200 in preparation for a speaker upgrade next year (looking out for a deal on the Focal Sopra No.2), but hearing how much the L100s have improved has made me consider pushing that down the road a few years.

    Matching an $8K amp with a $4K speaker does seem to invert the rule of thumb that you should spend roughly double on your speakers what you spend on your amp, but I think the take-home message is that we shouldn't take the relatively sensitive listed numbers on these at face value--as other have noted, this is a speaker that really wants a lot of juice to sound its best. I had always thought that since I could reach really high volumes through my CXA60 (never got the volume nob past 12 o'clock) that more wattage wouldn't make a difference. It didn't occur to me how much more authoritative these could sound when properly driven--that wattage could make a qualitative and not merely quantitative difference. Lesson learned.

    After almost two years of ownership these continue to be good looking speakers. I have not noticed any especial wear and tear and have not had the veneer sun bleaching issue others have reported. I tend to use them with the grilles off (exposing the shameful lack of mirror-pairing that is my #1 pet peeve about these $4K speakers) and so can't comment on how the quadrex foam is wearing, but I have noticed that display models in the audio shops I visit seem to be fading pretty rapidly, which is a cause for concern.

    I noticed some people saying that you need a large room for these speakers. I was initially drawn to the L100 because of its studio monitor heritage--I'm stuck sitting fairly close to the speakers (~2m) and wanted something that was designed to sound good up close but still offer physically palpable bass. It's debatable how closely the L100 Classic sticks to the original studio monitor ideal but my experience has been that these deliver exactly what I was looking for, and I don't believe you need an especially large space around these to enjoy them.
    Alright4now, OC Zed, cbucki and 4 others like this.
  9. DavidR

    DavidR Forum Resident

    I found the same with my L82's, going from a 70w amp to a 170w one made a night and day difference.

    I made covers for my speakers for when they are not in use...
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2021
  10. Fruff76

    Fruff76 L100 Classic - Fan Club President

    I use 200w and they sound awesome.
    krambigmac likes this.
  11. aunitedlemon

    aunitedlemon Music is medicine, dose often.

    What sort of L100/L82 break-in timeframes have owners experienced? I know "they just keep getting better and better!", but I'm curious how long of an initial break-in period you've experienced before you felt they settled in. JBL recommends a very subjective "several weeks".

    I've had my L82's for a couple of weeks now, and have been trying to keep them playing constantly (at a fairly low volume) while I'm awake to log some break-in hours on them. That being said, they still sound different to me from day-to-day. I've had goosebumps and an ear-to-ear smile some days and last night I was listening in a focused manner and felt like the high's were again too sharp, cutting, tinny, sour-face inducing and at that same time noticing that at busy or intense moments in songs instruments were coming through garbled with muddled mids and lows. I wasn't stoked after last night's listen but chalked it up to 1.) my mood- I was rather cranky before I got to sit down and listen so it probably had to do a lot with what was between my ears, not in front of, and 2.) this pair of speakers is definitely still settling into their paces. Puzzling along with a sour face I wondered if the titanium tweeter on the L82's is just that much more present and pervasive than what I got used to listening to my Denton's. I'm resisting dialing back the attenuator on the L82's in an effort to scrutinize them as they break-in, which I believe they still are due to the fact that there have been sessions with excellent 2-way balance. Just not last night.

    What's your break-in experience been with these re-issued JBL's?
  12. Fruff76

    Fruff76 L100 Classic - Fan Club President

    I had that experience initially. After a few weeks they pulled together and now the only time I’m not totally engaged is strictly when it’s my mood. Even then the tend to be way better then anything else in that regard. I’ve had mine since release date and I still love them.
    Eigenvector and aunitedlemon like this.
  13. murphythecat

    murphythecat Forum Resident

    the cambridge amp you were using was extremely cheap and poorly designed amp.
    you could have easily upgraded the sound without spending 8k in a Macintosh amp. glad you like the amp though, but just dont think you need to spend 8k to get a upgrade from the cambridge, a vintage sony ta 707es or luxman l510-530 would knock the cambridge as well for very little cash.
  14. merelyok

    merelyok Forum Resident


    I've had them for more than a month now, but swapping my power amp to a Class D Purifi Model ( Purifi 1ET400A ), made all the difference.

    Those bass drivers really need some grunt to get them moving!
    Mazzy, cbucki, Steve Lawrence and 9 others like this.
  15. Steve Lawrence

    Steve Lawrence Well-Known Member

    Nice room
    merelyok likes this.
  16. otaking241

    otaking241 Well-Known Member

    Tokyo, Japan
    Well I didn't spend $8K on it--just making a comparison based on SRP. I had long been planning on getting a Luxman L-507UX, which are generally available used around $3K, but a combination of Stereophile's glowing review, a better than expected bonus and the fact that one happened to turn up at a discount when I was making my buying decision led me to splurge on the mighty Mc.

    And I don't think that's a fair evaluation of the CA. It's in the budget category but not necessarily "cheap" within that category. It was well reviewed and sounded great with the Monitor bookshelf speakers I initially bought it with. I do think it's a bad match with the L100 Classic, but you wouldn't necessarily think so based on their published sensitivity and recommended power, which is the main point I wanted to make.

    Other amps I considered were the Esoteric I-03 (180/300WPC class D, ~$3K used (though I stupidly passed on one listed at just over $2K)), Pass INT-150 (150/300WPC Class A/B, ~$3.5K used), Luxman 590AXII (30/60WPC Class A, ~$4K used (L-590AX sometimes available for ~$3K)), and the Luxman L-509x (130/240WPC class A/B, one came up at $6K right before I pulled the trigger on the Mc). I would be seriously interested to hear what other owners are matching their L100s with.
  17. Fruff76

    Fruff76 L100 Classic - Fan Club President

    I use the preamp section of an NAD M3 and an old Adcom GFA 555.
    otaking241 likes this.
  18. merelyok

    merelyok Forum Resident

    Thank you!
  19. YtseJammer

    YtseJammer Forum Resident

    Hello all,

    Do you think the L82 Classic will work for me if my room measures 12 feet wide x 20 feet long? The speakers will be at 8 feet from my sitting position.

    I don't want to go with the L100 because they are too expensive here in Canada.

    I have the Klipsch Heresy IV, but I want to compare them with the L82 Classic.

  20. YtseJammer

    YtseJammer Forum Resident

    New review

    DavidR likes this.
  21. cbucki

    cbucki Forum Resident

    Milwaukee, WI
    I absolutely caved, and kept the L82 Classics...

    Everything people are saying is essentially true. They are a very nice speaker for spaces that don't allow the big boys to play.

    It's been a JB evoLution here. 4429s...L100Classics...now the just-right-for-room L82s.

    They all have unique strengths, that's for certain.
    4429: Presentation very close to live music.
    L100: A nice combination of detail and live music experience.
    L82: I'm saying closer to the 4429 in live music styling. You can immediately detect the missing detail, but I don't believe it lessens the experience, it might enhance it at lower volumes.

    [​IMG]L82 Classics by
    MC Rag, Fruff76, Eigenvector and 3 others like this.
  22. That old East Coast (AR) vs. West Coast (JBL) Sound rivalry...the Cambridge/KLH/AR sound is more neutral, with a slightly subdued top end. Better as an all-around speaker- if you want to juice up the mix, use your tone controls. Less dynamic, though. Whereas JBL has more of a rock stage monitor sound- fast transients, hot, dynamic. Not neutral. It has that forward character that makes acoustic music and vocals sort of shout at you. But as far as conveying live electric rock and roll energy, JBL does the job better.
    Doug Sclar likes this.
  23. DavidR

    DavidR Forum Resident

    One tip for all JBL Classic owners, check the screws around the drivers and tweeters, mine were very loose and needed tightening!
  24. DavidR

    DavidR Forum Resident

    Looks nice mate, glad it all worked out in the end. Give the L82's a couple of hundred hours and they really open up and the detail will be much improved!
    Fruff76 likes this.
  25. YtseJammer

    YtseJammer Forum Resident

    Bay Bloor Radio in Toronto

    JBL Synthesis L82 Classic 2-Way Bookshelf Speakers

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