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Jamo S803 Bookshelf Speaker Review (by EAC)

sweetchaos

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These retail for US$150/pair. They have a 5" woofer.
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Parting / Random Thoughts
As stated in the Foreword, this written review is purposely a cliff’s notes version. For details about the performance (objectively and subjectively) please watch the YouTube video. But a couple quick notes based on my listening and what I see in the data:

This speaker epitomizes the “V-curve” response. It features a one-note bass boost around 100Hz and a +5dB treble boost over the midrange. The bass is punchy, for sure, but also quite boomy and resonant with lower male vocals and the highs are frankly annoying. More importantly, though, is the fact that - relative to these issues - the midrange is quite muffled and of very poor quality.

I know many will view the frequency response results and think “hey, no big deal, I can just equalize them”. Let’s talk about that. While this can certainly be true, the directivity index (DI) is the guide for just how “EQ’able” a speaker is. In the case of the Jamo S803 the DI (the combined “smoothness” of the response on and off-axis) is rather poor which means these speakers won’t take as well to EQ as one would hope. For proof, I provided SPIN data with EQ applied via my miniDSP; using 9 bands of EQ to smooth the on-axis response. As you can see, the off-axis response is still poor and the DI is still quite non-linear (as expected). This results in a 3-5kHz bump in the Estimated In-Room Response that sounds quite “sharp” and sibilant. Aside from that, the high-Q resonance in the midbass at ~100Hz will need to be pulled down with a filter that I am not sure can be remedied with a standard room-correction software/EQ. And once you do apply EQ to smooth the on-axis response, you lower the sensitivity to 80dB @ 2.83v/1m. This all results in a speaker that is frankly a poor performer and one that I would recommend staying away from.

Another common retort is “yes, but they’re cheap”. Trust me, I understand the need to find a speaker that is cost-efficient. This isn’t one of those. I say you can do better for the price: the Neumi BS5 or even the Sony SS-CS5 are better performers and will take better to EQ.

As for output capability, these fall about where I’d expect. Using them full-range (without a subwoofer) should obviously be avoided.

If you own these speakers and are thinking “dude, you’re wrong, these are great” then I encourage you to find speakers that have a more neutral character to them and give an honest attempt at demoing both side by side. Statistically speaking, you’ll likely prefer the more neutral speaker. If your goal is to get as much hi-fi or accuracy for your dollar, to hear what the media itself is or what the movie should sound like, then these speakers just are not up to the task based on their extreme non-linear response.

Erin's review:

update:
Video review

Discuss!
 
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damirj79

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It looks like the enginners designed the box with imperial metrics in mind (inches) and in production they use metric units and made it in cm, without any conversion.
 

Beave

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Jamo used to make pretty decent speakers (or maybe even really good ones, depending on one's opinions). Since they got bought by Klipsch, they seem to have been turned into a "lifestyle" brand, with unique looks and a very Klipschified sound signature.
 

3125b

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Disappointing. I expected more from Jamo, didn´t know Klipsch had a hand in it, but I guess it figures ...
 

Puddingbuks

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These look interesting, although an older model from Jamo:

c386fa38-41dc-4baf-a4af-176ce72957a6.jpg
 

Razorhelm

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Shame the distortion is not great, the double binding posts means you could remove the crossovers and drive them actively with a set of binding posts for each driver!

Jamo-S-803-Review-1.jpg
 

thorvat

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This is very good speakers considering the price. I am pretty sure V shape curve is intentional but, as shown by Erin, it can be easilly corrected to achieve better response.

When doing EQ I would recommend linearising LW and In-room response and not on-axis response!
 
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Mario Sanchez

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That's a v-shaped speaker if there ever is one, directivity looks workable though, so they probably can be EQ'ed to sound better. I wonder why they decided to go for a 80hz bump instead of juicing a little more extension with that port...
 

tomtoo

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You like V shape? You have no EQ?
Great speaker.

Bringing that bass bump a littel lower, would be better. Than the influence on voices would be less. But if you enjoy industial techno, not bad.
 
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thorvat

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That's a v-shaped speaker if there ever is one, directivity looks workable though, so they probably can be EQ'ed to sound better. I wonder why they decided to go for a 80hz bump instead of juicing a little more extension with that port...

There is no "probably" here as directivity graphs are shown, and as they look rather decent we know for sure it can be EQ'ed to sound better.
 

Mario Sanchez

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There is no "probably" here as directivity graphs are shown, and as they look rather decent we know for sure it can be EQ'ed to sound better.
Well, the DI isn't ideal (a bit narrower in the 2-6k region could be desirable) , but at 150 USD a pair it is fairly smooth and workable.
If one's on a budget and ready to fiddle a bit with their speakers, this could represent an interesting proposition, since the appearance aren't half bad for a speaker its price, and with some signal processing it has the potential to actually sound good.
 

thorvat

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Well, the DI isn't ideal (a bit narrower in the 2-6k region could be desirable) , but at 150 USD a pair it is fairly smooth and workable.
If one's on a budget and ready to fiddle a bit with their speakers, this could represent an interesting proposition, since the appearance aren't half bad for a speaker its price, and with some signal processing it has the potential to actually sound good.

IMHO every speaker (and that means virtually every speaker - from budget to SOTA!) needs room EQ to sound decent in particular room, and once you're at that you can as well EQ the speaker itself, assuming you have Klippel measurements or know how to make speaker in-room measurements (as explained by @napilopez in this thread.

As you mentioned, for a $150 speaker directivity is indeed fairly smooth so results will be quite pelasing if EQ is done properly. My main objection was that Erin did it the wrong way EQ'ing based solely on on-axis measurement, instead of the way @Maiky76 does it, aiming for highest score.
 

abdo123

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This is very good speakers considering the price. I am pretty sure V shape curve is intentional but, as shown by Erin, it can be easilly corrected to achieve better response.

When doing EQ I would recommend linearising LW and In-room response and not on-axis response!
No they’re not good speakers. In any metric.

I would not consider them good speakers even if they were free. Would rather use a TV’s speakers or a laptop’s.
 

thorvat

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No they’re not good speakers. In any metric.

I would not consider them good speakers even if they were free. Would rather use a TV’s speakers or a laptop’s.

As this is a forum that favors objective metrics it is hardly a question what you or I would subjectively consider a "good" speaker. Based on provided CEA2034 it is very easy to provide optimum EQ and calculate Preference score based on the EQ results. Putting that preference score in the perspective of the price of this speaker would certainly result in a "good" mark, if not even "very good". You are, of course, entitled to a completely different opinion, but it would help if you add some objective arguments to support that opinion.
 
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