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JBL 4312SE 70th Anniversary Control Monitors - Initial Impressions

typericey

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#1
My nostalgic 42 year old self had been drooling on the L100 Classic, but didn't want to own them coz the price is ridiculous and out of reach. Then I discovered the 4312SE which is ~$1000 less. I robbed my daughter's education funds and took a pair home.

Less than a week with these babies and wow, love the sound! Response seems to be very flat (hope I can find measurements online to prove this). My Bowers Wilkins 705 S2 sounds colored compared to these, although they're still better in terms of nano-resolution and detail.

Sharing this here not to seek congratulations, rather I felt these types of accurate, presumably well measuring, speakers will be appreciated by this crowd. Full disclosure though: yes, I got them partly because of their looks. Gotta love 'em 12-inch white paper woofers and bonus points for the voice coil ends sticking out of the dustcap!

While the 4312SE are technically "Samsung era" speakers launched in 2017, I'm sure people here know that this is based on the 4310's from the '60s. The original L100s were the consumer version of the 4310s. What some may not know is that all the three drivers used in the 4312SE 70th were designed by Jerry Moro, former JBL engineer, who is considered a living legend among JBL aficionados. These drivers are tried and tested on other JBL models. That gave me the peace of mind that I made the right choice (compared to the "overpriced" L100 Classics that have newer, "post Jerry Moro" drivers).

I'm going to make a risky assumption that the 4312SE is a type of speaker that objectivists would like. Happy to try and answer questions anyone here might have on these. That's it for my "initial impressions review" and catch you guys later. Gotta get back to listening. :)

20190523_143246.jpg

Yes, they are on a stack of magazines pending delivery of a proper stand. So sue me.
 

DKT88

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#2
My nostalgic 42 year old self had been drooling on the L100 Classic, but didn't want to own them coz the price is ridiculous and out of reach. Then I discovered the 4312SE which is ~$1000 less. I robbed my daughter's education funds and took a pair home.

Less than a week with these babies and wow, love the sound! Response seems to be very flat (hope I can find measurements online to prove this). My Bowers Wilkins 705 S2 sounds colored compared to these, although they're still better in terms of nano-resolution and detail.

Sharing this here not to seek congratulations, rather I felt these types of accurate, presumably well measuring, speakers will be appreciated by this crowd. Full disclosure though: yes, I got them partly because of their looks. Gotta love 'em 12-inch white paper woofers and bonus points for the voice coil ends sticking out of the dustcap!

While the 4312SE are technically "Samsung era" speakers launched in 2017, I'm sure people here know that this is based on the 4310's from the '60s. The original L100s were the consumer version of the 4310s. What some may not know is that all the three drivers used in the 4312SE 70th were designed by Jerry Moro, former JBL engineer, who is considered a living legend among JBL aficionados. These drivers are tried and tested on other JBL models. That gave me the peace of mind that I made the right choice (compared to the "overpriced" L100 Classics that have newer, "post Jerry Moro" drivers).

I'm going to make a risky assumption that the 4312SE is a type of speaker that objectivists would like. Happy to try and answer questions anyone here might have on these. That's it for my "initial impressions review" and catch you guys later. Gotta get back to listening. :)

View attachment 26556
Yes, they are on a stack of magazines pending delivery of a proper stand. So sue me.
wow I'm jealous. I'll have to audition a pair when I'm back in the US this summer.
 

maty

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Dialectic

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andreasmaaan

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@typericey have you listened to them horizontally oriented? I think arguments could be made for setting them up either way given the (these days) unusual orientation of the drivers on the baffle.
 
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typericey

typericey

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Thread Starter #6
@typericey have you listened to them horizontally oriented? I think arguments could be made for setting them up either way given the (these days) unusual orientation of the drivers on the baffle.
No I haven’t as my space simply wouldn’t permit it. The manual does “allow” it as an option which I find interesting as I tried putting a traditional bookshelf speaker on its side once and sound quality took a MAJOR hit.

I did follow the manual’s suggestion for smaller rooms: to put the tweeters on the inner sides. Imaging is quite solid and spot on.
 

andreasmaaan

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The manual does “allow” it as an option which I find interesting as I tried putting a traditional bookshelf speaker on its side once and sound quality took a MAJOR hit.
A conventional bookshelf speaker has the tweeter and midwoofer vertically oriented, which means that in standard configuration the horizontal polar response is a lot smoother than the vertical polar response. That's why they should sound best in vertical orientation.

Your speakers on the other hand have the tweeter and midrange horizontally oriented when the speaker is vertically oriented. Hence my suggestion that they might sound better (certainly at least different I suspect) with the boxes oriented horizontally.
 
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napilopez

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#9
Always been curious about the big JBLs, glad to see you're liking these. I've never heard the old JBLs, so I don't have any particular nostalgia for them, but they do appeal to my vintage aesthetic preferences(which are at constant war with my modern minimalist preferences).

I have also yet to find measurements on the 4312SE, but the L100 Classics you mentioned do seem to be quite similar. And while a lot of people seem to be assuming the Classics are tuned to sound like the old L100s based on their looks, the measurements I've seen so far look very much like a modern Harman speaker, which is to say quite flat.

From hifitest.de:

Screenshot_20190525-023925.png


Idk what their testing methodology is like, but this basically looks like +/- 2B throughout most of the important frequency range with just a little bit of color. Certainly not the "boomy and harsh" associated with the old L100. Off-axis looks decent too other than the peak/dip in the mid-range. I actually wonder if that was on purpose - it might help give the L100 more of a bit more of a forward sound in room without compromising the on-axis flatness? Plus you've got those tone controls to tweak the response.

Bass roll-off is fairly shallow so it seems you'd get nice extension into the 20s in-room, especially considering how close that woofer is to the ground.

I'll get the chance to try these out soon, curious to hear them!

(Long time lurker, first time poster =] )
 

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typericey

typericey

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Thread Starter #10
My nostalgia is actually on 3-way speakers with white 12-inch woofers in general. I’ve never heard the original L100s. As a kid I’ve listened to a few Kenwood and Sansui 3-ways and got fascinated with woofer excursion thanks in part to V-shaped equalizers.

Anyway, the 4312SE and L100 Classic have exactly the same midrange driver and same tweeter waveguide. Also similar looking woofers with the L100 Classic gaining an extra magnet. I could go on with the comparo but point is they are more similar than they are different so hypothetically they also measure similarly. Does the L100 Classic sound/measure better because it is more expensive? Maybe. Maybe not. I’m willing to bet the L100 Classic’s ~$1000 premium is more for the advertising, marketing, and fancier orange grille (a.k.a. how much more people are willing to pay for nostalgia), not so much for the extra R&D and BOM.
 
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napilopez

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#11
Yeah, I wonder how the different driver positions affect integration and off axis performance, but I imagine you're getting most of the goodness out of the 4312SE!

Though to be fair said, $4000 is a lot but not that crazy compared to the typical audiophile tower (and these are somewhere between a standmount and a tower). Still It would've been nice to more modern design options and and a somewhat more affordable price if JBL really wanted to make these into a new classic. I feel like $1500-3000 is the sweet spot and they could've more easily cashed in on us hipsters wanting that retro look.

Mostly I wish JBL would just simplify it's lineup across various brands. They make good stuff that would probably sell better with a trimmed portfolio.
 
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typericey

typericey

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Thread Starter #12
Geez all along I was thinking the L100s were 3.5k but they’re actually 4k MSRP. :facepalm: I think I got the ~3.5k figure from the original L100s inflation corrected price today.

So the L100 Classics are 1.5k more expensive coz the 4312SEs are 2.5k.
 

napilopez

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Oh gotcha! Yeah, that's quite the premium to pay. What I'm really curious about is how the tiny 4312MII sounds!
 
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My nostalgia is actually on 3-way speakers with white 12-inch woofers in general. I’ve never heard the original L100s. As a kid I’ve listened to a few Kenwood and Sansui 3-ways and got fascinated with woofer excursion thanks in part to V-shaped equalizers.

Anyway, the 4312SE and L100 Classic have exactly the same midrange driver and same tweeter waveguide. Also similar looking woofers with the L100 Classic gaining an extra magnet. I could go on with the comparo but point is they are more similar than they are different so hypothetically they also measure similarly. Does the L100 Classic sound/measure better because it is more expensive? Maybe. Maybe not. I’m willing to bet the L100 Classic’s ~$1000 premium is more for the advertising, marketing, and fancier orange grille (a.k.a. how much more people are willing to pay for nostalgia), not so much for the extra R&D and BOM.
4312SE high frequency transducer is Aluminum Alloy dome tweeter with waveguide (054ALMg-1).L100 Classic high frequency transducer titanium dome with soft surround (JT025TI1-4) .They are different.Two speakers only have same mid-frequency transducer .
 

direstraitsfan98

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Oh gotcha! Yeah, that's quite the premium to pay. What I'm really curious about is how the tiny 4312MII sounds!
Doesn’t sound that great... I heard them on Nagra gear, including the OP’s speakers. I didn’t much like them but it was probably the dealers room. Very tiny soundstage and lack of imaging and presence and realism to the presentation.
 

anmpr1

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I have a set of L100 I've carried around with me since 1976 or so. Maybe it was 1977. Now in a second system... recently refurbed (sanded and stained cabinets, painted baffle JBL blue, new orange grill cloth, new connecting hardware, facsimile foilcal). All these years the drivers never needed any work. Not even a woofer refoam. I've come across a couple of crossover mods that are supposed to 'make the speaker better'. But then you don't have an L100.

When I first saw the 4312SE I got excited and almost bought a pair. Price seemed right. But you have to draw the audio gear line somewhere. Right? Besides, then I'd have to figure out what to do with my old L100s, which I don't want to sell. Ever. So I'd need to create a 3rd system. And did I tell you that I have a wife? Where does this stuff end? :facepalm:
 

Wombat

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#17
I have a set of L100 I've carried around with me since 1976 or so. Maybe it was 1977. Now in a second system... recently refurbed (sanded and stained cabinets, painted baffle JBL blue, new orange grill cloth, new connecting hardware, facsimile foilcal). All these years the drivers never needed any work. Not even a woofer refoam. I've come across a couple of crossover mods that are supposed to 'make the speaker better'. But then you don't have an L100.

When I first saw the 4312SE I got excited and almost bought a pair. Price seemed right. But you have to draw the audio gear line somewhere. Right? Besides, then I'd have to figure out what to do with my old L100s, which I don't want to sell. Ever. So I'd need to create a 3rd system. And did I tell you that I have a wife? Where does this stuff end? :facepalm:
My L100s had the blue grilles. My wife loathed them all the same. Egg-crate looks and bigger than a shoe box. ;)
 

anmpr1

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My L100s had the blue grilles. My wife loathed them all the same. Egg-crate looks and bigger than a shoe box. ;)
My foam disintegrated after 15 years or so. I found someone on the echo bay selling drop in frame replacements made of cloth, in multiple colors. Not too expensive. Sure doesn't look as cool as the original Maxell sound explosion cubed grill, but I listen with them off anyway.
 
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