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JBL 705P Studio Monitor Review

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the popular JBL 705P Studio Monitor (powered speaker). It is on kind loan from a member. The 705P costs US $999 each. The 705p has far more style and quality feel than the JBL 305P:

JBL 705P Studio Powered Monitor Distortion and SPL Speaker Review.jpg

Front panel LED indicates clipping which is nice. Back panel shows the controls:
JBL 705P Studio Powered Monitor Distortion and SPL Back Panel Connectors Display Settings Spea...jpg

In my rather cold garage (55 degrees F), the LCD had very slow response time indicating a low quality choice. The interface is crude as is typically the case but manageable. I set the EQ to factory flat as there was no "reset" option.

Measurements that you are about to see were performed using the Klippel Near-field Scanner (NFS). This is a robotic measurement system that analyzes the speaker all around and is able (using advanced mathematics and dual scan) to subtract room reflections (so where I measure it doesn't matter). It also measures the speaker at close distance ("near-field") which sharply reduces the impact of room noise. Both of these factors enable testing in ordinary rooms yet results that can be more accurate than anechoic chamber. In a nutshell, the measurements show the actual sound coming out of the speaker independent of the room.

All measurements are reference to tweeter axis with the grill left in place (does it come off?). Frequency resolution is 0.7 Hz (yes, less than 1 Hz) and plots are at 20 points/octave. Spatial 3-D resolution is 1 degree.

Over 700 points around the speaker were measured (from 20 to 20 kHz) which resulted in well under 1% error in identification of the sound field up to 20 kHz. Final database of measurements and data is a bit less than one Gigabytes in size.

Spinorama Audio Measurements
Acoustic measurements can be grouped in a way that can be perceptually analyzed to determine how good a speaker can be used. This so called spinorama shows us just about everything we need to know about the speaker with respect to tonality and some flaws:

JBL 705P Studio Powered Monitor Spinorama CEA-2034 CTA-2034 Speaker Measurements.png


That is a pretty flat response (for a speaker) but as noted, we have a sharp dip and a rise after that. The dip also exists in Harman spinorama measurements but not the rise:

JBL 705P Studio Powered Monitor Harman Spinorama Measurements.jpg


More in the rise later but the dip has about 50 to 60 Hertz bandwidth. The discrimination (frequency resolution) of our hearing converted to a rectangular region (ERB) is about 100 Hz. So the audibly the dip is less offensive than it looks.

There is a bit of shelving down lower bass in my measurement as well which I think is more correct than the anechoic chamber measurements as they are not accurate at such low frequencies. It is a small difference though.

Predicted in-room response shows what we already know:

JBL 705P Studio Powered Monitor Spinorama CEA-2034 CTA-2034 Predicted In-Room Response Speaker...png


Above says the tonality will be mostly correct and faithful to your recording in a typical listening room.

Distortion Measurements
I did not have time to filter out the room effect so these are gated in-room measurements:

JBL 705P Studio Powered Monitor Distortion and SPL Speaker Measurements.png


This is the correct SPL (the ones in the spinorama are approximate). We see that same dip and importantly, the same rise as the spinorama. Since this is an ordinary measurement with no fancy signal processing involved, the rise seems to be there in this sample.

Zooming into distortion plot we have:

JBL 705P Studio Powered Monitor Distortion THD percentage Speaker Measurements.png


Interesting that we have a rise in distortion where we also have a rise in frequency response.

Directivity Measurements
Horizontal directivity seems fairly wide:
JBL 705P Studio Powered Monitor Horizontal Contour Speaker Measurements.png


So you don't have to have your head in a vice. Vertically though, a chin fixture may be recommended:

JBL 705P Studio Powered Monitor Vertical Contour Speaker Measurements.png


Waterfall/CSD Speaker Plot
For the fans of this graph, rejoice!

JBL 705P Studio Powered Monitor Waterfall CSD Speaker Measurements.png


Eye-candy Speaker Measurements
I zoomed in on the cancellation frequency in this balloon plot:

JBL 705P Studio Powered Monitor Notch Speaker Review.png


Notice that highest amplitude is at the bottom of the speaker which is where the port is. It is causing cancellation at the woofer due to timing of the wavelength and distance between the two sound sources.

Speaker Listening Tests
I set the JBL 705P to my left on my workstation (elevated about 6 inches and pointed up a few degrees). On the right was the venerable JBL 305P. The 705P instantly made a positive impression on my reference female vocal track, demonstrating smooth, balanced frequency response with plenty of bass.

Speaking of bass, I turned the volume up and up and up. It took a ton of effort to get the red clipping light to flash once and twice. Despite that, distortion was very much under control unlike some other powered speakers I tested. As a way of comparison the JBL 305P compressor kicked in and it would simply not get louder than certain level and fell far behind the 705P.

I went though track after track. Same first impression repeated except the gap wasn't quite as large on some tracks.

Overall, the 705P impression was absolute delight. It made the 305P sound flattish and boring (its vocals would stand out but instruments were behind it unlike the 705p).

Conclusions
The JBL 705P shows very good measurements with a couple of notable flaws. Subjectively, I could not hear the impact of these flaws however. It is the little speaker I like to leave on my desk. Enough said.

OK, one more thing: I definitely recommend the JBL 705P. The chosen panther undervalues how good this speaker is.

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As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

A few days ago, I planted some 50 tomato and pepper seeds indoor (they take the longest to sprout). Alas, got so busy with testing that I forgot to water them and they dried out a bit. I think I caught it in time. To be sure this won't happen, I need to hire someone to water them and that costs money. So please donate NOW using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 
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amirm

amirm

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@MZKM is sleeping but was kind enough to compute the scores for me:

Preference Rating
SCORE: 4.7

SCORE w/ subwoofer: 6.6

The smoothness of the predicted in-room (hump at 1500Hz and dip at 2000Hz) is holding it back.
 

Sal1950

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Now we're getting somewhere. Love to see the 708 get measured.
Thanks Amir.
 

beefkabob

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One other thing. Well, two.

I played the 708p for my dad. He got chills. He said he wanted them, and he almost never wants any new possession anymore.

I played the 708p for a guitarist who has recorded a few albums. He said it was like hearing the musicians in the room. I figured he'd be deaf by now, but he made specific and knowledgeable comments about how poorly a certain jazz classic was recorded. Actually, he said the drums were clipping, and I had an oh no moment, thinking the speakers were clipping and I couldn't hear it. But no, it was the recording. He's got golden ears, the bastard. Also, he loved Dirac. On vs off is a world of difference.
 

StevenEleven

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It seems like we are getting a filled-in picture of the with-subwoofer preference scores. The general impression I am getting:

In the 5s or below need not apply.

6s to 7s are in the zone. You can take other factors into account in addition to tonal balance, smoothness and dispersion, such as looks, power handling, quality control & pair matching, reducing resonances, low end extension, intended use, fit & finish, etc.

8s are immaculate, reference quality, perhaps actually better than is needed for home listening really, but still the intended use must be considered. We might hope that recording and mastering engineers seek out an 8, to put an end to the circle of confusion. For home use, diminishing returns are kicking in heavy and hard.
 
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beefkabob

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@amirm Did you prefer these or the Genelec 8341A? Which gets louder? How about compared to the Revel M16?
 

PaulD

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Many thanks Amir for the excellent review. We have 20 of these in a post production studio, all I can say is that they sound as excellent as you indicate. They are the best very small monitor I have heard.
 
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amirm

amirm

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@amirm Did you prefer these or the Genelec 8341A? Which gets louder? How about compared to the Revel M16?
They are quite similar to M16. I do prefer them to Genelec because the 705 did not fall apart with clipping as the Genelec did.
 

TimVG

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It's almost as if there is a factory filter missing over the 1kHz mark. Having owned the 705i, they are superbly engineered, but QC needs to be improved. Personally I'm disappointed by the result, as it could be so much better with just a little more EQ.
 

Thomas savage

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Using these for 2 channel audio for my TV they did when required put out outstanding bass impact for tiny drivers and I can't remember seeing the red warning light come on ever.

That said they were broken out the box , buzzing noise out of one of my two speakers and later one died. Just distorted one day out if the blue.

I'd not recommended them for that reason, I'm not the only one with these issues either. Unless of course you don't mind boxing stuff up and sending it off for repair regularly. I hate doing that.

Sound wise they were good and with twin subs they kick ass... When they are working.
 

RayDunzl

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Do they hiss?
 

maty

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Maybe the impedance and phase grahph provide information about resonances too.
 
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amirm

amirm

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Maybe the impedance and phase grahph provide information about resonances too.
Can't make such measurement for an active speaker.
 

maty

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Yeap. I thought P -> passive. Looking for crossovers I have noticed.
 
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