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JBL A180 Tower Speaker Review

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 35 17.8%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 117 59.4%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther

    Votes: 43 21.8%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 2 1.0%

  • Total voters
    197
Joined
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Messages
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Location
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Inside JBL Stage A180 - crossover filter photos:
Some more pictures of the insides of A180.

Also, from hometheaterhifi review:
… I had the opportunity to contact Mr. An Nguyen, one of the designers of the JBL Stage A180 loudspeakers. …
When asked about the “2.5-way design,” Mr. Nguyen said, “In the 2-way design, the two mid-bass/woofers are on until the crossover frequency to the tweeter (is reached). This design would save cost in the crossover network (fewer components), but this design would not yield a smooth sound power and directivity at a given crossover point. In the 2.5-way design, the lower woofer would be turned off early and the upper woofer would be turned off at crossover point to the tweeter. By doing so, at lower frequency, two woofers are working to produce low frequency, and only one woofer is producing mid-frequency at and near crossover point. At a given crossover point, there is only one woofer working which helps to reduce beaming effect and smooths out the sound power and directivity. This design would cost more since it requires more components in crossover network.”
 

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cavedriver

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Yup, $250 for a pair. This seller has obviously acquired a couple pairs knowing they could resell them for a small profit, whether by plan or not.
 

ROOSKIE

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I wouldn't think of the price as sale that will come gain very soon.
I think there was a snafu that is a blessing to many but maybe a curse for Harman.
Once they realized it sure seems the "sale" ended that day.
Just about everything including $5k pro pa stuff, on the site could be bought for about 75% off if you knew the trick. Not saying we shouldn't have bought stuff, Harman is a big boy and better be testing site changes and upgrades, but don't anticipate these prices again until some sort of final clearance.
Hopefully this all just helped them boost sales volumes and ultimately it all will work out.
Yup, $250 for a pair. This seller has obviously acquired a couple pairs knowing they could resell them for a small profit, whether by plan or not.
 
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bunkbail

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Sure, could do that too.
Is this still in the works? Very curious how would the A180 fare now with Dennis' mod.
 

ROOSKIE

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Is this still in the works? Very curious how would the A180 fare now with Dennis' mod.
Did Mr. Murphy end up publishing publicly the schematics?
 
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Did Mr. Murphy end up publishing publicly the schematics?
I hope to see it in the future, in the meantime I did try to reconstruct the stock A180 schematics (without inductivity values). Crossover frequencies are 1.4kHz and 1.8kHz, it should be possible to calculate the inductivity numbers from there.
F38179C3-3F80-4084-8A72-E66464D5E7DD.jpeg
 

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Andysu

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i would never touch a tower speaker . even if it was JBL . if it ain't JBL professional cinema PA , it ain't worth buying . i want speakers PA that reproduce sound not produce sound .
 
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Simple crossover mod to remove speaker brightness

A serial resistor of 7.4 Ohm for twitter removed extra brightness of A180 speaker and made it much more pleasant to listen to (@amirm I'd love to get your feedback on the approach).

I used a spare 100 Ohm potentiometer connected with alligator leads to speaker posts at the back. A permanent wirewound resistor for crossovers of proper wattage (10W?) can be simply screwed to the “+” red binding posts of twitter and woofers without soldering. A 10 Ohm potentiometer (for example Speaker L-Pad Attenuator) would allow to tune it to one's taste.
Note the removed connector between red binding posts of speaker terminal.
Screen Shot 07-18-22 at 12.04 PM.PNG
 

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cavedriver

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How bout this? Bidding starts at 180 USD
A bunch of people here recently took advantage of a sale on the Harman site where the A180's were going for $200 a pair and the A190's for $250 a pair. Pretty good deal imho, but better if the crossover can be modified to improve the speakers.
 

eardiggler

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Simple crossover mod to remove speaker brightness

A serial resistor of 7.4 Ohm for twitter removed extra brightness of A180 speaker and made it much more pleasant to listen to (@amirm I'd love to get your feedback on the approach).

I used a spare 100 Ohm potentiometer connected with alligator leads to speaker posts at the back. A permanent wirewound resistor for crossovers of proper wattage (10W?) can be simply screwed to the “+” red binding posts of twitter and woofers without soldering. A 10 Ohm potentiometer (for example Speaker L-Pad Attenuator) would allow to tune it to one's taste.
Note the removed connector between red binding posts of speaker terminal.
View attachment 219033

Thanks for posting this. It looks like a nice improvement. For the resistor, would this work? https://www.parts-express.com/Dayto...Watt-Precision-1-Audio-Grade-Resistor-006-7.5
 

Dennis Murphy

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tw 2022

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That's a pretty drastic change in the tweeter voicing, and a lot of the brightness is coming from woofer breakup and distortion, not the tweeter. I'll try and publish my mod tomorrow.
did you fix a pair or just one ... i guess you'll post your overall thoughts on the outcome with the mod ?
 
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Dennis Murphy

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did you fix a pair or just one ... i guess you'll post your overall thoughts on the outcome with the mod ?

did you fix a pair or just one ... i guess you'll post your overall thoughts on the outcome with the mod ?

I only had one speaker. I think it turned out really well. It's very clean and neutral in the mids and highs. The upper midrange distortion is gone. The bass is very impressive. There's usable output down to 34 Hz with lots of power handling. The midbass is a bit exaggerated, but I suspect that would win as many friends as enemies. The crossover is more complicated than the stock, but not by much. Too bad Harman discovered their pricing mistake. But if they ever mess up again, these would be killer bargain towers for a hobbyist.




1658288495403.png
1658288372282.png
 

ROOSKIE

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I only had one speaker. I think it turned out really well. It's very clean and neutral in the mids and highs. The upper midrange distortion is gone. The bass is very impressive. There's usable output down to 34 Hz with lots of power handling. The midbass is a bit exaggerated, but I suspect that would win as many friends as enemies. The crossover is more complicated than the stock, but not by much. Too bad Harman discovered their pricing mistake. But if they ever mess up again, these would be killer bargain towers for a hobbyist.




View attachment 219257View attachment 219256
Thank you very very much.
I picked up a pair and had no idea what to do with them - I still don't buy this gives me something fun to do.
I am interested in whipping this mod up one day very soon.

Did you feel that the cabinets needed any further work such as Sonic Barrier or are they solid enough?
 

tw 2022

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I only had one speaker. I think it turned out really well. It's very clean and neutral in the mids and highs. The upper midrange distortion is gone. The bass is very impressive. There's usable output down to 34 Hz with lots of power handling. The midbass is a bit exaggerated, but I suspect that would win as many friends as enemies. The crossover is more complicated than the stock, but not by much. Too bad Harman discovered their pricing mistake. But if they ever mess up again, these would be killer bargain towers for a hobbyist.




View attachment 219257View attachment 219256
i figured it would end up pretty decent .. seems that jbl invested enough in decent parts to make it a good option at that low price once modded...
 

tw 2022

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Thank you very very much.
I picked up a pair and had no idea what to do with them - I still don't buy this gives me something fun to do.
I am interested in this.

Did you feel that the cabinets needed any further work such as Sonic Barrier or are they solid enough?
i think you'll probably like them .. Dennis does good work with budget speakers.. i've heard that he's ok with pricier stuff too...:)
 

ROOSKIE

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i think you'll probably like them .. Dennis does good work with budget speakers.. i've heard that he's ok with pricier stuff too...:)
Indeed!
I have the BMR's (monitors/curved cabinets).
It is true those have a tiny bit of a compressed quality compared with really dynamic speakers when louder playback is happening and the bass is going to have to be high passed at 80hrz for really high output but those caveats aside they have a stunning sound. Really, really stunning and beautiful sounding speakers. I actually think many listeners would be shocked at how beautiful and downright right they sound. I have to make myself stop every time I use them, I have never once wanted to stop due to anything except time up. I know Erin at EAC was skeptical of the extra wide dispersion, I respect that dude but the BMR speakers are 10/10 even with some limitations in ultimate SPL. FWIIW and context my everyday reference monitors are the Revel M126be's and dual 15" subs. (I also have the JBL L82's and a small collection of Boston Acoustics stuff along with way to many DIY active projects)

I also have a pair of the Pioneer SP-C22's with Dennis Murphy x-over mods and a redesigned port tuning that I did that gives them an extra 15hrz or so before they fall off. Those are also very nice for what they are. They are my garage speakers but I have actually been using them inside recently with an 8" DIY sub and a small 3 channel amp. Crazy how good that sounds(again for what it is, it is no BMR or M126be set-up) They need to go into the garage now though.

Anyway I deff am excited he worked on these A180's. Could not help myself but to buy them for $99each and now I can do the mod and then find a home for them somewhere. I obviously have to many speakers though. Oh well. Better than lots of other issues I could have.(of course I prolly have a few of those issues as well.....shrug)
 
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