• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

JBL A180 Tower Speaker Review

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 35 17.7%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 117 59.1%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther

    Votes: 44 22.2%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 2 1.0%

  • Total voters
    198

Erici

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 17, 2020
Messages
142
Likes
208
Location
Seattle Area
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)
You can never be too rich, too thin, or have too many speakers!
 

tw 2022

Active Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2022
Messages
285
Likes
174
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)
too many good speakers is a nice problem to have...enjoy :)
 
Joined
Mar 20, 2021
Messages
30
Likes
34
Location
Seattle area
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
Dennis, thanks a lot for posting the crossover schematics. Can you help me to understand if you wired both woofers in parallel or used separate crossover for each woofer?

Also, did you try to get a phase alignment by inverting polarity of the twitter and checking for good null (dip in frequency response indicating that phase is well aligned between twitter and woofer)?
 

ROOSKIE

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 27, 2020
Messages
1,396
Likes
2,434
Location
Minneapolis
Dennis, thanks a lot for posting the crossover schematics. Can you help me to understand if you wired both woofers in parallel or used separate crossover for each woofer?

Also, did you try to get a phase alignment by inverting polarity of the twitter and checking for good null (dip in frequency response indicating that phase is well aligned between twitter and woofer)?
They are most certainly wired in parallel.

Not all well designed crossovers have deep nulls when polarity is reversed. Some types will have almost none. In any case I'd be fairly certain that the xover is very well implemented as the designer has many years of doing this under his belt and is well known to do excellent mods and designs.
 

Dennis Murphy

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Technical Expert
Joined
Mar 17, 2020
Messages
889
Likes
3,524
Dennis, thanks a lot for posting the crossover schematics. Can you help me to understand if you wired both woofers in parallel or used separate crossover for each woofer?

Also, did you try to get a phase alignment by inverting polarity of the twitter and checking for good null (dip in frequency response indicating that phase is well aligned between twitter and woofer)?
The woofers are running in parallel, but the system impedance remains at or above 4 Ohms. The impedance of each woofer is slightly above 8 Ohms. I used 4th order Linkwitz-Riley acoustic slopes and the tweeter and woofers are in phase at the crossover frequency of 2 kHz, which means there will be a deep null when the polarity is reversed. Floyd Toole insists we can't really hear phase relationships per se. So the null is more an indication that the slopes follow the dictates of the Lindkwitz-Riley design.
 
Joined
Mar 20, 2021
Messages
30
Likes
34
Location
Seattle area

This is what I'm ordering - shipping is free from $99, just add some spare items.

Cart_Icon.png

22 Item(s) in your cart:

$96.16

Item
Qty
Item Total
Main product image for Crossover PC Board 3-Way 12 dB Small 4 x 7
Crossover PC Board 3-Way 12 dB Small 4" x 7"
Part #260-132
Per item price :
$4.69 x2
$9.38
Main product image for Dayton Audio DNR-1.5 1.5 Ohm 10W Precision Audio Grade Resistor
Dayton Audio DNR-1.5 1.5 Ohm 10W Precision Audio Grade Resistor
Part #004-1.5

Per item price :
$1.49 x2
$2.98
Main product image for Dayton Audio DNR-1.0 1 Ohm 10W Precision Audio Grade Resistor
Dayton Audio DNR-1.0 1 Ohm 10W Precision Audio Grade Resistor
Part #004-1

Per item price :
$1.49 x2
$2.98
Main product image for Dayton Audio DPR10-20.0 20 Ohm 10 Watt Precision 1% Audio Grade Resistor
Dayton Audio DPR10-20.0 20 Ohm 10 Watt Precision 1% Audio Grade Resistor
Part #006-20

Per item price :
$1.79 x2
$3.58
Main product image for Dayton Audio 0.10mH 20 AWG Air Core Inductor Crossover Coil
Dayton Audio 0.10mH 20 AWG Air Core Inductor Crossover Coil
Part #257-020

Per item price :
$3.39 x2
$6.78
Main product image for Dayton Audio 0.27mH 18 AWG Perfect Layer Inductor Crossover Coil
Dayton Audio 0.27mH 18 AWG Perfect Layer Inductor Crossover Coil
Part #257-810

Per item price :
$5.79 x2
$11.58
Main product image for Dayton Audio DMPC-15 15uF 250V Polypropylene Capacitor
Dayton Audio DMPC-15 15uF 250V Polypropylene Capacitor
Part #027-432

Per item price :
$6.81 x2
$13.62
Main product image for Dayton Audio DMPC-10 10uF 250V Polypropylene Capacitor
Dayton Audio DMPC-10 10uF 250V Polypropylene Capacitor
Part #027-428

Per item price :
$5.48 x2
$10.96
Main product image for Dayton Audio DMPC-4.7 4.7uF 250V Polypropylene Capacitor
Dayton Audio DMPC-4.7 4.7uF 250V Polypropylene Capacitor
Part #027-422

Per item price :
$3.29 x2
$6.58
Main product image for Jantzen Audio 3.9uF 400V Z-Standard Capacitor
Jantzen Audio 3.9uF 400V Z-Standard Capacitor
Part #027-272

Per item price :
$3.88 x2
$7.76
Main product image for Dayton Audio 1.0mH 18 AWG Perfect Layer Inductor Crossover Coil
Dayton Audio 1.0mH 18 AWG Perfect Layer Inductor Crossover Coil
Part #257-826

Per item price :
$9.98 x2
$19.96
 
Joined
Mar 20, 2021
Messages
30
Likes
34
Location
Seattle area
The woofers are running in parallel, but the system impedance remains at or above 4 Ohms. The impedance of each woofer is slightly above 8 Ohms. I used 4th order Linkwitz-Riley acoustic slopes and the tweeter and woofers are in phase at the crossover frequency of 2 kHz, which means there will be a deep null when the polarity is reversed. Floyd Toole insists we can't really hear phase relationships per se. So the null is more an indication that the slopes follow the dictates of the Lindkwitz-Riley design.
Thank you.

I took the liberty to re-create your crossover in XSim using my first attempt to do speaker measurements based on Udemy course. I do indeed see a dip in frequency response when I change polarity of top woofer!

Please don't judge me, I'm having way too much fun learning! Attached is XSim project archive with the original crossover and Dennis Murphy's mod. Have fun playing and understanding how it works! Adding another 6.8 uF capacitor in parallel with C3 4.7 uF seems to get a nice slope reducing speaker brightness. (Update: bad idea)
xsim-Dennis_Murphy_ASR-crossover-mod-jbl-a180.jpg
 

Attachments

  • XSim-jbl-stage-a180.zip
    1.1 MB · Views: 22
Last edited:

Dennis Murphy

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Technical Expert
Joined
Mar 17, 2020
Messages
889
Likes
3,524
Thank you.

I took the liberty to re-create your crossover in XSim using my first attempt to do speaker measurements based on Udemy course. I do indeed see a dip in frequency response when I change polarity of top woofer!

Please don't judge me, I'm having way too much fun learning! Attached is XSim project archive with the original crossover and Dennis Murphy's mod. Have fun playing and understanding how it works! Adding another 6.8 uF capacitor in parallel with C3 4.7 uF seems to get a nice slope reducing speaker brightness.
View attachment 219404
I'm not sure what you're using for measurements, or anything else about your software, so it's difficult to comment constructively. But if you add a 6.8 uF in parallel with the existing 4.7 uF shunt cap, it will completely ruin the tweeter response--it will take a nose dive. So I think something is off somewhere. Also, I take it the schematic is set up to test for a reverse null? I think that's going to confuse people because the correct schematic will have the tweeter connected with direct polarity, not reverse.
 
Joined
Mar 20, 2021
Messages
30
Likes
34
Location
Seattle area
I'm not sure what you're using for measurements, or anything else about your software, so it's difficult to comment constructively. But if you add a 6.8 uF in parallel with the existing 4.7 uF shunt cap, it will completely ruin the tweeter response--it will take a nose dive. So I think something is off somewhere. Also, I take it the schematic is set up to test for a reverse null? I think that's going to confuse people because the correct schematic will have the tweeter connected with direct polarity, not reverse.
My bad on the diagram, thanks for noticing and correcting! Fixing and updating right now. And thanks for the feedback on tweeter response, appreciate it.
 
Last edited:

ROOSKIE

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 27, 2020
Messages
1,396
Likes
2,434
Location
Minneapolis
My bad on the diagram, thanks for noticing and correcting! Fixing and updating right now. And thanks for the feedback on tweeter response, appreciate it.
Yah, you don't want a downward slope on the tweeter in terms of designing the X-over.
The typical in room response of a speaker that measures flat anechoically has a downward trend. That is very different, though I think that might be what you are getting confused with.
 

tw 2022

Active Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2022
Messages
285
Likes
174
So, who's gonna send a modded version to @amirm for testing? I'm seriously considering getting these and implementing the mods: they're the right price, right size, complement the A130 I have, and might even now sound better!
i believe there is a local person(seattle?) that has a pair .. Dennis has one too (but it kinda wouldn't be fair to make him pay for all the shipping .. donations anyone? .. i'll pledge $10 )
 

ROOSKIE

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 27, 2020
Messages
1,396
Likes
2,434
Location
Minneapolis
So, who's gonna send a modded version to @amirm for testing? I'm seriously considering getting these and implementing the mods: they're the right price, right size, complement the A130 I have, and might even now sound better!
i believe there is a local person(seattle?) that has a pair .. Dennis has one too (but it kinda wouldn't be fair to make him pay for all the shipping .. donations anyone? .. i'll pledge $10 )
Amir has one right?
Someone could just send the modded network & make it easy to connect with the existing driver wires.
 

Dennis Murphy

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Technical Expert
Joined
Mar 17, 2020
Messages
889
Likes
3,524
Amir has one right?
Someone could just send the modded network & make it easy to connect with the existing driver wires.
I have a feeling Amir wouldn't want to mess with a crossover installation. It would be a chore no matter how easy you tried to make it. I can send him mine, but this might be of more academic interest than practical information if there's little or no prospect that Harman will run a really attractive promotion again.
 

Presently42

Active Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2019
Messages
155
Likes
195
Location
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
I have a feeling Amir wouldn't want to mess with a crossover installation. It would be a chore no matter how easy you tried to make it. I can send him mine, but this might be of more academic interest than practical information if there's little or no prospect that Harman will run a really attractive promotion again.
Are you proposing, that even with your modded crossover, better speakers exist at a similar price? I'd've thought, given your very positive testimony, that this was a speaker to beat! After all, it can often be found used for not much more than Harman's sale price
 

tw 2022

Active Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2022
Messages
285
Likes
174
I have a feeling Amir wouldn't want to mess with a crossover installation. It would be a chore no matter how easy you tried to make it. I can send him mine, but this might be of more academic interest than practical information if there's little or no prospect that Harman will run a really attractive promotion again.
ye of little faith..companies as big as samsung often do things we can't believe..this last sale may have been a korean tax manipulation...iow .. a bookkeeping decision..i'm not well versed on korean tax law , so this is just a theory..but like you say: it may never happen again.. what do you think the value prospect might be if the sale was $400 per pr..?
 
Last edited:

tw 2022

Active Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2022
Messages
285
Likes
174
Are you proposing, that even with your modded crossover, better speakers exist at a similar price? I'd've thought, given your very positive testimony, that this was a speaker to beat! After all, it can often be found used for not much more than Harman's sale price
i think he's saying this was a one time sale...
 

Dennis Murphy

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Technical Expert
Joined
Mar 17, 2020
Messages
889
Likes
3,524
ye of little faith..companies as big as samsung often do things we can't believe..this last sale may have been a korean tax manipulation...iow .. a bookkeeping decision..i'm not well versed on korean tax law , so this is just a theory..but like you say: it may never happen again.. what do you think the value prospect might be if the sale was $400 per pr..?
They would be a steal at $400/pair--perfect for a very clean and powerful HT setup. As for my crossover mod, I should note that the treble circuit doesn't really treat a tweeter peak in the 15 kHz region. It can be flattened with a LRC trap circuit as the last leg, but I was trying to keep the crossover as simple and economical as possible.
 

ROOSKIE

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 27, 2020
Messages
1,396
Likes
2,434
Location
Minneapolis
Guys who want them, they have been on sale at Crutchfield for $239 each $480 a pair for about the last 5months.

That seems like a good price. Some open box ones there now as low as $205

Plus Crutchfield usually has cashback from various sites and also gives you points toward future buying, use legitimate ones like Topcashback (currently 5.4%) or Couponcabin (2.5%). If pinching pennies there is a way.

Dennis would have to chime in about the value at $480+X-over parts. As I have never heard them but the price still seems well negotiated.

I hate to say it, don't hold your breath waiting for $99ea. Unless they clearance them out and discontinue the line. If your budget really is only $200 I'd look at the used market.

You could also wait for the next 500 series sale. More money for more speaker but insanely discounted when on sale. Harman has been milking those for several years now in the US. The 600 series is almost here (in the US) after many delays and milking of the 500 line for all it is worth so I'd imagine the 500 series really getting moved along soon.

Are you proposing, that even with your modded crossover, better speakers exist at a similar price? I'd've thought, given your very positive testimony, that this was a speaker to beat! After all, it can often be found used for not much more than Harman's sale price
i think he's saying this was a one time sale...
They would be a steal at $400/pair--perfect for a very clean and powerful HT setup. As for my crossover mod, I should note that the treble circuit doesn't really treat a tweeter peak in the 15 kHz region. It can be flattened with a LRC trap circuit as the last leg, but I was trying to keep the crossover as simple and economical as possible.
 

tw 2022

Active Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2022
Messages
285
Likes
174
They would be a steal at $400/pair--perfect for a very clean and powerful HT setup. As for my crossover mod, I should note that the treble circuit doesn't really treat a tweeter peak in the 15 kHz region. It can be flattened with a LRC trap circuit as the last leg, but I was trying to keep the crossover as simple and economical as possible.
that's the kind of price i think is more likely to happen off and on...
 
Top Bottom