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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

hex168

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Jeff Bagby made some forum comments on 2-way vs 2.5-way that are germane to this thread. See Post #5:
 

sarumbear

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Jeff Bagby made some forum comments on 2-way vs 2.5-way that are germane to this thread. See Post #5:
Which is boiled down to 2.5 way is expensive, which I agree. However, why should an audiophile care for the bottom of the market scavenging speakers? The cost in extra components should not make the speaker prohibitively or stupidly expensive.
 

sarumbear

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Because it is fun. Engineering to a price point is an interesting challenge. Also, lowering the cost of entry into our hobby can be considered a public good.
I guess one gets selfish the older he gets :)
 

375HP2482

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Which is boiled down to 2.5 way is expensive, which I agree. However, why should an audiophile care for the bottom of the market scavenging speakers? The cost in extra components should not make the speaker prohibitively or stupidly expensive.
The one-pole iron-core inductor for the bottom woofer would likely cost the OEM around $6 and would raise the selling price around thirty bucks. Which is significant in the competitive market of value-priced speakers.

It's interesting how this Stage series (and other entry-level speakers) seems to suffer little or nothing from the use of so-called inferior NP electrolytic capacitors where more expensive units resort to more costly alternatives. The Studio 5xx series go to great lengths to "bypass" their NPs with film caps.

Engineering to a (low) price point is the essence of good engineering.
 

cavedriver

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It's interesting how this Stage series (and other entry-level speakers) seems to suffer little or nothing from the use of so-called inferior NP electrolytic capacitors where more expensive units resort to more costly alternatives. The Studio 5xx series go to great lengths to "bypass" their NPs with film caps.
wait, what, you mean I can't hear the difference between capacitor types?! oh nooo!
 

MacCali

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I posed the question before, as I have no clue how resonances work.

But wouldn't a larger cabinet tame some of the resonance? Not even certain if or how much larger the 190 is vs the 180. Would assume it's larger.. could this be a beneficial factor or would it simply cancel out any benefits since obviously it's a larger driver creating more energy.
 

cavedriver

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I posed the question before, as I have no clue how resonances work.

But wouldn't a larger cabinet tame some of the resonance? Not even certain if or how much larger the 190 is vs the 180. Would assume it's larger.. could this be a beneficial factor or would it simply cancel out any benefits since obviously it's a larger driver creating more energy.
I would expect resonances to increase in the larger cabinet if the method of construction and materials are kept the same and enough additional bracing is not added. In words, no definite way to predict. I had the A190's next to the 180's and they look and feel to be built about the same way while being perhaps 50% larger in volume.
 

tw 2022

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Because it is fun. Engineering to a price point is an interesting challenge. Also, lowering the cost of entry into our hobby can be considered a public good.
plus , some of us , even though we *could* grab a pair of bmr's know that there are better things to save up for in the big picture(like food and shelter) .. but we'd still like to get something that may sound kinda similar (if not quite as good), it's either that or wait for a Dennis designed speaker to pop up at a good price in the used market....
 

Dennis Murphy

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Smaller floorstanders in MTM style tended not to work for me at least. One had to sit on the floor to get the most high frequencies. Maybe that was cruder crossover slopes causing cancellations? Taller column speakers obviously work better as the tweeter can be set higher.
In this case that won't be a problem Even with out the supplied feet, the tweeter on the 180 is about where it would be on a stand mount. Based on the listening I've done so far, I think the sound will only suffer significantly if you're standing fairly close to the speakers. I wasn't bothered further back at a more normal listening distance.
 

sarumbear

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Dennis Murphy

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It is his opinion, not objectively shown.
I have a lot of confidence in the late Jeff Bagby's opinions. But more important, you can't prove much about the audibility of differing vertical dispersion patterns because the science isn't there. What we know about the modded JBL's vertical response is that a deep null will develop at the crossover point as you measure at one meter and start to move the mic up above the tweeter axis. (I couldn't find any other cancellation effects lower down in the response). Of course, the same is also true of any non-concentric 2-way, assuming the speaker measures flat on and the phase relationships between the drivers are those specified for the crossover topology used (they would be in phase for a Linkwitz-Riley 4th order). But all we can conclude is that if you stand where the mic is positioned, you will hear the null. But the more interesting question is--what if you're sitting on axis or even standing further back where the vertical angle is smaller? Would the room reflections color the sound because they might include the null? Do our ears and brain pick up on the timbre of delayed reflections caused by the vertical radiation? And we don't really know the answer to that. Floyd Toole throws up his hands when he's asked that question. So at the moment all we can do is listen to different types of speakers and form our own opinions.
 
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REW - A180 vs A170 (separate for tweeters and woofers)
Some amateur measurements in REW using DaytonAudio iMM-6 calibrated mic, 4 sweeps, tweeter on-axis about 4 feet apart from the speakers.
Have fun! (Update: just realized I used twitter instead of tweeter ;-)
 

Attachments

  • a170 Jun 16.zip
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  • a180 Jun 16.zip
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  • a180woofers Jun 16.zip
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  • a180twitter Jun 16.zip
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  • a170woofers Jun 16.zip
    1.2 MB · Views: 13
  • a170twitter Jun 16.zip
    1.2 MB · Views: 11

Jmudrick

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REW - A180 vs A170 (separate for tweeters and woofers)
Some amateur measurements in REW using DaytonAudio iMM-6 calibrated mic, 4 sweeps, tweeter on-axis about 4 feet apart from the speakers.
Have fun! (Update: just realized I used twitter instead of tweeter ;-)
No comments for those not using REW?
 

cavedriver

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That's only if you can conform to the extremely close spacing specified in the original paper. That's almost never possible, and you get cancellation issues with MTM's virtually all of the time, hence the objections to MTM center channel speakers. D'Appolito's only commercial speaker--the Thor--didn't meet the spacing requirements and used a 4th order LR crossover rather than the originally dictated 3rd order Butterworth. But none of this matters if the speaker sounds OK. We'll see whether my mod stands up to careful scrutiny.
Dennis,

This thought made me wonder- how hard is this spacing to achieve in practice? Then I saw the image below shared in the review thread for the Pioneer CS22. Based on the diagram, if we assume the crossover is a common 2 kHz, the "d" distance is about 7 inches. On the CS22, the actual distance is about 4.5" with 4" woofers. From here you could have a D'Appolito array with two 6" diameter midwoofers at 7" spacing. Maybe my freq assumption or the image is not per D'Appolito's design?
Project MTM.jpg
 

MacCali

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Dennis,

This thought made me wonder- how hard is this spacing to achieve in practice? Then I saw the image below shared in the review thread for the Pioneer CS22. Based on the diagram, if we assume the crossover is a common 2 kHz, the "d" distance is about 7 inches. On the CS22, the actual distance is about 4.5" with 4" woofers. From here you could have a D'Appolito array with two 6" diameter midwoofers at 7" spacing. Maybe my freq assumption or the image is not per D'Appolito's design?View attachment 213149
10.5 ft?? or I am confused how do you calculate the distance?

NVM thought it was a front 3 channel layout lol
 
Last edited:

abdo123

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Dennis,

This thought made me wonder- how hard is this spacing to achieve in practice? Then I saw the image below shared in the review thread for the Pioneer CS22. Based on the diagram, if we assume the crossover is a common 2 kHz, the "d" distance is about 7 inches. On the CS22, the actual distance is about 4.5" with 4" woofers. From here you could have a D'Appolito array with two 6" diameter midwoofers at 7" spacing. Maybe my freq assumption or the image is not per D'Appolito's design?View attachment 213149
The distance is between the centers of the diaphragm, not the distance between the pistonic area.
 

abdo123

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Dennis,

This thought made me wonder- how hard is this spacing to achieve in practice? Then I saw the image below shared in the review thread for the Pioneer CS22. Based on the diagram, if we assume the crossover is a common 2 kHz, the "d" distance is about 7 inches. On the CS22, the actual distance is about 4.5" with 4" woofers. From here you could have a D'Appolito array with two 6" diameter midwoofers at 7" spacing. Maybe my freq assumption or the image is not per D'Appolito's design?View attachment 213149
Can you PM me the paper btw?
 

abdo123

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@Dennis Murphy

Since you have extensive experience with the BMRs, wouldn’t their unique size allow you to respect the D’appilito distances? Or is the distance not respected in your Philharmonic tower?

Directivity matching sound like one hell of a job too!
 
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