• 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). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

JBL Array 880 Review (Center Speaker)

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 24 13.0%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 83 44.9%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 69 37.3%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 9 4.9%

  • Total voters
    185

sarumbear

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 15, 2020
Messages
2,468
Likes
2,190
Location
Southampton, UK
I said I somewhat preferred the sound localization of my one center that has fairly narrow dispersion.

That may be a preference or simply that it sounds good in my set up.
Some like it hot
 
Joined
Nov 25, 2020
Messages
56
Likes
205
Hmmmm,

I don't understand having a HT system "for one person". It sounds like a person sitting in a dark room by himself and never has anyone visit. The scrooge type that sits on the porch and yells at people to stay off the lawn. :D

Personally, I have these other people in my abode and she tends to get in my personal space and also watches movies, programs, YT channels (except ASR) and music Not only that, she invites off spring, other family members and friends over--andt they all want to join in on various things.

These audio illiterates won't know the difference between an audio probe VS a rectal probe as they assumes Hertz involves pain response and woofers have four legs. As the great philosopher, Bugs Bunny would say....a maroon with no appreciation for all my audio crap. Well, except for ONE thing, they know what a natural voice sounds like and they do comment on how clear the voices can be heard.

No blathering on and on about deep bass response, aiiry highs, reference levels and never has a single veil ever been lifted. My inlaws invade, remove their hearing aids, I make a few adjustments so they can clearly hear the voices unaided and really appreciate it.

So yeah, most of the accolades over the years can be explained by ONE speaker--the center channel. Subs, surrounds, Atmos, processing or even the finish on the speakers---these freaks just want to hear the voices.

Am I the only one? They can get brutal if the voices are not natural and clean across the entire couch as they cram their four buts in the seats. I bet I could just roll the center in mono with the subs active and most of them would be content.

Then I remembered the advice a veteran of PA systems told me when I was going to actually blow some serious bucks on one. Listen to the speaker in glorious mono with a known good voice recording, no music..just a voice with both male and female preferred. Listen to in on axis then start going off axis and listen if the voice changes and at what angle. The entire point of a PA speaker is to amplify voices, everyone in the audience has "trained ears" with voices because humans listen intently on all aspects of the voice and have been doing so since birth. You can fake it until you make it with bass, treble or whatever but the vocal range must be accurate for the entire audience as they will know in seconds.
Once you find a few speakers that give the natural voice, then weed them out with bass response, treble specs or peak SPL and so on.

So I did as instructed (he had a hot daughter) spent the time, effort and money on a spoken voice speaker that covered the dispersion pattern I desired and it worked very well. Sure, I added subs later, purchased bettering measurement gear, better EQ, active processors and so on but he was right--nail the voices first because that is the basics of what PA is.

I don't view a center channel as a "music speaker", I view it as a PA speaker in that it's primary function is to clearly hear some idiot on the screen flapping his pie hole about whatever. My latest HT build was built around the center channel. This time I modified the furniture to gain height so I can use a proper center that will nail the voices, has the capability to go beyond reference with little power and lmits the vertical dispersion to prevent floor/ceiling bounce to keep it clear. My center checks out at 17.5 KHz, it dies below 60Hz in frequency response and, when you remove th magnetic grilll...you are greated with 54 pounds of ugly!

Ss yeah, I don't understand purchasing a center channel for one person. I might look like the Unibomber but do have friends...I do! (like the Geico commercial) If sometthing that is specifically designed to be a center channel, a speaker designed to excel in the human voice can only do it for one seat is a drastic failure in my view. The Unibomer might disagree but I'm sure he has other acoustical issues in his location. :D

Great testing, good to know even the people you would least expect to really screw the pooch can and will produce a constipated panther.
 

rammster

Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Messages
45
Likes
14
To confirm importance of center channel:
This guy has built a custom center channel to match his existing gear level and advises to make it as better as possible.
Screenshot_2.png


video is in Russian
 

voodooless

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 16, 2020
Messages
2,854
Likes
4,359
Location
Netherlands
To confirm importance of center channel:
This guy has built a custom center channel to match his existing gear level and advises to make it as better as possible
I’m not sure that I guy using vinyl and tube amps should be a good reference for this kind of knowledge.. also placement looks far form ideal.
 

rammster

Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Messages
45
Likes
14
I’m not sure that I guy using vinyl and tube amps should be a good reference for this kind of knowledge.. also placement looks far form ideal.
If we can believe to an owner of a tape machine even with no reels, we could give chance to LP owners too.
 

Ra1zel

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2021
Messages
54
Likes
86
Location
Poland
This speaker is a perfect concept of "anti controlled directivity"


Those places either have no idea what they talk about or they are just trolling
I have read some places, that somewhat narrow dispersion of the center is a good thing
 

Odradek

Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2020
Messages
38
Likes
6
So, are there any other reasons besides aesthetics why the midrange horn is oriented vertically??
 

youngho

Active Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2019
Messages
271
Likes
379
So, are there any other reasons besides aesthetics why the midrange horn is oriented vertically??
"The use of exposed, vertically oriented, constant-directivity horns for greater accuracy of reproduction at high listening levels has long been a staple of JBL installations in concert venues around the world. When JBL's chief systems designer, Greg Timbers—see —applied vertical horns to the design of speakers for the home, he found that they increased the three-dimensionality of the speakers' soundstaging. However, as Japanese audio critics dislike the appearance of vertical horns, the horns were arrayed horizontally in the flagship K2 models. But, as JBL's Synthesis line was designed for the US market, Timbers was free to stand the midrange horn up again: it stands atop the 1400 Array BG, though the tweeter is still loaded by a horizontal horn. "

 

youngho

Active Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2019
Messages
271
Likes
379
So, are there any other reasons besides aesthetics why the midrange horn is oriented vertically??
@Ra1zel and @Odradek

Regarding the question of controlled directivity (though not specifically about the 880 or use of narrow dispersion center channel speakers) and the vertical horn, you may find the following discussion to be of interest, specifically the comments from Floyd Toole that were copied and pasted there: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...1400-array-measurements-interpretation.27853/
 

Yevhen

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 12, 2020
Messages
146
Likes
58
Location
Netherlands
There is no fix for it since it is an acoustic problem in the speaker. You can minimize it by sitting far from it so that the angle of the listening row becomes smaller. Not sure how practical that is though.

The "mid-range" should have crossed much lower frequency to avoid this but maybe that horn can't go that low.
Or replace it with a normal bookshelf speaker from the same series, which I think is also cheaper :)
 

GXAlan

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 15, 2020
Messages
732
Likes
1,008
The HDI center is probably a reasonable option for a similarly “focused” center channel beam that looks nice. It’s not as nice or clean as the Array 880 but it is smaller and more manageable.

Otherwise for the premium experience, moving up to the SCL-1 at 10x the price is what you have to do.
 

Odradek

Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2020
Messages
38
Likes
6
"The use of exposed, vertically oriented, constant-directivity horns for greater accuracy of reproduction at high listening levels has long been a staple of JBL installations in concert venues around the world. When JBL's chief systems designer, Greg Timbers—see —applied vertical horns to the design of speakers for the home, he found that they increased the three-dimensionality of the speakers' soundstaging. However, as Japanese audio critics dislike the appearance of vertical horns, the horns were arrayed horizontally in the flagship K2 models. But, as JBL's Synthesis line was designed for the US market, Timbers was free to stand the midrange horn up again: it stands atop the 1400 Array BG, though the tweeter is still loaded by a horizontal horn. "


interesting thread, thanks for sharing.

However I do not understand how extending the vertical beam width could improve perceived quality, I guess it could be useful if you like to listen to music while standing up as well as seated? But wouldn't it increase the magnitude of floor and ceiling reflections, and how would it be better than greater horizontal beam width?

I may be confusing things, if so, please ignore.
 

MarkELong

Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2021
Messages
5
Likes
5
Location
Ohio
I thought off getting the HDI center before I got the 880 array actually the 880 was a little cheaper so I went big . Auto calibration did adjust for the dip in the high range looking at the results I ran it two three times . I’ve not really noticed it being bad off axis but my seating is far away and at the most left or right can’t be more than a 20 to 30 degrees from dead center . It is a very focused image into the front bed layer and adds to the front separation on movies and concerts and very very clean sounding. In my setup I’d not say it’s narrow sounding even though testing showed it is in actual system use integrated into a large room and system it has very little faults. The only thing I can say it is large but takes up just a few inches more width than the jbl LC -2 I had .
 

youngho

Active Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2019
Messages
271
Likes
379
However I do not understand how extending the vertical beam width could improve perceived quality, I guess it could be useful if you like to listen to music while standing up as well as seated? But wouldn't it increase the magnitude of floor and ceiling reflections, and how would it be better than greater horizontal beam width?
I think it's not about extending the vertical beam width but about limiting the horizontal dispersion, which I may help with imaging/clarity (esp in the 1-8 kHz range, according to Blauert as referenced by Geddes at http://www.gedlee.com/Papers/Audio Acoustics 6 12 05.ppt, note that the 1400 Array has pretty high DI by 1 kHz). Floor reflections can affect spatial perception, according to Bech (references here: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...-on-readings-of-lokki-bech-toole-et-al.27540/), but in general, vertical ones seem to be more about timbre, which I recall Toole mentioning in his book. Wider horizontal beam width would be expected to increase strength of lateral reflections, which can promote apparent source width and perception of envelopment, but this may come at the cost of clarity (see above link).
 

Ra1zel

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2021
Messages
54
Likes
86
Location
Poland
@Ra1zel and @Odradek

Regarding the question of controlled directivity (though not specifically about the 880 or use of narrow dispersion center channel speakers) and the vertical horn, you may find the following discussion to be of interest, specifically the comments from Floyd Toole that were copied and pasted there: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...1400-array-measurements-interpretation.27853/
The only problem I have with that is the ever present lack of data even to this day, we really can't know whether similar listener preference is due to directivity not being relevant nearly as much as frequency response or due to qualities like high sensitivity, easy load, dynamic compression and high output of the JBL.

Also what happens when we have multiple people in the same room and we have to take the average of their combined preference score? One approach holds when other fails I imagine.
 

GWolfman

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 3, 2020
Messages
419
Likes
519
Interesting design, but to market it as a center channel (which its measurements dictate it's not) is inexcusable.
 

Alejandro

New Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2021
Messages
1
Likes
2
I have 3 of these JBLs. I had auditioned klipsch rp-504c, elac unifi 2.0, JBL studio 520c, sony sscs8, carnegie acoustics, mirage os3cc, and revel c10. Since it is said that for home theater, the center channel speaker is the most important, I splurged on cost and bought one. WOW!! The clarity, airiness, realism, and vocals were like nothing else I had heard (other speakers I have or have also owned are the klipsch rp-8000f, rp 600m, svs ultras, and revel m126be, and jbl studio 580). Much like Amir's speaker listening test, it was a delight. So I bought 2 more. Even before I knew Amir used centers for LCR, my thinking was to do the same with the JBLs because the cost was relatively low, comparing it to what the JBL array floorstanders go for that it seemed like too good of a bargain. I was not, nor have I been disappointed. Funny though, while I initially had my home theater setup with them as LCR, I then instead used Revel M10s on LR and the JBL as my center. My theater room is 13'x13' thus having these three was a bit big. The revels and jbl timbre match. I think that in a home theater setup, the changes in tonality being a little off axis are not really noticeable, but was is noticed is the audio quality the speakers output. Dialogue is the clearest I have heard, and most realistic. The movie the Greatest Showman and other musicals shine with this center. I use 2 svs-pb2000 pro subs for the lows. We move the leather recliners into a row of 4 when we have another couple to watch a movie over.

I use the other 2 JBLs for my music listening room. To get the best soundstage and imaging, you do have to be in the center sweet spot. However, for that person, music is pure bliss. The other thing that made me love these speakers was that placement close to the wall didn't affect their quality. I don't think most people can have speakers standing out 3 feet from walls. I have these just a finger width away from the wall, with a slight toe in toward center. They are able to reproduce a 360 degree dimensionality. I do use an svs-sb1000 for the lows. The comments about people listening with friends is not an issue. When my friends are over, we sit in various areas, stand, walk around, talk, drink. It is not like 4 of us would just sit on the couch quietly to listen to music. My wife enjoys music from these too, but her being just off the sweet spot doesn't matter as she would be happy with sound from an echo dot speaker. If I ever have a larger home theater room, I will return to the LCR configuration with revel M10 and M8s as surrounds.
 

Attachments

  • HT jbl.jpg
    HT jbl.jpg
    181.1 KB · Views: 50
  • 2ch jbl.jpg
    2ch jbl.jpg
    119.7 KB · Views: 53

MarkELong

Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2021
Messages
5
Likes
5
Location
Ohio
I have 3 of these JBLs. I had auditioned klipsch rp-504c, elac unifi 2.0, JBL studio 520c, sony sscs8, carnegie acoustics, mirage os3cc, and revel c10. Since it is said that for home theater, the center channel speaker is the most important, I splurged on cost and bought one. WOW!! The clarity, airiness, realism, and vocals were like nothing else I had heard (other speakers I have or have also owned are the klipsch rp-8000f, rp 600m, svs ultras, and revel m126be, and jbl studio 580). Much like Amir's speaker listening test, it was a delight. So I bought 2 more. Even before I knew Amir used centers for LCR, my thinking was to do the same with the JBLs because the cost was relatively low, comparing it to what the JBL array floorstanders go for that it seemed like too good of a bargain. I was not, nor have I been disappointed. Funny though, while I initially had my home theater setup with them as LCR, I then instead used Revel M10s on LR and the JBL as my center. My theater room is 13'x13' thus having these three was a bit big. The revels and jbl timbre match. I think that in a home theater setup, the changes in tonality being a little off axis are not really noticeable, but was is noticed is the audio quality the speakers output. Dialogue is the clearest I have heard, and most realistic. The movie the Greatest Showman and other musicals shine with this center. I use 2 svs-pb2000 pro subs for the lows. We move the leather recliners into a row of 4 when we have another couple to watch a movie over.

I use the other 2 JBLs for my music listening room. To get the best soundstage and imaging, you do have to be in the center sweet spot. However, for that person, music is pure bliss. The other thing that made me love these speakers was that placement close to the wall didn't affect their quality. I don't think most people can have speakers standing out 3 feet from walls. I have these just a finger width away from the wall, with a slight toe in toward center. They are able to reproduce a 360 degree dimensionality. I do use an svs-sb1000 for the lows. The comments about people listening with friends is not an issue. When my friends are over, we sit in various areas, stand, walk around, talk, drink. It is not like 4 of us would just sit on the couch quietly to listen to music. My wife enjoys music from these too, but her being just off the sweet spot doesn't matter as she would be happy with sound from an echo dot speaker. If I ever have a larger home theater room, I will return to the LCR configuration with revel M10 and M8s as surrounds.
I agree with your thoughts on how this center sounds it’s really not noticeable when setup in a good system. This is the best sounding center I’ve ever herd in my home and I’ve tried a lot like you . It’s really good on vocals on concerts and dialogue on movies is never lacking anywhere you set in my room .
 

krabapple

Major Contributor
Joined
Apr 15, 2016
Messages
1,181
Likes
1,250
No panther? Or maybe it merits two (happy one for single listener, sad one for and audience of listeners)?
 
Top Bottom