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JBL Conceal C62 Invisible Speaker Review

Rate this invisible speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 94 56.6%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 47 28.3%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 17 10.2%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 8 4.8%

  • Total voters
    166

amirm

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This is a review, detailed measurements, listening tests and EQ of JBL Conceal C62 "invisible" speaker. It was kindly drop shipped to me by a member and costs $US 660 each.
JBL Conceal C62 Invisible Loudspeaker speaker home theater review.jpg

This category of speaker is used in custom installations where a whole is cut out in the drywall (or whatever material) and speaker is fitted flush into it. It can then be "mudded" and painted, making it totally invisible. As you can imagine, this presents massive challenges for the driver and speaker designer. The C62 seems quite similar to Stealth Audio speaker and seems to be some kind of collaboration given the inclusion of a custom JBL mid-woofer:
JBL Conceal C62 Invisible Loudspeaker speaker internals.jpg

The little box on top right is the "magic" handling midrange and tweeter duties.

Speaker frame seems quite substantial, likely due to it being some kind of cast metal (?). It comes with backbox:
JBL Conceal C62 Invisible Loudspeaker speaker home theater back box flat review.jpg


Given this configuration, I first decided to measure it like a normal speaker. But then thought the results may not be representative so built a custom baffle for it and measured it that way. The latter assumes the speaker is in an infinite wall with no diffraction losses or interference from back side. The difference turned out to be minimal due to backbox all but silencing the rear wave.

Acoustic center was the center of the speaker.

Note: our company, Madrona Digital is a dealer for JBL and indeed, the owner ordered this through us. I don't personally know if we have sold any of these but do know that we have sold some other speakers of this type. Here is an example of the installation in our old showroom of Amina invisible speakers:
madronalivingroom (2017_01_27 19_19_02 UTC).jpg


There are actually three speakers around that LCD TV for left, center and right channels in a living room surround system mock up. We would ask people if they could locate the speakers and they would never be able to do it! It was uncanny in that manner and quite a conversation piece.

JBL Conceal C62 Measurements
As usual, we start with our frequency response measurements. Do note however that the concept of "early window" does not quite work here as there are no valid rear reflections:

JBL Conceal C62 Invisible Loudspeaker speaker frequency response measurement.png

Yes, I was as shocked as you are. I don't know what I expected but it wasn't something this messy. The front panel likely has multiple modes being activated (which may change when speaker is mudded). As noted, our early window model is not quite accurate but still gives us some idea of off-axis response:
JBL Conceal C62 Invisible Loudspeaker speaker early window frequency response measurement.png

For good or bad, you get similar response to on-axis. Predicted in-room response model is for normal stand-alone speakers so definitely not a fit for C62 but here it is anyway:
JBL Conceal C62 Invisible Loudspeaker speaker predicted in-room frequency response measurement.png


Directivity is all over the place:
JBL Conceal C62 Invisible Loudspeaker speaker horizontal beam width measurement.png

JBL Conceal C62 Invisible Loudspeaker speaker horizontal Directivity measurement.png


JBL Conceal C62 Invisible Loudspeaker speaker vertical Directivity measurement.png

Power handling was a major issue expectedly in this class. The highest level I could push the speaker without audible distortion during frequency response sweep was 78 dBSPL:
JBL Conceal C62 Invisible Loudspeaker speaker THD Distortion response measurement.png

As you see at this level, there are cries of discomfort in bass and midrange frequency range. (The threshold on the left graph is not correct due to much lower playback level.)

JBL Conceal C62 Listening Tests and Equalization
I put the speaker on a stand in my normal far-field listening. Yes, I know it is not the intended application but this is the best I can do. First impression was a wide and diffused image coupled with some brightness and oddness I could not describe to you. Mind you, it was better than I expected. I brought out the EQ tool and attempted the impossible: trying to correct that frequency response by eye:
JBL Conceal C62 Invisible Loudspeaker speaker EQ filter.png


Working backward, I had to put that high pass filter in order to keep the speaker from breaking up during content with bass response. That also forced me to compromise in other filters in the bass region to keep distortion low. The rest of the corrections are wet thumb in the air. Overall, I managed to get the speaker sound more "normal." The boost in 200 to 300 Hz gave some needed warmth and other filters improved clarity if not the response itself. When done, I still could not get much of my reference tracks to be enjoyable. An automatically generated filter set optimized by ear for distortion would likely work better.

Touching the front of the speaker when playing dynamic content revealed a membrane that is quite flexible. I would say it was easily moving a few millimeters. This is good for dynamic capability but would present challenge as far as mud and paint used. They could easily crack.

Conclusions
Clearly these are not the kind of objective results we like to see a speaker. But how do we judge them when this speaker brings an impossible trick to the table: ability to be completely invisible. That is a huge feature. Indeed, I have been thinking for a while to put a couple on the wall behind our sofa behind us in the living room for surround duty. I would not image putting a grill there for an in wall speaker let alone an actual box speaker. Without having measured other such speakers, hard to know how to rank these speakers. From memory, the Amina speakers we had in our showroom had very limited response and dynamic range (they used an array of small drivers) so likely would lose to the C62.

I can rule out the JBL Conceal C62 for music usage. What it does for surround and EQ, is hard to judge but likely can be made to be acceptable.

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

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

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monx

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I don't want to be harsh, this is a cool feat of engineering. But it's hard to imagine choosing this over a traditional wall mounted driver with a traditional covering/disguise. Maybe in the ceiling for a PA system?
 

phoenixdogfan

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Possibly a cool "effect" speaker for a "haunted house" or something like that. Definitely would not paint or mud (!) it over inasmuch as that's the diaphragm. Maybe mud and paint over the screws. Maybe.
 

Lopsided

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Amir, the early reflections graph is duplicated, missing the main spinorama.
 

GWolfman

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Curious as to how much the mud and paint would change the sound signature.

Thanks!
 

kemmler3D

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Very interesting specimen... certainly not where I'd go for hi-fi, but it does make you think about the possibilities... if you wanted to do a whole-house intercom or something, this could be really something.
 
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amirm

amirm

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I don't want to be harsh, this is a cool feat of engineering. But it's hard to imagine choosing this over a traditional wall mounted driver with a traditional covering/disguise. Maybe in the ceiling for a PA system?
Those grills are a major detractor in a high-end home. I know I don't want to see the grills in our living room.

Forgot to reserve a post for the Specifications. Here they are:

IMG_0580.jpeg
 
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kemmler3D

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Curious as to how much the mud and paint would change the sound signature.

Thanks!
Definitely would not paint or mud (!) it over inasmuch as that's the diaphragm. Maybe mud and paint over the screws. Maybe.
It's designed for being embedded in the wall with mud/paint... and if anything how could the FR get any worse? I'd say it's better than 50/50 that it actually improves after that.
 
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amirm

amirm

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This seems like maybe a step down from simply using the TV speakers? Or a soundbar.
It is massively better than any TV speaker. Not even close. On soundbar, I think they are better in mid to high frequencies but likely not in bass.
 

GXAlan

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1708150404598.png


Looking at the manual, it’s amazing how it’s designed to have 2mm of material over it AND has technology to minimize cracking!

I wonder how this would work once you had Dirac enabled as full-range correction. With frequency response irregularities masked in stereo, it’s probably a step up in multichannel.

The Conceal C86 is a 8” woofer and this for the midrange/hf (it has TWO boxes)

1708150604143.png
 

johnnyx

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It's probably fine for background music in a restaurant.

I know some used Bose speakers and were happy.
 

ace_xp2

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Thanks GX! I was just about to query if anyone knew of a version with more bass, I stayed at a place with an install like this and it was surprisingly bass capable. I couldn't figure out at the time if they'd just built a sub in the wall, but that looks more likely. Perfect for the right state rooms.
 
D

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How are people supposed to vote this speaker? It's on false premises as the speaker is not measured as designed; painted inside a wall. I suggest removing the ability to vote on such cases as it makes zero sense to assess something not measured in its intended use case.
 

GXAlan

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JBL collaborated with Stealth Acoustics and disclosed that when they issued the press release, but there isn’t a 1:1 comparison for models, but this is their flagship two box solution

1708150794073.png


And this is the lower end model
1708150997207.png


Since they are local to you in Washington, it might be really neat to see if a high res DSP could be used to flatten the response. The flagship model claims 105 dB!
 
D

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And just as expected; It gets destroyed. :facepalm:

1708151247599.png


If a test can't be carried out within the use case and per the manual should the test then be done? -I think not.
 

GXAlan

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How are people supposed to vote this speaker? It's on false premises as the speaker is not measured as designed; painted inside a wall. I suggest removing the ability to vote on such cases as it makes zero sense to assess something not measured in its intended use case.

I voted great on the ability to be *invisible* with 2mm of paint over it.


What is interesting is that Stealth makes an amplifier preprogrammed with EQ for their speakers. It’s described as a 11 band PEQ.


And in case it wasn’t clear, Harman and Stealth work together
 
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