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JBL HDI-1600 Speaker Review

Sal1950

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Everyone seems to be “surprised” that JBLs sound as good as they do when there is no reason to be surprised…
Amen,
JBL has unfortunately been given a mostly bad rap by the high end review media.
But the same can be said of all speakers using horn (waveguide) type speakers.
My HDI 3600's sound incredible to me, imaging every bit as good as any Revels I've heard.
Response as smooth and glare free as I could ask for.
YMMV
 

Prolix

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Feels like a silly question but here we go... Is that huge top end spike something that could bother pets? Looks like it shoots straight off the end of the graph.
 

paulgyro

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I recently got a pair of HDI-1600 to try out. A few quick comments.
-They were very easy to setup. Put them on stands, toe them in, bam! Amazing imaging and sound stage. Phantom center was strong.
-No grain or grit to the sound at all.
-Highs were laid back for sure, too much to my taste and the reason the speakers will be going back.
-Dang they can go low! So low that Audyssey thinks they are full range speakers.
-They need a lot of power to get going.

Great speaker, just not enough high freq extension, and sensitivity too low thus taking too much power to come alive.
 

Sal1950

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Great speaker, just not enough high freq extension, and sensitivity too low thus taking too much power to come alive.
Just curious as to what sort of amp you were using.
Tube or SS and how much power do they have?
 

paulgyro

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Just curious as to what sort of amp you were using.
Tube or SS and how much power do they have?
SS,VTV Stereo Amplifier based on Hypex NCore NC252MP. Again, great speak but I should have expected what I got with the mid-80s db sensitivity.
 

Sal1950

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SS,VTV Stereo Amplifier based on Hypex NCore NC252MP. Again, great speak but I should have expected what I got with the mid-80s db sensitivity.
I had a pair around here for about 45 days, I really did love them but in the end I went for the HDI-3600's.
I don't play my music very loud anymore and live in a small place so I'm not sure exactly why but I just felt like I wanted something with more balls. Maybe just some leftover audiophilia nervosa because IMHO the entire HDI line are amazing speakers. LOL
 

paulgyro

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I had a pair around here for about 45 days, I really did love them but in the end I went for the HDI-3600's.
I don't play my music very loud anymore and live in a small place so I'm not sure exactly why but I just felt like I wanted something with more balls. Maybe just some leftover audiophilia nervosa because IMHO the entire HDI line are amazing speakers. LOL
I hear you man, so how does the 1600 compare to the 3600 in your view?
 

Sal1950

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I hear you man, so how does the 1600 compare to the 3600 in your view?
Obviously more&deeper bass and more dynamic sounding to me.
Otherwise about the same tonally.
 

paulgyro

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Obviously more&deeper bass and more dynamic sounding to me.
Otherwise about the same tonally.
Makes sense, certainly the biggest advantage of the 3600 is its bass response and increased sensitivity allowing for more dynamics.
 

polyphony

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These speakers were not really on my radar but I recently had acquired the JBL 530's on a whim because they were so cheap on sale. I was so pleasantly surprised that I wondered what kind of improvements might be had upstream in model lineup. Crutchfield currently has the HDI line on sale which prompted me to try a pair of the 1600's. I've only had them for a day but many of the preceding observations here seem to fit. Surprising bass for a bookshelf, good power handling and dynamics. I would also add that there is an impressive clarity and instrument separation which I really appreciate. Has anyone posted eq settings in this thread or elsewhere?
 

paulgyro

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Congratulations, they are great speakers. What do you think of the highs? I think about these speakers often as they hand many attributes I loved.
 

nick-v

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I was using HDI-1600s as surrounds in a 5.2.4 media room system. I replaced them with SCL-7 in-walls which provides a much cleaner look.

When I was selling my 1600s, I set them up in my desktop system and demoed them with some very well recorded music for the eventual buyer and I was blown away by how good they sounded. Exceptional holographic imaging and sounstage. Surprising bass output and extension (my desktop system is in a small, sealed room). It wasn't as obvious just how good these speakers are using them as surrounds in media room system, but using them in a desktop system for a week or two before they sold was very enjoyable.
 

Sal1950

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It wasn't as obvious just how good these speakers are using them as surrounds in media room system, but using them in a desktop system for a week or two before they sold was very enjoyable.
All speakers will provide at least a slightly different tonal balance and appeal to different preferences.
But I don't believe you can find a better stand mount 2 way when it comes to offering inner detail and dynamics at any price.
I had a couple here for close to 2 months and only returned them to get 4 of their big brother HDI 3600's and a 4500 center.
Just a great design all around.
 

polyphony

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Congratulations, they are great speakers. What do you think of the highs? I think about these speakers often as they hand many attributes I loved.
Out of the box a deficiency in the high frequencies was not something that grabbed my attention (I was probably more attuned to the bass and midrange detail) but the data clearly shows drop-off after 10k which is confirmed by the in-room measurements when I run ARC Genesis. Utilizing full range correction smooths out the response and makes an audible difference but I haven't experimented enough yet to decide whether to keep it or limit the correction to Schroeder.
 
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