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JBL HDI-3800 Floorstanding Speaker Review

Descartes

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I have updated my reviews with a linearity metric and a statement regarding sensitivity/linearity to help people more easily see. I was doing this before but forgot to include this in my latest reviews.

The mean SPL on-axis is 88.99 dB (300Hz to 3kHz). Response linearity is -3.66/+2.62 dB (80Hz to 16kHz).

JBL%20HDI-3800%20FR_Linearity.png

How do they compare to the Revel Performa 126Be
 

jhaider

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I'm surprised nobody has yet touched on the most interesting part of your subjective evaluation: your perception of image shift with frequency, which you attribute to the 2.5-way design (with pretty good reason I think).

I've never personally heard this effect, though the only 2.5-way speaker I've spent much time with was Tannoy Revolution XT 8F, and that has only one additional 8" woofer that's close to the main 8" coax. However,I've read something similar before from a reliable source, Dr. David Rich, regarding the Infinity Classia C336. Classic C336 is a 3-way speaker with a column of woofers crossed over fairly high (500Hz) to a small midrange.

Here's what Dr. Rich wrote about the Infinity Classia C336 in AudioXpress:

"I was bothered by one subjective effect that does not show up clearly in the measurements. This is a tall speaker with the big array of three 6.5"woofers at the bottom and the 4" midrange and
tweeter close to the top. This resulted in a subjective impression that the violins appear to be coming closer to the top of the speaker while the trombones and cellos sound as though they are further down the speaker. I tried the speaker at distances between 7 and 10' with little change in the effect."
(Source: AudioXpress 11/10, at E18)

Perhaps that's why Revel went to the trouble of adding the 6.5" midbass to Salon2, when clearly any good 8" woofer can play high enough to reach a 4" midrange.
 

YSDR

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Perhaps that's why Revel went to the trouble of adding the 6.5" midbass to Salon2, when clearly any good 8" woofer can play high enough to reach a 4" midrange.
If they had trouble adding the 6.5" midbass, that was maybe for other reason(s), because I think the problem is with multiple woofers and a midrange is the too high crossover point (or too shallow crossover slopes, which is typical for a 2.5-way) relative to driver c-c distances (plus the beaming effect of a driver array), but the Salon2 crossover occurs about 470Hz (with steep slopes, according to Stereophile measurements) between the single 6.5" and a 4" and that can be within 1/4 wavelength distance, minimizing the possible lobing effect.
https://www.stereophile.com/content/revel-ultima-salon2-loudspeaker-measurements
 
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hardisj

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I'm surprised nobody has yet touched on the most interesting part of your subjective evaluation: your perception of image shift with frequency, which you attribute to the 2.5-way design (with pretty good reason I think).

I agree. I figure that would really turn some heads. It certainly is a "win" for the data because the contour plot clearly shows what is going on here. And, I can't stress enough just how audible it was. It was the first time I have noticed such an occurrence outside of car audio and that really got my attention.
 
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hardisj

hardisj

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Thanks for the update.

Were you able to do a ground plane measurement for this speaker to test the bass extension? If not, nbd.

I did. But the results look very, very odd. It was different than the AH results. So, I thought maybe the setup wasn't right and planned to re-measure the other speaker that weekend (I couldn't remember which one I had put no the NFS). Unfortunately, JBL scheduled pickup early Saturday morning so I didn't have a chance to re-measure the speaker.
 

AnalogSteph

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Vertical Contour Plot (not normalized):
JBL%20HDI-3800%20Vertical%20Contour%20Plot.png
What a peculiar radiation pattern. Increased ceiling bounce in the high midrange, more floor bounce in the low midrange, no wonder there's an audible vertical shift. By 80 Hz the main lobe is 75° down - is that realistic? That would be almost downfire.

I hope you can still test one of the drivers - I bet it's not that great a performer. Doesn't look like there's a shorting ring for one. I am betting they kept this a 2.5 way for maximum output despite so-so drivers, and going by subjective evaluation that part seems to have worked. Interesting how neither the midwoofer nor the tweeter seem to be particularly happy around crossover yet it doesn't seem to have been blatantly obvious.
 

aarons915

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Perhaps that's why Revel went to the trouble of adding the 6.5" midbass to Salon2, when clearly any good 8" woofer can play high enough to reach a 4" midrange.

Good point and I've also noticed that since then, all of their 3 way designs use a 5" midrange that tries to cover as much of the vocal range and fundamentals as possible. This is along the same lines as our discussion about speakers being close to a "point source", it seems like Revel tries to get as close to this as possible as well with their low crossover points and integration of the mid/tweeter with a waveguide.
 

richard12511

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I'm surprised nobody has yet touched on the most interesting part of your subjective evaluation: your perception of image shift with frequency, which you attribute to the 2.5-way design (with pretty good reason I think).

That was definitely the most interesting part, and I loved that there is a real reason for it that can be seen in the measurements.

It's also great that he can describe approximate frequency ranges for the problems he's hearing. My ears/brain aren't that good. I think his training as a car audio judge is helping here.
 

richard12511

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I did. But the results look very, very odd. It was different than the AH results. So, I thought maybe the setup wasn't right and planned to re-measure the other speaker that weekend (I couldn't remember which one I had put no the NFS). Unfortunately, JBL scheduled pickup early Saturday morning so I didn't have a chance to re-measure the speaker.

No worries. We know now that at least the 4500 NFS measurement is spot on. Oddly JBL actually undersells the extension there. They call it 50Hz(-6dB) when it's actually 43Hz. Maybe because they're calculating that based on the higher sensitivity spec that they show?
 

Bent Wookiee

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I'm surprised nobody has yet touched on the most interesting part of your subjective evaluation: your perception of image shift with frequency, which you attribute to the 2.5-way design (with pretty good reason I think).

Yea that more than anything is giving me pause about making the HDI series my next upgrade. I don't know that I would ever noticed it without knowing to look for it, but now I can't un-know it. :cool:

Interestingly enough JBL seems to have avoided this issue with the Studio 698, but it doesn't appear that they will ever be available in the US. That Studio 6 line also solves my other biggest issue with the HDI line in that it offers a wall-mounted surround. Kind of frustrating that they can't seem to get all of their ducks in a row with this stuff.
 

jhaider

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Yea that more than anything is giving me pause about making the HDI series my next upgrade. I don't know that I would ever noticed it without knowing to look for it, but now I can't un-know it. :cool:

Interestingly enough JBL seems to have avoided this issue with the Studio 698, but it doesn't appear that they will ever be available in the US. That Studio 6 line also solves my other biggest issue with the HDI line in that it offers a wall-mounted surround. Kind of frustrating that they can't seem to get all of their ducks in a row with this stuff.

Interesting. I knew they were missing the on wall surround in the US version compared yo the global version, though in fairness I guess they’re really targeting 2ch with multichannel a distant afterthought in the US line.
 

YSC

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Another great review Erin,

just curious about the tweeter have a weird drop right past 10khz (which I believe is of little significance as that part with very little music content and the level of drop is below 3db) and that the bass extension was much less than what I expect from 3 8" woofers. are these the inherit norm for passive speakers or they are made so purposely?
 

Abe_W

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and in case anyone missed my comment above...

And, realistically, even if we are concerned with that bit of data it's, what... 25Hz? The response here is so far down that I consider it inconsequential to the overall performance of the speaker itself. We are truly picking nits at this point. I just think we are going to cause people to "throw the baby out with the bathwater" here.

I never mentioned the 20Hz region in my review. Why? Because the response begins rolloff at 60Hz. And the fitting error is extremely low there, thus indicating no issues in the ability to measure. 20Hz is the last thing I'm concerned with. So, we are back to a (potential) area of concern at 25Hz. Much ado about nothing, IMHO. Especially when you consider anechoic chambers are inaccurate below 100Hz.

That's my $0.02 on the matter.

My sibling got this series for his atmos setup with subwoofers, of course. The gripe about the low end is a non issue. All the Revels that are celebrated around here sound very flaccid without subwoofers btw. These modestly priced lovely JBLs are gonna really kill those $$$$ Revel sales, it is gonna be rough for some of the Revel dealers around here, i bet. :D
 

Abe_W

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Another great review Erin,

just curious about the tweeter have a weird drop right past 10khz (which I believe is of little significance as that part with very little music content and the level of drop is below 3db) and that the bass extension was much less than what I expect from 3 8" woofers. are these the inherit norm for passive speakers or they are made so purposely?

It is otherwise called 92 db sensitive. They could have sacrificed sensitivity and for more bass extension, but, it would still be flaccid next to a pair of dedicated subwoofers. But, then you will also be mule hauling large amplifiers as well. The low end on the Revel PerformaBe F228Be at 10k/pair is weak as fk btw...My 2 cents, keep your sensitivity and get your subs, there are lots and lots of benefits to deploying subs.
 

Mnyb

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Yea that more than anything is giving me pause about making the HDI series my next upgrade. I don't know that I would ever noticed it without knowing to look for it, but now I can't un-know it. :cool:

Interestingly enough JBL seems to have avoided this issue with the Studio 698, but it doesn't appear that they will ever be available in the US. That Studio 6 line also solves my other biggest issue with the HDI line in that it offers a wall-mounted surround. Kind of frustrating that they can't seem to get all of their ducks in a row with this stuff.

JBL is more than strange the offer a bewildering range of speakers , who are not advertised or actually aviable to buy anywhere and a complete random selection for the ones you can find depending on country o_O
 
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hardisj

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Thanks to @amirm starting this thread, I resolved the bass issue in my data and have updated it on my site already.

For those curious about the difference, I have plotted the old vs the new (black vs red).

1618512315805.png







Then, I looked at the HARMAN spin data; I used the Trace SPL tool in VituixCAD to trace Harman's anechoic on-axis response. I compared that to my update on-axis response and also I overlaid Audioholics' ground-plane measurement (which is only valid up to 400Hz). I smoothed all to 1/12 because the higher resolution of my data made it harder to see "through" the data. I tried to align the responses between 100-400Hz, within reason.

Mine = Red
Harman = Blue
AH = Green

Compare_All.png



You can see a generally good match. Especially between mine and the Harman anechoic response. Interestingly, the ground-plane measurement by AH is a bit off from the Harman response.

So, yep. Looks like we as a community got this resolved. Thanks again to Amir for reaching out to Klippel and finding out what was going on.
 
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