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JBL SCL-7 Review (In-wall Speaker)

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 31 25.8%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 68 56.7%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 21 17.5%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    120

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the JBL SCL-7 in-wall "custom" home theater speakers. It was purchased new by a member and kindly sent to me for testing. It costs US $1,100 each.
JBL SCL-7 Review Home Theater Custom In-wall speaker.jpg

It is an interesting design with two mid-woofers and asymmetrical waveguide/horn. There is a near/far boundary setting. I tested it in far mode.

Measurements were performed using special mode of Klippel Near-Field Scanner which ignores everything outside of a radius in front of the speaker. As such it simulates speaker being mounted on infinitely large wall. Edge diffractions are also removed as are reflections.

Note: our company, Madrona Digital, is a dealer for Harman products including JBL line. While there is little subjective opinion in this write-up, feel free to read what level of bias you like.

JBL SCL-7 Measurements
As usual we start with our frequency response measurements:
JBL SCL-7 Measurements Frequency Response Home Theater Custom In-wall speaker.png


Response is nice and even until we get to crossover region around 2 kHz. Response droops there and becomes variable, likely due to resonances from the woofers:
JBL SCL-7 Measurements Near-field Frequency Response Home Theater Custom In-wall speaker.png


Please note that the baffle that I made for it may be responsible for that. Then again, you are also going to have such resonances when you mount it on your wall.

Near-field response unfortunately worsens that dip:
JBL SCL-7 Measurements Early Window Frequency Response Home Theater Custom In-wall speaker.png


This translates the same into predicted in-room response although both it, and above graph represent speaker away from the wall:
JBL SCL-7 Measurements Predicted In-room Frequency Response Home Theater Custom In-wall speaker.png


I found a strange source of distortion:

JBL SCL-7 Measurements Relative THD Distortion Home Theater Custom In-wall speaker.png


JBL SCL-7 Measurements THD Distortion Home Theater Custom In-wall speaker.png


Is this the woofer distorting or is it the tweeter?

Horizontal beam width is good but offset due to tweeter being so placed:

JBL SCL-7 Measurements Horizontal Beam width Home Theater Custom In-wall speaker.png


JBL SCL-7 Measurements Horizontal Directivity Home Theater Custom In-wall speaker.png


Typical of dual woofer configuration, vertical dispersion is quite narrow:

JBL SCL-7 Measurements Vertical Directivity Home Theater Custom In-wall speaker.png


Be sure to have the tweeter at your ear angle.

CSD/Waterfall shows some of the resonances we have seen already:


JBL SCL-7 Measurements CSD Waterfall Home Theater Custom In-wall speaker.png


Conclusions
I wish had ability to listen to these speakers but I do not. Going by the measurements, it seems to be less perfect than what I expect form JBL at this price. I know you can do a lot worse though with many in-walls sold in the custom market so the news is not bad overall.

Without listening tests, I am withholding any recommendation.
 

Attachments

  • JBL SCL-7 Speaker Frequency Response.zip
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Last edited:
Man what on earth is going on with that distortion measurement? Like... it's all second order, so it could just be a resonance at 4k, but it's so ridiculously high that that can't be right.
 
For $1100 this is quite terrible compared to normal speakers but I have no context for "in wall speaker" performance - is this what we can expect? Must we lower our expectations for in-walls?
 

High Frequency Coverage Angle (-6 dB)60° Vertical, 90° Horizontal (Left 30°, Right 60°, from center line), from 2 kHz to 15 kHz

The asymmetric design is unusual.
 
High Frequency Coverage Angle (-6 dB)60° Vertical, 90° Horizontal (Left 30°, Right 60°, from center line), from 2 kHz to 15 kHz
It seams the acoustical axis to be 15 degrees off horizontal center axis

It is planed to be used as surrounds in rectangular rooms.

As fronts left and Right and as center top or bottom pointing to the listener
 
Amir

“There is a near/far field setting. I tested it in far field mode.”

That is near boundary/sidewall or far from boundary / sidewall
 
Hmm, don't know what to make of this one.
 
Amir

“There is a near/far field setting. I tested it in far field mode.”

That is near boundary/sidewall or far from boundary / sidewall
Yes. Corrected.
 
Definitely unusual. If it had been a resonance, it would be quite narrow in bandwidth.
Can it be the material of the 'wall' and the fact that it isn't solid?
 
Can it be the material of the 'wall' and the fact that it isn't solid?
As I noted, resonances in the baffle or otherwise will have very narrow peaks. This one is pretty broad.
 
Well, with 10% distortion between 1kHz and 2kHz, that's just "broken", isn't it ?
And, on top of this, the assymetrical layout doesn't solve the vertical directivity issue typical of MTM design, but adds its own.
Hmm...
 
Whatever the reason, that 2 kHz distortion as well as the dip makes it a poorly designed speaker.
 
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