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JBL Stage 135C Review (Center Speaker)

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 168 88.4%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 20 10.5%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther

    Votes: 2 1.1%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    190

dfuller

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You don't need to measure them. One look is enough to know that they will not work. A d'Appolito design on its side will always create a narrow horisontal dispersion.
The C1+ isn't a d'Appolito. It's a 3 way with the midrange and tweeter vertically aligned.

2 ways don't work in this application, you're right. There's no getting around it.
 

sarumbear

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Looks pretty symmetrical to me:
There is almost 20degree difference on some frequency range!

Neumann KH 80 DSP Monitor Active Studio Pro Speaker Vertical Contour SPL Map Audio Measurements.png

Not perfect, but pretty well.
If you call that well we do not have much further to discuss, I'm afraid.
 

sarumbear

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The C1+ isn't a d'Appolito. It's a 3 way with the midrange and tweeter vertically aligned.

2 ways don't work in this application, you're right. There's no getting around it.
All my comments are on 2-way centre speakers as this thread is about a 2-way centre speaker.
 

beagleman

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Oddly enough I really do not see people Seeing this as a huge problem like we do outside of this forum.

Not saying it is not an issue, but until I became a member here, I never even seemed to see it AS much of an issue. Not saying it is not, but not sure it really bothers me enough for it to BE an issue.

I have a center that is fairly limited in dispersion, it is a 2.5 way on its side, with centered tweeter, and even when I tried to "Find" this issue, it simply was not big enough of a change to really merit much worry or cares??
 

sarumbear

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Oddly enough I really do not see people Seeing this as a huge problem like we do outside of this forum.

Not saying it is not an issue, but until I became a member here, I never even seemed to see it AS much of an issue. Not saying it is not, but not sure it really bothers me enough for it to BE an issue.

I have a center that is fairly limited in dispersion, it is a 2.5 way on its side, with centered tweeter, and even when I tried to "Find" this issue, it simply was not big enough of a change to really merit much worry or cares??
If you see no problem, why would you (I assume you do) care about the Spinorama characteristics of a speaker? Or, would want a flat FR?
 

beaRA

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That is why I said Harman should be leading the industry. Otherwise, keep manufacturing a type of speaker that doesn't work is not dissimilar to selling audiphool products.
Harman is a corporation motivated by profit and will make decisions like any corporation to maximize their profit. Poor off-axis tonality is a different problem than not working at all. That along with the low price distinguish this particular product from the typical audiophool product.
 

beaRA

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Oddly enough I really do not see people Seeing this as a huge problem like we do outside of this forum.

Not saying it is not an issue, but until I became a member here, I never even seemed to see it AS much of an issue. Not saying it is not, but not sure it really bothers me enough for it to BE an issue.

I have a center that is fairly limited in dispersion, it is a 2.5 way on its side, with centered tweeter, and even when I tried to "Find" this issue, it simply was not big enough of a change to really merit much worry or cares??
This is the perspective ASR members need to keep in mind. Even with poor off-axis tonality, the A135C will do the job to anchor the center image to the screen. The narrow horizontal dispersion bothers me to the point that I would never purchase this product, but that just means I'm not the customer.
 

youpassbutter

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Would you consider a 3-way concentric design like the KEF R2c the best approach (at least on paper)?
g991R2CBL-F.jpg
 

KxDx

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This is the perspective ASR members need to keep in mind. Even with poor off-axis tonality, the A135C will do the job to anchor the center image to the screen. The narrow horizontal dispersion bothers me to the point that I would never purchase this product, but that just means I'm not the customer.

It serves its purpose for sure... affordable, better than TV speakers or a soundbar, and fits under the TV. That checks off most of the boxes for the people who will be buying it.

And realistically, how many of us would have ever gone down this expensive rabbit hole we call a "hobby" if we had never known how much better stuff was out there?
 

Urvile

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I tried a couple center speakers before I discovered ASR, was never happy with them, after reading what had been posted on here, and reading this review I ordered one of these. I would love to have Amirm review one.
 

sarumbear

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Harman is a corporation motivated by profit and will make decisions like any corporation to maximize their profit.
They could increase their profits by convincing the market that you need larger centre speakers. Apple convinced the market that you need $1000 mobile phones and became a huge company.
Poor off-axis tonality is a different problem than not working at all.
What do you expected? No sound coming at all? Is that the only way a centre speaker can be considered not working?
That along with the low price distinguish this particular product from the typical audiophool product.
Audiophool products are not necessarily expensive.

 

Robbo99999

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This is the perspective ASR members need to keep in mind. Even with poor off-axis tonality, the A135C will do the job to anchor the center image to the screen. The narrow horizontal dispersion bothers me to the point that I would never purchase this product, but that just means I'm not the customer.
I'm not entirely convinced a centre speaker is that important. I don't have a multichannel system but I've got two JBL 308p Mkii speakers located at screen height pointed at my listening/viewing position in a pretty much perfect equilateral triangle, and the centre imaging is basically perfect and feels totally natural. Is the centre speaker in a multichannel system really necessary? Is it's presence more important for those not sitting in the sweet spot of the L & R channels, in which case you'd think this could only be solved by having a quality centre speaker with good horizontal directivity? Or is the centre channel necessary in order to actually play multichannel material, as praps AVR's don't allow properly for say 4.1 when playing 5.1 material, I dunno?
 

beaRA

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They could increase their profits by convincing the market that you need larger centre speakers. Apple convinced the market that you need $1000 mobile phones and became a huge company.
That would be a lot harder than just meeting the demands for both market segments: (1) customers wanting large high-performance centers and (2) customers wanting compact centers.
What do you expected? No sound coming at all? Is that the only way a centre speaker can be considered not working?
Yes. A center that cannot be heard off-axis would literally not work as a center speaker. As we have it, the A135C is simply not optimized to provide consistent tonality to multiple seats. Customers in the second group above do not care about this non-optimal performance as much as you or I do.
 

phoenixdogfan

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I would at least consider the possibility of turning either an LS 50 or a Meta on its side and using it as a center. There might be a question about whether it can play loud enough and whether the directivity is wide enough, but it would otherwise better the large majority of center speaker units reviewed here to date.
 

beaRA

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I'm not entirely convinced a centre speaker is that important. I don't have a multichannel system but I've got two JBL 308p Mkii speakers located at screen height pointed at my listening/viewing position in a pretty much perfect equilateral triangle, and the centre imaging is basically perfect and feels totally natural. Is the centre speaker in a multichannel system really necessary?
It's not critical for a single listener sitting in the sweet spot. A phantom center won't be tonally perfect though due to comb filtering from crosstalk.
Is it's presence more important for those not sitting in the sweet spot of the L & R channels, in which case you'd think this could only be solved by having a quality centre speaker with good horizontal directivity?
Right. But even a tonally imperfect off-axis response from the center will keep the image from collapsing to the listener's side. I'll reiterate that I would never accept this horizontal dispersion for my center channel, but there is a market for the form factor that doesn't care.
 

beagleman

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If you see no problem, why would you (I assume you do) care about the Spinorama characteristics of a speaker? Or, would want a flat FR?
I mean, I do not see or hear it as a "Big" problem.

Many in here see it as a complete "Failure" in sound. In practice, mine, while not perfect at all, serves its purpose and even when off to the sides, it is simply not as big of a change as some are making it out to be.

Flat FR on axis is quite important to me. I guess when watching movies, I simply do not find it bothersome "Enough" to cause me to be upset or let down feeling.

If the feeling was so universal, no one would be able to stand center channel speakers.
Again, I tried putting my center vertically also, and it was simply not a big change. I know what to listen for but it was a mild change. Not a huge change, despite what the dispersion charts show.

I guess it is a mild enough trade off to not bother me is all.:)
 

Robbo99999

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It's not critical for a single listener sitting in the sweet spot. A phantom center won't be tonally perfect though due to comb filtering from crosstalk.

Right. But even a tonally imperfect off-axis response from the center will keep the image from collapsing to the listener's side. I'll reiterate that I would never accept this horizontal dispersion for my center channel, but there is a market for the form factor that doesn't care.
About the comb filtering, wouldn't this be the same for any 2-channel music system then? At which point you'd say that 2-channel is not even optimal for plain old music listening? Thing is though, I know my speakers measure fine at my listening position when both are playing, so I know the mids & treble are not messed up, so I guess I don't have a comb filtering problem.
 
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