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JBL Stage A130 Review (speaker)

Presently42

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I had thought the same, but measurements prove otherwise.

Edit: I should say, that measurements prove otherwise - but the position of the speakers was also slightly altered when the panels were installed. I should also note, that the panels affect the treble, not the bass, for which they are indeed much too thin.

Since I'm moving, I decided, that taking some measurements demonstrating the effects of the egg cartons was in order. The results in the first graph are as expected: the bass remains unchanged, whilst the mids have a non-trivial difference; the highs don't seem especially bothered. The second graph shows the results a bit more clearly. Note, that the left speaker was touched as I attempted to remove the egg cartons from behind it: I use this to explain the large spike at 17 Hz. The right speaker, so far as I know - and indeed, the rest of the room - was untouched.

Left and Right With and Without.jpg
Change in Left and Right With and Without.jpg
 

375HP2482

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Understandable that those who like extra brightness on specific content might prefer the Klipsch sound profile over the measurably more neutral JBL Stage series.

Well... these speakers are not bright. They are voiced to the B&K/Harman "house curve," which means response decreasing slightly as frequencies increase. Which is OK when playing at/above the B&K levels of 83 dB or so. At lower levels they can use a touch of the Treble control, as can most speakers.

Room Compensation software aside, any speaker can be equalized for the tonal balance you prefer, be it Klipsch or whatever, often with just the legacy Bass and Treble controls. And the preferred tonal balance will change with listening level ("Loudness" contour) which some AVRs attempt to track. Before one decides to "upgrade," it may be worth a visit to Harman's How To Listen website, download their software and practice with their Band ID Training.

What you cannot change is the basic linearity (low distortion) of the speaker, which the Stage A-130s have in spades over most speakers in this size class. I can understand why someone becomes disappointed when their speaker hits its limits earlier than desired. But tonal balance? Tonal balance is like clothing: change it to fit your mood.
 

JeffGB

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I finally received my a130's today. I'm in Canada and they cost 262ca through The Brick (really?). They replaced Kef LS50's on my desktop and are currently powered by an Aiyima a07 with an Audient iD14 mkii audio interface. Surprisingly they are not embarrassed by the LS50's. They do sound very clean. I noticed the enhanced mids and highs but they were not a deal breaker by any means. I now have them equalized and they sound excellent (just the spin based settings for EqualizerAPO in this thread).

The bass quality was a bit of a surprise. It's actually ok without a sub in a tiny room. They do seem to reproduce electric guitar well, haha. Maybe that is from their pedigree :). This is a very inexpensive system now and is extremely satisfying. I couldn't be happier. Thanks to Amir and others on these awesome finds!
 

375HP2482

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^^ Not surprising, as measurements show significantly more bass output than the LS50, which measure as below average in the bass department. With a sub the LS-50 likely needs a crossover point of 120 Hz or higher, while the A-130 can perform well with an 80 Hz sub xover. Or, as you and I have discovered, sans subwoofer.

Now that I think of it, the measurements indicate the A-130 easily surpasses the Studio 530 in bass performance.
 
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Ralferator

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Pjug,

It is easy. The crossover is attached to the speakers terminal plate on the back. Removing the speakers terminal plate with the four screws will give you the ability to acess the crossover and do the mod. Please find the attached picture.

What kind of resistor will i have to use if i want to try it? Is 1W enough? Or should it be 5W?
 

JeffGB

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For Canadian members, the JBL A130 is again on sale at The Brick for 262.95ca . Here is the link
JBL Stage A130 Home Audio Bookshelf Loudspeakers - Set of Two | The Brick

Update: I have been using the speakers for a few weeks now and still think they are amazing. I'm using the basic eq found in this thread, minus the high pass filter at 38hz. I found that ruined the "weight" of the sound and since I don't need high volumes it didn't affect distortion but did affect the sound, in my use. I'm using the Aiyima a07 to drive them but have tried my Crown XLS1500. The Crown was slightly less bright (possibly there is a rise at high frequencies with the interaction between the A130 and rising output impedance in the a07). I know the Crown uses some PFFB, so that could explain the difference. The soundstage is fantastic. The instruments and singers are spaced out in both depth and width. If a recorded environment has sound (as opposed to a highly damped room) it is VERY clear. They just sound so effortless in their ability to reproduce dynamic sound and space.

I have moved them multiple times to get them to sound their best. It is a near-field setup with a 55" monitor between them on a long desk in a small room. They are toed in but not enough to make the tweeters on axis with a perpendicular line from my ears. The distance apart and the angle were very critical to getting good sound. The tweeters are now at ear height. The desk is strong and I have Aualex isolators (foam, MDF, bitumen) with Microacoustics stands set to their lowest setting on top of those (it's what I had and worked well). Distance from the back wall was also critical but I had little flexibility in that regard, but they ended up about 12 inches from a concrete back wall. I have a few acoustic panels I made in the room as well.

I guess it's time to stop sounding like some kind of Stereophile fanboy :). I really appreciate learning about this equipment. This website has been a revelation in terms of information for me. I expected the JBL A130's to sound good after seeing the measurements. Even compared to much larger speakers, they have low distortion. The measurements certainly were accurate to what I hear. Although this could be expectation bias, so could believing the measurements weren't showing what it would sound like. If I believe there is no difference, do I then hear no difference? Haha, I just know I like them. Have a great weekend everyone!
 
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375HP2482

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Man, mine are right up against the wall. I just turn the Bass control down a couple.
 

pjug

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Since it seems most love this speaker I feel I should say I don't love mine. They are fine for the price but they just don't sound clear to me. I think the reason is the cheap cabinets. You can see distortion just above 200Hz in the 86dB measurement and also some ripple there in the impedance measurement. Maybe I will get some cheap piezo tape pickups and see how the cabinets compare with some others that I have. I think that is what @John Atkinson has done in some Stereophile reviews.
 

Teeter

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Since it seems most love this speaker I feel I should say I don't love mine. They are fine for the price but they just don't sound clear to me. I think the reason is the cheap cabinets. You can see distortion just above 200Hz in the 86dB measurement and also some ripple there in the impedance measurement. Maybe I will get some cheap piezo tape pickups and see how the cabinets compare with some others that I have. I think that is what @John Atkinson has done in some Stereophile reviews.

Yes, that was my experience too, and will be putting mine up for sale this year. I was taken in by Amir's review, and had to revert back to my Klipsch R-51M's. People have different listening levels they prefer, and I too, prefer more distinct and clarity, as previously mentioned in a previous thread of mine. The JBL Stage 130's, were not fun or vibrant, to my listening pleasure, when required. I am a DD movie watcher.
 

More Dynamics Please

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Yes, that was my experience too, and will be putting mine up for sale this year. I was taken in by Amir's review, and had to revert back to my Klipsch R-51M's. People have different listening levels they prefer, and I too, prefer more distinct and clarity, as previously mentioned in a previous thread of mine. The JBL Stage 130's, were not fun or vibrant, to my listening pleasure, when required. I am a DD movie watcher.

I believe you mentioned in another thread that you are nearly 80 years old and have hearing impairment that requires hearing aids so it's understandable how your opinion about the performance of the A130 might differ from the general consensus.
 

375HP2482

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Hopefully you kept the shipping material.

As the A-130s are in short supply these days, keep them as a reference long enough to identify something you do like. Then, like anything else, sell them to someone who wants them. Simple as that.
 

Spkrdctr

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I believe you mentioned in another thread that you are nearly 80 years old and have hearing impairment that requires hearing aids so it's understandable how your opinion about the performance of the A130 might differ from the general consensus.

Well, no kidding! He should lead with that in any info he puts out. Just sayin....:)
 

Teeter

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I believe you mentioned in another thread that you are nearly 80 years old and have hearing impairment that requires hearing aids so it's understandable how your opinion about the performance of the A130 might differ from the general consensus.

This is true, but don't wear hearing aids all the time, which I should have mentioned, and my hearing is not of severe type. The independent reviews on the Klipsch R-15M were more right on. But had to try the JBL Stage A130, again based on Amir's stats. As one mentioned, the A 130's are more neutral, whereas I find the R-15M, more to life for my ears. I hope this explains my position vs @pjug having the same issue. He might be 30 years old? Again, not all have the same listening level, no matter your age. You don't know unless you try different loud speakers in this price range that might be the perfect match for you. :cool:
 

Ralferator

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Since it seems most love this speaker I feel I should say I don't love mine. They are fine for the price but they just don't sound clear to me. I think the reason is the cheap cabinets. You can see distortion just above 200Hz in the 86dB measurement and also some ripple there in the impedance measurement. Maybe I will get some cheap piezo tape pickups and see how the cabinets compare with some others that I have. I think that is what @John Atkinson has done in some Stereophile reviews.

Most problems are actually caused by the room. Are you sure it's not room resonances, the placement of the speakers or the listening position that cause the speakers not sounding clear?
 

pjug

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Most problems are actually caused by the room. Are you sure it's not room resonances, the placement of the speakers or the listening position that cause the speakers not sounding clear?

The room they are in is not ideal, and the stands are not very good either. However, I put them in the main room where I listen for a while, on good stands, and compared them to Usher V601 which happen to have similar sensitivity. The JBL sounded a lot better than in the other room, but still seemed lacking in clarity in the low mids (or upper bass).

I would say it is possible that I am fooling myself. I did have a much worse resonance problem when I put these on sorbothane hemispheres, and possibly it got in my head and I'm now imagining it with rigid mounting on stands. I am 56 and my hearing is only to about 14 KHz. But like I said the problem (if there is one) is lower frequencies.

I didn't realize it, but @John Atkinson reviewed the A170 and mentioned this resonance issue. He said it might not be audible though. Maybe he has some comment to share here?
https://www.stereophile.com/content/jbl-stage-a170-loudspeaker-measurements

Also, @amirm usually comments when the impedance curve shows a kink like the A130 has, but this one escaped somehow.
 
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muad

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Thinking of getting this speaker for my dad, but I'm worried that the peaks in the mids may be a little much. Unfortunately PEQ is not an option. I'm just wondering between this or the studio 530, which would be the better option? Just worried the a130 may be sibilant or harsh.
 

Ralferator

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Thinking of getting this speaker for my dad, but I'm worried that the peaks in the mids may be a little much. Unfortunately PEQ is not an option. I'm just wondering between this or the studio 530, which would be the better option? Just worried the a130 may be sibilant or harsh.

There was a modification of the crossover posted here - so you could still tune them if the peaks are too much for you: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...s/jbl-stage-a130-review-speaker.18260/page-17

I listen to them without the crossover mod and without EQ at the moment and they still sound great. But i might try the mod in the future.
 

abdo123

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Thinking of getting this speaker for my dad, but I'm worried that the peaks in the mids may be a little much. Unfortunately PEQ is not an option. I'm just wondering between this or the studio 530, which would be the better option? Just worried the a130 may be sibilant or harsh.

not at all they're very pleasing.
 
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