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JBL Stage A130 Review (speaker)

375HP2482

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^^ Not necessary. EQ in that region reduces the applied power, which obviously reduces the distortion. And low distortion throughout the spectrum is already the calling card of this speaker. These days you can easily (and even automatically) correct for frequency response variations, but nothing can be done for nonlinearity (distortion).

Too much is being made of the midrange response wiggles. I spent a couple months adjusting the APO Equalizer, which I use primarily to effect loudness contours at various listening levels. As for the midrange EQ, I can take it or leave it, it's really quite minor, especially considering the A-130's superlative bass performance in this class.

Amir has already done his bit for this product and has better things to do with his time and effort.
 
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cbracer

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I understand the ideal sound curve according to JBL has this increased mid-range, upper lows area, rather than a straight decreasing line as Amir and most others prefer. So JBL likely doesn't think it's a problem. In my listening to the A130 I personally do find the raised mid-range to be a problem that appears most at lower volumes. For me it does create a dull speaker when listening to low volumes, which my other speakers do not. I will run some REV tests but I suspect the response difference of 5 db does not go down proportionally with volume. For example, a 1/2 drop in volume does not take the 4 db jump down to a 2 db jump. Of course at increased volumes it's less noticeable so not an issue. I'm also going to do the resistor mod and measure again. I need to sort out my room corrections first.
 

dealpapa

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Crutchfield: JBL Stage A130 bookshelf speakers $164.95​


Use slow shipping and get additional $15 discount. (YMMV)

JBL A130
 

abdo123

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For those who are interested in buying a subwoofer and want to integrate it with the Stage A130 without altering the speaker's frequency response, once the port is sealed the speaker has a Butter-Worth (BW) acoustic high-pass of 12db/octave at 100Hz.

index.php
 

Gatordaddy

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I picked up a NOS pair on craigslist for like 120 bucks. Put them in my "living room" since they're smaller than my revel M16s and i have a lot of furniture I can't reposition and it didn't make sense to set up my fancy revels in a compromised space. Tonality is neutral enough for my ears out of the box with no correction. Midbass is phenomanal for the size of the speakers. Dynamics and power handling are great for bookshelf speakers of just about any size. Cost no object these sound great, and considering the retail (and especially street) price I couldn't recommend them any higher.
 

muad

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I picked up a NOS pair on craigslist for like 120 bucks. Put them in my "living room" since they're smaller than my revel M16s and i have a lot of furniture I can't reposition and it didn't make sense to set up my fancy revels in a compromised space. Tonality is neutral enough for my ears out of the box with no correction. Midbass is phenomanal for the size of the speakers. Dynamics and power handling are great for bookshelf speakers of just about any size. Cost no object these sound great, and considering the retail (and especially street) price I couldn't recommend them any higher.
I got a pair of these for my dad, and I have to say... I have contemplated selling my big selah towers and ls50 metas and just getting a pair of these for myself. They really are that good. Makes more expensive speakers seem unnecessary.
 

Spkrdctr

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I find this tune to be especially good played with the A130

OK, this has been mentioned on ASR MANY times by me and others. Great recorded music will make crappy speakers sound impressive. Bad recordings make high end awesome speakers sound bad. This is a recording that was recorded very well and it shows. On my frequency response messed up headphones, it sounds awesome. I would tell anyone who wants to do a quick test of their speakers to try this recording out. What a fine example. Most people will realize rather quickly that inexpensive but well designed and tested speakers will just come alive with a good recording. Bad recordings are a good speakers worst enemy. Hard to believe a cheap JBL A 130 can sound as good as many are finding out. But, inexpensive speakers can out perform expensive speakers and do it all the time. There are true "Gems" out there and ASR helps us to find them. Thanks for the great recording. I enjoyed it!
 

abdo123

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I got a pair of these for my dad, and I have to say... I have contemplated selling my big selah towers and ls50 metas and just getting a pair of these for myself. They really are that good. Makes more expensive speakers seem unnecessary.

How would you compare the sound stage of the LS50 meta vs the Stage A130?

The A130 has a very tiny focused soundtage. Also do you think the coaxial design + sublime directivity makes much of a difference vs the A130?
 

theyellowspecial

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How would you compare the sound stage of the LS50 meta vs the Stage A130?

The A130 has a very tiny focused soundtage. Also do you think the coaxial design + sublime directivity makes much of a difference vs the A130?
LS50 OG felt small and compressed to me. A130 feels slightly larger, although smaller than Studio 530, mostly in vertical plain. Not sure if it's related to directivity. However, A130 feels bigger after EQng down midrange humps. Also, subwoofer makes a big difference.

IIRC there's a chart around somewhere showing frequency response affect on soundstage. I think a boost somewhere in the treble range can make soundstage seem larger vertically, for example.
 

More Dynamics Please

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The seemingly endless rave reviews for the A130 continue to raise the question of just how good the Stage A170/A180/190 towers might be using the same 1" aluminum dome tweeter and HDI waveguide. If performance of the larger Stage speakers compares to other towers the way the A130 compares to other bookshelves they would represent a major bargain, especially during one of JBL's frequent ~50% off sales. Of course any inherent pros and cons of towers vs. bookshelves would be expected to apply.
 

Geezerman

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I decided to try out the A130 ,A170 ,A125C, and A100P for a 5.1 surround. The A170 seem to have a lot of bass for their size. They are not large towers at all . Kind of a shame to use the A130 as rear surrounds though.

makes me wonder about the rave reviews of the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR. Amir measured them as not so great.
What's up with that? Are these unbiased reviews out there?
 

somebodyelse

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UK buyers no longer need to import these from elsewhere - Richer Sounds are now listing them as a 'hot new product' for £229, either direct or via Amazon.
 

Presently42

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The seemingly endless rave reviews for the A130 continue to raise the question of just how good the Stage A170/A180/190 towers might be using the same 1" aluminum dome tweeter and HDI waveguide. If performance of the larger Stage speakers compares to other towers the way the A130 compares to other bookshelves they would represent a major bargain, especially during one of JBL's frequent ~50% off sales. Of course any inherent pros and cons of towers vs. bookshelves would be expected to apply.
How I wish @amirm or @hardisj would measure any of the A170 A180 or A190!
 

Chromatischism

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I got a pair of these for my dad, and I have to say... I have contemplated selling my big selah towers and ls50 metas and just getting a pair of these for myself. They really are that good. Makes more expensive speakers seem unnecessary.
I'd like to see more people with $2k+ speakers try a pair of A130s in the same system and let us know what they think.
 

BrewsBrother

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I'd like to see more people with $2k+ speakers try a pair of A130s in the same system and let us know what they think.
Some history:

I wanted to get into streaming and settled on a Cambridge Audio CXN V2.

This got me thinking about my 20 year old B&W N804's and Bryston BP25 pre / 3BST maybe needing ferrofluid and caps checked or just selling them and getting a new system. So I started reading reviews and saw ASR's take on the JBL A130. Besides the measurements what really got my attention was the comment that the A130's sounded like Amir's Revels. I thought, no way, but was so curious that I bought a pair to see for myself thinking that I could always return them or use them in the garage.

I was stunned at how good they are! The soundstage also improved. I then got an SMSL DA9 and SVS SB1000 (from the outlet) and couldn't be happier with the sound as well as the bang for buck. Sold my old stuff.

After having fun with room placement I ended up stuffing the ports and blending in the sub to cover the lows. If you are on the fence about the A130's, I hope this will help.
 

Geezerman

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At what price does everyone consider the A130 to be a great deal? they are now 200.00 plus tax, free ship.
I'm sure everyone considers that a great deal. But how about 400.00?
 

abdo123

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Some history:

I wanted to get into streaming and settled on a Cambridge Audio CXN V2.

This got me thinking about my 20 year old B&W N804's and Bryston BP25 pre / 3BST maybe needing ferrofluid and caps checked or just selling them and getting a new system. So I started reading reviews and saw ASR's take on the JBL A130. Besides the measurements what really got my attention was the comment that the A130's sounded like Amir's Revels. I thought, no way, but was so curious that I bought a pair to see for myself thinking that I could always return them or use them in the garage.

I was stunned at how good they are! The soundstage also improved. I then got an SMSL DA9 and SVS SB1000 (from the outlet) and couldn't be happier with the sound as well as the bang for buck. Sold my old stuff.

After having fun with room placement I ended up stuffing the ports and blending in the sub to cover the lows. If you are on the fence about the A130's, I hope this will help.
once the ports are sealed this thing has insane headroom, what crossover frequencies are you using on the SVS sub? I found with near-field measurements that after sealing the ports the A130 has an accoustic BW 12db/oct at 100Hz.
 

theyellowspecial

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At what price does everyone consider the A130 to be a great deal? they are now 200.00 plus tax, free ship.
I'm sure everyone considers that a great deal. But how about 400.00?
Still better than most speakers under $1000, especially with EQ.

No reason not to wait for sales though, since JBL speakers are on sale more often than not.
 
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