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JBL Studio 590 Speaker Review

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 17 5.9%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 87 30.0%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 151 52.1%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 35 12.1%

  • Total voters
    290

Robbo99999

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Yes, i think it’s a must to have the replacement plastic panel in place when measuring. At the very least to know if it does affect measurements and if so how.

Indeed, I really think these studio lines speakers should be measured with the grill cloth covers on in place AND with them removed but the replacement waveguide piece on. Or at least it would be good to be able to know if it matters. and how it does.

Because the grill covers seems pretty integral in this case. They include not only lower Part of the tweeter wave guide, but also a frame for the covers that (at least on the 530) change the mid woofer’s surround geometry.

Both aspects could measurements of each driver and interaction between the drivers I suppose.

The tweeter and woofer are relatively far apart on this design, so the the way they interact may be rather dependent on the geometry of both woofer and tweeter AND the materials used (a piece of plastic anchored to an mdf frame may be different than plastic stuck into plastic.


On my little studio 530s, the frame for the woofer grill cloth is pretty chunky . the mid woofer diver is deeply recessed into what is a quasi wave guide With the cover in place, that shape is different than without. That could in turn alter not only the woofer characteristics but also how the woofer and tweeter interact. And even that the little plastic waveguide replacement could be different than the plastic waveguide integrated into the mdf woofer grill cloth frame.

the studio 530s seem designed to be used with the grill cloth in place both aesthetically and acoustically.
I agree that it should be remeasured with the replacement waveguide piece attached if we're gonna measure it without the grill cover. Came to that conclusion already when I was discussing it with ROOSKIE earlier.
 

Robbo99999

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For those of you asking for a remeasure, with the help of my poor wife, we hauled the stupid thing back onto Klippel NFS. It just started measuring. Heaven help you all if the difference is small!! :eek:
That's very good of you!
 

Robbo99999

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Measurements finished. As I suspected, no meaningful difference:

index.php
Ah, I thought you were going to measure it with grill off and the replacement panel in place (dummy panel)? Or can we expect that the grill will produce the same effect as using it grill off but with dummy panel included?
 

Buckster

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Surprised this model seems to measure quite a bit worse than the much cheaper A130 especially at higher dB I'd have expected the other way round considering the compression driver etc
 

computer-audiophile

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For those of you asking for a remeasure, with the help of my poor wife, we hauled the stupid thing back onto Klippel NFS. It just started measuring. Heaven help you all if the difference is small!! :eek:
Must I now have a guilty conscience because I mentioned the missing part on the photo? Sorry for the additional effort.

Ok, I'll stay longer on the subject now, because I'm curious. I was just about to leave the thread, because I had the impression that here once again by 'experts' an above-average speaker is talked to pieces. I do not have to do that to myself. ;)
 

Lopsided

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Measurements finished. As I suspected, no meaningful difference:

index.php
Thank you massively Amir! Don’t forget to upload the new spin file for @pierre to compute :D Recent spins you make aligns the tweeter nearly always at the dead center so +10, +20 and -10, -20 etc curves almost overlay perfectly to 20kHz, while in some early reviews the measuring point would usually be 5-10 degrees off axis in the horizontal plane, sometimes also in the vertical, worst cases being the XPL90 and IL10. :cool: Keep up the good works! These data can and should be polished to perfection for posterity!
 
Last edited:
OP
amirm

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Ah, I thought you were going to measure it with grill off and the replacement panel in place (dummy panel)? Or can we expect that the grill will produce the same effect as using it grill off but with dummy panel included?
Same effect as the woofer didn't change anyway.
 

computer-audiophile

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Measurements finished. As I suspected, no meaningful difference:
Thank you, I am glad that this could be clarified now.

Now we would have to perform a hearing test shootout to see if it changes anything in the sound. :);) (I am joking)

However, I mount the accessory part for optical reasons alone, so that the horn looks neat. With me, by the way, it sits nice and tight and snaps in without gaps.
 

isostasy

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I came to point out the wonderful example of the concave-convex, or 'mountain or valley' illusion @amirm provided us in his picture of the speaker.

It doesn't matter how much I look at it, it always looks like the tweeter waveguide is coming out at me! (edit: I rotated it a few times and it finally clicked)

Maybe this is the real distortion we should be concerned with ...

Minute physics has a video on this. 2:10 is almost exactly what is going on here I think!
 

YSC

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This is a review, listening test and detailed measurements of the JBL Studio 590. I bought a pair last year on sale for US $800 but costs $999.95 each currently.
View attachment 306637
This is a hefty speaker that even comes with (vibration absorbing) outriggers. I should definitely file for hazard pay for lifting it 5 feet on the platform to measure it with Klippel NFS and then dragging it to our living room to listen to! :) I have taken off the grill which unfortunately has plastic tabs rather than being magnetic. I don't have a picture of the backside but there are two oversized ports there.

Here are the company specs:

General Specifications​

Type2-1/2-way dual-woofer, floorstanding
Finish Black

Audio Specifications​

Nominal Impedance 6 ohms
Crossover Frequencies1.5kHz
Sensitivity(2.83V@1m) 92dB
Frequency Response 35Hz-40kHz

Dimensions​

Width (in)12-11/16
Weight (lb) 69.5
Width (mm) 322
Depth (in) 16-1/4
Weight (kg)31.5
Depth (mm) 413
Height (mm) 1263
Height (in) 49-3/4

NOTE: our company, Madrona Digital, carries Harman products (parent of JBL) in custom system integration for residential and commercial applications. We don't have access to this consumer line but even if we did, it is not something we sell. But go ahead and read any level of bias you like in my subjective assessments.

JBL Studio 590 Tower Speaker Measurements
I measured the speaker as you see above without its grill. Acoustic center is the tweeter (although near-field id drops to just above the top woofer). Let's look at its anechoic frequency responses:
View attachment 306638
Depending how good your glasses are, you will walk away with a different view. Pull back, the response is more or less flat on axis is what we want. Zoom in though and the are a lot of fine variations which we tend to see in 2.5 way speakers as so many elements play together. Sensitivity depends on how you average the graph. I say it is closer to 90 dB than advertised 92 dB.

EDIT: it was pointed out that the there is a dummy panel you are supposed to put in place of the grill on the bottom of the tweeter waveguide. I had not done that so I remeasured the speaker again, this time with the full grill on:

View attachment 306844

As we see there is no difference. This is due to the tweeter not being covered in either case. And the dummy panel won't be doing much due to asymmetry only having a minor effect at very high frequencies.

Directivity is good resulting in rather predictable early reflections:
View attachment 306639

Combining the two, we see a pretty reasonable predicted in-room frequency response:
View attachment 306640

Here is our near-field driver and port measurements:
View attachment 306647

There is a lot going on here with a lot of resonances. In some sense designers did a good job of keeping this wilder party under control.


Looking at the horizontal axis, we again see good beam width and directivity control:
View attachment 306641
View attachment 306642

Vertically it is less optimal as many speakers are so stay at tweeter axis:
View attachment 306643

Dual drivers translates into very low bass distortion but alas, there are some issues up higher:
View attachment 306645

We can ignore the narrow resonance but I am worried about that distortion around 1 to 3 kHz. So I pulled up the distortion for individual drivers and it seems both tweeter and woofers are contributing to it:
View attachment 306646

Absolute distortion level is less informative but it shows similar good and bad news:
View attachment 306648

Impedance at 5 ohm while less than company spec, is still a full ohm higher and hence easier to drive than many speakers:
View attachment 306650

Waterfall shows a ton of resonances:
View attachment 306649
Finally here is the step response:
View attachment 306651

JBL Studio 590 Listening Tests
As soon as I started to play music, I had to step and take notice as if there was a voice saying, "hey bud, I am a big boy speaker!" I have talked in the past about how tower speakers project an image that is impressively large and not replicable with smaller bookshelf speakers. They do this by being tall but also with playing deep with authority. Such was the case with the 590 which handled my tracks with sub-bass (I call them speaker killers) with no discernable distortion. The level was a bit low but that was it.

Seeing the elevated treble in on-axis response I expected the speaker to be bit bright. Whether it was due to my ears being somewhat plugged due to allergies, existence of deep bass or both, I did not detect any sign of it being bright. It seemed balanced. It is more difficult for me to assess speakers in our living room but I thought the midrange and highs were unimpressive. Not bad. Or anything I could put my finger on. I just didn't enjoy all of my tracks as I do with very performant speakers. Again, keep all the caveats in mind as you read my subjective impressions.

I thought about applying EQ but I didn't know what and how much. Speaker wasn't bright so made no sense to shelve the highs down. And the variations in frequency response were so fine as to be silly to apply filters to it. If I were less lazy, I would create some narrow filters to counteract the resonances to see if it improves clarity.

Conclusions
There are two different speakers to analyze here: one that costs only $400 each as I bought it vs normal cost of $1,000. At $400, they are incredibly good. They are powerful, with even tonality and bass response that blows away any bookshelf speaker you would buy for $400. At $1000 each, I think there is some pause due to design issues here and there from many resonances to distortion. It would have been great to have perfect execution for $400 each but there is a reason the Revel line exists. Finer execution exists and naturally will cost you.

I like to remind you again of the joy of having a tower speaker. They take up no more space than a bookshelf and are far more stable than that on a stand. Meanwhile they are more sensitive and routinely player lower which is very important for music enjoyment.

I am going to put the JBL Studio 590 on my recommended list when on sale.

----------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome. Click here if you have some audio gear you want me to test.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
somehow I think shelve down the highs a bit would be beneficial, I did that to my friend's T5V and it makes great results, and the T5V originally subjectively isn't bright to start with
 

Billy Budapest

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Measurements finished. As I suspected, no meaningful difference:

index.php
Why in the world would JBL make such a big deal about installing the panel onto the horn/waveguide if it doesn’t do anything? Cosmetics only? It *might* reduce output a smidge in the 8kHz-16kHz treble range, but it’s just a tiny bit, and probably not audible anyway.
 
Last edited:

natna

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The models that are currently sold in my country (GR) are studio 698 , studio 680 and studio 690.
None of them has the same long upright tweeter horn...
 

raysay

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Apr 17, 2021
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This is a review, listening test and detailed measurements of the JBL Studio 590. I bought a pair last year on sale for US $800 but costs $999.95 each currently.
View attachment 306637
This is a hefty speaker that even comes with (vibration absorbing) outriggers. I should definitely file for hazard pay for lifting it 5 feet on the platform to measure it with Klippel NFS and then dragging it to our living room to listen to! :) I have taken off the grill which unfortunately has plastic tabs rather than being magnetic. I don't have a picture of the backside but there are two oversized ports there.

Here are the company specs:

General Specifications​

Type2-1/2-way dual-woofer, floorstanding
Finish Black

Audio Specifications​

Nominal Impedance 6 ohms
Crossover Frequencies1.5kHz
Sensitivity(2.83V@1m) 92dB
Frequency Response 35Hz-40kHz

Dimensions​

Width (in)12-11/16
Weight (lb) 69.5
Width (mm) 322
Depth (in) 16-1/4
Weight (kg)31.5
Depth (mm) 413
Height (mm) 1263
Height (in) 49-3/4

NOTE: our company, Madrona Digital, carries Harman products (parent of JBL) in custom system integration for residential and commercial applications. We don't have access to this consumer line but even if we did, it is not something we sell. But go ahead and read any level of bias you like in my subjective assessments.

JBL Studio 590 Tower Speaker Measurements
I measured the speaker as you see above without its grill. Acoustic center is the tweeter (although near-field id drops to just above the top woofer). Let's look at its anechoic frequency responses:
View attachment 306638
Depending how good your glasses are, you will walk away with a different view. Pull back, the response is more or less flat on axis is what we want. Zoom in though and the are a lot of fine variations which we tend to see in 2.5 way speakers as so many elements play together. Sensitivity depends on how you average the graph. I say it is closer to 90 dB than advertised 92 dB.

EDIT: it was pointed out that the there is a dummy panel you are supposed to put in place of the grill on the bottom of the tweeter waveguide. I had not done that so I remeasured the speaker again, this time with the full grill on:

View attachment 306844

As we see there is no difference. This is due to the tweeter not being covered in either case. And the dummy panel won't be doing much due to asymmetry only having a minor effect at very high frequencies.

Directivity is good resulting in rather predictable early reflections:
View attachment 306639

Combining the two, we see a pretty reasonable predicted in-room frequency response:
View attachment 306640

Here is our near-field driver and port measurements:
View attachment 306647

There is a lot going on here with a lot of resonances. In some sense designers did a good job of keeping this wilder party under control.


Looking at the horizontal axis, we again see good beam width and directivity control:
View attachment 306641
View attachment 306642

Vertically it is less optimal as many speakers are so stay at tweeter axis:
View attachment 306643

Dual drivers translates into very low bass distortion but alas, there are some issues up higher:
View attachment 306645

We can ignore the narrow resonance but I am worried about that distortion around 1 to 3 kHz. So I pulled up the distortion for individual drivers and it seems both tweeter and woofers are contributing to it:
View attachment 306646

Absolute distortion level is less informative but it shows similar good and bad news:
View attachment 306648

Impedance at 5 ohm while less than company spec, is still a full ohm higher and hence easier to drive than many speakers:
View attachment 306650

Waterfall shows a ton of resonances:
View attachment 306649
Finally here is the step response:
View attachment 306651

JBL Studio 590 Listening Tests
As soon as I started to play music, I had to step and take notice as if there was a voice saying, "hey bud, I am a big boy speaker!" I have talked in the past about how tower speakers project an image that is impressively large and not replicable with smaller bookshelf speakers. They do this by being tall but also with playing deep with authority. Such was the case with the 590 which handled my tracks with sub-bass (I call them speaker killers) with no discernable distortion. The level was a bit low but that was it.

Seeing the elevated treble in on-axis response I expected the speaker to be bit bright. Whether it was due to my ears being somewhat plugged due to allergies, existence of deep bass or both, I did not detect any sign of it being bright. It seemed balanced. It is more difficult for me to assess speakers in our living room but I thought the midrange and highs were unimpressive. Not bad. Or anything I could put my finger on. I just didn't enjoy all of my tracks as I do with very performant speakers. Again, keep all the caveats in mind as you read my subjective impressions.

I thought about applying EQ but I didn't know what and how much. Speaker wasn't bright so made no sense to shelve the highs down. And the variations in frequency response were so fine as to be silly to apply filters to it. If I were less lazy, I would create some narrow filters to counteract the resonances to see if it improves clarity.

Conclusions
There are two different speakers to analyze here: one that costs only $400 each as I bought it vs normal cost of $1,000. At $400, they are incredibly good. They are powerful, with even tonality and bass response that blows away any bookshelf speaker you would buy for $400. At $1000 each, I think there is some pause due to design issues here and there from many resonances to distortion. It would have been great to have perfect execution for $400 each but there is a reason the Revel line exists. Finer execution exists and naturally will cost you.

I like to remind you again of the joy of having a tower speaker. They take up no more space than a bookshelf and are far more stable than that on a stand. Meanwhile they are more sensitive and routinely player lower which is very important for music enjoyment.

I am going to put the JBL Studio 590 on my recommended list when on sale.

----------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome. Click here if you have some audio gear you want me to test.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
Where do I find your recommended list of gears...??
 

TonyJZX

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The models that are currently sold in my country (GR) are studio 698 , studio 680 and studio 690.
None of them has the same long upright tweeter horn...
the 590 is a 10yr old design

here's what it looks like where i am

JBL Studio 680 Floorstanding Speakers $3,299.00
JBL Studio 690 Floorstanding Speakers $3,699.00
JBL Studio 698 Floorstanding Speakers $3,999.00
 

Robh3606

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I like my pair just fine. Why all the hand ringing over THD measurements?? Easy to measure but not meaningful especially 2nd.

Rob :)

 
OP
amirm

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@amirm many thanks for the double effort.

(I think you must start thinking getting one of these) :


My pleasure. I have a manual version without which, I could not remotely manage to do all of this even with my wife's help. The challenge is no longer lifting the speaker but then moving it onto the stand (and off when finished). This speaker was a pain in that it has sticky rubber feet so it doesn't want to slide. You have to literally lift it while it is 5 foot up in space! At any moment you feel like it could topple and not only destroy itself but hurt someone. Luckily it is just light enough to allow one to do this. It was a different matter with 100+ pound products that also cost a fortune as well.

Originally I had thought of a hoist that hangs from the ceiling but I worry about how to secure a speaker with ropes and such without damaging it.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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Why in the world would JBL make such a big deal about installing the panel onto the horn/waveguide if it doesn’t do anything? Cosmetics only?
I think so. When something is symmetrical on three sides, the forth one stands out.
 
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