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Linkwitz LX521 or JBL M2 ??

Manojrc

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Dear All,

The quest for better speaker is never ending. My current speakers ( A high sensitive, wideband driver based, with powered sub, speakers and another, conventional 3 way floor standers) are not SOTA. So I shortlisted two such systems:

1) Linkwitz LX521
2) JBL M2

I know the design philosophies of these systems are different, not to mention the cost./effort to build etc. But if you keep these factors aside, which is the end game system purely from the performance wise ( SQ, Imaging, Soundstage etc ) ? If anyone who tried both, please do share your listening impression. Unfortunateky, there's no way I could audition any of these. So it has to be a blind buy. My room size is 22 ft x 17 ft x 9 ft.

Thanks...
 
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Zvu

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From a practical perspective, i'd build JBL M2 first. If you don't like how it sounds, it will be a whole lot easier to sell and get your money back - unlike LX521.

For what it's worth, both present a pinnacle of their design concepts and are made to satisfy even most demanding users.
 

Jim Taylor

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Unfortunateky, there's no way I could audition any of these. So it has to be a blind buy.

My advice is to not do that. Your disappointment and financial loss are potentially too great.

I've heard the LX521 in a private home, and only for a few minutes. I hated it. It seemed excessively bright. Because I have hearing loss, I suspect the "brightness" was around 3-5KHz, but I am not sure. The owner had music on that I hated, and that probably had something to do with it. I also dislike dipoles in general, so that added fuel to the fire. I didn't know at the time that it was designed by Linkwitz, but I doubt that it would have made any difference.

I have not heard the M2. I have heard the JBL 4367, to which it is somewhat akin. Again, only in passing, on a demo floor. I like well-designed horn systems as much as I hate dipoles, and I loved the 4367.

I have no idea which amplifiers were used with either system. I wasn't interested.

I realize that I have only a small imagination, but I can't see anyone liking both of these speakers. They're too different. I think someone will love one and hate the other, or vice versa. I could be wrong, though .

Take these comments with a grain of salt, because of my obvious prejudices. Jim
 

jtwrace

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I've heard them both including the JBL 4367. First, there is no comparison between the 4367 and the M2 IMO. There's a reason I purchased the M2 over the simpler 4367. As for the LX, yeah it's good but just not on in the same league.
 

Jim Matthews

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The M2 is a signature product from a well known maker with a history of product support. The LX521 is complex, and will likely be built by someone else who may move on to other pursuits.

*****

FWIW - My prior system was much as you describe yours : Bastanis wideband driver with "helper" tweeter driven by Direct Heated triodes and a parallel pair of subwoofers.

I chose the excellent JBL 708p and built Bill Fitz Maurice Tuba "ht" subs to produce audio below 200 hZ.

Unless you already have an amp to drive the M2 - the 708p is a bargain.
It incorporates many of the M2 design elements in a less expensive package that can be easily moved.
 

Burning Sounds

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I haven't heard the M2, so can't comment on it. However, in general I'm not a fan of ported speakers.

I've owned LX521s for almost 7 years now and have no intention of looking any further. In terms of bass articulation, imaging and soundstage they are quite exceptional IMO. However, there are a couple of things you should know about the LX521 - you need a good sized room, you need to be able to have them a least 4ft from the front wall and 3 ft from the sidewalls and they need to be on a solid floor. Bright they are not and no more complex than any other active speaker. There's loads of support from experienced builders on the Linkwitz support forum.

But you do seem to have chosen two speakers that will likely sound quite different, so you might be taking quite a risk with either if you can't get to hear them first.
 

Absolute

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I have DIY versions of M2 in a very similarly sized room and I really like them. Even though I don't play loud or have the freedom to place them where they would perform at their best, I still like them better than Kii Three that have some qualities meant for difficult placement/room.
I would question the need for such large capacity speakers in a normal living room for sane use, but they sure make more sense than dipole speakers that need to be placed very far from walls to perform at their best.

Like you I bought the clones blind based on measurements and online forum posts, but it's really a stupid thing to do because my experience in my room won't mean anything for you in your room with your taste.

My listening impressions of the clones with original drivers and original M2-dsp settings from a Crown cdi 4/1200 is that the tweeter is a little bit too bright in such a small space. There was also a certain kind of harshness in the mids that I never quite could get rid of regardless of what I tweaked, so I ended up changing the compression driver (D2430k) to a 18sound ND4015 Beryllium instead. That sorted it right out.

I haven't had the pleasure of listening to factory M2's so I can't comment on whether or not my experience is relevant for those. If I could get some cheap factory boxes I would buy them and use my preferred amplification and dsp, but I wouldn't buy a complete factory set with amplifiers and all from new at those insane prices because the Crown stuff (I still use that btw) isn't suited for home usage. Too much hiss and needs cooling fan modification to quiet it down.
 
OP
Manojrc

Manojrc

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Any reason you dismissed the other brands usually mentioned here?
Such as? It could be because of cost, availability, lack of after sales support etc.
I’m mainly looking for speakers with external active cross over. Not keen in buying active speakers like KII or D&D.

Thanks everyone for your input. It’s interesting to see that the opinion varies but sounds like both these are great speakers in its own right and my mileage may vary in my listening room !!
 

Bugal1998

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Ah, yes... That will likely make any audition challenging. I was going to suggest looking for a local forum member for a demo, but I have no idea if that's an option in India.

I have a pair of JBL 708p and M2...

In my opinion, the M2 is in a different league compared to the 708 (which is also a wonderful speaker). Have never heard the linkwitz speakers, so I'm afraid I can't offer much help other than to say that I find the M2s natural response a bit bright, but it responds perfectly to EQ (which is built into the crown amps)... And once dialed in I've never find myself wondering what might sound better. The crown amps are noisy (I-tech 5000hd) and need to be isolated from the listening space, but I have zero complaints with sound quality. I plan to have the M2s for a long, long time.
 

Valentin R

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From Erins

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mdsimon2

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I think the active vs passive thing depends on how you look at it.

From a DIY perspective active with external amplifiers / DSP is way more flexible than passive and rather common.

From a commercial perspective there are very few active designs that utilize external amplifiers / DSP.

Put me in the camp that loves external amplifiers / DSP as you cannot beat the flexibility. There is definitely a good bit of investment that is required in terms of amplifiers / DSP but once you have that in place it is very easy to try out new designs.

Michael
 

dshreter

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Isn’t the other way around ? A passive XOver limits the options..,
I agree with that. But ruling out active speakers with DSP seems unnecessary though and rules out a lot of great designs from companies that make robust speakers (Genelec, Neumann). So I’m still curious why they need to be external.
 
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