JBL M2 listening impressions

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James Romeyn

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Re: JBL M2 listening impressions
« Reply #20 on: 11 May 2016, 09:37 pm »
"Big Fish Automation" is in Draper, Utah, 20 minutes S of Salt Lake City and about 90 minutes S of me in Providence, Utah. I had the rare pleasure to audition in BFA's large fully treated room, Revel's F206 (best Performa3 series, $5k/pr) and Revel's best speaker the Salon2 (low $30k/pr IIRC). A few yards away is their custom theater, estimate 40' x 25', tiered seating, w/JBL's spectacular M2 Master Reference Monitor ($20k/pr w/amps and DSP).  The sales person said a JBL rep calibrated the system.

F206 sounds more than agreeable, then comes the Salon2, with more ease, smoothness, and musical detail. Then there's the M2, which they display high-pass crossed @ 60 Hz w/dual 18" powered JBL subs (they could shut off the subs but the M2s were stuck crossed @ 60 Hz). 

Compared to the Salon2, M2 has infinitely greater density, power, and spatial performance. I'd rate the M2 among the world's best loudspeakers, and no known cone/dome system could withstand direct AB.  Certainly, by large margin the M2 crushed the more costly Salon2, no slouch by any metric.  I like certain aspects of the big and costly Magico line, mostly the big and dramatic quality from the mid bass through the low mid range (reminds me very much of the Duntech Sovereign 2001, another sealed system).  But above that range, same as all cone/dome systems, Magico lacks density and sounds like a caricature vs. the real thing and world class horns. 

The huge Sound Lab electrostatics have unique speed and spatial qualities, but overall I'd lean M2.  I once heard Wilson's $100k+ speakers setup well, awesome string tone w/vinyl, but I would predict the M2 would crush them (again, that lack of density from the mid range up).  Plus about $500k worth of gear drove the Wilsons!   


JoshK

Re: JBL M2 listening impressions
« Reply #21 on: 12 May 2016, 12:16 am »
Sorry Josh if I came across harshly, but JBL is making some really good professional monitors nowadays.  I had a friend's little $300/pair 2-way LSR305s for a week, most enjoyable near-field in my 8ft x 13ft x 21ft room.  Like the M2, the 305 reflect decades of quality monitors to support studio, mixing, and mastering work.  Don't take their absence in the western home audio scene as being time wasted.

No problem.   I wasn't sure what your tone was and I was a bit terse in my reply.   I am not holding myself up to be any golden ear, but I have heard a lot of gear and many well thought out systems.  I immediately thought something was funny, it was the curve, but the speakers still did a lot of things that wow'ed.   I just thought I'd share my experience given that JBL is typically not seriously considered on the US repertoire. 

gab

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Re: JBL M2 listening impressions
« Reply #22 on: 12 May 2016, 04:44 pm »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrpUDuUtxPM

Floyd Toole discusses the M2 about an hour into this presentation. Measurements about 1 hr 7 min. The whole presentation is well worth watching if you haven't seen it.

gab

cloudbaseracer

Re: JBL M2 listening impressions
« Reply #23 on: 2 Jun 2016, 02:44 pm »
I wonder how these compare to the Gedlee Abbey driven with quality (but not jewelry type) amplification?

Of course, JBL does not suggest multi subs so there would be some differences.  Interestingly in the Toole video he shows that the difference in the M2 in all of those rooms is the sub region and "The Room". 

Cheers,
James

JoshK

Re: JBL M2 listening impressions
« Reply #24 on: 2 Jun 2016, 03:12 pm »
Toole is a proponent of multiple subs as well but in a different arrange than Geddes. 

Russell Dawkins

Re: JBL M2 listening impressions
« Reply #25 on: 2 Jun 2016, 10:07 pm »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrpUDuUtxPM

Floyd Toole discusses the M2 about an hour into this presentation. Measurements about 1 hr 7 min. The whole presentation is well worth watching if you haven't seen it.

gab
It is good presentation, alright, and one that in a ideal world would not have to be made to a group of practicing sound engineers.

The lack of a quality reference speaker (and room), agreed upon globally, is a glaring and embarrassing oversight in the recording industry, particularly in N America, and has slowed the development of sound reproduction quality for the entire history of sound recording. The speaker and room need not be perfect—just very good. At least, in Europe, 'Hi-Fi' is actually defined by a DIN standard (DIN EN 61305-5), or was attempted.
Ironically, the worst offenders in this regard were some of the JBLs that were used as monitors in the USA. Their boomy tendencies led to recordings that sounded great on JBL home speakers (which were also boomy) but bass-thin on truly accurate speakers. At the same time, recordings mastered in England sounded too fat on JBLs.
The same applies to home 'hi-fi'. The only application of a standard in my experience was in the English press. It was either HiFi News or Gramophone (maybe both) who for some period from around 1970 to 1985 would make reference to a comparison of the speaker under review to the Quad ESL 57 which, though not perfect, served as a reference for comparison since most readers had heard them.

Wind Chaser

Re: JBL M2 listening impressions
« Reply #26 on: 3 Jun 2016, 01:03 am »
The lack of a quality reference speaker (and room), agreed upon globally, is a glaring and embarrassing oversight in the recording industry, particularly in N America, and has slowed the development of sound reproduction quality for the entire history of sound recording. The speaker and room need not be perfect—just very good. At least, in Europe, 'Hi-Fi' is actually defined by a DIN standard (DIN EN 61305-5), or was attempted.

Interesting. Might that be an opportunity?

JLM

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Re: JBL M2 listening impressions
« Reply #27 on: 3 Jun 2016, 09:30 pm »
Note that he promoted the concept of frequency response (EQ/DSP) tweaked active speakers.

Some companies, like Equator do that already (with coaxial designs).

Russell Dawkins

Re: JBL M2 listening impressions
« Reply #28 on: 3 Jun 2016, 09:50 pm »
Note that he promoted the concept of frequency response (EQ/DSP) tweaked active speakers.

Some companies, like Equator do that already (with coaxial designs).

Some of my favorite speakers also do this—the Presonus Sceptre 8 and the KS Digital D-606 for two, both using FIR DSP which seems to be the way to go (FIR, that is—finite impulse response).

I was also interested in how important Dr. Toole thought evenness of off-axis response was, also the thing about our increased sensitivity to amplitude anomalies in the bass range as opposed to the mid range, where ±10dB was subjectively a doubling or halving of levels, vs. 3 or 4dB in the bass range for the same subjective effect. That really surprised me and underlines the importance of getting the bass right for subjective accuracy. Feeds in to the enthusiastic response to the swarm concept. Toole, in a lecture I attended a few years ago, recommended 3 or 4 subs as the easiest way to achieve this, but didn't mention the thing about mids vs. bass range, or I didn't notice it if he did.

JLM

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Re: JBL M2 listening impressions
« Reply #29 on: 3 Jun 2016, 10:15 pm »
Toole's book, "Sound Reproduction" covers multiple subs, etc.  Good reference to have.

Doublej

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Re: JBL M2 listening impressions
« Reply #30 on: 3 Jun 2016, 11:02 pm »
Has anyone heard the Infinity IL60 that Toole mentions in the comments below the video? If so what did you think of them?

JeffB

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Re: JBL M2 listening impressions
« Reply #31 on: 3 Jun 2016, 11:17 pm »
I recently discovered z reviews on youtube.
He mainly reviews very budget speakers.

You might find the review of the JBL Studio 530 interesting.
review:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAJavBmoAaQ
sound demo:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlQrdSAp_LQ

There is also a review and sound demo of the JBL 590 by z review.


Zero

Re: JBL M2 listening impressions
« Reply #32 on: 3 Jun 2016, 11:22 pm »
I've had a couple Toole products float through my doors.   In fact, I currently have a set of Kappa 600's sitting around.  They sound....well, like something that was voiced more by graphs and charts than the human ear.  That's all I'll say about that..    :)

As for those big ole JBL's...    they can sound very good when setup right.   :thumb:

JLM

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Re: JBL M2 listening impressions
« Reply #33 on: 3 Jun 2016, 11:36 pm »
Took a short listen of the JBL Everest speakers at Axpona a few weeks ago.  Not greatly impressed, even with lots of meaty gear fronting them in a big room. 

Russell Dawkins

Re: JBL M2 listening impressions
« Reply #34 on: 3 Jun 2016, 11:55 pm »
Those Infinity's may not be available any more, but the Infinity Primus 363s are (just—it appears they are out of production, but still can be found), and they are frequently mentioned as an outstanding bargain by Robert E Greene. Here's his review for The Absolute Sound:
http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/infinity-primus-p363-loudspeaker/

I see them going for around $190 a piece. If you search Google, use the term Infinity Primus without the numbers; then they show as available, whereas if you use the numbers they are 'no longer available'!

I recommended the JBL Studio 530s to a mixing engineer friend and he was so ecstatic he left me a voice mail message with a profanity ("f***ing unbelievable") which is very unlike him. Apparently the floorstander version with the dual 6.5" woofer is the designer's favorite (Greg Timbers, recently fired by Harman after designing many brilliant speakers, including the M2). They are more than double the price, though.

Rocket_Ronny

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Re: JBL M2 listening impressions
« Reply #35 on: 4 Jun 2016, 01:17 am »
Russell, your post raises a whole bunch of questions.

-How close do the JBL 530s come to the Presonus Sceptre's within their frequency response.

-Any idea how close the JBL 580s (6-1/2" towers) come to the M2s and are the 580s his favorite in the Studio series or out of all his speaker designs for JBL?

-Any idea why Greg Timbers was let go and why JBL dropped the Studio line?

Ball is in your court.

Have to say I would love to try some M2s.

Rocket Ronny

Russell Dawkins

Re: JBL M2 listening impressions
« Reply #36 on: 4 Jun 2016, 02:20 am »
I would say the Sceptres win easily, if only because they are powered and coaxial. I trust their tonality, too. The top end of the JBLs might be the tiniest bit more refined, but I'd have to hear them side by side to be sure; never had the chance.

The 570s were his favorites out of that series—the dual 5.5" woofer version, not the 6.5" 580

I don't know why Greg was let go. They let a few of the older (but very skilled) designers go. Maybe they were too expensive to keep; no idea. I know that some figure that JBL is done as far as truly high end product like the M2. Time will tell.

I would think the 580 and the m2s would not be in the same universe—galaxy, even! Apparently the smaller brother 708i is fabulous, using the same waveguide design as the M2. I've heard the still smaller 705i described as congested sounding compared to the 708. Still, both will play ridiculously clean and loud for their size. The M2, 705i and 708i all use very special drivers.
I would like to hear the M2s against the Ocean Way HR4s at less than half the price. The HR4s look like insane value. $6,000 USD for the mid/high box (flat to 35Hz, so can be used without sub) or $8,900 for the full monty with subs. Also a different world from consumer hi-fi:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LupQwo6yE68

OzarkTom

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Re: JBL M2 listening impressions
« Reply #37 on: 4 Jun 2016, 03:01 am »
If the M2's are anything like the Duntech Sovereign, I would love to hear them. I sold a pair of the Sovereign's to Tyson Foods back in the 80's. With a Levinson amp and pre in a huge room, best I have ever heard.  But a friend had the same system in his basement and it was baaad sounding, one of the worst.

That taught me a room can be the most important part of your system.

M2's might work better in a smaller room.

Rocket_Ronny

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Re: JBL M2 listening impressions
« Reply #38 on: 4 Jun 2016, 03:27 am »
It looked to me that the JBL studio line was using the same corrugated type woofer as the M2, so I thought it being a trickle down design. If so, how close would it be. I know the tweeter is different.

I saw the Ocean Ways a while back. For a studio the M4s would be great but I would lean towards their other speakers for home, if for nothing else to choose the amp to use. I know AVShowrooms was knocked out by the Ocean Way's Sausalito at a show, with it's punchy, alive, sound.

Rocket Ronny

Russell Dawkins

Re: JBL M2 listening impressions
« Reply #39 on: 4 Jun 2016, 04:15 am »
It looked to me that the JBL studio line was using the same corrugated type woofer as the M2, so I thought it being a trickle down design. If so, how close would it be. I know the tweeter is different.
Rocket Ronny
Yes the tweeter is very different. They call the one in the Studio 530 a dome, but the one in the 705/8 a compression driver, for a start.
As for the woofers, the one in the 708 looks like this:


whereas the one in the 530 looks like this:



which looks like the same woof they use in a number of other speakers in their line, notably the various in-walls and ceiling mounts like this (note the different basket and magnet structure:





The M2 woofs look like different animals, again:


and