My Harman (JBL M2) Trip

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jtwrace

My Harman (JBL M2) Trip
« on: 15 Apr 2017, 01:52 pm »
That's right.  We've ("goskers" and I) been eyeing the JBL M2 Master Reference Monitors and thought the best way to hear them and see what's behind them is to take a trip to Northridge, CA to see the whole process.  We were met by the Director of Engineering, Business Development Manager and the WG designer.  They took on us a tour of the whole JBL Pro facility which included, R&D, Testing, Demo and various other departments.  All I can say is that this is what I wanted to see and thus now own a pair of JBL M2 Master Reference Speakers. They should arrive within two weeks.  Below are some pics that I'm allowed to show publicly.  Sorry, the others aren't for public consumption. 


  
Welcome to Harman!


 

SUB18 and JBL M2 (Sub was not playing in audition)


 
Every component and every assembly goes through a rigorous 100 hr test at full output power. 


 
The history of JBL drivers and why they changed! 

Nick77

Re: My Harman (JBL M2) Trip
« Reply #1 on: 15 Apr 2017, 02:14 pm »
Wow! Congrats, those look awesome.   :thumb:

What about your new X1?

jtwrace

Re: My Harman (JBL M2) Trip
« Reply #2 on: 15 Apr 2017, 02:21 pm »
Wow! Congrats, those look awesome.   :thumb:

What about your new X1?
JBL M2 will be my only pair of speakers. 

Letitroll98

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Re: My Harman (JBL M2) Trip
« Reply #3 on: 15 Apr 2017, 02:37 pm »
Now that's the way to buy speakers.  Congrats.

JoshK

Re: My Harman (JBL M2) Trip
« Reply #4 on: 15 Apr 2017, 03:16 pm »
Congrats guys, you are going to love them.   I've been living with mine for 5 months and they are the first pair of speakers that I can't possibly imagine they could sound any better and I just enjoy on a daily basis.   Now focus all your nervosa towards the room (via eq or treatments) even though they make even a bad room sound tolerable.

Hint:  if you use any room eq, make sure it doesn't eq anything above Schroeder which is ~150-200hz.   JBL probably also told you the same.

richidoo

Re: My Harman (JBL M2) Trip
« Reply #5 on: 15 Apr 2017, 03:22 pm »
Hey, great news! Congrats Jason!

Can't wait to hear them.  :drool:

Let me know if you need setup help, etc.

zybar

Re: My Harman (JBL M2) Trip
« Reply #6 on: 15 Apr 2017, 03:31 pm »
Congrats Jason.

What will you be using for amplification?

George

jtwrace

Re: My Harman (JBL M2) Trip
« Reply #7 on: 15 Apr 2017, 03:36 pm »
Congrats Jason.

What will you be using for amplification?

George
Crown DCi 4 1250

David C

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Re: My Harman (JBL M2) Trip
« Reply #8 on: 15 Apr 2017, 05:30 pm »
Very jealous! Enjoy let us know how they sound in your set up

AFRF

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Re: My Harman (JBL M2) Trip
« Reply #9 on: 15 Apr 2017, 05:47 pm »
Wow, very cool!

I've seen and heard my fair share of JBL line arrays up in the cats and on the ground during rehearsals at live events, also in those terrible, terrible listening rooms at tradeshows where they crank things up to eleven (terrible for me, not fond of loudness), but I in my ignorance did not even know they made anything other than sound reinforcement products, PAs, line array elements, etc. I have spoken with a few JBL employees and have much respect for their work - both engineering, and business model for maintaining and gaining market share in the over-saturated linearray/reinforcement market! Seems every year two or three engineers retire and start their own speaker cos without concern for profitability, as well as new generic entrants from China, Taiwan, Singapore, SK. (I won't disparage these. Some of them sound OK. Not near JBL or Martin grade, but ~60%-70% of the performance at 1/2 or 1/4 the cost gets mighty tempting for many small to mid size venues and touring cos/bands) 

Awesome shot of the cross sections of old and new drivers, too. Side note, I always wonder if the machining and un/reassembly of cross section product demos is something assigned to an intern, or, if the company is large enough, there is some sort of "Marketing Machinist" position, or if it's something the engineers due for fun and pride. (I bet the latter). Does anyone know?

I've been living with mine for 5 months and they are the first pair of speakers that I can't possibly imagine they could sound any better and I just enjoy on a daily basis.  they make even a bad room sound tolerable.

That's why I avoid speakers that are designed to be "reference" or "monitor" speakers. The quotations here are not meant to be sarcastic. Clearly there is a critical need for speakers designed for those applications, and I've had my mind blown in a few recording studios. But my listening environment is my living environment. I have yet to find a way to integrate diffusion or absorption panels or bass traps into a room without compromising the room's visual aesthetics. The one exception might be flat or ribbed lacquered reflection/diffusion panels made of wood - though I haven't tried.

Thanks for sharing your trip! All signs point to a great investment.

AFRF

Tomy2Tone

Re: My Harman (JBL M2) Trip
« Reply #10 on: 15 Apr 2017, 06:02 pm »

  All I can say is that this is what I wanted to see and thus now own a pair of JBL M2 Master Reference Speakers. . 


Can you expound on this for just a bit more? Just curious what made you jump ship from the Spatial X1 to the JBL M2.

goskers

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Re: My Harman (JBL M2) Trip
« Reply #11 on: 15 Apr 2017, 06:09 pm »
Just got back from Harman with jtwrace.  The purpose of the trip was to listen to the M2 loudspeakers and get a chance to see how the company operates.  Harman is the parent company of JBL.  The M2 was developed under the JBL Professional division with the hopes of providing a neutral reference monitor for use in studios and post production work for both the music and film industry. 

The capability that Harman has in house is exactly what is needed to engineer, develop and produce everything needed to attain their goals.  There are two developments in the M2 design which I would consider game changers.  The D2 compression driver uses an donut shaped annular diaphragm.  The standard compression driver which has been largely unchanged for 75 years utilizes a dome diaphragm.  The annular diaphragm has much better structural integrity than a dome type shape.  The only downside is the reduction of surface area and thus output.  The solution was to use two diaphragms which then combine into one device for output.  There are exploded diagrams out there if anyone wants to see the pictorial difference.

The second biggie is the waveguide technology.  I think that controlled directivity is a must in a great set of speakers.  The big difference in the Image Control Waveguide used in the M2 is that reflections produced by the device are minimized in size but not in quantity.  Other designs minimize the quantity of reflections but the size and shape of the waveguide profile can produce a few larger diffraction artifacts as a result.  The deep math and modeling are beyond me but a long session with the M2 left no listening fatigue which can be a good tell tale sign with a waveguide based design.

We listened to various designs in a pretty basic room. It was obvious that this was more of an engineering based test room versus a built out listening room to wow potential customers.  The M2 lived up to my expectations which were incredibly high.  If one is a data forward buyer then the M2 published specs are impressive.  The way with which the M2 was conceptualized and produced trumps that. 

Perhaps even more astounding was the other players in the speaker lineup.  The M2 is the reference and first design to utilize the new waveguide and annular diaphragm compression driver for this type of application.  These pieces have now trickled down into different models.  The 705i, 708i and 305P were all setup next to the M2.  With some software and a switcher we were able to toggle between all four of the models. Although not level matched, nor blind, it was difficult at times to tell one from another.  The family resemblance is remarkable considering the price difference. 

Overall, a great day.  Very pleased we made the trip.  And now the waiting for some big boxes to arrive begins...

jtwrace

Re: My Harman (JBL M2) Trip
« Reply #12 on: 15 Apr 2017, 06:09 pm »
Can you expound on this for just a bit more? Just curious what made you jump ship from the Spatial X1 to the JBL M2.
The JBL M2 fits my requirements and it's as simple as that. 

OzarkTom

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Re: My Harman (JBL M2) Trip
« Reply #13 on: 15 Apr 2017, 06:17 pm »
Harman is a 5 billion dollar a year company, so they can build almost anything. :thumb:

Congrats guys.

Freo-1

Re: My Harman (JBL M2) Trip
« Reply #14 on: 15 Apr 2017, 08:28 pm »
The JBL M2 fits my requirements and it's as simple as that.


How could they not? 


Outstanding set of speakers you have there. 

witchdoctor

Re: My Harman (JBL M2) Trip
« Reply #15 on: 15 Apr 2017, 08:46 pm »
What a great post, going to Harman JBL facilities and then bringing back their best speakers. I got my JBL Studio 230's (using tricle down tech from the M2) delivered to my door step with a 30 day audition. All I can say is I have no desire to change anything...ever. Is their better SQ out there? Sure, but why fiddle with a great thing? I have mine paired with a Sunfire TG3 preamp and Carver AV 505 amp.




witchdoctor

Re: My Harman (JBL M2) Trip
« Reply #16 on: 15 Apr 2017, 08:48 pm »
One more thing, those speakers will be VERY transparent to any gear upstream. Have fun :D

poseidonsvoice

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Re: My Harman (JBL M2) Trip
« Reply #17 on: 15 Apr 2017, 10:25 pm »
Perfect!  :green:

I'm officially jealous!

New eargasms for 2017 given the M2 + Funk combo!


Best,
Anand.

AFRF

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Re: My Harman (JBL M2) Trip
« Reply #18 on: 16 Apr 2017, 03:17 am »
Harman is a 5 billion dollar a year company, so they can build almost anything. :thumb:

Well, not trying to pop any balloons, but 1) Harman is the parent company of JBL 2) we're talking $5-7 billion in revenue, which is a thin and sometimes misleading measure of success, and $7 billion puts Harman in the lower mid distribution of public companies. "Mid-caps." Several tens or even hundreds of Harmans could fit inside just one Large-cap liiiike say for example, even though I'm not sure if South Korean companies qualify for Wall Street categories, Samsung. Oh, and, 3) as of last month, Harman was bought by Samsung Electronics and is now a subsidiary of Samsung.

In that order.

1) Harman is the parent company of JBL:
I said earlier that I have respect for JBL, and I do. Harman on the other hand, I have a harder time justifying respect for. They don't really have a core business. They just go around buying other businesses in the A/V industry which have good brands and are reasonably profitable, then take a slice off the top, and send in a team of analysts and consultants every once in a while to restructure and do some layoffs. Not saying there isn't skill involved. Clearly there is skill in managing other businesses and staying in business yourself, and it sure paid off for them (the small number of stakeholders who own a company which owns other companies) didn't it?

2) we're talking $5-7 billion in revenue, which is a thin and sometimes misleading measure of success
And we're talking ALL of Harman's holdings combined. I do not know what JBLs contribution to that number is, but it probably isn't huge. Because their products sound good and are well made, it's possible they might not be all that profitable either. But I have no evidence to support this. You definitely can make well engineered professional products and be very profitable, especially in the defense and aeronautics industries. Also, from what I know all of Harman's children are given significant autonomy. JBL remains JBL, with a few asterisks, and access to capital from Harman's coffers if it is required. Same goes for all their other brands. IMO Harman, let alone JBL, does not hold a candle to the elephants, like Yamaha. Now there is a company that can afford to put absurd amounts into R&D into a new product, and does. That's actually what makes JBL quite impressive, they hold their own even though they are small. But perhaps they should be worried because...

3) as of last month, Harman was bought by Samsung Electronics and is now a subsidiary of Samsung.
This deal was just concluded. I'll put chips on the table that Samsung will sniff out and destroy any of the Harman brands which are not handsomely profitable, or don't show promise for future growth. I don't know which brand or brands this will be, but someone is going to go. A lot of legacy brands in their portfolio which have great names and sounds but are too good for capitalism in the age of software. Samsung will cut down and remove any dead weight ASAP. I wonder, actually, if this is why the M2's sound so good.

Could it be that JBL is working their butts off to show Samsung they should stay alive?

AFRF.

goskers

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Re: My Harman (JBL M2) Trip
« Reply #19 on: 16 Apr 2017, 03:30 am »
I am not going to quote all of the above as I don't follow why this has a great deal of relevance to the overall thread.  The comments that have been made were eluding to the capabilities which Harman possesses versus most of the other players in the audiophile market.  This is at least how I perceive the overall inferences being made.

i don't disagree with what was stated, I just don't understand the overall relevance here.

My .02