In the minds of many enthusiasts the name JBL will forever be associated with high-performance horn-loaded driver, and the firm is building upon that identity in new high-end and mid-priced speakers as recently announced at CEDIA Expo 2009.
Toward the top end of price and performance spectrum is JBL’s next generation K2 loudspeaker—the K2 S9900, priced at around $40,000/pair (although JBL PR representatives at CEDIA told AVguide/Playback that per-pair pricing might range as high as $44,000/pair). In many respects the new K2 can be viewed as a direct descendant of JBL’s superb (and very expensive) “Project Everest” loudspeaker. Accordingly, the K2 S9900 the features an Alnico magnet-equipped 15-woofer with a fiber-pulp cone; a 4-inch, horn-loaded, high-frequency compression driver; and a 1-inch, horn-loaded ultra high-frequency driver. Quoted frequency response is 33 Hz – 50kHz with a power-handling rating of 500 Watts (RMS), which implies that the new K2 should be able to play incredibly loudly should the need arise. Speaking on behalf of JBL, Kevin Voecks, product development manager for the Harman Performance AV Group, says that, “with superior imaging, elimination of dynamic compression artifacts, and very low coloration of the original sound, the K2 S9900 represents the engineering excellence that audiophiles have come to expect from JBL loudspeakers.”
At a considerably lower price point, however, JBL’s new LS series speaker also benefit from technology trickle-down and horn –loading technologies. The LS family consists of two floorstanders (the LS80 at $2998/pair and LS60 at $2198/pair), a stand-mount monitor (the LS40 at $1398/pair), a center channel (the LS Center at $795/each), and a subwoofer (the LS 120P at $1099). According to JBL, the “LS Series loudspeakers’ clear, uncolored sound is the result of a combination of JBL’s technologically advanced compression drivers with JBL’s legendary Bi-Radial® constant-directivity high-frequency horn, which has been precisely tuned utilizing sophisticated computer modeling techniques that completely eliminate any tonal coloration whatsoever.” Additionally, LS-series woofers feature “PolyPlas™ polymer-coated-cellulose-fiber cone material and with heat-resistant Kapton® voice coil formers,” said to “ make for articulate and powerful bass response.” What is more, LS-series cabinets are treated to “real wood veneer cabinetry with a sensuous gloss-lacquered Streak-Ebony Mahogany finish,” which makes the speaker look far more expensive than they actually are.
For more information, visit: www.jbl.com.