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Log in or Sign up. Messages: Location: Pennsylvania. Hello all, I've had the recent opportunity to pick up a pair of JBL s and have really been enjoying them. These speakers use a 12" woofer, and a Bi-Radial horn with an edge-wound titanium diaphragm. First a little history.
I've been a fan of horn speakers for about 10 years now, since discovering a set of Klipsch Cornwalls at a pawn shop. I enjoyed those speakers for several years, especially the snappy dynamics, and punchy, lively sound they produced. However, eventually, my ears began to tire of them. The forward sound they produced was really just a form of midrange emphasis, a coloration produced by the dated horn design. Klipsch used an exponential horn design at that time, which is quite obsolete by modern standards.
While certainly efficient, it was lacking in overall smoothness of frequency response and dispersion, creating nasty lobes in polar response throughout it's coverage, and extreme ear fatigue. All was fine for a while; my ears could relax, bass was no longer boomy, and I could listen for hours without having ear strain. I thought I was good to go.
However, all that changed when I happened upon a set of JBL s at a flea market. I did my research and found they were a highly regarded and valuable studio monitor, so I decided to take a chance. I figured if I didn't like them, I could always flip them for a profit. When I got them, the foam on the woofers was bad, so I refoamed them and cleaned the L-pads with De-Oxit. Recalling the memory of re-foaming my Advents, I prepared for some funky sounding bass while the new surrounds broke in and loosened up.
However, initial performance exceeded my expectations. Bass seemed pretty decent, and not too boomy. After the break-in, I can honestly say these speakers have little in common with the nasty Klipsch speakers of yore. While Klipsch was famous for using the same basic design for decades, JBL has always innovated their designs, taking advantage of the latest technologies.
The Bi-Radial horn serves as an excellent example, having a wider, smoother coverage pattern than the exponential design Klipsch still continued to use into the 80's, even though it was designed in the 50's. The JBL is also time aligned, which allows the entire frequency range to arrive as one uniform wavefront to your ear, sounding much more seamless.
The horns are constructed of a hardened structural foam, and are incredibly non resonant. Coverage is quite even, with much less of the "hot spot" effect typically associated with horn speakers. Inside, the speaker is well made and well insulated. All magnets are quite substantial and everything is high quality.
Now, to the sound! First I think I should describe my room and associated equipment. The room is about 16 feet by 17 feet, with a 10 foot ceiling. I am a pipe organ technician by trade, so I hear pipe organs every day, and am very accustomed to the sound of the real thing. As a result, I often use pipe organ recordings as demonstration material. Pipe organs are very tough for a speaker to convincingly reproduce, as the frequency range is very full, and image must be just right to keep it from sounding artificial.
The s are much more convincing than the Klipschsters in this regard. I prefer the sound of baroque organs, which are very light and articulate in character.
These organs can be quite bright, and demand a very neutral midrange to avoid sounding harsh or colored. A harsh midrange will quickly drive me out of the room with these recordings. One particular CD, of a Silbermann organ built in is a staple for me.
The JBLs did a rather convincing job with this CD; the best I've heard yet of a horn speaker, with only occasional hints of harshness, but overall, quite listenable. In all tracks I started to hear a common theme- that of a slightly chesty vocal, muted upper treble, and a somewhat boomy bass.
It was the kind of thing that you might not hear immediately, but once you notice it, you can't ignore it. It's coloration, and while it certainly is nowhere near the kind of musical desecration Klipsch was capable of, it is not as neutral as some of the more modern dynamic designs.
One artist that is particularly demanding is Shawn Colvin. Her voice has a character that can be hard to reproduce accurately, often sounding chesty, or resonant. Listening to her song "One Small Year", I heard some of this character occasionally with the s. I found it was just on certain notes, right around the center of her vocal range.
I switched to a direct to 2 channel jazz recording by Sunny Sumter, on the Mapleshade label excellent recording. In this album, you can clearly hear each and every instrument, as no equalisation, compression, or other engineering band-aids were applied.
This creates a very live, real sound. Listening to "Nick of Time", I can clearly hear Sunny's tube mic vocals, along with a realistic placement of all the instruments. It really sounds like there's a jazz concert in my living room. Very enjoyable. So, all in all, not a bad speaker, and certainly great for rock and roll Pink Floyd sounded awesome.
The thing that really separated this speaker from previous horn loaded designs was the midrange. It isn't plagued by that harsh, "squawky" midrange forwardness that most older 3-ways seem to suffer from. Instead, the midrange seemed much more balanced and integrated with the rest of the sound.
It is very easy to listen to overall, and incredibly non-fatiguing. I've been rediscovering my record and tape collection for hours at a time with these speakers. Still, as a whole, the speaker just isn't quite as resolving as I would like it to be. The bass is not overly deep and slightly boomy, though that can be greatly affected by room conditions and placement.
They seem to favor older recordings more, which often times were mixed down on monitors very similar to these or perhaps identical, as these are studio monitors. For now, they're still in my system, and I'm listening to them as I type. However, as many of you can understand, my mind is already thinking of the next thing, and where I will go from here.
I hope this has been somewhat helpful, and if anyone has any questions, feel free to ask. Last edited: Feb 16, Azriel , Feb 16, Messages: 5, Location: Virginia.
Yeah, exactly, what he said! Thanks for the correction, I was going off memory. You must log in or sign up to reply here. Show Ignored Content. Share This Page Tweet. Your name or email address: Do you already have an account? No, create an account now. Yes, my password is: Forgot your password?
Opinions on JBL 4425 Bi Radial Studio Monitors?
Log in or Sign up. Messages: Location: Pennsylvania. Hello all, I've had the recent opportunity to pick up a pair of JBL s and have really been enjoying them. These speakers use a 12" woofer, and a Bi-Radial horn with an edge-wound titanium diaphragm.
JBL 4425 Bi-Radial Studio Monitors
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