JBL MAKEOVER ITS CLASSIC L100 SPEAKER
We like it when a legacy brand rereleases an audio classic. The occasion fills us with a sense of anticipation and a warm inner glow.
So with a good deal of excitement, we can report that JBL has updated and re-released its 70s classic, the JBL L100 bookshelf speaker.
Full credit must be paid to Samsung who acquired JBL’s parent company Harman International a little while back. Heeding JBL’s heritage, Samsung signed off on a project to resurrect the JBL L100.
The latest incantation looks and feels like the original. Gosh, it even has a 1970’s style complete with JBL’s vintage Quadrex foam grill.
Even the colour of the grill screams “Vintage” thanks to its striking and some would say garish, over-the-top orange colour. But not us. We love the colour and its link to JBL’s golden era.
The original L100 was a large speaker, but by American standards, it was considered a compact model. Inside it carried a 1.5” tweeter, 5” midrange and a 12” woofer.
The 70’s L100 marked JBL’s foray from the pro market to the domestic sphere. It was based on the brand’s 4310 studio monitor, and its lineage showed in its sound.
By 70’s standard, the L100 was clean as a new whistle through the frequency range, played loud and in full flight really boogied.
The L100 sold so well; it earned the accolade of best selling speaker of the decade. History records the L100 was JBL’s best selling speaker of all time.
Samsung will be hoping history is about to repeat itself.
Ironically the original L100 was unveiled at the 1970 CES in Chicago.
The new version debuted at this year’s CES in Las Vegas where Jim Garrett, Senior Director, Product Strategy and Planning, Luxury Audio HARMAN, said he thought the love affair consumers once had with the first series L100 would reignite in a new generation of audio buyers.
…Here we are almost 50 years later with retro products and designs in high fashion. There is still a huge appreciation and desire for these great looking, great sounding vintage JBL speaker systems.
The original L100 production run included enhanced versions called the L100A and L100 Century. The new model adheres to the original 12” 3-way design and size but adds improvements to the drivers, enclosure tuning, and crossover network design.
Chris Hagen, the acoustic engineer that created the L100T3 in 1988, has designed the revamped L100.
The new JBL L100 has a newly developed JT025Ti1 1” titanium dome tweeter mated to a waveguide with an acoustic lens for optimal integration to the JM125PC 5-inch cast frame, pure pulp cone midrange driver.
The vertical tweeter and midrange drivers are slightly offset to the right of the menacing 12” woofer down below with high frequency and mid-frequency attenuators built into the upper left of the front baffle.
The woofer has a cast frame, white pure pulp cone woofer working in a bass reflex enclosure tuned using a single, front firing port tube with a flared exit.
The new JBL L100 has similar dimensions to the original and measures 25.5” high, 15.5” wide and 13.75” deep.
The JBL L100 had an RRP of US$4000 at CES. It will be available in the first quarter of 2018, but local pricing and availability have not yet been confirmed.
One of the veterans of the Australian HiFi industry, Peter was formerly the Audio-Video Editor of the Herald Sun for over two decades. One of the most-respected audio journalists in Australia, Peter brings his unparalleled experience and a unique story-telling ability to StereoNET.