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JBL NSP-1 vs. NHT Superzero


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22 replies to this topic

#1 of 23 RonGat

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Posted January 14 2002 - 01:56 PM

Everyone,

How are you all?? THis is my first post and I'm just getting into the swing of things (and spending lots of money on HT) with my first post. I've got the reciever (Onkyo 595) and the TV (32" Wega) and now I need speakers. I've narrowed down my choice to the JBL NSP-1 package with the Sony WMA-40 Sub (~$500 on line). At onecall.com they have five NHT superzeros with a RTS800 Sound Dynamics Sub for $490. This makes the price of the two packages almost equal. I've heard that the JBL package is a great "entry level" package but the NHT's are usually discussed as if they are in a different league as the JBLs (i.e. much better). I'm really interested in the differences between the small speakers (I will be upgrading the sub fairly soon). Anyway, should I go for the NSP-1 package or the superzeros?? I listen to 80% DVD, 20% music in a 10'x 14' room.

--Ron

#2 of 23 Sean Conklin

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Posted January 14 2002 - 05:19 PM

I have experience with both speakers in question, and can definitely say the NSP-1 sounds much better than the superzero's. Now if you could move up to the superone's we may have a contest. The superzero's are too small to outperform the NSP-1. IMO

The NSP-1 is more than an entry level speaker package, these speakers sound better than a lot of speakers costing 2 to 3 times more.

According to Harmon Labs they compare to similar sized Paradigms (sic). I use N26's as mains and N24's as surrounds, N Center, and JBL PB-12, and after more than a year still have no desire to upgrade. I love the JBL sound for HT and music as well. I never did care for the sound of the superzero's, to me they sounded a little thin and weak.IMO

And welcome to the HTF!

#3 of 23 ColinM

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Posted January 15 2002 - 02:52 AM

NHT's are accurate and have great midrange for music.

JBL's are more efficient and dynamic.

I like my NHT's, no real experience with the JBL's outside of Best Buy.

I suggested 5 Zeros to Jim Carr as an upgrade from Polk's 6200 line and he is very happy, but think about what you like before you buy.


Generally the guy with NHT's will listen to more music than the Guy with JBL's. That's a bit over-generalized, but you get the idea.


Good Luck!

- CM
You call that a knife?

#4 of 23 Phil Iturralde

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Posted January 15 2002 - 05:19 AM

I've never compared the two, but here is some selected quotes (vs. SuperZero XU) in Brent Butterworth JBL N24 speaker test report (before he joined Dolby Labs)


April 11, 2000 - Brent Butterworth for etown N24 bookshelf
Quote:
JBL provides a square bottom for the speaker to sit on -- unlike the silly rounded bottom of the NHT SuperZero XU bookshelf, which needs a little rubber horseshoe thing under its bum to sit up straight.

. . . -- unlike the SuperZero XU or the ProMonitor 80, this speaker is very easy to match up with practically any subwoofer.

. . . bass-less minis like the ProMonitor 80 and the SuperZero XU . . .

When you get a listen to the mids, though, you'll forget how good the bass is. I think the midrange of this speaker may be the cleanest I've heard at $200/pair. I was astonished to hear voices on music CDs clear up when I switched from other mini-speakers to the N24. I've come to prize the ProMonitor 80 as a mini that gets the mids right, but the N24 gets the midrange even more right. Every singer I listened to sounded better even than on a lot of good $1000/pair speakers.

The treble's just there -- it doesn't call attention to itself; it doesn't amaze; but it never sounds less than competent. Sometimes I found myself pining for the more emphasized treble of the ProMonitor 80s. The JBL's titanium-laminate tweeter is definitely doing something very right, though, because the JBLs out-imaged any other mini I've used in a wall-mount configuration. I didn't think a wall-mounted speaker could image so well. Voices levitated in the air in front of me; the hand percussion in Holly Cole's "Train Song" floated about between the speakers; and I got much more sense of a soundstage than I'm used to getting.

As a semi-professional musician (piano/keyboard/guitar/drums), music accuracy was very important to me, and I've been known to jam along with my Joe Sample, David Grusin or David Benoit Jazz CDs on my 6' Yamaha Grand Piano! My JBL N24s w/powered sub don't disappoint, . . . but Brent Butterworth said (documented) it better than I can!

To read the entire test report, select the link above.

For more JBL NSP1s INFO & Reviews w/links, see my website Why you should add JBL N & S Series to your audition list!

NOTE: Because my website is 'free', hosted by GeoCities, if too many HT enthusiasts visit, GeoCities will shut it down for an hour or so because it exceeded the specified 'freebie' Data Transfer Rate. Sorry about that, just bookmark it and visit my site an hour later or when everyone has gone to bed!

Phil
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#5 of 23 ColinM

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Posted January 15 2002 - 08:44 AM

The N24 sounded a little bloated when I wall-mounted it in place of my Def Techs; the closer you place a speaker to the wall, the more the bass starts to boom. With bass-less minis like the ProMonitor 80 and the SuperZero XU, that's no problem at all.


I hate it when people quote out of context.

Posted Image Posted Image
You call that a knife?

#6 of 23 Phil Iturralde

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Posted January 15 2002 - 09:28 AM

Hey ColinM - uh, sorry!!! Here's the entire paragraph
Quote:
The N24 sounded a little bloated when I wall-mounted it in place of my Def Techs; the closer you place a speaker to the wall, the more the bass starts to boom. With bass-less minis like the ProMonitor 80 and the SuperZero XU, that's no problem at all. I suspect, however, that I could have perfected the bass in this application with a few weeks of listening and tweaking the subwoofer crossover. Come to think of it, in my apartment, with my finicky neighbors, I could probably use three N24s across the front wall, under my projection screen, and get away without a subwoofer.

That better??

Phil
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DVD Aficionado (DVDAF) on-going list.
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#7 of 23 Shane Martin

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Posted January 15 2002 - 10:27 AM

Doesn't sound like the reviewer spent much time reviewing the speakers.


Any reviewer worth their salt spends atleast a few weeks to let the speaker break in and also reviews their speaker in their proper placement instead of some insane wall mounting.

#8 of 23 ColinM

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Posted January 15 2002 - 10:34 AM

Thanks Philly Dogg.

I wonder why BB would leave a rag like Home Theater Mag to work at a website.


hmmm....Posted Image
You call that a knife?

#9 of 23 Phil Iturralde

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Posted January 15 2002 - 10:47 AM

FYI: Butterworth, Staats to Dolby As Directors of Tech Marketing

Quote:
San Francisco, September 18, 2000 — Dolby Laboratories has hired Brent Butterworth as Director, Consumer Technology Marketing, and has also promoted Dennis Staats to Director, Computer & Games Technology Marketing, both for its Consumer Division, effective immediately.

. . . Most recently, he served as Editor-in-Chief of etown.com, the word's largest consumer electronics website. Before that, he was Editorial Director of Home Theater magazine for four years, head of the team responsible for making that publication the leader in its industry. Prior to that, Mr. Butterworth worked for publications including Video, Spin, Windows Sources, and other magazines.

His reviews (including speakers) were respected in the Audio & Video Industry, which led to his stint @ HT. I have followed his speaker & video reviews since Video - 1995,

Ron Epstein had an online interview w/Brent

Subject: DOLBY LABS - Brent Butterworth chat
Date: February 6, 2001

By the way, . . . please don't call me "Philly Dogg".

Phil
My HT Enthusiasts Google Website
---- Toshiba 62HM196 62" 1080p DLP HDTV pic's (#1 in Consumer Reports)
DVD Aficionado (DVDAF) on-going list.
Acquisition Rule #59 “Free advice is seldom cheap.” (Quark @ DS9)
JBL S-Series + SVS 25-31PCi (SN: 00034) w/NSD Upgrade!

#10 of 23 ColinM

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Posted January 15 2002 - 11:01 AM

Cripes!

Yipes!

No offense!

This dude just wanted to know the differences between 'x' and 'y'.

I am not worthy. Your posts outnumber mine by 7:1. Obviously he should go with JBL.

BB should get a house if he's gonna review speakers. How do you get to ref levels with finicky neighbors??

Posted Image
You call that a knife?

#11 of 23 Phil Iturralde

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Posted January 15 2002 - 11:18 AM

No offense taken ColinM!

Quote:
BB should get a house if he's gonna review speakers.

Do you know how much houses go for in the San Francisco Bay Area?? But, who knows, maybe working w/Dolby Labs, he could afford the outrageous home prices here!!

Quote:
How do you get to ref levels with finicky neighbors??
From what I understand, eTown (they were in the SF Bay Area also) had a nice audition HT room, that their reviewers could book. They also took the reviewed equipment home for real enviroment comparisons to their owned equipment, hopefully when the neighbors were away @ work.

Quote:
Your posts outnumber mine by 7:1. Obviously he should go with JBL.

Sarcasm must run strong in your family!! Posted Image I was just pointing out that one reviewer (Brent) did note, w/some comparisons the Superzero vs. N24s.

Phil
My HT Enthusiasts Google Website
---- Toshiba 62HM196 62" 1080p DLP HDTV pic's (#1 in Consumer Reports)
DVD Aficionado (DVDAF) on-going list.
Acquisition Rule #59 “Free advice is seldom cheap.” (Quark @ DS9)
JBL S-Series + SVS 25-31PCi (SN: 00034) w/NSD Upgrade!

#12 of 23 Jerry AZ

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Posted January 15 2002 - 11:36 AM

RonGat;
I have that exact same setup. Sounds really nice. go for the JBL's. Posted Image
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#13 of 23 ColinM

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Posted January 16 2002 - 02:25 AM

Sorry about the sarcasm. I was having a bad day. Something about the boss not wanting me cruising threads at work or something, I dunno...

If I had to do it all over again, I might try the JBL's, too. Actually I recommended them to a family member after they said they were looking for a setup.

Take Care, Phil.

PS - Wasn't BB in NY while he was with HTM? I think the mag has gone downhill a bit since he left. I liked his style. I think the 'tone' of his reviews have changed now that I read them, they sound a bit commercial.


Anyway...Posted Image
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#14 of 23 ColinM

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Posted January 24 2002 - 02:41 PM

JBL's got some nice stuff.

NHT has some nice stuff.

KLH, now THERE's a joke....
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#15 of 23 Justin Lane

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Posted January 24 2002 - 03:39 PM

Quote:
NHT is in a different league that JBL, let's face it.


What league would that be????

#16 of 23 ColinM

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Posted January 25 2002 - 12:53 AM

NHT and JBL have a lot in common -

Used in the house, as stereo and HT.

JBL has another side, the pro arena.

I've never assembled a stack of NHT PA.

JBL, on the other hand...Carbon fiber horn arrays...wow.

JBL's are not junk, no matter what model. There's always something worse out there...much, much worse...
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#17 of 23 Jack Gilvey

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Posted January 25 2002 - 01:08 AM

I've actually owned both setups. I use the NSP-1 now, but I used to have 3 SuperZeroes across the front and whatever their dipole surround was across the back. The NHT's are from memory, and it was a while ago.
I don't feel that the N24's really give up much at all to the NHT's in the midrange, it's probably the most notable quality of the tiny JBLs. The highs of the NHT are more extended or prominent, some feel they're bright, which may or may not work better depending on taste and associated equipment. I prefer the more "polite" highs of the N24, especially with movies, and I've not felt compelled to use the "Re-EQ" function on my receiver.
The N24 has better lows (80Hz isn't really what I'd call "bass"), but either will mate well with an 80Hz crossover, which is what's important (you wouldn't be using either without a sub, I wouldn't think).

The SuperZeroes were an absolute revelation when first introduced (I bought my first pair in '93-94), but there's been some catching-up going on, and while they're different enough that most folks would have a preference, I certainly wouldn't say that the two are in different leagues.
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#18 of 23 Jon_R

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Posted January 27 2002 - 08:03 PM

The home theater forum is a good source of data in some respects. HOWEVER, it is totally useless when your mind is anything but the accepted forum favorites. Those being, Denon, Paradigm, SVS, nOrh, and the blessed JBL. Obviously these are great products, but they are not the only products out there. B&W rarely gets much press, its usually the Paradigm Active line. Still, I like it around here.

I have heard both. I prefer the NHT. If nothing else because they don't have a silly looking enlosure. I really find it hard to believe so many people just love these JBLs that much. I've heard them in numerous settings and have never been that impressed. Of course, one discredits my statements becasue those setups were not tweaked right or something.

Still, if there is one thing in this world that is constant, it is Phil I's constant positive postings of the NSP-1 speaker package.

I click every NSP-1 speaker question to see that all things are going smoothly and that Phil, (the poster formerly known as Philly Dogg) has pasted his 3 cents.

Anyway, listen to them and see what you like. Hell maybe even check out other brands. From www.Yawaonline.com you can get some great deals on PSB Alpha A/V speakers. Of course, they are pounded by NSP-1 setup, everything is, but they might come close. Posted Image

Jon

#19 of 23 Jim Carr

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Posted January 28 2002 - 02:16 AM

As Colin stated... I upgraded from Polk speakers to NHT super zeroes all around and the diffeence is amazing. I have never heard the JBL's so I can't really comment on the difference but you can't go wrong with the NHT's. I got an incredibe price on mine used that made my decision a no brainer.

But coupled with an SVS sub (the super zeroes MUST have dedicatd bass) I am very happy with my system.

It looks like a win/win decision whatever you decide.. those are the easiest to make Posted Image


Jim


#20 of 23 Phil Iturralde

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Posted January 28 2002 - 06:01 AM

Jon_R please don't refer to me as "Philly Dogg". How would you like to be referred to "Jon(ny)_R Dogg??" Nice ring?? ColinM was nice enough to stop using that derogatory nickname. (IMO)

Well, I too heard & auditioned the NHT, and after auditioning them, (because my older brother wanted to buy a set), and hearing the lower midrange vocals and colored highs (my opinion), it turned him off! The lower cost N24's proved it's design goals, and that "looking enclosure" is what contributed to it's excellent imaging ability - don't take my word for it since it is noted by different professional reviewers!!

1) Brent Butterworth - for now defunct eTown
2) Wayne Garcia - Amazon.com
3) Tom Nousaine - Sound & Vision Magazine - JBL N24AW

My recommendation for the consumers that want to get the best possible sound vs. price (budget), is to "add the JBL NSP1s to their audition list", because , the NSP1's delivers one of the best performance vs. price.

Talking about B&W, if cost is not an issue, only the B&W DM602 S2 had a documented flatter and wider frequency response than the JBL N24s per Tom Nousaine Standard Speaker Benchmarks

DM602 S2 front left/right.... 70 Hz to 20 kHz ±2.6 dB

N-24 front left/right........ 89 Hz to 18.9 kHz ±2.7 dB

though the surrounds were virtually identical:

DM601 S2 surround............ 85 Hz to 17.2 kHz ±3.3 dB

N-24 surround................ 89 Hz to 18.4 kHz ±3.2 dB

So, I feel really, really great, that my $244.00 (approx. cost w/o powered sub - AudioSource SW15 $199.00 @ CostCo / Oct. '99) JBL NSP1's for the entire set and get great professional reviews along with documented performance like the one that Sound & Vision published!!! Yeah, I don't feel bad that I didn't spend over $1,000 to $1,500 on some HT speakers that may or may not deliver the performance & dynamic range that, . . . I am hearing, experiencing and using at the moment!

By all means audition, audition, audition! But if your budget limits you to around $500.00, add the JBL NSP1's to your audition speakers list. Whatever you choose will hopefully be the right choice.

I've owned my NSP1s since April 2000, and have not felt the need to get another set, . . . though Mark Knight (scroll down to his JBL S36's & S-Center Studio Series Speakers review) is trying to talk me into getting the JBL S-Series!

Phil
My HT Enthusiasts Google Website
---- Toshiba 62HM196 62" 1080p DLP HDTV pic's (#1 in Consumer Reports)
DVD Aficionado (DVDAF) on-going list.
Acquisition Rule #59 “Free advice is seldom cheap.” (Quark @ DS9)
JBL S-Series + SVS 25-31PCi (SN: 00034) w/NSD Upgrade!


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