JBL e50 vs S-38

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by chuckg, Jun 7, 2006.

  1. chuckg

    chuckg Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2004
    Messages:
    917
    Likes Received:
    0
    Has anyone ever done an A-B comparison of the JBL Northridge E50 to the Studio series S-38???

    They seem to have very similar stats, with the same or similar drivers and cabinet size. I'm wondering how closely they match in sound.

    I'm looking to expand/upgrade my HT, and the S-center just screams to be replaced with something more sonically similar to my S-38 mains. And I wouldn't mind upgrading my very old control-1 surrounds to S-38.

    The S-38 was only made for a couple years, and good used ones are very hard to find. Why is it that major manufacturers give up on truly wonderful products?
     
  2. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 1999
    Messages:
    11,571
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    NorCal
    Real Name:
    John
    The E series is a step down from the Studios, despite them being and older model. The S-center is the matching center for those speakers already is it not? Are you saying you don't like how the S-center sounds? Hopefully Phil is around and he may be able to shed a bit more light.
     
  3. chuckg

    chuckg Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2004
    Messages:
    917
    Likes Received:
    0

    Quite right. the S-center is not at all like the S-38 sound. I have thought about buying an 8" driver for an S-38 and building a center channel using the mid and tweet from the s-center. The cabinetry and ports would be simple.

    But, I'd have a devil of a time getting an appropriate crossover design - it would be similar to an S-38 crossover, but with some differences. the "S-38c" as I call it, would be symmetrical and upright, designed for either above or below the screen, or even behind it with some EQ curve to account for what the screen eats. sort of a 38 special, I suppose.
     
  4. DorianBryant

    DorianBryant Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2004
    Messages:
    1,555
    Likes Received:
    0
    The major difference with the S38's and the E50's is the tweeter. The 50's have a 3/4" titanium laminate tweet while the s-38 has a 1" titanium tweet. I hate myself for ever selling my S38II's. The original S series was far, far superior to the E series...

    Also, I can't remember if the E50's have a 3" or 4" mid? I know the S38's have a 4" mid.
     
  5. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 1999
    Messages:
    11,571
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    NorCal
    Real Name:
    John
    How about looking for another used S-38 (pair) to use as a center?
     
  6. chuckg

    chuckg Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2004
    Messages:
    917
    Likes Received:
    0
    Okay, so after a year of trying to win a pair of S-38 speakers on eBay, I finally got lucky.

    Now I've replaced my S-center (and sold it on eBay, at a great loss) with a pair of S-38s in black. My left and right speakers are the lovely beech cabinets. The imaging of these speakers is so good that I can use one to each side of my screen to effect a center channel, avoiding the odd "over your head" appearance (visual and aural) of the usual center channel placement.


    Now, my ears are not wood, nor are they gold. Sort of a decent grade of copper. But, why do the black cabinets sound just a wee bit different? With pink noise, there is a definite difference in the tonal quality, when compared to the beech cabs.


    Agh.

    Ah well, I'll just have to ignore it, and mark it down to differences in the components and cabinetry.


    Now, on to win another pair for those pesky surround speakers!
     
  7. RichardH

    RichardH Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2000
    Messages:
    742
    Likes Received:
    0
    The difference in sound is likely due to placement and the extended baffle effect of the TV screen. If you want to experiment, take a black one and a beech one, and put them side by side on identical stands, out in the room, and try the pink noise test again. If it's still different, then it might be a slight revision change or something between them.
     
  8. chuckg

    chuckg Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2004
    Messages:
    917
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, of course I put them in close proximity, far from other things. The two designs sound different, plain and simple. I even tried swapping the amp channels to eliminate any chance of the amp coloring the sound. Even a knock on the cabinet produces a different sound.

    I'm guessing that JBL used different materials or techniques in the construction of these speakers over time. Certainly the S-38II must be somewhat different - but I expected the beech and black cabinets to differ only in the color of the plastic wood-like material.

    Just goes to show that you can't expect two "identical" speakers to really be identical! Still, they sound so great, and perform so well, that I'm not too unhappy. The improvement from S-center to S-38 was worth the cost.
     
  9. Gecko

    Gecko Auditioning

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've been using some S38IIs that I've been very happy with, and I just bought some E50s because I wanted to try them out with bi-amping, so I was a little disappointed to find out out about these differences. I imagined that since the E50 was pretty much an identical design and newer, that it would at least be the same quality. I actually like the E50s a little more from the aesthetic standpoint. I don't suppose I could do something crazy like swap out the tweeters, could I?
     

Share This Page