JBL New Studio Series II-Phil?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jeff Koch, Apr 13, 2002.

  1. Jeff Koch

    Jeff Koch Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Phil,

    I was browsing at Best Buy today and noticed several new boxes of JBL Studio Series S38IIs and S-CenterIIs. None of the new monitors were on display but BB is now discounting the old S38s. Do you know anything about this "II line." Have modifications been made on the II series, any improvements over the old Studio Series? I checked JBL's website and didn't notice any changes in specifications. I'm also wondering if they discontinued the beech color and are selling only black now. Thanks for any info you may have.

    Jeff
     
  2. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

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    Hi Jeff - Official word (email from JBL / Internet Support Specialist - Harman Consumer Group) ... is that the new JBL Mark II Series speakers changes are mostly cosmetic; driver cone finish, extra tweeter protection, slightly altered enclosure dimensions on some models. Interestingly, the biggest change is the Northridge N26II, which now uses a wood enclosure over the molded plastic enclosure similar to the N24II speaker. So if you compare the Mark II spec's with the original, the performance is identical.
    If you want, you can compare the dba newsline JBL S-Series news releases,
    JBL STUDIO SERIES
    JBL INTRODUCES UPGRADED STUDIO™ SERIES MARK II
     
  3. Jeff Koch

    Jeff Koch Stunt Coordinator

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    Quote:
    "So if you compare the Mark II spec's with the original, the performance is identical."
    Whew! Thanks Phil. I was wondering how JBL could improve on such superb speakers so soon. I was comtemplating (only for a moment) upgrading my system to the Mark II series but if the performance is identical, there's no need. [​IMG]
    Jeff
    P.S. I'll be buying two more S38s for an upgrade to 7.1. If you're auditioning speakers for your home theater, you should check out the JBL Studio Series line. You can hear them at any Best Buy but don't buy them there because they're charging close to retail. Internet prices are almost 50% cheaper. Definitely one the best speakers available for both HT and music.
     
  4. Todd smith

    Todd smith Supporting Actor

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    Jeff,

    For what it is worth, I went to best buy yesterday and they had the new s38II along with the older s38's. I asked the associate what the diference was which he did not know, but he then proceeded to open up a box of the s38II and audition them in comparison to the older model. Now a number of factors could have contributed to the results, but I will tell you what me and three other associates all completely agreed on. The old s38's sounded totally fantastic even in the unflatering best buy setup. I wont go on and on with the sound because you own them. We then hooked up the s38II right below the s38's. I dont know if these speakers need a serious break in, or if there was some other factor at work, but they did not even sound like the same set of speakers. Compared to the s38, they sounded slightly distant, bass was considerably and noticably weaker and the imaging was not there to the point of the s38's. It was so noticable the guy who was helping me went and got a more experienced associate to make sure he had them hooked up right which as far as they could tell were. Again, there could be any number of factors that caused these results considering it was best buy, but it was all I needed to hear so to speak. Luckily there are still old s38's floating around the net (at good price to) and I am set on buying 2sets along with the scenter. I know there was the whole BOSE lawsuit issue that jbl lost and was then forced to alter the design slightly which makes me wonder if it affected the sound. But you should definately keep your old ones because you know those sound killer and it is well documented by others (audioreview.com, 114reviews 4.78 average, plus all the profesional acolades the speaker has received which Phil was kind enough to show me) Sorry to ramble but I thought you should know my experience and I hope it was some other factor that caused the results because it would be ashame to not have this speaker on the market. The old s38 I listened to yesterday was definately the best bookshelf I auditioned so far and convinced me to order from j&r.com Phil if you read this, what are your thoughts?
     
  5. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    Todd you've made my day (I was bummed I got old ones).

    I might end up getting an S-center ii for my S38s and an S26ii for surrounds unless I play the auctions again.
     
  6. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

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  7. Jeff Koch

    Jeff Koch Stunt Coordinator

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    Todd,
    Thanks so much for your post!!! When I started reading it, my pulse began to race because I thought you were going to say the new 38II put the old 38 to shame. Thank God that wasn't the case. Like Chris said, YOU MADE MY DAY!!! I've had my speakers little over a year now and they sound just as incredible as they did when I first took them out of the box. I'm holding onto them for dear life! [​IMG]
    Jeff
     
  8. Todd smith

    Todd smith Supporting Actor

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    Glad I could provide some releif for you guys. I am also glad you guys like your classic s38's because I am going to grab some of the old dogs!
     
  9. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

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    Jeff, Todd ... I'm sure if you take into consideration that the new S38II wasn't broken in yet, will account for your statement
     
  10. ReggieW

    ReggieW Screenwriter

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    Phil,

    out of curiosity, I am running a NSP-1 package (with N-26 as mains) with my Denon 1802. If I upgraded to a S-series package (S-26, S-38, S-center) instead, would it improve my performance a great deal? I have always wondered, as the S-series seems to be a little more highly resepected than the N-series.

    Reg
     
  11. Marcelo T

    Marcelo T Stunt Coordinator

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    Reggie, I had an older n26 for rears, and have now upgraded for the s-26. For me, the s are much better, more mid-bass, less shrill in the tweeter. IMO, the n tweeter is a little to hot for my taste, I´d prefer the s tweeter better.
     
  12. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

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    JBL priced the two series very competitively, because their performance has been tested, benchmarked and subjectively honored to be better than equally priced models, and in many cases, to models costing a lot more! So chalk up your perception to the single minded drones that think if it cost more, it must be better! Not in the case of the Northridge Series - it has been reviewed & received well.
    So, JBL has a fine performing speaker for all incomes;
    JBL N24 MSRP $199.00 (pair)
    JBL N26 MSRP $249.00 (pair)
    JBL S26 MSRP $399.99 (pair)
    The previous thread above, I wrote that the JBL speakers will take up to 3 months to settle down for its true sound (based on a reviewers experience), and it applies to both Series. So, no matter what model you get in the N or S-Series, be patient and you will be rewarded with an above average sound!
    Phil
     
  13. Jeff Koch

    Jeff Koch Stunt Coordinator

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    Jimmy:
    Thanks for the info and I completely agree. The old S38s look fantastic with the speaker grills removed showing off those copper colors. The new aluminum colored cones (I haven't seen them in person yet) don't sound as attractive but I'm happy to know JBL is still making the new Mark IIs in beech!
    Phil:
    I'll eventually test out the new Mark II 38s in my home. Trying to critically listen to them at a BB is next to impossible. Hopefully they'll measure up to the old S38s because I do want to upgrade to 7.1. [​IMG]
    Jeff
     
  14. David_Rivshin

    David_Rivshin Second Unit

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    For those who have actually seen/felt the S38ii's in person, can you comment on the finish of the cabinet? I honestly didn't like the finish on the original S38's, and I'm hoping that the markII's are better in that regard. Last time I was in my BB they only had the original S38's on display or otherwise.

    Thanks,

    -- Dave
     
  15. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

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    David - just guessing here, but the new Mark II finish is probably the same as the original. JBL made a decision to keep their cost resonable and very competitive performance wise with similar or higher priced offerings by other MFG.
    Jeff - I'll keep an eye out on your final S38II evaluation for sure!
    All: If you want to see what's inside the JBL S26, check this thread out ...
    My $155 JBL S26 speakers dissected
    ... and read his comments! Quite reveiling! [​IMG] If I get his OK, I'll post his email to JBL later.
    Phil
     
  16. MikeKaz

    MikeKaz Stunt Coordinator

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    I agree Jeff, my old school S-38's have a kind of a cheapish plasticy type of an almost woodish kind of type of look to them- sort of. (did im mention i dont think they really look like wood [​IMG] ) The new ones, well they look like wood, with an actual natural looking finish. The old ones look gimmicky whereas the new ones look more stylish, sleek etc. I dont really care since my old ones sound good anyways.
    http://www.crutchfield.com/cgi-bin/S...8II&display=XL
    Plus the new drivers are still made of white paper im assuming, so the color coating they put on it shouldnt make a difference. But I would say that silver is probably a more agreeable choice for most decor situations. I mean they most likely originally went with a bold copper color just for the sake of being bold.
    One thing though is if you look closely, you can see that the surround on the midrange of the new S-38 is thinner than the old one, kind of like how the midranges of the s-center and the s-36 are different from the mids of the rest of the line- the s38, 310, and 312's. (the s center and s-36 have an actual rubber surround on the midrange, where the other speakers have a kind of textured, more cloth-like "rubber coated" look to them ) So the midrange driver of the new s-38 is not physically indentical to that old the old. Will this make any difference in sound, I dont know. The bass driver of the new s-38 looks spot on like the old one. I definately prefer the look of the new ones to the old though.
     
  17. Jeff Koch

    Jeff Koch Stunt Coordinator

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    Phil:
    I just read "My $155 JBL S26 speakers dissected." [​IMG] Oh the pain. That poor S26, I hope it didn't suffer much. The closest I'm going to get to dissecting one of my 38s is removing the speaker grills. [​IMG]
    During his dissection, James said that his S26s "are also made in the good old USA(assembled anyways)!"
    I noticed on the boxes over at BB that the new S38 MarkIIs are made in Mexico. I just checked the boxes of my old S38s and they were made in the U.S.A. and my S-Center was made in Taiwan. I guess it's cheaper to manufacture in other countries but is JBL's quality control as stringent and where is the final testing done on each speaker? In any event, I'm looking forward to testing out the new S38 MarkIIs at home. Will keep you posted!
    Jeff
     
  18. MikeKaz

    MikeKaz Stunt Coordinator

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    all of the old style s-38's towards the end of the production run were made in mexico and apparently theyre just continuing this with their new series. mine were made in the good old US. but as a point of interest- I knew uh, someone else who took the plastic terminal plate off the back of one of their american S-38's, only to find that the holes for the screws had been drilled completely incorrectly and all scewed, and then another set of holes drilled in the correct location, with the terminal plate covering the "screw up" holes. it looks fine and has no impact on performance, but it may make you think about what really may be going on inside an "american quality" product.
     
  19. Jeff Koch

    Jeff Koch Stunt Coordinator

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    YIKES!

    Jeff
     
  20. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

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