JBL S-38's w/o subwoofer for movies?

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by Mark Hedges, Jun 21, 2003.

  1. Mark Hedges

    Mark Hedges Second Unit

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    I was wondering if anybody knew how JBL S-38's did without a subwoofer for movie applications. I do not expect SVS level rumble but I was wondering how they would compare to a cheap 8" sub like the Sony SA-WM20.

    Mark
     
  2. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    Mark: I run a pair of Boston Acoustics CR9's with 8" woofers and in my smallish apartment living room, during the opening scene of "Attack Of The Clones" (when the large chrome ship passes overhead) we can definitely feel it through the sofa cushions. It doesn't literally shake anything but you do know something powerful is passing by, which is the whole point, right?. Immature & useless tech note [​IMG]: I have a poster behind one Boston & when playing "One Step Closer" from my Linkin Park dvd-audio (Dolby Digital track: sub set to "no"), that opening bass note that sweeps waaaaaaay down low causes the poster to flutter a couple inches away from the wall--and the speaker is 1.5 feet in front of it!

    I've heard the S38's and I'll bet they could do the same thing (the sofa cushion thing, not the flutter effect [​IMG]). And I would pass on buying any 8" budget sub: I think all you'll get is a little bit of "rumbly" bass at the expense of all the remaining bass frequencies. So, I would wait til you can buy a decent 10" or 12" sub ($250-$500 range).

    Stereophile likes these speakers too, particularly their bass capabilities(!): JBL S38 review

    LJ
     
  3. Mark Hedges

    Mark Hedges Second Unit

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    I already have the sub - what I was considering was upgrading my s36's to S38's and selling the sub. I don't mind loosing a little LFE but I don't want to lose too much.

    Mark
     
  4. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    Hmmm, those S36's have 6.5" woofers right? Because that size can easily handle mid/upper bass frequencies--this will provide a full/rich sound, compared to using tiny satellites that use 3 or 4 inch "woofers".

    What I would do is sell the Sony and buy that decent 10"/12" sub. This will make much more of a (bass) difference than buying the bigger main speakers.

    LJ
     
  5. Marcelo T

    Marcelo T Stunt Coordinator

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    Don´t sell the sub. I had a s38 and their bass response is far from acceptable for movies.
     
  6. MikeKaz

    MikeKaz Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes I have s38's too. No their bass response is not good enough where you don't need a sub. Keep the sub.
     
  7. Haris Ellahi

    Haris Ellahi Second Unit

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    If you want good bass for movies without a subwoofer, you'll need something like a Klipsch RF-7 speaker.
     
  8. Mark Hedges

    Mark Hedges Second Unit

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    Thanks for the feedback. I guess I will stick with my current setup for now.

    I mostly listen to bluegrass music w/ acoustic bass so I don't know why I want to upgrade anyway. The S36's seem to have enough bass response for my music. I guess I just wanted to say I had a stereophile recommended component in my system! [​IMG]


    Mark
     
  9. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    Leaving the sub issue aside, I would upgrade your S36s to the 38s. I think that you'll find them a noticeable improvement, particularly for music.

    Just a thought...
     
  10. Mark Hedges

    Mark Hedges Second Unit

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    Angelo, can you elaborate a little? Have you had a chance to compare the two?

    Thanks!

    Mark
     
  11. David Ruggiero

    David Ruggiero Stunt Coordinator

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    I've never heard the S-36's, but I have the S-38's as my fronts and surrounds, along with an s-center as my center channel. The S-38's are bigger speakers, both in woofer size and cabinet volume so it stands to reason that if you like the s-36's, you'll love the s-38's! [​IMG] If you said you were going to listen to music with the s-38's and no subwoofer then you might be alright, but for movies, in my opinion, you need a subwoofer. Even with the s-38's the sub you have now would be better then no sub. Maybe you could get a cheap 12" sub like the Sa-wm40 (which I have), or it's replacement the Sa-wm500? These subs are a lot better then the 8" sub you have now. I bought my S-38's for $249.99 a pair at JanR.com and they want $299.99 for the S-36's! I was originally going to get the S-36's for my surrounds since they would be easier to wall mount but why pay more and get less? That price includes free shipping as well. Get the s-38's and bigger sub... I think you'll be very pleased, I know I am! [​IMG]
     
  12. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    Mark:

    I haven't done an extension side-by-side comparison, but I've done a brief one and thought the S38s were significantly better for music. This is a highly-regarded speaker that can be had at very reasonable prices nowadays; I recently picked up a pair for $169.
     
  13. Mark Hedges

    Mark Hedges Second Unit

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    Just to update if anybody is interested I did get the S38's and last night tried them w/o a sub. I played LOTR moria sequence and I thought the level of bass was certainly adequate, at least compared to what I was getting from my sub.

    I guess I will leave things this way for now, especially since my sub has started making annoying squeeking sounds - I think something in the amp is vibrating.

    Mark
     
  14. DonnyD

    DonnyD Screenwriter

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    My brother has a set of the S38 and I found the movie experience quite good without a sub. His room is about 35 x 25 with 18 ft ceilings and large archways into two more large rooms. I was quite astonished at how well he filled the room with just these S38. When I set his original system up, it was in a 20x25 basement HT room and sound good there too but when he moved, I had my doubts about how big the room was.... but no more.

    Personally, I do prefer the rumble of a good sub but the S38 do a good job without.[​IMG]
     
  15. KyleGS

    KyleGS Second Unit

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    In my little apt. I found the S38's running full range to have impressive extension on DVD's. The S38's alone could stir up a number of complaints from neighbors. Your question is really dependent on what you want and expect. If your not looking for extremely loud and low bass then you can probably get away with no sub. Since I've built my ported HE12.1's I haven't turned on the Tempest yet! Its ok to not have a sub. [​IMG] Did you hear that guys.. its OK. [​IMG]
     

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