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JBL S-Series, Rocket, what to do?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Gil Jawetz, Sep 2, 2003.

  1. Gil Jawetz

    Gil Jawetz Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm getting a Denon 1803 and am thinking about adding a couple speakers as well. I currently have bunky Sony speakers from a HTiB system and will use those for whatever I don't replace. I was looking at the JBL S-Series (the S Center II and the bookshelf) for maybe just replacing the front three (and using the Sony powered sub and rears) but then i was looking at the Rocket ELT set and they just look so nice, plus some of them actually have smaller dimensions than the JBL's which is helpful in a small room. But I don't really want to drop $899. Still, just redoing the fronts in JBL would run upwards of $300 and leave me with some old stuff. What to do?
     
  2. Nhan_H

    Nhan_H Second Unit

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    How much are you willing to invest in for the front 3? Rockets sound great, and you can probably call and ask them how much the 2 bookshelves and 1 center would cost.

    Not sure how the JBLs would sound, but this forum has many JBL fans, so they'll be able to help you out.
     
  3. Gil Jawetz

    Gil Jawetz Stunt Coordinator

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    Just doing the front 3 would run around $300 and I'm willing to do that. Rockets would definitely be more. The deal they have is two pairs of bookshelf, one center and one sub for $900. It basically comes out to a free pair of bookshelves. It's the deal that brings it down to almost a competitive price with the JBLs. I'd like to hear from JBL owners. The reviews on epinions are very positive. I'm going to try to get the guy to hook up the JBLs to the Denon so I can actually hear the combo but who knows if they'll do it.
     
  4. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    I have heard both the JBL S-series (both the 36s & 38s) and the ELT package, though at different times, which means that I have not done an A/B.

    The ELT center speaker is to me a much better speaker than the JBL S-center. It is very detailed (as are the satellites) and does a fine job of reproducing dialogue (I listened to the lobby scene of the Matrix and it was quite easy to pick out detail even in the midst of that chaos) Of course its stand alone price is $300, which I am pretty sure is more expensive that the JBL. I consider the ELT sub to be a very fine value at $300 and I would recommend using this (or another) sub with the ELT speakers for HT purposes. I have heard the ELT system in two-channel mode without the sub and while they reproduce music very well, I would not be satisfied with them alone for HT.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so if you like the black box look of the S-series, you should consider them. For me there is no question, as I far prefer the wood of the ELTs. The JBLs S38s, are much bigger than the ELT satellites. The center speakers are probably about the same size, though the ELT is heavier. I can’t make a comparison on the subs, as I don’t remember the JBL size well enough.

    I do not own any of the ELT series, but I do own some other Rocket products, so you should take this into account in evaluating my recommendations.

    I prefer the ELTs, but then, it is not my money. You might call AV123 and see if you can get some sort of a package price on a subset of all six speakers or on all six over time.
     
  5. Gil Jawetz

    Gil Jawetz Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm heading to get the receiver in a couple hours and I'm getting nervous. I wanna pick up the JBLs but I'd really rather save up and get the Rockets. They're smaller, lighter, etc... plus they probably sound better. I don't know what to do.

    EDIT: I'm putting this purchase off at least a day. I'm a bit torn over what to do. I do have a limited budget but I don't want to end up spending more on the JBLs than I could have on the Rockets. And the wood cabinets are beautiful, although that's not necessarily the number one priority here.
     
  6. Nhan_H

    Nhan_H Second Unit

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    See what kinda return policies they have. If you want to, pick up the JBLs to play with and save up for the Rockets in the meantime. Return the JBLs before the return date if you're not happy with them. In the meantime, you can do some more research/saving for the Rockets. If you go to Audioenvy, you can sign up for an in-home demo from someone who is a Rocket owner around the NYC area.
     
  7. Gil Jawetz

    Gil Jawetz Stunt Coordinator

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    I checked out Audioenvy and the only choices are for the higher-end Rockets, which are out of the question. Maybe I'll call the Rocket folks and see if there's any other option...
     
  8. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Gil, you can also try posting over on the AV123 forum. Quite a few owners of the more expensive Rockets are buying an ELT system—so you might get lucky.
     
  9. Gil Jawetz

    Gil Jawetz Stunt Coordinator

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    I have been over there. My only concern is that they're all such rah-rah Rocket fans that I may not get a totally unbiased assesment. But I'll try it out.
     
  10. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    True they are all fans, but then any demo that you would get would be from a fan.

    FWIW, I only heard positive comments on the ELT system at the Dallas road show, and while there were a large number of fans in attendance, there were also a good many non-Rocket owners (and some who were not fans of the Rocket sound at all).

    But I really heard no ELT-detractors. BTW, the system was being powered by either an 1803 or 1804—I just can’t remember which one. I’m pretty sure that AV123 has got a package deal that includes the 1804 (I’m still spending your money :[​IMG]).
     
  11. Gil Jawetz

    Gil Jawetz Stunt Coordinator

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    Keep spending it!

    Actually, the irony is, the package there with the 1804 (hushed up, of course) comes out to the same as the ELT package of speakers plus the 1803 bought somewhere else. That might be the best deal but it's still a lot of dough. Gonna sleep on it and see if I can get a demo.
     
  12. Nhan_H

    Nhan_H Second Unit

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    Gil,

    Both Lew and I are Rocket fans (even though I don't own any of the Rocket products yet). Saving up in the meantime, just like yourself. I had the fortune of meeting Lew and some other really nice folks at the Rocket show in Dallas. I understand your concerns about having the Rockets pushed on you during the demo, and I would hate for that to happen (although I don't think it will).

    The best advice anyone can really give you is to demo both the JBL and the Rockets to see which one you like better. Heck, you might find that you like neither one of them [​IMG] But at least you've demoed before getting stuck with either product if your ears don't like either one. You might want to post some questions, and I'm sure some folks there will be plenty helpful. Some will even be so bold as to suggest another brand that will suit you better [​IMG]
     
  13. Gil Jawetz

    Gil Jawetz Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks. I posted my questions here: http://forum.av123.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1133

    The more I think about it, though, the more I think that bookshelf speakers of this variety are just too big for where my surrounds need to go. I feel like I'm going to need to stick with the tiny Sonys for a while. But we'll see. Like you said, I don't want to rush and get stuck with something I don't want. So I'll try to calm down and do this in an orderly fashion. It's like a fire drill!
     
  14. Nhan_H

    Nhan_H Second Unit

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    Gil,

    No need to rush on a major investment [​IMG]
     
  15. Geoff L

    Geoff L Screenwriter

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    Both brands having their die hard fans which is great. We all like to share our blss when it's finally found.

    The one thing that I have not heard in this thread aside from price, looks, weight, & size, is the sound differences of these two speaker lines.

    Not pushing for either, as I do not own JBL or ELT speaks, BUT dose not the JBL have a very different sound presentation than the ELT's regardless of the receiver????

    Maybe someone that has listening time with both the JBL-36II or 38II and ELT might shed their personal take on the possible sound differences of two different speaker brands/lines. Should give Gil more to chew on...

    Nhan made a very good point in demoing the JBL's, should be quite easy. Much easier to find a local return policey to get them in house for a real demo....

    Best of luck in your decision process!
    Geoff
     
  16. DonnyD

    DonnyD Screenwriter

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    I have to say first that I am an old JBL fan. I own a pair of 25 year old L100 that has kick everythings butt that I have a-b'ed with them. I bought Monitor Audio, Magnepan, JBL S-38, Energy RVS and Veritas, Norh Prism 4.1, Norh Ceramic 4.0, Paradigm, and a few more not worth mentioning. We did throw in some old JBL 4311 that a friend of mine has. None came close to the old L100 or 4311 for 2 channel regardless of source or amplification. Several friends are always in on the blind testing and we bi-amp when possible and configure everyway we can think of. Yeah we are kinda fanatics.....

    Several Centers were in the mix for HT aps... including JBL N-series, S-Center, Monitor Audio, Energy RVS-Center, Veritas 2.0C, Norh Prism 4.1... etc.

    To me, 2 channel is where you want to truly test a speaker but HT is where you have to test a center since it is going to carry 90% of the load.

    The JBL L100 are still my main MAINS and the Veritas are my B- mains. The JBL S-Center outperformed everything as far as centers go but the Energy RVS was VERY GOOD. I do use the Veritas 2.0C as my HT center since I use the Veritas 2.2 for HT but the JBL S-center is 4-5db louder at a given volume setting and a little more in your face. I still switch back to the S-center whenI am playing concert DVDs using my L100.

    Results on everything else was all was sold except the Energy RVS set which my son has and they do 2 channel and HT very well. A cousin kept the Paradigms.

    The Maggies were great also but they required amplification to drive them properly.

    My brother kept the S-38 as they were as good as most and better than some. That being said, The JBL sound is more in your face than most adn we all found that is what we all liked.. Rockets are said to be in your face so I can just guess that they'd be great also...........

    Yes, I buy an sell this stuff a lot and usually lose a little money but it IS my hobby and I love doing it.

    The next round of testing and stuff is coming up and I intend to do some online products this time around. Rockets are on the list as well as Axioms and a few others.

    BTW... all this stuff was broken in before the testing and any other adjustments were done also such as shot filling the Monitor Audio.

    I know this is lenghty and no info on the Rockets but it does attest to the JBL side of things. NO, the S series are not as good a the older JBL stuff such as the L100 or 4311 but they are pretty good.

    As someone pointed out... both Rockets and JBL can be auditioned and returned. Just break them in before you evaluate. Good luck............
     
  17. Todd Christ

    Todd Christ Stunt Coordinator

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    I have the Denon 1803 paired up with S38II's and and S-Center and have been VERY pleased with the setup...

    if you can compare them, then do it... i couldn't justify the 3x in cost so i opted for the JBLs.

    you can find S38II's for ~$260/pair
    SCenter for ~$130

    all online prices of course from reputable vendors...

    Good Luck!
     
  18. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    The S-38s @ $260/pair and the ELT satellites at $250/pair are a wash.

    The difference seems to be in the center channel where the ELT costs an additional $170

    JBL S38s would be $520 for four, plus $130 for the center for a cost of $650, not including a sub.

    The ELTs would be $500 for the satellites, plus $300 for the center, for a total cost of $800, again not including the sub. Adding the ELT sub (nominally $300) gives the whole package for another $100 or $900.

    Adding a modest but decent sub to the JBL package ought to bring that total to pretty close to the ELT package.

    Meaning that (imo) you ought to decide on what sounds best—and what fits in your overall scheme—cost seems to be a wash—or very close to a wash.
     
  19. Nhan_H

    Nhan_H Second Unit

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    That's a good way to sum up the costs, Lew. I was trying to do that late last night on AVS, but my mind wasn't working very well [​IMG]
     

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