JBL S312 or S38

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Chris Tsutsui, Mar 15, 2002.

  1. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    Hello, I just was at best buy and saw that all the JBL speakers are on sale at decent prices.

    Brand new JBL S38 for 249 and S312 for 299 not to mention other deals.

    I would like to know any opinions on which one would sound best with a parasound HCA-1000a?

    The S312 has a higher power rating so will the S38s sound better? When I auditioned them I noticed that the s312s were a lot beefier and didn't really need a sub. The S38s sounded nice as well.

    Space doesn't matter since I could put them in a 12' by 10' room or larger vaulted living room.

    Since the price difference is only $50, should I go for the S312s? I havn't heard much about these, I hear a lot about the S38s. I kinda have to choose fast cause they only had one pair left when I was there.

    thanks
     
  2. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

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    If you like the looks and sound of the S312, get that one.
    Now, let me preface this next comment/opinion that it's based on my HT DVD Movie priority.
    If I were making the decision today, and felt that the S38 size would fit my needs, I'd buy 2 sets! 1st set for the Front channel, 2nd set Surround channels (3rd set if I was 6.1EX ready) and of course the JBL S-Center. I can hear the difference between JBL speakers even though they are timbre-voice matched within their respective line. It's base on the speaker enclosure size & driver location.
    Let me say that if the S312 fit my fancy and HT room, I'd get 2 sets also, instead of using the S38's or S36's for the surrounds.
    So, rememeber, that's my HT Sound priority [​IMG] and a lot of other consumers mix and match within the JBL S-Series and for the majority of those HT enthusiasts, it's glorious!!! [​IMG]
    As it is, . . . I bought four JBL S26's and S-Center! [​IMG]
    Phil
     
  3. anthony_b

    anthony_b Screenwriter

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    Are those prices for the pair ?
     
  4. ChrisMatson

    ChrisMatson Cinematographer

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    Those prices are for ONE speaker--not a pair.
     
  5. Brian_C

    Brian_C Stunt Coordinator

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    I think you answered your own question, you liked the sound of the S312s better and space wasn't a concern...
     
  6. Mark Weber

    Mark Weber Auditioning

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    If you aren't opposed to buying online from an authorized JBL internet dealer dynadirect.com has the JBL S38II (pair) for $339 the JBL S38 was a few bucks cheaper.

    I can't vouch for dynadirect at this time but I sure hope they are easy to work with if I have any problems as I just ordered 4 speakers and sub from them.

    I used the JBL site to find a list of the authorized dealers thanks to advice on this forum.
     
  7. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    I didn't know ppl would reply to this, it disappeared from the front page.
    Anyways I went to best buy and the way they had their price tags setup made me think they sold the S38 for $250. The tag says $249.99 and in smaller print it said $499.98. I thought that best buy was aware that they are older models and lowered the price.
    I think that it was very deceiving since how is one supposed to buy a single JBL S38 when they come 2 in a box. Anyways I stayed there and auditioned speakers for longer than an hour and maxed every speaker setup they had.
    The S312s had the domes on the cones bashed in so I had to keep that in mind. Maybe that is why I favored the S38s better. The sound was very smooth, and It was comfortable listening to all types of music on the S38s. The S312s were louder, but sounded very similar to the S38s. I thought because of the 12" driver there would be no real need for a subwoofer but boy was I wrong. Adding a 10 or 12" sub made a world of a difference for both studio speakers.
    I concluded I very much like the S38s even though the S312s sounded a bit more full adding lower frequencies. The other brands such as Bose, Sony, KLH, Cerwin Vega, and Yamaha didn't come close. My friend liked the yamahas but the highs become very harsh at higher volume levels as did most systems. The Bose systems seemed to have directional bass from the bookshelfs. If I stood next to the bose speaker I would hear no bass as opposed to standing in the "sweet spot" at the control panel. I was impressed with the quality of sound coming from a system so compact.
    Today I auditioned Paradigms, Snell, and Martin Logans at a specialty store. The 60-80 grand systems definitly did not seem worth the money. Yeah the martin logans looked exquisite and the sound was incredible but I'm not ready for those yet. [​IMG]
    After 2 days of auditioning speakers my ears have become very spoiled. I listen to music on speakers I once thought were great and realize how muffled and dull they really sound.
    Thanks for the suggestions on where to buy, I've been playing ebay for a while in hope of finding the jbls less than $275. I'll probably get the S38ii. Anybody know if there's a difference? The only difference I read was the enclosure dimensions, color, and a cone material. Probably no audible difference in them though.
     
  8. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

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    Chris - the S38II is an excellent choice! They sound very good, new out of the box, but after 50 hours of break-in, they'll sound glorious.
    Unlike some other brands, the S38II (S26II - S412PII) has the same tweeter as my S26, right up to the flagship S412P. Other brands use a different high frequency driver vs. flagship model (key to crystal clear shimmering highs w/unmatched clarity & resolution), so the lower model tweeters frequency starts diving after 15 kHz (per Sound & Vision Standard Speaker Benchmarks*). Those speakers will not sound airy and instruments like cymbals, bells, chimes, string section harmonics will be dull and sound distant with no depth.
    * Speaker Testing Notes IN THE LAB - The left/right front speakers were averaged over a ±30° window, with double weight given to the most common listening angle, 30°. - Tom Nousaine
    Look at the JBL's S&V Benchmark, . . .
    IN THE LAB
    JBL Studio Series S38 Speaker
    FREQUENCY RESPONSE.... 80 Hz to 20 kHz ±3.8 dB
    No doubt, my original JBL S26 & your S38 Mark II will have the same flat and extended "high's", like the Benchmarked S38 above (from crossover to 20 kHz ±3.8 dB), because both Studio Series' tweeter features JBL's 1"Inch Pure Titanium Dome with Rubber Surround.
    Even the economy JBL N-Series 3/4 inch Titanium-laminate dome tweeter excels in high frequency output...
    JBL N-Series/PB10 System
    Frequency Response
    N-24 front left/right.... 89 Hz to 18.9 kHz ±2.7 dB
    Not bad performance for both JBL Series, especially when you consider those Benchmarks were taken "...with double weight given to the most common listening angle, 30°."
    Compare the following S&V Benchmarks;
     
  9. Will_B

    Will_B Producer

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  10. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

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  11. Stephen Houdek

    Stephen Houdek Second Unit

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    I opted for the S312's becuase of their fuller sound. As you later noted you WILL need a subwoofer. There is more bass with the S312's but no-where near subwoofer output levels. I found the S312's to have a much 'fuller' sound that was worth the extra cost and space. I think you'll be happy with either one.

    -----------

    The S-center is excellent as a center speaker. Voices are clear and easily distinguishable. Pay particular attention to the "width" setting of the center if your receiver has this adjustment. I found this made a big difference in voice perception. It seems to control how much the voice range is spread between the center and the two fronts.
     
  12. Will_B

    Will_B Producer

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    Phil, I got the JBL S-Center and while I've only listened to it for one day so far, it passed a test --

    I was on the computer and had an application covering the tv monitor. So I did not know that the sound of a flapping bird was from the program! Upon hearing the sound I turned my head and scanned my room for a stray bird (or bat, as sometimes is the case!) and then realized, hey, that's a quality speaker! On music, I am hearing details like background singers that I never noticed before.

    Eventually, I'll change out the fronts to match the center. But for now, it is acceptable - the center is nearly invisible (as it should be) while still delivering a LOT of information. Lots more than my old center did.

    The sound of the S-Center, while you insist it is very nicely and appropriately flat, is to my ears _relatively_ - relative to my old shrill center spekaer - relatively low pitched (or rather, it delivers the low pitched material very well, I should say - the high pitched sounds come through clear as a bell too). Very nice. Good bass from the front now even when my subwoofer is turned off (as it usually is except during movies).

    ...The speaker is very pretty without the screen on it. Do I really need the screen? Is dust really a problem with a surface that spends most of its time vibrating?
     
  13. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

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  14. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    Just got the JBL S38s off ebay for $245. I'm thinking of buying a Parasound 2ch HCA-800ii for about $100 to power them.

    Any other suggestions on a 2 channel amp or stereo receiver for about $300 for these would be appreciated.

    My friend and I are gonna make speaker stands for them. The JBL S38ii recommends a stand that's 18-26 inches (I'd make the stand 18 inches cause I sometimes sit on the ground). I assume the recommended stand height is the same for both the S38 and S38ii.

    One last question... If I decide to upgrade will I need an S-center or will an S-centerii suffice even though my S38s are not the S38ii version?

    thanks
     
  15. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

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    Great price Chris! Was that for 'new' or MFG's refurbished?
     
  16. Marcus Lewis

    Marcus Lewis Stunt Coordinator

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    How do you have the s38's and s center set? large/small?

    Which is the best for mainly HT but with heavy music?

    Any opinions on using an s38 as a center?
     
  17. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

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  18. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    Got the S38s off a guy in barrington, he said he's had them 3 months and is selling them because he's moving.

    The winner of the auction backed out so I ended up getting them for $245, shipping adds $28 for fedex.

    He said they're in perfect condition with original packaging and box. I'll check them out when they arrive in the mail.
     

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