Klipsch vs. Jbl

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by David Ruggiero, May 29, 2003.

  1. David Ruggiero

    David Ruggiero Stunt Coordinator

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    I am in the process of updating my main and center speakers. I wish to get bookshelf speakers, preferably not too expensive. Currently I am using the small speakers included in the Sony HT-DDW840. I have it narrowed down to two or three choices, none of which I can find a dealer nearby to audition them so I am basing my selection of off reviews and recomendations.

    Choice #1: 2 Klipsch SB-3's for left and right and Klipsch SC-1 Center channel for about $470.00

    Choice #2: 2 Jbl S-38's for left and right channel and S-Center for the center channel for about $380.00

    Possible Choice #3: 2 Klipsch RB-3's for left and right and Klipsch RC-3 Center channel for about $630.00

    So I guess I need to know do the Klipsch in choice #1 sound better then the Jbl's in choice #2? If the Klipsch are better then the Jbl's, are the Reference series in choice #3 worth the extra money over the Synergy series in choice #1? Choice #3 is little more then I want to spend but if it is worth it... : )
     
  2. RickBlacker

    RickBlacker Stunt Coordinator

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    Dave, I would recommend going over to the Kipsch forum. There are several people that have used/owned JBL as well as Klipsch. You might have luck over there if you don't get a question here. I personally don't have an answer for you because I have never auditioned any of the speakers you mentioned but I do run Klipsch.
     
  3. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    My opinion:

    I'd pick the JBL Studios S38s over low model Klipsches any day. I'd even pick them over the Ref3 line.

    I am so pleased with my (retired) S38s I have decided to treat the crossovers to an upgrade with some higher quality capacitors and resistors, plus dampen the enclosure.

    The speakers are very smooth and neutral sounding. They have a somewhat studio accurate type of sound, even at high volumes. The midrange and tweeter can sound a bit condensed when compared to higher end speakers. This is comparing them to speakers that go for $1,500. The soundstage is also not as crisp and isolated as very high end models. The EOS waveguid seems to allow for a fairly large sweet spot which is good for an audience.

    The S38 bass is clean, and accurate, and the highs are smooth yet not laid back like some speakers. Compared to the Klipsch, the highs are neutral while the Klipsch tweeter/crossover tends to be designed on the bright side.

    I find Klipsch to be more ear fatiguing, but very forward sounding. They have a bit of coloration to the highs that some may call detail. I do admit that their higher sensitivity can be a good thing. I do find it somewhat distracting in that vocals can sound artificial and almost "small horn" sounding. They are also a lot more picky when mating them with an amp or receiver. The Jbl studios seem to do well with just about any type of amplification.

    As for aesthetics, the JBLs have a large brick like shape that may not fit on the average bookshelf. Klipsch bookshelves are better proportioned for placement.
     
  4. DanielM

    DanielM Stunt Coordinator

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    what do your ears and wallet like?? thats what I would buy..........I have klipsch I like them..............
     
  5. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

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    I'd choose 2 over 1 (I've owned both). Not sure about 3 over 2 though. Haven't heard the Reference series. Give them a listen and decide for yourself if the price difference is justified by the sonic difference.
     
  6. Frank Carter

    Frank Carter Screenwriter

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    IMO, I think choice 3 will provide the best sound, but only your ears can decide if the extra $ is worth it. You might be able to find the Klipsch Reference series cheap now because the lower line is being replaced. Klipsch recently introduced a new less expensive Reference bookshelf, floorstanding, center, and surround models that's might be out alreay, look into those as well because the newer models might be in your budget(I don't know the prices though).

    As much as I love Klipsch, I think I'd give the nod to the JBL Studio series over choice 1. However, if you don't mind used speakers, I feel the older synergy(KSF series) would be a much choice than the JBL's(to my ears at least).

    What are you using to power your speakers with? Klipsch speakers tend to be a bit more finicky than others with whats feeding them.
     
  7. David Ruggiero

    David Ruggiero Stunt Coordinator

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    Frank,

    Right now I am using a Sony Str-k84op which came as part of a home theater in a box. It is 100 watts per channel. I will upgrade this eventually, but right now I feel that getting better speakers will give me the most improvement. I use my system mainly for movies, sometimes for music (hard rock/heavy metal mostly) and the little satellite speakers I have now aren't cutting it, especially for music.

    Dustin,

    If you could can you tell me why you preferred the Jbl's over the Klipsch Synergy's? Since you have owned both and made a direct comparison I am really interested in your reply.
     
  8. BenK

    BenK Stunt Coordinator

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    I would get them in this order:

    #1: 2 Klipsch RB-3's for left and right and Klipsch RC-3 Center channel for about $630.00 By far

    #2: 2 Jbl S-38's for left and right channel and S-Center for the center channel for about $380.00

    #3: 2 Klipsch SB-3's for left and right and Klipsch SC-1 Center channel for about $470.00


    The reference series Klipsches are excellent speakers for the money and are hard to beat on efficiency.
     
  9. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    I'd take #2. I think the S38s are untouchable in their price range. Having spent a fair amount of time w/ Klipsch and now with JBL, I'd stick w/ the JBLs.
     
  10. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

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    I just found the JBLs to have a cleaner more detailed sound than my KSB1.1 and SC1. They also imaged better. The Klipsch got really shrill when pushed and longer sessions at moderate to louder levels gave me a headache. It's partly due to the lower sensitivity, but my amp will give out before the JBL's will (that will change if I ever get the Parasound amps I want).

    I also didn't feel they had enough low end to properly mate with an 80hz crossover to a sub. But I don't think that would be a problem with the SB3 (still a problem with the SC1 though).
     
  11. David Ruggiero

    David Ruggiero Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, judging by the responses so far I think I'm going to go with the Jbl's. I must admit I am suprised though, for some reason I thought more people would pick the Klipsch.
     
  12. Chris Elm

    Chris Elm Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes.
     
  13. Tekara

    Tekara Supporting Actor

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    I am the very proud owner of klipsch speakers and I without hesitation will tell you that they are not for everyone. the horns that klipsch uses produces a very "different" sound from other speakers.

    I wouldn't bother with the synergy line, just deal with the reference line.

    Even though I really like my klipsch speakers, I would highly reccomend auditioning a set before you actually go out and buy them. you may find that you don't like the klipsch sound.
     
  14. Mark Hedges

    Mark Hedges Second Unit

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    I have upgraded my DDW840 w/ JBL S series speakers (S-centerII and S36's). I am very pleased with them.

    Mark
     
  15. HienD

    HienD Stunt Coordinator

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    I audition the klipsch refrence and synergy bookshelfs a few weeks back. The Klipsch has a very distinct sound. I found them very detailed and great for movies. The vocals were also very clear. But their music performance was less then stellar. I found them not very musical. I would spend the extra on the reference series, much better sound.
     
  16. Tim L

    Tim L Second Unit

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    I would go with the rb3's I use 2 pair in a mini setup and they are awesome for home theater and music- very detailed- there is none of the so-called brightness that is affailated with horns- this rings more true for some of the older heritage line of Klipsch speakers. The RC3 is also a great center channel speaker- they pair up together very nicely
    Tim
     
  17. Robert James Clark

    Robert James Clark Second Unit

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    I currently own and use #2, (also in back) and could not be more pleased.

    I am surprised how detailed they are and how much they remind me of several high end speakers I have heard at the various Stereophile High-end audio shows...
     
  18. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    I would be very interested in modifying the Klipsch Synergy crossovers and changing the capacitors to some high quality ones. I think this could smooth out the highs and clean the sound up.

    I may do this on a friends bookshelfs when I see him this summer and I'll post if anything happens.
     
  19. David Ruggiero

    David Ruggiero Stunt Coordinator

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    Well it's been a little under a month since I've bought the S-38's. I loved them so much for the fronts (along with the s-center) that I bought 2 more for the rear. They sound much better then the little satellite speakers that came with my Sony Htib. And even though they sounded great with my cheap Sony receiver, I recently bought a Harman Kardon receiver Avr-525 and they sound a lot better yet! I can definitely recommend the S-38's (and the Harman Kardon Avr-525) to anyone looking to upgrade from a Htib system.

    Now, to convince my wife we need an SVS sub.... [​IMG]
     
  20. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    David:

    Good job. I recently picked up my 2nd pair of S38s at closeout for under $200, and brought them to the office. They're great speakers. [​IMG]
     

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