Please help...JBL N series vs. S series

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Kevin Jr, Jan 7, 2003.

  1. Kevin Jr

    Kevin Jr Extra

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    OK...I have spent the last several months reading thousands of post about HT speakers and all of the suggestions, comments, etc. of this extremely well-informed group. I narrowed my choices down to a few different set-ups and then set out to listen to them. I have now narrowed by decision to either (i) the JBL NSPI's with the Sony WM-40 (a very popular combo here) or (ii) the JBL S-Center with 2 pairs of S26's (I'd likely get the same WM-40 but may have to wait a bit). My goal was to keep my budget at or around $700 but would prefer to stay even lower if the qualitative difference isn't that great. While I have spent way too much time on this forum already (this place is quite addicting!!) I am not really a true audiophile. I have a new Pioneer 811s to drive the speakers and plan on upgrading my current 27" analog JVC TV to a 32"-36" HD set in the next couple of months. I mostly watch DirecTV and DVD's with some XBOX. We play music only a few times each month.

    Anyhow, all that being said, I have reached a point where I have completely confused myself. Is it worth spending the extra few hundred dollars on the S series or, given that any upgrade is going to greatly improve on my current set up, will I likely be just as happy with the N series.

    I appreciate all of your help and thoughts!

    Thanks
     
  2. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    My experience is with the floorstanders, but it might apply also to bookshelves. I listened to the N310s, S310s and S312s in the store and was surprised to find that I liked the sound of the N310 best. Unfortunately, when I took them home, they didn't sound very good. I then exchanged for the S312s and they sounded much better at home, right from the getgo. I tend to favor a brighter sound than most people, and the S series seems to lean more in that direction. I'm sure Phil will be by to educate you further in a moment. [​IMG]
     
  3. CraigEG

    CraigEG Agent

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    Any upgrade will certainly imporve your setup and i believe you wil be happy with the n series. you may be happier with the s series however. I was in your position not to long ago, and my decision came down to this- This was ultimatley going to be my first real fray into the HT world and thus going to be an entry level system that in 12-18 months I would probably be upgrading or replacing. With that in mind I went with the less expensive system with the sub that I could take home and play with right away instead of piceing it together with no sub first and adding it later. ( I listen to about 30% music and I felt like the sub would be important with the type of music I listen to.) All in all I am very happy with my purchase, though my 12-18 month upgrade calender hasn't hanged!

    PS- I got n26's fr my mains they had an extra inch i believe in the woofer and the wood box just loked better as well for my tastes in my setup.
    good luck

    Craig
     
  4. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

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  5. Chris Huber

    Chris Huber Second Unit

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    Just got done going to Best Buy to test the ND310s and the N38's. Both highs/mids sounded harsh. Just ordered the S312II from JandR for $300 each to the door. Should arrive this weekend...

    The S class is way better to my ear. Tested with Jazz/Rock/Pop.

    BTW, I was die hard set on ND310II at first.

    Chris
     
  6. WilliamG

    WilliamG Supporting Actor

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    Kevin,
    I've had my NSP1 since June and have really enjoyed it so far. I opted for the PB12 sub instead of the Sony only because I wanted a 'matched' set. I still can't believe the realism of the sound for the money I spent. That said, many here have the Sony and are happily satisfied with it. I do recommend that you spend some time at Phil's site. He really helped me a lot in my decision and wouldn't steer you wrong. Maybe you could hold off and save up a few more $ if you aren't in a hurry.[​IMG]
     
  7. Frank Carter

    Frank Carter Screenwriter

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    I think the JBL Northridge are one of the best batgains in home audio. I personally think you'llbenefit more from saving money and getting the NSP-1 package and dumping most of the money in a quality subwoofer. The Sony SA-WM40 is good for the money, but that doesn't make it a good subwoofer. Within your price range, you could get the NSP-1 package and the Adire Audio Rava. In the future, you might want to upgrade to larger Northridge fronts and move the extra pair of N24's to the rears for 7.1 since your receiver is capable of it.
    BTW, auctions for the NSP-1 package from ebay seller:harmanaudio go for a little cheaper shipped than what Phil mentioned. I got a set for a friend for $244 shipped and since it's from Harman, you have the warranty.
     
  8. Kevin Jr

    Kevin Jr Extra

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    Thanks to everyone for your comments. I think I am leaning toward the NSP1 package with the WM-40 sub...for now. Hopefully I will upgrade everything some day and have a dedicated HT room. For now, I think the NSP1 will serve me very well and will not break the bank either.

    I guess I now really need to figure out whether to get the WM-40 or the SW15 (I think the Rava may be out of price range given the rest of my set up). I have found it hard to demo subs...which of these 2 subs do you all think I would enjoy more. (I know they are both very popular here. I also note that Ubid hasn't been carrying the SW15 lately...only the SW8).

    Thanks again,
    Kevin
     
  9. Jason Hammerly

    Jason Hammerly Supporting Actor

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    Where are you located? I'm thinking about selling my JBL N series setup that consists of the N center, N38's and the N24's for rears. I'm in Central Iowa. Shoot me an email if interested. Jason
     
  10. Kevin Jr

    Kevin Jr Extra

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    Jason,

    I sent you an e-mail. Let me know of you did not receive it.

    Thanks,
    Kevin
     
  11. Frank Carter

    Frank Carter Screenwriter

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    Out of those two subs, I'd pick the SW-15. But I hope you realize that it's a BIG sub.
    A lot of people on the forum consider the DLS-10 to be the best budget sub around right now. One individual on the forum recently compared it to the Sony and found it to be better for music and HT. Besides that it's gotten praise form members whose word holds a lot of weight around here. The best part about it is it's only $99 from www.partsexpress.com.
     
  12. Kevin Jr

    Kevin Jr Extra

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    OK...I have a new twist.

    My wife has stated that she will not allow black surrounds so I have to stick to white. (Currently I have some Klipsch Quintets (or something like that) that seem to be ok). Anyhow, I don't think the NSP1 package comes in white (please let me know if it does) so I am now thinkink of getting the S Center and either the S26's or S38's for the mains. (I think I am also leaning toward the DLS-10 when it gets back in stock at PartsExpress.) I will then leave my current surrounds in place for a while and replace them with either (i) a pair of white N24's or (ii) a pair of white S36AW's.

    Any thoughts on how the N24's would work as surrounds with S mains and S center?

    Thanks to everyone for the help.

    Kevin
     
  13. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

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    After my experience with identical speakers anchoring the Fronts R&L and Surround R&L (2-1/2 years using the JBLS NSP1), I knew when I updated to the JBL S-Series, I would at the very least get identical speakers for the Fronts & Surrounds. It's basically based on Dolby Labs official recommendation in their 5.1-Channel Production Guidelines:
    So, you can mix and match if you want but after using the JBL N24 @ my surround location for 3-days, (mains = JBL S26 / JBL S-Center; until I could get the wall-hanging hardware for my designated surround JBL S26's), it was very obvious that there was a difference with the overall HT sound character voice & presence** between the ...
    N-Series ¾" Titanium Laminate Dome
    vs.
    S-Series 1" Pure Titanium Dome tweeters.
    Especially with - **DD/DTS-5.1 surround panning effects -
    1) Front to Rear;
    2) Left Front crossing to overhead Center panning to Right Surround; etc.
    3) "Dragonheart" 360º effects - Draco talking to the knight about 'old knights code!
    I achieved SEAMLESS (keyword for Cinema HT experience ) **DD/DTS-5.1 surround panning effects with ...
    .... a) JBL NSP1 (four N24 & N-Center) HT Package++
    .... b) JBL S26 (four) & S-Center / SVS 25-31PCi
    ++I moved my JBL NSP1's packaged up to my vacation house & as a set, it sounds glorious! (w/200w 15" AudioSource SW15).
    So, IMHO if you're leaning towards purchasing the JBL S-Center, I would recommend using four JBL S36's* (*Black set = Mains / White set = Surrounds).
    For a subjective review using six JBL S36's & S-Center (7.1 HT setup w/dual SVS's), read HTF member Mark Knights review here ...
    ... select JBL S36's & S-Center Studio Series Speakers.
    Have fun deciding,
    Phil
     
  14. CraigEG

    CraigEG Agent

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    the n24AW's are white
     
  15. Robert James Clark

    Robert James Clark Second Unit

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    Also look at the S36AW (all weather) version which comes only in white at the Harman Kardon factory outlet on Ebay. I got my pair there for $121 plus $18 shipping.

    They also have very cool built-in mounting for surround use...
     
  16. Kevin Jr

    Kevin Jr Extra

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    Robert-

    Thanks for the advice re the S36AW's. These actually are the exact speakers I wanted; however, I haven't been able to find them at the price you mentioned. (If I could find them at that price I would probably get 3 pair and put one pair in another room or even outside.)

    I checked harmanaudio's e-bay store but these speakers aren't shown as being for sale. When did you get yours? This could be a very attractive option.

    Kevin
     
  17. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

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    I rarely get bytes when I recommend this. But just incase you never came across it in your thousands of posts I'll mention it.
    DIY (do it yourself).
    http://www.speakerpage.com/K05B50.htm
    5 of these with precut baffles (the hardest part) would run you $240. Then buy:
    http://www.acoustic-visions.com/295185.htm
    http://www.acoustic-visions.com/300792.htm
    http://www.acoustic-visions.com/accessories.htm (FP4)
    Total will be around $220. New total is up to $460. Rest of the required construction materials will run you $30 to $100 depending on if you can find cheap or free sonotube (if you decide to use sonotube for the sub). So
     
  18. EricM

    EricM Auditioning

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    I had the same 'Wife Acceptance Factor' dilemma you did. I wanted the NSP-1 but my wife wanted the rear surrounds to be white. I ended up getting what was ultimately the nsp-1 package but in my case was the: N-Center, 2 N24's, and 2 N24AW's. It ended up being about $80 more than the NSP-1 package but worth it to me for the white speakers. I also got the Sony sub. We have our HT set up in our family room (18 x 13). I am using an Onkyo TXSR600 and I have been very happy with the performance. My crowning moment was when I was playing Star Wars AOTC and our 4 year old daughter (who was in another room) yelled to me "Daddy...I'm scared!" [​IMG]
     
  19. Robert James Clark

    Robert James Clark Second Unit

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    Kevin,
    You, of course, have to bid on them, and my winning price was the lowest I've seen. Usual winning price from HK is about $135-$150 a pair ($18 shipping).
    If there is no S36AW in there current list of products, just wait a few days, they always come up.
    Here's the link for JBL's ebay factory store.
    I actually ended up returning mine (they have a 30 day return policy)as they were not an exact sonic match for my JBL S38's, so I have ordered two more pair of S38's from Etronics, they will be here Monday. Then I will have 6 identical speakers for my DVD Audio discs for a complete sonic "bubble"! (Obsessed, I know)
     

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