Shady Marketing? JBL S36II and S36IIPM -- same speaker?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Dah-Dee, Feb 23, 2004.

  1. Dah-Dee

    Dah-Dee Supporting Actor

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    Recently bought a pair each of the JBL S36II and S36IIPM speakers Best Buy had on sale, and they sure look like the same exact speaker, only difference being the cabinet color [dark gray for the II, silver for the PM] and grill [black fabric for the II, hard silver grill for the PM]. In addition, the specs on JBL's web site are identical with this exception: JBL refers to the cone material of the II as "PolyPlas," and refers to the cone material of the PM as "WeatherPlas." Additional info for each speaker states the same thing, though: woofer/mid cones are constructed of "polymer-coated cellulose fiber."

    I've been involved in the last few days in a discussion revolving around this cone material and these speakers. Other people seem to think that WeatherPlas is a different material from PolyPlas; I think JBL changed the name for the PM cones to fit with their new marketing plan for this speaker, as a niche product -- the PM [Plasma Monitor] and AW [All Weather] sister models are being pushed for inside/outside use, although I did see where the promotional materials for the S36II also talked briefly about the moisture-resistant properties of the cone material. Anyway, this is really bugging me now and I'm hoping for a more informed opinion on this forum. Is WeatherPlas different from PolyPlas, or is it just a marketing gimmick?

    I already e-mailed JBL twice about this, and the first time they told me that "Essentially, the JBL S36II and S36IIPM are the same speaker. These 2 speakers sound identical, and should not have any problems as far as the timbre is concerned."

    Then, in an alleged response to my inquiry as to whether WeatherPlas is the same thing as PolyPlas, they told me, "The S36IIPM literature states that the cone material is a "WeatherPlas", as these speakers can be mounted both indoors and outdoors. The cone is treated with a light coating to allow them to be used outdoors."

    The first JBL statement reinforced my opinion that these are the same exact speaker. How could they sound exactly the same, match in timbre if the cones were manufactured differently?

    The second JBL statement ticked me off, as it seemed they were being intentionally evasive, quoting the same description any of us can see on their website rather than answering my question: Is WeatherPlas simply a new marketing name, replacing PolyPlas, for polymer-coated cellulose fiber? Is it unreasonable to expect a yes/no answer to that question?

    I've e-mailed them again, asking for clarification, again, but would appreciate any insight offered here. Thanks.

    Links:

    JBL S36IIPM product page at JBL.com: http://www.jbl.com/home/products/pro...CheckProduct=Y

    JBL S36II product page at JBL.com: http://www.jbl.com/home/products/pro...CheckProduct=Y
     
  2. Jimi C

    Jimi C Screenwriter

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    WeatherPlas is polyPlas that has been treated to be weather resistant.

    "WeatherPlas(TM) (weather-resistant, polymer-coated cellulose fiber)" - Quote from product description for JBL S36AWII
     
  3. Dah-Dee

    Dah-Dee Supporting Actor

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    Jimi, the website language you quoted is exactly what bugs me. I don't think it says WeatherPlas is specially-treated PolyPlas -- they're the same exact thing: polymer-coated cellulose fiber. It's *always* been weather-resistant!!!

    They just decided to promote that fact more heavily in order to market these as specialty speakers, hence the "weather-resistant" followed by a comma -- they're saying it's weather-resistant cellulose fiber, it's polymer-coated cellulose fiber. Why is it weather-resistant? Because it's polymer-coated! They're being a little tricky. Nowhere does it state, as you did, that "WeatherPlas is polyPlas that has been treated to be weather resistant." It's just something they expect us sheep to assume from the wording.
     
  4. Jesse Sharrow

    Jesse Sharrow Supporting Actor

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    Think the Weather Plas is just an outdoor version of the same speaker. In car audio we have infinity kappa's and infinity kappa marines. Same speaker just the marines use a weather resistant basket, grill, and cone material.
     
  5. Michael__M

    Michael__M Stunt Coordinator

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    Maybe it is just a very light coat of moisture repellant. Like Scotchguard spray for your carpet, you can't see it. Why does it bug you so much anyways? Did you pay more for the PW's than the non-PW's?
     
  6. Dah-Dee

    Dah-Dee Supporting Actor

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    Jesse, I see what you're saying, but in this case JBL states both cones are made of the same material -- polymer-coated cellulose fiber. The basket is also the same; only the grill has changed.

    Michael, you may be right, I just want to hear that from JBL. I suspect, however, that nothing has changed except for their marketing strategy, that these are the same exact cones. They've always been moisture-resistant -- the original S36II promo materials discussed it. Not sure why it's bugging me except that JBL failed to answer directly what I considered to be a simple question: Is WeatherPlas the same material as PolyPlas?
     
  7. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    I don't even think they are really marketing the S36IIPMs that heavily as outdoor. I think they're really pushing them as wall-mountable speakers to go along side Plasma displays. I think the distinction PM even stands for "Plasma Monitor". They marketed the S36IIAWs as outdoor speakers and I'm sure they would do just fine for the purpose regardless of the wording. When you're dealing with made-up terms like "Polyplas" and "Weatherplas" then whoever makes up the terms (JBL) can define them however they want. There are other words in the English language that sound like polar opposites but mean the exact same thing (flammable and inflammable is the best example i can think of).

    I think you're getting hung up on nothing, but to each his own. If it really upsets ya then why not take the speakers back. I suppose you enjoy the sound and that's what really matters, so maybe you should let the semantics of proprietary terminology slide.
     
  8. Jesse Sharrow

    Jesse Sharrow Supporting Actor

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    Are the PM's like $1000 more money? If they are the same price who cares! [​IMG]
     
  9. Michael__M

    Michael__M Stunt Coordinator

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    John- RELAX!! You gotta let the small things slide so you have enough left for the big things. Your HT is supposed to take your worries away, not creat them.
     
  10. Dah-Dee

    Dah-Dee Supporting Actor

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    Stephen, Jesse, Michael, you're all right, I need to relax, let it slide. I'll leave JBL (and you guys) alone after they respond to my last e-mail -- whether or not I feel they've actually answered my question. Deal?
     
  11. MattD

    MattD Stunt Coordinator

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    Good Idea! [​IMG]
     
  12. Dah-Dee

    Dah-Dee Supporting Actor

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    ... said the vast-conspiracy-covering JBL customer service representative posing as a wisecracking HTF member.... [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
  13. MattD

    MattD Stunt Coordinator

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    I knew I'd get exposed eventually. [​IMG]


    BTW... Does anyone know what JBL will be replacing the S-CenterII with?
     
  14. Dah-Dee

    Dah-Dee Supporting Actor

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    Yeah, yeah, like you don't already know per the interoffice memo....it's the S-CenterIIPM!
     

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