If you’re looking for a monitor that goes loud and low, and has excellent high-frequency performance, JBL’s new range might just fit the bill.
In much the same way that Tannoy are iconically associated with traditional studio monitoring in the UK, over the pond in the US, a similarly iconic status belongs to JBL. As the man originally behind both Altec Lansing and JBL, James Bullough Lansing was one of the founding fathers of the US audio industry and right up to the last decades of the 20th Century, monitors that carried his initials, or at least incorporated drive units that did, were probably as commonplace in studios as Yamaha NS10s subsequently became. As monitoring hardware diverged, however, into desktop, bedroom, nearfield, midfield and main sub-species, and choices expanded to include active speakers and numerous new entrants to the market, JBL’s preeminent position, just like Tannoy’s, began to fade. Having said that, JBL are still a major player across the live sound, pro audio and consumer audio sectors, and their two newest active nearfield monitor products, the 708P and 705P, are the review subjects here.
It’s been four years years since we’ve covered any JBL monitoring products; the last occasion being Paul White’s review of the LSR3 series in SOS February 2014. The LSR3 series is very much JBL’s entry-level proposition, and not only has technology moved on in the intervening years, the 7 series is also significantly more ambitious in terms of performance and functionality. There’s no mistaking the lineage, however, or that the 7 series are products of a US design ideology. There’s somehow an inescapable element of bling apparent in their blacker-than-black surfaces and perforated metal grilles. The asymmetric tweeter waveguide also dominates visually and gives the monitors a “look at me!” kind of vibe. So there’s nothing shy and retiring about the 7 series, but strangely, their electroacoustic fundamentals actually have something...
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