Why you should add JBL Speakers "N", "E" & "S"-Series to your audition list!
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Speaker shopping?  Energy, Athena sounds like a winner, and so does Paradigm Speaker systems.  They are on your audition list and so why add JBL to your short speaker audition list?

Dr. Floyd Toole is why!  Who's he, you ask?

(excerpt from Stereo Review SEPT. 1998 pg. 112 by Corey Greenberg "The High End" article - actually this whole discussion is based on Corey's article)
"The ripples of Dr. Floyd Toole's groundbreaking work on lab-controlled listening test at Ottawa's National Research Council in the 1980s can be found today in the rapid dominance of such NRC-inspired Canadian speaker lines as Energy, Paradigm, and PSB."
(end of excerpt)

Dr. Toole joined Harman International's new state-of-the-art speaker laboratory in Northridge, California back in 1991, and he's since brought aboard many of his ex-NRC assistants such as Sean Olive and Allan Devantier.  These imported Canadian's best loudspeaker minds were given the job to jump-start JBL.

LAB-CONTROLLED LISTENING TEST
In launching the new Harman Consumer Group Acoustical Engineering Lab,
Dr. Toole has built an NRC-inspired "home away from home" where the Harmanized Canucks can continue to practice their special blend of subjective- and objective-based speaker design.  That's the genius of the NRC and now Harman's Listening Lab**: by using not just measurements but also rigorously controlled listening tests with both audiophiles and civilian listeners, engineers can better correlate measured performance with subjective sound quality and push their designs in directions that listeners repeatedly prefer. 

SUCESSFUL?
(excerpt from Corey's Stereo Review article, listed above)
"To call Harman's Listening Lab the best speaker-evaluation setup I've ever heard is selling it short. ...

In fact, the Listening Lab has already borne fruit.  In a day spent listening to
JBL and Infinity flagship models, the most impressive demo I heard was of JBL's new (remember this article is 1998) HLS610 two-way minispeakers.  Despite their size, the pair I heard sounded bigger and better than most of the megabuck high-end speakers I heard this past January ('98) at the Consumer Electronics Show."
(end of excerpts)
NOTE: I wrote the above INFO originally on May 10, 2000.

**UPDATE: Harman's Listening Lab, a blind-testing room called the Multichannel Listening Lab (MLL**) is used to evaluate prototypes and finished products and compare them to the competition.

The following excerpt is from Scott Wilkinson article "Objective Subjectivity" written for Electronic Musician - July 1, 2001 ...
Click image to read "Objective Subjective" @ EM
Click to read entire article @ Electronic Musician
OBJECTIVE SUBJECTIVE - JULY 1, 2001 by Scott Wilkinson
(start of excerpt) "During a recent visit with several other audio journalists, I participated in a sample test run in the MLL, which was conducted by Sean Olive, manager of subjective evaluation for Harman International. Three consumer speakers were mounted behind the grille cloth: a Boston Acoustics CR8, a B&W DM601, and a JBL S26. At the end of the testing, we learned that most of us had ranked the JBL S26 as the best speaker on most clips ..."
(end of excerpt - to read the entire on-line article, click the em logo or JBL S26 image above)
Click to read the Full 09.07.2003 White Paper on the MLL
**A New Laboratory for Evaluating Multichannel Audio Components and Systems
(click HK logo above)
The design criteria, features and acoustic measurements of a new listening laboratory designed specifically for listening tests on multichannel loudspeakers and components are described. Among its features is a novel automated speaker shuffler that eliminates loudspeaker position effects or allows the variable to be efficiently tested.

Other features include complete computer control of experimental design, control and collection of listener data, making listening tests more reliable and efficient.
AWARDS
JBL's Studio Series S38 & S412P loudspeakers
CEA Innovations 2000 Design and Engineering Award Winner
JBL STUDIO SERIES REVIEWS
JBL S26
Audio Review
Audio Review by Consumers: "Studio Series" JBL S26 Speakers
No Longer On-Line!
Bob Pletka / "EUROTUBES" - ("musician and tube Hi-Fi enthusiast")
"Needless to say we were very impressed ... You can't touch the sound quality of the JBL Studio series with speakers that cost two to three times what the JBL's cost. These are not a mid-Fi speaker, they are truly Hi-Fi." ... about the JBL S26!!!
No longer on-line - see my Objective Benchmark screen capture
May 20, 2000 - Clint Walker HT MAGAZINE "Studio Series" JBL S-Center/S26 Speaker Package
...the JBL system measured very flat in the lab; in fact, it had the flattest response of any ensemble in the roundup. . . . The JBL Studio ensemble offers excellent bang for the buck for those who are looking to get their feet wet in home theater.
Click to read my subjective S26 review
April 21, 2001 - Philip Iturralde (me) posted @ eOpinions ("musician and HT enthusiast")
If you want a speaker that provides excellent imaging, revealing resolution, super flat & wide Pro Monitor like frequency characteristics, the JBL S26 is for you!
JBL S38
Click to read the entire review
June 2001 -  Robert J. Reina - Stereophile JBL S38 Speaker Review
. . . there were two areas in which the JBL S38 performed better than any speaker under $2000/pair I've ever heard:
First was its ability to play at extremely loud volumes without coloration or strain. ...
Second, the
S38 had the widest dynamic contrasts of any budget speaker I've heard.
Click to read the entire review
February 15, 2000 - Mark Fleischmann for etown JBL S38 bookshelf
Value Rating: 90
More than anything I've reviewed in the past year, these speakers revealed my split personality as a listener. As a reviewer, dutifully conscious of the audiophile verities, I'm satisfied that these are very good speakers. But as an increasingly real-world (as opposed to audiophile) listener, I'm excited and intrigued by them.
Click to read the entire review
Amazon.com Editorial Review by Michael Mikesell JBL S38BE Speaker Package
Pros:
- Great sound
- Dynamic prowess
- Impressive imaging.
JBL S310-II
Click to read the entire review
May, 2003 JBL Studio S310II Floor-Standing Speakers by Gabriel Lowe for Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity
Overall, I was impressed with the value for the money that the JBL S310IIs provide. They are suited to a variety of environments, from the college frat house to the home theater in your basement. In fact, I would rate them quite favorably for the home theater application. Detail and the ability to play loud while maintaining quality are the two best traits these speakers have to offer. If your budget is tight, and you don’t want to sacrifice the benefits of having full range left and right channel speakers, these JBLs should be on your list to audition.
JBL S312
Click to read the entire review January 24, 2000 - Mark Fleischmann for etown JBL S312 floorstanding
Value Rating: 80
If you still go two-channel periodically, and want some big speakers to flank your projection TV, the
JBL S312 is worth taking seriously. Just don't expect it to produce the outsized and more adjustable bass available from a powered tower (like JBL's step-up S412P, $1699/pair list). Though it may appear to appeal to a headbanger mentality, this speaker has obviously been designed by, and for, people who actually listen to a wide variety of music. I was pleasantly surprised by its performance.
JBL S412P
Click to read the entire review
Amazon.com Editorial Review by Wayne Garcia JBL S412P Speaker Package
Pros:
- Clear, powerful sound
- Natural frequency balance
- Plays very loud without distortion
- Great bass response
JBL S36 & S-Center
No longer online.
Oct. 28, 2001 -  Mark Knight - JBL S36 & S-Center Speaker Review
5 out of 5 stars
I was instantly very impressed with the
S36 and S-Center studio series from JBL as they  are accurate, neutral sounding speakers. I am also impressed with the clarity and crispness these speakers offer with high's that do not fatigue at all even at very loud listening levels.
Click image to read dba newsline JBL report ...
Click to read about the N24's PRO Studio heritage & technology
JBL N24 JBL NORTHRIDGE-SERIES REVIEWS
Click to read the entire review
April 11, 2000 - Brent Butterworth for etown JBL N24 bookshelf
Performance:
For a speaker of its size and price, I can't find anything that the
N24 really does wrong. But here's
what amazes me about it. First is the bass, which sounds surprisingly full for such a small
speaker . . . -- unlike the SuperZero XU or the ProMonitor 80, this speaker is very easy to match
up with practically any subwoofer.

. . . When you get a listen to the mids, though, you'll forget how good the bass is. I think the
midrange of this speaker may be the cleanest I've heard at $200/pair. . .

Every singer I listened to sounded better even than on a lot of good $1000/pair speakers.

The
JBL's titanium-laminate tweeter is definitely doing something very right, though, because the JBLs out-imaged any other mini I've used in a wall-mount configuration.
Click to read the entier review
Jul/Aug 2000 - Tom Nousaine JBL N24AW Sound & Vision Outdoor Speaker Review
Now this is a hi-fi speaker - and the N24AW looks as good as it sounds.

The
sound was superb . . . Spectral balance was nearly identical to my reference speakers in almost every way except for the bass. Imaging was excellent. Sounds were spread evenly between the speakers and actually spread out beyond them. Ambience reproduction was also excellent in both distribution and spectral content.

The
JBL, . . . speakers are so good that I'd recommend them for any stereo or home theater application, indoors or out. Its $250-a-pair price makes the JBL N24AW a special value
JBL N-Center
Click to read the entire review
July 21, 2000 - Brent Butterworth for etown JBL N-Center channel speaker
The N-Center matches the sound of the N24 extremely well, better than the HTD Level Three center matches the sound of the Level Three bookshelf. That excellent timbre matching lends coherence to the sound of the entire system, making movies seem more like I was hearing them in a real theater, not a home theater.

I noticed a slight "presence peak" in the
N-Center's sound, a mild emphasis in the upper midrange that makes voices more intelligible. . . .it did give the acoustic guitar and vocals a little extra clarity that I think most people will like. . . . for a center speaker in this price range, this is an above-average performance.
JBL NSP1
Click to read the entire review
August 3, 2000 - Brent Butterworth for etown JBL NSP1 speaker system
Look & Feel: This system certainly ranks a notch above most of what's available at this price.

Performance: I've already made detailed performance comments in my reviews of the N24 and
N-Center. All I'll say here is that these speakers work together perfectly as an ensemble. The
timbre matching is as good as any I've heard; that is, outside of systems that consist of five identical speakers.

The
N-Center matches the sound of the N24 extremely well, better than Home Theater Direct's Level Three center matches the sound of its Level Three bookshelf. That excellent timbre matching lends coherence to the sound of the entire system, making movies seem more like I was hearing them in a real theater, not a home theater. As such, I highly recommend the NSP1 home cinema package to anyone looking to get into home theater without emptying his or her bank account in the process.
Click to read the entire review
Amazon.com Editorial Review by Wayne Garcia JBL NSP1 Speaker Package
As for the NSP1 system's sound, starting with music only, the first thing you'll notice is that it produces surprisingly full audio. Jazz CDs sound rich and clear, . . . Trumpets and saxophones come through with terrific, brassy texture and bite,  . . . Vocals are uniformly good--articulate, focused, and well balanced. With orchestral music, the N24s throw a relatively wide soundstage, with more than a hint of depth (that is, of the sonic space extending beyond the speakers).

With DVD-videos, vocal clarity is enhanced by the
N-Center, which does a great job of routing the dialogue to the screen. Considering its small size, the complete NSP1 system exhibits very good dynamics, and JBL's close attention to driver matching yields a seamless transition from speaker to speaker, creating a wonderfully complete sonic environment.

To say that
JBL has a good reputation in the pro-audio world is an understatement. A staggering 70 percent of the world's theaters, concert halls, and recording studios are equipped with JBL speakers. With the NSP1, JBL brings that experience home at a very attractive price. Minor complaints aside, the NSP1 is a sweet little home-theater speaker package
No Longer On-Line! See JAN 2001 Sound & Vision MAG
JAN 2001 - Daniel Kumin JBL NSP1 & PB10 Sound&Vision Mag. Review
- Tonal balance The balance of the front L/R N24 speakers was pleasingly natural with stereo music, . . .Both male and female voices sounded excellent, evenly balanced. . .

- Subwoofer/satellite blending. This was very good - close to excellent.

- Subwoofer performance and extension JBL's PB10 sub, "big" for this price class, played impressively loud and went low indeed. . . .Overall, the JBL sub  was impressive.

- Surround imaging and clarity
The JBL N24/N-Center combo produced a solid front soundstage. The cohesiveness of discrete sounds moving from left to right or right to left was above average, . . .The N-Center speaker kept good, solid male voices fixed onscreen, . . .The N24s worked well in the surround locations.

- Dynamic potential.
The sound was solid up to a loud volume - the satellites 4-inch  (nominally 5-inch) woofers and slightly larger cabinet give them a dynamic edge over most micro satellites with 3-inch drivers - . . ."
(NOTE: The Energy Take 5 has 3-inch drivers
)

- WRAP-UP
This JBL system's value for the money is obvious. Getting such well-balanced sound, with notable bass extension and no salient vices, from a  package  priced just under $900 is impressive.
Click to compare the NSP1's with other Speaker MFG's.
Frequency Response
N-24 front left/right... 89 Hz to 18.9 kHz ±2.7 dB
N-Center.................. 89 Hz to 20 kHz ±5.5 dB
N-24 surround.......... 89 Hz to 18.4 kHz ±3.2 dB
PB-10 subwoofer...... 43 to 124 Hz ±2.1 dB
NOTE: Sound & Vision Speaker Graphs scans and images reproduced on this webpage with permission
from SOUND & VISION - a trademark of Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S., Inc.
Click to read the entire review
May 1-4, 2000 JBL NSP1 Subjective Review by Philip Iturralde (me)
As we watch GalaxyQuest DVD, I immediately noticed that the tonality is perfectly matched from speaker to speaker.  Front-to-back pans were seamless, and dialogue sounded very natural and centered on the TV..., yet still ambient, the way it would sound in a real room with a real actor.  The dynamics filled up the room and the soundstage was extremely expansive.
JBL N28-II
Click to read the entire review
May, 2003 JBL Northridge N28II Bookshelf Speakers by Brett Johnson for Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity
JBL has made an effort to combine the dynamic range of their highly regarded Pro Audio Line into a product that provides exceptional value. They have done a good job of addressing performance for a wide range of musical tastes, which makes the Northridge N28II a good choice. Whether you are looking for a first pair of speakers for your dorm room, or a reasonably priced surround system, these are well worth consideration.
JBL N310-II
Click to read the entire review
May 2, 2003 JBL ND310II Reviewed by Steve Guttenberg for CNET
If you're hankering for big sound, get in your SUV and drive a pair of these speakers home.

The good:
Supersized tower speakers; three-way design with dual 10-inch woofers; black cloth grilles; energetic bass; full sound.
JBL E-SERIES REVIEWS
JBL E20
Click to read the entire review
February 17, 2004 JBL Northridge E Series E20 Reviewed by Steve Guttenberg for CNET
JBL packed a lot of value into this multitalented bookshelf speaker.

The good: Compact but gutsy monitor speaker; 5-inch woofer; titanium 0.75-inch dome tweeter; all-metal connectors.

Tonal balance was, as the Brits would say, polite, that is, neither bright nor dull. And bass response, even without a subwoofer, was pretty decent.

Crosby, Stills, and Nash's harmonized vocals were natural and full, and when we turned up the heat with James Brown's "Cold Sweat," the
E20s boogied like a set of larger speakers. It was the same story on the Men in Black DVD; the E20s more than pulled their weight. They had a poise that's rare in similar-size HTIB speakers.
JBL E-Series HT Package
Click to read the entire on-line article - APR 2004 Sound & Vision Magazine
Click to read the entire review
APRIL 2004 JBL Northridge E Series E20, EC35, E10 & E250P
Reviewed by Al Griffin for Sound & Vision Mag. Review
... dialogue coming from the EC35 center speaker sounded consistently clear even at off-center positions on my couch.

The system rocked on “Dazed and Confused,” capturing the wide dynamics of the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix and imparting a sense of the live performance as the surround speakers enveloped me with the sound of swirling guitars and screaming fans.

The
E20/E250P combination also proved capable of delivering realistic performances on stereo recordings of acoutic instruments.

Priced below $1,600,
JBL’s Northridge E Series system is an amazing value that delivers exceptional sound.
NOTE: Sound & Vision Speaker Graphs scans and images reproduced on this webpage with permission
from SOUND & VISION - a trademark of Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S., Inc.
JBL E90
Click to read the entire review
February 12, 2004 JBL Northridge E Series E90 Reviewed by Steve Guttenberg for CNET
JBL's big speaker sound offers a truly visceral home-theater or music experience.

The good: Towering full-size speaker; three-way design featuring two 8-inch woofers, 4-inch midrange, and 0.75-inch tweeter; dual binding posts.
JBL E100, EC35, E50 and E250P Subwoofer
Click to read the entire review
November 2004 JBL Northridge E Series HT Package Reviewed by Brett Johnson for Secrets of HT & Hi-Fi
The thing that I noticed right away about this system was that they were very easy to listen to. Acoustic guitar, harmonica, and Clapton’s inevitable low neck work on the Strat, were all sounding familiar and tight. They sounded well balanced in surround modes and worked very well on stereo material. The speakers as a group are very efficient and will work well with even modestly powered receivers or amplifiers.

The thing that is undeniable is the
JBL Pro Sound roots of the Northridge Series. ...

The feeling of being there is critically enhanced by the quality of the sound; in this case the
JBL’s do their part well. The EC35 center channel did not wither when pushed up into the mid to high 90’s on the SPL meter. The surrounds filled the room so well, it was hard to imagine that they weren’t all E100’s.
Click image to read review ...
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