See a Classic, Redefined: the JBL L100
Prepare to be Blown Away with JBL Synthesis’ Legendary Loudspeaker
Note: We originally wrote this blog in 2018, almost 50 years after the JBL L100 loudspeaker was released. However, this technology disappeared for a while, to the dismay of audiophiles everywhere. 2018 marked the year that JBL, more specifically JBL Synthesis, announced that it was bringing the L100 back.
Two years later, even when looking at the wider selection of speaker options, does this one still hold up? We’ll discuss the nostalgic qualities that the JBL L100 imparts and how it still attracts modern buyers. Then, we’ll highlight some of the state-of-the-art engineering features that reinvented the speaker (Hint: You still get analog control features!) and ensures that it delights even the most selective audiophiles.
If you were of age in the 1980s, you might remember some of the advertising of the era. It was the last decade before the Internet age; a time where the primary media was print and TV, and a time that Facebook, YouTube, and online banner ads that tracks your every online move didn’t exist. Who could forget the famous Orwellian TV spot in the 1984 Super Bowl that introduced the Apple Macintosh?
There was another memorable ad that captured the imagination then. It was an ad for Maxell cassette tapes. Maxell made some of the highest quality tape at the time, and it was prized by audio enthusiasts as a quality way to make the vinyl music of the day portable. The ad captured the excitement of music listening, with a period-hip fellow getting “blown away” by the high-fidelity sound of Maxell tape.
If you’ve read this far, you may be wondering why we are talking about cassette tape; something replaced long ago by everything digital. You see, the speaker pictured in that ad was the JBL L100. A hugely popular speaker in the 1970s and 1980s, to this day it remains the best-selling speaker in JBL’s long history. Its unique foam square design grill made it instantly recognizable, and it was known as a great speaker for rocking out. Maybe one of your friends had a pair, and if that was the case, it likely evokes fond musical memories of your youth.
But you don’t have to live on memories, and if you are too young to remember the original L100, you’re still in luck.
JBL has decided to bring the L100 back, aptly naming it the L100 Classic. The new model hews true to the original iconic design both in form and function, but it has been resurrected as a product of JBL Synthesis, which is the high end of JBL and part of parent company’s Harman Luxury Audio group. That means it’s not just the great party and rock and roll speaker which may have blown you away in the 1980s – it is a serious speaker worthy of the HiFi stereo system in your favorite Alpharetta or Metro Atlanta listening room.
Best of all, GHT Group’s Marietta experience center is currently the only showroom in the Atlanta area where you can see and hear the new JBL L100 Classic. Do you need any more reasons to visit us? Learn more about the JBL L100 Classic below.
SEE ALSO: GHT Group Product Review: McIntosh MA252
The speaker has a truly classic design that invokes the ‘70s and ’80s. It looks retro but still modern at the same time. While JBL calls it a bookshelf model, you’ll need some big bookshelves as they are 15 inches wide and 14.6 inches deep and weighing 60 pounds, they’re closer to mid-towers. The solid MDF cabinets are covered in genuine satin walnut veneer, reminiscent of the natural wood surfaces that predated modern all-black finishes. JBL also offers some matching metal stands that fit the style and rake the speakers up slightly, making them look and sound great when set up with them. The vintage Quadrex foam grill, available in ‘70s orange and blue as well as a more demure black, complete the recreation of the iconic design.
Classic But Modern Engineering
The original L100 was a fun, great-sounding, and incredible popular speaker, but it was not considered a HiFi speaker for audio enthusiasts. That has definitely changed. JBL has employed tried and true audio design to remake the L100 without resorting to exotic materials or esoteric designs. The powerful 12-inch woofer uses a white pure pulp cone in a cast frame in a traditional bass-reflex enclosure. The midrange is also pure pulp, and the tweeter is titanium with a soft surround which borrows from current JBL offerings. The V-brace internal bracing comes from recent JBL speakers and adds to the cabinets strength and inertness; it will pass your knuckle rap test.
As a unique twist for a modern speaker, JBL also added controls which let you moderate the midrange and high-frequency drivers, in a nod to the original L100. A knob that you actually turn to dial up or down the mids and highs is yet another analog touch in today’s digital audio world. The L100 borrows from classic analog engineering and materials of the past, but the engineering team has used the benefit of Harman’s considerable expertise to create a design that is thoroughly up to date and equal to today’s high-end audio standards.
Classic HiFi Sound
The JBL L100 speaker is still fun just like the original. Only now the high-quality components and engineering within deliver exceptional sound quality with any type of music; vocals, acoustic, classical, and yes, rock and roll are all accurately rendered but with the lively sound that has made JBL a favorite brand for decades. It is exciting but uncolored, with a neutral response, and it will play loud without fatigue. This is a speaker that is superb for traditional two-channel listening, where you can just get lost in musical reverie and forget about the speaker.
As an added plus, the JBL L100 Classic costs the same as the original from 1970 when adjusted for inflation, while the sound quality far outdistances its predecessor. Experience the sound of the new JBL L100 classic at GHT Group. You may just be blown away – again.
Ready to experience the new and improved JBL L100 in 2020? Please call us at (770) 955-8909, contact us here, or click the live chat button below to connect with us right away. We look forward to serving you.