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Replacement for JBL Northridge E Series

 

Bronze Member
Username: Mathgeek

Post Number: 17
Registered: Dec-06
My current 5.1 setup is made of speakers from JBL's E series (e250p sub, e90 front, ec35 center, e30 surrounds). I want to add a surround back pair, but the E Series has been discontinued as is very hard to find used. My hope was to find four e10 speakers, but I'm having little luck.

Does any one have a suggestion for a suitable match to my current setup. I'm considering using the e30's for a bookshelf in another room, so I'll probably buy four surround speakers to go with the e250p, ec35, and e90's.

If it's relevant, my room is 12x18 and I use a Pioneer VSX1015TX 120 Watt amp. I'd like the surrounds to be wall mountable.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17826
Registered: May-04
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Though some folks might disagree, surround speakers just aren't that important. They carry so little information, most of it ambient in nature, that timbre matching is, IMO, not important. If this were a THX spec'd system with all THX approved components and set up according to THX recommendations, then I might put a bit more emphasis on matching speakers. As is, JBL should have a house sound that is very similar to your older speakers. Buy some new JBL surrounds and I'd bet you'll be happy.


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Bronze Member
Username: Mathgeek

Post Number: 18
Registered: Dec-06
Thanks for the advice, Jan.

JBL's new wall mountable surrounds are either made of plastic (ES10) or exceed my budget for surrounds (l810 or studio 210 will run $700-$1000 for four).

Any wall-mountable suggestions for a slightly lower budget that would still pair well as surrounds for the JBLs? I know you said timber matching isn't critical for surrounds, but I do occasionally listen to SACD and DVD-A music.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17840
Registered: May-04
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Dave, sorry for the delay, things have been busy lately. Personally, I wouldn't be concerned about the enclosure type in a speaker. MDF is not chosen as the typical material for a speaker box due to its sound properties. It is used because it's cheap, stable and consistent - it's easy to work with. It has no voids which might be present in plywood or "real wood" so it is less likely to have product to product to product variations. It does, however, have the ability to overdamp the sound of a driver and can lead to a less than truthful representation of what is being fed to the speaker system. Plastics and such have more flexibility in manufacture and can be molded without the compromises found in MDF enclosures. It's really possible to design a better sounding speaker using something other than MDF.

The goals for music systems and video systems are not completely aligned. Dipole surrounds are better suited to video sources when the ambient sounds should work to dissolve the existing room. Monopole systems are better suited to music, in most cases, if the desire is for source localization. That, however, goes to the competing goals of how music has been mixed on multi-channel devices. Calssical material as a rule has no such source localizations beyond the front channels. IOW, you don' hear a cello suddenly appear in the left rear corner of your room. Pop and rock mixes though tend to have instrumental sounds coming from anywhere and everywhere. If you are primarily listening to classical music only a dipole speaker can still be the preferred system.

There are a few speaker systems which can be switched between dispersion patterns but they are truly not that useful when you have to remember to switch your speakers before you play each disc. Timbre matching is, IMO, still not that important in most systems. Room position will alter the character of the speaker's output to such an extant that room sound will change the character of the front to rear balance. If your surrounds are mounted high on the wall, then the dispersion pattern of the drivers will result in a frequency balance which does not match your front speakers. The exception to this rule is, obviously, a dedicated room in which you place five identical, full range speakers equidistant from your listening position.

In short, I really wouldn't be overly concerned about how closely your surrounds match your fronts. This isn't a dedicated music system and it isn't a THX system. Outside of those two instances, I see no need for anything other than a decent approximation of good sound from the rear speakers.



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