JL Audio component speakers - the best kept secret?
There must be something wrong with me. I had a very nice system put in my car, featuring MB Quart PCE216 in the front and RSD 216's in the back, and a 12" subwoofer. Problem is, I don't like the sound of the speakers. They sound great with music that is very over-produced, like pop/rock, where high frequencies are desired. But the tweeters are way harsh to my ears, and the midrange is really lacking.
So, I decided to head down to a Tweeter store and check out what they carry. I listened to the Boston Z6 and it was a little better, but still not what I was looking for in the midrange.
Then the dealer said, "tell me what you think of this one" and he switched to some JL Audio XR650's. I didn't even know JL made component speakers. They blew me away with how clean the midrange was, and how three dimensional the sound stage was. The off axis response was awesome. The tweeters weren't harsh, but were just nice and smooth. I couldn't believe that these speakers were sounding better to my ears than the $1000 Bostons and even the QSD from MB Quart.
Now, I know that sound quality is very subjective, and my MB's don't sound bad at all. But I really preferred the JL XR's, and the fact that they're only $379 seems really strange. Why are they so much cheaper than the competition?
And my next question relates to the upcoming ZR series, which is slated to come out next month in April. Any idea how much better those might be, and would my little Alpine 50W x 4 amp be enough for a pair of ZR's and a pair of XR's in the back?
The price isn't bad at all for what you're getting, MB Quarts are handmade in Germany and it drives the price up, while JLs drivers are also made in Germany, you're not paying for "German Engineering" as a marketing tool. Anyway, SQ is very subjective, the XRs are a very nice set. The off axis is really so-so if you're talking about factory locations, usually 24db/oct crossovers lend themselves better for off-axis installs, just in my experience, while the off axis is good, it's not the best either. Those Boston Zs are better for that. In the price range of the XRs, you should also look at Adire Audio Kodas, very good SQ, better for off axis installs, better midbass, a smoother tweeter, just a very nice component set overall.
Hey Jonathan, do you have any info about the JL ZR's? The website says available in April. Just wondering if you have heard them yet, or know anyone who has.
I believe you can already get the ZRs under special order, they're just not mass produced and stocked in stores yet. I believe Tweeter and their subsidiaries can get them. From what I've heard people say from CES, they're an improvement, but nothing drastic over the XRs. I really can't say much more than that since I haven't heard them firsthand. If it's true, though, I'd look into Dynaudios, Focals, DLS, Adire Kodas, etc. online.