Batten down the hatches, the JBL L890s are in town. This mean pair of speakers certainly packs a punch, so be prepared for some complaints from the neighbours if you push the L890s to their limits. The L890 is at the top end of JBL's new Studio L range and the idea behind this range was to bring studio performance to the everyday consumer. They certainly left an impression on us, and everyone else within 100m.
- Good looks, great sound, reasonable price
- Slightly flat mid-range sound at lower volumes
An excellent choice for anyone wanting speakers that marry performance with power
Price$ 2,499.00 (AUD)
Firstly, the L890's design sets it apart from the crowd. Many people are content to use their home entertainment system or a cheap micro HiFi for playing music, but the differences are immediately obvious when using speakers such as these. The L890 is a four-way speaker, meaning that sound is split up into low, mid, high and ultra-high frequency sound. For the most part this doesn't have a great impact on the quality of the sound, but the addition of a special high-frequency driver means that music is reproduced with exceptional clarity and sharpness. There is also no need for a separate subwoofer as is found with home theatre systems. Dual 100mm woofers in each speaker provide more than enough bass, easily outperforming most dedicated subwoofers. The combination of multiple drivers produces sound with great warmth and a good overall balance with no part of the aural spectrum dominating the rest. Though this is predominantly true, one slight discrepancy would be that the mid range occasionally feels a little flat, especially at lower volume levels. This is really a minor complaint though as the quality of the sound more than compensates for this slight issue.
Aesthetically JBL has done a decent job too. The L890s certainly look the part as well as sounding it, you'd certainly hope so given their price tag. This also important considering their large, bulky frame, as you aren't going to be able to hide these away in the corner. Attractively finished in either black, beech or cherry, the speakers should sit pleasantly in any room, providing it is large enough to accommodate them. On the up side, pretty much no space will be too big for these speakers as their sound is truly room-filling. In fact, to get the most out of them, you will definitely need a good amplifier. With a rating of 250W the L890s can be pushed to incredibly loud volumes with no discernable drop in quality. This is the bit that's going to annoy the neighbours.
As the L890s are verging on audiophile territory, JBL has included the option of bi-wiring the speakers. This basically means that instead of using a single pair of wires to connect the speakers to an amplifier, you can use two. The idea is that low and high frequency sound can be separated, leading to less interference and hence a crisper sound. Whether or not this actually makes any noticeable difference is questionable, especially given the range of special drivers already built in to the L890.
Overall, we feel the JBL L890s are an excellent purchase. Their sublime performance coupled with enough power to raze the building to the ground left us suitably impressed. With attractive aesthetics and a reasonable price to boot, there's no reason not to buy them.
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