JBL LSR2328P Studio Monitors ReviewTWO-WAY, BI-AMPED ACTIVE SPEAKERS FOR BUDGET-CONSCIOUS USERS 9/01/2009 8:00 AM Eastern
There is no doubt that everybody reading this magazine has heard a JBL speaker either live, in the studio or at home at one time or another. JBL was the audio production speaker manufacturer du jour back in the '70s before losing its market-leading position in studio monitors. However, with recent releases and innovations, JBL has made strides in regaining its former prominence. The new JBL LSR2328P is part of this trend, raising the bar for performance by speakers priced at less than $1,000 per pair — of which there are many. Speakers in this category just keep getting better, and this new transducer shows that JBL has really done its homework.
Powering this two-way system are two Class-A/B monolithic power amps rated at 95 watts on the low end and 70W for the top. The 8-inch woofer has a 1.5-inch voice coil with a tempered paper cone with butyl-rubber compliance. The tweeter has a 1-inch diaphragm comprising a silk substrate with an epoxy coating. The LSR2328P receives signal via balanced XLR, ¼-inch TRS or unbalanced RCA connectors on the back panel. A maximum peak SPL rating of 123 dB at 1m is plenty of volume to deafen even the most die-hard pressure junkies.
Controls on the back panel include volume (-INF to 0 dB) and high- and low-shelving EQ. The HF shelf has a three-position switch fixed at +2.5 dB, 0 dB and -2.5 dB at 7 kHz — a very usable range. The LF has the same three-position switch, but its range is more applicable to low-frequency issues in small rooms — +2 dB, 0 dB and -3 dB — with the shelf set at 120 Hz. It would be nice to include a DIP filter around the 160Hz range as this is a problem area in desktop production environments, but it's not a deal-breaker by any means.
JBL's cabinet design provided positive results in my listening tests, resulting in a wide sweet spot. The monitor's Linear Spatial Reference design achieves this by way of its Elliptical Oblate Spheroidal waveguide (the EOS). Concurrent with this design philosophy, the LSR2328Ps remain highly accurate at all listening levels, in many spatial positions, as you move about your tracking/mixing domain.
Within the wide sweet spot, I was simply blown away by the speakers' performance. First off, I wanted to listen to and compare them to my own studio's LSR6328Ps, despite the LSR2328P's greatly reduced price point. Granted, the LSR6328Ps have more depth and accuracy of soundstage, but it is absolutely amazing how much the LSR2328Ps sound like the LSR6328Ps. The midrange imaging is smooth, accurate and well-tempered, with no harshness whatsoever. The low end is punchy and smooth down to the rated 37 Hz. (I would love to hear the complementary 10-inch subwoofer designed for these speakers.) The upper end is exceptionally smooth and accurate. This all amounted to mixes that translated well to other systems when I compared results.
I listened to many different types of source materials, including mastered CD releases in a variety of styles and original Pro Tools session files. At both high- and low-SPL levels, the detail prevailed. Pianos carried their timbre and harmonic structure at low and high levels, reverbs could be heard into the background and breath sounds were retained at all levels.
I can't emphasize enough how superbly these transducers have been executed. I love my JBL LSR6328Ps, but the LSR2328Ps carry on the tradition with great aplomb. When I found out (after testing) that these speakers have a street price of $349 each, there was no question that within this price range, a new standard has been created. Rest assured, these are speakers that you can rely on to make translatable tracking and mix decisions. I recommend them, period.
Bobby Frasier is a consultant and engineer.