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  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013

    Picture of my big bad JBL S3900's

    Picked these bad boys up a month ago.

    I've always liked a lot of what horns can do (dynamics, sound live) but after a while the brightness would get to me.

    It was suggested to me to check out the JBL Synthesis series if I had a chance. So a pair of S3900's showed up locally and used.

    I don't know that I've ever bought on a first listen before but I did. Pretty darn happy so far.

    Dynamic, fast, tonally very accurate. Great imaging. Not the best depth of soundstage, but solid (I've never heard a horn with an exceptionally deep soundstage, just a trade off). They can also play loud without strain and without getting bright. I dig them thus far. They are honestly closer to warm than they are bright, that continues to surprise me. My brightest recordings are listenable, the dark ones are a little darker though.

    They have twin 10's. They don't plunge the depths, rather they are incredibly accurate and fast down into the 30's. I have the SVS to handle the rest. I will say they are the most accurate I've heard at a kick-drum in my life.

    Marantz AV8802A and just got my butler 2250 amp today to give a whirl as an amp. Soon I hope to have all of the electronics in the room behind this one. (some already are).
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    Last edited by green giant; 01-14-2016 at 04:21 PM.

  2. #2
    Administrator Tracy Rainwater's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003

    Nice looking speakers. I have very little experience with horn-loaded speakers but I know there are those who swear by them.

    Good to hear that you like them. Is that a deep cherry finish?

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013

    It's a cherry finish and it's a nice color. It's not the deepest or nicest veneer admittingly, but it looks good and it's consistent.

    It's interesting with these. I really like them, I got a good deal on them. I would NOT pay MSRP for them. (MSRP is 10k). But I don't have issues buying used speakers. If I were going to pay 10k for speakers they would have to do something just incredibly special... or my income level would need to shoot way up!

    As for horn speakers, no question there are trade-offs. I will say having owned the Klipsch Palladium P37's (and having heard the 38's and 39's) and these - I don't get any of the "cupped vocals" sound in those or the JBL's that lower priced horns can have (a common trade off). The JBL's definitely are not bright, though they are not as efficient as a traditional horn (89db vs 93+ with most horns), so they likely padded down the horn a bit. Flip side, I feel these sound best once past about 78 db's.

    The other big trade-off I've found with horns is the soundstage isn't quite as deep. These image very well horizontially, but the depth isn't what I've experienced on some more traditional designs. Don't get me wrong, they are good, just not the best I've owned.

    Flip side, these in particular are really, really realistic and musical. Kick drums sound like they should (I'm crossed at 40hz) snare drums snap, guitars sound live, yet have nice decay. They are fast and immediate. The midrange sounds spot on correct. For movies - they are like being in the theater. They sound "big" but not abnormally "huge".

    I'm telling you though, the store I bought them from carries all sorts of exoteric high end stuff (like crazy expensive). They carry Joesph Audio, Magico, and other brands I've only seen at Axpona. Even the owner was shocked when he set these up (took them on trade). They simply are not bright at all. Somehow dynamic and a great rock speaker but not remotely bright.


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