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JBL LSR305: Resetting sound expectations for desktop speakers

The way I see it, JBL's LSR305 stands near the top of the heap for under $500 (per pair) desktop monitors for its remarkable sound quality. The LSR305 is a breakthrough product, the $199 speaker price (per speaker), puts it right in the middle of the highly competitive audiophile desktop market, but it's easy to find the LSR305 selling for $120, just $240 a pair! That's under Audioengine's and Emotiva's entry-level speakers' prices!

The deeply recessed "waveguide" surrounding the tweeter is the first tip-off the LSR305 is special. The guide focuses and controls … Read more

JBL Synchros S700: A bass lover's headphone par excellence

If there's one thing I've learned over the years, it's that most people like bass, and they like more bass even more. I suppose JBL engineers know the same thing, and they made sure the new Synchros S700 over-the ear, closed-back headphones deliver incredibly deep bass.

Designwise, JBL avoided the slick, plastic look of Beats and other fashion-oriented 'phones. The Synchros S700's precision die-cast aluminum earcups look like they mean business, and the headband is steel-reinforced, so the headphones feel really solid. One other reason for that is the headband isn't hinged, so while it … Read more

Harman Kardon Onyx and JBL Voyager bring the noise to IFA

BERLIN -- American audio veteran Harman Kardon and its subsidiary JBL showed off a raft of new home audio gear at the IFA show here today.

Harman's new Esquire is both a wireless loudspeaker and a teleconferencing system with built-in mics. It connects to your phone via Bluetooth. Its tricks don't end there -- with three USB ports, you can charge three devices at the same time. It has its own 10-hour rechargeable battery, too. The Esquire is out next month for 249 ($330, £210).

Also new from HK is the Onyx wireless speaker system, which is … Read more

JBL's ultimate speaker: Everest DD66000

I cover a lot of great-sounding gear on this blog, ranging from the $22 Lepai LP 2020A stereo integrated amplifier, $129 Pioneer SP-BS22-LR speakers, and the $650 Tekton M-Lore towers. This time I'm going all the way with a true state-of-the-art contender: the JBL Everest DD66000. It's the speaker equivalent of a fire-breathing Ferrari. I got the chance to spend quality time with a pair of these outrageously awesome speakers at EarsNova in New York last week for about an hour. Viva Audio tube amplifiers were driving the speakers, and the digital converter was by dCS Digital.

I … Read more

JBL intros first Lightning-equipped speaker docks

Various accessories that include Apple's new Lightning connector are gradually trickling out onto the market, and JBL is the first to announce Lightning-equipped speaker docks.

The smaller $99 battery-powered model, the JBL OnBeat Micro, which gets about 5 hours of power from four AAA batteries, retails for $99 while the $199 JBL OnBeat Venue LT offers wireless Bluetooth connectivity and its dock can also accommodate the iPad Mini and the fourth-generation iPad with Retina Display. Unfortunately, of course, the docks aren't compatible with older iPhones unless you use an optional adapter. … Read more

The greatest audio and video products of the 20th century

It's hard to imagine now, but there was a time when audio and video products were introduced that were so revolutionary that their impact was felt literally decades after their introduction.

Take the JBL L100 Century. It was the first speaker I fell in love with. Its brilliant orange "waffle" foam grille and white 12-inch woofer looked so cool in the early 1970s when the competition's speakers were all drab brown boxes with boring cloth grilles. The JBL was the ultimate "rock" speaker of the era, so my Hendrix and Led Zeppelin LPs never … Read more

Mixing it up on the set of 'Copper'

"Copper," the new BBC America crime drama, is set in NYC in 1864, while the Civil War was still raging. I was intrigued because the 10-part series was created by Tom Fontana, who did "Homicide: Life on the Street" and "Oz," and on a more personal level, my old friend Frank Morrone is a sound mixer for the show. We met in 1999 when I was writing a feature story on mixing sound for Ron Howard's film "Edtv," and more recently, Morrone shared some of his experiences about mixing sound for … Read more

Best Bluetooth accessories right now (roundup)

Do you like wires? Neither do we. And thankfully, you don't really need them anymore when you're using a smartphone.

No matter your preference -- iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry -- any decent modern smartphone is equipped with wireless Bluetooth capability. In addition to hands-free calling with headsets and stereo headphones, phones can also be used as wireless music sources for an increasingly large array of Bluetooth speakers -- perfect for listening to MP3s on the phone, or Web-based audio services like Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Cloud Player, iTunes Match, or anything else.

As someone who uses Bluetooth gadgets daily, I'd frankly feel lost without my handy assortment of hands-free mobile toys. And I've collected a list of some of CNET's favorites. … Read more

JBL runs TV ads; watch out, Bose

I nearly fell off my couch when I saw Harman Kardon and JBL ads in the middle of the Grammy Awards show on Sunday night.

Audio-brand awareness in the mainstream is mostly limited to Bose and Beats by Dr. Dre, but now it looks like Harman, the parent company of AKG, Harman Kardon, JBL, Mark Levinson, Lexicon, and Infinity is starting to flex its muscles. I spoke with Chris Dragon, the senior global marketing director of Harman, to learn more about the campaigns.

JBL's "Hear the Truth" ads will feature many of the world's top musical … Read more

Harman announces easy-to-install car stereo amp

JBL and Infinity, both brands of Harman International, will show aftermarket amps and speakers to enhance car audio.

JBL detailed its GTO series of amps in a press release, highlighting the amps ease of installation. The amps come with RCA-to-bare-wire adapters along with a CD to explain installation.

Once installed, the audio output can be fine-tuned. JBL fits the amps with color-coded knobs and LEDs to tell an amateur installer when the configuration is optimized.

The amps range from 640- to 1,935-watt maximum power output, and include multichannel and mono blocks among the GTO range. Prices run from $199.… Read more