JBL 4319...The Big Easy


These speakers have been around for a few years now, primarily for the Asian and European markets and have recently been introduced here, stateside.

Why? Good question. They should have been here all along. I’ve always wondered about and read good things about them.

3-way studio monitors made for home audio. To call them monitors is a bit misleading as they are 23.5" tall by 14.25" wide by 11.8" deep and weigh in at around 36 lbs apiece. They have twin front ports and sport a 1" al/mg dome tweeter set in a wave guide, a 5" al/mg midrange and a 12" pure pulp woofer. There are two pots at the top for adjusting the mids and highs and the front baffle is that old blue color that JBL has used for decades. Walnut cabinets are plain and nicely finished. With the grills off, they look like they mean business. I’m happy to report that they’re up to that task. The grills don’t seem to affect performance and they look better with them on. They are rated from 38Hz - 40Khz (-6db) and are 92db sensitivity at 6 ohms. Crossovers are at 650 Hz and 2.2 Khz. They are bi-wirable and use jumper plates. Substituting jumper cables for the plates improves the sound in an immediate and noticeable manner.

It’s good to have practically full range sound in my room again. Using smaller drivers and clever box designs simply can’t make up for what a large woofer can do for the music. All the overtones and harmonics naturally reproduced changes the music for the better in a way that smaller and even multiple drivers can’t come close to doing. It’s the ease and naturalness of the sound that impresses and holds your attention.

The look is purposeful, not fashionable. These are not fashion statements crying out for WAF or a spot in some chic upscale ad. They are slaves to the music. Some might find them too industrial looking but it’s function over form from a decades old design that needn’t be tampered with. If you can get your head and ears around that, then all the better for you. You won’t stop grinning after you hear them. Old is new again.

Sound wise, I simply can’t fault them. Everything sounds good on them. For all the questions on what speaker would be best for old school rock, look no further. Ditto for classical, jazz, folk, soundtracks, electronica, ambient, you name it. They seem to have a wide dispersion as I have them aimed about a foot to either side of my head and they image very well. Being front ported, they load my room differently then my rear ported monitors and the music is all the better for it. Piano has such weigh now as do vocals, drums, upright bass and to be honest, just about everything is much more realistic sounding.

Highs are very realistic and are only present when called for. Cymbals, high hats, triangles all have sparkle, shine, air and mass with great decay. And then it all calms down. There’s no high end emphasis to the mids that lesser designs can impart.The mids have a slight richness but no aggression to speak of. The lows are deep and well defined with oodles of texture and nuance. I know it’s rated at -6db at it’s lowest but the size of my room more than compensates for it. No subs needed here. I’ve read where the bass is not in line with the mids and highs but I can’t fault it at all.

The imaging is well divorced from the speakers unless it’s a hard right or left pan. I have them low to the floor on Deer Creek speaker stands for that old school look (like the old Memorex ads) and it has a nice mid century look to it. Despite being only 8" off the floor, the soundstage is up where it always been since the stands angle the speakers back about 5º. Speaking of old school, the speakers sit on felt pads affixed to the stands and nothing else and the imaging is rock solid. I don’t even have spikes and everything sounds fine.

All in all, a nice alternative to what’s out there. It’s funny how I’m not that amped up about them as I used to be about new equipment. What they do is bring me back to simpler times and maybe that’s why I’m so content right off the bat with them. No surprise, but rather a welcoming home of sorts that I wasn’t expecting but am glad it happened. I got them from Music Direct, who are a pleasure to deal with. They have a generous 60 day audition policy and all you’ll be out is the cost of shipping them back if you don’t like them. I can’t see anyone returning these.

All the best,
Nonoise


42bde94d bdc8 43d3 acac 45009c2b7217nonoise
Thanks for this review. I must admit that when I saw these in the MD catalog they caught my attention. Sorry if this is posted elsewhere, but what are the dimensions of your room? And how far are these speakers from your side walls and the wall in back of them? Thanks.
@nicotico
Thanks for the interest. My room is not as big as I’d like: it’s about 15’ x 10’ with the speakers along the long wall. One side is all window and the other side opens to the rest of my place. The rear of the speakers are about 12.5" from the front wall and are about 8.5’ apart and 8’ from the listening position. The toe in is around 12º and they aim about a foot to either side of my head. The right speaker is the one near the wall of windows and is about 15" from that wall, resulting in a slight emphasis in sound on that side due to reflections/reinforcement.

I’m still experimenting with toe in and after winter passes, I’ll move them in closer together to see if there’s any benefit (the wall heater is in the way). 👎 That could give me a better soundstage (which is fine right now) and lessen the effect of the right wall.

All the best,
Nonoise
Glad to hear you're enjoying your new speakers! Nice when a new purchase doesn't disappoint.
+1 on Music Direct. First class company to deal with.

Tom
3-way studio monitors made for home audio. To call them monitors is a bit misleading as they are 23.5" tall by 14.25" wide by 11.8" deep and weigh in at around 36 lbs apiece. They have twin front ports and sport a 1" al/mg dome tweeter set in a wave guide, a 5" al/mg midrange and a 12" pure pulp woofer.
The true meaning of a monitor speaker addresses its function--to monitor playback of a recording. As originally conceived, the 4319 is very much a monitor, and a compact one at that. I used to have a pair of Altec 9845a monitors. They were 28"h x 40"w x 24.5"d and weighed 130 lbs. each. They were built for hanging on a studio wall (mine still had industrial strength hanging brackets), facing the console. They had so much output they were also used for PA speakers. Mine had been used in a Frank Sinatra concert at the Anaheim convention center.

The dimensions you mention--23.5"x14.25"x11.8"--was a *very* popular size in the ’60s and ’70s. Give or take a fraction of an inch, it was the dimensions of *lots* of speakers in the ’70s, including the 4319’s cousin, the JBL L100 (and studio version, the JBL 4311), the AR3a, the Altec Lansing Segovia, and several models from KLH, Harman-Kardon, Pioneer, Sansui, etc. In those days they were marketed as "Oversized Bookshelf Speakers."

JBL made and marketed (at least) two versions of that format in the ’70s. The professional model version was the 4311 and the home version was the JBL L100. The difference was that the drivers on the 4311 were arranged for placing the speakers vertically, while the JBL L100 drivers were arranged for horizontal (i.e., bookshelf) placement.

BTW, the speakers used for the Memorex ad you refer to were likely JBL 100s, based on the block texture of the foam grilles.

Anyway, thanks for an astute and detailed description of your JBL 4319s. it’s a great reminder of how much fun that speaker type can be, with high sensitivity and dynamics, clear clean midrange, airy highs, and a kick-ass thumping bass, thanks to a well-made, ported 12" woofer.
Congratulations nonoise on your new speaks!  They sound like a lot of fun to just sit back and enjoy the music...
Thanks all for your responses! And thanks @johnnyb53 for the historical perspective. As to your reference of the L100 model, JBL is bringing it back sometime this year. I think it's going to be based on the 4312 but with improved drivers and different placement. It will also have the Quadrex foam grilles in either orange, blue or a dark brown. Similar stands to what I use will be available as well. And, it will be priced the same as what I paid for for the 4319s. I think JBL sees a trend here.

All the best,
Nonoise
Nonoise 

I saw these and the other JBL lines at Music Direct too. I was so tempted. I’m going to try one of the JBL lines when I move and have s dedicated room. 

Im curious to what sort of amplification you’re using. I’d assume your speakers aren’t fussy and probably have pretty sympathetic synergy with other equipment. But your review has piqued my interest further!
@jbhiller
Right now I’m using a Marantz Reference integrated. It’s the older PM15-S2b model and the matching SA15-S2b SACD player. It’s like they’re made for each other but I can see lots of different amps getting really good results with these JBL speakers.

All the best,
Nonoise
That sounds like a great pairing. I can't wait to try out the JBLs at MD