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
@nonoise, Just wanted to check in with you to see if you have any additional comments to make good or bad regarding your JBL 4319 speakers? 
I guess you could call this a good comment in that due to their efficiency, and the precise, .25db steps in the Kinki's attenuator, you can get an exact level for any song or piece of music. 

I find myself tailoring the volume to each and every track. With the remote, the speed of the changes is borderline instantaneous and the JBLs respond accordingly. 

That can lead to dramatic levels of dynamics, say, if I wish to get a vocalists level up to something approaching realistic, and if the recording has lots of headroom, the dynamics go off the scale, and the JBLs just effortlessly belt it out.

It makes me wish I didn't live in an apartment so I can enjoy the more boisterous performances. It's not that there's anything shrill or that there's too much of an edge to the leading notes, it's just the SPLs that can overload the room, and my ears.

The best thing is, is that with the JBL/Kinki combo, I can listen at lower levels that approach sanity and still hear all the details and experience the dynamics that are crucial to realism.

Being a monitor, they can be very unforgiving of a recording with their "just the facts, ma'am" presentation. If I could wish for anything more, it would be an ever so slightly warmer take on some recordings. I feel that that can be addressed with different speaker cabling, which I will explore further down the road.

All the best,
Nonoise
You could address that problem with a pair of JBL 4367!! My room is quite small you know, I think smaller than yours. They should work well for you as they do for me.
Thanks, but I think trying out different speaker cables would be a lot easier on my back than getting a pair of 135 lbs. speakers up my stairs and then trying to position them in my living room. 😄

I'm almost there with the speaker cabling but before I try out some new ones down the road, I just may try out that SR Blue fuse on my Kinki EX-M1 and see where it goes from there.

All the best,
Nonoise
Wow. Can't imagine two more different types of speakers (4319 and 4367) from the same company! You guys and gal, have picked my interest. I would like to audition these JBL's somewhere including the new L-100. My only concern would be that the new versions would  have to sound substantially better than the older 1960's and 70's models. As popular as the Century 100 was, it was an extremely colored sounding loudspeaker, even for that time. This wasn't always bad, but on recordings of a more subtle nature, they didn't do the resolution and imaging thing very well, which are important to me. And yes, back then I owned a pair so I am not guessing about their sound....
nonoise,
Have you tried any of the Purist Audio interconnects? I had a similar problem with the B&W 802D loudspeakers. This worked quite well for me in my system at the time.

Excellent nonoise, thanks!

I'd love to experience listening to a JBL speaker like that one.  I'm sure it would do some things that my own speakers don't do as well.  Ultimately for me such a speaker is never meant to be in my room - both in terms of fit and aesthetics.  But I'm sure they sound great.
@mr_m , No, I haven't tried the Purist Audio ICs as I'm quite sold on my Darwin Truth II ICs. They have the best extension, definition, and purity that I've heard. 

The problem with revealing products like the Kinki and JBL is just that, they are revealing and won't smooth over anything that gets in their way.
Garbage in, garbage out, so to speak.

Liking what I heard with my older Tempo Electric SCs and now my Cabledyne Silver Synergy SCs, I may, someday, try out the Cabledyne Virtuoso SCs as they are their top of the line, no compromise SCs that don't break the bank. 

@prof , I don't know where you can listen to a pair since there's only one dealer I know of that carries them: Musicdirect.com.  They may know of someone who's bought a pair and possibly an audition can be arranged.
I think that maybe the new L-100 may be the answer as they use a pulp paper mid range driver, similar to the base driver, as opposed to the Al/Mag mid range driver in my 4319. 

Dimensionally, the L-100 are very close to the 4319, sporting a few more pounds. I'd love to hear them for myself and since I live about 12 miles from JBLs Northridge factory, maybe an audition can be arranged. They don't cotton to drop ins but now that their speakers are getting more press, and for the asking price (the same as my 4319=$4K), they should be amenable to it. 

All the best,
Nonoise
I've been wondering about JBL speakers for a long time but have never heard them. After reading this thread I just recently purchased an open box pair of JBL 4319 speakers from Music Direct that I have on the Deer Creek speaker stands. I'm using them in my secondary room where I have several different components set up. Powering them with my Allnic T-1500 Integrated amp (12.5 watts per channel) 300B tubes. Using a Music Culture MC 501A CDP, Duelund tinned - copper in cotton oil impregnated interconnects and bi-wired speaker cables.
Nonoise, I agree 100% with your assessment of the JBL 4319 speakers.

One reason I'm intrigued by JBL speakers is due to watching so many of the great KENRICK SOUND videos on youtube.  As this article states:

"Kenrick Sound is world famous for restoring and modifying legendary loudspeakers. The firm specializes in JBL speakers."

https://www.monoandstereo.com/2016/04/visit-to-kenrick-sound-in-japan.html

I think that Japanese company produces the best "audio demo" videos on the web in terms of visual and sound quality.  (As silly as youtube audio demos seem, they are a guilty pleasure).

I've often wondered what it would be like sitting in front of many of those crazy looking speakers.

Check 'em out on youtube!
I'm with you on that one @prof . I've been recommending Kenrick's videos for some time now and even have them listed as a favorite on Youtube.

What they do is nothing short of amazing and yes, they have probably the best audio/video demos on the web. If your computer rig is up to snuff, you can really hear the magic they can do.

All the best,
Nonoise 
my prep school roomate had L-110 and I had a pair of Infinity Qb.... they each had virtues....we bought  a 210 wpc Phillips amp to wake up the JBL’s
my brother in law has an ancient pair of 100’s
crank it up !!!!