JBL S4700s

Category: Speakers

Yeah so, I now have a pair in my listening room!
I got a great deal on them, there's no way I was gonna pay $20000 for them. They're really not worth that price. For that price range you're better off with Magico S5 or B&W 800D2. Anyway, they sound pretty good and they look pretty cool. I won't say they're the ultimate, however. Then again, what is. It could be my electronics; Bryston amp and preamp. The sound is a bit on the dry and flat side. Which is how Bryston has been described as. So, they need to be broken in as well. I'm hoping that sound will improve as time and playback goes on. I'm still saving up for a better amp and preamp albeit more expensive. So, hopefully that will do the trick! Anyway, I got some listening to do, catch you guys soon!

Amp: Bryston 4BSST

preamp: Bryston BP6P

CD player: Onkyo DX-7555

Turntable: Technics 1210M5G w/ Audio Technica AT150MLX cartridge

interconnects: FM Acoustics P.I.T., Technics OFC from turntable to preamp.

speaker cable Bryston SC4.
Good news, with more break in, the sound has opened up and improved! I also played around with positioning too, and things improved by doing that too. The dealer's set up only allowed a very narrow soundstage and not very good bass. Reducing the toe in to only 20 degress and 16 in from the back wall has improved soundstaging and bass. It definitely could use a better amp (and preamp.) Probably something Class A. Any recommendations welcome. Not really into tubes, however.

I expect things to get better, so I will issue an update in the near future. Stay tuned.
I just heard that retail price has gone down to $15000 a pair.
The sound gets better and better as the days go by. If you're buying new, be prepared for a long, long break in process. They just do not sound good right out of the box. Matter of fact, they're downright disappointing. Overall, I would say this is a superb pair of speakers. On a par with the B&W 802D, 801D and what have you. Yes, the K2s and Everest's are better, but at a much higher cost. At the new price of $15000 USD, the S4700s are a speaker you should put on your audition list.
One good thing from a buyer's perpective about products from larger companies like JBL/Harmon is that they market to a broader customer base than a typical high end audio "boutique" brand and gets reflected in the price and market value.

I am strongly testing the "modern JBL" waters with a pair of the new, small Studio 530s in my second system. Those look way cool and would appear to be a good fit for me. I've been wanting to test out the modern horn speaker waters for quite a while.

The interesting thing about the 530s is according to specs, they are not particularly efficient, especially as horn based speakers go. That tells me they probably target better bass levels for such a small box, assuming the amp is up to it, which I think mine are.
BTW, I used to sell JBL speakers back in their 70's heyday at Tech Hifi in NY/NJ area. They were never my favorites back then. The bass with those large woofers always sounded muddy and undefined. Of course, we has mostly only receivers and integrated amps from Japan up to 120 w/ch or so to run them off. I'd be willing those same speakers in good condition today running of a more modern, beefy dedicated amp would sound very good indeed! I'm thinking the newer designs must be even better.
Hi Mapman,

Very good points. Yeah, that's one of the reasons why I chose JBL; they're not the most boutique or esoteric speakers, but imo, they outperform most of those. I tend to go with companies that have been in the business for a long time, and not just the latest audiophile flavor of the month. Staying power is important to me. And the design team @ JBL (headed by Greg Timbers) plus their R&D is amongst the best in the business.

Yeah, that new Studio line is interesting. On a smaller budget, they just might be a winner. I know my previous JBLs, the older Studio L890s certainly were.

I can't say for those vintage models, but the S4700s, driven by this 300 wpc (into 8 Ohms) Bryston amp has pretty tight and well-defined bass. I would recommend no less than 200 wpc and a high damping factor for the JBL 15" woofers on these and other models, like the K2s.
Bryston and JBL would be a very good match I think.
Hi Mapman,

Yeah, the match is not too bad. I would like to upgrade, though. To preferably a Class A amp. After hearing Class A amps, I'm hooked on the sound. Anyway, with the Bryston 4BSST amp, bass is pretty good, but soundstaging and mids/highs could be better, but that could be the room and speaker positioning talking.
System is sounding better and better. I've never had a speaker that takes this long to break in! Everything is gelling together...finally!

How is your experience now? I used to have L100t and liked the bass very much. Now I am deciding between 4700 and BW 802Diamonds 2. BW seems to be lacking in bass and also is very bright, that';s why I am leaning towards JBL again. Please share your thoughts.
Very good actually. The mids and highs have opened up and the bass is strong. There's much more meat on the bone as well. Still a bit dry and flat though. It's not hitting hard enough for my tastes. But that's probably due to the Bryston stuff. Yeah, that's a tough decision. Both speakers are the same price and offer great performance. I'd say the JBL wins out on bass and overall dynamics. And the B&W might win out in the upper octaves with that diamond tweeter. Perhaps too extended, which is why you feel they are bright I suppose. Anyway, the JBL is a neutral speaker to me. It can sound bright with bright electronics and recordings, so careful system matching is important here. Also, it will sound thin and flat right out of the box as I said in the initial review. In addition, I recommend setting these up close to the back wall and well away from the side walls. Finally, good luck with the auditioning, and I hope you find the best speaker for you. If you do go with the S4700s, you did well, imo. Again, just remember, you have to be patient with these beasts.
Here's the latest; the speakers have finally opened up more in the mids and highs and sound less restrained than ever before. What this means is they're finally sounding very good depending on the recording. However, little bit bare bones and lean though; not quite meaty enough. Hopefully the new amp will rectify this situation!
Hi Dave, I am a big JBL fan, tho have not heard the S4700s. Those are REALLY nice speakers!! Would you possibly reconsider tube amplification? That would be the way I would absotively-posilutely go:) I am suprised that more members have not given recommendations.
Cool! Thanks! Yeah, again, I'm finally hearing the virtues of these. They just need a long, long time to break in. Anybody who doesn't believe in break in time with these speakers are kidding themselves! There are other reports of long break in time on other high end JBLs as well. So you have to be very, very patient with them. Not really interested in tubes to be honest. I tried them recently from a friend and I didn't like what I heard. Maybe it was the wrong tube amp. I'm going for high Class A biased Class A/B solid state. It's either between Parasound JC1 or Pass Labs X350.5 at the moment. I'm in that price range. I was going to go with Accuphase, but I have put that on hold for now. It's just too expensive really!
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