Recapturing the JBL L100 Century


Back in the day, teenager in the '70s, the speaker I really wanted but couldn't hope to afford was the JBL L100 Century. Is there a modern day speaker that captures what the JBL did? It would be fun to assemble a modern/retro system that did what say a Dual 1229 or Thorens table, Marantz receiver, and the JBLs did. It sure was a fun speaker to listen to.
Convert?fit=crop&h=128&policy=eyjlehbpcnkioje0ota4njawnjgsimnhbgwiolsicmvhzcisimnvbnzlcnqixx0%3d&rotate=exif&signature=7e2862ea18393c730c0fee4c46c6aa17e793ba7adee37961c6a5f9fc581cfe52&w=128zavato
I was fortunate back in the 70s, had a decent job. This allowed me to buy a pair of brand new JBL L-65 Jubals, MUCH better speakers than the L-100s. I drove those with a Marantz 2270 receiver and had a Dual 1249 turntable with a Shure V-15 Type IV cartridge.

And yes, it was a very good sounding system. I imagine it would still sound pretty good against modern equipment...

-RW-
The Briton II uses a NOS JBL L100 AlNiCo driver and sounds far better than the tired L100 Century. The L100 Century was known for it's "West coast sound" West Cost Sound because the woofer ran without any cross-over full signal and at times a little rough around the edges.

Put this amazing driver with a Horn port and 6 db cross with ultra high ends caps and coils and you have this....

Have a look!!!

http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/the-2013-rocky-mountain-audio-fest/?page=2
I recall those JBLs specifically from years ago working at a Tech HiFi part time during college.

Speaker and amp technology and options have come a long way since then. SO its hard to compare stuff from back then to today.

I would feel confident in saying that there are many ways to do much better these days than was possible back then.

Having heard and demoed both on many occasions, I always preferred the OHM line to JBL back then. OHM is still in business and when available still sells their old models/cabinets refurbished and with updated components, drivers etc, for not much more than they cost back then.

The old OHM's most comparable to those JBLs would be the C2s or Hs, I would say. Hs were perhaps my favorites in the whole shop back then, though tonality of C2 was more like JBL as I recall. Contact John Strohbeen at OHM and I would bet he could whip you up a new and refurbed pair of Hs or C2s for a price that will remind you more of the 1970's than what something similar might cost otherwise today.

Or, for fun, if DIY has appeal, maybe find a pair of L100s on ebay and rebuild them yourself with more modern components and see what you might accomplish. That's what I did a couple years back with my old pair of OHM Ls from back then, and they probably sound better than ever, especially in that the gear I feed them with these days blows away almost anything that was available back then.
What if I told you, Mapman, that I have a pair of Ohm F's in my garage waiting to be refurbished? Vastly different than C2's r the L's, but intruiging none the less
"What if I told you, Mapman, that I have a pair of Ohm F's in my garage waiting to be refurbished? Vastly different than C2's r the L's, but intruiging none the less"

Getting those Walsh drivers on those OHMs refurbished properly is extremely tricky and requires some very specialized skill/knowledge, as I understand it.

There are art least one or two companies/people that I know of reputed to be able to do it, and it may not come cheap.

But those very wide range omni Walsh drivers are most unique and of historical significance in home audio as well. Many would covet a pair in good condition and working order these days, if possible.

Dale Harder is the person I know of who seems to be the most advanced in terms of ability to resurrect the original OHM A or F design these days. Maybe worth talking to him about it.

Audiogoner Mamboni is also very knowledgeable when it comes to DIY Walsh drivers and has blogged on the topic in great detail on other web sites. He helped resurect my interest in the OHM Walsh speaker line a few years back. Might be worth a google search there.

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/multi-way/30689-ohm-acoustics-walsh-f-speaker-remakes-13.html
Zav,

Another option is those Fs have trade in value up to $4K or 25% of cost of new speakers with OHM as long as cabinets are in decent shape. My F5s used refurbished OHM F cabinets from OHM.

Shipping cost to OHM in Brooklyn would be the main expense.

You could probably work a very favorable deal to trade in for very minimal cost towards refurbed C2s or Hs, or even a DIF upgrade to the newer OHM Walshes to save shipping, if of interest. An upgrade to F5000 would give you something similar to the F5s I use, but mine are last generation drivers, not current.

http://www.ohmspeaker.com/legacy-products/f/
I've spoken to Dale Harder, and while I think he offers the best solution, it's very costly. Not really interested in a current ohm because they don't use a true Walsh driver. There are options other than Dale Harder, and eventually I'll do it.
"Not really interested in a current ohm because they don't use a true Walsh driver. "

Not exactly.

The main driver does operate "walsh style" with wave bending a part of that but only up to 7khz, which covers most of what one hears in music, save the highest frequencies, which contribute to things like "air", etc.

Specs on the Fs indicate that original walsh driver goes to 16khz, not quite full range by modern standards, but practically all anyone with older ears will ever hear.

I think Dale Harder's newer drivers may go up well beyond 16Khz as I recall but not certain.

Original Fs, newer OHM Walsh, Dale's Walsh drivers are three different beasts, with Dales and originals being most similar.

One might choose any of these three for similar but clearly not the same reasons.
I was fortunate back in the 70s, had a decent job. This allowed me to buy a pair of brand new JBL L-65 Jubals, MUCH better speakers than the L-100s. I drove those with a Marantz 2270 receiver and had a Dual 1249 turntable with a Shure V-15 Type IV cartridge.
Bet you got laid a lot, Rlwainwright.
Miller Sound in PA can rebuild the OHM Drivers. Bill is a pro.
I think Miller Sound is the other source out there that I hear can do a good job, but not sure about availability or willingness these days as i recall. Easy to find out, I'm sure.
I would go with the JBL 1400 Array, S3900, or S4700. Punch that into Google. Or if you wanna get the best, go with the new M2 monitors.
Yes, some of the newer JBL horn designs have caught my eye, but have not heard.
If you feel you can't live without the sound of vintage JBL L100 Centurys, take a look at Craigslist. You'll find everything from original condition to restored. My guess is that they will sound closer than anything else. But my best advice is to audition some of the newer designs at about the same price range as the JBLs. If you're still not satisfied, look around for used early JBL systems, like the 001 or S7s. The L100s will pale in comparison.
I love the l100s
Mapman: I urge you to go and listen to them then. You just might be very satisfied with the results. You can't go wrong, imo. Out of the 3, it is said that the 1400 Array is the best bang for the buck. I didn't get those because of the assembly required. If you don't mind that, then check that one out first and go from there. There's good deals out there on the high end JBLs as well. I got one myself on the S4700s I currently use.
Drubin, I reckon I've been laid in excess of 4,000 times in my life - I think I've done okay...

-RW-
I reckon I've been laid in excess of 4,000 times in my life
who knew Rlwainwright was really Wilt Chamberlin?
JBL are manly looking speakers compared to most. That must be it.