Review: Carolina Audio JLM/2 Speaker

Category: Speakers

Well, after 18 months of living with the Jordan Lean Monitor JLM/2 transmission line speakers from Carolina Audio, it is time now to report to the AA community on my impressions.

Wow!! Oh, you want more?

These speakers are single driver speakers, featuring the Jordan JX92S full range driver, capable of operating from 40Hz to 20kHz. Dimensions are 36" H x 6.5" W x 6" D, with a weight of 22 lbs. Price is $1595.00. Pictures and more details are available at the carolinaaudio website.

Now for the good stuff. Accuracy of instruments, life-like quality to all vocals, tremendous depth and width to the soundstage, these are the hallmarks of the JLM/2.

Vocals have a weight and presence, a true 3-D presentation, and great coherence. Speech in certain recordings that was muffled with my previous Triangle Zerius speakers became quite clear and precise, the sounds of clapping became sharp and snappy.

The overall quality and accuracy of presentation is evident by how obvious major variations in sound became when moving through a parade of power amps; Belles Soloist 5, Rogue Atlas EL34 tube amp, Flying Mole digital mono amps, Michael Yee Audio PA-3, and Scott Nixon chip amps. Nuts, oh yes, but each amp exhibited distinct characteristics that could be clearly discerned, evidence that the speakers are flat and uncolored.

But you ask, can a single driver speaker rock? A transmission line cabinet with a Jordan full range driver most certainly can.

The Boss, The Stones, Costello, and even AC/DC; I get bass that may not be floor shaking, but is certainly deep and genuine, no bass humps here.

An unusual characteristic with DVD movies that I have noticed are sounds that appear a good five feet on either side of the spread of the speakers, a wonderful dispersion pattern, the off-axis performance is top notch. I was not tethered to a small sweet spot with the JLM/2s.

Another trait of the speakers is just how well they sound when placed one foot from the rear wall. No need to position these speakers four or five feet into your living space, they can become part of the room and not dominate it. All of my soundstage observations have come from such near-wall placement.

The speakers are placed 12 feet apart, with a listening position 10 feet away. From this position I observed no “hole in the middle” effect. Quite the opposite, I have a complete wall of sound, with instrument placement across the soundstage.

For cabling I use silver LC-550 from Wasatch Cable Works, but have had excellent results with the value-priced copper Gauge from Zu Audio. The JLM/2s do not appear too picky about wire, the suggestion from the speaker designer, Ronnie Thackeray, is that thinner is better.

This last statement captures in my mind just what makes the Carolina Audio JLM/2 a great speaker. In a real world setting, without boutique electronics and cabling the size of fire hoses, I can have a broad, deep soundstage, accurate placement of instruments across the soundstage, life-like presentation of instruments and vocals; I now have the Glimmer Twins in my living room, and for me that is what audio is all about.