Review: JMLab Electra 920.1 Speaker

Category: Speakers

I upgraded from PSB Stratus Goldsi to the JMlab Electra 920s. I also have the Electra CC 30 center and two pair of the Electra SR 30 dipolar rears. I am very impressed with the JMlab speakers. I use them for both home theater and 2-channel music. They are great for HT but really shine with 2-channel music. I believe the one trait that separates good audiophile speakers from great audiophile speakers is the soundstaging and imaging. This is usually the first quality of the speaker that I notice whenever I go to audition speakers. The JMlab Electra 920 center imaging is very strong with 2-channel music. So strong that as a matter of fact most of my friends when hearing them for the first time get up and walk over to my center channel speaker and put their ear to it to check if it is on.

Some of the qualities that I like most about the JMlab Electra speakers are the tight bass, the transparency (the speaker seems to disappears in the room), and as I have previously mentioned but want to state it again for emphasis is the BIG soundstage and very good imaging. The soundstage is both wide and deep. I am sure that someone with more experience than I could find some faults with this speaker, but I cannot. I guess when I start finding faults it will be time to upgrade.

As compared to the PSB Goldsi the JMlabs are much more transparent (the speaker disappears), they have a bigger soundstage, and much tighter base that the PSBs. The PSBs are a laid back speaker with rolled off highs. The JMlabs are more forward and a bit livelier in the treble region than the PSBs. Do not get me wrong the PSBs are a great speaker but for almost twice the price, the JMlabs should be much better and they are.

I cannot really compare these speakers to the M&K S-150 system. The M&K system is a THX system. A THX system may be a good idea for a system that is strictly used for home theater but I am into to 2 channel as well as HT. Shortly I will be upgrading to DVD-A and SACD. I love M&K speakers for HT. However, I also enjoy 2-channel music. I like rock blues Eric Clapton, blues BB King, and jazz Dianna Krell just to name a few. The first thing I noticed with the M&K system is that it sounded very boxy with 2-channel music. You could see exactly where the music was coming from. This would be the exact opposite of transparent quality, which the JMLab speakers show very well.

Associated gear
Speakers: JMLab Electra 920 towers, CC 30 center, two (2) pair SR 30 surrounds. Two (2) M&K MX 350 subs (front left and right), two (2) M&K MX 700 subs (rear left and right). Two (2) Buttkickers.
Electronics: B&K AVP 3090 processor, Parasound HCA-3500 dual-monaural 350W x 2 channel amp for front mains, B&K TX 4430 THX certified 200W x 3 channel amp used for center and rear channels, Carvin Amplifier 2000W for Buttkickers, Denon DVM-3700 DVD player, Sony DirecTV satellite system, Sony VHS player, Hitachi 60 RPTV (this is probably me next upgrade).

Similar products
I owned and used a PSB HT system consisting of Stratus Goldsi and C6 for over a year.

I also owned and used an M&K S-150 speaker system with an MX-5000 sub and the tripole surrounds for about a year and a half.
I'm one of those crazy audiophiles who has invested far more than sanity should allow in my system. And I've been more than pleased with my PSB Stratus Gold i's, although they are by far the least expensive component in my system. To tell the truth my tonearm, or for that matter my phono cartridge, cost more than the Golds.

But the Golds have always shown (sic) each upgrade and only improved with each step...rather than being the weak link, which the magazines would have us believe.

My point is not to disagree with you in the least, I am only curious. When you say the bass is improved, how so? Or when you say that the Golds are laid back, how so? One thing I can say about the Golds is that they do bougie.

I've tried Audio Physics Virgos (susposedly a Stereophile Class A speakers) and have to say...sure they image better and sure they disappear, but the Virgos are no comparison when it comes to delivering the goods. The Gold's delivery the rhymn and bass. The Gold's are what music is about. They can even sound smashing and realistic, if given the proper supporting accompaniment.

Again don't get me wrong...your comments will get me to give the JMLab Electra a listen. I love imaging as much as the next guy, but wouldn't trade pinpoint for music.


Thomas Gonzales
Chicago, IL

We are actually using a very similar setup. I have a HT / music setup which is consisted of Electra 920.1 as mains, the Electra CC 30 center and one pair of the Electra 905 as surrounds. I am very happy with the 920.1 in both HT and 2-channel music. I don’t even use a sub for HT (small room) as the 920.1 have great tight bass in my room. The thing I love the most about the 920.1 is the soundstaging and imaging. When listening to music with my EMC-1 CD player, the 920.1 sound great and I have no complains whatsoever. In HT they also sound great and very musical.

BTW, I have listened to the JMlab Mezzo Utopia (which are better) and the 920.1 have similar qualities. As the 920.1 is about 40% of the price of the Mezzo (both used), it’s a great value for money. I can’t think of a better speaker for the money (though I am pretty new to this hobby so I’m not the most knowledgeable guy here).