The Hub: EVEREST - The tallest peak of JBL range?

In our previous entry on the JBL Paragon we briefly discussed the history and heritage of JBL, and where the landmark design of the Paragon fit into that storied company's history.

Two years after the Paragon completed its 25-year run (from 1958 to 1983, trailing the QUAD ESL's 28-year run and the Klipschorn's 60+ years in the loudspeaker-longevity sweepstakes), JBL released a "statement" product, one that would represent not just the best of the company's history, but the absolute best they were capable of producing in 1985. Appropriately, the design effort was named Project Everest. Rarely seen outside of Japan today, an Everest system is advertised on Audiogon now.

Referring once again to Don McRitchie's indispensible Lansing Heritage website, we find a wealth of information on Everest (dubbed DD55000 in JBL-speak), including a white paper by JBL's legendary John Eargle. In the paper, Eargle describes the steps taken to ensure accurate stereo imaging anywhere within the radiation-field of the speakers. The midrange horn and high-frequency drivers were mirror-imaged, with the tweeter firing into the mid-horn in a way reminiscent of the Paragon.

While some aspects of the Everests recalled the Paragon, in many ways the two were very different. Both were 3-way systems utilizing a 15" woofer, compression-driver midrange and ring-radiator tweeter; the Everest's 150-4H woofer was even an updated version of the 150-4 used in the early Paragons. The Paragon consisted of two mirror-imaged enclosures connected by a central diffuser, forming a single massive console; the Everest system consisted of two separate mirror-imaged 3-way enclosures constructed and used in the conventional "box" manner. The intent of both designs was the same: provide pimpoint imaging anywhere in the listening room. A small "sweet spot" was not a part of the JBL design brief.

The Paragon was a product of the early years of stereo; amps used vacuum tubes, and power outputs in the 15-40 watt range were the norm. Accordingly, the Paragon was highly efficient, rated at 95 dB/1 watt/ 1 meter. The Project Everest brochure makes clear that it was a product of the digital era, able to reproduce the wide dynamic range digital was (at least theoretically) capable of, as well as provide the imaging demanded by a new generation of mini-monitor fans. The Everest was, at 100 dB/ 1 watt/ 1 meter, even more efficient than its illustrious ancestor, and with its high power-handling, could produce levels of 115 dB at three meters, according to Eargle.

Ironically, given the massive enclosures of the Everest (over 20 cubic feet, 320 pounds), bass-response was stated by Eargle as " smooth...down to 40 Hz." He continues, "It is our opinion that 40 Hz. represents an excellent trade-off, considering the advantages of such high sensitivity. The occasional listener who wants response which reaches down to, say, 25 Hz. will need a sub-woofer to cover that range." In today's world of shoebox subs, one would expect a built-in powered sub with response into the single digits. Well, at least flat to 20 Hz.

The bass was rolled off in recognition of the Everest's intended market of Japan. Listening rooms in Japanese homes tend to be considerably smaller than those in American homes, and the rolled-off bass in a smallish room would result in reasonable lower bass response.

The Everest was well-received in the Japanese market, receiving Stereo Sound magazine's "Product of the Year" award in 1985. Regular production continued until the replacement model, K2 (named after the Himalayan peak second in height to Everest) , appeared in 1989. It's thought that around 500 pair were produced.

The JBL Everest was intended for sale only by JBL's international division, and none were ever "officially" sold in the U.S. Our featured pair are indeed rare birds.
Interesting names for speakers. K2 may shorter Mt. Everest, BUT it has never been climbed, so maybe that should have been the top model?
The K2 ("Savage Mountain") in the Karakorams has been summited a number of times. Granted, it was first summited after Everest was, but so was every one of the other 8k peaks.
Guys, I'd have trouble climbing anything beyond Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee or Mount Gay rum, so I won't make any value judgments on this subject!

JBL of course has a history of model names which evoke the top of some heap or another: Paragon, Summit, Olympus. Everest and K2 were logical extensions of that tradition.

Thanks for the comments!
Personally, I love the K2s of the various model names, with the 9500s and 9800s being really top-notch (but even the 5500s being truly excellent speakers. I have never listened to the D55000s but I have listened to the "new" Everests, the D66000s, which were released a few years ago. I am not sure they are 'better' than the K2s I have heard, but they certainly make beautiful music and they look really great (in my opinion, a fair bit better than either the previous Everests or the K2 series).
I have the privilege of announcing that, per Terry Merritt of design-interaction, JBL's SF Bay Area dealer, the JBL Everest DD6600 will be shown at the 2010 California Audio Show at the Dock of the Bay room.

Show dates are Friday July 30, Saturday July 31, Sunday August 1. Hours are 9am - 6pm, and 9am - 4pm on Sunday.

See you at the show!

Constantine Soo
Hi guys,
The d55000 Everest in original condition sucks IMHO.
The xover is a disaster and the woofers are dry and sterile .
The 2425 drivers are just regular , nothing impressive.

Now the good news. The d55000 maybe converted in the best speaker out there , in fact better than any of the K2 that was easy noticeable in an in situ comparison.

How to do this :
"cheap" alternative : jbl 2450+ adaptor as midrange.
2235 , 136a o le15a woofers and custom xover.
If you are one of the guys that wants the best :
"expensive" alternative .
tad 4001 driver and 15" 1601 or 1602 woofers .

A relative has 2 pairs of modded everests + a k2 .
Nothing touches that speakers , not even my Andra II´s or Canterbury´s.
"Two years after the Paragon completed its 25-year run (from 1958 to 1983, trailing the QUAD ESL's 28-year run and the Klipschorn's 60+ years in the loudspeaker-longevity sweepstakes"

OHM Walsh speakers have been around in their current form essentially since 1982 or so, also about 28+ years, so this design can be tossed into the longevity pot, although refinements using more modern driver materials and such continue to be made.

Their predecessor, the OHM F, started production around 1972 I believe, and the OHm A a bit before that even perhaps, so together the basic OHM Walsh driver based speaker has been around for a good 30 years or so.