JBL announced some new reference monitors at AES this weekend. Drawing on technologies developed in their flagship M2 monitors, these should have a similar sound stage. Perhaps as a result of their live sound heritage and because JBL are part of the Harman group, these 7 Series present some flexible installation options. JBL are aiming these monitors at the post production and broadcast worlds, but do the concepts work just as well for the music production scene?
JBL 7 Series Reference Monitors
Most manufacturers of small reference studio monitors have gone compact and active. Here though, JBL seem to be offering something different with these two passive boxes. The range includes the LSR705i and LSR708i with 5″ and 8″ bass drivers respectively. Both units feature their low-mass annular diaphragm tweeters, as seen in the M2 master reference monitors, which deliver a frequency response above 35kHz. The frequency response remains ‘flat’ on the two models down to 48Hz and 45Hz respectively. Beyond that, they have low frequency limits of 39Hz and 35Hz.
That’s right, I said passive. This new series are designed to run with a BSS Soundweb for control and powered from Crown 8-channel amplifiers. Now that feels like some fairly standard live sound equipment to me! However, I can see the benefits. For example, in multi-speaker surround sound installations it should be very easy and cost effective to spec the 7 Series. These units also sport enclosures that lend themselves to a variety of installations, with front loaded porting and mounting points.
Passive speakers are becoming increasingly rare in music production, but there are some significant benefits. Provided Harman are able to offer a standard stereo package (possibly with a sub) at a decent price, I can see this filling a gap that has opened in the market for passive systems. Of course there are still passive speakers available for music production, but not many of this size. I wonder what they sound like with a Bryston amplifier? You can’t say you weren’t thinking the same!
Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but it will be interesting to see if there are packages available with the amplifiers, and/or if they can be purchased separately. For more information, check out the JBL webpage.