Just in time for NAMM 2018, HARMAN and JBL refreshed its LSR series of powered studio monitors (and sub-woofer). The JBL 3 Series MkII look just like their 2013 incarnations, but there’s all sorts of tuning under the hood. First off, JBL says it’s coaxed greater linearity and lower harmonic distortion out of its low frequency transducers. The high frequency transducers’ ferrofluid damping has also been fine-tuned to achieve faster transient response, apparently.
And the changes don’t end there. Team JBL added a new Boundary EQ setting to attenuate the low-end boost that occurs as a proximity effect from placing the monitors straight on a desk, or too close to walls. Likewise, high frequency response can be adjusted with a three-position HF Trim switch.
Overall, we are talking welcome and genuinely useful improvements to a well-regarded series of studios monitors that, in its original variant, perhaps lacked the finer degree of control over frequency response and acoustics compensation that the MkII version now manages. With new the features, we believe that the JBL 3 Series MkII will successfully inherit the older models’ reputation as a sensible choice in the sub-500 USD-per-pair powered monitor segment.
While judging studio speakers is a question of taste for some, those placing more emphasis on uncoloured sound are often impressed with the LSR’s performance, and the MkII doesn’t seem to be a step back in any way. It’s also worth noting that JBL’s proprietary moulding of the tweeters (also known as the Image Control Waveguide) is no marketing bluff – the LSRs seem likely to maintain the accurate sound reproduction even when pushed outside typical nearfield distance and volume norms.
Price and availability
The 5-inch JBL 305P and 8-inch JBL 308P MkII monitors are available now from authorized HARMAN dealers in the United States. For the first time in the series, JBL will introduce a 6-inch model, the JBL 306P, in February. European availability for the 3 Series studio monitors is scheduled for the summer months.