NAMM 2019: JBL Series 104 reference monitors for content creators
Content creators are an attractive niche for audio companies with plenty of growth potential. Ahead of Winter NAMM 2019, Harman-owned JBL Professional unveiled a new pair of reference monitors for content creators – the JBL One Series 104. Designed for desktop placement, JBL says these speakers possess a neutral sound and wide “sweet spot”.
They implement a new coaxial driver design (4.5-inch LF driver, 0.75-inch HF driver) and precisely contoured low-frequency port, going down to 60Hz. Since these speakers are meant for producing mostly voiceovers and dialogue, the lack of sub-frequencies shouldn’t be an issue.
At 30 Watts of power per speaker, achieved via Class D amplification, the 104s are plenty loud (up to 104dB peak loudness but not too powerful for the stereotypical small-room content creator setup. JBL also managed to fit the extension monitor electronics into the master monitor, reducing wiring and clutter – a thoughtful decision.
Another bit of good thinking are the front panel volume control and headphone jack with speaker mute toggle. Furthermore, the 104s connect to professional gear and consumer electronics alike over 1/4-inch balanced and 1/8-inch unbalanced TRS inputs.
Overall, the Series 104 seem like a well-executed concept to me. I like the sleek design and the advantages they offer over smaller 3.5-inch monitors, which are often merely downsized variants of the larger ones. The LF drivers here are almost 5-inches in diameter, but the compact size is retained, and JBL took great care to make them look good on a desk next to your laptop, mic and camera. I like to see proper attention paid where it matters.
We will likely see them pop onto lots of YouTubers’ desks once they reach the market. Price and availability details haven’t been published yet, but they probably will be by the end of January.