Published by Anghello on 10th October 2012
JBL 4425 (vintage)
I was bit confused at the first moment but noticed very well pronounced distortions in many modern music masters that were not audible on three-way Adam - that means something to me. Every track was played exactly the way I "remember" him. But commonly was not sounding good at all. I thought its a technical question.. so after re-foam sound was more tight in the mid range but still bit blurred in the hi-end. First moment I thought that its a reason of oxidation.. but revision done and monitors are good inside. So whats the problem then? Maybe horn speaker should be changed? So I decide to experiment with placement. Horizontal was great option in my case but hi-fq was to fly all around and dull.. I think they perform better in vertical position.. nevertheless in my case upside-down worked way better. However bit muddy hi-range were not solved.. so I carefully cleaned up tweeter .. wow.. it was really dirty as smokers lungs. Sound opened up and became to perform as should.
In comparison to three way Adam monitoring its quite horrible experience. To be honest I am bit audiophile guy with (I believe) calm head. Such a muddy sound man:( Such a muffled pronouncement of everything.. uurrghh! First moment I thought what a waste of money.
But.. then I played some good masters from reel-to-reel and sound was fabulous!!! Not sounding larger than full range Adam but very honest and real.
This is very tricky monitor to work with. I think it made me think different about mixing/mastering process. +-0,5db eq'ing is audible and sound of good masters is really big.
Monitor that don't lie to you and performs as is to evoke engineer make right decision is exactly what SE needs. It reproduce bad masters with that NS10 type sound. Of course you can use cheap speaker for this trick.. but there would be one most difference - when you play great master from 4425 - the sound is no-compromise. I mean really BIG sound I know from Me Geithain 901k. All reference masters are performing above speakers.
I should also add that they are most boring speakers I've ever heard. It is not audiophile type speaker as B&W with wide panorama and fabulous hi-end or O 300 Klein+Hummel which performs too warm and sounds blurred in comparison. Don't get me wrong, I do think KH is a really good monitor. However believe it or not this is different league. Old man JBL are very unique in its low THD performance. However as soon as you boost EQ on speaker it starts to perform with fatigue-nasty coloration. I measured room to eq a monitor a bit but the result was not natural. Placing them right in right room is a better technique to make them sound flat.
Very interesting was the experiment with textile grill. When its off - sound is 5m mid-field and sounds nasty when you listening close. When its on - sound is 1-3 m near-field with less aggressive stereo imaging.
MID-RANGE is a key of this speaker. And don't be confused by 40hz technical bottom. I measured even lower infrequences with speakers and they are sounding true full-range. Not as destructive as for example Adam Sub12 can do in small room (I mean broking modern glass on windows etc. which happened to me in 32m2 room). It ouperforms many 3-way and some 4-way speakers. I guess there must be two tweeters in horn speaker - but there is no info about that. Cardiod type reproduction is very precise and works amazing. You really don't hear anything in the back even at higher volume.
I do understand people who dislike them. Actually I am a kind of guy who loves big 3D sound with wide stereo. They don't play even close to that with many songs. However they truly does if the song is made that way.
This is high-precision non compromise flat sounding mid-range monitor with bunch of power to perform above 90db with same attitude as at 10db. Any equalization, phase distortion or stereo placing, any compression is very audible.
Many late 90s masters sounded harsh and dull. Many modern red-book sounds telephone. Every bad master sounded really bad. Every good - really good. Every fabulous track performs above monitors. Last session with them was fantastic. What comes in came out. SACD Stuttgarter Kammerorchester (classical) sounded as natural as live concert.
To make long story short. NS10 on next level. Very good for mixing.