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Back to the future with GoldenEar and JBL

  • A loudspeaker for the 21st Century?

    Ask Sandy Gross of GoldenEar Technology at CES 2018 and it’s a streaming equipped digitally active design: a 6” bass/midrange driver derived from the Triton Reference plus its HVFR tweeter, each driven directly by 60 Watt and 200 Watt Class A/B amplifiers (respectively) and crossed over in the digital domain via DSP and augmented by two 8” passive radiators. It’s Bluetooth and 2.4GHz/5GHz Wifi Google Chromecast streaming connectivity. It’s USB, TOSLINK and analogue inputs and subwoofer output. It’s voice control when used in tandem with any Google Home device. It’s a piano black cabinet and the ability to run one speaker as a standalone unit or two as a wireless pair connected via low-latency WISA radio. It’s a target price of US$2000/pair and shipping ‘later in 2018’. It’s the GoldenEar DigitalAktiv 3 (DA3).

    Ask the Samsung-owned Harman International – also showing at CES 2018 – and it’s a 25″ tall passive 3-way from the 1970s, reportedly the best selling JBL loudspeaker of all time, but updated for the 2010s and still requiring outboard electronics (amplifier, DAC, streamer). It’s a newly developed 1″ titanium dome wave-guided tweeter and 5″ pure pulp midrange driver – complete with attenuators mounted to the front baffle – plus a 12″ pure pulp bass driver with front firing flared bass reflex port handling the low end. It’s improved transducers, enclosure tuning and crossover. It’s an optional metal stand that cants the loudspeaker backwards/upwards. Most strikingly of all, it’s desire-inducing retro design with satin walnut wood veneered cabinet and iconic Quadrex foam grille (black, orange or blue) – yes, that speaker from the equally iconic Maxell cassette ad. It’s US$4000/pair and shipping in Q2 2018. It’s the JBL L100 Classic.

    Further information: GoldenEar Technology | JBL

    Written by John

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts for Darko.Audio. He has previously contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

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