PRO AUDIO
Taylor

Taylor
March 24, 2014

JBL 3 Series Studio Monitors Overview


There are so many choices these days when it comes to a great pair of studio monitors. Most studio engineers will tell you that the most neutral loudspeaker is the old trusty Yamaha NS10. This is certainly correct in a lot of respects, but the NS10 has fallen out of production and your best chance at getting a pair is probably used and no less than $400. That classic technology has of course been ported over to their newer models, but people still love that classic NS10 sound. JBL however saw this as an opportunity to produce a professional studio monitor with the most neutral frequency response and at a price that everyone in the marketplace can afford. Their achievement in pristine fidelity and incredible affordability has culminated in the production of the JBL 3 Series Studio Monitors. JBL Professional was nice enough to invite us into their home where we captured our JBL Hearing the Truth series of videos, so you might think that we are a bit partial. While JBL is a great company with some very cool people working behind the scenes, the JBL 3 Series Studio Monitors are a testament to the hard work and dedication their staff put into creating the next generation of professional studio monitors. You really have to hear these monitors to believe in their potential for a great mix.

What’s so Great About the 3 Series?

First off you have two different models available for purchase with a 5″ woofer and 8″ woofer on the 305 and 308 respectively. The Image Control Waveguide is the standout technology on these speakers. More on that below. The 305 and the 308 perform well in both the vertical and horizontal positions, but they will probably perform better if you stand them up vertically. Both of these speakers can really put out the volume. You can easily get the 305 up to 100db and more and the 308 can reach 110 db with very little effort. The back has a double flared port which helps open up the low end. But as I note below, sometimes that low end might feel a little lacking depending on your room. There are controls for both high frequency and low frequency trim so you can further adjust how these speakers work in your mixing room. The volume knobs are very precise and move in .5 db increments for a detailed volume adjustment. Lastly there are two options for connecting your speakers to your mixer or interface with XLR and TRS inputs on the back.

The technology on the 3 Series is based on the technology on the industry’s most powerful studio monitors, the M2 Master Reference Monitor. You see these monitors quite often in mastering facilities, but more and more professional studios are beginning to upgrade to the M2 because of it’s true, neutral sound. That’s because these speakers were the flagship for the Waveguide Imaging Technology in addition to JBL’s latest driver the D2. The D2 driver can be found in many of the newer JBL product lines and are also on the 3 Series. These speakers utilize the differential drive technology which has become synonymous with other quality JBL products on the market. You will be happy to know that JBL puts all of their speakers through a 100 hour power test for quality control. Not many companies do such rigorous testing as you can see from our JBL Hearing the Truth: Testing video.

Why Should I Get the 3 Series?

The reality for a lot of folks is that they do not have the professional architecture and professional sound isolation installed in their home studios that is essential to mix properly. Strange acoustic anomalies will creep up into your mix without you knowing it because your ears have adjusted to your mix position and the room you mix in. For the seasoned mixing veteran, this is not always a problem as they will adjust their mix based on their room’s specific acoustics. For those whose ears are still getting trained, it may be more difficult to notice the nuances of a room’s acoustics. This is where the Waveguide Technology from the M2s and the 3 Series comes into play.

The Waveguide is designed to give you the freedom to not have to worry about the sweet spot of your mixing position. This is great for a number of reasons including collaborative efforts when you have multiple people in your studio and they all want to have the same aural experience when crafting the sound. The general idea here is that you get a much broader sweet spot, creating better stereo imaging when mixing. This works not just from left to right but from front to back as well. Not that you would mix with your speakers pointing behind you, but you can really hear the consistency when you move forward and backward from the speakers in addition from left to right.

Review

It seems rather difficult to find fault with the 3 Series Studio Monitors but I am going to try. The 3 Series are already really loud but for large mixing spaces, you may find the 3 Series lacks a booming bass response or even the volume you might crave. These are of course both subjective criticisms and your mixing room might be just fine without an extra bit of low end from a subwoofer or more volume from a second set of monitors. Most home or bedroom studios will not have this issue at all which means that you just need to decide whether the 305 is enough or if you need to step it up to the 308. While I have been championing the need to not focus so dramatically on the mix position, it is important that the back of the speaker be far enough away from your wall because the rear port needs to have space between the speaker itself and your wall.

As I mentioned, but feel the need to reiterate, studio monitors are very subjective and it matters a lot where they are in your room in relation to your ears. This is why it’s important to have adjustable features like the ones offered on the JBL 3 Series. The last thing to mention is the astonishing low price point for what you are getting with these monitors. They are priced considerably lower than most studio monitors and are an incredible bargain when considering all the new patented technology you are getting.

To see the JBL 3 Series up close and personal be sure to check out the video above and be sure to post any questions you have below. If you need the JBL LSR 305 or the 308 for your studio, be sure to pick up a pair at UniqueSquared.com.

SLAM!!

Transcript

The LSR 305 and LSR 308 are professional studio monitors from JBL. The technology used on the 3 series are based on the M2 studio monitors and feature JBL’s patented image control waveguide. The Waveguide helps with sound dispersion and gives you a neutral sound no matter where you are in the room. The 305 has a 5 inch low frequency driver and the 308 has an 8 inch. While both will sound similar, the 308 has more volume headroom if you need to get louder. On the back you have both XLR and TRS balanced inputs. There is a switch for input sensitivity so you can switch between -10 or +4 decibel sensitivity. Switches for low and high frequency trim allow you to fine tune the amount of bass and treble depending on the acoustics of your room. The JBL LSR 3 Series Studio Monitors are a great choice for a project home studio all the way up to a state of the art professional studio. They have a great price and are affordable on nearly every budget. For more on the JBL 3 Series Studio Monitors, be sure to visit the UniqueSquared blog linked below this video. To purchase the JBL LSR 305, the LSR 308, or any other JBL products, be sure to visit us over at UniqueSquared.com. You’re watching UniqueSquared.com.