What We Like
- Phenomenal audio quality across a wide range of options.
- A very wide sweet spot; stereo imaging is on point.
- The bass response is exceptional.
What We Don’t Like
- Not a whole lot of input options.
JBL stands for James Bullough Lansing, born James Martini, who founded the company in 1946 with his appropriately old-timey named friends, Chester L. Noble and Chauncey Snow. JBL has been a mainstay for decades, and specialise primarily in consumer audio.
On the whole, the build quality is good but not great. The cabinets have a somewhat plastic feel to them, but do also appear robust and sufficiently well made so as to fulfil their intended function. The glossy finish is fine, but not especially inspiring. If you’re looking for a statement speaker (and, to be honest, most people who are in the market for studio monitors are absolutely not), then this would not be what we’d recommend.
The front of the cabinets is a simple, fairly standard arrangement. The 8” woofer is pretty large for the price point, and certainly looks it alongside the waveguide tweeter which sits above it. In fact, they are both fairly large and this is reflected in the fact that the cabinets are some of the largest we’ve tested in any price range for studio monitors.
From an audio engineering perspective, these are extremely precisely designed speakers. JBL has a detailed, paragraphs long rationale for each and every design decision from in terms of how it contributes to a quality listening experience. And, as we will discuss, this is very much evident in their overall performance.
As usual, all the controls and inputs are on the back of the cabinet. The power switch is also located here which, while not something that bothers us particularly, can be a gripe for some people who much prefer the accessibility of having it situated on the front of the device. A balanced XLR and ¼ inch jack are also found on the back, alongside trim controls for adjusting both the low- and high-frequencies. A volume control and an input sensitivity control complete the set.
Whilst this is the end of the headline ‘features’, the real interest lies in the more technical details such as JBL’s ‘slip stream’ port design which “works in concert with the woofer to produce deep bass response at all playback levels”. This is very much a product designed with audiophiles in mind, and this is evident in each and every decision.
If you have dived into the specific audio technologies which JBL claims help to set this set of speakers apart from the competition, you may be wondering whether or not something as ostensibly minor as the design of the internal bracing of the cabinets can have much of an impact on the overall listening experience. Well, we’re here to tell you that it can and does.
The most impressive aspect of a listening experience that is impressive across the board is its bassa response. It’s powerful, punchy, and precise in a way that maintains a good deal of musicality whilst restraining the hugely powerful output of which these speakers are more than capable.
The stereo image is also worthy of a mention. The sweet spot seemed far wider than most comparable models which means that they are a far more versatile option if you aren’t sure about where precisely you will be placing the monitors in your set up. Or if you simply want the flexibility to be able to move them around at will.
Whilst the visual design is nothing to shout about, the emphasis JBL has placed on the minutiae of perfecting its various audio technologies which power the LSR308s shows within an instant of turning them on. A fantastic listening experience.