Let me begin this small review by cleaning my slate and admitting having an incredible disdain for JBL product's. Having owned my Polk RT2000p's at the time, I simply scoffed at their speakers as other "less inclined" individuals praised their name and capabilities.
This notion of mine has lasted up until the past week or so, when I brought home a pair of JBL N28 bookshelves home for the soul purpose of being my main computer speakers. Finding them open box, for $125.00 a pair at the PX on base, I simply could not resist. Taking them home, I had high hopes but low expectation's.
Now let me begin describing the JBL's with their size. These are monster bookshelf speaker's, very solid and formidable in weight. There is nothing like the satisfaction of taking home such a hefty speaker for such a low price. Anymore, you would be lucky to find some quintet Polk or Bose speaker pair for the same price.
Now on to the performance: At this point in time, I had the jvc reciever running to the computer, with the Mintek as a seperate source to play my cd's.
My first impressions were that of what I was accustom to hearing in Best Buy. A dull, muddy sound. Not nearly as pronounced as the Polk's. I cannot really comment on imaging as they are located on my desk, in between a 19' crt, only two feet apart, and in a closet.
The detail in the tweeters however seemed to have been a tad more revealing than the Polk's. The high's however, were bright, as I had to turn down the treble to -2. That seemed to help things a bit, although the speaker than sounded "pushed back".
Ok, so far, just your typical JBL sound. It could fill an area very well, but it seemed to lack quality. Had good dynamic range, but again - no real quality to it.
Fast foward to now. The JVC has been replaced with my Rotel, Ixos wiring, Monster Y interconnect to the pc, and radio shack gold cables to my mintek.
This made a drastic difference. The JBL's came to life. The high's, although a bit "hot", were much smoother and more defined. I hooked up the Polks to do a side by side comparison, and noticed how quiet the JBL was. JBL clearly had the R15's beat. The mid's still seemed to collide as you would expect from an 8 inch driver. Nonetheless, it was tolerable and intelligable.
Adding a good amp will improve any speaker, but I never expected such a vast improvement from the JBL's. They were already well worth the 125 bucks when I first listened to them on the jvc. Now, they are a friggen steal. Rotel has brought out the beauty in these speakers that seems to be hidden with your usual array of reciever's.
If I had to rate these speakers, I would say they are a step above the Polk R series, and a step below the RT series. The cost of this system is somewhere in the 300 dollar range, and worth every penny. For a computer rig, it simply cannot be matched by any digital speakers on the market today.
Through this short period of time, I have acquired a bit of respect for JBL. Although I will never buy any of their current line of products for any serious listening, I feel they fill their own little niche and when given good amplifcation, can become suprisingly tolerable. Finally, an investment I do not regret.