By Keijo Tanskanen
JBL is a well-known US loudspeaker brand which has published a wide variety of loudspeakers, from PA to High Fidelity. Personally, I became familiar with JBL elements already in the eighties when I built a loudspeaker for my synthesizers. This project gave me a very reliable experience of the brand. Afterwards, I have worked with Hifi loudspeakers only. Last year, I was lucky to listen to the latest incarnation of the Everest series, the DD67000 model at Mareksound. The listening results of this visit are written in this review. Unfortunately, it took far too long to get my notes into a writing mode, but my life has its priorities and limits. Hopefully, the writing is still informative enough.
I did my listening in a two hours session. The setup was located in a very spacious entrance hall at Mareksound. Marek had located speakers carefully and toed them in properly. However, he was dissatisfied with the frequency balance and decided to use DSP for the correction. I listened to this setup for a while, but could not get strengths of the speakers out clearly enough, not in a way I knew they were able to. So, the DSP was removed from the signal chain. After this, the frequency response was slightly out of balance, but the music began to breathe much more effortlessly, in a way I liked to. As a result the further sonic comments concern the setup without DSP
JBL Everest DD67000 is an augmented two way ported horn speaker. This means that there is an extra tweeter for very highs and ultrasonics and mild low pass filtration for the second bass cone (6 dB/octave 150 Hz >). The speaker construction has a long term planning history. By help of this, DD 67000 seems to be scientifically well thought, robust and very heavy. The speaker has two specially made 15" bass cones, one horn for the midrange and treble and the previously mentioned super tweeter for extensive highs. Two of the key planning goals have been high sensitivity and smooth transition in a cross-connection area. This meant that the lowest bass had to be sacrificed for these features. Nevertheless, the speaker goes easily to the 30 Hz without attenuation and the room modes of big listening rooms will help to go even lower. The fit and finish of the speaker are simply superb to say the least.
Dimension: 97x112x47 cm
Weight 142 kg
Recommended amplification power: 500 W
Impedance: 8 ohm
Sensitivity: 96 dB
Adjustments: ± 0,4 dB for midrange and lower treble, ± 0,5 dB for bass
Connectors: Binding post connectors enabling bi-cabling
The price in Finland: 86000 to 90000 €
For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.jbl.com/synthesis
Loudspeakers: JBL Everest DD67000
Power amplifier: Mark Levinson ML531H monoblocks
Source: PS Audio Perfect Wave Transport and Direct Stream DAC
Cabling: Audioquest Oak speaker cables and Nordost Valhalla interconnects
For the sound analysis I used my traditional music samples which cover all the main genres. From the very first samples, it was very easy to notice that music was delivered by an exceptional electronics and loudspeakers. One doesn't even need to be an audiophile to notice this! The clarity and contrast of the music flows were simply stunning in all the samples. The most remarkable strengths of the setup seemed to be transparency, effortlessness in dynamics and sense of power. Sometimes, I even thought the presentation was a bit too aggressive. However, this is exactly like what live music in many cases is. If you can get this kind of presentation in home listening, the deliverance must be close enough to the source information.
Although previously mentioned features are vital for the high quality music reproduction, by all means they are not the only ones. Here we get into the sonic areas where even Everest DD67000 and its associated equipment can be still improved. Namely, some of the instruments and vocals seemed to have coloration, some kind of hardness and extra aggressiveness. One can call it also PA coloration, nasality or horn distortion, so to speak. This caused also slight distortion in some notes of the melody paths. Although there were room modes and reflections in the listening room, the noticed colorations were clearly not caused by them. Luckily, the amount of the coloration was much dependent on the music samples. If I listened to the music which had plenty of energy in upper bass and midrange, the phenomenon was more intrusive. How meaningful this kind of a lack is, must be evaluated individually. For me, it possibly would be too hard to overcome.
The low end and the very highs of the music were reproduced impressively, even superbly. The bass lines of test music samples were reproduced with exceptional purity and control. I did not notice any signs of monotonous or other negative artifacts in the bass quality. The same thing concerns very highs. The triangles, tiny bells and cymbals sounded just great, in the same way as the best setups have delivered them in my experience. The treble extensions went easily into the limits where a human can not even notice reliable differences anymore. Instead, the bass extensions were slightly restricted, but this rarely diminished impressiveness of the music reproduction. For example, the kick drums slams were reproduced exemplarily!
The sonic view was also very impressive, as can be expected after the previously praised transparency issue. The soundstage was not the biggest one I have heard, nor the most accurately organized, but surely big and accurate enough in every three dimensions. Subjectively, the most important thing was that there seemed to be an unlimited amount of immediacy and live likeness in the presentation. The illusion of being against real orchestras and soloists was quite amazing.
JBL Everest DD67000 is a super speaker, no doubt about that. For example, it can deliver one of the most authentic sonic views and one of the most accurate dynamic presentations which are available today. However, personally, I value smoothness of the overall performance to the extent that possibly it would be inconsistent for me to live with this speaker. Instead, I slightly prefer what Wilson Audio Sasha W/P delivers in my home nowadays and also what Tannoy Kingdom Royal delivered at Mareksound a couple of years ago. That said, I must admit that Sasha W/P and Kingdom Royal can not quite deliver the amount of clean slam and brutality what DD67000 can do, especially at very high volume levels.
JBL Everest DD67000 is a bit bipolar and unsmooth in its performance. In most of the features it clearly belongs to the very best speakers I have ever heard, but in others it does not. It simply can not do everything in the very best way, but actually no speaker can. So, if one's aim is to have the most correct tone colours of instruments and the most correct melody paths, I recommend to consider other top class loudspeakers. But, if one has a big listening room and prefer aggressiveness, openness and power over very neutrality, one may achieve one's audio heaven with the Everest DD67000.