Massdrop JBL LSR30X 5" Active Studio Monitors

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by purr1n, Jun 18, 2017.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Massdrop JBL LSR30X 5" Active Studio Monitors
    https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdrop-x-jbl-lsr30x-powered-speakers

    PRESS EMBARGO LIFTS 6/19

    This will have to be sort of a stream of consciousness review. I received them last week, but didn't have time to get to them (I needed to clean out my desk first). I'm horrible about press embargo lift dates, often being late. Well, it's better late than never, so as usual, please ask questions or make requests. We'll do this in our usual conversational style.


    Oh shit! Oh shit! These are absolutely gorgeous when seen in person. @CEE TEE sent me some initial photos via text message and they did not do them justice. Those cell phone photos made them look like cheap shiny plastic toys. In person, the paint looks more like nice piano gloss. The downside to their beauty? Fingerprints! Bleh.

    Massdrop JBL LSR305.jpg

    And oh, I did forget to say that they measure excellently! And sound good too? No, don't expect TOTL mini speaker sound powered by exotic amps and DACs. However, the LSR305 sound competent, way more than competent! Very good detail, excellent frequency response, nice punchy bass, good macrodynamics, fantastic stable and precise imaging, and good bass extension (down to 50Hz), considering their size. The LSR305's punch way above their price, way above.

    I've only had time to take a quick measurement at the listening position. This is how it was done. No head and torso simulator, what's wrong with me! Yeah, this is how measurements are actually done to calibrate monitors - with a microphone! Wait, wouldn't we need to take into account head, pinna, meatus, mouth, cleetus? Nope. Speaker measurements are done with a microphone. Yup, I just taped the microphone to the top of the chair, where my head would be.

    Massdrop JBL LSR305 -2.jpg

    And here is the RTA with pink noise. The results are incredible. There are a couple of bumps and a narrow depression at 90Hz, but these are the result of the table and the room boundaries. I'll see what I can do to correct them later. This behavior is normal for speakers and does not significantly impact the listening experience. However, note how SMOOTH the treble is! Sony Z1R owners who think the treble of those headphones is smooth should get a listen to these monitors! Other than the bass rolloff (normal for 5" speakers), there is a flat line to 300Hz, and then a slight downward slope. B&K curve anybody? Yeah. This is just right. BTW, I spent a total of zero seconds placing the monitors to obtain these results. I just plopped them down like what we see here and took the measurements. So next time a rando noob tells me what sounds neutral, please get a cheap monitor like this before mouthing off. Get a clue before theory-crafting measurements.

    Massdrop JBL LSR305 RTA Pink Noise at Listening Position
    Massdrop JBL LSR305.png


    Tonally, the Massdrop JBL LSR305 remind me most of the Campfire Andromeda IEMs (with Comply tips). Haha. Neener neener neener to you guys who insisted the Andromeda was horribly V-shaped. Actually I'm just screwing with you guys. But actually the LSR305 tonal balance does remind me of the Andromedas: weighty bass, very sparkly and present treble, but smoother with way more top end air (all IEMs suck at the last half octave). The explanation is that two speakers with identical FR measurements may sound slightly different. In this case, it's probably the tweeters enclosed in a mini-horn or what is actually a waveguide resulting in better dispersion. I love it. Brings it just that much closer to that clean explosive movie theater sound. I'll try to get a nearfield on-axis measurement when time permits.

    Here is photo of the back of the LSR305 which should explain a lot more how these things work.
    IMG_20170618_223430.jpg

    Being a piece of pro gear, the LSR305 takes a balanced input per channel. Each monitor is self-powered and requires its own IEC power cord (included). The monitors are identical. There are no left or right versions. There are two trim switches, one for bass, and the other for treble. I'll show the effect of these in a subsequent post. Note that the Schiit Jotunheim came in handy here as a preamp with its balanced output. I'm feeding the Jotunheim with a super secret small DAC that maybe Massdrop will release later this year. (No, it's not from Schiit, but I like it). I will report back on using a real preamp like the Freya to drive the monitors.

    VERDICT: A+ Super highly recommended. If you are in the market for accurate sounding computer speakers, buy them now. And don't get me wrong, just because they are accurate doesn't mean they sound sterile. JBL should be applauded for the LSR305. Massdrop too for the sexy black gloss finish and great deal.

    TRIM SETTINGS: http://www.superbestaudiofriends.or...0x-5-active-studio-monitors.4570/#post-145016
    ON ROOM TREATMENTS: http://www.superbestaudiofriends.or...ctive-studio-monitors.4570/page-4#post-145155
    PETER JBL LSR305 DESIGN GOALS AND PERFORMANCE: http://www.superbestaudiofriends.or...ctive-studio-monitors.4570/page-5#post-147651
    A WORD ON DRIVER MATCHING: http://www.superbestaudiofriends.or...ctive-studio-monitors.4570/page-6#post-147702
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2017
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  2. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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  3. landroni

    landroni Friend

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    To be honest I'm not entirely sure why one would go for the LSR30X as opposed to grabbing a stock LSR305:
    http://shop.harmanpro.com/p/lsr305

    From what I see they're now discounted to 150$ per unit, which isn't all that different from the MD price. (And as it seems to be a habit the Massdrop MSRP spec is itsy-bitsy optimistic, as with no discount a pair of LSR305 would come down to 400$, not 450$.)
     
  4. Grahad2

    Grahad2 Red eyes from too much anime

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    Per Will (not sure if @CEE TEE):

    TL;DR, why you'd pick this are:
    1) 1dB matching
    2) Gloss lacquer coating
    3) Removable custom rubber feet

    150 per unit is 300 for a pair, so for 20 more you get better matching, a nice paint job, and isolation stand out of the box. Seems reasonable.

    (Does HarmanPro come with free shipping in US too? That's more cost saved if not.)

    Too bad shipping is 1/5 the price of the unit to where I am. Geh.
     
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  5. SSL

    SSL Friend

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    These speakers appear to be so consistent that "better matching" is a rubber stamp at best.
     
  6. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    The rubber feet come in handy. The rubber is bit on the squishy side, almost like sorbothane, so they provide a bit of decoupling from the surface.

    LOL, true; but JBL does provide a little plot for you with both channels*. The value add is really the black gloss finish; and convenience of me not having to drive to the hardware store to pick up rubber feet, that might not be as good.

    * Hahahahaha. Do you guys remember when Audeze used to provide frequency response plots for their LCD headphones? All ONE channel. ROFL. So glad JBL aren't a bunch of amateurs. Sorry, I'm just a in foul mood right now on how the personal audio industry has so easily been able to pull the wool over the heads of customers. Imagine JBL providing a frequency response plot for these monitors, but just one channel! They'd be the laughing stock in the pro world.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
  7. Azteca

    Azteca Friend

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    I got a pair of the normal LSR305 for the worker edit room next to my office. I have likewise been very very pleased. They fit in a tight area (near field desk situation on some Isoacoustics stands) and sound just about right out of the box (YMMV, room affects sound blah blah).
    I don't think I'll be buying these. Gloss just seems like a fingerprint magnet and sort of ugly to me. But I can vouch for the quality of the product as a whole. I always say that enthusiasts really need to try out pro gear because there are people that actually base products off of engineering and accepted formal and informal standards. This is the result of that.
     
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  8. 9suns

    9suns [insert unearned title here]

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    I have the regular version of those speakers, had them for two years in the home studio before buying the Amphions, now they're property of my little sister, who is charmed by them.
    Yep, products like JBL or Amphion makes you realize how much of a joke 98% of audiophool stuff is.
     
  9. Jokko

    Jokko Friend

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    Oh yes, please do!
     
  10. Grahad2

    Grahad2 Red eyes from too much anime

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    To be fair I'd think they actually would have to, since they sell the monitors 1 by 1 normally. Audeze doesn't have that excuse though.

    Maybe Audeze can go into headphones for those who have hearing in only 1 ear.
     
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  11. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Or sell cups individually.
     
  12. jhaider

    jhaider Acquaintance

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    Cool, but I'd really love to see an similarly-upgraded LSR70x. Does Massdrop go that high end? The LSR705* a speaker crying out for cabinet finish to match its sonics.

    *presumably a prettiifed one would be the 705p; my experience is with the 705i with BSS processing and ATI Signature amplification, but I think that's a distinction without a difference.
     
  13. MrTurtle

    MrTurtle Almost "Made"

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    The 305s are so best. I actually ended up spending less time with my HD600s after getting them - that's how good they are. The -2db bass switch also helps quite a bit if you have room modes like mine.
     
  14. gepardcv

    gepardcv Almost "Made"

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    Any thoughts on the 305s compared to Overnight Sensations?
     
  15. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    It's really hard to compare because the LSR30X is an out-of-the box solution. Within each cabinet are two amplifiers, one of the bass driver and the other for the tweeter. I'm sure there is an opamp based active crossover and EQ network for the tweeter waveguide. (Passive components such as inductors are expensive and would make it impossible for JBL to price it so low). The active crossover, waveguide, and larger woofer give the LSR30X huge advantages over the OS. The downside is that we cannot run our own amps.

    I should grab an OS kit and build it out, or maybe something better. I already have something more interesting in the works for my desktop speakers, but I'm using extremely expensive exotic drivers (they still cost significantly less than audiophile headphones).
     
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  16. Stride

    Stride Almost "Made"

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    Looking at this drop I see 125USD shipping to Australia and puts the total cost to approximately 450USD or 600 AUD.

    Checking Aussie retail prices for a pair of 305s is about 500AUD, is it quite costly to pay that much extra for 1db matching? Damn shipping costs.
     
  17. Alaarx

    Alaarx Facebook Friend

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    Yeah I want them but $160 AUD for shipping is steep. I wish e could somehow get the Aussies together and split shipping.
     
  18. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I can't say for certain what the tolerances are if you purchase them by the single unit or in the pair packs. I would assume that JBL has a decent level of quality control for sorting out the drivers. However, at this price point, the drivers aren't going to be super consistent like some of the top notch Seas or Scan-Speak drivers. A single of those of drivers can cost the same as two entire JBL monitors though.

    Stay tuned. More measurements forthcoming.
     
  19. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Massdrop x JBL30X Frequency Response - Matched Monitors
    JBL30X frequency response matching.png

    Zoomed in
    JBL30X matching close up.png

    Measurements were taken on-axis at 24" away from the baffle of the monitor like this. I drew marks on the stool to get consistent positioning. Took monitors on and off to make sure I would repeat measurements. I don't have an anechoic chamber. The above measurements are wiggly because of the affect of early reflections, like the floor!
    IMG_20170620_225617 (Small).jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017
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  20. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Here is the effect of the trim settings. This is a really nice implementation.

    RED = +2 LF and +2 HF
    GREEN = flat
    BLUE = -2 LF and -2 HF
    JBL30X frequency response trim.png
     
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