Nothing Beats a Classic: JBL L100 Classic Loudspeaker Honors Legacy, Touts Innovative Engineering and Quadrex Foam Grille, Plays with Tremendous Authority and Endless Fun
Nothing beats a classic. An irresistibly modern version of the L100, the best-selling speaker in JBL's storied history, the L100 Classic loudspeaker honors its predecessor's unparalleled legacy and penchant for accurate, studio-quality performance all the while taking listeners deep into the 21st century with newly developed acoustic technology. Featuring unmistakably vintage styling that extends to the hallmark Quadrex foam grille in a choice of three vibrant colors, L100 Classic also comes with a satin wood walnut veneer enclosure with a black painted front and rear panels for aesthetics that stand out as much as this ravishing three-way model's sound. About those sonics: Wow, just wow. Then there's the speaker's storied history.
Many audiophiles doubtlessly remember the unforgettable sound of the L100. And even for those that don't recall it, fans of classic advertising design will recognize the iconic Maxell ad, "The Blown-away Man," in which the listener sitting in his chair literally gets blown away by his speakers – L100s. JBL's L100s were chosen because listeners who cared about full-frequency response, tremendous dynamic swings, and studio accuracy were playing the day's best records on their own JBL speakers.
After all, L100's internal components were being used as studio monitors around the globe to assist in the recording of the world's best-selling albums. And, as it is now, it was rare at the time to find a loudspeaker that could please classical music lovers and high-energy rockers with equal unanimity. L100 did. Built to exacting standards with a cool sense of retro appeal, L100 Classic carries on that tradition.
Equipped with a 12-inch white, Aqua-plas-coated pure-pulp cone woofer with cast frame, a five-inch pure-pulp cone midrange driver, and a one-inch titanium dome tweeter, L100 Classic plays with a combination of refinement and authority, grace and impact, liveliness and trueness, and overall naturalism that instantly tells you you're in the presence of something special – and a speaker engineered to live up to and exceed the status of its forerunner that, by nearly all accounts, stands as the best-selling model of the entire 1970s. True to JBL heritage, L100 Classic handles every style of music with aplomb, making it a terrific choice for listeners with diverse tastes and record collections. Its ability to be positioned horizontally or vertically adds to its exceptional versatility.
Retaining fundamental elements of the original L100 – and subsequent L100A and L100 Century evolutions – L100 Classic touts significant improvements to the transducers, enclosure tuning, and crossover network design. Designed by Chris Hagen, the same acoustic system engineer that created JBL's L100T3, L100 Classic uses a newly developed JT025Ti1 titanium dome tweeter mated to a waveguide with an acoustic lens for optimal integration to the JM125PC cast-frame, pure-pulp cone midrange driver located directly below. Its vertical high- and mid-frequency transducer arrangement is slightly offset to the right of the woofer below, with high- and mid-frequency attenuators located on the upper left of the front baffle. Deep, taut bass comes by way of the 1200FE cast-frame, white pure-pulp cone woofer operating in a bass-reflex enclosure system tuned via a single, front-firing port tube with flared exit.
As you process these details and specifications, ask yourself: When was the last time you heard the bottom-end solidity of a 12-inch woofer? Remember, we're not talking about multiple 6.5-inch drivers. We're talking about the ability to move air with concert-like low-end responsiveness that produces the realism associated with live shows. Any speaker's midrange driver is critical to getting everything right, and again, L100 Classic's five-inch driver delivers accurate tonality and lifelike dynamics – be they from a human voice, or tone of a guitar, a piano, a snare drum, or any other instrument. And the tweeter in L100 Classic updates that of JBL's finest one-inch titanium driver. It features incredible extension, yet also delivers an ultra-natural portrayal of upper octaves that give music its valued breath of life.
We highly encourage an in-home audition. But if you take us up on it, do yourself a favor and hold on to your drink. (We are not responsible for anything that gets blown away!) All you need to do is connect your system to the pair of gold-plated binding post terminals on the L100 Classics' rear panel. They round out an ear-opening instrument that measures 25 inches tall x 15 1/3 inches wide x 14 2/3 inches deep and weighs 58.5 pounds apiece. (Optional black metal floor stands with adjustable carpet spikes are available.) Behold, an instant classic is at hand. 100% Music Direct Guaranteed.
"This loudspeaker gets things done it is own sweet way: it is loud and proud, a design that doesn't so much have character as ooze charisma. Tonally it's bright and vivid, really 'waking up' whatever recording you care to play. It also has a wonderfully animated rhythmic quality, so you can't stop tapping your feet. It's dynamic in its own way too but, perhaps contrary to what you might expect, far better at tracking subtle accents than the epic, earth-shattering crescendos of an orchestra at full tilt."
– Nick Tate, Hi-Fi News, Editor's Choice
"Every instrument, even at volume, was rendered with near perfect tonal accuracy, and so clearly set in a three-dimensional panorama of space that I often looked about, front to back, left to right, as if I could see the musicians in my room. ...I consider the L100 Classic to be an absolute steal, for they are just as much a high-end, audiophile-grade solution as any of the costlier competition."
– Andrew Robinson, Home Theater Review, Best of 2019 Award
"If you judge hi-fi on the ability to entertain rather than the ability to analyze, these are one of the most appealing pairs of speakers at the price. And you'd have to be soulless not to be just a little pleased that products with this much charm and character still exist."
– What Hi-Fi?, five-star review
"[If] you want a pair of speakers that really rock, get the JBLs. You either get this or you don't. I don't mean it in a bad way. ...I dare you to have a bad time listening to your favorite music, no matter what generation it is from when you're rocking a pair of L100 Classics."
– Jeff Dorgay, TONEAudio
"Inspired by a pair of JBL speakers first released in 1970, these bookshelf speakers retain the same retro styling and recognizable foam grille, with upgraded acoustics that deliver pristine, room-filling sound."
– Rolling Stone, Best Audiophile Speakers
"Great audio models, just like the most exceptional music, can be experienced but not wholly explained. Like the Mona Lisa's smile, the very best components or music harbor at their core an inexplicable mystery that defies any reasoned analysis. ...So long L100's. You made me listen to my music with a new sensibility."
– Peter Familari, Stereonet, Applause Award
"Combined with the right amp, it is a pleasure to listen to, both for large orchestral works and rock music. The L100 Classics counter with an impactful bass, a large soundstage, and something that we would just like to call 'fun.' The L100 Classic is an immense presence in the living room. Vintage enthusiasts, here's your speaker!"
– Jamie Biesemans, HiFi.nl
"The L100 Classic still require a lot of space and a powerful amplifier, but they fill a large room with ease and are one of the most dynamic sounding loudspeakers available for the price. If you crave an intense listening experience, these JBL's are well worth an audition."
– Ian White, Gear Patrol