JBL L65 Jubal: A beautiful glass top wood framed speaker from the ’70s

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A classic home speaker from JBL featuring crisp high frequency response and a wide soundstage.

Background:

In production from 1974-1977, the L65 aka Jubal is a 3-way bass reflex loudspeaker that many consider to be one of JBL’s best in the moderately sized home speaker category. Featuring a beautiful glass top and wood frame, the Jubal was designed to blend in with your interior design and sound fidelity. Outside of its looks, the Jubal is beloved by vintage audio enthusiasts for its balanced and delicate “crystal slot” tweeter (the Jubal is one of only two models with this tweeter design) which produces a dynamic high frequency response and wide sound dispersion. Crucial to note, while the Jubal was originally intended to be floor-standing, many owners have recommended placing the speakers on stands or tilting them back slightly in order to get the tweeters to ear level.

Read the product notes from JBL:

“The L65 provides unequalled performance within the confines of a compact, free-standing enclosure. It exhibits impeccable accuracy, wide bandwidth, definition and excellent high frequency dispersion – a combination of performance characteristics typically associated with much larger loudspeaker systems.

The system consists of three drivers – a long excursion, 12-inch low frequency loudspeakers; a powerful, 5-inch midrange transducer; and a wide dispersion, ultra-high frequency driver – all controlled by a sophisticated frequency dividing network. The low frequency loudspeaker provides bass performance that is clean and solid, the midrange unit contributes the clarity and presence characteristic of vocals or solo instrumentation, and the ultra-high frequency driver faithfully reproduces the overtone structure lying above musical fundamentals for the sparkle and crispness so essential to realism.

The L65 maintains its outstanding performance characteristics at all volume levels, from background music to the loudness approaching a live event. Of particular note is the loudspeaker’s reproduction of the overtones and harmonics lying above musical fundamentals. Such overtones and harmonics, which are multiples of the fundamental frequency, quite often extend beyond the range of conscious perception, yet their presence is essential to preserve acoustic realism. The accuracy and extended bandwidth of the ultra-high frequency driver can be easily heard when listening to the clarity of a muted trumpet or the sizzle of brushed cymbals that often underlie a jazz performance.”

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 17″ W x 24″ H x 13″ D
  • Net Weight: 66 lbs. each
  • Nominal Impedence: 8 ohms
  • Frequency Response: 45 Hz to 20 kHz
  • Allowable Input: 75W
  • Crossover Frequency: 1 kHz, 6.5 kHz

Price:

The Jubals were originally sold for $396 back in the ’70s. The price has, of course, gone up quite a bit since then, but actually not too significantly after adjusting for inflation. A pair will now cost you around $2-4k, which is comparable to the slightly larger sized Klipsch Cornwall IV’s.

Testimonials:

“I like mine… A lot of people here and at Lansing Heritage tend to dislike them because they “play to the knees” and the LE5 mid is over matched by the 077. I have mine on 18 inch stands and they are excellent IMHO. The stand eliminates the floor coupling and gets the excellent tweeters at ear level. They are also a very good looking speaker.”

“You do have to work a little to get the best out of the Jubal. I have mine on custom stands. You have to get them off the ground… No one speaker can be everything to everyone. But my Jubals, in their current recapped state with judicious placement and excellent amplification, are a stunning bargain for under $1000. They are my current personal favorite. The tweets do not spit with great caps, and the mids are smooth and detailed. They are very lush with a seamless sound stage in the wide sweet spot and their frequency response says smooth and musical anywhere in the house.” (2009)

“I heard them once many years ago when I was in my twenties at one of the ‘stereo stores’ that were plentiful and friendly back then. The Beach Boys’ ‘Pet Sounds’ playing at a decibel level that almost drove me out of the listening room. No distortion whatsoever. The Beach Boys were in the room. They were out of my league price-wise, so I never pursued them any further. I have no clue as to how a full orchestra would be rendered on these. Obviously an unforgettable experience.”

“It’s a super-dynamic speaker, which I like a lot. Mine were too forward in the upper mids for my taste and eventually went the way of all speakers. Many consider the L65 to be a high point in JBL’s modestly sized home speakers. A former boss of mine has used 4 of them with a Marantz 4400 since new and wouldn’t consider anything else.”

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