JBL's new L100 Century Classic. A near identical look alike to the original but with vital changes to drastically improve performance
JBL’s new L100 Century Classic. A near identical look alike to the original but with vital changes to drastically improve performance

If you happen to be a senior audiophile aged about 60 years or more, this article may prove interesting to you.
First introduced during the golden era of hi-fi in the early seventies the L100 Century is said to be JBL’s largest selling home speaker of all time.
Remembered fondly by audiophiles for its iconic ‘chocolate bar ‘equadrey foam’ grille, the JBL L100 Century was the stuff that dreams were made of.
Perhaps in an attempt to recapture some of the nostalgia for audio enthusiasts that missed out on the opportunity to own the L100 Century and also perhaps to introduce such an audio classic to the new generation of music/audio fans, JBL, recently introduced the L100 Classic and the smaller L82 Classic. Both models will soon be on demo at the Audio Visual Designs showroom in Kuala Lumpur.
For the younger music lover and audiophile the following should provide a useful, basic insight on the impact that JBL speakers contributed to the professional audio and hi-fi market the world over.

L82 Classic - A more impact version of the L100 Classics is a two way design with an 8" woofer.
L82 Classic – A more impact version of the L100 Classics is a two way design with an 8″ woofer.

The original JBL L100 Century was sold from around 1970 to 1978 and was the most recognized and loved JBL loudspeaker by multiple generations of music lovers. The live concert at Woodstock, NY in the summer of 1969 used JBL loudspeakers to service 500,000 concert attendees. This single event did much to highlight the introduction of this new speaker shortly after, born out of the recording studio environment for the home market.

Adored by musicians and music lovers alike, the explosion of stereo systems in the 1970s made the original L100 one of the most coveted audio speakers of the day. In 2018, JBL decided to reintroduce a new L100. The question was how to recreate a classic that captures both the emotions of the original with the scientific knowledge we gained about acoustics in the form of a loudspeaker that speaks to multiple generations of fans?

The JBL L100 Classic fills both requirements. At first glance, it looks remarkably like the original, but a closer look reveals a slightly larger and much heavier speaker system at 59 pounds each. While the grill looks the same, it uses modern materials that do not degrade with age. The cabinet, housing the 3-way array is larger and stiffer to accommodate the 12” woofer and the vertical mid-frequency/high frequency speakers for superior imaging. The titanium dome tweeter uses a considerably larger magnet structure for extended high frequency response and power handling. The system is engineered for exceptional dynamics, detail and imaging for any type of music.

While the L100 Classic “looks” like a bookshelf speaker, it is quite large and sounds best on its JS120 speaker stand. Using the stand, angles the speaker up perfectly for listening from a distance of about eight feet. For some, the L100 Classic may be too large for their space or they desire something smaller and at a lower price point. Introducing the L82 Classic.

The L82 Classic does not mirror any exact design from the 70s or 80s but instead recreates the look and sound of the L100 Classic in a smaller, position-wise more flexible little brother. (To me, it looks like the L26 my roommate had in college but I digress). The L82 features a 2-way design with an 8” woofer and identical tweeter to the L100 Classic. It sounds much like the L100 Classic with a little less bass and will not play quite as loud. For those who desire a smaller L100 Classic however, it fulfills its role exceptionally well and sounds best elevated either on a bookshelf or on its custom speaker stands, the JS-80. These tall stands can even be used on the L100 Classics if a higher placement is desired or if the seating position is closer than 8 feet.

Finally the L82, being a 2-way speaker with a higher crossover point from the woofer, is pair-packed in offset mirror-imaged right and left speakers to enhance its superb imaging ability. This design element contrasts with the L100 Classic where a mirrored driver array is not needed due to a much lower crossover point.

Both the L100 and L82 Classics are modern speaker designs that harken back to the emotions and feel of the 1970s. As Les Paul wrote in 2006 in “The JBL Story” by John Eargle, ”Remember, it’s all about the music!”

For further information contact: Audio Visual Designs Sdn Bhd

Tel: Tony Low: 012 2330771
James Tan: 016 3280237

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Dick Tan is one of the longest serving member of the audio-video industry having spent close to 45 years in it. Tan started in the mid 70s working in audio showrooms and writing for fledgling audio magazines in the country.

“I have been through turntables to open reel and cassette tape decks to amplifiers and speakers in that golden era of hi-fi to the sophistication of today's digital audio and AV components such as Bluray and UHD Bluray discs players to streamers and beyond. In the end they all have one common goal … to achieve audio and video in the best, most efficient way possible.”

The other 'hat' that Tan wears, at least once each year, is that of the organiser of the AV Show which started in 1994. The KL International AV Show has been consistently held every year since for the last 26 record breaking years.