For this special, we’re focusing on the massive range of studio monitors – the heart and soul of any studio set-up – glancing our eyes over everything from entry level creative reference monitors through to high-end solutions for mixing and mastering professionals.
Key Features: With such a colossal reputation in the broader PA, Installation and Consumer Audio markets, it’s sometimes easy to forget that the JBL name was built on the brands stellar contributions to the world of studio monitoring, with the JBL brand in many ways, pioneering a lot of the fundamental concepts we now take for granted in the studio.
Not one to rest on glories past, the iconic American brand have continued to release awesome, cutting edge monitoring solutions for the contemporary professional studio environment (whilst simultaneously growing to become quite possibly the biggest Audio brand of them all).
Nowhere is this pedigree more clearly evident than in JBL’s excellent 7 series (or more specifically) the LSR705p- a 5” Bi-Amplified Master reference monitor that showcases JBL’s unrivalled experience and R&D resources and channels them into an endlessly powerful and versatile reference monitor, one with more than a few tricks up it’s sleeve.
Something of an outlier – and a point of difference that really differentiates JBL monitors from so many of the other manufacturers out there – is in their ongoing commitment to low distortion compression drivers in their Studio Monitor range. It’s a lineage that can be traced from the brands flagship M2 midfields, right through to the giant killing performance found on the entry level JBL 3 series – and as a design characteristic, is something rarely encountered in Studio Monitors outside of the JBL range (usually being more at home in the high octane world of PA and Live sound reinforcement).
What a masterstroke this proved to be, as the result is quite possibly the best speaker for broadcast and post applications out there at the moment – not to mention a delightfully versatile Studio Monitor for the modern recording chain.
With a whopping 250w going to the HF and LF drivers respectively, the aforementioned compression drivers on the 705p allow these diminutive little boxes to pull off some truly jaw dropping projection and dispersion feats, with the 705p boasting as much as three times the output of your typical 5” Studio Monitor.
This extra projection, combined with the 705Ps insane headroom/distortion properties, make them an ideal choice for the kinds of larger monitoring spaces and the massive dynamic range requirements that usually accompany the modern Atmos Studio. When you start to factor in the obvious logistical upside that comes with packing all this punch into a diminutive 5” monitor-the transportation, installation and mounting side of the equation, you start to realise why it’s such a proven winner in the field.
The presence of JBL’s patented image control waveguide (originally found on the flagship M2 Reference series) is JBL’s secret sauce for perfectly marrying the LF and HF drivers at the crossover frequency, and this combined with the onboard floating point DSP definitely goes a long way to providing a balanced, neutral 360 degree image at the listening position. Couple this with the 7 series ability to seamlessly integrate into JBL’s more sophisticated Intonato 24 monitor management system and you have a speaker that is perfectly suited to the broader Atmos workflow.
Mixdown Says: JBL’s focus on a faithful representation in the dialogue frequencies is apparent on the 705p, with a crisp, detailed midrange that presents voices, both spoken and sung, honestly and transparently. This clarity in the upper and middle registers, combined with the awesome dynamic range found on the 7 series compression drivers equates to a speaker that excels in front to back placement- making notoriously tricky tasks like balancing backing vocals or placing acoustic percussion in the stereo field a relative breeze.
This focus on headroom and clarity at the amp/driver end also gives the 705p a very unique trick-bag, one that is just as concerned with dynamic and transient reproduction as it is with fullscale frequency response (which at 39hz-36khz, the 705p is more than equipped for).
The combination of the generally high wattage of the compression drivers, combined with the high quality, Low-mass Annular polymer diaphragm work together to give the 705p truly exceptional LF properties, with the diminutive little unit punching well above its weight in this regard. At times it is genuinely hard to fathom how so much clean low end can come from of a monitor of this size.
That low end isn’t just for show either (as anyone working in sound design will attest) and combined with the 705p’s elite dynamic properties, serve as another big tick as to why the 705p is such an obvious choice for anyone working in Gaming, Post FX or any application that veers toward the bombastic. The ability to accommodate these kind of sudden dynamic fluctuations free of distortion, all the while maintaining a clear and balanced low end down to 39hz, is absolutely ideal for these kind of applications and really puts the 705p in it’s own league in terms of small scale monitoring solutions for the nearfield. Factor in the size and portability of the unit and its easy to see why it’s found so much favour in this section of the industry.
As a monitor for music, the 705p has all the makings of a transparent, versatile choice for the studio. It’s frequency profile, low distortion properties and enlarged sweet spot provide all the tools necessarym and as far as headroom and crossover distortion are concerned, you’d be hard pressed to find many that could outperform it for pure, distortion free monitoring in the nearfield.
The flexibility of the onboard DSP and the various placements options this brings with it open the 705p up to a whole host of placement options, which only increase its suitability as a reference monitor for Musical applications.
All in all, the JBL 705p is in many ways a 8” speaker in a 5” speakers body-exhibiting all the headroom, throw and LF extension of a much bigger box (but with a modest footprint that is sure to please the space conscious or intinerate post engineer).
Their ability to work at distance (combined with their generous sweet spot and flexible onboard DSP) make them one of the most versatile monitors on the market right now, excelling in a whole host of applications, including (but not limited to) Post Production, Foley, Sound Design, Dialogue and Music Production as well as being the reigning MVP for all things Atmos/Immersive.
Overall: A wonderfully powerful and versatile speaker by one of the best to ever do it. Perfect for the modern Post-Production and Immersive environment.
Head to CMI Music & Audio to check out the full JBL monitor range today.