JBL ES80/ES25C/ES20/ES150P speakers test

A set of JBL speakers will appeal to fans of dynamic sound in music, in a home cinema room such a manner of sound is all the more valuable. Besides, a set of ES-series speakers is relatively inexpensive – one more advantage.

JBL ES80/ES25C/ES20/ES150P Speakers



First presented to the American market several years ago, the JBL ES series is notable for its numerous. The package includes the ES100, ES90 and ES80 floorstanders, the ES30 and ES20 half-wall speakers, the ES10 wallmount, the ES25C center speaker, and two ES250P and 150P active subwoofers. The ES250P was later replaced by the wireless ES250PW. Such a variety of ES-series allows you to collect on its basis a large number of sets for stereo systems and DC, we have repeatedly drawn attention to the line of speakers in our tests, but all the options are far from being exhausted. But special attention should be paid, of course, not to the multiplicity, but to the constant relevance and competitiveness of this series.

In this speaker kit for the DK 5.The ES80 front speakers, ES25C center, ES20 rear speakers and ES150P active subwoofer were used.

JBL ES80 is the youngest floor-standing models in the series they have massive MDF enclosures bound with zip ties in critical places determined by a scanning laser vibrometer. A smooth, rounded front-to-back transition reduces sound diffraction away from the cabinet edge, while the non-parallel side walls prevent internal standing waves. At the bottom the speaker cabinet rests on slightly protruding plastic feet with regular seats for metal studs. On the rear terminal block there are two pairs of acoustic connectors, suitable for Bi-Wiring/Bi-Amping loudspeaker connections.

Equipped with a four-band SSP Straight-Line Signal Path crossover, the beauty of these filters is their simplicity: the signal passes through the circuitry with a minimum of elements, offering the lowest possible loss. The lower end of the 700 Hz operating range is driven by 170 mm PolyPlas drivers with JBL proprietary polymer-coated paper cones. Diaphragms are mounted on flexible rubber suspensions, oversized speaker coils have Kapton frames and HeatScape motors: ceramic magnets with steel frames are good at dissipating excessive heat from the motor system. PolyPlas diaphragm drivers with 100mm diameter playback range from 700Hz to 3.6kHz. Technically, this speaker is similar to a bass driver, except for one detail: the mid-range diaphragm needs a better dampening suspension than rubber, so silk is used. The tweeter region is split into two stages, frequencies up to 12 kHz are voiced by a 19mm titanium dome squeaker inserted into an EOS Elliptical Oblate Spheroidal “acoustic lens”. From 12 kHz and up works another radiator – a hypertwister, which is complete with a ring diaphragm of polyester and neodymium magnet. Hypertweeter dispersion is controlled by a horn, which limits the sound propagation direction to 30 degrees in the vertical plane and 60 degrees in the horizontal plane.

The ES25C center channel speaker is designed to match the front speakers in style: non-parallel top and bottom baffles, twin tweeters. In addition, it is equipped with two 130mm diameter PolyPlas MF/HF drivers. The center housing is of the phase-inverter type with rear port positioning, no double-cable loudspeaker connection is provided.

The ES20 rear speakers are housed in a rear-mounted, bookshelf-type enclosure. Models feature a twin tweeter and a single 130mm diameter PolyPlas midwoofer.

For low-frequency effects in the JBL kit, the smaller of the two ES-series subwoofers, the 150P model. Like all the other speakers in the range, the subwoofer is enclosed in a box with non-parallel side walls. On the front there is a PolyPlas woofer with 250 mm diameter, the bass port is on the bottom of the speaker, a 300 watt amplifier is installed inside. Subwoofer switching possibilities are limited by a couple of line inputs, the settings are standard for devices of its class: volume and cut-off frequency controls 50-150 Hz , phase switch 0-180 hd . , a toggle switch that disables the built-in crossover.

The ES speakers come in two colors, with invariably black fronts and either cherry red or black trim.


When listening to musical material ES80 give the sound with a fairly flat tonal balance with a slight pleasant gain in the bass registers. The subwoofer support is not really necessary except at the bottom. A tightly toned bottom half giving a masculine baritone voice and saxophone flavor. The upper midrange can show some dryness, but only at a significant volume. Top, extended far into the frequency range, with a sharp articulation of the main timbres, though a little crumbly in the cymbals’ plumes and instrument overtones. But even at high volume, the speakers don’t lose control down low. This energetic sound is well suited to any modern music where good dynamic capability is needed. In the classics, on the other hand, the ES80s play smoothly.

When watching movies I liked the vivid sound of the ES-series loudspeakers. Again it is worth highlighting the serious low-frequency sound foundation and accentuated bass when playing special effects in movies, the power was felt even at the tactile level. The ES150P is a little less refined in the bass than the bigger subwoofer in the ES250P range, but it still sounds tight, and doesn’t ruin the most dramatic action with sudden overdrive. In this set, even the ES20 rear shelf speakers were very bassy, with a harsh upper bass. And in the midrange and treble, echoing the bass, the JBL home theater sound is punchy and expressive. I also liked the way to involve the viewer in the center of the events on the screen. Such a presentation of the surround sound panorama is also valuable because in the minutiae, from which remote plans of the virtual scene are woven, ES set is not very strong, detached echelons of the panorama are not built without sketchiness.

64 500 Dollars.

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