If you were looking for high-performance home audio solutions at CES 2023, there really was only one place to be–and it was not the Venetian Suites as in years past. At the Virgin Hotel in Las Vegas, the Harman Luxury Audio Group had a massive demonstration area dubbed “Harman Explore” that included four soundproof listening rooms and multiple other displays for its JBL, JBL Synthesis, Mark Levinson, Revel, Arcam and Lexicon brands.
Harman Debuts JBL Classic Components
Back in 2018, Harman “reintroduced” the JBL L100 Classic speaker design from the 1960s with all new electronics. According to Jim Garrett, Senior Director, Product Strategy and Planning, HARMAN Luxury Audio, the response has been nothing short of amazing. So, it makes sense that the company used CES 2023 to debut a whole line of high-end audio solutions in the Classic style, including the new SA550 Classic integrated amplifier, MP350 Classic streaming media player, CD350 Classic CD player and TT350 Classic turntable.
JBL’s Classic Series combines the timeless design of the iconic L100 Classic with modern technology. Inspired by the JBL SA600 amplifier from the 1960s and the exclusive SA750 integrated amplifier introduced to celebrate JBL’s 75th anniversary in 2021, the Classic series components have retro styling features such as natural walnut wood veneers along with machined aluminum faceplates and controls, while also including the latest hi-res digital and analog audio electronics.
“Whether streaming audio from a mobile device or enjoying a CD or vinyl record, the latest additions to our Classic Series create captivating experiences for listeners that bring music to life,” says Garrett. “And they look as amazing as they sound. With their retro design, they perfectly match each other and JBL Classic and Studio Monitor Loudspeakers for a sleek, cohesive look in any environment.”
HARMAN’s SA550 Classic integrated amplifier and MP350 Classic music player make it simple for users to stream music services and personal libraries from their smartphones and tablets. Featuring an advanced Class G amplifier topology with high power output and the latest Bluetooth AptX Adaptive technology for hi-res wireless audio and low latency, the SA550 Classic can be paired with mobile devices right out of the box. Once connected to a home network via Wi-Fi or Ethernet, the Roon-ready MP350 Classic music player allows listeners to enjoy music directly from Spotify Connect and Tidal Connect, as well as a host of additional music services via the Google Chromecast or Apple Airplay ecosystems. Both components render digital audio using a reference hi-res DAC with time domain jitter elimination.
Harman Classic CD Player, Turntable
For listening to CDs and vinyl records, Harman’s CD350 Classic CE player and TT350 Classic turntable put a modern, yet retro spin on CD players and turntables. Supporting CD, CD-R, and CD-RW playback, and FLAC, WAV, MP3, AAC, and WMA file formats, the CD350 Classic CD player combines a robust tray loading mechanism and USB-A input with advanced hi-res digital technology.
The TT350 Classic turntable features a direct drive motor so that rotational speeds are locked with a speed sensor. The turntable’s curved aluminum tonearm features a high-quality moving magnet cartridge pre-installed on a removable head shell for easy replacement and upgrade. Damped and adjustable feet reduce vibration ingress to the record, while allowing for positioning on uneven surfaces. The TT350 includes a tinted hinged dust cover to match its walnut wood chassis and complete its authentic retro appearance.
The SA550 Classic, CD350 Classic, MP350 Classic, and TT350 Classic will be available in the second quarter of 2023 with manufacturer suggested retail prices of $2,000, $700, $800, and $1,000, respectively.
JBL 4329P Studio Monitor Powered Speaker
Also at Harman Explore, the company debuted the JBL 4329P Studio Monitor Powered Loudspeaker. A completely self-contained, amplified loudspeaker system, the 4329P combines hi-res streaming audio with extensive wired and wireless connectivity options and patented JBL acoustic technologies.
The 4329P includes two speakers, each featuring a patented JBL 2409H 1-inch compression driver, High-Definition Imaging (HDI) horn, and JW200P-4 8-inch pure-pulp black paper cone woofer with a cast frame. Each speaker is powered by a 300W amplifier, with 250W delivered to the woofer and 50W to the compression driver. Both are accurately controlled by a digital signal processor (DSP) that assures each driver blends seamlessly.
The speaker system’s integrated streaming engine provides both wired and wireless network audio capabilities via built-in Google Chromecast, Apple AirPlay 2, and Bluetooth 5.3 aptX Adaptive audio. A 24-bit/192KHz high-resolution DAC ensures music comes across with the highest fidelity, while MQA technology enables playback of MQA audio files with the sound of the original master recording. For those with extensive music libraries, the 4329P will be certified as a Roon-ready product.
In addition to premium wireless audio, the 4329P provides extensive connections for analog and digital physical sources, including USB, optical, and 3.5mm stereo inputs, as well as a professional-grade combination XLR / ¼-inch TRS phono input for use with balanced or unbalanced signals. The 4329P is available in natural walnut or black walnut furniture-grade wood veneer finish options.
The 4329P comes on the heels of the award-winning 4305P Studio Monitor — the smallest and first powered model in the range. The 4329P has a step-up compression driver, larger 8-inch woofer, and twice the amplifier power versus its smaller sibling.
“With its built-in amplification, DSP, streaming engine, and variety of analog and digital inputs — all in one complete system — the 4329P Studio Monitor Powered Loudspeaker is an extremely versatile solution that opens up a world of possibilities for all music lovers,” adds Garrett. “Whether it’s enjoying hi-res streaming from their favorite service or listening to physical sources like turntables and CD players, the 4329P makes it simple for everyone to experience the joy of music exactly how they wish to experience it.”
The 4329P will be available in the second quarter of 2023 with a manufacturer suggested retail price of $4,500 per system pair. It is suggested to use the 4329P with the optional JS-80 floor stands to position the 4329P at the ideal listening height. The JS-80 stands are available and sold separately.
JBL Spinner BT Turntable Wows Attendees
Last but not least, at Harman Explore the company debuted the JBL SPINNER BT turntable with a vibrant design and Bluetooth connectivity. In the JBL Lounge at the show, company paired the SPINNER BT pairs with its portable speakers PartyBox speakers for a sound and light show. The turntable can also pair with soundbars, and headphones via Bluetooth for wireless vinyl playback. It has aptX HD encoding to ensure authentic sound of records, says Garrett.
For a wired connection, the turntable features an analog output with switchable moving magnet phono stage. To add a sophisticated touch to any environment, the unit’s sleek design consists of an aluminum platter and tonearm, black MDF plinth with JBL orange accents, a contemporary front panel, and a hinged dust cover.
Playing records in perfect time at 33 1/3 rpm for LPs and 45 rpm for EPs and singles, the SPINNER BT’s speeds are locked with a speed sensor. The tonearm features a high-quality Audio Technica moving magnet cartridge pre-installed on a removeable head shell for easy replacement and upgrading. The turntable’s feet are damped to reduced vibration ingress to records.
“The JBL SPINNER BT is a testament to the joy of music and vinyl, and we couldn’t be more excited to introduce it at HARMAN Explore,” adds Garrett. “With Bluetooth 5.2 technology, the turntable provides listeners with an instant wireless connection to their record collections — allowing them to enjoy their albums in any way they wish without losing the signature sound of vinyl — while its sleek design makes a bold statement in any system. And with its analog output and integrated phono preamplifier, the SPINNER BT is equally at home with purists who prefer a wired connection.”
The JBL SPINNER BT will be available in the third quarter of 2023 with a manufacturer suggested retail price of $399.
If you enjoyed this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our digital newsletters!