JBL Classic Series Electronics North American Debut
At the show, I spoke briefly with Chris Trojnar, the regional sales manager for Harman Luxury, about what this gear is about and how people are reacting to it.
I also found Samsung’s other hidden room where the company showed its 77-inch Quantum Dot OLED TV (which I have in for review) and The Frame, a TV that looks like art hanging on the wall when it’s not on.
Chris: “This is the North American debut of JBL Classic Series electronics. This system is designed to match the performance and finish of the Classic Series loudspeakers from JBL. The L82s, the L100s, and the bookshelf speakers, the L52s.
“So, it’s a real walnut veneer in all the products. What we’re showing here is the SA-550 integrated amplifier, which retails for $1999. It’s 90 watts of class G power, so it’s perfect for any of the loudspeakers in the Classic Series, as well as any other loudspeaker, really. The MP350 is a music streamer. It’s a Roon endpoint, as well as offering Google Chromecast, AirPlay 2, and it has Bluetooth built into it. And then, of course, the CD350 Classic, which is our CD player, and the TT350 Classic turntable, which retails for $999. And that’s kind of it.”
Mark: “Right on. So I guess the question would be, how have people been reacting to it?”
Chris: “The same way they reacted when we launched the JBL Classic loudspeakers. They love the retro styling and the retro look of it. But the performance is really what matters. So we’ve got all the modern technologies, all the streaming technologies, class G amplification built into the amplifier. So they love the modern tech and the sound quality with the retro style look.”
Mark: “I’m seeing orange on the display. Is that intentional?”
Chris: “Very intentional. That’s a classic JBL orange display, letting you know that the power is on and you’re ready to rock and roll.”
JBL Synthesis and Samsung’s The Wall
Mark “Can we discuss the wall?”
Chris: “Certainly. This is a partnership with our parent company, Samsung. It’s a 146-inch micro LED display, one of the largest TVs at the show, possibly in all of North Carolina. Our sound system uses the JBL Synthesis loudspeaker, the SEL2. We have three of these for the right, left, and center channels, powered by the SDR38, JBL Synthesis’s flagship receiver. The entire system is powered by this receiver, believe it or not. We’ve integrated HDI 1200P subwoofers from JBL round out the system, adding 1,000 watts each for the low end sound in this room.”
Mark: “People often overlook the advantage of directing bass to a potent subwoofer. A high sensitivity speaker, like the Synthesis, can efficiently operate from a robust AV receiver. This approach takes the strain off the receiver, allowing upper-end details to be more pronounced. Using direct room correction with bass control ensures precise bass blending, regardless of one’s position in the room.”
Chris: “It does. It takes the burden off of the receiver and allows the detail to really shine through on the upper end. And using Dirac room correction with bass control also helps with the perfect blending and giving you accurate bass no matter where you’re sitting or standing in the room.”
Mark: “I would describe that as a living room-friendly… I mean, not my living room, but a wealthy person’s living room-friendly installation you’ve got here.”
Chris: “Absolutely. Anybody looking for some type of micro LED display, the challenge is how do you place the loudspeakers? Where do you place them in the room? Because you want a big sound to match the big picture, and the JBL Synthesis is a perfect solution for that. Whether it’s the SEL2s or some of the smaller loudspeakers, we can fit almost any application, any wall depth, in any environment.”
Mark: “You expect a display that big to be in a large room, so you need a powerful system to match it.”
The Frame and QD-OLED TVs
It took a little bit of exploration, but I found my way to another room where Samsung was the star of the show with two of its newest TVs. One is the frame, which is technically a modest, edge-lit QLED model, but it has the unique attribute of a matte screen coating that looks, for all intents and purposes, like art paper.
When it is not acting as a TV, The Frame instead shows art with various options for sizing and matting, and the way it displays the art really fools the eye into thinking it’s seeing printed artwork and not a TV screen.
Although it’s not the first time that I’ve seen the frame, every time I look at one I am blown away by the illusion. The other thing that helps it maintain this illusion is that it accepts custom literal frames, and it uses Samsung’s One Connect cable and box that delivers both the video signal and power to the screen through a single thin cord. Meanwhile, the inputs and processing and power supply are all located in a separate box that can be hidden so as not to ruin the illusion that it’s actually a painting and not a TV.
Last, but certainly not least, Samsung had its 77-inch Quantum Dot OLED TV on display. I didn’t spend too much time with it because I just received one last week for review, and I’m already familiar with its cutting-edge picture quality that genuinely is a step above what I’ve seen from any other TV technology except microLED.