JBL Model 4429 stereo loudspeakers review: JBL Model 4429 stereo loudspeakers

CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Immensely powerful. Highly accurate. Excellent imaging.

The Bad Limited very deep bass. Stereo imaging best at a narrow "sweet spot".

The Bottom Line The JBL Model 4429 Studio Monitor stereo loudspeakers offer mighty sound levels with extreme accuracy, but can be a bit unforgiving of the source.

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System

Talk about eschewing styling norms; the JBL Model 4429 Studio Monitor speakers look a great deal like many of the loudspeakers made in the 1970s. It's the colour of the wood veneer and the grille, in part, but mostly it's the shape. These speakers aren't especially tall, but they are wide across the front and relatively shallow. In recent times, big speakers have been tall, narrow across the face and relatively deep in the body.

But it would be difficult to make these speakers narrow. For one thing, the mighty, 300mm bass driver forces a certain minimum width, and even more so does the wide horn on the 50mm mid/treble driver, which extends from side to side of the baffle. Built in to the top part of that horn is another much smaller one that is backed by a 19mm driver that might be called a semi-super-tweeter. Even three-way loudspeaker systems normally have the tweeter kick in around 2500 or 3000 hertz. This one starts working at 7000 hertz, and carries frequencies up to 45,000 hertz (if there are any in your signal, which will very rarely be the case).

One other throwback: the speakers have hidden under their grilles trim pots; little volume controls for the mid/treble driver and for the semi-super tweeter, in case you want to tune the sound in some particular way. I'd warn against touching these, unless you are extremely experienced, and preferably if you have measuring equipment. Fortunately, their zero point is clearly marked.

The speakers are bass reflex loaded with a pair of ports at the front under the grille cloth. They are extremely well constructed, massively braced internally and weigh a ton — well, a bit more than 32 kilograms each, anyway.

Sound

As recommended in the manual, we put these speakers on lowish stands. The point of this is to reduce reflections of sound from close surfaces (aka, the floor) that bounce up and interfere with the directly radiated sound, thereby colouring it.

Starting with classical music, it soon became obvious that the speakers were enormously powerful and capable of producing close to concert-realistic levels. On the orchestral strings, though, they seemed a bit harsh. This wasn't a function of volume. Time and again, we turned up these speakers and we ran out of courage before they seemed anywhere near their limits (remembering we had well over 200 clean watts of power available to each). So it wasn't that.

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Where to Buy

JBL Model 4429 stereo loudspeakers

Part Number: CNETJBL Model 4429 stereo loudspeakers

Typical Price: $6,900.00

See manufacturer website for availability.