JBL Radial review: JBL Radial

If you turn the 2.5-pound Radial around, you'll find the master power button as well as a variety of ports: auxiliary line-in, S-Video, USB (for computer syncing), and DC-in. JBL includes a power adapter cable and brick, a 3.5mm-to-3.5mm audio cable, and a compatible USB cable. Alas, this thing does not run on batteries.

iPod dock fittings are not included, though there is a sheet of what JBL terms "masking film for white color iPod adapters" with the black speaker. (These are just black stickers that cover white adapters to make them match the unit.) We wish JBL had thrown in an S-Video cable, considering the price of the speakers.

When you plug in your iPod and turn the Radial on, you'll immediately understand why the unit is one of the higher priced iPod sets. JBL packs the Radial with four aluminum-domed full-range drivers and one low-frequency neodymium driver. Translation: excellent, detailed sound with a thumping low-end. Everything from alternative rock to classical to hip hop sounds lovely on these speakers. The high-hats in Nirvana's grunge track "Come As You Are" were crystal clear and sparkly, and Nina Hahn's Bach Concerto sounded sublime--there's no other way to put it. Bass-heavy hip-hop and dance tracks sounded rich and full, yet were not overpowering on the low end. The speakers also get exceptionally loud, and thanks to their unusual shape, sound fans out to every corner of the room.

All in all, the JBL Radial even seems to improve the compressed digital sound coming from the iPod. JBL claims this has to do with its proprietary OCT (Optimized Compression Topology) technology. We don't know about that, but one thing's for certain: this system provides an excellent listening experience.

What you'll pay

    Pricing is currently unavailable.

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    JBL Radial (black)

    Part Number: JBLRADIALBLK
    Pricing is currently unavailable.

    Quick Specifications See All

    • Color black
    • Speaker System Type portable speakers with digital player dock
    • Nominal (RMS) Output Power 15 Watt
      30 Watt
    • Speaker Type portable speaker
      portable speaker
    • Nominal Impedance 10 Ohm
    • Amplification Type active
    • Connectivity Technology wired
    • Type Speakers