JBL L75ms: a beautiful vintage connected speaker

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The JBL L75ms connected speaker combines vintage design and streaming technologies. It allows you to stream music via Bluetooth or Chromecast and AirPlay 2. Phono input, mini-jack and HDMI ARC port allow you to connect a turntable, audio sources (CD, DAP) and a TV. The JBL L75ms system’s output of 350 watts powers five drivers housed in a real wood cabinet. Sold for 1,500 euros, is this JBL L75ms connected speaker more musical than its competitors? And can it effectively bring sound to a large living room?

Test JBL L75ms dans l'auditorium du magasin Son-Video.com de Nantes
The JBL L75ms connected speaker is designed to play music in a large living room. It is equipped with five drivers and an amplification of 350 watts.

JBL L75ms: packaging & accessories

The JBL speaker comes in a double cardboard box and is securely wedged in and protected for transport. It comes with two power cables (EU and GB), a remote control with batteries, as well as a quick start guide.

Accessoires de l'enceinte JBL L75ms
The JBL L75ms speaker is delivered with its power cable, an infrared remote control with batteries, a quick start guide and a Qobuz discovery offer (3 months free subscription).

JBL L75ms: presentation

Walnut cabinet and Quadrex foam grille

Of all the connected speakers on the market, the JBL L75ms is undoubtedly one of the largest (790 x 287 x 216cm). It is also one of the most beautiful with its cabinet covered with a real walnut veneer. Loosely inspired by the design of 1970s speakers, its finish and removable Quadrex foam grille are also reminiscent of the manufacturer’s most prestigious neo-retro models, among which are the JBL L100 Classic and the JBL L52.

JBL L75ms : design vintage
With its curved lines, real walnut veneer finish and Quadrex foam speaker cover, the JBL L75ms connected speaker is very appealing.

3-way, 5 drivers, 350 watts

The acoustic construction of the JBL L75ms connected speaker has been carefully designed. Starting with its walnut veneered MDF cabinet, which guarantees optimal vibration damping and promises a rich and natural sound.

JBL L75ms : 350 watts de puissance, 5 haut-parleurs
The JBL L75ms adopts five drivers powered by as many amplifiers totaling 350 watts of power. Enough to effectively bring sound to a large living room.

Five drivers are located in the front panel. Two 5” models with a white cone and bass-reflex load reproduce the low frequencies. The midrange is delivered by a 4” driver placed in the center of the speaker.

Test JBL L75ms : haut-parleur médium
The midrange is entrusted to a single 4” driver with a cellulose fiber cone, a material appreciated for its lightness and its ability to provide texture and substance, especially with vocals.
Test JBL L75ms : haut-parleur de grave à membrane nervurée
The two 5” woofers feature a white cellulose pulp cone that is reminiscent of some of the manufacturer’s legendary speakers such as the JBL L100 Classic.

The woofers and midrange drivers adopt a cellulose pulp cone. The woofer’s cone is ribbed to make it as rigid as possible without weighing it down. Therefore, the bass is more intense and more percussive. Moreover, two tweeters with an aluminum dome are also present. They are equipped with a waveguide and placed in an acoustic horn to optimize the diffusion of high frequencies.

Test JBL L75ms : tweeter avec guide d'ondes pour améliorer la directivité
The two tweeters of the JBL L75ms are equipped with a waveguide and placed in an acoustic horn, which reduces the directivity of the speaker and spreads the high frequencies more extensively.

To deliver sound effectively in a large room and produce strong stereo effects, the front of the JBL L75ms is not flat. The midrange driver is perfectly centered, so it distributes the sound right in front of the listeners. The tweeters and woofers, which are placed to the left and right, effectively expand the soundstage.

JBL L75ms : placement des différents haut-parleurs
The speakers of the JBL L75ms are not all placed on the same plane: the different angles at which they are positioned allow the stereo effect to be broadened and the sound to be spread more widely.

Five amplifiers power the drivers of this JBL speaker: two 125-watt modules for the lows, a 50-watt module for the mids, and two 25-watt modules for the highs.

AirPlay 2, Chromecast and Bluetooth

Once connected to the local network (WiFi or Ethernet), the JBL L75ms can stream music wirelessly thanks to the AirPlay 2 and Chromecast protocols. For example, tracks stored in the memory of a smartphone or computer and music played on Spotify, Tidal, Deezer and Qobuz. The Bluetooth controller lets you stream music directly from a compatible device, without using the WiFi network. In all cases, playback is easily controlled from a smartphone.

Note that the Chromecast and AirPlay 2 protocols allow the JBL L75ms speaker to be paired with other compatible speakers or equipment. Ideal for building a multi-room audio system.

HDMI ARC and phono

The American manufacturer had the clever idea to equip the JBL L75ms speaker with an HDMI ARC port. As a result, it can be connected to a TV to enjoy the sound of movies, video games and TV programs directly on the speaker. Also very convenient, the phono and 3.5mm mini-jack inputs allow you to connect several sources: a turntable and a CD player, DAP or audio network player.

Test JBL L75ms : entrée HDMI ARC, entrée phono et prise auxiliaire mini-jack
The connectors of the JBL L75ms speaker allow you to connect a TV via HDMI ARC, a turntable with MM phono cartridge, a CD player or a DAP (mini-jack), as well as a subwoofer.

In addition, there is a subwoofer output. But it is possible that you may not use it very much considering the efficiency of this speaker in the lows!

Control interface and remote control

JBL L75ms : interface de commandes
On the top of the JBL L75ms is a control interface that allows you to select the source and control the sound volume, indicated by a row of eleven white LEDs.

The top panel of the JBL L75ms speaker features a minimalist control interface. It is used to select the source, adjust the volume and perform Bluetooth pairing. In addition, the manufacturer also delivers a remote control. Practical and functional, the only downside its cheap aspect which looks a little out of place with the speaker. We can’t help thinking that the manufacturer could have offered a more elegant model. Why not use aluminum instead of plastic?

Télécommande de l'enceinte connectée  JBL L75ms
The remote control included with the JBL L75ms speaker is functional and rather pretty but is entirely made of plastic. We would have preferred a more elegant model, perhaps in aluminum with walnut inserts.

JBL L75ms: key specifications

  • Wood chassis
  • Bass-reflex enclosure
  • AirPlay 2, Chromecast and Bluetooth compatible
  • Total output power: 350W RMS
  • Frequency response: from 45Hz to 25kHz
  • 3.5mm mini-jack, phono RCA and HDMI ARC inputs
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 790 x 216 x 287mm
  • Weight: 15.9kg

JBL L75ms: listening conditions

We listened to the JBL L75ms in the large auditorium of the Son-Video.com store in Nantes. This room of about 50m² is great for getting an idea of this vintage connected speaker’s ability to fill the space with sound. Once the latter was connected to the local network, we registered it in the Google Home app. We were therefore able to enjoy our Qobuz and Tidal playlists using the integrated Chromecast. Next, we tested the JBL L75ms connected speaker in soundbar mode. To do this, we connected its HDMI ARC port to that of an LG OLED65G1 TV. It should be noted that when listening to music, we set the Bass Contour slider on the back of the speaker to -3 dB. However, we positioned it at 0 dB for home theater listening.

JBL L75ms: listening impressions

We began our listening session with the track “Perfect Darkness” by Fink, from the Wheels Turn Beneath My Feet live performance (Qobuz, 16/44,1). The JBL L75ms placed us in front of the artist with a surprising proximity and intimacy. Fink’s voice clearly stood out in the center. The rhythm imparted by the bassline and the drums shook us. We were immediately transported to the world of the British singer. The bass delivered by this speaker was quite impressive in its intensity, depth and control. Well sustained, it remained perfectly in place and didn’t become overwhelming when the slider at the back of the speaker was on -3 dB. When not set to this level, it was more prominent (a bit too prominent for some), as are many other JBL speakers. But it’s a matter of taste.

At the other end of the spectrum, the aluminum dome tweeters delivered a subtle blend of clarity and energy. Smooth cymbal hits soared without causing any fatigue. In the center of the speaker, the paper cone midrange was very convincing with both vocals and instruments. It revealed beautiful timbres and texture. Clearly, the use of a wooden cabinet paid off. This JBL connected speaker sounded like a musical instrument and was balanced, full of substance and very appealing.

Enceinte JBL L75ms sans sa grille acoustique
To listen to music, we placed the JBL L75ms speaker in the center of the large auditorium of the Nantes Son-Video.com store, among various renowned speakers and electronics.

We continued with “The Frozen World”, the opening track of the The March of the Emperor soundtrack (Tidal, 16/44.1) performed by Emilie Simon. The JBL L75ms didn’t fall into the trap of sibilance. The high frequencies were crystalline, well defined without tiring the ears. From 55″ onwards, the low frequencies unfolded with a beautiful energy and total control until the notes faded out.

We were fully convinced after listening to “Hotel California” (Tidal, 24/44.1) from the album Hell Freezes Over (Remaster 2018) on Tidal. This speaker deployed a vast sound field with conviction. Smoothness, space, amplitude: we fully enjoyed the atmosphere that reigned in the audience and on the stage. The lateral positioning of the woofers and tweeters, slightly to the sides, contributed to the distribution of the sound over a wide radius. The best stereo effect was obtained in the axis of the speaker. However, we weren’t frustrated when we moved around the room. The sound had a nice presence.

Test JBL L75ms en mode barre de son via le port HDMI ARC
On the trailer for Maverick, the JBL L75ms speaker proved to be extremely effective, both in reproducing the roar of the jet engines and in delivering intelligible dialogue.

Equipped with an HDMI ARC port, the JBL L75ms connected speaker is at home in front of a TV and can deliver sound with great conviction. However, given the size of the speaker, we recommend mounting the TV on the wall. Otherwise, the JBL L75ms could hide the lower part of the screen.

Test JBL L75ms : une belle alternative aux barres de son traditionnelles
More imposing than a traditional soundbar such as the Sonos Arc, which can be seen right behind it, the JBL L75ms requires the screen to be placed high up, ideally on a wall-mounted TV stand, if you want to use it as a soundbar with a TV.

Watching several trailers allowed us to measure the full potential of this speaker in home theater mode. Once again, the soundstage was wide and detailed. Above all, the sound was very impactful with full and punchy bass. The voices stood out effortlessly during the dialogues. It was a flawless performance. Of course, we did not benefit from side and rear effects or even Dolby Atmos with the JBL L75ms, as this is not its objective. However, it provided very nice sensations and plunged us directly and effortlessly into the heart of the action.

JBL L75ms: compared to…

Naim Mu-so 2 (€1,699)

Naim Mu-so 2
The Naim Mu-so 2 is in direct competition with the JBL L75ms: two distinct styles and sounds.

The Naim Mu-so 2 connected speaker is the main competitor of the JBL L75ms. Two different aesthetics and two different sounds. The Mu-so 2 is thinner and more high-end in its aesthetic approach. With its premium potentiometer, it will certainly impress lovers of industrial design. The French-British speaker (drivers designed by Focal) adopts an aluminum cabinet and is impartially neutral and direct. On the other hand, the American speaker opts for a real wood cabinet and delivers a warmer but no less balanced sound. In addition, the JBL speaker is more effective in terms of spatialization. It offers a wider soundstage. Of course, it doesn’t have an optical input, but an RCA phono input, which is very much in keeping with current trends. This is a considerable advantage for vinyl lovers compared to this rival.

Cabasse The Pearl Akoya (€1,590)

Cabasse The Pearl Acoya
Aesthetically, the Cabasse The Pearl Akoya speaker stands out from the JBL with its round and discreet design (diameter of only 22cm).

Only slightly more expensive than the JBL model, the Cabasse The Pearl Akoya features many more technologies. It integrates a triaxial driver powered by a 1050-watt amplifier! This is reflected in the sound, which is more energetic, notably with more impact in the lows. The French speaker also offers a more accurate listening experience. It reveals an abundance of micro details and great clarity in the high frequencies. The JBL offers a slightly less detailed but very balanced sound. Above all, it delivers a stereo sound with an amplitude that the French speaker cannot offer as it works in mono. The Cabasse also lacks an HDMI ARC port and a phono input to compete with this American speaker.

JBL L75ms: who is it for?

This JBL L75ms speaker will appeal to fans of 70s vintage speakers. Audiophiles looking for a powerful and balanced connected speaker with a rich and detailed sound will also be delighted. For those who have the space, it can also replace a soundbar. Not when it comes to surround spatialization, but it masters impact and realism.

JBL L75ms: conclusion

We were doubtful about the qualities of this speaker before having heard it. However, we were impressed right from the start. The bassy and demonstrative character frequently found with JBL speakers has been corrected. To the benefit of a very balanced and nevertheless energetic sound. Exit the overpowering lows: the integration of the various frequency ranges is remarkable.

The deep and present bass (it is a JBL speaker after all!) stays in place. The midrange is surprisingly prominent and richly embodied despite the use of a single driver dedicated to this frequency range. The high frequencies are precise and beautifully clear. We didn’t hear any sharpness despite the use of aluminum domes.

Regarding spatialization, we can only praise the amplitude of the soundstage which unfolds without difficulty. Finally, the acoustic message remains coherent and balanced throughout. Even at very high volume, there is not an ounce of saturation or aggressiveness. Bravo JBL!

JBL L75ms : design vintage, puissance 350 watts, connectivité étendue
An elegant, vintage finish, a high-fidelity acoustic design and connectivity that will reconcile analog and digital enthusiasts: the JBL L75ms speaker has plenty of compelling arguments.

We liked:

  • The unique and pleasant design
  • The rich and balanced sound, even at high volume
  • The width of the soundstage
  • The wide range of connectors
  • The dual Chromecast and AirPlay 2 compatibility

We would have liked:

  • A higher-quality remote control
  • A more compact size
  • Enceinte connectée JBL L75 ms

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Après plusieurs années passées dans la vente de produits high-tech d'occasion avant de rejoindre l'équipe de Son-Vidéo.com en 2007, je ne compte plus les amplis, enceintes, casques, TV, vidéoprojecteurs et autres baladeurs qui sont passés entre mes mains... Je suis toujours curieux de découvrir de nouveaux produits et de partager cette passion pour la hi-fi et le home-cinéma.

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