JBL are 60 years old. There's absolutely no doubt that they have produced (and continue to produce) some absolute milestones in the history of speakers.
Indeed their current top of the range K2 9800 series speakers are reckoned by many to be one of the best speakers in the World. Having heard them and indeed sold them, we would certainly find it hard to disagree with that statement. They are awesome.
However, coming back down to Earth, it's not only the £20k section of the market that JBL can do well. Long term customers of ours will remember the TiK range. A beautifully crafted speaker with incredible dynamics and vast openness. These received no rave reviews and no press standing ovations, but, for the wise Hi-Fi shops (and there were just a few) that took the significant amount of time required to run them in, they found that they were a great all round speaker. In fact better than great. Sadly though, they stopped the manufacture of these over four years ago, and nothing since has quite captured our imagination in the same way.
For it's 60 birthday JBL have decided to produce something special. Something to show off their vast knowledge. Now, most companies would bring out the most expensive speaker that they have ever produced. Full of cutting edge technology in a beautifully crafted cabinet that they would sell for an astonomical price, and they really wouldn't expect to sell more than a few. It would be their statement. And who could have blaimed them.
JBL obviously didn't want to buck this trend. They have bought out the TL260 Celebration. A technical tour de force with a beautifully crafted hand finished cabinet in a luxurious Piano black, and, they sound fantastic.
JBL decided to lend us a pair, in fact the very first pair in Europe for us to evaluate. They didn't tell us the price they were going to be. They just lent them to us and asked what we thought. On our first listen we're mightly impressed. Deep bass, open midrange, silky but informative treble. Everything you could want from a top of the line speaker.
Now here's where they appear to have made an error. The current top speaker they make is £20,000 a pair. So what are these going to cost? Well we now already know that these are not new prettenders to the throne. JBL have decided not to top their range with a second mortgage speaker. We're taking a guess at around £5000.00 a pair. Given their finish and the excellent sound quality this seems reasonable and perhaps we're being a little optomistic on our behalf, maybe nearer six or even six and a half.
We ring the rep to get the price. He tells us he doesn't know yet. Know price has been released. He tells he will phone Holland (The Harman empires (which includes JBL) main distribution for all of Europe and the far east). An hour later he phones back. "I still can't find out, no one seems to know. You'll have to wait until Monday". This means an entire weekend spent without knowing what they're going to cost.
On the Friday and Saturday we get the chance to play them to a good number of customers and pretty much everyone thinks they're fabulous. Guesses on the price range from a lowly two and a half thousand up to seven thousand. Further more (remember we didn't get any spec on them, and fact we still don't have a spec sheet), we find that they are very efficient, around 92dB, which means that they're easily at home on our Synthesis Single Ended Valve Monoblocs with just 9 watts of power. So your choice of amplifiers with these is huge.
Monday comes and we phone the rep. We're to early, try this afternoon. In an hours time though, he rings us. "Your never going to believe this, their Eighteen hundred pounds". He's right, we don't believe him. Thinking it over we mention that speakers in Europe are quite often priced each. This would make them Three thousand six hundred a pair - still cheap in our opinion. Worried by this thought he rings off thinking that maybe we're right. He rings back two hours later and confirms that they are indeed Eighteen hundred pound a pair. We're dumbstruck.
So there you have it. JBL have produced an ultimate speaker for their birthday, but it just so happens that it's the sonic bargain of the century. There has to be a down side - and there is. They are a strictly limited edition but with an undisclosed amount. When they're gone, they're gone. There is no website for us to send you to that has a big glossy page all about them, there is no great raft of reviews and press adverts for you to peruse over - the whole thing is on the QT. For just a few thousand people out there World wide, these will be Audio Nirvana, for the rest it will be an opportunity that they heard about too late.
If you've ever wanted a taste of real high end from your speakers but just lacked the where with all to get it, then we strongly urge you to listen to the increadible JBL TL260's.
• The specs as we now know them:
• Recommender amplifier power: 10 to 250 watts
• Power handling (Continuous/Peak): 125W/500W
• Nominal Impedance: 8 Ohms
• Sensitivity (2.83V/1m): 92dB
• Frequency Response: 32Hz - 40kHz (-3dB)
• Crossover Frequencies: 280Hz, 1.2kHz, 4.5kHz, 20kHz
• Ultrahigh-Frequency Transducer: 3/4" (19mm) Mylar Dome
• High-Frequency Transducer: 1" (25mm) Pure-Titanium Dome in JBL EOS Waveguide
• Midrange Transducer: 4" (100mm) PolyPlas Cone With Rubber Surround & Cast Aluminium Chassis; HeatScape Motor Structure
• Low Frequency Transducer: 12" (300mm) PolyPlas Cone With Rubber Surround & Cast Aluminium Chassis; HeatScape Motor Structure; Symmetrical Field Geometry (SFGTM); High-Temp Oversized Kapton Voice Coil;
• Magnetic Shorting Ring
• Magnetic Shielding: Yes
• Terminals: Gold Plated Binding Posts with 4mm Banana Sockets, Bi-Wirable
• Dimensions (H x W x D): 47" x 20" x 13" (1194mm x 508mm x 330mm)
• Weight per Speaker: 84 lb (38.2kg)
• Dimensions include grills and feet, but not spikes.
• Available in Piano Black only.