One of the highlights of going to the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas each year doesn’t actually take place on the show floor, but a few blocks away at the Hard Rock Hotel. That’s where Harman holds their annual showing of all their products — from concert sound to home theater to automotive and everything in between. They also hold an industry-only concert with past performers including the Foo Fighters, Pat Benatar, and Stevie Nicks.
That obviously couldn’t happen this in person year — not just for coronavirus concerns, but also because the Hard Rock Hotel closed last February. (It is now owned by Virgin, and due to open soon.) That didn’t stop Harman from introducing new products, however, and holding a live performance for attendees.
On January 6, Harman held its ExPLORE virtual event, which included new product introductions and a half-hour-ish live concert from Keith Urban in his home studio. And while it certainly wasn’t the same as being in Vegas, it was a welcome break in day filled with music-less Zoom interactions.
Related: Harman Luxury Audio — One Year In
Harman introduced a number of products relevant to the CI market, which are detailed below:
JBL Bar 5.0 Soundbar
The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam, the latest addition to the increasingly crowded soundbar market, features a combination of Virtual Dolby Atmos and JBL’s proprietary beamforming technology — MultiBeam. Equipped with four passive radiators, the Bar 5.0 produces room-filling JBL 3D Surround Sound without the need for an additional subwoofer. Highlighted within the Bar 5.0 is Harman’s MultiBeam technology that enables users to hear and feel surround sound without needing additional surround speakers. In addition, Virtual Dolby Atmos allows the Bar 5.0 to reproduce the audio height dimensions from a movie or TV show.
Users can wirelessly stream music via Multi-Room Music groups on Alexa devices, Apple Airplay 2, and Chromecast built-in, as well as Bluetooth. The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam is also compatible with all iOS and Android devices. It will be available in black on JBL.com and select retailers in Spring 2021 for $399.95.
JBL Synthesis SCL Architectural Speakers
- SCL-5 In-Ceiling Loudspeaker: The first dedicated SCL in-ceiling loudspeaker, the SCL-5 2-way loudspeaker system features the JBL 2409H 1-inch compression driver tweeter and High-Definition Imaging (HDI) horn assembly. The HDI horn is positioned at an angle on its baffle above the 7-inch black Advanced Aluminum Cone cast frame woofer with the woofer firing through an aperture that makes it virtually invisible acoustically to the compression driver and horn. This patented design delivers smooth off-axis response and is suitable for applications as far as 60-degrees off-axis. The Cat Claw mounting system, as well as gold-plated, spring-loaded binding post terminals, enable reliable installation. The system features magnetically-attached round and square grilles and will begin shipping in February 2021 at $2000 each.
- SCL-6 In-Wall Loudspeaker: The 2.5-way SCL-6 in-wall loudspeaker is a narrow footprint design with an on-axis horn suitable for LCR applications in small-to-medium systems or lower-level surround positions in larger systems. The SCL-6 features a patented 1-inch 2410H-2 compression driver tweeter, mated to a JBL patented High-Definition Imaging (HDI) horn assembly and complemented with four 5.25-inch (130mm) black Advanced Aluminum Matrix cone, cast frame woofers. The SCL-6 ships in February 2021 and retails at $1,500 each.
- SCL-7 In-Wall Loudspeaker: The 2-way SCL-7 in-wall loudspeaker system is designed for off-axis listening as LCR, width, and surround channels. The SCL-7 features the 1-inch 2410H-2 compression driver tweeter, and patented High-Definition Imaging (HDI) horn assembly, complemented with dual 5.25-inch (130mm) black Advanced Aluminum Matrix cones. The SCL-6 ships in February 2021 and retails at $1000 each.
- SCL-8 In Ceiling Loudspeaker: A 2021 CES Innovations Award Honoree, the SCL-8, 2-way in-ceiling loudspeaker system is designed for off-axis listening in an immersive audio system. Essentially a smaller version of the SCL-5, the SCL-8 features the same transducers as used in the SCL-6 and SCL-7, including a 5.25-inch Advanced Aluminum Matrix cone cast-frame woofer, and 1-inch 2410H-2 compression driver tweeter mated to an HDI horn assembly. The SCL-8 comes with paintable zero-bezel, magnetically attached round and square grilles and will be available in February 2021 at the retail price of $1000 each.
SCL-1 LCR Loudspeaker
The SCL-1 loudspeaker is the new flagship of the JBL Synthesis SCL range. Optimized for custom installation behind projection screens, this large-format LCR loudspeaker features JBL’s patented D2430K dual 3-inch diaphragm compression driver mated to a High-Definition Imaging (HDI) horn. With a pair of newly designed 12-inch cast frame Carbon Cellulose Composite Cone (C4) woofers in patented Complementary Bass Alignment System (C-BAS) configuration, the SCL-1 offers what JNL calls, “incredible output, dynamics, and detail for even the largest multichannel systems.” The heavily braced MDF enclosure is finished in textured matte black and measures 48-inches high, 19-inches wide, and 15.3-inches deep with the included magnetically attached steel frame black fabric grille. SCL-1 availability begins in March with a retail price of $15,000 each.
Part of the Synthesis Subwoofer series, the SSW-1 is a newly developed, ultra-high-performance subwoofer designed specifically to complement the acoustic capabilities of the SCL-1 large format LCR loudspeaker. Designed for horizontal or vertical application in large-scale systems, the SSW-1 Subwoofer features dual high-excursion (4-inch peak-to-peak) 15-inch cast-frame woofers with composite cones and 6-inch voice coils. The 53.5-inch high x 24-inch wide x 22.8-inch deep subwoofer enclosure is constructed with 1-inch thick cabinet walls and extensive internal bracing throughout and weighs in at more than 330 lb.! With power handling of 2500W RMS per woofer and 5000W RMS per system, as well as high SPL output and usable low-frequency extension to 13 Hz, the SSW-1 seeks to provide the highest levels of sonic performance for custom home theater. The SSW-1 will begin shipping in March 2021 and retails at $7500 each.
Limited Edition JBL L100 Classic 75 Loudspeaker
With the success of the L100 Classic model introduced in 2018, the company is celebrating its
75th anniversary with the launch of the limited edition JBL L100 Classic 75 — an exclusive take on the best-selling JBL L100 loudspeaker. The L100 Classic 75 features the same iconic, 1970s-style retro design as the JBL L100 Classic, with vintage JBL styling including an iconic black Quadrex foam grille and teak wood veneer cabinets. With only 750 pairs available, the exclusive loudspeaker features a signed rear-badge and Certificate of Authenticity, commemorating 75th years in our homes.
Acoustically, the L100 Classic 75 features an improved woofer suspension design and a revised network to include bi-wire capabilities via a premium input cup with dual sets of gold plated binding posts. The L100 Classic 75 is sold as a matched pair system and includes a set of JS-120 floor stands. The entire system ships inside a specially-crafted wooden crate with limited edition artwork on the side panels. The JBL L100 Classic 75 will be available beginning in April 2021 and retails at $5,500 a pair.
JBL SA750 Integrated Amplifier
The heart of the JBL SA750 integrated amplifier is a high-performance Class G amplifier that delivers 120W of power per channel into 8 ohms and 220W per channel into 4 ohms. This Class G design provides sound quality and efficiency operating as a Class A amplifier for low-level signals and switching in an additional power supply for large transients and dynamic waveforms. The result, according to the company, is incredible detail and accuracy at low levels, low crossover distortion, and high-current capability for extreme power demands.
Connectivity includes Ethernet and Wi-Fi with UPnP for connecting to a home network; USB for playing files from removable memory drives; Ethernet and RS-232 serial control for third-party control systems; two optical and two coaxial digital inputs, and six pairs of analog RCA inputs. The JBL SA750 features two pairs of binding-post speaker connectors, a front-panel 3.5mm auxiliary input, a 3.5mm headphone output, and one stereo RCA preamp output. The JBL SA750 is priced at $3000 with availability beginning in April 2021.
For more information on any of these new products, visit https://www.harman.com/lifestyle-audio.