Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Speakers - JBL L36 Decade



Have I mentioned that I REALLY like vintage JBL speakers? Just picked up these L36 Decade speakers today and boy do they sound nice. From what I've read, the foam surround on these is always bad by this point (30+ years) into their life, but these have rubber surrounds, so they must have been replaced. Whomever replaced them did a bang-up job because there's no sign of glue or any modification. I also tested to make sure the woofer travels back and forth without rubbing on the voice coil - no problem there. They sport the original 125-A woofers with their distinct concave dust caps. One of the LE5-6 midrange drivers has a punched in dust cap, but I just ordered an OEM replacement driver from eBay, so I'll have these looking minty in a week or so.

By the way, in case you didn't know (as I didn't before about a year ago), a fouled up dust cap has little to no affect on sound quality for most speakers. Many can be fixed by pulling them out using tape or a small hooked pin. Try at your own risk.

How do they sound? Terrific. I don't have them side-by-side with my L100 Century speakers, but they are very similar. Perhaps not quite as much low-end, but that's fine with me. These are overkill for garage speakers and will eventually work their way into the loft or the house. . .we'll see how long that takes. In the meantime, they will rock the block with vintage JBL quality every weekend. . .or until my neighbors tell me to cool it.

If you have any photos or stories about your JBL L36 Decade speakers, please leave a comment or send me an email.

Want to hook up your iPod to your vintage stereo? Visit my Audio Accessory Store for some great values!

12 comments:

  1. Nice find indeed. Enjoy them.

    I've owned a pair of these for over 30 years and had them refomed once.

    Best regard,
    Michele

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  2. it happens that i just got a pair of L36 last weekend. young guy was moving out of his flat on early monday morning and had to get rid of everything inside. that - hence the ridiculous price - was the good part. originally straight out of his uncle's basement, the B's were in pretty bad shape. the tweeters had been replaced by cheap audax mounted on ugly pieces of plywood - but at least it was done within the original "lemon" frame of the OG anot outside of it. so i'm now on crawling the net to find a pair of tweets. next, the filters were burnt out and the boxes had seen much better days... so, plenty of work scheduled for winter times but i feel quite confident to bring back a classic.

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  3. I just received a pair of these as well. I'm nowhere near an "audiophile" and was hoping that you may have some advice on what kind of receiver I should be looking at to support these speakers. I've had my eye on a pioneer 737 and some vintage marantz, but any help you may be able to give would be appreciated!

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  4. Hi Reid - If you can pick up a Marantz 2270 or 2275, those are my favs from that era and can bought on eBay in the $300 - $500 range. If you don't want to spend that much, just about any decent receiver/amp from the era will power these at moderate volume levels and bring out their potential. I'm not a huge fan of "matching" speakers with amps, as I think it's too easy to get mired in the details, instead of just sitting back and enjoying the music.:) Hope this helps. Shoot me an email if you want to discuss further. Thanks for chiming in. --Tom

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  5. hi , i have a pair of jbl l-26 decade and a pair of jbl l-36 decade speakers .vintage decade series speakers have a great sound with lots of bass and clear highs i have owned these speakers since the mid seventies and they still sound terrific . i use a pioneer sx-950 for the l-36's and a pioneer sx-838 for the l-26's , i am very happy with vintage pioneer and jbl

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  6. I have a set of the JBL-L36s which I too have owned since the late 70's. My brother bought them originally from our local Audio Store back in the day. And I bought them from him when he moved in with his girl friend. I still power them from a vintage Marantz 2252B amp/receiver. Plenty of power to push them! I have had the base drivers reconned once, about 15 yrs ago. The orginal foam wore out and they replaced it with rubber. They did a great job. All else is still all original and in mint condition. They're still my favs!

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  7. 60 years old in Minnesota. I own a pair of the Decade L-36 speakers in perfect condition. Brown Grills. I drive them with my Marantz 2230 and they sound sweet. I bought the Marantz and the JBL's in the seventies and I am happy I did. Never had any reason to change out any of this equipment.

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  8. I have a pair of L-36 bought in 1982. I have had them reconned about 15 years ago by a local shop. They still sound great. I wish all purchases made since would have served me so well :).

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  9. I still have mine, sold them to myself in 1975. Most people preffered the L100 but u thought the 100s were muddy on the bottom end. I always preferred the tighter and brighter side of thd L36s. I still have them, and still sound good. Woofers redone. And the tweeters were perfect until stupid me dented the one last year when I was "storing" them. Go figure. Even the oak held up well,
    With the blonde color gettjng much warmer over the years. Originally bought with blue grille cloth, i changed to brown. Wonder if todays products can hold up so well?

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  10. I have a set that I bought in 75 also. In the mid 90's the foam went bad. I had kept all the paperwork from the purchase. The warranty was kind of vague but it said JBL felt their products should provide a lifetime of performance, so I called JBL. They had me read them some numbers off the warranty cards and sent me to a top end stereo shop to have them reconed at their expense! I'm very happy with the speakers and JBL service. I currently have them hooked up to a relatively inexpensive home theater set. The decades are very efficient and sound decent even with an unsophisticated low power amp.

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  11. I have a pair of l 36 that have had the woofers redone once since I unboxed them in 1977. Still have the emblems and sound great.

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  12. I bought my JBL L36 speakers new back in 75 and have had them reconed twice, but that hasn't changed my perception of what a great speaker should sound like. These speakers not only look great, but perform flawless. I will own them till I'm gone, Then pass them on.

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