CEDIA 2018: JBL L100 Classic returns and we fancy orange

The JBL L100 is considered the best selling speaker in JBL’s history.  It will always be remembered for its looks, sound and its role in the famous Maxell ad, “The Blown-away Man”. Popular since the 1970’s, the L100 re-emerges in 2018 with its iconic look and modern technology.

“The original L100 speakers were not only JBL’s all-time, best-selling loudspeakers, but, from all indications, they were the best-selling loudspeaker system of the decade,” said Jim Garrett, Senior Director, Product Strategy and Planning, Luxury Audio, HARMAN. “The original L100 was introduced at the 1970 CES in Chicago, and here we are almost 50 years later with retro products and designs in high fashion. There is still a huge appreciation and desire for these great looking, great sounding vintage JBL loudspeaker systems. We think consumers are going to love this loudspeaker.”

Designed by Chris Hagen, the new JBL L100 Classic sports a new titanium dome tweeter, new drivers, an updated crossover design and tuned enclosure.  Harman provided the following details:

The L100 Classic uses the newly developed JT025Ti1 1-inch (25mm) Titanium dome tweeter mated to a waveguide with an acoustic lens for optimal integration to the JM125PC 5-inch (125mm) cast-frame, pure-pulp cone midrange driver located directly below. The vertical HF and MF transducer arrangement is slightly offset to the right of the woofer below, with HF and MF attenuators located on the upper left of the front baffle. Low frequencies are delivered by the 1200FE 12-inch (300mm) cast-frame, white pure-pulp cone woofer operating in a bass-reflex enclosure system that is tuned via a single, front-firing port tube with flared exit. Connections are made via a pair of gold-plated binding post terminals located on the rear-panel.

This passive, 3-way bookshelf loudspeaker measures approximately 25.5″ H x 15.5″ W x 13.75″ D and can be oriented either vertically or horizontally. Optional black metal floor stands are available with included adjustable carpet spikes. The walnut wood frame grille is available with the iconic Quadrex foam insert in a choice of black, orange, or blue.

The Quadrex grills looked fabulous especially in orange.

The L100 Classic is shipping now at a price of $4000 USD.

As a barometer, scouting the web, some JBL owners mentioned they paid $750 for their L100 in the 1970s. In today’s dollars that is $4904.  So just tell yourself you are getting a discount… 🙂




  1. I recently refurbished a set I purchased in 1975. Refinished the walnut and replaced the LE25 tweeters, foilcals, binding posts, and new orange cloth grill. Running them with two monophonic Dyna MkIV amps, and a homebuilt tube preamp. I paid about $600.00 for mine back in the day. Inflation adjusted is about 3K, now, I’d really be interested in comparing them. Over the years I’ve been through a lot of speakers. The Original Quad and L100 are my favorite I owned. Wish I still had the Quad, too.

  2. I hated the sound of these very colored speakers back when they were first introduced back on ’72 or so. Way too much midrange and especially upper midrange which was headache inducing. A friend bought them powered by an all tube Dynaco setup and they still were piercing. He did return them after a few days and bought some Dynacos which are easier to listen to and less colored

  3. I wish I could do a side by side of a restored JBL L100 to the new version. The Titanium dome tweeter worries me. Other than that the speakers look good. Can they also be oriented on their side like the originals?

  4. I very much like this long overdue JBL L-100, and look forward to hearing it ASAP. I hope the L-100 plays music at RMAF.

    JBL’s Pro Series includes the M2 Reference Monitor, silver utility color only, exposed high-tech horn, not a domestic friendly design by any metric. The M2 may outperform any domestic high end speaker extant, it’s that good. I can’t more highly recommend hearing it, but it’s difficult to find a demo. The M2 requires, and JBL sells for it, digital xo/eq, and 4 amp channels. In a direct AB the M2 positively incinerated a $30k/pr cone/dome from a long respected company.

    JBL’s domestic line includes at least one model in the $70k/pr range. A reliable JBL dealer told me, in a back to back demo at the factory, the M2 was better by huge margin. The market for JBL’s domestic series crave huge, classic, hand rubbed cabinets, and the passive designs of their youth, when they could only dream about such models. IMO JBL shall never package the M2 in a domestic-friendly cabinet. Older JBL buyers in that market would sacrifice the M2s performance to relive their youthful audio lust.

    • Hi Dean,

      Yes, the speakers can be placed on their sides. The stands in the photos come off.

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