JBL Studio 550P 10-Inch Subwoofer Quick Review

S

sterling shoote

Audioholic General
I suspect that somewhere along the way, JBL accidentally mixed up their plate amp photos. I do not believe the 550p has speaker level inputs. If you look at the Amazon listing, you will see the speaker level inputs. Currently there are eight 5-star reviews and two 2-star (or 1-star?) reviews. The 2 "negative" reviews are by people who bought this sub with the expectation/need for speaker level inputs!

Like you, I am disappointed that JBL didn't "grab the bull by the horns" and start producing high performance subwoofers. However, my expectations for a 10" sealed sub are a good woofer to fill out the low frequencies for music, and that falls squarely within JBL's competencies! Anyone looking for LFE should look elsewhere.
JBL does make high performance subs, designed for cinema use. They're relatively inexpensive, but require amplification and a big enough listening area to appreciate them. They're not very attractive either so might not appeal to many. They also have a sub in their Synthesis line. I still think JBL would be smart to reintroduce the B-380 again.
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panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Ninja
I suspect that somewhere along the way, JBL accidentally mixed up their plate amp photos. I do not believe the 550p has speaker level inputs. If you look at the Amazon listing, you will see the speaker level inputs. Currently there are eight 5-star reviews and two 2-star (or 1-star?) reviews. The 2 "negative" reviews are by people who bought this sub with the expectation/need for speaker level inputs!

Like you, I am disappointed that JBL didn't "grab the bull by the horns" and start producing high performance subwoofers. However, my expectations for a 10" sealed sub are a good woofer to fill out the low frequencies for music, and that falls squarely within JBL's competencies! Anyone looking for LFE should look elsewhere.
This is exactly my impression. Great for music. Fills out the low end perfectly. For movies, it's OK. The sub 20hz stuff just isn't really there, nor would I expect it to be. My main purpose for it is music so it's doing a great job.
 
J

JRT3

Junior Audioholic
I bought a cherry finished SUB550P from Amazon/WOOT for $290 delivered 3/15 - and thought I got a bargain. Paired with my then recently purchased NHT S1 2.1's, I had a great music system - until I bought a pair of Klipsch R-15M's and an Emotiva a-100 mini-X 50 Wpc amp without a subwoofer output. I did use an external volume control and the sub - for a while - too cumbersome. That lovely sub went upstairs to my 2.1 music/mini-HT system along with the small Klipsch speakers when I got my Heresys for my office - and it forced me to gift my little-used Polk PSW-505 'boommm box' to my son. I love the 'thud' bass the SUB 550P makes... proper bass. It really is heavy, weighing nearly twenty pounds more than the JBL 12" BR subs - it is quality - and a real bargain - even at the $290 I paid for the first one. Little wonder why I am awaiting the brown truck delivering my black version for $189 delivered today - in between Irma's TS bands here in Alabama!

Interesting piece of info re Amazon's reviews - the cherry and black SUB 550P's are listed separately - yet have the same disgruntled customer's 1-star reviews!
 
S

sterling shoote

Audioholic General
This is exactly my impression. Great for music. Fills out the low end perfectly. For movies, it's OK. The sub 20hz stuff just isn't really there, nor would I expect it to be. My main purpose for it is music so it's doing a great job.
I've got to ask, what do you mean the sub 20hz stuff just isn't really there? Can you hear sub 20hz stuff? My JBL B-380 gets to about 17hz and I can barely sense it, and that's with about 600 watts at a volume level that would shake my windows on most music or movies.
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Ninja
I've got to ask, what do you mean the sub 20hz stuff just isn't really there? Can you hear sub 20hz stuff? My JBL B-380 gets to about 17hz and I can barely sense it, and that's with about 600 watts at a volume level that would shake my windows on most music or movies.
Yes I can. Test tones on my other subs are clearly audible. Not on this one. and when I say "sub 20hz" I'm guessing as to the actual frequency range. It could be 22hz and below, but it's hard to tell. I guess I should have not quoted an actual range, but I can say that in movies that have lots of very low LFE content I can't hear on this sub what I can on my others.

I did test tones and 20hz on this sub is barely audible while 25hz is clearly audible. It seems after the f3 of 27hz things fall off very quickly after that.
 
S

sterling shoote

Audioholic General
Yes I can. Test tones on my other subs are clearly audible. Not on this one. and when I say "sub 20hz" I'm guessing as to the actual frequency range. It could be 22hz and below, but it's hard to tell. I guess I should have not quoted an actual range, but I can say that in movies that have lots of very low LFE content I can't hear on this sub what I can on my others.

I did test tones and 20hz on this sub is barely audible while 25hz is clearly audible. It seems after the f3 of 27hz things fall off very quickly after that.
O.K, that's interesting. How are you generating test tones. I still use an old Stereo Review LP. Could be I need to generate a test tone from something like a test CD or a download to get a better appraisal of my sub, which I thought was pretty good one.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
O.K, that's interesting. How are you generating test tones. I still use an old Stereo Review LP. Could be I need to generate a test tone from something like a test CD or a download to get a better appraisal of my sub, which I thought was pretty good one.
Your sub is rated 24hz-70hz (-6dB)...I'd want better.
 
S

sterling shoote

Audioholic General
Your sub is rated 24hz-70hz (-6dB)...I'd want better.
Might explain why I can't hear anything below 24hz. Now, you said you'd want better. What do you think would be better? I'm not asking because I have any interest in upgrading, I'm quite satisfied; but, I would like to know what you would want, since I perceive you are more of an audio/video guru than others, and your opinions are very informed.
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Ninja
O.K, that's interesting. How are you generating test tones. I still use an old Stereo Review LP. Could be I need to generate a test tone from something like a test CD or a download to get a better appraisal of my sub, which I thought was pretty good one.
There are online tone generators. REW has a tone generator.
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Spartan
Dale Doback

Dale Doback

Junior Audioholic
If I was in the market, I'd buy 8 of these, stack 4 on each side, and let you guys know what I thought. Looks like one hell of a deal on some subwoofers.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
Might explain why I can't hear anything below 24hz. Now, you said you'd want better. What do you think would be better? I'm not asking because I have any interest in upgrading, I'm quite satisfied; but, I would like to know what you would want, since I perceive you are more of an audio/video guru than others, and your opinions are very informed.
Would depend on budget. Plenty of subs have wider range, altho you're probably looking for better low range than upper range (and I prefer to have both if possible). My last several subs are diy; there are several good 18" drivers I'd look at if shopping for a driver, like the Dayton Ultimax UM-18, Stereo Integrity HT-18V2 or HST-18....
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Warlord
The Hsu VTF-3 MK5 is a very good sub and hard to beat at its price, even when you add shipping. DIY is the most cost effective way to get good bass if you're handy tho.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
Might explain why I can't hear anything below 24hz. Now, you said you'd want better. What do you think would be better? I'm not asking because I have any interest in upgrading, I'm quite satisfied; but, I would like to know what you would want, since I perceive you are more of an audio/video guru than others, and your opinions are very informed.
I suspect your sub does a fine job with typical music content. However you are definitely missing out on some low-frequency effects! So if you are music only, I would not worry much about an upgrade, but for home theater it is worth looking into!
 
S

sterling shoote

Audioholic General
I suspect your sub does a fine job with typical music content. However you are definitely missing out on some low-frequency effects! So if you are music only, I would not worry much about an upgrade, but for home theater it is worth looking into!
Kurt,

I noticed that the JBL subs used today for cinema sound go down to about 25hz. Do you think that these subs might not be delivering all there is? I am just curious about it. Also, I did download a frequency generator, and discovered, I've got to really pump up the volume to hear or feel anything below about 50hz. And, yes, my sub does seem to improve the dynamics of my music, especially dance music like Kayne West's Love Lockdown.
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Spartan
Kurt,

I noticed that the JBL subs used today for cinema sound go down to about 25hz. Do you think that these subs might not be delivering all there is? I am just curious about it. Also, I did download a frequency generator, and discovered, I've got to really pump up the volume to hear or feel anything below about 50hz. And, yes, my sub does seem to improve the dynamics of my music, especially dance music like Kayne West's Love Lockdown.
Hey sterling, I know you addressed Kurt but I have to add to this and say, yes, you are correct. 25hz is leaving a lot on the table. Especially if that might be the f3. Even if all movies don't have stuff below 25, the ones that do make it worthwhile imo. Not to mention those subs that can deliver that stuff will tend to be more linear and controlled in the lower regions.
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Ninja
Would depend on budget. Plenty of subs have wider range, altho you're probably looking for better low range than upper range (and I prefer to have both if possible). My last several subs are diy; there are several good 18" drivers I'd look at if shopping for a driver, like the Dayton Ultimax UM-18, Stereo Integrity HT-18V2 or HST-18....
My next set of drivers will be the SI HT-18V2. I plan to use 4 of those to replace my current 12" infinitys.

I will say that the JBL is what some refer to as a very "musical" sub. Perfect pairing to get more low end out of a music system. That's what I want it for so it's doing the job very well.
 
S

sterling shoote

Audioholic General
Hey sterling, I know you addressed Kurt but I have to add to this and say, yes, you are correct. 25hz is leaving a lot on the table. Especially if that might be the f3. Even if all movies don't have stuff below 25, the ones that do make it worthwhile imo. Not to mention those subs that can deliver that stuff will tend to be more linear and controlled in the lower regions.
What theatre chain would I need to visit to hear such speakers, that's to say, what theatres use subs which are not JBL's?
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
Kurt,

I noticed that the JBL subs used today for cinema sound go down to about 25hz. Do you think that these subs might not be delivering all there is? I am just curious about it. Also, I did download a frequency generator, and discovered, I've got to really pump up the volume to hear or feel anything below about 50hz. And, yes, my sub does seem to improve the dynamics of my music, especially dance music like Kayne West's Love Lockdown.
50Hz? What sub do you have? That seems pretty poor for any sub other than a $30 PC 2.1 system. If you listen at very low levels without Dynamic EQ engaged, that might be part of the reason, but honestly, something seems wrong.

As far as theater, you're talking to the wrong guy. I am 95/5 HT/music and if you are talking HT content and not just TV (sit-com, news, etc with no LFE) I am probably more like 99/1!
For music, I am happy with dual 8" sealed subs (Velodyne VMS-8/Photon 8) once room gain and Audyssey are in play, but you can see that +/-3dB puts F3 around 30Hz. By your description, I would not guess you have this much bass?:


Switching to a larger, more capable sub gets me a better HT experience. Part of it may be that these are topping out on explosions, etc. My subjective perception is that it is also deeper bass, but I have never attempted to listen for certain pitches. Certainly, there is quite an obvious visceral difference when playing something like the intro to "Live, Die, Repeat" (which is an "unsettling" experience). Understand that my most capable sub for HT is a pair of Rythmik E15HP's which I love, but many here would scoff at them as being "lightweight". I have yet to hear a ported sub that sounds as good, but I need to revisit a comparison against TheWarrior's PC12-plus's now that he has mini-DSP'ed them.
 
R

rdkusher

Audioholic Intern
i have been considering getting one of these subs for a small room to use with my ascends sierra 1's and carnegie csb-1's.i wanted to know if the outrigger feet on the sub are removable and if so what width and height the sub is without them.thanks
 

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