New JBL center 880 Array!

Mark E. Long

Mark E. Long

Audioholic General
Last week I bought a new center as I’ve planned to upgrade my front stage for a couple years found a Synthesis dealer close to me that had a little stock left to get rid of and a decent price even though it was way more than I ever dreamed of spending on a center we’ve all been there . I plan on going with the HDI series nest year once I’ve saved up the till .
First impressions is it comes packed in its own tomb never seen anything packed in form fitting thick foam before like this once you pull the top layer off it sits in its in a big plastic bag then in its own cloth bag inside that .
It’s heavy big 30 inches wide and 12 1/2 tall 11 inches deep and beautifully built has 3/4 inch rubber feet to use if you need them . It just barely fir under the tv where the old one was 1/4 to spare .
Comes with typical bi-amp binding posts and straps if you so desire to use that .incredible looking dark Rosewood finish and like a weird black rubber texture on the top and bottom
It uses the same compression drivers as the other Array speakers in this line and the Everest line and jbl pro 8 inch bass drivers to round out the set .

Set up and calibration was a snap and did notice that Yapo did lower the levels a little on it Iam guessing the high end tweeter and mid did that as I suspect they are more sensitive than my older jbl center .
First impressions it throws a very wide and large soundstage as the front of the baffle does resemble the old studio center shape of a curved approach. This is with out question the clearest sounding center I’ve ever herd . I started with good concert dvds - Roger Waters , counting Crows , Pink Floyd to name a few it really locks in the vocals and any instrument that should be there with what seems is unlimited range and realistic presentation . Next I put in a few sacd’s of Pink Floyd, dire straights, Eagles Hotel California. Nora Jones , this is where it really ups the sound no harshness no shrill sounding highs with this like some horn loading stuff can do it’s got a lot of punch with too the duel 8 inch bass drivers really do a fantastic job on locking in the mid bass on soundtracks and multi channel music .
Iam finding I may need to widen my two front mains a little farther mabey a foot each side to get more separation to lock down a little better separation because this center really does sound wide .
It does mix well with my titanium drivers in the rest of my setup I was worried about that but no problems so far . I can honestly say it will easily handle any formats put threw it with great presentation and any loudness you want I’ve pushed it with the carver amp that powers it and it sounds actually better the more power you put threw it . My conclusion is Iam still playing around with it . But Iam very impressed with the tonal quality and the build quality is what you’d expect from jbl project gear . Expensive yes ! Worth it definitely a Yes it’s like it puts the dialogue and vocals 10 feet from the screen with a realism I just never had with any number of center channels I’ve tried or herd .
 

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K

Kleinst

Senior Audioholic
Congrats again. Looks like a perfect fit for you and no doubt the quality is strong. Would love to experiment with one of these in my setups but with the RC263's I have, hard to pull the trigger just yet. But tempted :)
 
Mark E. Long

Mark E. Long

Audioholic General
Congrats again. Looks like a perfect fit for you and no doubt the quality is strong. Would love to experiment with one of these in my setups but with the RC263's I have, hard to pull the trigger just yet. But tempted :)
Thank you indeed the quality is top notch I had a hard time deciding on this but there was something always missing in the other center I had it for years and it did do the job but on voices and especially female voice it just never really sounded just right no mater what I tried. This is a very clear difference in vocals it seems to add so much to the whole spectrum, range , depth width it’s clearly well thought out .
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Slumlord
I thought you already had a center channel thread! :p

That's awesome Mark, it definitely looks like a beast of a center and that finish really is gorgeous. I think I gotcha beat on size tho! 23"W x 12.5"D x 11"H and clocks in at just over 40 lbs. You have bigger woofers tho. That said, I totally get what you're saying about the improved center. I really wasn't expecting much when I replaced the bookshelf I was using, but the better dynamic range and wider presentation was more noticeable than I expected so it was a nice little surprise.

It seems like a better match with my mains too. I swear it's spot on identical whereas the S2 was just very, very close. Tho I'll admit that could well be just bias, but it makes me feel happier about perfomance and less guilty for spending so much on a center so I'm running with it... :p
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Slumlord
I think I gotcha beat on size tho! 23"W x 12.5"D x 11"H and clocks in at just over 40 lbs.
Correction! The dimensions of your center are almost identical to mine! 7" wider, actually! That gives me a really solid idea of just how big that center is Mark. It's bigger than I thought it was.
 
Mark E. Long

Mark E. Long

Audioholic General
I thought you already had a center channel thread! :p

That's awesome Mark, it definitely looks like a beast of a center and that finish really is gorgeous. I think I gotcha beat on size tho! 23"W x 12.5"D x 11"H and clocks in at just over 40 lbs. You have bigger woofers tho. That said, I totally get what you're saying about the improved center. I really wasn't expecting much when I replaced the bookshelf I was using, but the better dynamic range and wider presentation was more noticeable than I expected so it was a nice little surprise.

It seems like a better match with my mains too. I swear it's spot on identical whereas the S2 was just very, very close. Tho I'll admit that could well be just bias, but it makes me feel happier about perfomance and less guilty for spending so much on a center so I'm running with it... :p
Lol I may have had something on here but yea I was expecting a difference but not this much . The old jbl LC -2 was a good center but was a more narrow soundstage that I didn’t realize till now . I’ve got a lot of titanium tweeters in this rig and they can definitely get bright sounding on some material this just adds something that smooths it out . I felt a lot better once my wife right off the bat said wow it’s so much clearer it’s like there right here . That helped settle any buyers remorse I had . It’s a gamble mixing drivers of different kinds even from the same manufacture especially horn loaded compression drivers .
 
Mark E. Long

Mark E. Long

Audioholic General
Correction! The dimensions of your center are almost identical to mine! 7" wider, actually! That gives me a really solid idea of just how big that center is Mark. It's bigger than I thought it was.
Yours looks like a beast of a center too as soon as I seen the pic of it I was like dam that’s huge and I’ll bet is worth every penny !
 
K

Kleinst

Senior Audioholic
This seems like it puts your search for a center to bed for a long time. Or if you go HDI would you try to get the beast that goes with those? I'm adding this to the list of items I'd jump at used if some poor sap wants to upgrade and take a bath! Wishful thinking but I bet it happens from time to time. There are probably only so many people willing to pay for gear once the cost gets over $500 so good to be ready to strike :)

Pogre, does your purchase of a center to go with your RAAL's end your search for your front 3 or is it only RBH that would cause you to change out?
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Slumlord
This seems like it puts your search for a center to bed for a long time. Or if you go HDI would you try to get the beast that goes with those? I'm adding this to the list of items I'd jump at used if some poor sap wants to upgrade and take a bath! Wishful thinking but I bet it happens from time to time. There are probably only so many people willing to pay for gear once the cost gets over $500 so good to be ready to strike :)

Pogre, does your purchase of a center to go with your RAAL's end your search for your front 3 or is it only RBH that would cause you to change out?
I'd say you nailed it. I think I'm done searching unless I manage to finagle a way to get me into some SVTR towers. I think I have it about as good as I can get it in here now and still realistically afford it, lol. I know audio memory is short and my methodology isn't exactly sound, but I think my setup sounds right up there with the best sounding system I've ever heard at a place in San Antonio called "Bjorn's". It was in a treated room and everything was set up for the best possible sound and my balls were sufficiently blown off by the experience. :p

In my head that system became my official reference and I've been chasing it ever since. I think I'm really close to it now. The RAALs really are pretty special, and the midrange drivers Dave uses are really good too. I even tracked down a good copy of the same song from that demo, the Eagles' "Hotel California" live from their "Hell Freezes Over" tour. One of the things that struck me right away at Bjorn's was when the bass drum starts in on that version of the song it's very deep and strong. Truly subsonic, and I was so impressed the B&W 802 D3s we were listening to were able to play it so well. My system plays it really well also, but I have 3 big ass subwoofers too. The 802s truly didn't need one.

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K

Kleinst

Senior Audioholic
Was that the actual setup there at Bjorns? If so it had some pretty strong electronics driving those speakers too and I'm sure they were perfectly dialed in which is probably as important as the equipment in many cases (maybe most cases) given reasonable quality speakers
 
Mark E. Long

Mark E. Long

Audioholic General
This seems like it puts your search for a center to bed for a long time. Or if you go HDI would you try to get the beast that goes with those? I'm adding this to the list of items I'd jump at used if some poor sap wants to upgrade and take a bath! Wishful thinking but I bet it happens from time to time. There are probably only so many people willing to pay for gear once the cost gets over $500 so good to be ready to strike :)

Pogre, does your purchase of a center to go with your RAAL's end your search for your front 3 or is it only RBH that would cause you to change out?
I’d say my search is over this will go great with the HDI series as there are trickle down at the bottom of the synthesis line the compression driver and the horn are derived from the Array line up I’d say they would voice match perfectly. With that being said I’ve got time to build funds and I have found several 1400 Arrays and a pair of Array 1000 who’s size wise would be a perfect fit in my room. But I’ll see what’s out there then. So yea I’ve found the main link for my front stage for sure .
 
Mark E. Long

Mark E. Long

Audioholic General
I'd say you nailed it. I think I'm done searching unless I manage to finagle a way to get me into some SVTR towers. I think I have it about as good as I can get it in here now and still realistically afford it, lol. I know audio memory is short and my methodology isn't exactly sound, but I think my setup sounds right up there with the best sounding system I've ever heard at a place in San Antonio called "Bjorn's". It was in a treated room and everything was set up for the best possible sound and my balls were sufficiently blown off by the experience. :p

In my head that system became my official reference and I've been chasing it ever since. I think I'm really close to it now. The RAALs really are pretty special, and the midrange drivers Dave uses are really good too. I even tracked down a good copy of the same song from that demo, the Eagles' "Hotel California" live from their "Hell Freezes Over" tour. One of the things that struck me right away at Bjorn's was when the bass drum starts in on that version of the song it's very deep and strong. Truly subsonic, and I was so impressed the B&W 802 D3s we were listening to were able to play it so well. My system plays it really well also, but I have 3 big ass subwoofers too. The 802s truly didn't need one.

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Weird I’ve always used that same track from Hell Freezes over as my go to track to tune my bass in my system and to demo it for people that want to here good sound for an early DTS track it still holds up quite well . Now if you want to try something even more substantial in deep sub workout give Roger Waters dvd - Us+Them it’s one of the best sounding concerts I’ve ever herd .
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Slumlord
Was that the actual setup there at Bjorns? If so it had some pretty strong electronics driving those speakers too and I'm sure they were perfectly dialed in which is probably as important as the equipment in many cases (maybe most cases) given reasonable quality speakers
Yup. That was the actual setup, and yes I'd assume they were perfectly dialed in. It really did sound amazing. While I can never truly compare something like that from a memory a few years ago, I can still remember how it made me feel and just how clean and clear it was.
Weird I’ve always used that same track from Hell Freezes over as my go to track to tune my bass in my system and to demo it for people that want to here good sound for an early DTS track it still holds up quite well . Now if you want to try something even more substantial in deep sub workout give Roger Waters dvd - Us+Them it’s one of the best sounding concerts I’ve ever herd .
With the right recordings I can pull that feeling back up on my system and that live version of "Hotel" is a pretty good one. I've got music with heavier bass than that, but for what it is that version of "Hotel" digs deep and dips below 20 hz with some authority. I checked to make sure by running it through a spectrum analyzer before I posted it in the sub candy thread. Had to make sure it qualified, lol.

Another great recording that I think shines on hifi systems is an acoustic guitar heavy live track by Nils Lofgren off the Salk Sound demo disc called "Keith Don't Go". It's a super clean recording. Not much bass, but super clean. In fact most of the songs on that disc are super clean. Anyhoo, I grew up around bands as both my parents were in one so I was exposed to a lot of live music since I was very young. That Nils song almost make me feel lIke he's in the room with me.

 
Mark E. Long

Mark E. Long

Audioholic General
Yup. That was the actual setup, and yes I'd assume they were perfectly dialed in. It really did sound amazing. While I can never truly compare something like that from a memory a few years ago, I can still remember how it made me feel and just how clean and clear it was.

With the right recordings I can pull that feeling back up on my system and that live version of "Hotel" is a pretty good one. I've got music with heavier bass than that, but for what it is that version of "Hotel" digs deep and dips below 20 hz with some authority. I checked to make sure by running it through a spectrum analyzer before I posted it in the sub candy thread. Had to make sure it qualified, lol.

Another great recording that I think shines on hifi systems is an acoustic guitar heavy live track by Nils Lofgren off the Salk Sound demo disc called "Keith Don't Go". It's a super clean recording. Not much bass, but super clean. In fact most of the songs on that disc are super clean. Anyhoo, I grew up around bands as both my parents were in one so I was exposed to a lot of live music since I was very young. That Nils song almost make me feel lIke he's in the room with me.

Dam I’ve got to get a copy of that one I’ve got a Nora Jones that is an Acoustic live show that’s just so so clean that you can hear and feel the pluck of the strings on the upright bass . I really enjoy good acoustic music recorded live .it may not be your thing music wise but may I sujestions Marc Cohn Live 04-05 on my system it’s recorded on tour but very possibly the very best recorded live show I’ve ever herd .
 
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Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Slumlord
Was that the actual setup there at Bjorns? If so it had some pretty strong electronics driving those speakers too and I'm sure they were perfectly dialed in which is probably as important as the equipment in many cases (maybe most cases) given reasonable quality speakers
Here's a better pic of the electronics. I can't even guess at how many dollars are sitting there. 20-30 grand? More? I know I can't afford it, lol.

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I will say the guys there, at least the dude that helped me was awesome. Made me feel comfortable even after I told him I wasn't there buying and just looking. He was happy to show off their flagship system and was really nice about it. If you're even in San Antonio check 'em out. There ain't too many hifi shops around anymore. I enjoyed my visit there. If I go visit family again I'll probably make another trip there.
 
B

Bernie Williams

Audioholic Intern
The Nils Lofgren acoustic live is a great CD. Well recorded. I think the first concert I ever went to in high school was when he was with "GRIN" and played at the Kennedy Center. Probably around 1971-72. I live in San Antonio and Bjorn's is a great place.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Slumlord
After digging up those pics and making those posts last night I dreamed that I had a turntable with Mac gear and couldn't get any of it to work. I still remember it! What a frustrating dream... lol.

*Edit: and my sister kept scratching the crap out of my albums! Which I don't have... or a turntable... or mac gear... lol
 

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