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17 Reviews
rating  4.47 of 5
MSRP  460.00
Description: JBL HLS 615


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Reviews 1 - 5 (17 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by loustargalactica a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: August 27, 2004

Bottom Line:   
Excellent mids, very clear highs, bass varies depending on music type.

Saw these advertised online, along with an amp and 5-disc carousel, for $100 even (had to make sure they weren't stolen!). Couldn't pass it up, and I'm glad I didn't.

Took maybe 20 minutes for them to start warming up, but even right out of the box (the guy had had them in a closet for the last 2 years) they sounded incredible. Granted, my sound test was a comparison to my crappy Fisher studio standards, manufactured in the mid-80's when wide and shallow cabinets were the thing (I do have a pair of KEH C-130's in another room, which sound better than the Fishers, but was too lazy to go get them since they're not going to be replaced anyhow). I listen to all types of music incessantly: jazz, folk, classical, hip-hop, and electronica.


-- Highs and Mids --
The first tune I compared them on was Joao Giberto's "Girl From Ipanema," since I had read a lot about their midrange attributes. Amazing clarity on Mr. Giberto's vocals, and a warmth that was practically tactile. When Astrid Giberto takes over the vocals, those qualities of reproduction were matched in the higher register, literally making _me_ sigh: "Ahhh" and bringing a smile to my face. The sparse bass on that tune did not comprise too rigorous a test, but the lines were smooth and defined throughout.

After "Ipanema," I threw in Brad Mehldau's "Art of the Trio, Vol. 1," a jazz trio with piano, upright, and drums. Absolutely spectacular tones from both keys and percussion, though the strings were less prominent. Since the kick drum sounded great, I wasn't sure if that was a choice made during production.

-- The Low End --
Since I had read a bit about lackluster bass, I decided to test the low end with some early '90s hip-hop: Common's "One Day It'll All Make Sense." Instantly, I understood the complaints. The bass ports on the back really loosen up the low end, allowing the cabs to boom significantly. However, that choice sacrificed a lot of the punch and accuracy that I really love. So, I grabbed a pair of T-shirts from the laundry in the next room, plugged up the ports, and tried again. Voila! No more muddy boom, just tight, accurate hits from below.

To double-check, I put on some more jazz with the plugged-up ports, and the bass was notably muted. My brilliant deduction is that HLS's were engineered with the kind of music in mind that requires emphasis of its low end via some kind of resonance, especially for bigger rooms (i.e., classical and jazz). That seems a reasonable choice is, since hip-hop and other genres with lots of post-production bass added don't require much from a speaker.

My solution was to cut little port-plugs out of foam (be sure to include handles if you do this, otherwise they'll be stuck in there forever!) for when I'm listening to something bassy and want to keep some definition rather than just vibration.

As with the tonal qualities, the soundstage on the JBL's was markedly better than with the Fishers I had previously listened to. Nonetheless, there was still some overlap on some instruments.
Mr. Giberto and crew were vocally well dispersed. The bass was not clearly defined, and the drum kit was about 20' wide. Each piece of the kit had its own place, though, so I think this may be a product of my less-than stellar amplifier combined with the fact that this was the JBL's warm-up tune.
As I listened to Mehldau, I seemed to be sitting stage right, though I was in the middle of the room, as Brad's piano and Larry Grenadier's bass were almost in alignmnent for certain ranges of the piano. Jorge Rossi's drums remained to my left most of the time, but the occassional unconventional pieces of his kit seemed to come at me from all directions.

Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to push these phenoms anywhere close to capacity as I tend to listen mostly in the evenings, when the kids are in bed.

Bottom Line:
People seem to be selling these insanely cheaply. If you need an alternate pair of mains, or are just getting started, seeks some out and don't let them go!

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1998

Price Paid:    $70.00

Purchased At:   Used, from classifie

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by nathan a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: May 23, 2003

Bottom Line:   
i bought new in 1997
they have a good sound,nice highs,good mids.
there is no real bass so i bought a velodyne
sub. i want more now but they still sound good.
i listened to the bookshelfs with the same drivers and they didn't sound as good. the
larger cabinet gives them a better sound

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1997

Price Paid:    $360.00

Purchased At:   circuit city

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Nick Lewis a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: January 1, 2002

Bottom Line:   
These speakers are one of the first pieces of equiptment in my system. From when I only used them for stereo listening to where they are now, as the mains of my home theatre system, they have been with me all the way. Although the base of these speakers isn't very powerful, the sound great teamed up with my KLH subwoofers. I plan to update my center channel and surrounds to JBL's since my main speakers have served me so well. My current system consists of the following:

*Yamaha HTR 5440 (65 watts)
-DVD player:
*Philips DVD771 (Denon progressive scan dvd player)
-CD player:
*Pioneer PD-F908 101 disc file type
-Viewing source:
*Sony Vega trinitron flat screen TV KV-32FS12
*Center-RCA PRO-CS55 2-way center channel speaker
*Mains- JBL HLS-615
*Surrounds-Optimus XTS 20AV direct/reflect swivel speaker system
*Sub woofers- 1-KLH 120 watt sub for front and 1-100 watt sub for rear.

I have found that these speakers are similar to most Mirage speakers at a fraction of the price. These speakers sound better when used with a subwoofer. If you dont use one, you will find that the base is weak and undefined. In conclusion, the HLS 615 are excelent speakers to have for stereo or surround sound and I highly recomend them for any good sized room.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1998

Price Paid:    $99.00

Purchased At:   Circuit City

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by bar m a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: July 15, 2001

Bottom Line:   
bought them in a local store , i took my nakamichi re-3 amp to the store and a lots of classical cd and other type of cd like pop ... , i think i did the ultimate test , i plugged the nak amp to each of the speakers which were on the store . first i heard the boss , next the bmw , wharfedale diamond 8.1 , kef (almost all types ) , polk audio , storm and a few more that i cant remember right now . the only two which sound best was jbl , the hls 615 and another jbl speakers ( cant remember the model but they were big ) , the hls 615 sound best with classical music but when it came to pop or rock they doesnt sound as well as you expect . these ( i think ) are the best you can do under 400$ ( in israel at least , because we pay 70% tax so i guss in the state you could come up with much more for this price , i actually paid something like 800$ so in the u.s. you could get it for less then half ) , but for it's price no complains .

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $400.00

Purchased At:   local store

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by jja sik a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: November 17, 2000

Bottom Line:   
it could've been better... the horn? i can't hear it's application... and the little feet on the bottom... serve no purpose... bass port gets loose... and bass port is poorly constructed...

but sound wise... it's awesome!! got them at a fairly good deal... and am still very pleased... haven't found a product with as good of a price/value ratio.. maybe i will somday tho!! =)

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1999

Reviews 1 - 5 (17 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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