JBL S38 Bookshelf Speakers

4.65/5 (155 Reviews)


Product Description

3-way bookshelf speaker. 8" PolyPlas™ bass driver. 4" PolyPlas™ midrange driver. 1" Pure Titanium dome tweeter.


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Reviews 1 - 5 (155 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Ricardo Takao Oikawa a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: August 10, 2011

Bottom Line:   
JBL is not what it used to be. In 70 and 80's JBL desinged awesome cost-benefit loudspeakers (like L100 and 4312) but things have changed from 90's. The last JBL's speakers I audiotioned were veiled on the mids and overbright on top end. Overall JBL's entry level products sound uneven, unnatural and overbright.

I auditioned the S38 and unfortunately they are not exception. There are better options for sure.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2002



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Sam Santerre a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 2, 2010

Bottom Line:   
Picked a pair of S38 speakers for $120 to go with my S312II mains, S-Center, and Sub10 (looking to upgrade to a S120PII or L8400P soon). These replaced my old Polk S8 surounds and the difference in sound is outstanding! I was not expecting near the sound quality increase overall in the system by replacing the S8 surrounds with these S38 speakers! Simply amazing, VERY stylish too (just like the rest of the Studio series).

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2002



Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:1
Submitted by tryn a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: September 27, 2008

Bottom Line:   
This is my second review of this product and well over-due. I won't complain about the sound from this product at all. Its superb. My complaint comes after 2 blown tweeter, a cross-over and now a mid. WTF? My dad had some old Teac speakers that would put the endurance of these to shame, and let me tell you; as a teen I pushed the heck out of them. Of coarse my extended warrenty is over now, and I could have the part replaced for $45.00 plus shipping, but do I trust they will make it another, ohh.... how long before soething else?

Shame on JBL for producing products like this. A well known quality company like that making these to sell to the average guy..... I know now my money is worth taking else where. Maybe thats why the local Best Buy no longer carries your brand.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1997

Price Paid:    $234.00

Purchased At:   Best Buy



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Galloway a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: June 25, 2006

Bottom Line:   
I've had the S38's for several years now and I can say they are fabulous. I was getting itchy to possibly upgrade from them and auditioned a few recommended speakers at home against them, included Paradigm Monitor 5 v.2's
The 5's sounded....deeper...but almost like a reverb on a guitar amp. Yeah, I could fall asleep to the Paradigm's but I'm kind of awake when I want to listen to my music. Maybe Barry White listeners would like the P's better ?
The crispness, tightness of bass and detail weren't there like with my S38's. My S38's blew these Paradigm's away and I was very surprised.

I will say this about the brightness issue of these speakers...it's absolutely true that these can be too bright with some digital recordings. However, I recommend if you have an amp/receiver with a "midnight" mode or equivlent, (EQ) to use that setting or use an EQ to take out some of the treble. My Pioneer VSX-1015TX receiver (a steal of a receiver , I might add, if you're looking into newer HT receivers under $400) has a midnight mode and it makes all the difference in mellowing these speakers. But like another review perfectly stated: don't get brightness and detail/clarity confused. The clarity and detail of these speakers are really almost unbelievable. Brightness can be tamed - clarity cannot be magically added. Other reviews stating any muddiness or midrange issues must have gotten a bad pair - ridiculously wrong and ludicrious. The bass if very tight and slaps nice and swiftly.
I liked these so much I bought an S-Center a few years later when putting together a home theater setup. The Center is also terrific and clear, obviously a perfect match. After now knowing I'm not going to question them any longer, I've recently purchased S36AWii's as rear surrounds to match the fronts on a smaller level. Excellent ! As with any speaker, placement of surrounds means a lot.

I would seriously put these speakers against any other upward of $1000 or more if you want clear, detailed, transparent bookshelf speakers (need a good sub for HT, recommend Mirage-tight bass match). You'll love these speakers. Your search is over, believe me. I will not get itchy for a new setup for at least another ten years now; I give.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2001

Price Paid:    $275.00

Purchased At:   Best Buy



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Five1nine8eight a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: April 5, 2004

Bottom Line:   
Well I bought my pair of S38II's after ordering an S-CenterII and loving every aspect of it, so lodgically I wanted to match my whole system. I bought a pair of N26II's to hold me over for the 2 weeks before I could order them and they are also great speakers so I could not wait for my S38II's. Once they came I hooked them up put it on Stereo mode, cranked Sublime/Led Zeppelin/Pink Floyd with 100 per channel and all I really noticed was it as like having to center channels hooked up and a clean sub. The highs where crisp but not harsh the meds for clear and i could acually feel the bass, I didn't miss my sub. I play MP3's off of my iBook connected through a custom made adapter from the headphone out to a line in on my AVR, and even with the poor quality of MP3's they still sound great. I also use a 5.1 Zeppelin DVD and they sound good on that to. Im very impressed with these speakers and for $230 pr brand new, I got more that my moneys worth.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2002

Price Paid:    $230.00

Purchased At:   One Call




Reviews 1 - 5 (155 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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