JBL N-Center Center Channels

N-Center

Northridge Series 2-Way Center Channel Loudspeaker - Two 5" PolyPlas Drivers, 3/4" Titanium-Laminate Dome Tweeter - Spring Clip Connectors

User Reviews (43)

Showing 1-10 of 43  
BladeBite   AudioPhile [Nov 25, 2003]
Strength:

A very solid performer considering the price you'll pay. It's not a THIEL, Paradigm nor Definitive, but yo, clue phone, and it's for YOU...You're not paying anything close to that price!!! Spend a grand or more and then complain. Meanwhile, focus on your other equipment as I know for sure that little JBL deserves better than the bloody nose that some of you are trying to give it.

Weakness:

I'm not sure that I'm willing to call it a weakness, as at the end of the day it's all about function, but the enclosure leaves a bunch to be desired. I keep thinking that Martha Stewart must've had a hand in designing that K-Mart looking enclosure, but what the heck, head to Lowes and buy an oak board and break-out a mitersaw and we could cure that. May even be fun, who knows!

It sounds more like an issue with equipment not quite up-to-par being used with the N-Center than the center itself. I've got to say that I've got access to a vast amount of equipment, and have applicated most of it at some point in my home. I use the N-Center in my bedroom system which consists of JBL HLS 820's left and right front, the same on surround, and again on surround back. Two JBL PB12 powered subs. All is driven by a Pioneer Elite vsx-41 110 watt per channel 6.1 AV Receiver, and a DV-45A Super Audio/DVD Audio DVD player. The N-Center is resting atop a Sony XBR 40" hard-tube(KV-40xbr800), and let me tell ya, there isn't much meat between the Center and the tube on that xbr, and there isn't a hint of discloration. Just for the record, Toshiba has had quite a few problems with pixel distortion in the past few years, mainly resulting from the fact that they tried to save money and re-tooling for many non-HDTV sets by using a board originally designed for use IN the their HDTVs. In fact, you may find it interesting to know that many of your entry level Toshibas sitting in your homes right now actually have the HDTV module residing inside them, as it was cheaper for Toshiba to pump out the higher dollar board with these components laying dormant in them than it was to make model exclussive boards...at least they thought so, and sounded good for production's sake. However, they quickly found the error of their way when suddenly they found there was this mass conflict with the optical engine designed to work with the HDTV module. Too late, as they already pumped out thousands of sets this way, and slowly, but consistantly the problems developed and presented themselves in the consumer homes. The most common problem Toshiba users will find due to this @#$%up by Toshiba, though, will be the endless vertical lines that will eventually develope...many of you already know exactly what I'm talking about, and you're saying to yourself right now "Son-of-a-gun, I have that exact problem!" Well, don't take it! Let Toshiba know that you are aware of their dirty little secret(which they never openly acknowlege) and that you want your set replaced! Anyway, I have a meter that reads magnetic fields and I've gone around several N-Center units and have gotten readings consitant with my CLR3000 Definitive Technology center in my main theater at home, and that's no El'cheapo center, friends. Back to the bedroom; I've found the simple N-Center more than rivaling units three times it's price, and I'm quite pleased with the dynamics it offers in that particular setup. As far as the "Tweeter isssue", well, you only get out what you put in, in any system. Shove garbage down YOUR neck and you'll probably puke too! In other words, clip your receiver and you will blow Martin Logans rated at three times your receivers rated power. Send a good clean signal and you can way over-power your speakers with no problem...That's just a fact in audio, with any configuration and product name. I've been hammering the N-Center with music for quite some time now, and it's not showing any signs of puking. It's on rare occasion that any real Dolby Digital or DTS signal finds it's format running through it, as very few movies like Debbie Does Dallas or Candies Sample has a sound format other than OOHH, OOHH!! AAHH!!!, and let us face it folks, Lucas Films wants no part of any of that, nor does it rate anything other than a mono format. This considered, most of the power shoved has been music. Although I did play Saving Private Ryan, and that one will work ANY system, and the Center took it like a champ, and at a level that had my wife and the family dog trying to eat their way out of the house.

Similar Products Used: Klipsch, paradgm, polk, Definitive, AR, Altech and so-on
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
funmatt1   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 25, 2003]
Strength:

value and power handling

Weakness:

overpowering mid when not turned up

Great speaker fot the money!! I bought this speaker after reading reviews from here and auditioning this and other center channels at various stores. I have to say that for the money this speaker cannot be beat. The highes tend to be a little bright when turned up loud, but when listened to quitely, the midrange seems to overpower. I have had this speaker for quite some time and i haven't had a problem with blowing the tweeter or the sheilding problem. I don't know about the sheilding problem but i think the whole tweeter issue can be avoided as long as you feed it clean power...cause it can definately handle it. (don't use a cheap reciever, use a good amp)

Similar Products Used: klh, bose, cerwin vega, sony (poop), yamaha
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Weister42   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 04, 2003]
Strength:

Great sound at a great price, can play really loud.

Weakness:

Can play really loud to a point, does not blend with the N24 perfectly.

*This is the third post* At Frist glance: JBL's N-Center is a center channel speaker designed to match with other Northridge Series loudspeakers, it has a very hip look of silver tweeter plates and woofer frame, the woofer's light-brown color almost matches to the overall finish, it matches my black 27 inch TV really well. The speaker consists a 3/4 inch titanium dome flanked by the EOS waveguide, and the two 5 inch woofers have soft rubber surrounds for durability. There's two FreeFlow port along with a heavy duty 5-way binging posts on the back of the speaker. The speaker comes with many small rubber pads that can be attached to the bottom of the speaker so it won't slip off your TV during intense program materials. Listening: I bought this speaker as a package with four N24s from an on-line store, at a bargain of 280 dollars for five speakers this was almost a joke, I went to a local stereo store and they were charging 550 dollars for them! I unpacked the speaker and put it on top of my TV, along with four N24s for main and surround, all hooked up to my Technics SA-DA10N receiver via 12 guage wire. The digital signal was provided by a Pioneer DV-333 DVD player, and the bottom end was a custom-made sub with a 150-watt amplifier. I used to have a better subwoofer setup but it simply was way too loud, my neighbor and parents doesn't like it when things in the house would move around as if a ghost was playing Ouija. First I tried with a good classical recording, and the sound coming out of the N-Center was pleasant, it didn't quite sound as balanced as the N24s, but pretty close. Watching The Matrix DVD the N-Center presented solid dialog and sets the front stage very well, the tonal quality of the sound did not change when, say, a bullet was flying from the left to far right. Because I listen to music a lot more than watching movies, and the fact that I like to blast my music VERY loud, I guess the N-Center was getting too much information. One day I was playing this rave music, mostly mono so all the sound would then be produced by the center channel speaker(I always use Dolby Pro-Logic), I cranked my receiver to a not-so-comfortable-unless-you-are-nuts level, all the treble was handled by the N-Center, after about 5 minutes the treble suddenly went away; the speaker's tweeter finally gave up. I was confused, however, because I watch movies at about three times(9 more dB) as loud as the level I had it at, and the N-Center took all the abuse and dynamics well over its rated power without any sign of fatigue. Later I read a magazine and found out that this speaker had a low impedance of 2.8 ohms at 12KHz, so maybe the rave music just did it with its sonic chaos. I called JBL and got a replacement in about three weeks, I popped in the tweeter and everything was good again, but now I take cautions when I blast my music...not! It has a five-year warranty, so I have plenty of time left! Conclusion: Overall I liked this speaker, it sounded really nice although it didn't blend perfectly with the N24s, and I doubt any speaker package in the sub-600-dollar range(list price that is) could outperform these JBLs.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Moviefanatic   Casual Listener [Jan 04, 2003]
Strength:

Great sound compared to what I had. Price, JBL

Weakness:

Could have been the same type of enclosure as N26II's

I bought the N CenterII to replace the single driver speaker I was using for a center channel. What a difference. I used it for about a month when all of a sudden I only had green and blue color on my screen. I came to this sight and read where some people had problems with this speaker affecting their sets. I immediately took the speaker back to BB. They had no problem taking it back but said it was odd. I took the TV (Toshiba 32”) in to a repair shop (not where I bought the speakers) and found out the N CenterII had nothing to do with it. I immediately went back to BB and explained. They didn’t give me the one I returned; they gave me a new one. So I am Happy to say that the N CenterII is back on top of my TV. It’s a very good sounding speaker for the price and matches the N 26II’s I have for mains very well. Will be adding N 24II’s for surrounds soon.

Similar Products Used: Kenwood
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Bagheera   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 19, 2002]
Strength:

If nice clear sounding highs are a priority on your center then get this one.

Weakness:

If you want good base on your center I would spend some more money.

I had this speaker on top of a panasonic 19 inch TV for over a year with no problem at all. I know have it over a 27 inch with no problem. This speaker has excelent sound for the price. If you can spend more than do but I am pretty picky an I have no plans to upgrade this speaker.

Similar Products Used: I have not owned another center but I did a lot of research before I bought this one and this one is the best if bought brand new in this price range.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Bagheera   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 19, 2002]
Strength:

If nice clear sounding highs are a priority on your center then get this one.

Weakness:

If you want good base on your center I would spend some more money.

I had this speaker on top of a panasonic 19 inch TV for over a year with no problem at all. I know have it over a 27 inch with no problem. This speaker has excelent sound for the price. If you can spend more than do but I am pretty picky an I have no plans to upgrade this speaker.

Similar Products Used: I have not owned another center but I did a lot of research before I bought this one and this one is the best if bought brand new in this price range.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
kerus   Casual Listener [Nov 11, 2002]
Weakness:

lack of JBL's usual quality..

this model (N-Center) is NOT properly shielded. they WILL damage your TV sets. REPEAT: WILL DAMAGE TELEVISION IF PLACED ON TOP.

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
3
david cutaia   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 09, 2002]
Strength:

Great quality and goes very loud. Great looking. Price to quality ratio.

Weakness:

I find myself staring at it.

They center channel is a great buy for the price. Its sound quality is excelent and you can turn it up without having to worry about distortion. I dont want to put the front cover back on the speaker because its looks so tight. Way to go JBL.

Similar Products Used: no center channel like this.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Weister42   Audio Enthusiast [Jun 12, 2002]
Strength:

Plays loud and clear, and it looks good. Good value for the price. Took abuse without complaining, at least it seems.

Weakness:

Can play super loud and clear for a while, then it dies. Doesn't blend with the N24s perfectly.

This is the second time I post a review for this speaker. I recently blew out the tweeter on this speaker while listening to music on high volume with Dolby Pro-Logic, and it caught me by surprise. I watch movies at even higher volume, and it never sounded stressed with my Technics SA-DA10N receiver cranked to 2'o clock, which is VERY loud. The crossover is on at 100 Hz (the lowest setting on the receiver), so I can't visually or sonically tell if the speaker is under stress. I used this speaker for over a year and I have to say that it took a lot of power abuse from my receiver, so I guess maybe it's just barely hanging on before it died. I called JBL and got a replacement for free for it is still under the 5-year warranty, but despite its "150 watts" rating it's a bit optimistic. Also I see that many people complained about the shielding, this speaker sat on top of my Sharp TV with the picture tuned with the Fight Club DVD extra, and I don't see any picture degration. Maybe mine's just have a better shielding for some reason? (I took the speaker out when replacing the tweeter and the woofers do have shields on them) Overall the tweeter incident kinda killed my respect for this speaker, but you can't expect too much from an entry-level center channel like this one.

Similar Products Used: N24.
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
4
Rockmelikeahurricane   AudioPhile [Jun 06, 2002]
Strength:

Good highs and good imaging

Weakness:

shotty video shielding

I have recently sold this speaker because I bought new mains and surrounds and I needed a voice matched center, but I have to say the sound on this speaker was great! Unfortunately it ruined my zenith tv with big blue splotches on the upper corners, damn lack of video shielding. But it sounded great.

Similar Products Used: MB Quart, Bose (I know I know they suck)
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
4
Showing 1-10 of 43  

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