JBL of Japan is celebrating their 60th anniversary with a new statement speaker, the $30k Everest DD66000. The Everest moniker has always signified JBL’s best of their audiophile speaker line. Sadly, the JBL Everest series hasn’t had much impact of late in the US, though Europe seems to be willing to embrace JBL's high end. Utilizing dual 15” JBL bass drivers, a horn-loaded Beryllium mid range and tweeter, these new flagships will certainly turn many heads. My only question: why stop at DD66000? I mean they could very well have called them the GG134000?! I am sure that someone somewhere made a lot of money coming up with the product name (it wasn’t me).
The Everest series is, no doubt, an homage to the famous JBL Paragon model of the 1950’s which I had the pleasure of hearing at a distributor's finely tuned audio salon. The sound of the JBL Paragon was to die for, with liquid highs, excellent midrange and bass that was very well integrated given the monstrosity of what was the Paragon loudspeaker. No doubt the Paragon was the loudspeaker to own in the 50’s and 60’s as nothing would even come close to it – rumor has it that Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin both had 3 (!) sets of Paragons, left, center and right, configured to run their 3 track master tapes for unrivaled sonic accuracy and evaluation. That, my friends, must have been an experience onto itself perhaps only equaled by the equally stunning Mark Levinson QED system of the late 70’s.
As production for the Paragon ceased in 1983, the Everest line was launched shortly thereafter in the hopes of firmly establishing themselves as a premier high-end loudspeaker manufacturer, which they no doubt succeeded with in Japan. JBL always seemed to suffer from a sort of mid-fi association, perhaps because most of their speaker line was heavily discounted in the US and elsewhere – no doubt similarities could be drawn between JBL and Pioneer’s new line of loudspeakers they are trying to launch. Hopefully they will make a showing at CES next January for a closer follow-up.
Frequency range is 30Hz-50kHz. More pics next page and check out the Japanese news coverage.
Josh adds: Unbeknownst to most, JBL and Pioneer/TAD have always been top suppliers of stock drivers to the pro audio arena. Both JBL and Pioneer/TAD champion Beryllium compression drivers in horn-loaded configurations. But where Pioneer/TAD came out in the last few years with their "traditional" super speakers with beryllium concentric drivers and lower efficiencies, JBL seems to be sticking to their pro roots with compression horns and high efficiencies. Of course, whenever anyone mentions JBL or Pioneer here in the states, visions of iPod speakers come to mind. But in Japan where a $100,000 Honda is cool, there's surely a lot of "best of the best of the best" talk swirling around JBL's new giant.