Dutch importer Reference Sounds reports that the JBL Classic Series is now available, a ‘blast from the past’. With all the joys but not the burdens of retro.
It should not have escaped your notice that retro has been hip for years now, within a certain group of users. The group has grown to such an extent that today’s manufacturers find it an attractive business target. For example, JBL is working hard on retro equipment. Starting with speakers, an entire line of hi-fi equipment is now available: the JBL Classic Series.
‘Announced in Vegas, first played in Munich and now rolled into Almere – the new electronics line from JBL. Visually perfectly matching the Classic speaker models like the L100 and L82 but above all a series of super cool audio products with a build reminiscent of the beauty of the past. Of course, JBL is best known for its huge speaker lineup, radiating fun. With a little digging, however, you can immediately see that this new electronics series doesn’t get its looks from the milkman. The solid, brushed aluminum front is a rock-solid nod to JBL’s legendary SA600 amplifier from the 1960s. It would almost give you walnut cheeks. Elaborating on that style, the SA550 integrated amplifier, MP350 streamer, CD350 CD player and TT350 turntable complete the extensive JBL range,” says importer Reference Sounds
Reference Sounds continues: ’with the engineering team of Mark Levinson and Arcam in the background and the strong focus on JBL’s dynamic sound, you know immediately that the sound will be just right. As individual components or together with the JBL Classic speakers, these four models are sure to win many hearts. We’ll tell you all about it below’.
SA550 Classic integrated amplifier
Of the New JBL Classic electronics family, the SA550 is perhaps the most recognizable. ‘Inspired by the 1960s JBL SA600 amplifier complete with retro faceplate and walnut side panels, the old guard might think ‘Strange, I’ve seen that face before’. But beneath the somewhat nostalgic looks is a modern piece of Harman amplifier technology. Built with the efficient Class G amplifier topology, the SA550 delivers 90Watts per channel to an 8 Ohm load. Sources find their way to the amplifier via 3 digital (Coaxial and Toslink) and 4 analog inputs. Of those analog inputs, thanks to the built-in phonostage, one is reserved for a turntable and suitable for an MM/MC element. An AptX Adaptive Bluetooth input rounds out the feature list so that music can even be listened to directly via Bluetooth wirelessly,’ said the importer
The SA550 has a recommended retail price of € 1,999, including VAT
MP350 network music streamer
Like the rest of the Classic series, the MP350 shares its retro styling with the JBL SA550, making it the perfect music streaming partner. Reference Sounds: ‘Connect the MP350 to your network and enjoy all your music endlessly via Apple Airplay2, Google Chromecast, Spotify Connect, Tidal Connect or as a Roon Ready endpoint. Naturally, the MP550 also supports Hi-Res music files. Thanks to its internal DAC you can easily connect the MP550 to the SA550 or other HiFi system. Digital outputs allow the purists among us to further optimize the digital to analog conversion with an external DAC. At just under 5cm high, the MP350 network music streamer is as modest as it is chic and, as far as we are concerned, already a topper!‘
The MP350 has a suggested retail price of € 999, – including VAT
CD350 Classic CD player
The supply of CD players has declined considerably in recent years; it’s all streaming (and also vinyl in a certain audiophile subculture) nowadays. But what if you still have a hefty collection of CDs lying around? For that, the JBL CD350 Classic CD player is a great addition to the JBL Classic Series. ‘The robust CD tray accepts CDs, CD-R and CD-RW discs with FLAC, WAV and MP3 files. In addition, thanks to its USB input, the CD350 can also play music from a USB flash drive at up to 24bit/96kHz resolution. Like its streaming brother, the CD350 is equipped with digital and analog outputs so that it can find a place in any set. The CD350 leaves the pure music streaming to the MP350 which makes the CD350 a real CD player with retro looks but modern character‘, writes the importer
The CD350 has a suggested retail price of € 899,- including VAT
TT350 Classic turntable
In the Classic lineup, a record player cannot be missing of course. JBL fulfills this wish with the TT350. Audio Reference: “A solid walnut base, heavy and rigid aluminum platform and curved arm with pre-installed Audio Technica Moving Magnet Cartridge not only look sleek and JBL Classic but, above all, pick up a lot of music out of the groove. By the way, for those who want even more, that cartridge is easy to upgrade, or replace when needed. The Direct Drive motor ensures a perfect rotation speed, selectable between 33.3 and 45rpm. A sensor neatly monitors that rotation speed. Special, adjustable feet with integrated damping ensure stable placement. The music signal finds its way to the output via a pair of RCA jacks at the rear with which the TT350 can be simply connected to a phonostage. Or directly to the phono input of the SA550 of course for a super cool audio system.‘
The TT350 has a suggested retail price of € 1,099, – including VAT