JBL’s SA750 integrated amp and L100 Classic 75 speaker rock the vintage look
The fabled audio company celebrates its 75th anniversary with updates to two classic products.
By Scott Wilkinson
It’s been 75 years since JBL was founded, and the company is celebrating this milestone at CES 2021 with updates to two classic products from its deep past. First is the L100 Classic 75, a modern version of the L100 Century speaker that debuted over half a century ago. It features the same 1970s-retro design as the previous L100 Classic 3-way speaker, with JBL’s iconic black Quadrex foam grille and teakwood veneer cabinet.
Behind the grille, a 1-inch titanium-dome tweeter sits in a waveguide with an acoustic lens for optimal integration with a 5-inch cast-frame, pure-pulp cone midrange driver located directly below it. Bringing up the bass is a 12-inch cast-frame, pure-pulp cone woofer in a bass-reflex enclosure with a front-firing port next to the midrange driver. Also on the front baffle are separate controls for high- and mid-frequency attenuation. Inside the cabinet, there’s an improved woofer suspension and a revised crossover network that offers bi-wire capabilities with dual gold-plated binding posts.
The specs are identical to those of the L100 Classic: a frequency response from 40Hz to 40kHz (-6 dB), an impedance of 4 ohms, a sensitivity of 90 dB/W/m, and recommended amplifier power from 25 to 200 watts RMS. They’re also quite substantial at nearly 60 pounds each.
The L100 Classic 75 will be sold in matched pairs with a set of JS-120 floor stands, and the entire system ships in a specially crafted wooden crate. Even more exclusively, only 750 pairs will be sold. This new take on a classic JBL speaker will be available starting in April 2021 at an MSRP of $5,500 per pair.
Of course, you’ll need something to power those beautiful speakers, and JBL has just the thing: the SA750 integrated amplifier. Inspired by the vintage SA600 and SA660 integrated amps from the 1960s and 70s, the SA750’s milled-aluminum front panel sports super-smooth dials and hefty switches along with a modern two-line display as well as a 3.5mm aux input and 3.5mm headphone output. Teakwood veneer side panels are meant to match the L100 Classic 75 cabinets.
On the inside, it’s state of the art all the way, with a high-output Class-G amplifier that delivers 120 watts/channel into 8 ohms and 220 W/channel into 4 ohms. This unique design operates as a class-A amp at low levels, switching in an additional power supply for large transients and wide dynamics.
In addition, the SA750 fully supports the latest streaming protocols, including Google Chromecast, Apple AirPlay 2, and UPnP wired and wireless; it’s also Roon-ready. In addition, it provides a high-resolution DAC and MQA decoding. You can also play files from USB storage devices as well as audio from two optical and two coax digital inputs and six pairs of RCA analog inputs, including a switchable MM/MC phono input. Perhaps best of all, it offers Dirac Live room calibration, one of the best such systems available today.
The SA750 will carry a list price of $3,000 when it ships in April 2021.