Harman ExPLORE 2023 – JBL Classic Series with Amplifier, CD Player, Streamer and Record Player
Featuring the JBL SA550 Classic stereo integrated amplifier, the JBL MP350 Classic streaming media player, the JBL CD350 Classic CD player and the JBL TT350 Classic record player, the new JBL Classic Series is said to present solutions with retro design paired with state-of-the-art features.
The Harman Luxury Audio Group now presents electronic components in the so-called JBL Classic Series, the product line that until now almost exclusively comprised loudspeaker systems. These loudspeaker systems were characterised by the fact that they skilfully played with a retro touch and were thus reminiscent of the heyday of hi-fi, while at the same time offering modern equipment. This is exactly the recipe for success of the new electronic components of the JBL Classic Series, which Harman Luxury Audio Group presented in the context of Harman ExPLORE 2023 at the same time as CES 2023 in Las Vegas.
From stereo integrated amplifier to record player
In any case, it is remarkable that Harman Luxury Audio Group has positioned the JBL Classic Series particularly broadly when it comes to the new electronic components. The spectrum ranges from the stereo integrated amplifier JBL SA550 Classic Integrated Amplifier, the streaming media player JBL MP350 Classic Streamer, the CD player JBL CD350 Classic CD Player to the record player JBL TT350 Classic Turntable.
Speaker and electronics form a unit
According to the ideas of Harman Luxury Audio Group, the electronic components and loudspeaker systems of the JBL Classic Series are to form a unit and offer timeless design as well as modern technology.
The newly presented electronic components are intended to build on the success of the active and passive speaker systems previously available under the JBL Classic Series, whereby electronics and speakers can be combined to create systems that are second to none, according to the manufacturer’s promise.
Inspired by the JBL SA600 and designed around the JBL SA750
Regarding the design of the new electronic components, the manufacturer states that they were primarily inspired by solutions from the 1960s, specifically the JBL SA600, which in turn served as the model for the exclusive JBL SA750 Integrated Amplifier, which will be launched on the occasion of JBL’s 75th anniversary in 2021.
The new JBL Classic Series solutions all feature an appealing retro design with high-quality aluminium front panels and controls and walnut veneer accents.
JBL SA550 Classic Integrated Amplifier – Stereo Integrated Amplifier in Class G
The new JBL SA550 Classic Integrated Amplifier is another amplifier in Class G, a technology that Harman Luxury Audio Group brought into the group via the Arcam brand and which is supposed to provide a particularly appealing and at the same time powerful reproduction. The new stereo integrated amplifier JBL SA550 Classic is supposed to offer all relevant connection options in order to be able to use it flexibly as a central interface, whereby the spectrum here extends to Bluetooth in order to use smartphones and tablets directly as a source.
JBL MP350 Classic Streamer – Roon-ready Streaming Client
The new JBL MP350 Classic Streamer should prove to be a particularly flexible streaming client, which can be integrated into the network via cable and WiFi and initially functions as a dlna-certified UPnP streaming client.
In addition, the new JBL MP350 Classic also supports Google Chromecast directly, as well as Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect and TIDAL Connect.
The JBL MP350 Classic is also said to be classified as Roon-ready at its market launch, which is of course of great interest to many users.
JBL CD350 Classic CD Player – Classic Audio CD Player
It is interesting to note that Harman Luxury Audio Group does not forego a CD player in the new electronic components of the JBL Classic Series, but introduces it in the form of the new JBL CD350 Classic. Audio CD is considered obsolete by many in view of the increasing use of streaming solutions, but even if the JBL Classic Series offers its own streaming client, as just described, an audio CD player should not be missing.
The new JBL CD350 Classic is supposed to distinguish itself first and foremost by the fact that it has particularly high-quality converters, although no details have been revealed so far. At least it is stated that the converters of the new JBL CD350 Classic can also be used for audio data that are accessible via a USB-A port and corresponding storage media.
JBL TT350 Classic Turntable – Record Player with Direct Drive
Surprisingly, Harman Luxury Audio Group’s new solution for the JBL Classic Series is a record player, the new JBL TT350 Classic, which is a direct-drive turntable.
The JBL TT350 Classic has a chassis with walnut veneer, while the front is made of aluminium and contains all the controls. These include, of course, buttons for speed selection, which can be electronically controlled between 33 1/3 and 45 revolutions per minute.
The turntable is also made of aluminium, and a rubber mat is included in the scope of delivery, as is a record clamp, which in turn is made of aluminium.
The S-shaped tonearm of the new JBL TT350 Classic is also made of aluminium and ends in a removable headshell. A pick-up system is already mounted on the headshell, but the manufacturer has not yet described it in detail. It is only stated that it is a high-quality MM pick-up system.
The turntable rests on height-adjustable, damped feet. Part of the scope of delivery is a matching tinted dust cover, which is supposed to perfectly match the walnut cabinet and thus complete the authentic retro design, as described by the manufacturer itself.
“Whether streaming audio from a mobile device or enjoying a CD or record, the new additions to our Classic Series create captivating experiences for listeners and make them a sonic highlight. These hi-fi components look as great as they sound. With their retro design throughout, they blend perfectly with each other and with the JBL Classic and Studio monitor speakers. This creates an elegant and consistent look.”Jim Garrett, Senior Director, Product Strategy and Planning, Harman Luxury Audio Group
Pricing and availability
According to the manufacturer, the new JBL Classic Series solutions should be available at retailers in the second quarter of 2023. The company is quoting a recommended retail price of €1,899 for the JBL SA550 Classic Integrated Amplifier, €899 for the JBL CD350 Classic CD Player and €999 for the JBL MP350 Classic Streamer. The JBL TT350 Classic Turntable will cost € 1.049,-.
Getting to the point
Harman Luxury Audio Group has not yet revealed too many details about the new solutions of the JBL Classic Series. What is interesting, however, is that the company is expanding its product line, which until now consisted solely of passive and active loudspeaker systems in vintage hi-fi design, to include electronic components – not only an amplifier, CD player and streaming client, but even a record player.
|PRODUCT||JBL SA550 CLASSIC, JBL MP350 CLASSIC, JBL CD350 CLASSIC, JBL TT350 CLASSIC|
|Price||JBL SA550 Classic Integrated Amplifier 1.899,-|
JBL MP350 Classic Streamer € 999,-
JBL CD350 Classic CD Player € 899,-
JBL TT350 Classic Turntable € 1.049,-
|Manufacturer||Harman International Industries Inc.|
|Distribution||Harman Deutschland GmbH|
|More about this manufacturer at HIFI BLOG|