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2 way hartsfield jbl How good is the low end

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I have a chance to buy a pair of these in good condition. Anybody heard them before? Could they be mated with a better high end?

Brad 

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Brad,

 

I haven't heard Hartsfields or "modern construction Hartsfields", but I've read more than one casual reviewer report that says that they're not anything like the price tag would indicate they should be.  Same thing for the Paragon/Metregon series.  The K2 or the Everest has much better data to see (as in, there is data to see).  I'd look for a pair K2s instead. 

 

I'd definitely take something along to audition with, including a frequency response sweep from 40 Hz to 20 kHz - your ears alone are pretty good at hearing any issues up to about 8-10 kHz, and down to below 40 Hz. 

 

If it were my money, I wouldn't buy before listening to them - even if they were below $2K in selling price for a pair (they're usually about 10x that price). For that kind of money, you can have really, really good loudspeakers with really good Beryllium diaphragm compression drivers and HF horns, and outstanding horn-loaded bass bins.

 

Chris

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It's a nostalgia thing, the performance is weak by modern standards.

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There used to be a HiFi store (Stairway to Sound) right next to a record store (Stairway to Music).  Neither one had a stairway, but the sound store had a JBL Hartsfield, and the music store had a big JBL horn "scoop" speaker with the same components.  Both then used the 154 ("C?") woofer, and the 375 midrange/treble, with the same elaborate horn-lens.  When I was an early teen, I spent hours listening to them.  The 375/horn/lens was incredibly clear sounding, but rolled off starting at about 11 or 12K Hz (various professionals of the time gave me this info, including one from JBL).  This driver was used in some of the best movie theaters of the time, and was advertised as being able to "accommodate steep wavefronts."   Not only did neither store have a stairway, but neither speaker system had bass!  Well, hardly any!  Since they both had horn loaded bass, the skimpy bass was very tight and clear, but just barely there.

 

The JBL Paragon so charmed listeners with its imaging (a word that wasn't used then), that the lack of deep bass wasn't as apparent.  The Paragon, and several later JBL speakers, supplemented the 375 with a supertweeter (the 075), crossing over at 7K Hz, to provide better extreme highs.  

 

I think that later, the Hartsfield, and the Paragon, switched over to the LE15 ("A?") wooferI don't know what internal changes accompanied the change.  The Hartsfield may have added a super tweeter later.

 

The Klipschorns of the era beat them all -- the Hartsfield by a lot, and the Paragon by less of a margin.

Edited by garyrc
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The 375 has much better midrange than a Klipschorn.

 

If you want treble out of it, install either a 2441 or the Be diaphragm.

 

Below 50hz?

 

(not)

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I use the 2441 in my big horn two way system. Really love that driver. I can't hear much above 13K anyway so perfect driver for me.

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It is my understanding that there were, conceptually, three versions of the Hartsfield.

 

The original had the big woofer and small woofer versions.  Then there was a second version with some simplification which used he big woofer.  Without knowing, I'd think that the reproduction uses the latter plans.

 

Never having heard any I can't comment on performance.

 

Someplace in the lore is a story that Mr. Hartsfield used two contractor to supply wood parts so that neither had a full set of plans.  That is how much concern there was that details be kept secret. 

 

We should be proud that the K-Horn has not needed revisions.  No discussion of big corner horns would be complete without the Tannoy Westminser.  I don't know that the bass bin has been changed, much. 

 

http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue49/tannoy.htm

 

Of course the Westminister is back loaded and the sound from the back is time delayed and the sound from the front is not.  So no delay circuit is going to bring the two into sync.  OTOH, mid and tweeter benefit from concentric drivers on the Tannoy.  One point for England, one point for Arkansas.  Smile.

 

WMcD

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"The original had the big woofer and small woofer versions. "

 

The small woofer version was a full-range 8 and was backloaded into the horn, and the mids and HF radiated directly into the room off the front side of the cone.

 

The second version was easier to construct.

 

The Jubilee is folded in a similar fashion.

 

JBLvsJubilee.jpg

 

.

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Years ago, I heard reproduction Hartsfields by Classic Audio Reproductions at the Midwest Audio Fest.  Being in a hotel room, I'm sure it was not the best environment.  They were loud!  But they did not sound as good as I expected given their size and price.  I prefer the sound of my Klipschorns.

 

That being said, if the price is right and you don't like them, I'm sure you would not have any trouble selling them.

Edited by JMON

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The 375 has much better midrange than a Klipschorn.

 

If you want treble out of it, install either a 2441 or the Be diaphragm.

 

Below 50hz?

 

(not)

 

The 375 midrange did sound great.  I guess the better balance, the more impactive bass, and the  high overtone shimmer of the Klipschorn was what caused me to like them better.  One store had them both, with the Khorns set up on either side of a Paragon.  The 075 tweeters were rather buried in the Paragon; perhaps that's why they didn't seem to sound as bright as the Khorns at the top.  The later S8 JBL configurations that used the speaker components of the Hartsfield with a stubbier horn-lens, plus the 075 tweeter had the high overtones but most (all?) did not have horn loaded bass.  The ones I heard used a direct radiator woofer and a passive radiator (each 15") and had more bass, but lacked the tight (but weak) bass of the Hartsfield and the Paragon. 

Edited by garyrc

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John from CAR gave me the raw response of the Hartsfields, but asked me not to disclose the data.

 

Below 50hz?

 

(not)

 

I re-worked a pair of JBL electronic crossover cards for him.

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Thanks for the responses. I now have time to type in the story behind these speakers.

The gentleman that bought these originally was friends with Mr. Lansing. I am told the first was purchased not too long after Hartsfields went into production. It was driven my a Scott amp and was considered state of the art at that time, early to mid fifties I believe. Then several years later stereo became popular and the second speaker was purchased along with two Macintosh amplifiers and a preamp. The gentleman actually worked with Mr. Lansing to design the living room in his new house with the speakers in mind.

When my friend the son inherited the house and its contents I got a chance to hear the system some time in the early 2000s. It was remarkable. Bass was impressive, but it could have been because of the corner placement of the Hartfields. The amps had recently been refurbished so the mid range was really balanced and vocals were sweet.

Having owned Jubilee clones I am really curious to see how the bass bins compare, if I get a shot at actually buying the Hartsfields. They are tied up in estate issues because the matriarch recently passed away.

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Thanks for the responses. I now have time to type in the story behind these speakers.

The gentleman that bought these originally was friends with Mr. Lansing. I am told the first was purchased not too long after Hartsfields went into production. It was driven my a Scott amp and was considered state of the art at that time, early to mid fifties I believe. Then several years later stereo became popular and the second speaker was purchased along with two Macintosh amplifiers and a preamp. The gentleman actually worked with Mr. Lansing to design the living room in his new house with the speakers in mind.

When my friend the son inherited the house and its contents I got a chance to hear the system some time in the early 2000s. It was remarkable. Bass was impressive, but it could have been because of the corner placement of the Hartfields. The amps had recently been refurbished so the mid range was really balanced and vocals were sweet.

Having owned Jubilee clones I am really curious to see how the bass bins compare, if I get a shot at actually buying the Hartsfields. They are tied up in estate issues because the matriarch recently passed away.

 

James B. Lansing died in 1949.  Bill Hartsfield designed a DIY "Hartsfield" using JBL speakers, somewhat later, I believe.  It was stimulated, in part, by the Klipschorn.  A JBL version of the Hartsfield was patented in 1957.  Was there a Lansing son who helped the gentleman design his living room?  Or did James B Lansing help him at an earlier date?  Is it possible that either a JBL Rep, or, perhaps, Bill Hartsfield, helped with the room?

 

It would be interesting to see if the ones for sale have a 154C woofer or an LE15, or some other woof.  Is there a date anywhere on a sticker on the back if the cabinet?

 

In any case it will produce amazing midrange, if the drivers are not damaged.  The bass could probably benefit from some bass boost (the horn loaded woofer could probably handle it).

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Boy there is a lot of Erroronious Informaton on this thread,, (including my spelling)... I had both the Hartsfield and Paragon,,, and Metragon,,and the Minnigon ... All had faults,,,, But so did the Khorn...But at least they were all good to look at.

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Boy there is a lot of Erroronious Informaton on this thread,, (including my spelling)... I had both the Hartsfield and Paragon,,, and Metragon,,and the Minnigon ... All had faults,,,, But so did the Khorn...But at least they were all good to look at.

 

What vintage Hartsfield did you have?  Did it use the 154C woofer, or a LE15 (LE15A?), or some other?  Did they add the 075 in later years?  I heard they did, but I never had that confirmed.  Did you happen to use it with a JBL Energizer with frequency response and damping individualizing?  How did it sound?

Edited by garyrc

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Ok, maybe I got it wrong. Wouldn't be the first time. Not going to go back to confirm what I thought I heard while talking with someone while consuming adult beverages. Seeing as how Hartsfield designed the speaker it could be that is who is was talking about. It's plausible and probable. The son of the guy who owned the speakers probably got it wrong.  He is only 40. :lol:

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I have a chance to buy a pair of these in good condition. Anybody heard them before? Could they be mated with a better high end?

Brad 

Not a fan of the sound, even a modern version with fancy drivers and field coils. Nah. Shallow bass.

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I have a chance to buy a pair of these in good condition. Anybody heard them before? Could they be mated with a better high end?

Brad 

Not a fan of the sound, even a modern version with fancy drivers and field coils. Nah. Shallow bass.

 

Claude is right on - I would buy a pair of Khorns if I was on a budget anytime -and if I had the money - a pair of Jubilees - the Hartsfield HF horns and drivers are however fantastic whether in a 2 or 3 way -

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Years ago, I heard reproduction Hartsfields by Classic Audio Reproductions at the Midwest Audio Fest.  Being in a hotel room, I'm sure it was not the best environment.  They were loud!  But they did not sound as good as I expected given their size and price.  I prefer the sound of my Klipschorns.

 

That being said, if the price is right and you don't like them, I'm sure you would not have any trouble selling them.

these are not the best reproductions either - versus a true JBL HARTSFIELD CAB but PWK did get it right with the Khorn and definitely the fantastic Jubilee

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