Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few decades, you must have heard of JBL speakers by now. This brand has been killing it in the speaker arena, especially with high-quality Bluetooth wireless speakers. They’ve introduced waterproofing and party lights to their Bluetooth-compatible models, large and small.
But did you know JBL also makes stereo loudspeakers?
They do and have since 1947. These days, JBL is still making entry-level up to high-end loudspeakers both for the home stereo user and larger applications like movie theaters. If you want to get your hands, or your ears, on that signature JBL sound, have a look at some of the best JBL floor standing speakers money can buy.
- About the JBL Brand
- Top 4 Best JBL Floor Standing Speakers for Your Home in 2021 Reviews
- How to Buy the Best JBL Floor Standing Speakers
- Need Other Great JBL or Home Audio Speakers?
- What are the Best JBL Floor Standing Speakers?
About the JBL Brand
JBL was founded by engineer James B. Lansing in 1946, hence the name JBL. JBL has produced speakers of all sorts, including the iconic L-100 loudspeaker, which was the best speaker around in the 1970s. The company is now owned by Harman International, which is in turn owned by Samsung, though it’s run independently.
JBL is more or less the basis for accurate HiFi sound used in movie theaters. They also make professional speakers for music venues and concert applications, all the way down to small portable Bluetooth speakers.
Top 4 Best JBL Floor Standing Speakers for Your Home in 2021 Reviews
1 JBL Stage A170 – Best Budget JBL Floor Standing Speaker
In this review, we’re going to start from the most affordable JBL stereo product and work our way up to the most expensive. Just to give you an idea, the JBL Stage A170 speaker comes in at under $200, and that’s about a third of the cost of its most expensive cousin.
JBL’s Stage Series is their entry-level HiFi speaker line, and the A170 is the most affordable JBL floor standing speaker in that line. We’re not sure what the A stands for, but the A170 is a 2.5-way floor-standing stereo speaker with two 5.25 inch polycellulose woofers and a 1-inch aluminum dome tweeter. It also comes in an 8-inch woofer model.
The cabinet here is nothing too fancy…
We’re talking MDF with either black or 2-tone wood-look finishes. You’ll find some solid bass here, thanks to the dual rear sound ports. To take full advantage of these, you’ll want these speakers about 1-2 feet off the wall.
With that kind of reflex, you can probably get away without using a subwoofer for most music. For intense movie experiences, though, you’ll probably want to add a sub to a pair of these cabinets. You’ll also need a minimum 20-watt amp to power these puppies.
We found the overall soundscape quite solid…
The speakers are very accurate and crisp without being overly harsh. However, the 1-inch tweeter can be punishing with poor-quality audio. Some YouTube videos, for example, with a lot of screechy high end and crackle, will come through a bit painfully.
Overall, a pair of these speakers is not too much of an investment and will give you a decent sound in a mid-sized room, as long as you can keep them properly spaced from the wall.
- The cheapest JBL floor standing loudspeaker model.
- Good sound with generally accurate sound reproduction.
- The high-end can get harsh with poor quality audio.
- The low-end is okay but not outstanding.
2 JBL Stage A190 – Best Bass JBL Floor Standing Speaker
The A190 is the big brother of the Stage Series. It’s essentially the same in construction and design as the A170, just with bigger drivers and a bigger, nearly $300 price tag.
It’s a 2.5-way floor standing tower speaker in an MDF cabinet. Likewise, it has the same dual rear soundport design as the A170 and requires the same power and off-wall spacing.
So what’s different?
Bigger drivers. The A170 uses 5.25-inch drivers that take on mid-range and low-end tasks. While the A190 has a pair of larger 8-inch polycellulose cones that take on this same job. They feature the same 1-inch aluminum tweeter cone.
However, the crossovers here are set at different levels. While the A170 has crossover frequencies of 1.8 and 2.8 kHz, the crossovers on the A190 are set at 1.4 and 2.0kHz. We think this makes a big difference in these speakers.
On the one hand, the larger woofers are split up so that they can each handle a comfortable range. The mids are really clear and colorful here, and the bass is serious. So, if you’re a fan of thumping and bumping music, it could be the best JBL floor standing speaker for EDM available.
Maybe too serious…
On the other hand, the tweeter has more work cut out for it and it struggles a bit in the low range of the high end. We found it less clear for speech/dialogue, but for music, you get a really good mix here. As a result, it’s one of the best JBL speakers for music.
Since you’ve got more bass going on here, we think you’re safe without a sub-woofer, as long as you get good wall distance for the soundports to reflect. These speakers need 20 watts minimum from your amp but can go up to 200 safely, or even 225 Watts at the absolute max.
- Great low and mid-range definition.
- Powerful enough to fill a mid-sized room.
- The low range of the high-end struggles a bit, especially with voices.
3 JBL Studio 280 – Best JBL Floor Standing Speaker for Movies
For just a teeny bit more money, you can move up to the Studio Series with the JBL Studio 280 speaker. This is a 4-driver, 3-way floor standing speaker cabinet.
Is this a superior speaker to the Stage A190?
Well, for starters, you’ve got to look at the fact that the Studio 280 has smaller drivers. While the A190 paired up 8-inch cones, here we see a pair of 6.5-inch polyplas woofers. They’re matched with a 4-inch polyplas mid-range cone and a 1-inch ceramic metal matrix diaphragm (CMMD) tweeter. This setup produces an excellent soundstage.
We found the sound of the high-end excellent. This tweeter, placed in a well-designed molded cone, can disperse the top-end across the room extremely well. The mid-range is again very well controlled. It’s detailed and clear and provides a great listening experience for both dialogue and music.
And the low-end?
With the molded rear soundport and a good foot or so off the wall, you get a decent bass representation. We’re looking at good power and nice detail, but it’s not the strongest around. In anything bigger than a small room like 120 square feet, you’re probably going to need a sub-woofer to get the punch out of a movie soundtrack.
You’re getting a nice, clean, and pure sound here for a pretty decent price. The MDF cabinets are better reinforced here and look sharp with their black veneers. They’re not wood, but you couldn’t expect it for this price. All in all, it’s one of the best sounding JBL floor standing speakers you can buy.
- Great sound stage with clarity all around.
- The high-end is really clear and well-dispersed.
- Very likely needs sub support in medium to large rooms.
4 JBL Studio 590 – Best High Performance JBL Floor Standing Speaker
To round off our list of the best JBL floor standing speakers, we need to bring in the big guns. The JBL Studio 590 will do just fine in that role.
Keep in mind that one of these bad boys will set you back about triple what the much cheaper Stage A170 will. Is it three times better, then? Well, that’s a tough matter to measure out. But we can say for sure that the sound quality here is far superior.
These MDF cabinets hold three drivers and two rear soundports…
They’re 2.5-way speakers powered by twin 8-inch polyplas woofers that share the mid and low-end duties. Plus a 1-inch Teonex polyester film tweeter. Crossover frequencies are at 0.6 and 1.7kHz, which is again putting a lot of pressure on the tweeter to perform.
Yet it does. It manages a great dynamic range, thanks in part to the glass and ABS radial horn it’s mounted in. The mid and low ranges are also tremendously clear and well-distributed.
With eyes closed, we found it nearly impossible to pinpoint where the speaker was located in the room – the sound is that well distributed. In other words, this is one of the most immersive JBL floor standing speakers on the market.
On the downside…
First, the tweeter can get a bit high and screechy, but only if you’re running poor quality audio through it. Be careful of crappy YouTube audio.
And second, the feet on these cabinets are disappointing. At 69 pounds each, these are sturdy and well-reinforced cabinets. Yet JBL has mounted them on plastic feet that look like they’ll break right out of the box. Best to replace these at a tiny cost, but it’s a shame after you’ve paid this price.
- The sound is excellent with a fine-tuned soundstage.
- The distribution of sound through the room is superior.
- JBL provides poor-quality feet for these heavy speakers.
- The high-end can get overly harsh with poor quality audio.
- The price is very high.
How to Buy the Best JBL Floor Standing Speakers
It’s never easy to choose a set of speakers, especially not when they cost a pretty penny. You want to invest in your listening pleasure. However, once you’ve chosen a brand, it can be hard to select the right speaker from all of the models available.
We’re here to help. If you need to figure out which JBL floor standing speakers are best for you, think about these different factors and features first.
Driver Size and Bass
When it comes to floor standing speakers for your home stereo system, is bigger always better? This is a very tricky question. It depends a lot on the size and shape of your room and also how much bass you like. Floor-standing speaker towers do most of the heavy lifting in your system, and in fact, a pair might be enough for a lot of setups.
In general, 8-inch speakers can produce enough power and coverage of the low end that you might not need a subwoofer. Then again, if your room is big and you need to turn up the volume, the bass can get muddy, and a sub is a good idea.
Smaller cones, like 5.25 or 6.5-inch, generally will need help from a subwoofer. Of course, if you don’t like a lot of bass or you find it interferes with your ability to pick out mid-range sounds, you might want to simply go without.
In general, the heavier and sturdier a speaker cabinet is, the more durable it’s going to be and the better it will sound. You get more warm resonance in a heavier cabinet than a lighter one. This can be a tremendous help in offsetting some of the high-pitched harshness of tweeters.
At the same time, mounting for speakers needs to be strong enough to carry their weight. Outriggers give the speaker more stability by extending the width of their footprints. They need to have quality feet to be placed on, however, especially for the heaviest of cabinets.
Feet are one of the cheapest elements of the speaker, though. So if you need to replace them, it can be done cheaply.
Sound Quality vs Price
Does this always have to be a trade-off? In general, yes. And it’s no surprise. Speaker companies know how to make their speakers sound the best and what materials they need to do it. But those materials can be expensive, and they want to cover multiple markets with a range of products at different price points.
So what’s yours? Do you need the best possible sound quality and immersive experience, damn the cost? If you can afford it, great – go big. If, like most of us, you have to rein in your spending a bit, you can do that in different ways.
Choose excellent floor-standing speakers that produce great distributed sound, and you might be able to get away without using a central speaker or a subwoofer. If you want a great surround sound, you may need a cheaper set that will allow you to buy all the components for surround that you need.
Need Other Great JBL or Home Audio Speakers?
We’ve got the reviews that will help you make the right choice, so check out our in-depth JBL Clip 3 Review, our JBL Flip 4 Review, our JBL Charge 3 Review, our JBL Xtreme 2 Review, our JBL Xtreme Review, our JBL Flip 3 Review, and our JBL Flip 5 Review for great audio you can buy in 2021.
You may also like our reviews of the Best 7.1 Home Theater System, the Best Floor Standing Speakers, the Best In Wall Speakers, the Best Bookshelf Speakers, the Best Home Theater Speakers, the Best In Ceiling Speakers, or the Best Powered Speakers currently on the market.
What are the Best JBL Floor Standing Speakers?
When we review products from one company, it all comes down to which is their best product at the best price. Do you get the best deal from the cheapest model, or is the most expensive worth the extra cost?
In this case, we felt like a little compromise was in order. At a bit over $300, the JBL Studio 280 speakers are an excellent choice. You get a wonderful sound stage with this speaker and clarity all through the high, mid, and low end of the sound spectrum. They’re well-constructed and are worth the investment for your long-term listening happiness.
Until next time, happy listening.