If you like your stereo systems to have something of an old-school vibe, JBL’s freshly expanded Classic Series certainly fits the bill. Launched at CES, the new SA550 integrated amp, MP350 music streamer, CD350 CD player and TT350 turntable hide modern tech beneath classic Hi-Fi styling.
Everything looks suitably retro from the outside, with angular designs inspired by the firm’s 1960s models. Each model is rocking the same walnut wood veneers, and have the same machined aluminium faceplates that would fit right in with kit from the period. The expanded line-up means it’s now possible to have an entire throwback system, rather than relying on one or two more modern stackables that would look out of place.
The SA350 has a Class G amplifier, which should provide plenty of juice to any connected set of speakers. The MP350 has AptX Adaptive Bluetooth for hi-res, low-latency wireless audio from your phone, while built-in Wi-Fi lets you stream from a host of services with Spotify Connect, Tidal Connect, Google Chromecast and Apple AirPlay.
If you’ve still got an expansive CD collection, be it CD, CD-R or CD-RW, the CD350 will play it all – in MP3, AAC, WMA, WAV and FLAC formats. Or if your physical music goes back even further, the TT350 has a speed sensor to maintain a locked 33.3 or 45rpm for vinyl playback. The curved tonearm is made from matching aluminium, and gets a pre-installed moving magnet cartridge/headshell combo that’s easily replaced or upgraded. It sits on damped feet to cut out vibrations, and comes with a tinted dust cover to match the walnut chassis.
The JBL Classic Series range should go on sale by Summer 2023, with prices expected to start from £799 for the CD350, £875 for the MP350, £925 for the TT350, and £1599 for the SA550.
Spin when you’re winning
For those with more modern sensibilities, at least when it comes to styling, the Spinner BT opts for a bright and bespoke design. The orange and black Bluetooth turntable has aptX HD on-board, along with a switchable phono stage analogue output for hooking up to a classic component Hi-Fi or directly to a pair of active speakers.
The aluminium platter and tone arm match the chassis in black, with an Audio Technica cartridge pre-installed. It too gets damped feet to cancel out vibrations, and a speed sensor for consistent 33/3/45rpm vinyl playback.
It’ll be going on sale this Autumn, with prices set to start at £375/$399/€425.
Bring the noise
Finally, the new 4329P studio monitor brings hi-res wired and wireless streaming, no components required. The two-speaker pair each have a 1in compression driver, 8in cone woofer and HDI horn, with power coming from a 300W amplifier. Inside, wired and wireless connections let you stream at up to 24-bit/192KHz, with support for MQA playback as well as aptX Adaptive Bluetooth, Google Chromecast and Apple AirPlay 2. It’s also Roon-ready, for open-source multi-room setups.
USB, optical and 3.5mm wired inputs are also on-hand, as well as a combo XLR and 1/4-in TRS input for balanced or unbalanced signals.
You’ll be able to pick one up in either natural or black walnut, with prices set to start at £3499/$4500/€3999 when pairs start shipping this Summer.