Image: Hugh Threlfall
July 21 2010
Everest is the world’s highest mountain, but there’s debate over whether it or K2 is the guv’nor, mountainwise. No matter, because Californian speaker guru JBL Synthesis has sufficient faith in these, its newest top-end product, to call them K2. (It does have an Everest in its range as well, which is over twice the size of the K2 and costs from £44,000.)
The K2s are nonetheless humongous speakers, which could fill a room of 75,000 cubic feet, otherwise known as a cinema – Odeon, as opposed to home. At 120cm x 56cm x 35cm and 82.7kg a piece, they were too big to get into my house, so I went to the home of John Bamford, former editor of Hi-Fi Choice, who had in for review the only pair in the UK at the time.
Bamford explained that these monster speakers can bring the ceiling down even with a five-watt amplifier and, since they can handle up to 500 watts, it’s clearly time for ceilings to be afraid, very afraid. What he loved about them was that he was hearing new detail in music he knows well, while not, as he put it, “having the back of my head blown off”.
To me, the K2s sounded edgier than I would have expected, and I mean that in a good way. I wrote at the time: “Great for listening to Leonard Cohen”. Again, I think I meant this in a good way, but it must suggest there’s something a bit, well, serious about them. You certainly need serious money to consort with this überbrand. They’re recommended, but listen before you buy – like you weren’t going to do that anyway.