3-4 dB dip at crossover region: what should I listen for to hear it?

I haven’t posted here for about 10 years but thought I’d jump back in to ask about my new JBL 4349s. According to measurements on ASR and even JBLs own graphs, the 4349s have a 3-4 dB dip in the crossover region at about the 1.5 kHz mark. What should I listen for to hear this? I understand that music in this range will be quieter, but I’m not hearing any suckout compared to my Omegas or other speakers Ive had in my system. I’ve played some clarinet and violin concertos, two instruments that spend a lot of time in this frequency range, but I can’t hear an obvious difference. Am I listening for the wrong thing? I’d like to be able to hear this deficiency for leaning purposes if nothing else, so any pointers are appreciated.


Many thanks!


@mlsstl  You are not wrong at all. 

By the way, I'm not saying a juiced frequency response is necessarily something never to be done.  Between old Wilson's that had a similar crossover hole at ~ 2.4 kHz to the Dali's with the 2-3 DB extra treble lift, or the Dynaudio's with a W shaped response.  These speakers all have fans and listening habits which make them the ideal speaker.  There are also speakers and reviewers that have become enamored of certain colorations and call it neutral.  Ugh.

mlsstl’s comment dovetails with something I wanted to add. I use unamplified acoustic music as my "personal reference," too. I do like rock, even loud rock (e.g., Tool), but mostly listen to so-called "classical," and I play cello and acoustic guitar; my wife plays piano and my daughter violin. We hear live acoustic instruments in my audio listening space every day. We also sing, my daughter professionally.

Still, here’s a lesson of some kind, I think. I’ve got five pairs of high-end speakers, and two systems (one mostly for movies, in the library, and the main rig for music). Every now and then, I set up one—or even two—of the "extra" speaker pairs in my main listening room in such a way that I can fairly easily switch between them and my favored pair. And let me mention that my favored pair (Scientific Fidelity "Teslas" made in the late 1990s) are rare probably because Corey Greenberg in Stereophile killed the company with a very negative review when they first came out. One of the other pair are highly regarded Von Schweikerts, and another pair won all kinds of awards from Stereophile and other respected places, measuring flatter and with less distortion than any speaker at any price ever measured to that point in the anechoic chamber of Canada’s National Research Council (that’s a hint about its identity). However, of all my speaker pairs, it’s that last one I like the least. And remember: my ears are trained to prefer natural acoustic instruments in the very same acoustic space as my audio system utilizes.

So what’s the "lesson" here? Maybe that listening to recorded music is just a different experience from listening to "the real thing" (if that means: live acoustic instruments, voices, etc.). To the extent that this is true, measurements may actually be misleading—as they are for that speaker I just mentioned but didn’t name.

I just want to add to @erik_squires comment. If you test your in-room response at the listening position you will quickly figure out why you are not hearing the narrow dip shown by ASR. By the time you put your speakers in your room and you add the reflections and absorptions in a normal listening environment the frequency response varies by a lot more than the dip you are concerned about. The audiophile forums are filled with stories by listeners spending huge dollars on room treatment to control these reflections/absorptions and finding that they made the sound worse.

And now for an editorial comment that will likely be unpopular but I just cant help myself. I think it's ironically wonderful that this thread is about not being able to hear a several dB dip in a speaker's frequency response but many members on this forum will report hearing dramatic differences between interconnects. When they describe what they hear they often use terminology that indicates large frequency response differences between two kinds of cables which, of course, don't show up in any kind of testing. This is an interesting hobby.

That cable comment is popular with me!
Also the remarks about room acoustics. I was going to write something of the kind myself. Room acoustics are at least as important as the speaker technology for the final sound.

@rischa - I bought my JBL 4349’s two years ago. I read extensively about these speakers before I bought them as you are probably doing.

I’d recommend simply to just listen to them and put away all the reviews, graphs, etc. I very much enjoy my 4349’s. Yeah, probably not an "audiophile" grade speaker in many people’s minds (a good friend has asked me why I have a pro audio "PA in my living room"), but I’ve had two years of really enjoyable listening. They will play at whisper quiet levels with much detail yet play at very high volumes that can be great fun. I too wondered about the dip in response that was noted in reviews, but that has not been noticeable by me or others that have heard the system in detail.