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Old 11-23-2010, 10:02 PM   #1
nashstat
 
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MY JBL MS-8 Review (long read)

I tried searching for a JBL MS-8 review but could not find much. Here is my review in case anyone is thinking of getting this. Please do keep in mind that I am an audiophile and I have very sensitive ears for music. I got all the install work done at Paradym Car Audio in Sacramento, CA. Terry over there spent 5 hours just calibrating the system.

The JBL MS-8 in short does what it claims to do. Enhance your existing stock car audio. It basically measures sound from all your speakers using these special mics and then tweaks the signal out to the speakers for a cleaner sound. Very similar to how your home theater systems use a mic to set up the surround sound volume and other such perimeters.

It does all this in 5 minutes, but I have to be honest, the auto tune feature does a terrible job of making the BA system sound any better.

Now the key is to manually calibrate the sound coming out of the processor. You can do this by tweaking the 31 band EQ and by adjusting the balance of the sound (more volume at center vs rears vs fronts). This process takes time and requires a lot of PATIENCE (took a pro about 5 hours).

A few points that I would like to make:

1. Always use original CD's for calibration purposes. MP3's are compressed and will not sound as good as an original CD.

2. Listen to multiple artists/genres of music but always use your fav music in the final decision making process since it is what you will probably listen to most.

3. The JBL MS-8 only has 8 inputs, where as the BA amp has 9 outputs. To compensate for this, I combined the front woofer and tweeter as 1 channel. So I have 1 channel for Front left and 1 for Front right. Now I have 7 channels occupied in the MS-8, I used the last remaining channel for my sub.

Now on to the results. The MS-8 does a FANTASTIC job. My sound system in the car sounds way better than most premium setups found in BMW's and Mercedes. JBL really nailed this one. The processor adds quite a bit of delay to the rears and performs a lot of phase cutting between the fronts and the rear speakers. It also does a very good job of setting up a good crossover point between the woofers and the sub for the mid bass. Basically the base attack comes from the BA woofers, while the depth of the bass sound comes from the JL subwoofer in the trunk.

In short the sound is now much more spread out through the car. The center speaker is a little more quiet.

I am not a big Logic7 surround fan. I just don't like these 'simulated' surround sound processes since the original music is designed to be heard in stereo. I have Logic7 turned off. Tried it a couple of times, but it just made the sound a lot muddier.

I'll be more than happy to provide my settings to anyone that wants it and feel free to PM should anyone have any questions!

Happy thanksgiving!

Last edited by nashstat; 11-24-2010 at 05:31 AM.
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Old 11-24-2010, 12:28 AM   #2
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Did you use the BA amp and the MS-8 or just the MS-8 (internal amp) and a sub amp for your JL?
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Old 11-24-2010, 03:48 AM   #3
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Why was the center chan speaker connected? The timing from the MS-8 should have made that irrelivant.
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Old 11-24-2010, 05:27 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by IBM/2SS/RS/LS3 View Post
Did you use the BA amp and the MS-8 or just the MS-8 (internal amp) and a sub amp for your JL?
The BA Amp and the MS-8 amp. BA amp feeds the MS-8 one and a separate Pioneer amp for the sub. Will post pics tomorrow.
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Old 11-24-2010, 05:30 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by 2010SSRSM6 View Post
Why was the center chan speaker connected? The timing from the MS-8 should have made that irrelivant.
I actually decided to have it connected after reading some other MS-8 forums and by asking the installer of his opinion.

However while calibrating the MS-8, I decided to reduce the volume of the center channel by a decent amount. Right now it helps to add a bit of a stage presence to the overall sound, specially for the vocals.
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Old 11-24-2010, 09:38 AM   #6
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Good review. Good insight on what I'm about to do to my new Camaro. I have the Rockford Fosgate 3sixty.2

Going to eliminate the rear fill, go active with the front stage with center, etc. Probably going to start on it with prep/deadening this weekend. I'll probably do pics too if anyone is interested.
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Old 11-24-2010, 07:22 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Exo5168 View Post
Good review. Good insight on what I'm about to do to my new Camaro. I have the Rockford Fosgate 3sixty.2

Going to eliminate the rear fill, go active with the front stage with center, etc. Probably going to start on it with prep/deadening this weekend. I'll probably do pics too if anyone is interested.
That is a really good processor as well. In fact the 3sixty.2 lets you adjust independent speaker volume which the JBL MS-8 does not. However I hear it is harder to calibrate the 3sixty.2.

Keep us posted please.
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Old 11-25-2010, 02:13 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nashstat View Post
I actually decided to have it connected after reading some other MS-8 forums and by asking the installer of his opinion.

However while calibrating the MS-8, I decided to reduce the volume of the center channel by a decent amount. Right now it helps to add a bit of a stage presence to the overall sound, specially for the vocals.

Thanks for the info. I'm still looking for a SP. Looking at a Bit one.1 or audiocontrol DQL-8. Now I've got to look at the MS-8 and 3sixty.2.

I'm starting to think this build will never end.
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Old 11-27-2010, 07:07 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by 2010SSRSM6 View Post
Thanks for the info. I'm still looking for a SP. Looking at a Bit one.1 or audiocontrol DQL-8. Now I've got to look at the MS-8 and 3sixty.2.

I'm starting to think this build will never end.
Depends on how much you want to spend. Bit One is excellent from what I hear, but it costs more and requires dedicated amps for the speakers. The 3Sixty.2 is supposed to be really good as well but again it does not have a built in amp, so you will have to use your head unit or get an external amp.

The JBL MS-8 is the only unit that I know of that comes with a built in 20 Watts amp. Good luck bro!
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Old 11-28-2010, 01:03 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by nashstat View Post
Depends on how much you want to spend. Bit One is excellent from what I hear, but it costs more and requires dedicated amps for the speakers. The 3Sixty.2 is supposed to be really good as well but again it does not have a built in amp, so you will have to use your head unit or get an external amp.

The JBL MS-8 is the only unit that I know of that comes with a built in 20 Watts amp. Good luck bro!
I've got an Arc Audio 900.6 that I'll be running my speakers off of so the amp feature isn't that important. I'm looking for something that can crossover all my speakers and get the tones right.

Before I do anything I've got to get my pdim issues resolved. Dealership updated the software and it started crackling and popping now. There is no way I'm hooking up my new equipment to that nightmare.
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Old 12-05-2010, 02:28 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nashstat View Post
Depends on how much you want to spend. Bit One is excellent from what I hear, but it costs more and requires dedicated amps for the speakers. The 3Sixty.2 is supposed to be really good as well but again it does not have a built in amp, so you will have to use your head unit or get an external amp.

The JBL MS-8 is the only unit that I know of that comes with a built in 20 Watts amp. Good luck bro!
If you take the sub out of your system, do the stock speakers powered by the MS-8 have as much bass as they did stock?
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Last edited by Agent WD-40; 12-06-2010 at 12:53 PM. Reason: Clarity
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Old 05-01-2011, 04:46 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Agent WD-40 View Post
If you take the sub out of your system, do the stock speakers powered by the MS-8 have as much bass as they did stock?
Sorry for the late response, but to answer your question, when you callibrate the MS-8 automatically (using those headphones) then the MS-8 cuts out quite a bit of the bass to the stock speakers because of sound distortion.

However you can always go back in the settings and change that. The stock speakers are not the best, they don't handle bass very well.
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