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For a semi-convert like me, it had been an enlightening afternoon and I’d proved myself a good audience for Oscar. Back home, I reorganized my notes to condense the highlight of the Sermon on the Wide Side according to the Book of Oscar:

(1) Even identical drivers/models will never sound the same when housed in different cabinets. Cain & Cain’s Abby has awesome bass from cabinet reinforcement but if you put the Fostex FE166SE into a lesser cabinet, you won't get the same kind of bass.

(2) Synergy with amplifiers is absolutely critical with single drivers. SETs are not always the winner but stand higher chances. In voicing this sound, driver tubes are more critical than power tubes.

(3) Most people whose ears are tuned to traditional 2- or 3-way speakers won’t accept single drivers and most likely find them to sound strange. Frederic's opinion of the JB4 is in fact the most predictable outcome for any LS 3/5a devotee. It takes a single driver lover to write a meaningful review on single drivers.

(4) Omega and Unity Audio are the safest options that won't offend too many untuned ears or unnurtured minds. Yet they fail to bring out the best in single drivers. Those are for DIYers to create their own signature sound and sonic personality. There must be gives and takes. You sacrifice one area’s bigger gain for another that pleases you more. Cain & Cain was successful because they knew how to tip this balance and find their own sonic personality. JohnBlue is another player that dared to carve out a clearly defined niche yet is clearly different from Cain & Cain.

That night I slept very well. The next day I received Oscar’s final report: "Done some more listening with the JB4 and S2 speaker cables. That lift & shout occurring somewhere in the midrange frequency is still there no matter what amplifiers and speaker cables I use. I can be certain that it’s the whizzer cones. I had the same problem with some Fostex drivers with whizzer cones and measurements confirmed it. I can hear it but I am not seriously bothered that much. It’s certainly a tiny gray area.

"As to speaker cables, first I used my own Cardas SE-15, then the JB S2. The JB does help to thicken up the music. Later I compared another cable, the entry-level Cardas Crosslink 1S. I much preferred the Crosslink in almost all aspects - speed, clarity, stability at both ends of the spectrum, soundstage, weight, space... everything."

From what I’ve heard at Oscar’s place, I still believe that the amp matters most. If you look closely at his amp, the 2A3s have silvery gel rings around them for resonance control. Those things kill musical overtones. Oscar has regretted it ever since but cannot remove them!  

What surprised me was a second email later that night: "Wow, really like the JB3! It is indeed better than the KEF iQ-1. Also the bass is surprisingly good. Most brands’ entry-level mini monitors do not have bass that low. The JB3 certainly has great bass for its size, better than my beloved 3" Fostex FE83 in a monitor-sized cabinet similar to the JB4. I’d rate the JB3 somewhere between above average to brilliant. Although realism (freedom from coloration), midrange magic, treble extension and cleanliness are somewhat behind the Fostex FE83, the JB3 shouldn’t just end up on the desktop. It can be a very exciting 2-channel bookshelf. Come and hear for yourself!"