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David Kan
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Equipment list: Irrelevant to the subject of our discussion as you’ll see.
Room Size: Impertinent but we’ll get to that in due time.
Review component retail price: $1,030 a pair but immaterial in this case.

Srajan liked the JB8, I liked the JB3. Uh, correction. I didn’t like the JB3. In the beginning. But I did acquire the taste for it in the end. And I like it for what it is since I’ve kept it. Now if only Frederic had liked the JB4, Tommy Wu of JohnBlue would have opened a bottle of champagne last Christmas and left me alone. Alas, Frederic did not like the JB4 and in fair 6moons fashion where manufacturers then may request a second opinion, Tommy asked me to be arbitrator. I hate that role. Sounds like a big traitor. And that’s exactly what I’d be if not careful. Should I be honest or slimy? Tommy, Tommy, why did it have to be me? Frederic, Frederic, why couldn’t you like the JB4? Could I ship them back to you for another “more objective” view perhaps? Too late, almost a year had lapsed. I was stuck. Ouch.

How to get out of such prolonged agony had become my top priority. I went back to where the 'problem' began—Frederic’s review—-hoping to find some falsehood. To my disappointment, the argument was watertight. I had to agree with everything the man said. I began to sweat as I read along: When Tommy Wu introduced his JB4 speakers based on a 4-inch widebander, he made the very bold statement of it easily rivaling the famed Rogers LS 3/5a. Owning a pair of LS 3/5a, I have witnessed my fair share of speakers come and go that claimed to summarily replace the 40-year old reference but fail to make it past their first decade let alone the first few years… The JB4 is so completely different from the Rogers that pretending one rivals the other is not merely wrong but plain nonsense from both a sonic and marketing standpoint. Both speakers could not be more different. Pretending one is an improved version of the other opens the door to major disappointments. Worse, it also negates the few things the JB4 does well and diminishes the opportunity for people who could like to give the JB4 a chance.”

You can’t get fairer than that. Since the LS 3/5a has officially stopped production, numerous efforts from all five corners of the earth have been mustered to replace the legendary bookshelf speaker. All have met their fate at Waterloo. Yet people continue to send troops to their death. This has to be the most unpopular quest in the history of audio. Those who don’t appreciate the  LS 3/5a will never need one. Those who appreciate it won’t settle for less. It’s bound to remain a lose/lose deal. Simple as that. Wow, I never expected I could reach my conclusion this quickly. Guilty as charged. As a responsible arbitrator, here’s my sincere advice to Tommy: Take out all references to the LS 3/5a, rewrite your positioning statement and start over.

This could have been the shortest review ever if I stopped here. Nuff said, can I go?

Alright, perhaps I could tell you about my friend who owns a pair of pristine Rogers LS 3/5a, Marantz 7 + 9 and a vintage Thorens turntable. Or was it Dual? No matter. He’s a mathematician who teaches in private school. He has never miscalculated his tonearm overhang nor purpose in life. He’s a photographer who has never owned a digital camera and insists on shooting only on emulsified film mostly in black and white. He listens to only classical music strictly on vinyl and only through a Rogers LS 3/5a. He has never owned a CD player and never mingles with the so-called audiophiles.

When I asked him to let me take him a JB4 for audition, he agreed to my utter surprise – on the conditions that he should remain anonymous; and no photography whatsoever. I gladly complied. For the sake of storytelling, let’s call him Kenny. I don’t know why but Kenny and Rogers sound somehow musical together.