JBL 3-Series MkII Studio Monitors

April 20, 2020

A few years ago, I bought my first pair of studio monitors for my home mixing space. I had just graduated from college and would soon lose access to the university’s studio and equipment.

I did a lot of research, asked my friends and mentors for advice, and finally settled on the JBL LSR 308s. My goal was to get the best value that I could. I couldn’t be happier with these monitors. I still use them today.

If you are looking for speakers within the range of $200 to $300, I still consider JBL 3-Series line of speakers as one of the best options.

If you are designing a sound system and want a FREE guide to the most important speaker specifications, download the FREE Loudspeaker Technical Specifications Guide.

Choosing Studio Monitors

These speakers are designed to be reference monitors. This means that they aim for accuracy over anything else. They won’t make a bad mix sound good, that’s your job!

When choosing a studio monitor, you’re choosing the lens you’ll be looking through to mix. Over time, the speakers you use day in and day out will begin to influence the way you listen. It’s important to choose speakers that won’t lie to you.

The sky is the limit to how truthful a speaker can be. However, as you increase the quality and sonic transparency of a speaker, you also influence its price tag. The JBL 3 Series does a good job of finding the middle ground.

Why Choose a JBL 3 Series Monitor?

For years, the JBL 3 Series has been viewed as one of the best options for getting professional quality in its price range. 

I’m not going to pretend that these speakers stand up to the options available in the $1000+ range. I’d be lying to you. If you have the money to go for some high-end studio monitors, go for it. Unfortunately, we don’t all have that option. 

I can tell you that JBL offers technology from their flagship M2 Master Reference Monitors ($6000/ea) in this series at a much more practical price.

Image Control Waveguide

The waveguide on the JBL 305P, 306p, and 308P is designed to ensure a smooth transition between the low- and high-frequency drivers. It also provides a broad sweet spot so that you can mix off-axis without the high frequencies dropping off.

High Powered Amps

These speakers are active, meaning the amplifier is built-in. This means they are suited for mixing anything from YouTube videos to cinematic films, or classical to hip hop music. The wide dynamic range allows these speakers to perform at very low to very high output levels.

Build Quality

As I mentioned before, you develop a bond with your mixing monitors over time. I still have my LSR 308s and plan to use them for years to come. JBL puts each model to a strenuous 100-hour test to ensure they are capable of performance over time. You don’t need to worry about them failing you in a time of need. 

Which 3 Series Speakers are Right for You?

Whereas only a 5-inch and 8-inch model were available when I bought my monitors years ago, they now offer a 6-inch option as well! More options to fit your room or budget.

JBL 305P MkII (5-inch)

If you are searching for a studio monitor in the $100 to $150 range, look no further. This 5-inch JBL 305P MkII offers remarkably big sound for such a small cabinet. Whether you are working within a smaller budget or within a smaller space, don’t let the modest size fool you.

You might lose a little bit of low end, but for mixing dialog for YouTube, film, or audiobooks, this is a good choice.

JBL 306P MkII (6-inch)

The new 6-inch option is going to be the perfect compromise for a lot of people. The JBL 306P MkII gives you a more compact form factor while still offering good volume and bass response.

It is well-worth the price jump from the 305P MkII. It could be a good middle ground for you, if the 8-inch version is out of your price range.

JBL 308P MkII (8-inch)

This is the studio monitor I have used for years. I bought my pair back in 2014, and I still use them to this day. It is the largest cabinet in JBL’s 3 Series, and it shows! The low end is incredible for such an inexpensive speaker.

If you are mixing music or SFX for film and video, these will give you the best bass response. It may even be worth adding the 3 Series subwoofer.

JBL LSR310S (Subwoofer)

If you are mixing EDM or hip hop, you might consider adding the JBL 3 Series subwoofer. The LSR310S is optimized to blend nicely with the 3 Series two-way speakers.

Although the 308P MkII produces plenty of bass on its own, the 308 plus the subwoofer opens your eyes to the sub-bass frequencies in your mix that might otherwise go overlooked.

If you are designing a sound system and want a FREE guide to the most important speaker specifications, download the FREE Loudspeaker Technical Specifications Guide.

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