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Old 22nd November 2010, 13:41   #1
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Default JBL branded HU? EDIT: GT-X555 & 333 Confirmed!

I was at the Autocar show on Saturday. As usual JBL had painted the entrance orange. Sam invited me into his stall but due to a few busness meetings had to leave me to my own devices.

I was walking around the enclosed section when I saw a room with a car stereo console and a few pairs of speakers so I figured I'd fool around with this. That's when I got a surprise. The HU was branded "JBL".

Now I have never seen JBL venture into branded HUs before - in the 80s when GM tied up with Delco and Bose, and Chyrsler tied up with Infinity, JBL did make OEM electronics for Ford (they still do for Toyota and others) so OEM electronics (Harman is very big with OEM, bigger than Bose etc..) I have seen but a JBL branded HU? never!.

Anyway I went behind this BOX and the rear panel was half open so I opened it fully. Sorry Sam. Guess what? This HU has 3 pre outs! Now this is interesting. If JBL can put this HU on the market at under Rs. 6K everyone will have access to subwoofer control not just those who can afford the 8K-9K+ HUs.

The problem was that with Sam so busy at the show I could not gleam anymore information. From the rest of the features and the basic display I feel that JBL will target the common man and not the "Becker-MS8" crowd with this HU so a competitive price should be in the offing.

Now just to shake a few trees to get more info. Anyone have any more information on this? Pricing? Availability? Google-Meister sahib (aka LBM) what does the Internet say? I guess after headphones this was the last bastion for the JBL brand.

Last edited by navin : 22nd November 2010 at 13:55.
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Old 22nd November 2010, 13:57   #2
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I think it is not JBL but a JBL logo put on a aftermarket HU. I may be wrong but I think Sam Bhai will clear the doubt.
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Old 22nd November 2010, 14:17   #3
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I did see quite a few pages of ads by JBL in the Dec month issue of Autocar !
There are 2 models of HU available.

There was a mention that this is a new introduction & that one can also buy JBL products online through the website, but there is no mention of the HU's on the site.
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Old 22nd November 2010, 14:37   #4
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@ Navin: Sirji, did you manage to click any photos?

Google revealed this:

Name:  jbl_hu.jpg
Views: 9453
Size:  78.9 KB

Last edited by panky12345 : 22nd November 2010 at 14:49.
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Old 22nd November 2010, 18:57   #5
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there was a discussion in carwale where someone was told that JBL HU's were imminent in a month or so. Since there was no word here, i figured it might be a miscommunication. Guess there is something to it after all.
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Old 22nd November 2010, 19:38   #6
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I was just searching details about JBL Head Unit and found a link from T-Bhp

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Kapasi View Post
I think JBL headunit is the cheapest. It's free, because they don't make any head units.

OK chal full PJ, I'm leaving.
So, SAM eat your words and show us the real picture.
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Old 22nd November 2010, 23:48   #7
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Guys, im uploading the pictures of the 2 models pictured in this months Autocar magazine. Pardon the poor quality, i took a picture of the Ad, i dont have access to a scanner !
Attached Thumbnails
JBL branded HU? EDIT: GT-X555 & 333 Confirmed!-dsc01842.jpg  

JBL branded HU? EDIT: GT-X555 & 333 Confirmed!-dsc01843.jpg  

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Old 23rd November 2010, 09:54   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panky12345 View Post
@ Navin: Sirji, did you manage to click any photos?
No I did not. I wanted to see what was behind the box and when I saw 3 pre outs I forgot about photos and all that stuff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nirmaljusdoit View Post
Guys, im uploading the pictures of the 2 models pictured in this months Autocar magazine. Pardon the poor quality, i took a picture of the Ad, i dont have access to a scanner !
That's it! Thanks for the pics.

I think the version I saw was the 555 bcos it had a CD player. From the pictures the 333 does not have one. Now nirmalji do you have any information on pricing or availability.

Sam cannot talk about this on TBHP becuase he is affiliated with the company so I assume that's why he's been silent on this. Pricing will make or break this product. Features wise it has stuff that most HUs in the 8 or 9K+ range have. But knowing what JBL did with speakers I suspect some very aggressive pricing and distribution. Can you imagine if they offered the 555 at say 5K and the 333 at 3K? Sony and Pioneer watch out.

I did not see any Subwoofer time alignment though. Do the 555/333 have this?
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Old 23rd November 2010, 11:16   #9
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I'm more curious about how panasonic would deal with them, since they are marketed by the same folks

Last edited by greenhorn : 23rd November 2010 at 11:17.
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Old 23rd November 2010, 13:11   #10
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Navin ji, sorry i dont have any more info about these HU's. They are not reflecting on the JBL india website as yet !

I am looking for a HU to replace the single din HU in my Swift which is on its last legs & hence was very interested after seeing this Ad. Will wait for a while for them to enter the market, also im guessing the site should be updated soon.

From what you have mentioned about JBL being the OEM supplier to top brands like Toyota, the quality should be good !
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Old 23rd November 2010, 15:33   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nirmaljusdoit View Post
From what you have mentioned about JBL being the OEM supplier to top brands like Toyota, the quality should be good !
Ok guys what excited me about these HUs is the following...

a. I know Harman/JBL OEMs for many car brands (I think 10 atleast).
b. IndiaJBL (aka Sahil Intl) has been very aggressive in prcing and distribution in India (which accounts for their success over the past 5-7 years)
c. The feature set looks like someone has studied the Indian replacement market well.

Alpine, Kenwood, Pioneer all make good HUs. What I am hoping for is a game changer. This will not happen with one of these 3 or any other entrenched player- they have too much to loose. It would only happen if a Panasonic, Clarion, or one of the lesser known players decided to make India a focus. My desire is to see the masses (people with under 20K budgets for their car audio) to have access to good audio and not the rubbish OEMs often include with their cars.

Remember guys I am not associated with this industry. I care less if the audio companies make a profit (well if they dont they wont be around to serve us so from that standpoint I do care but not as much as they care) but care more for the average INDIAN consumer.

Based on a. b. and c. above I believe that this HU might be a game changer. Pricing and distribution will be the key. What if JBL bundles this with 2 pairs of GT5 speakers or a pair of 6x9s or offers a Rs. 1000 discount coupon with the HU usable for GT5 speakers only? A good system for under 12K (HU+4 good speakers) is a possibility no? Add an amp like the JBL 644 and under 20K you could be really rocking.

Now that's what got me excited. Which should only the "rich boys" have all the fun?

J-B-L we are waiting! Move the cheese!

Disclaimer: If cost of system is a yardstick I would consdier myself as one of the "rich boys"..but come on guys I believe there is going to be a audio party and everyone will be invited! Soooo much more fun na?

Last edited by navin : 23rd November 2010 at 15:34.
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Old 24th November 2010, 00:24   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by navin View Post
Remember guys I am not associated with this industry. I care less if the audio companies make a profit (well if they dont they wont be around to serve us so from that standpoint I do care but not as much as they care) but care more for the average INDIAN consumer.
Navinji, I hope Panky a.k.a desi Sherlock Holmes didn't grill you with questions of commercial involvement with JBL .
On a serious note, if JBL can come out with an aggressive pricing plan, then the game would be wide open!

@greenhorn
That's an interesting observation. Panasonic has some very decent HUs in the entry level. But JBL being the most easily accessible brand to the Indian aam junta, my guess is that priorities will shift to JBL.
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Old 24th November 2010, 12:56   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thelord View Post
Navinji, I hope Panky a.k.a desi Sherlock Holmes didn't grill you with questions of commercial involvement with JBL .
On a serious note, if JBL can come out with an aggressive pricing plan, then the game would be wide open!

@greenhorn
That's an interesting observation. Panasonic has some very decent HUs in the entry level. But JBL being the most easily accessible brand to the Indian aam junta, my guess is that priorities will shift to JBL.
the lord. I think Sherlock Panky Holmes has already read my multiple disclaimers. In the 6 years or so I have been on TBHP I have met Sam maybe 5 times..lets see first time at TBHP photo shoot at NCPA (I was not a Mod then), second time along with 100 other TBHPians at the JBL store opening at Atria mall, third time at the Auto Show with the Evil Swift twins, there must be a fourth time somewhere but the last time was a Saturday or 2 ago at the Auto Show in BKC. Because of my age I do happen to know one of the promoters of Sahil International (not Sahil) but that is only in passing. I do buy Harman equipment occasionaly (when I find something they make that I like) but I dont think Sam even knows all of what I buy.

I think JBL has not done a good job with Panasonic (Panasonic was even more terrible at their distribution). I rarely find it along side JBL speakers and amps at the stores I visit. Maybe they already had this JBL HU in the offing. I dont know. I do believe that Sam Kapasi is probably the best salesperson / marketing man I have met. I know Sam firmly belives that I am completely nuts - more nuts than LBM! (now that's saying something) but that is a topic for another discussion.

As far as JBL's HU is concerned I surely hope it is something that is well distributed and supported. I think JBL has done a very good job with their speakers and for the sake of the Indian customer prices this product competitvely.

Last edited by navin : 24th November 2010 at 12:58.
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Old 25th November 2010, 11:29   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thelord View Post
Navinji, I hope Panky a.k.a desi Sherlock Holmes didn't grill you with questions of commercial involvement with JBL ..
If he were continously recommending some absolute and unique "SQ" products from a particular dealer's stable! Yes, the sherlock holmes would've been activated.
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Old 25th November 2010, 11:49   #15
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Interesting Just posted on FB of IndiaJBL.

Would love to know what's inside the HU.
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