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Baby Blues (JBL 4301B) in the House!

Discussion in 'The Lansing Legacy' started by MCM_Fan, Aug 24, 2017.

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  1. MCM_Fan

    MCM_Fan AK Subscriber

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    I am currently downsizing my living space, and unfortunately, that includes my stereo systems. I'll eventually whittle it down to two systems, one in the living room/dining room area and one in the master bedroom.

    I plan to keep the JBL L36 Decades I restored last April in my main system and tonight I picked up a pair of JBL 4301B Control Monitors for the future bedroom system.

    I've been watching for a pair of these smaller JBLs to show up locally. These first popped up about a month and a half ago on my local craigslist. The asking price wasn't outrageous, but given the fact that these needed refoamed and some other minor work, I waited patiently as the listing expired. When they were relisted, I contacted the seller and made him what I considered a fair offer. He immediately made a counter offer, but knowing how much I spent, in terms of both time and materials, to restore my L36 Decades, I didn't budge. He told me if they didn't sell within the next week, he'd accept my offer. Well, tonight, he did.

    The foam surrounds on the woofers are obviously shot. So, I just set them up tonight for some quick pics, but won't even attempt to run a signal through them until the woofers have been properly refoamed.

    Other than some uneven UV fading, one small ding and a general drying out of the veneer, the cabinets are quite nice. I'll probably give them a light hand sanding and then apply the standard JBL recipe finish.

    UV Fading:

    [​IMG]

    The paint on the front baffles still looks pretty nice, but it's a darker, less radiant shade of blue than the beautiful Kenrick Sound 4301B Control Monitors I have been lusting after for the past month and a half on YouTube. Obviously, those Kenrick 4301Bs aren't stock. They have beryllium tweeters and crossovers full of Jantzen Z-Cap Silver capacitors, custom wiring, etc. But, boy they sure do look purty. I've spent so much time watching those videos, I was expecting the stock 4301Bs to have a similar bright blue front baffle to the Kenrick version. I repainted the front baffles on my L36 Decades, and they turned out very nice. So, I would consider repainting the front baffles in the 4301Bs, too. However, I think I'll give the darker, stock blue color a chance to grow on me. They are in good enough shape that they don't need repainting, it would only be done to match the look of the Kenrick Sound versions. Any opinions? Leave the baffles their stock color, or repaint them to a brighter shade of blue like the Kenricks?

    Here's a couple photos for comparison:

    My stock blue baffles:

    [​IMG]

    Kenrick Sound custom blue baffles:

    [​IMG]

    The grills are decent, but not perfect. They both have a few minor snags and one has a hole roughly 1/4" in diameter:

    [​IMG]

    The foilcal on the other has some waviness to it:

    [​IMG]

    I'll probably replace the grill fabric once I've refinished the cabinets. Can that foilcal be salvaged. If I re-glue it onto the replacement fabric, will the waviness go away, or do I need to hunt for a replacement? Also, while I'm at it, does anyone know of a current source for genuine, or very close reproduction, JBL blue grill cloth?

    Since I'm moving, these will be on the back burner for a while, but while I'm getting settled, I'd like to order the necessary parts and supplies. So, that when I'm ready to start, I'll have everything on hand to finish the job.

    I plan to give the crossovers the same treatment I gave my L36 decades. Of course, I will start by disassembling and cleaning the L-pads (only one per speaker this time) and I'll use a 7uf Sonicap Gen I in the tweeter circuit, bypassed with a 0.01 uF Vishay-Roderstein MKP1837. For the woofer shunt cap. I'll use two 8.2uF ClarityCap PX capacitors in parallel bypassed with a 0.1uF Vishay-Roderstein MKP1837 to get the correct 16.5uF value.

    Any other suggestions or advice from the JBL fans and experts out there? This will be my second pair of JBLs. Like my L36 Decades, I plan to do the best job I can on these, and hopefully I'll enjoy the finished result as much as I've enjoyed the L36 Decades over the past 16 months.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2018

     

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  2. Mrv8q

    Mrv8q Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm, I like your 4301's blue much more. I had fun refinishing some L100s, 4408s and 4406s. Enjoy yours!
     
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  3. MCM_Fan

    MCM_Fan AK Subscriber

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    Thanks! Do you have any before and after photos, or restoration threads of your JBLs here or on the Lansing Heritage site? I just love to see these great vintage speakers returned to their former glory.
     
  4. Mrv8q

    Mrv8q Well-Known Member

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    Here are some readily available after shots:

    http://audiokarma.org/forums/index....-reduction-jbl-speakers.741503/#post-10099318

    It was very satisfying work, easily worth the time spent for the results. The Heritage site was helpful for tips.
    I learned from them not to use steel wool on the cabs. The driver magnets attract the steel wool fines.
    I was happy using 3M medium and fine flexible sanding pads. Good time to restore the L pads, as you know.
    I didn't rebuild x-overs on any of the JBLs.

    I used Watco on the 4408s and Howard's RAF on the 4406s, and preferred the RAF. Just my opinion ...

    Have fun!
     
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  5. savatage1973

    savatage1973 Addicted Member

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    I too prefer your darker, more muted shade of blue far more than the brighter re-paint job on the Kenrick version--especially for a bedroom system (but then, I generally keep the grilles off of my JBLs.). Also, your shade matches the grille cloth, so if you retain the original grille cloth color, they will still match--I'd leave them alone (but that is just me).
     
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  6. xero-D-hero

    xero-D-hero Super Member

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    Another vote for the original shade of blue.
    But one needs to keep in mind that colors often play tricks on us when photography/lighting is in the mix.
    For all we really know they're the same exact shade of blue...

    Not too sure what I'd do w/the grills,heck I'm not even sure I'd worry 'bout the foilcals on the grills,I could easily lose those and not sweat it.
    Especially as there's another one on the speaker baffles so you'd see those as soon as you pulled the grills off.

    JM2¢ ~ FWIW

    Bret P.
     
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  7. Drugolf

    Drugolf AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I too like the original blue...at least on the speaker. You can get the grille cloth somewhere.
     
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  8. MCM_Fan

    MCM_Fan AK Subscriber

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    Well, so far, it's unanimous - keep the original blue. I'm sure it will grow on me. We are often attracted to the familiar as it matches our expectations. After watching all those Kenrick Sound videos on YouTube, I was expecting the baffles to be a brighter, more vibrant shade of blue. In additional to staying true to the original appearance, not painting the front baffles will save some time and a little money. Plus, if I ever get another pair of JBL Control Monitors (I already have my eyes out for a pair of 4313Bs), the baffles will match.
     
  9. Zonker92

    Zonker92 All shiny and chrome Subscriber

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    I was in that same situation, and I repainted mine, as I greatly prefer the brighter blue. I have the code for it, but I had to settle for applying it by brush, since I didn’t have access to a spray rig. If I did it again I’d work harder to be able to spray it.

    The grill label is flexible plastic, and if it’s still wavy on new fabric you might consider a thin stiff backing plate of some sort. Try not to get it too hot, as that will make it worse. (I know from experience.)
     
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  10. MCM_Fan

    MCM_Fan AK Subscriber

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    Do you have any photos of your baffles you can share? I'd like to see how they turned out.

    I really like the subtle, classy JBL badges on my L36 decades. I may opt to leave off the plastic "foilcals" when I redo my grills and go with a pair of those badges instead. Not original, but as xero-D-hero mentioned, the real foilcals are on the front baffle anyway.
     
  11. Drugolf

    Drugolf AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    For future opportunities, I think you can have just about any color put into a rattle can at an automotive paint shop. Worth a try anyway.
     
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  12. MCM_Fan

    MCM_Fan AK Subscriber

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    I just found @Zonker92's 4301B restoration thread. and I have to say, "Wow!". His turned out beautiful, and they needed a lot more work than mine.

    Here's a photo of his bright blue front baffles from that thread:

    [​IMG]

    Those are just beautiful and have me reconsidering repainting my front baffles.
     
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  13. Zonker92

    Zonker92 All shiny and chrome Subscriber

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    Good sleuthing; thanks!
     
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  14. GD70

    GD70 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Those look great! Keep the stock original blue!
    Kendrick's sound and look fantastic, no doubt, but I have to say I love the way mine sound in their original state except for replaced surrounds. Here's a few pics when I was applying Watco's Danish natural color oil to mine. These hadn't been touched since new. The last pic shows the freshly oiled cab, vs the original untouched cab.
    I also got them from a CL listing, from a voice over sound studio in Manhattan. They never touched the floors!
    Were re-foamed just prior to my purchase.
    Cheers, Glenn
    JBL 4301b_2.png JBL 4301b_3.png JBL 4301b_4.png JBL 4301b_5.png JBL 4301b_1.png
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2017
  15. Zonker92

    Zonker92 All shiny and chrome Subscriber

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    Lovely!

    One thing to consider, before deciding whether to change the baffle color, is cleaning the original paint with some sort of detergent solution, polish, or maybe quick detailer. The photo at the top of this thread seems to suggest that the paint is a bit dirty.

    And, as I did back in the day, you might do a Google Images search on this model and others in the blue-faced era, to see how many different blues JBL used. It really is surprising. Some seem to be as bright as the Kenrick blues.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=jbl+blue+baffle
     
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  16. MCM_Fan

    MCM_Fan AK Subscriber

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    You guys are tearing me apart! Yours look amazing, too Glenn. I seem to change my mind on the baffle paint with each photo I see. I guess that's a good thing. They look great either way, so I can't really go wrong.

    This is fun. I know the 4301Bs are one of the more modest in the JBL Control Monitor series, but my L36 Decades are considered a modest pair of JBLs, too and I love those speakers, they way the look and the way they sound. The quality JBL put into these products is readily evident to anyone who has ever worked on a pair. So, even the more modest models are well worth the time and effort to restore.
     
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  17. MCM_Fan

    MCM_Fan AK Subscriber

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    I did clean them last night, before taking the photos with a little Windex and a soft cotton cloth. The color looks much more even in person. I think the mottling you are seeing in the photos is a combination of uneven lighting and compression artifacts from the digital image.
     
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  18. MCM_Fan

    MCM_Fan AK Subscriber

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    More googling tonight...

    Evidently, the 4301 (no B suffix) used the exact same JBL badges as my L36 Decades, with no plastic "foilcal" on the grill cloth.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Of course the original 4301 also had a black front baffle and the older LE25 tweeter, but I'm thinking about going with the 4301 style grills on my 4301B monitors. I think it will help give them a little familial resemblance to my L36 Decades. They're just grills and can always be swapped out at a later date if I ever decide to sell them and the buyer prefers the standard 4301B style grills.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2018
  19. Sam Cogley

    Sam Cogley Last of the Time Lords Subscriber

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    I have two pairs of their consumer brother, the L19A. I'm not sure what JBL did in there, but the LE26 sounds far better than a cone tweeter ever should, and that woofer's range is very impressive.
     
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  20. jobrewer1983

    jobrewer1983 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Original blue. Beautiful cond as well!

    Congrats!
     
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