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  • L3 Review

    Received my L3s and L3c center a few weeks ago. Meant to post up something before now, but life got in the way. Anyway, here goes.

    Equipment: Denon x5200, Emotiva XPA2 Gen3 powering Right and Left. OPPO 203 for Blu Ray with an Amazon Firestick attached for streaming. Subs: 2- PSA XS30 (dual opposed 15" sealed boxes)
    Room: 12'x14', 8 ft ceilings and carpeted floor. Some acoustic treatments on the wall

    Originally I had planned on ordering a set of L7, with L6 center, but when we got into this new home, I quickly realized I needed to change the plan. The man cave is much smaller than what I'm used to, and after I mounted my 120" screen on the wall, I realized, there was not room for towers on either side. So, I'm basically limited to no more than 34" total height with speaker and stand. After reading comments from Jon and others, I decided that the L3 should be sufficient to fill up the room with sound, and L3C for center.

    A couple of disclaimers:
    1. This is pretty much my first review, and I'll do my best to describe the speakers, but forgive me if it comes across as very amateurish.
    2. I've not owned a pair of speakers comparable to the L3 , so comparing them to anything else I've had wouldn't make a lot of sense. My last set of speakers were DIY Sound Group Elusive 1099s. These are huge, in your face pro-sound party speakers. Again, not even remotely like the L3.

    Step 1: run calibration, set speakers to large (40hz crossover), turn off the subs.

    Listening impressions:

    Bass: I put on Basshead by Bassnectar as it's always been my go-to song for demoing bass in my man cave. I'm not lying when I said that I initially had to verify that the PSA subs were not on.. The quality and depth of bass I got out of those little woofers kind of blew my mind. I will go back on my previous statement about not comparing them to my old speakers. The 1099s had 10" woofers, but were definitely designed to blend with subs and not stand on their own. I was never happy with them when testing with subs off. The L3 EASILY bested them on the quality of bass. Of course they do eventually drop off when you go really low, but still far exceeded my expectations. Depending on the type of music you listen to, I'd say many folks could use the L3 without a sub and be totally satisfied on the low end.

    Separation: Someone recommended to me to use National Anthem by Radiohead to really see how well a speaker can pull various instruments out, and basically make sense of a chaotic arrangement. I had heard this song on occasion , but it wasn't in my playlist. After listening on the L3s, I totally get it. I was saying things like "wow, so that's what this song is supposed to sound like". It is a very messy song, but when you hear it played in the car, or on a lesser system, you don't really get just how much is going on in there. The L3s pulled everything out and put it in it's place. Amazing.

    Sound Stage/Imaging: I'm a big fan of Tool.. Their last album- Fear Innoculum is a sonic masterpiece. I played Chocolate Chip Trip and immediately started tripping, literally. I had to go back and make sure I was in stereo mode. To be sure I wasn't hearing things, I had the wife come in and give it a listen. She gave a lot of "ooohs" and "aaahs" and only afterwards did I tell her that the sound was only coming from 2 speakers. She didn't believe me, it's that enveloping. Every sound was placed precisely in the room.

    Vocals: these things shine for both male and female vocals. I don't really have enough superlatives to use, so I'll just leave at "amazing".

    By this point, my wife was getting into it too. She started having me play music I'd never listen to on my own, such as Billy Eilish. We were having alot of fun listening together, and that has NEVER happened.

    General characteristics of these speakers are (as best as I can put it):

    VERY neutral. I'm used to horn loaded, in your face treble. While not recessed by any means, the L3 play more like "as it was intended" I think. No false bumps in treble, bass etc.

    SOOOOOO smooth, yet superb clarity. Every sound they play is perfectly audible and clear, but not "sterile". They just sound expensive.

    For my room, the L3s were great, and go as loud as I'd care to go without flinching. I will say that in a larger room (say 20x25 like my last man cave) I'd definitely pony up for the towers, so keep that in mind. Especially if you like to listen loud (I do).

    I did eventually turn the subs back on and reset the crossover back to 80 and they still sound fantastic. They blend very well with the subs.

    Movies: the L3C is a great speaker. I always say that a good center channel just needs to do it's job right, not muddy any vocals, etc and the L3C does it's job in spades.

    Thanks Jon for making a fantastic speaker that is affordable to the masses. I'm glad I waited patiently for a few years and didn't give in to the temptation to get something else.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Hey great review! Beautiful looking speakers as well. What racks/stands are you using for components? I like the look.

    Comment


    • #3
      The stands are Sanus brand if I remember correctly. The rack is actually a tall rack that I used in last house that I basically has to pull in half. Not ideal but working with what I have.

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      • #4
        They sound like great speakers!

        It's tough to find a good open equipment rack for big/heavy separates in an HT setting. You have a good compromise. It's tough to find something that balance appearance, open air, supports heavy equipment, adequate depth/width, short enough to accept a center speaker while allowing clear access to the viewing screen let alone cost.
        Last edited by kabin; 01-25-2021, 12:55 PM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by kabin View Post
          They sound like great speakers!

          It's tough to find a good open equipment rack for big/heavy separates in an HT setting. You have a good compromise. It's tough to find something that balance appearance, open air, supports heavy equipment, adequate depth/width, short enough to accept a center speaker while allowing clear access to the viewing screen let alone cost.
          Very true. Cabinets are now mostly aimed at hiding gear as much as possible instead of displaying it. To me audio gear is very attractive (not Crown amps tough :D) and should be displayed in all it's glory.

          The rack looks great imo, I'd try and get a board under the right one as the bottom electronic seems to sit on the carpet?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by wkrpic View Post
            Very true. Cabinets are now mostly aimed at hiding gear as much as possible instead of displaying it. To me audio gear is very attractive (not Crown amps tough :D) and should be displayed in all it's glory.

            The rack looks great imo, I'd try and get a board under the right one as the bottom electronic seems to sit on the carpet?
            Yes, the rack with no bottom was actually on top of the left hand rack in its real configuration. I have my Xbox sitting on the carpet as I rarely use it but do plan on getting a board under it eventually. I’ve only had this setup in place a few weeks and just making do with what I had to hold the equipment, but I was really happy with how it turned out.

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            • #7
              After the compliments on my nice rack 🤣, I had to go look up what it was. Link is below, all I could remember was that it came from Wayfair
              https://www.wayfair.com/furniture/pd...001220630.html

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              • #8
                Question

                Could you test something for me?

                I’m curious how two L3 sound while watching movies using them as a phantom center with your subs.

                I’ve heard they have a huge phantom sweet spot that pretty much fills a large sofa area.

                Just wondering if I should buy 3 L3C’s or 2 for our mix use music and movie room. I’m looking for either a 2.1 or 3.1 setup for this room.

                Many thanks....!

                Comment


                • #9
                  I’m actually not running any subs.

                  For a room your size, I would recommend three simply to augment output. But the size of the center image is very convincing. But a dedicated center channel essentially makes the sweet spot for the center image larger than using a phantom center.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Ehill View Post
                    Question

                    Could you test something for me?

                    I’m curious how two L3 sound while watching movies using them as a phantom center with your subs.

                    I’ve heard they have a huge phantom sweet spot that pretty much fills a large sofa area.

                    Just wondering if I should buy 3 L3C’s or 2 for our mix use music and movie room. I’m looking for either a 2.1 or 3.1 setup for this room.

                    Many thanks....!
                    I’ll try a movie in Stereo and let ya know. My receiver has an option to turn on center channel spread, not sure if I should enable it or not. I’m thinking in stereo mode that probably doesn’t matter

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                    • #11
                      Radiohead has always been one of my favorite bands to chill to, "In Rainbows" came out in 2007 when I lived out in Calgary and spent tons of my spare time with buddies hiking, camping and biking in the Rockies and Foothills and was an album that got played a lot haha, prob my favorite album from them, the sound is phenomenal, especially give the track "Reckoner" a listen on your new speakers.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by copperhorse73 View Post

                        I’ll try a movie in Stereo and let ya know. My receiver has an option to turn on center channel spread, not sure if I should enable it or not. I’m thinking in stereo mode that probably doesn’t matter
                        How did that 2 channel movie watching go with the L3’s?

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