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Revisiting Jim Rogers JR149s

Discussion in 'classic' started by Tony L, Mar 21, 2013.

  1. TonyScarlett

    TonyScarlett pfm Member

    Just found a pic of the base of my pair so you can match the serial no to the crossovers.
    Incidentally, I also bypassed the fuse on mine, just did it slightly differently to Alan's. I didn't do a before & after test of this mod so can't say whether it made any difference.
    As for the Falcon kit, mine is the only one I've seen so can't comment on any changes/substitutions they may of made. All I can say is it made a considerable improvement to my pair, particularly with the low frequencys.
  2. mandryka

    mandryka pfm Member

    Any more suggestions about servicing the MK2s much appreciated, as I'm about to get mine done.
  3. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    I haven't touched mine apart from replacing the fuses and cleaning the fuse holders. The electrolytics, though not as old as mk1 JR149s, are probably old enough to warrant replacing but I've left them be as the speakers sound absolutely fine to me as they are (I've got more than one pair of mk2 so have a good frame of reference if something wasn't right with one of them!).

    If you're twiddling your fingers and want to experiment with something, try replacing the fuses like for like (2A IIRC?) and also with 50A ones (which are pretty close to what a hardwire bypass would be) and see if you can hear any difference. :)
  4. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator


    It had to be done at some point didn’t it... after decades of not knowing I finally get to make *that* comparison.

    They are the pair from the pfm classifieds, mint, my finish of choice (walnut), and priced very reasonably so I reckon I can own these for a year or two without spending much if anything at all (assuming of course I don’t just end up keeping them as an alternative). The beauty of little speakers is they are not hard to store!

    PS Supra cable, the only stuff I have knocking around as a spare, is just as annoyingly inflexible as NAC A5!
  5. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    I guess not keeping a sly cache of spare speaker cable is one way to avoid "new speaker day", though clearly it didn't work in this instance! :D
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2020 at 5:53 PM
  6. Radfordman

    Radfordman pfm Member

    Nice speakers, Falcon should know what they are doing. The comparisons should be interesting.
  7. Tryant

    Tryant pfm Member

  8. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Certainly very good so far. I’m deliberately not making any direct comparisons yet, in fact I haven’t played the 149s for quite a while as I’ve been buying so much vinyl of late and there is no turntable in this system. I’ll live with the 3/5As for a week or two, get to know them, then stick the 149s back and see how wring my audio memory is!

    What I know so far is they took a bit of waking up, as any speaker does fresh from a courier (temperature/humidity I guess), so a bit flat, tubby and disappointing on first listen this afternoon, but great this evening. Some superb lights out listening to Miles Someday My Prince Will Come, Bill Evans Village Vanguard, Coltrane Village Vanguard, really nice midband tonality, clarity and soundstage, though seemed to want to be a little louder than I’d normally play the 149s to get similar presence and impact (I checked with a sound meter). Not much if any difference in efficiency, though I will at a much later point measure this as the LS3/5As are a known efficiency and I’m still kind of guessing what the 149s are. It will be very interesting to see how they plot, and I may use the results to tweak the 149s tweeter level a little.

    The LS3/5As did a good job at sorting out Spanish Key from Bitches Brew, which is always a big test for me as there’s a lot going on in there and you need to be able to follow the bassline for it to hang together right. There is definitely a bit of an upper-bass bump which the 149s do not have, nor do they go as deep, but overall they definitely have a warmer balance, which made for altering my listening seat position back a little (I can’t be bothered shifting the stands at this stage). I can see that bass bump being good/bad depending on specific context/room.

    They are just stunningly good on classical strings, but I knew that already! I’d heard that elsewhere. If you only want to listen to string quartets they really are up with Quad 57s as about as good as it gets to my ears.
    lordsummit likes this.
  9. lexi

    lexi pfm Member

    Keeps you going for the winter.....
  10. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    I ought to obtain a pair of JR149s, as I have lived with LS3/5as for many years.
  11. Electrostat

    Electrostat pfm Member

    How are they with solo piano classical music in comparison to the ESL57?
  12. Conan

    Conan Loop digger

    Have you compared them with the Spemdor
  13. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I’ve just flung some Debussy on now (Noriko Ogawa on BIS) and it is sounding beautiful. They really do get the midband right in a classical way and I can fully understand why they appeal to predominantly classical and jazz listeners. From memory I’d say tonally they are very close to ESL 57s and also share the very slightly lumpy/tubby bass and lack of dynamics compared to many more efficient loudspeakers.

    No, not yet, and likely not for a long while as they are doing a superb job in the TV room system. I really like the S3/5R a lot, likely a lot more than my comments upthread may indicate. The more time I spend with them in that non-critical environment the more I like them as they just get out of the way so well. They are a superbly voiced speaker and I’m certain I could live with them quite happily as a main speaker though I’d probably through a bigger amp at them than either the 303 or Leak. I have a feeling they’d sound absolutely superb on the end of something like a big Sugden, Accuphase, Luxman, Conrad Johnson or whatever.

    PS I’ve just added a further complication in that I’ve swapped out my ultra high-mass Target R4 stands for Falcon’s own LS3/5A stands, which are still ‘high mass’, but about half that of the truly back-breaking Targets. A far better top-plate fit though, and they’ll aesthetically suit the 149s better too (all stand top-plates are wrong for a JR149, those especially so!). I don’t know the LS3/5As well enough to know if the stand change helped or hindered. Whatever I do I’ll likely retain the LS3/5A stands as they are just so manageable. If I ever have a heart attack I’m pretty sure it will be down to moving an R4!
    Electrostat likes this.
  14. Electrostat

    Electrostat pfm Member

    This was very helpful thank you very much, I always appreciate comparisons to the 57s as it gives me some real frame of reference.

    If you want to give the speakers a work out here is an excellent performance of Schubert's D959 sonata in reference level recorded sound, it has very wide dynamic range and lots of tonal density.

  15. Tryant

    Tryant pfm Member

    Or if you want to test their limitations, you could try something like Bach's St Matthew Passion (e.g. Gardiner).;)
  16. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I haven’t tried any large scale classical yet, I’m sure they’ll sound very nice with it, but they are clearly dynamically limited (much more so than the JR149s). The interesting thing is how well they actually get away with that. I ended up putting the 149s in very briefly before coming down to watch a night of jazz on BBC4 as I wanted to quickly refresh my audio memory and also see how the 149s looked/sounded on the Falcon stands.

    I find the contrast fascinating given the only difference is cabinet and crossover. The 149 is physically a much bigger speaker, though how much difference there is in cabinet volume I don’t know (certainly some). With the 10 Watt Leak the 149s are way, way more dynamic, alive and punchy with deeper bass, really obviously so though I don’t think there is much difference in actual volume (I will assess this properly). Even so it certainly isn’t a clear win for the 149s, there is something really lovely about the LS3/5A midband and top, and the bass isn’t bad by any stretch, things like Donald Fagan’s Morph The Cat go way deeper than you’d expect such a tiny box to be able to deliver.

    If one were to plot a graph between a LS3/5A and a good sounding Linn Kan I’d probably put the JR149 as about the mid-point. It’s got most of the refinement and neutrality of the former, most of the punch, dynamics and life of the latter, and goes deeper in the bass than either of them. It doesn’t however totally dial out the ‘quack’ of the B110, whereas the 3/5A does. It just isn’t there on anything. The Kan wears the quack as a badge of honour! I suspect that different design approach to the B110 is the real heart of the three designs.

    I plan to stick the LS3/5As back in tomorrow and live with them for a few months as one gets a long way with incremental setup changes, and stand-change aside this system is voiced to get the best I can get from the 149s. I certainly intend to have them knocking around as a reference point for a couple of years and I’m curious to see exactly what I can get out of them with a little more effort and knowledge. I also want to throw a more powerful amp at them so I’ll give them a good go on the Verdier/303 at some point. They are clearly very good little speakers. As are the JR149s and S3/5Rs!
    337alant and ToTo Man like this.
  17. mandryka

    mandryka pfm Member

  18. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    It isn’t as simple as that as a lot of a JR149 isn’t actual cabinet volume. The aluminium cylinder is much smaller in all dimensions than the overall size specs as one has to consider the lower alloy crossover container, the wooden top and bottom caps, the thick foam grilles, and the fact the ‘cylinder’ isn’t a cylinder as it has a flattened front for the drivers. I still suspect they have more internal volume than the LS3 5A, but certainly not by that much.


    The JR149 cabinet volume is entirely within the grille, and IIRC the grille is 12-15mm thick or so. Within that the alloy is very thin, probably 1.5mm or so, lined with dead-sheet and then foam. The LS3/5A cab is pretty substantial with a recessed baffle, so again doesn’t utilise all of its external dimensions by any stretch, plus there is a big crossover in there eating up air-space.
    mandryka likes this.
  19. TonyScarlett

    TonyScarlett pfm Member

    I seem to recall reading somewhere that the JR149 has a 10 litre cabinet but I don't recall where I read it so happy to be corrected.

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