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JBL Control 1 Bookshelf Power and Compact Size Speakers

The Control 1 Pro features a professional crossover network coupled with professional drivers making it ideal for even the most demanding near-field audio applications. The Control 1 Pro’s updated crossover network design provides steeper crossover slopes for exceptional sonic performance and improved consistency throughout the listening area.

JBL Control 1

The included wall-mount bracket enables the unit to be secured against a wall or other flat surface. Moreover, the rugged molded enclosure houses magnetically shielded transducers, making the Control 1 Pro well-suited for use with video and computer monitors, or other magnetically sensitive equipment.

JBL Control 1 Overview

JBL studio monitors are famous for their ‘forward voicing’ characteristic which gives them a bright and punchy sound that helps ‘project’ the music into the listening environment.

This same quality is evident in the Control 1’s, which should help continuity in the monitoring situation when switching between main and near-field monitors.

JBL Control 1

How do they sound? Well, the sound produced by the Control 1 speakers is indeed marvelously clear and, with a remarkable 150-watt power-handling capability and integral protection circuit, there’s little danger of pushing them into distortion.

Their sound is spacious, open and fresh, with the stereo imaging and decay of reverbs, for example, remaining particularly intimate.

Overall, their sound begs comparison with that obtained from listening to music on Walkman-type headphones. In other words, it’s incredibly good!

Design of JBL Control 1

In terms of design, JBL took a simple route. They didn’t even bother with MDF, but they have rather packed everything up in a solid plastic chassis. Even with the grille on, you can still see just what kind of hardware was crammed inside this tiny monitor.

Being passive in nature, you won’t really see any knobs or buttons cluttering the surfaces of the speaker. JBL went with rounded edges, giving the Control 1 Pro a more tamed appearance.

The entire speaker is black, which makes it more or less neutral in terms of how it fits into different environments.

A great thing about having a compact set of speakers is that they are easy to position in smaller rooms while you don’t have to take too much space on your table.

Naturally, it’s much better to get larger, MDF based cabinets if possible. However, we need to keep in mind that JBL Control 1 Pro fills a very niche portion of the market.

Features of JBL Control 1

The essence of what JBL wanted to do with Control 1 Pros is to pack as much hardware as possible inside a small chassis. If you really think about it, there are much larger MDF cabinets on the market which have smaller transducers inside. JBL went with a 5.25“ woofer and a .75 polycarbonate dome tweeter.

Said tweeter is offset to the side in order to make room for a small but effective front-firing port. Here’s the best part, though.

These speakers offer 150 Watts of power with a max SPL set at 108 dB continuous. That’s a pretty hot output for something of this size.

Both transducers are magnetically shielded while Control 1 Pro also come with JBL’s SonicGuard overload protection.

They even went so far as to include a fairly intricate crossover network that kicks in at around 4.2 kHz. Lastly, input connectors come in form of spring loaded terminals, just as you’d expect.

JBL Control 1 Performance

In order to fully appreciate JBL’s Control 1 Pros, we have to preface our next paragraph with a few facts. The size of the cab matters, as does the material. These are so tiny compared to the size of the transducers, while the cabs are made of plastics.

With that said, you can squeeze quite a transparent performance out of JBL’s Control 1 Pro. Trebles are much better compared to the previous version, thanks to the new and improved tweeter.

JBL Control 1

Compared to its immediate competition, the results are pretty impressive. However, if you are after a professional sound that is fully transparent, you’ll have to go a few price categories higher.

The overall impression we got from JBL’s Control 1 Pros is that they are a niche tool for a niche purpose. However, even if you put them next to more conventional speakers, they will perform great.


Sound Quality of JBL Control 1

Bass: Just about right if you’re not a bass-head. It’s certainly not floor shattering, but decent-enough for Jazz and those genres of music that mellows the low-frequency sounds.

It’s quite punchy for my listening preferences. Negatives: The bass gets boomy on bad recordings and gets uncontrolled. This characteristic didn’t change when paired with my old Onkyo home theater or to the Marantz PM5005 integrated amplifier.

Voices: Very warm and expressive. There’s a nice boldness to the voice that I enjoy. Especially, when listening to The Carpenters.

JBL Control 1

Karen’s voice reverberates, accentuating the overall softness of the music. Chitra and Malaysia Vasudevan’s voices glitter in Then kizhakku cheemayile and so does Kimbra’s in  Love in High Places.

Treble: BRIGHT! Not sure if this is because of the Titanium Laminate tweeters, but it’s noticeably bright. But wait, it’s no problem when paired to a warm amplifier like the Marantz.

Even with the Onkyo AVR, though characterized by thin sound, the treble wasn’t bright enough to create fatigue. So, you may want to factor in the brightness when matching these bookshelves to an amplifier.

What are the Features

  • 150 Watts Continuous Power Handling
  • Professional Drivers and Crossover Network
  • Included Mounting Bracket
  • Transparent and Faithful Sonic Performance
  • Magnetically Shielded Transducers
  • SonicGuard Overload Protection
  • Available in Black or White Finishes

Build Quality and Impressions

Fantastic! From a distance, these speakers seem plasticky — not the visually appealing types even after removing the speaker grills.

However, there’s a good amount of heft when you hold or lift the speaker with one hand. It’s well-padded with rubberized cladding all around.

There is hardly any hollow sound if you knock the speaker enclosure. The only disappointment is with the clip-type speaker wire terminal points; ‘always prefer the screw-types.

By and by, a rugged pair of wall-mount brackets are included in the box.Very good value for money for casual stereo listening.

JBL Control 1

I believe these would make a perfect pair when wired to your kitchen or porch where you don’t need that deep, rumbling bass, but just the clear bold mid-range. If your amplifier suits an A-B speaker setup, go for it and wire these to your bedroom for some nice late-night Jazz.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are they available in white?

The Control 23, 23T, 25, 25T, 28 and 28T are ALL available in white. Add “-WH” to the model number to signify a white unit (such as Control 25-WH)

Which model do I order for 100V or 70V applications?

 The same “T” models work on BOTH 100V and 70.7V distributed lines. Regardless of whether you use 100V or 70.7V distributed line systems, you use the same speaker. On the Control 25T and 28T, there is a switch to select the power taps. The Control 23T has a single power tap

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