Stop. Just stop. Because we found the only wireless speaker system you will ever need. To that effect, the JBL Authentics is simply stunning. Available in two models, the L8 and the L16, the L8 sports a black glossy wooden enclosure with 120 watts of power, while the L16 model boasts an all powerful 300 watts and a beautiful walnut-veneered wooden enclosure. These babies are giving high-end wireless speakers systems a run for their money.
Right off the bat, looking at the Authentics reminded us of picking at dad’s foam grilles on his JBL Century L100 speakers back in the 80’s. Dad was never too happy about that. Over the years, the foam grilles were replaced several times and believe it or not – the speakers still work till this very day.
So when we saw the return of this retro-chic look as JBL’s latest wireless speaker offering, we just wept a little. While the JBL Century L100 could be considered still one of the greatest speakers to ever be produced, the Authentics is not a far cry from doing its ancestor proud. To that effect, it’s future-proof in almost ever way, the Authentics L8 supports AirPlay, AUX, Bluetooth, NFC, WPS, and DLNA connectivity. It also charges your media device via USB – or for Qi compatible devices you can charge them wirelessly via the speaker.
The design of the speaker is smart and minimalist – just one cord is all this device needs. So for those worrying about cord clutter, there no need to worry because there is none – but just a simple electrical cord. The top of the speaker has a cubby which can hide your Smartphone or media device and its respective cables. Everything remains out of sight, maintaining a minimal footprint that blends into any room or surroundings.
There are also two silver dials that are the main controls for the speaker. One dial controls all the connectivity options. The other dial, controls the volume and the power. When inactive, the speaker will go into standby with a neat amber hue.
The sound of the L8 Authentic is crisp and clean. This is a balanced sound that is big and powerful. If you really want to hear what this speaker can do, play your best and highest bit rate files. Otherwise, you are just wasting your time and losing out on what this speaker is capable of. In particular, acoustic guitars and Jazz just swell your room. Proper positioning of the speaker is also ideal for the best direction of sound. However, the design allows for the speaker to fill the room with music. This is simply a stunning piece of audio equipment. 120 Watts may not seem too powerful for audiophiles, but for a New York apartment it is plenty powerful enough and fills the room wide and far.
Don’t dare call the Authentics L8 just a Bluetooth wireless speaker. This is no run-of-the-mill wireless speaker – this is a full fledged sound system that takes wireless systems to the next level. And to top it all off, it boasts a lux design that pays tribute to its JBL roots. Meanwhile, for audio junkies, it transforms your wireless music into something so juicy that you just want to eat away at it, bit rate by bit rate. And For those who hate wires but love music – this system has it all. It has a great look, sounds great, and it will take you only minutes to get it setup. There are no stereo instructions needed with this beast – just some great music and a cocktail. The L8 Authentics retails for $599.95 and the L16 retails for $999.95.
The Good: Stunning retro-chic design that pays homage to the JBL Century L100 with its foam grilles and wooden enclosure. The sound is silky smooth and powerful. Its design makes it ideal for any room or setting. Just one cord and that’s it – the rest is up to you. Swappable foam grilles. Packs in every tech feature you would want in a modern day all-in-one speaker system.
The Bad: You need to download the JBL App to first setup the speaker for Wi-Fi connectivity and unlock some of the other specialty options – including the equalizer and the Clari-Fi (Signal Doctor in the App) features.