The CI category has come out of the pandemic with a lot of momentum and it has become clear that loudspeaker brands that were already strong players in the segment are being aggressive with new in-wall, in-ceiling, and outdoor loudspeaker models.
At the 2022 CEDIA Expo, Origin Acoustics, Focal, KEF, Theory Audio, Pro Audio Technology, and Harman/JBL showed off dozens of new models in the respective categories.
In this article, we provide an overview of the new JBL Stage 2 Architectural Series and Stage XD Series All-Weather Loudspeakers. The new speaker line consists of eight models designed for configurations for in-wall and in-ceiling installations as well as two models suitable for outdoor use.
Stage 2 Architectural Series
The JBL Stage 2 Architectural Series Loudspeakers are the company’s most affordable in-wall/in-ceiling models. They’re designed to be visually inconspicuous while delivering clear and accurate sound for indoor music or home theater applications.
Shared features include:
- Rigid baffle design with acoustic smoothing provides improved transducer integration, while HARMAN’s target curve acoustic performance delivers smooth, accurate sound over a large listening area.
- On the woofer side of things, polycellulose cone woofers, premium air-core inductors, and mylar cap capacitor crossover network components are used.
- The Stage 2 Architectural Series features paintable, Zero Bezel magnetically attached grilles. This provided a contemporary look that blends easily into any décor, while the XL-2 Mounting System allows for quick installation and is compatible with up to 2-inch/50-millimeter material thickness.
- The Stage 260CSA and 280CSA feature a square footprint and a baffle with the drivers positioned at a 15-degree angle, allowing the em to focus the sound at the listening position. CSA stands for “Ceiling Squared Angle”.
- Preconstruction brackets are available for all models, and square grille accessory kits are available for the Stage 260C, Stage 280C, and Stage 260CDT round in-ceiling models.
Here is a list of models in the Architectural Series with some specifications and prices. The speakers can be purchased through authorized Harman/JBL dealers.
Tip: All speakers in the following chart have an 8-ohm impedance. Tap on the model number to dig deeper into additional product features and specifications not shown.
|Model||Tweeter||Woofer||Crossover Frequency||Frequency Response
|Stage 260W||1″ (25mm) Aluminum dome with High-Definition Imaging (HDI™) Waveguide||6.5″ (165mm) Polycellulose cone woofer||1900Hz||50Hz-25kHz||$150|
|Stage 280W||1″ (25mm) Aluminum dome with High-Definition Imaging (HDI™) horn||8″ (200mm) Polycellulose cone woofer||1700Hz||42Hz-25kHz||$225|
|Stage 250WL||1″ (25mm) Aluminum dome with High-Definition Imaging (HDI™) Waveguide||Dual 5.25″ (130mm) Polycellulose cone woofers||2100Hz||52Hz-25kHz||$250|
|Stage 260C||1″ (25mm) Aluminum dome with Acoustic Lens||6.5″ (165mm) Polycellulose cone woofer||3000Hz||50Hz-25kHz||$150|
|Stage 280C||1″ (25mm) Aluminum dome with Acoustic Lens||8″ (200mm) Polycellulose cone woofer||3400Hz||42Hz-25kHz||$225|
|Stage 260CDT||Dual 3/4″ (20mm) Aluminum dome with Acoustic Lens||Dual VC 6.5″ (165mm) Polycellulose cone woofer||2900Hz||50Hz-25kHz||$175|
|Stage 260CSA||1″ (25mm) Aluminum dome with Acoustic Lens||6.5″ (165mm) Polycellulose cone woofer||2800Hz||50Hz-25kHz||$150|
|Stage 280CSA||1″ (25mm) Aluminum dome with Acoustic Lens||8″ (200mm) Polycellulose cone woofer||2900Hz||42Hz-25kHz||$225|
Stage XD All-Weather Speakers
In addition to the Stage 2 Architectural speakers, the JBL Stage XD Series takes things outdoors.
The Stage XD Series are all-weather loudspeakers that combine patented JBL acoustic technologies with IP67-rated weatherized waterproof enclosures to bring JBL sound outdoors for year-round entertainment.
One distinguishing feature of the Stage XD is that they are designed to be repairable.
The XD-5 and XD-6 are designed for outdoor locations where protection from the environment is needed. However, their stylish design and mounting flexibility also make them equally at home indoors for a variety of applications.
Wall mounts, Zero Bezel magnetically attached grilles, and a rotatable logo are provided for horizontal and vertical applications. The speakers are offered in both black and white finishes.
Just as with the previous speakers, contact an authorized dealer for purchase details.
Tip: Tap on the model number to dig deeper into product features and specifications.
|Model||Stage XD-6||Stage XD-5|
|Tweeter||1″ (25mm) Aluminum dome with High-Definition Imaging (HDI™) waveguide||1″ (25mm) Aluminum dome with High-Definition Imaging (HDI™) waveguide|
|Woofer||6.5″ (165mm) Polypropylene Graphite Filled Cone Woofer||5.25″ (130mm) Polypropylene Graphite Filled Cone Woofer|
|Impedance||4 ohms||4 ohms|
|Sensitivity ([email protected])||88dB||86dB|
|Recommended Amplifier Power (RMS)||20-100W||20-100W|
|Frequency Response (-6dB on Axis)||55Hz-25kHz||75Hz-25kHz|
|Operating Temperature||32° F (0° C) to 113° F (45° C)||32° F (0° C) to 113° F (45° C)|
According to Jim Garrett, Senior Director, Product Strategy and Planning, HARMAN Luxury Audio: “Designed to be heard and not seen, the Stage 2 Architectural Series provides high-performance sound at an affordable price point to meet the budget requirements of any installation. And by offering one of the highest levels of ingress protection available, not only are Stage XD Series loudspeakers built for prolonged exposure to harsh conditions but they’re also designed to come apart and undergo repair in case of damage, instead of finding their way to the landfill.”
Brian Mitchell, eCoustics Founder got a brief listen to some of these models during a Pre-CEDIA tour at Harman Headquarters in Northridge, CA. He said, “Audio shoppers shouldn’t confuse JBL’s low price points with low quality. The JBL Architectural Series in-wall/in-ceiling speakers can conceal a true Dolby Atmos speaker system in your room for under $2,000. Meanwhile, the Stage XD all-weather speakers can throw a long soundstage while maintaining clarity that’s ideal for backyard events.”
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