As some of you might know, I was searching for a replacement for my S26’s that had been doing surround duty in my system. I looked at a number of brands and configurations, as well as bi-pole/dipole speakers. Either I couldn't justify the cost of these speakers, or they just didn’t live up to my expectations.
Enter the JBL Venue Balcony. I know that they are not in the same league as the Axiom QS8 or any number of the “higher-end” surrounds I looked at, but they are doing the job quite nicely in my setup, at 1/3 of the cost.
The Balcony is a 2-way wall mount/bookshelf, direct radiating speaker. Given that is has only a 4” woofer and a ¾” tweeter, it is really only suited for surround duty.
Though similar in construction to the E10, there are some distinct differences. The enclosure is longer by 1” and the speakers are vented out the top. As the drivers and crossovers are the same, I can only figure that the venting and the larger enclosure account for the lower frequency response (65 Hz-20 kHz on the Balcony vs. 75 Hz-20 kHz on the E10).
The front baffle is painted to resemble carbon fiber composite and has a silver grille.
Since the Balcony is intended to be a wall mount, it has 4-way binding posts (despite what the manual says). No room for banana plugs here, though spades would probably work. I am using bare wire.
Keyhole mounts come already installed. Wall bumpers are included as well.
I’ve been listening to them for a little over 4 months now and I have to say that I am impressed. They are far less localized then my S26’s. Pan and sweep effects appear to go right over my head. This may have more to do with the placement than the speaker, but I never had a wall mount option with my old speakers, so it’s hard to tell.
I have recently gotten into multi channel audio, and I can say that the Balcony does a great job there as well. They integrate much better with my mains than I could have ever expected.
So what does all this mean? Over all I am very satisfied with my new Balcony’s. Good construction, easy mounting, and that familiar “JBL sound” all combine to make a fine surround speaker. For the price, they are hard to beat