Australian Hi-Fi

Classic roster

- The new JBL Classic Series will be available later this year, with exact Australian pricing and availabili­ty to be confirmed.

JBL hasn’t wasted any time this year so far, having already announced a new subwoofer, a Bluetooth turntable, a pair of streaming speakers… oh, and an entire line-up of hi-fi electronic­s. The all-new JBL Classic Series comprises the SA550 integrated amplifier, MP350 hi-res music streamer, the TT350 turntable (when announced, it was the company’s first-ever record player!) and a CD350 CD player. Yes, a new CD player!

These electronic­s echo the modern-retro visual design seen in the limited-edition SA750 integrated amplifier (which launched in 2021 to celebrate JBL’s 75th anniversar­y), and join the L100 and L52 Classic speakers in the company's growing heritage range.

Inspired by the JBL SA600 amplifier from the 1960s, the Classic Series combines this retro design with thoroughly modern engineerin­g.

The components feature natural walnut wood veneers (the same used for the Classic speakers) and machined aluminium controls and faceplates, while under the hood are the latest hi-res digital and analogue audio technologi­es designed to deliver “an unmatched listening experience”. We don’t have a full picture of each component yet — the Classic lineup won’t be available until later in the year, so more details will be up for grabs in the coming months — but JBL hasn’t been overly coy about what to expect.

Starting with the turntable, the TT350 Classic is a direct-drive design with a die-cast aluminium platter and natural walnut-veneered chassis. The S-shaped curved aluminium tonearm comes pre-fitted with a “highqualit­y” Audio-Technica moving-magnet cartridge in a removable headshell (the TT350 also lets you adjust the vertical tracking angle if you’re upgrading to di™erent a cartridge).

Naturally, it can play at 33 1/3 and 45rpm speeds, while adjustable damped feet help reduce vibration and make up for any uneven surface you may be forced to put it on.

The CD350 Classic, meanwhile, features a “robust” tray-loading mechanism and USB-A input, with an internal DAC capable of delivering what JBL claims is bit-perfect sound. The player supports a decent variety of playback formats — CD, CD-R and CD-RW (but no SACD, sadly), as well as FLAC, WAV, MP3, AAC and WMA files through the 24-bit/96kHz-supporting USB. Outputs include RCA, optical and coaxial.

Like the anniversar­y SA750 amplifier, the SA550 Classic integrated delivers Class G amplificat­ion with high power output and “ultra-low distortion”. It also features the latest aptX Adaptive Bluetooth codec for o¨ine wireless streaming.

The SA550 o™ers 90W of power per channel into eight ohms, or 150W into four ohms. It has four analogue inputs (three pairs of RCA and an MM/MC phono stage) plus three digital inputs (an optical and two coaxials). Hi-res audio support extends up to 24-bit/192kHz, too.

Last but not least, the MP350 Classic music streamer similarly supports hi-res audio up to 24-bit/192kHz. You can stream music from phones and tablets via Google Chromecast or AirPlay 2, while Spotify and Tidal subscriber­s can play and control their streaming directly from the services' apps thanks to Spotify Connect and Tidal Connect. The MP350 is also Roon Ready.

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