A quick glance at JBL's ES10 on-wall loudspeaker is enough to conjure up images and memories of some of the brand's more iconic past efforts; efforts such as the C60 and some of their other well known studio monitors. I don't consider myself to be a JBL
aficionado but I am a fan, for my first home theater years ago utilized JBL loudspeakers, albeit professional theater monitors (I worked at a movie theater) but JBLs nonetheless. Additional Resources
• Read more on-wall speaker reviews
by Home Theater Review's staff.
• Search for more architectural speaker solutions in our In-Wall Speaker Review section
• Find a subwoofer to pair with the ES10 in our Subwoofer Review section
The ES10 is a three-way on-wall loudspeaker that retails for $329 a pair and is sold direct with free shipping via JBL's own website. They're a rectangular affair measuring eight inches tall by 12 inches wide and five and a half inches deep. Despite being somewhat bulky by on-wall standards, the ES10's rounded edges and aluminum colored accents dress up this otherwise monolithic monitor. I use the term monitor because the ES10 can just as easily be placed on a stand, shelf or better yet desktop if an on-wall setup simply isn't in the cards. The ES10 come in three finish options: black, beech and cherry. Behind the grill rests a four-inch low-frequency driver mated to a three quarter inch titanium high-frequency driver and a three quarter inch ultra-high frequency driver. The ES10's reported frequency response is 65Hz to 40kHz with an efficiency of 86dB into an eight-Ohm load. JBL recommends that you power the ES10s using no more than 100 Watts, which puts them in the ballpark of most every modern AV receiver
or budget integrated amp
. Also, due to their limited low end ability you'll probably need to augment their bass performance with a subwoofer
or two. Thankfully JBL has a few to offer should you want to keep things in the family.
In terms of sound the ES10 are decidedly JBL, possessing the house sound that is punchy and dynamic with an emphasis on rock and roll. Not that the ES10s can't play other genres of music but I wouldn't classify them as being the subtlest of loudspeakers. While this might not bode well for fans of classical music, it will suit fans of popular music and Hollywood blockbusters quite well. The ES10's midrange performance is full and forward but not aggressive. The high frequencies are largely smooth with a touch of airiness that is nice, though at the extremes things do flatten a bit. Bass is round and punchy though surprisingly not that deep; it serves mostly to lend a hand to the ES10's lower midrange, which without it would most likely seem anemic and too forward. Anyone contemplating buying a pair of ES10s should definitely consider a capable subwoofer as part of your purchase. Dynamically the ES10s are lively and in terms of soundstage they're respectable but by no means class leading. Still they do possess a fairly solid center image, which is nice.
Read about the high points and low points of the JBL ES10 on-wall on Page 2.