JBL HDI-3600 Loudspeaker Review

Build Quality
PRICE $3,800

Impressive looks and build quality
Plays loud effortlessly
Wide imaging capability
Requires careful amp-matching
Fussy about setup and placement

JBL's upscale-looking HDI-3600 tower speaker delivers effortless, fatigue-free sound.

When I first ran across JBL's HDI series loudspeakers at the 2019 CEDIA Expo, I was struck by the line's upscale looks and substantial build quality. The brand's new speakers seemed more akin to the Revel models also being shown in parent-company Harman's sprawling booth than the budget-priced JBL Stage series towers Sound & Vision had reviewed earlier that year. The similarity is hardly an accident: The HDI series was designed at the same state- of-the-art engineering facility in Northridge, California that Revel products emerge from, and in such an environment, inter-brand synergy is bound to happen. No matter what the backstory, JBL's latest speakers were radiating serious high-end mojo, and I was eager to get my hands on a set for listening.

The speaker JBL sent me, the HDI-3600, is the smaller of two tower offerings in the HDI Series, which includes bookshelf and center channel speakers and a 12-inch subwoofer for multichannel systems. At $3,800/pair, the HDI-3600 is certainly priced more like a Revel, but also has the design chops to back that up. The 2.5-way tower features a 1-inch V-shaped compression driver, a technology trickled down from JBL's professional speaker line that's meant to increase power handling, embedded in a High-Definition Imaging horn. Three 6.5-inch Aluminum Matrix cone woofers are used, and there are dual flared ports located at the lower section of the tower's rear.


The HDI-3600's substantial, nearly 62-pound weight can be attributed to the 0.75-inch MDF used for its cabinet, which, according to JBL, is also heavily braced. The enclosure's curved edges enhance its visual appeal, while a matching gloss black plinth with sturdy rubber feet at the base provides a firm foundation (metal spikes for on-carpet installation are provided). Rear-panel speaker wire connections consist of two sets of gold-plated multiway binding posts with removable jumpers for bi-wiring/ bi-amping. Finish options include automotive-grade painted high gloss black or furniture-grade satin walnut and gray oak wood veneers, all with magnetically attached black cloth grilles.

While JBL spec's the HDI-3600's sensitivity at 90dB, its 4 ohm impedance means you'll need to be mindful of the amplifier you choose to pair it with. For my evaluation, I primarily used a 2 x 150-watt Hegel Music Systems integrated amplifier, but also briefly swapped in a Legacy Audio amp capable of delivering 660 watts-per-channel into 4 ohms (more on that in the Performance section). JBL cites frequency response for the HDI-3600 as 38Hz - 30kHz (-6dB). Given those specs, you may want to consider using a subwoofer, though I decided to go sub-less for my listening.

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