JBL L166 Horizon speakers circa 1976 - Anyone familiar?

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Just fishing here... I have in my possession a very used pair of JBL L166 Horizon 3-way speakers from about 1976. Anyone here know anything about these or have any interest in them? I used them for about 3 years from say 1997 - 1999 to mix a record (VERY long-term project) and they sounded amazing, but since that time I've had to keep them in the garage and they've suffered a bit. The cabinets are intact but the drivers have gotten a bit dry-rotted; in fact I gently touched one of the mids recently and it actually split with the touch, so they'd need to be re-coned. The woofers didn't seem to be in very good shape either. Hated to keep them there, but the family wouldn't allow them anywhere else (they take up some space).

Here's a page showing all the info I've been able to find about them:


If I recall, the woofers are 12", mids 5", 1" tweeter. They have pots to adjust the mid and high driver levels to tweak them for your room or tastes. They never sounded truly smooth or crystal clear like today's finer speakers, but they were LOUD, accurate, a touch gritty (the classic JBL sound), but powerful. Bass response was crazy when they were properly positioned in the room -- I did NOT need a sub with these! Made awesome big monitors for mixing.

From what I understand, these had an MSRP of close to $1000 new back in '76. I spoke with a JBL authorized repair shop and they told me all the parts to restore these to functionally new condition are still available from JBL, though they're not especially cheap. Would cost several hundred to recone all the drivers, plus I'm not 100% sure of the condition of the crossovers. They worked when I used them with a bit of crackle when you tweak the pots, but when left alone they worked nicely. I wanted to restore them, all new parts, refinish the cabinets, etc. but I just don't have the money and if I did, I'd have no place to keep or use them. They need a big room.

The repair shop went on to tell me these speakers (actually many old JBLs) have an almost cult-like following. Apparently there are people who will travel hundreds of miles to pick up old pairs of these and other vintage JBLs and will pay through the nose for them. Since I can't afford to restore them and really don't have a use for them right now, I thought I'd ask here, see if anyone knows any more about them or might even be interested in buying them. I know even in their current condition they're worth money; I just saw an ebay auction where the grills alone sold for $125!!! They have these funky grills that are supposed to disperse the sound or something, as you can see in the pics on that web site (personally I always mixed on them with the grills removed). One of my grills is still in great shape, the other is falling off its frame a bit but I'm sure I could easily glue it back together.

If anyone has any thoughts on these I'd love to hear them. Even if you're not interested in buying them, maybe you could suggest an alternative source for parts (xovers, drivers, etc., other than official JBL parts) that would fit these and sound at least as good as the originals? It would be sweet to get these beasts slammin again, even if I can't really use them in my house right now.


I'd love to have them!

JBL speakers from mid-seventies (and earlier) are probably the most sought after speakers of all.

They have excellent collector value.

Unfortunately they all suffer from the same illness, foam surrounds desintegrate, cones break, etc.

My very best advice is to keep them, seal them in plastic bags (with some silica gel to absorb humidity) and sit on them until you have the money to properly restore them.

Don't worry about Xover parts, and noisy L-pads, it's easy to fix.

These speakers will increase in value over the next few years, especially in far east markets. JBL was absolute KING in early 70's, had great products, great quality, unique sound and a real aura around their fame.

Think about this:
American muscle cars from 60s and 70s (such as Javelin, Charger, Camaro) can easily fetch over 50000 dollars at auctions...

Classic British motercycles (BSA, Triumph, Norton) from early sixties can reach up to $20000...

JBL Parangon can also reach up and over $6000

In fact, I have two advices:

1. Sell them to me for close to zero, so I will restore them, listen to them for a couple years and then sell them for a bundle in a few years to some rich chinese collector who can only dream about that classic californian sound.

2. Keep them, restore them, listen to them for a couple years and then sell them for a bundle in a few years to some rich chinese collector who can only dream about that classic californian sound!
Oh, keep them original!!

One more thing, DO NOT change drivers or any parts in them, they will loose all of their value (and believe me, they do have value).

Proper restoration is the key. Fit only genuine JBL replacements (foams, cones, etc.). You can upgrade wires, Xover parts, but keep the original parts somewhere.

Only you know if they can be restored to pristine (is the cabinet OK? what about small parts, stickers, screws, grill fasteners, etc.).

Again, if you do not have the money right now, wait until you can afford the right stuff. Also remember that more and more people from all parts of the world shop on the internet for hard to find gear (such as vintage JBL). Also remember that it's absolutely impossible to recreate what you have on your hands and that the demand will skyrocket in coming years.
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