Jamo C 809 Floor-Standing Speakers September, 2007 Matthew Abel
What is it about Danes and loudspeakers? Between Dynaudio, Bang & Olufsen, and Jamo, it seems that this small Scandinavian country has a disproportionately large number of high quality loudspeaker manufacturers.
I guess there must be something in the herring.
However, there is nothing fishy about the Jamo C 809 speakers that are the subject of this review. Jamo, which was founded in 1968, promises a mix of quality sound and thoughtful design with its corporate motto of "Danish Sound Design".
The C 809 is a three-way floor-standing bass-reflex loudspeaker and at $1,998/pr is the flagship of the Jamo C80 series.
The C80 series also includes two smaller floor-standing speakers, the C807 and C805, a monitor, the C803, a center channel, the C80 CEN, a surround speaker, the C80 SUR and a subwoofer, the C80 SUB.
All of the C80 series models feature a number of interesting Jamo driver technologies in a coherent cabinet style. The tweeter in the C 809 is a 1" silk dome that features DTT and Waveguide technology. "DTT" stands for decoupled tweeter technology and decouples the tweeter from the front baffle to increase high frequency detail.
Jamo's Waveguide technology
is used to improve the uniformity of treble dispersion. The two woofers and
midrange of the C 809 are 7" Hard Conical Cone drivers. These woofers are
made from paper sandwiched between two layers of fiberglass, which,
according to Jamo, give excellent rigidity and material uniformity. The most
distinctive feature of the woofer is its shiny aluminum Metal Centre-Plug
which replaces a traditional dust cap and lightens the cone of the woofer.
All of this driver technology is mounted in a monolithic black enclosure measuring almost four feet high. The enclosure has subtly curved sidewalls that are both its visual signature and adds to its overall rigidity.
The design of the C 809 is also highlighted by piano black caps on top and small protruding feet at the base to add stability. It is an attractive speaker, but I'm not entirely convinced it is very representative of the Danish design heritage. The overall design is just too heavy, which I will admit has a lot to do with its black on black color scheme. (So, get the Dark Apple finish instead.)
The photo below shows one of the feet with a spike attached, resting on a metal disc. This is for use with wooden floors. The protruding feet help to isolate the enclosure from the floor.
I was also disappointed that the speakers don't look particularly good with their grilles off, which is a shame since the center plugs do look quite nice. Again, the Dark Apple finish might alleviate this problem.
The overall build quality and fit and finish of the Jamo C 809s are excellent, and the bi-wire/bi-amp binding posts are enormous and solid.
I began my listening evaluation of the C 809 with Sufjan Steven's album, Avalanche. This is a wonderful collection of richly orchestrated songs that were left over from his epic album, Illinois. The Jamos made this music a delight to listen to with a palpable smoothness to the sound and a stable and well defined soundstage. At times I felt like the music might have deserved a slightly more forward presentation, but overall I liked what the C 809s were doing.
Next, I moved onto Yo La
Tengo's "I'm Not Afraid of You" and "I Will Beat Your Ass". The warmth and
smoothness of the C 809s worked wonderfully on this disc, yielding beautiful
vocals and an excellent listening experience.
From these first few discs, it was pretty obvious that the C 809 could handle the lighter music with aplomb, but with all of that cabinet volume and the dual woofers, I also wanted to see if the Jamos could rock out. To test this, I fired up Bloc Party's latest disc, Weekend in the City. Bloc Party's music generally has a strong rhythmic drive, and the C 809s kept the beat going in a serious way. The bass was fantastic, both tight and powerful. I was most impressed when I started to crank the C 809s to live performance levels, and they maintained their balanced and smooth presentation.
Obviously, I was going to need something more drastic to give the Jamos a workout, so I went to my library and came back with Jay Z's classic Black album. Putting the volume at stupid levels on "H.O.V.A." served only to put a smile on my face as the C 809s slammed home some seriously impressive bass.
After making sure I wasn't violating any OSHA regulations for noise exposure, I came back to more serious music with John Adams's Dharma at Big Sur. The C 809s produced a wonderful rich orchestral sound with warm, harmonically rich strings. However, like the Sufjan Stevens disc, I felt that the sound could have been slightly more forward and open in the high frequencies.
I completed my listening evaluation by bringing out my old favorite, "Fantasia on a Dargason" from Gustav Holst's Suites for Band. The infamous Telarc bass drum was in full effect on the C 809s, and the overall coherence from top to bottom was excellent. I felt like I wasn't getting the last nth degree of detail and openness from the C 809s, but ultimately I felt they did a very good job.
Overall, the Jamo C 809s are powerful and dynamic, with a tonality that tends toward the warmer side of things. The C 809s worked very well with rock music and were always impressive when the music tended towards large dynamics or deep bass. Additionally, the warmth of the Jamos gave the various music genres I listened to a pleasant and enjoyable sound. Finally, the Jamo C 809s are a very reasonably priced set of speakers for the level of performance and design one gets and deserve your serious consideration for either music or home theater applications.
- Matthew Abel -
© Copyright 2007 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity