Vintage Looks, Cutting Edge Tricks
When JBL launched the renewed classic, the L100, the brand knew that they were on to something good. Some years on now in 2023, the proof of the strength in retro revival is clearly visible everywhere. All kinds of items are reintroduced in celebration of its successful pasts. Whether its audio equipment, watches or even fashion, there is no denying the popularity in going retro. Continuing on this success, JBL has also produced the SA-750 which is a companion integrated to the L100 Classic (particularly the 75th Anniversary Edition).
Taking design cues from the SA-600 and SA-660, the SA-750 is a perfect marriage of old looks and new parts, culminating in a gorgeous 2 channel integrated amplifier. Slight changes are made particularly to the controls and the introduction of a display, but given that care was taken when making these changes, the amp doesn’t deviate too far from its predecessor.
The similarities end pretty quickly between the vintage and new amplifier as the SA-750 has the absolute latest in amplifier technology crammed into its beautiful chassis. In fact, the SA-750 shares its internals with the Arcam SA30 (both JBL and Arcam are after all a part of the same Parent company, Harman International). Among this is the utilization of a Class G architecture for the amplification. This design enables the SA-750 to output 120 watts per channel into 8 ohms and a solid 220 watts into 4 ohms.
Additionally, the amp also has a built in DAC and streamer functionality which supports Google Cast, Airplay 2, supports MQA and is a uPnP Streamer. The on-board DAC enables the unit to come equipped with 4 digital (2 optical / 2 coaxial) and 5 analog inputs. Interestingly there are dedicated inputs for both MM and MC cartridges so a dual turntable setup is not out of the question here. Honestly a dual turntable combo would look super cool paired to this amp and those gorgeous L100 speakers for the ultimate old school setup.
There is a USB type A connector round back that allows for storage drives to be hooked up as a source for saved digital music files. Accessibility to this content can be managed via the included remote. There is also a hardwired Lan connection to allow the system to connect to the home network but if your hard pressed to link it via cable, the SA-750 does allow for wireless connectivity.
A great addition to the JBL SA-750 feature list is the inclusion of Dirac Live room calibration. This facility allows the amp to adjust its signal output to maximize the connected speaker’s overall performance by applying filters to manage room modes or artefacts. The entire process is managed via the app used on a PC or Mac with measurements taken with the included microphone which connects via USB.
I didn’t really fiddle with Dirac in my test as I wanted to hear the true nature of the amplifier as is with a multitude of different speakers. When describing the performance of the JBL SA-750, words like powerful and exciting come to mind. The amp has a touch of warmth to its sound signature which blends well with the units looks and intended partner. It has great clarity all throughout the frequencies with great midrange performance, perfect for vocals and string instruments.
Speaking of which, though the amp was designed to match with the L100 aesthetically, the unit actually plays pretty nicely with most speakers. I threw a variety of speakers into the mix from my KEF LS50, to the JBL 4309 and the Falcon LS3/5A to name a few. The amp has good control over any speaker thanks to its stable power output. The power on tap doesn’t make the amp scream but maintains a stable output level throughout the range at any volume. So, if your either listening at low or high levels, you should be treated to a pretty linear experience.
Operating the JBL SA-750 is a rather cool experience, from the toggle switch to power on the unit, the light up hazard symbol both on the power indicator and the main display. The knobs for volume and input selection have a great look and feel, though I do wish the volume knob was on the right. Even the clicky, springy response of the toggle switches just feel as premium as it looks.
If you’re a JBL fan, an owner of a pair of L100 classics, or just someone looking to have good sound with retro looks, then the JBL SA-750 is an amplifier that needs to be on your radar. Its included feature set should keep you satisfied for a pretty long time too. The JBL SA-750 retails for RM 16,200 and is sold by AV Designs Sdn Bhd.
For more information do contact AV Designs at 03-62411237.