JBL vs Kenwood – Which Brand Is Better?

Norvan Martin
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JBL and Kenwood are two renowned and well-respected brands in the audio industry. While JBL produces high-quality speakers, soundbars, headphones, and subwoofers, Kenwood is more concerned with car audio entertainment systems.

In this article, we will cover a general overview of both brands, looking specifically at sound quality, durability, price, and so on. Of course, each brand has different devices at different price points, however, we will compare them as closely as we can.

JBL is known for its high-quality speakers and headphones, while Kenwood is a well-respected brand in the audio industry known for its wide range of high-quality audio products for a variety of applications.

JBL vs Kenwood Comparison Table

CriteriaJBLKenwood
Brand ReputationGlobal brand known for professional audio equipment, including speakers, headphones, and sound reinforcement systems.Well-known for car audio systems, home audio, and a range of consumer electronics, including car stereos and amplifiers.
Sound QualityEmphasizes clear and powerful sound reproduction, suitable for a variety of applications, including studio monitoring and live sound.Known for delivering quality sound in car audio systems and home entertainment products, often with customizable settings.
Build Quality/DesignFeatures robust construction and ergonomic designs, often with a focus on durability for both portable and installed applications.Emphasizes durable construction in car audio products, with attention to user-friendly interfaces and sleek designs.
Product RangeOffers a wide range of audio products, including studio monitors, portable speakers, and professional sound systems.Specializes in car audio systems, home audio receivers, amplifiers, and other consumer electronics.
PricingVaried pricing, offering options for different budgets, with both entry-level and high-end professional audio products.Varied pricing, catering to different budgets in the car audio and home entertainment markets.
FeaturesKnown for incorporating advanced technologies, such as high-performance transducers and proprietary waveguide designs.Emphasizes features such as customizable sound settings, smartphone integration in car stereos, and user-friendly controls.

Before we continue, you can check out similar comparisons in the series:

Pros and Cons of JBL:

  • Pros: Known for producing a wide range of audio products, including speakers, headphones, and home theater systems. Many of their products are well-regarded for their sound quality and value for money.
  • Cons: Some users have reported issues with their devices’ audio cutting out, being muffled, or experiencing other issues.

Pros and Cons of Kenwood:

  • Pros: Known for producing a wide range of audio and video products, including speakers, headphones, and home theater systems. Many of their products are well-regarded for their sound quality and value for money.
  • Cons: Some users have reported issues with the functioning of some Kenwood systems. Often, Kenwood stereos require a reset to regain proper functioning.

Quick History

JBL Quick History

JBL was founded in 1946 by James Bullough Lansing just after World War II. It is headquartered in Los Angeles, California, USA. The company manufactures amplifiers, loudspeakers, and headphones with the JBL Professional LSR10S being one of its best-selling subs with a class D amp, among other features. It is currently owned by Harman International after its Vice President Bill Thomas sold it in 1969.

jbl logo

In the 1970s, JBL entered the studio industry and launched its new technologies academy of motion pictures’ first full-line portable system in the 1980s. Also, the company was the first to introduce titanium in high-frequency diaphragms.

Kenwood Quick History

Kenwood is an audio company that was established in Komagane City, Nagano Prefecture, Japan, in 1946 as the Kasuga Radio Co. Ltd. Kasuga invented the name Kenwood as a combination of “Ken” from Kenmore appliances and “Wood,” which stood for durability and also suggested a relation to Hollywood, California.

kenwood jvc

Kenwood became more popular than Trio. Trio then bought it in 1986 and renamed itself Kenwood. Kenwood produces speakers (including car stereos), amplifiers and subwoofers.

Sound Quality

JBL Sound Quality

JBL speakers tend to depict a neutral, balanced sound profile. Their bass-heavy audio profile makes them ideal for party and personal use, especially for those looking for deep bass to listen to modern pop and hip-hop music. The speakers are also loud with rich sound.

JBL Stereo

The speakers perform well in both high and low volumes. Built for DJs and other professionals, the speakers are tough and reliable. The Bluetooth speakers have a long battery life lasting 24 hours or more.

On the other hand, JBL headphones are packed with features that help them deliver a well-balanced sound that closely follows the Harman curve.

However, the design and fit of these headphones are not very comfortable. A top-of-the-range JBL could sound unique with the depth, power, and accuracy every listener appreciates!

Kenwood Sound Quality

Kenwood is very consistent in producing fairly average to good-quality sound regardless of the model. The vintage Kenwood speaker surrounds were built with urethane for optimal cone movement during sound production.

Kenwood DDX774

In general, their speakers are average in terms of sound. This is because many of them lack strong bass. However, the mids and highs tend to be ok.

Kenwood car stereos are particularly good and are some of the best and most popular on the market. This is because Kenwood stereos offer impressive sound quality, making them ideal for car audio systems.

The new Kenwood ODELIC SP0001 Glass speakers defy the old belief of wood-only speakers. The speakers themselves are made from an aluminum die-cast body to reduce unnecessary vibrations.

Features

JBL Features

JBL manufactures futuristic speakers to ensure users can easily fit them into their modern home systems. Bluetooth speakers and subwoofers from JBL, for instance, come with the following features:

  • Polypropylene or cellulose-fiber cones
  • Rubber surround
  • Frequency response depends on specific speakers
  • Sensitivity of about 2.83V at 1 meter
  • Power handling up to 250W RMS

Kenwood Features

The key features of Kenwood products include:

  • High power handling
  • Wide range of frequency response
  • Wide range of signal-to-noise ratio ratings
  • Compatibility with a wide range of systems

Build Quality

JBL Build Quality

JBL speakers are well built with Aluminum, Nickel, and Cobalt which is a strong high-power permanent alloy.

Also, the wireless speakers are high quality and built with solid features. The performance is reliable and they are waterproof which makes them all weather.

How To Pair Your JBL Speaker To Your Device

The headphones however have a plasticky build that makes them look average despite the well-balanced sound.

Kenwood Build Quality

Kenwood pioneered the use of urethane in speaker surrounds for greater cone vibrations. They are built with a high-quality one-piece steel basket for added durability. Besides, the woofers are built with mica-injected fiber textured polypropylene to ensure the sound is great and the speakers are durable.

kenwood-stereos

Kenwood now offers Excelon (stylized as EXcelon), its proprietary speaker technology offering better sound quality based on sound range, quality parts, and superior workmanship. Kenwood’s Excelon line is their best. The front plates are typically made of brushed aluminum with aluminum knobs and switches and glass covers.

As an example, the new ODELIC SP0001 Glass Speakers look fantastic besides being strong. The aluminum die-cast bodies of the speakers themselves resist vibrations and ensure longevity.

ODELIC SP0001 Glass Speaker

For customers who opt for cheaper speakers, Kenwood also has a speaker line built with cloth edge and polypropylene mica composite cones. While these speakers may look decent, their quality is low and may not last long.

Ease of Use

JBL Ease Of Use

Setting up JBL speakers may not be easy if you are not ready to handle the process. However, if your speakers are within the Bluetooth range, JBL speakers will easily pair with nearby devices.

The subwoofers may not be very easy to set depending on your car, but they are easy to use.  The wireless headphones are easy to use, whether you want to talk or just listen.

Kenwood Ease Of Use

Kenwood stereos are not easy to connect to iOS and Android devices. The stereos come with one to three inputs for cameras, while the very high-end ones include an integrated and advanced navigation system that may not be very easy to use for an average individual.

On the other hand, Kenwood speakers are simple and easy to install.

Cost

JBL Cost

Bluetooth JBL speakers are available at a range of prices. You can, however, get them between 40 dollars and 400 dollars.

However, the GBL Go is still ranked the most affordable Bluetooth speaker owing to the added value of sound quality and portability. The cost is generally high due to the high cost of engineering, high cost of quality materials, and the cost of advertising.

  • Headphones: $10 – $200
  • Amplifiers: $50 – $5000

Kenwood Cost

Here are some price ranges for different Kenwood products:

  • Speakers: $20 – $100
  • Amplifiers: $50 – $5000
  • Subwoofer: $20 – $1500

Space Requirements

JBL Space Requirements

JBL speakers are built to fit in many room sizes. The Bluetooth speakers are tiny in size and easily portable. Therefore, you can easily place them anywhere in your room or carry them for an outdoor listening experience.

Kenwood Space Requirements

Kenwood car speakers are compact and easily fit in tiny spaces. For instance, the tweeter heights of the New PS Series are designed as low as possible, and the speaker units decently fit within the spaces for factory speakers.

Kenwood’s higher-end amplifiers are quite good, yet they are small considering the massive output that they can push.

Remote Controls

JBL Remote Controls

JBL builds remote controls to help with easy and safe control of music together with other call functions on other devices such as smartphones.

JBL Click, for instance, is a mountable Bluetooth controller that makes it easier to control your music and call functions on any smartphone. However, JBL Boombox and JBL Partybox 310 do not have remote controls.

Kenwood Remote Controls

Kenwood products come with remote controls for hands-free control. Besides, you can also install the Kenwood remote application to enhance your experience with the Kenwood car stereo, for instance.

The Kenwood Remote app helps you connect and control compatible Kenwood car receivers via Bluetooth, just like a wireless remote control. The app can also display the source information of Kenwood car receivers on your smartphone’s screen, making it easier to make audio settings using the graphic interface.

Connectivity Options

JBL Connectivity Options

JBL speakers, especially the Bluetooth-enabled ones, connect easily via Bluetooth. In fact, JBL makes them so that you can easily wirelessly connect up to 100 JBL speakers via Bluetooth.

KenwoodConnectivity Options

Kenwood supports a wide range of connectivity options, including:

  • Bluetooth
  • RCA
  • Optical
  • Headphone
  • HDMI

Power Range

JBL Power Range

The speakers have a high power handling capacity. For instance, the 840 Cinema Surround Speaker can handle 350 watts of continuous play, while the JBL Stage 1210 12” woofer can handle up to 250 watts RMS and 1000 watts peak power.

  • Subwoofers: 50W to 1600W rated power
  • Speakers: 50W to 250W rated power
  • Amplifiers: 50W to 800W per channel

Kenwood Power Range

Speakers: S Series up to 500W, X Series up to 180W, HQR Series up to 700W, M Series up to 1000W, and SPL Series up to 120W

Amplifiers: X Series up to 800W, HQR Series up to 1200W, PS Series up to 500W output power

Subwoofers: X Series up to 1000W

Frequency Response

JBL Frequency Response

JBL speakers work well under various frequency ranges. For instance, the JBL ES Series speaker systems, such as the ES 20, operate between 65 HZ – 40 kHz.

The 840 Very High Power Cinema Surround Speaker for digital surround sound immersion application performs within the 60 Hz to 19 kHz frequency range.

Kenwood Frequency Response

The frequency range of Kenwood component tweeters is 5 kHz – 25 kHz, while that of midrange speakers is 800 Hz – 23000 Hz.

Conclusion

JBL offers a wide range of speakers for all use cases. Although most of them do not have EQs for customized sound, they have a pretty neutral sound profile. Besides, they have an excellent build quality that ensures that the portable JBL sound systems last longer. On the other hand,  Kenwood focuses on excellent workmanship and quality parts and is one of the most widely known car audio speaker brands. It also manufactures home stereo units, two-way radio systems, and amateur radio equipment.

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Norvan Martin is the founder of BoomSpeaker.com. He is a professional Electronics Engineer and is passionate about home theater systems and AV electronics. BoomSpeaker was created as an online hub to share his knowledge and experiences as it relates to home theaters and home audio electronics. My email: [email protected]  Connect on Pinterest and Linkedin