07-26-2010 12:40 PM #1
JBL MS-8: System Integration Digital Sound Processor
If you haven't seen the JBL MS-8 yet, check it out! After many years of rumors, development, engineering, etc... JBL has released the MS-8. This thread is dedicated to discussion about the MS-8, questions that you might have, additional information, and maybe some install pics
Below is some extra information that has been supplied to us directly form the Harman Consumer Group. For those that are looking to purchase or install the MS-8, you might find this information useful and interesting:
MS-8 comes with the pre-amp/amp, a small display, a wireless remote control, a binaural microphone and a setup CD.
MS-8 will have 8 speaker level inputs, 8 line level inputs and an ipod input. The inputs are summed to provide a full-range 2-channel signal. If 6 or fewer inputs are required, then the last 2 can be used for an additional aux input.
There are no digital inputs. Why? Because the real benefit of digital input is "no noise". The downside to providing one is that for 99 percent of users, it's more hassle than it's worth and will cause a great deal of confusion. Not too many people understand that the connector doesn't determine the signal. What I mean is, if we put a toslink input and a user hooks up a toslink output, it will only work is the signal is compatible. DVD-Audio isn't available on a digital output, DVD signals are 48k, PCM is 44.1, home-made digital audio can be anything. The signal from tuners is often only output on the RCAs. For the vast majority of users, there is no benefit and too much opportunity for disappointment. As far as noise goes, our inputs are differential, so the common mode noise rejection is super high. There won't be any noise.
There are 8 input channels, so the 8 speaker level inputs and 8 line level inputs are basically in parallel. You can use any combination.
Once the signals have been combined and un-EQed (for a flat 2-channel signal), the signal is processed with Logic7. That provides signal steering for a center channel (if you have one--if not, no problem) and processing for side and rear channels. L7 works on any 2-channel source and is our version is written for cars rather than live-in rooms, so it sounds MUCH better than any of the encoded formats in a car. The 2-channel down mix of any encoded DVD or DVD-A disc will play back in full surround. If good-old 2-channel is what you want, L7 is can be defeated and the channels are fully configurable (there are 8 output channels and they can be pre-amp channels or powered channels--20W x 8 at 4 ohms, 30W at 2 ohms). You can have 3-way front, a center and a sub, 2-way front, rear and a sub...whatever you want to do.
The electronic crossover that's built in is fully configurable. You can assign any channel to be anything and it includes an EZ setup mode and an advanced mode. In EZ setup, you tell each channel the speaker location (front right, for example), then you tell it what speaker is connected (6" full-range). It sets the crossover point. In advanced mode, you tell the channel the location (right front) and then assign a filter type (HP, LP, BP) and then you set the filter frequency (you can assign any value between 20 at 20kHz) and the slope (1st-4th order).
After the crossover setup is completed, you move on to the EQ. You put on the microphones (they look like airline headphones but contain microphones instead of speakers) and insert the CD. The display will give you some instructions to sit in the driver's seat and look at the left mirror and press "go". the unit will make a quick sweep of all 8 output channels. Then it will ask you to look forward and will make another sweep. Finally, it'll ask you to look to the right--another quick sweep. You can measure only the driver's seat or up to 4 seats. After the measurements are made (takes about 5 minutes) the unit will calculate the frequency response, level and arrival time for all 8 channels in each seat and crunch some numbers (another 30 seconds or so). It auto-tunes the car with 48 measurements per seat (up to 4 seats). It will output a tuning optimized for the driver, passenger, compromise between driver and passenger and one for the rear seats. If you use a center channel, both front seats will sound the same and the image will be great for rear seat passengers too.
After the auto-tuning is done, it will allow you to change the target curve. You can call up a 31-band EQ tool and make whatever changes you want. Unlike a regular EQ, you don't have to find an RTA and tune the car with the EQ, you just draw the curve you want to hear and press "go" and it does the work in implementing your curve. Then you can switch back and forth between your curve and the automatic one and continue making changes until you're satisfied. The curve you draw will always be adjusted in level so that the maximum number of bits are available to describe the signal (optimized for dynamic range). Once you save the curve, you can access any of the settings optimized for any seat using the remote control and the display.
You can turn Logic7 on and off, adjust the level of the center channel, use a balance control, fader, 3 or 11-band graphic EQ or adjust the level of the bass. The bass control isn't a gain control for the subwoofer output, it's a filter that works with the crossover and applies the right amount of bass to ALL channels so the illusion of bass up front isn't destroyed when you turn up the bass.
Answers to some likely questions:
1. You don't have to use the unit's volume control. You can use the one in the head-unit if you want to.
2. Maximum input voltage on the RCAs is 2V and 15V on the speaker level inputs. The signal is converted directly into digital after the preamp buffer, so a high signal level is far less important in this device than in conventional ones. The input is fully differential, so there won't be noise. I suggest speaker level connections because they are COMPLETELY isolated from ground.
3. The automatic EQ isn't exactly parametric or graphic. It's a very powerful algorithm that works on the impulse response to adjust both time and frequency response. It's amazing and does in about 30 seconds what I can do with an 80 band parametric EQ, crossover, time alignment and a serious analyzer in about 3 days.
4. The display doesn't have to be mounted. If you don't want iPod control or the ability to adjust after setup, you can unplug the display and use MS-8 as a "black box".
5. The unit is small--about 8.5" x 11" x 2.5"
6. Price will be about $800...TBD
7. The software is updatable via USB and a PC.
It does what all other OEM integration tools do and what every other DSP (EQ, Crossover, Time alignment, 7.1) processors do, but it sounds better, is easier to use, is less expensive and is far more advanced in terms of DSP power. Best of all, it's a tool you can be successful with, rather than a whiz-bang collection of filters and adjustment possibilities that require a PhD in acoustics to use.
MS-8 Project Manager
Harman Group (JBL)
Last edited by swilde; 07-26-2010 at 04:31 PM.
07-26-2010 04:46 PM #2Bronze Member
- Join Date
- Apr 2010
Quite simply this thing is amazing. I had been waiting a long time for it to come to the market.
It doesn't allow as much control as other processors do (dsp6\bitone\h701) because it is an auto-tuning device and as such can do a lot more then the previously mentioned devices can all be it outside of the users control.
I have had this thing for a while and love it, it's so easy to swap gear and try new things without having to go threw a painful tuning process. It can also fix things that manual processors can't.
It can do 3way front plus sub but it is ideally suite for 5.1 or 7.1 setups:this is where it shines.
For best benefits, use 5.1 and run the front mid and tweet actively where the mid is simply in the door and the tweet in the a-pillars.
The center channel ideally should play as low as the front's, of course it's not a must but for best results, get a big o'l driver in that dash.
Some quick get you started tips
-Make sure the volume is low when doing the sweeps, to high a volume will clip the mics and the results will suck. Hint: You should hear the sub not feel it.
-There are benefits form level matching all the speakers.
-It will not automatically adjust phase:make sure all speakers are in phase always. (Accept for the center channel, sometimes reversing it's phase will help lock in the center image).
-Disconnect the bi-aural mic once the measurements are completed. Leaving it plugged in will affect results audibly.
-Bass will most likely not be to the level everyone\most enjoys. After the sweeps, turn up the bass amplifiers gain to satisfying levels.
-It literally takes under 5 minutes to get an amazing sounding system.
-If when you first start the display only says "waiting" for more then a few seconds, the display is not fully inserted into the ms8.
-By default logic 7 is turned on even if you are not running surround sound (5.1 or 7.1). Make sure to turn logic 7 off if you are not running a center channel.
I will post more if anything anything else comes to mind.
07-26-2010 05:08 PM #3
I have not installed one yet but I did hear an Altima with a full stock system plus a simple prefab amp/sub combo. The MS-8's internal 20 x 8 amp was used for the stocks. The MS-8 allows you to have multiple presets so that you can tune for individual seats and then select a compromise between them. It is also fully defeatable. The difference between on and off in the Altima was nothing short of amazing. 20+ years of SQ competition and I have never heard a stock system enhanced to this level. I can only imagine what it will sound like with audiophile quality speakers. I am a very competent tuner but there is no way I could begin to compete with this processor!
Last edited by mr.soundquality; 07-26-2010 at 05:10 PM. Reason: spellingthe preceding statements are my opinion only.... actual mileage may very.... results not typical....
08-03-2010 11:32 AM #4
I have a factory amp, sub and nav system in my car. its a Rockford Fosgate system. Would this MS8 be the right choice for me if I wanted to keep everything stock but get amazing SQ?Everything organic we know of is simply machinery, in one form or another. Tendons replace pistons; flesh in the place of steel; blood is simply biological coolant.
08-03-2010 12:09 PM #5
08-05-2010 09:10 AM #6
I guess my real question is, is it worth it. I paid a ton of money for the upgraded sound system in my car. The stock amplifier runs the 10 inch subwoofer and the 4 speakers (plus 2 teeters). The navigation system integrates with my vehicle providing AC information controls, etc etc. I am confused on how the MS-8 will work in my situation. Do I remove the stock amplifier from the picture? I would think that if I kept the stock amp, even with time alignment, its still that crappy stock power going to the speakers so the sound wont really be worth it unless I use the MS-8 to power my speakers.Everything organic we know of is simply machinery, in one form or another. Tendons replace pistons; flesh in the place of steel; blood is simply biological coolant.
08-05-2010 12:08 PM #7Bronze Member
- Join Date
- Apr 2010
First question is what is your goal?
Also, blood is much more then coolant.
08-05-2010 02:39 PM #8
Well, being that I have a new car still under warranty I want to modify the sound system in such a way that will cut the least amount of wires. I am looking for the best SQ possible out of the stock system. It is the upgraded system so it sounds pretty good for being OEM, but not what I am used to in the aftermarket world.
So, if the MS-8 can make my stock amp, speakers, sub, etc sound as great as they can, that will make me happy. If I can keep everything stock and get great sound because of the MS-8 thats what I want. I want to keep the stock sub (dual 1 ohm VC unfortunately) and not add any amplifiers. I would replace the sub if I could but I cant without a new amp. If I have to replace the speakers, I wont mind that at all, but the amp and nav unit and sub I want to keep. Anyone know how this MS-8 would wire up to my 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS with sun and sound package and navigation?
And your right, blood is much more than coolant, its also shiny and red :PEverything organic we know of is simply machinery, in one form or another. Tendons replace pistons; flesh in the place of steel; blood is simply biological coolant.
08-05-2010 03:23 PM #9Bronze Member
- Join Date
- Apr 2010
Well MS8 will make things sound better for sure, but will it mke it 800$ better ... that's a tuff one.
Does your system have a center channel\speaker?
08-05-2010 03:39 PM #10the preceding statements are my opinion only.... actual mileage may very.... results not typical....