JohnBlue JB4 Mk2

The difficult second album

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews
  • Buy Now
JohnBlue JB4 Mk2
  • JohnBlue JB4 Mk2
  • JohnBlue JB4 Mk2
  • JohnBlue JB4 Mk2
  • Expert Rating

    4.75 / 5


  • Beautiful construction, smooth and sweet sound


  • Nothing noteworthy

Bottom Line

Just like JohnBlue’s entry-level JB3 desktop speakers, the JB4 Mk2 speakers provide a beautifully sweet interpretation of music and other audio. Notes from mid-bass all the way to higher registers are reproduced smoothly yet with immense layering of detail. Frankly, there’s not much we don’t like about the JB4 Mk2s.

Would you buy this?

Special Offers

We loved JohnBlue’s miniature JB3 monitors, so we were looking forward to experiencing the JB4 Mk2s. Thankfully the same ethos was followed — high quality construction with simple components, and no complicated crossovers or dampening — and the end result is speakers that sound spectacular at all but the highest volumes.

The JB4 Mk2 speakers are beautifully constructed. Instead of the glossy black lustre of the entry-level JB3 speakers, the JB4 Mk2s have a mottled cherry veneer that’s polished to a satin sheen. Constructed of one-inch thick MDF, the speakers feel very solid; the trade-off is that they weigh six kilograms each. The cherry wood veneer is quite realistic, while the copper-plated posts on the back of the enclosure are of equally high quality.

Each JB4 Mk2 uses a single four-inch full-range driver, placed in the centre of the speaker’s fascia. The maximum rated power is a seemingly measly 30 Watts, but this figure is deceptive. With a sensitivity of 89dB, the JB4 Mk2s are able to pump out high volumes from low-powered sources, making them a perfect fit for amplifiers like the KingRex T20.

The only other accompaniment to the full-range driver on the face of the JB4 Mk2 is a low, thin port cut at the base of the enclosure. It’s designed to radiate sound from the enclosure’s edge, amplifying audio while no doubt increasing bass response.

The idea behind an enclosure with a single full-range driver is to cut out complex crossovers and interference from the signal path. Whatever the trickery, we don’t care — because the end result is a speaker with amazing clarity and depth. Like we did with their smaller siblings, we hooked the JB4 Mk2s up to a KingRex T20 and UD-01 playing lossless FLAC audio files.

It’s no secret that we loved the JB3’s expansive nature — their ability to fill a room with sound despite being so tiny — and naturally we were keen to test whether these speakers could equal the feat. Of course, they did. At low to moderate volumes, the soundstage between the speakers is immense. The impression is given that you’re listening to much larger speakers that are positioned farther apart than in reality. This rich soundstage creates a large ‘sweet spot’ in which music sounds best.

Treble from the JB4 Mk2s is very rich — ‘syrupy’, even! There’s still plenty of detail audible, but it’s reproduced with a bias towards musicality and liveliness rather than bit-perfect accuracy. The omission of a dedicated tweeter means that all notes sound very linear and equal, so there’s no emphasis towards high frequencies to be found here. This has the advantage of ensuring there is no painful harshness at higher volumes.

Mid-range is, in a word, engaging. There seems to be slightly more detail evident here than higher up in frequency ranges (maybe a function of the full-range driver’s physical preference towards middle frequencies). It’s possible to distinguish individual guitar strings and hear every nuance within a singer’s vocals.

Bass is more evident than on the JB3s, thanks in part to a larger driver and the forward-firing port at the base of the enclosure. There’s certainly no trace of the boominess or overpowering volume you’d expect from a dedicated subwoofer; but there is a distinctive kick that permeates lower frequencies. Bass is tight and rolls off quickly, so if you’re looking for floor-shaking thumps that last for hours you’re out of luck.

The JB4 Mk2s are not completely suitable for the desktop due to their more traditional bookshelf size, but there’s very little we can otherwise fault them for. If you can find somewhere to set them up with appropriate accompanying equipment there’s a very good chance you’ll fall in love with them.

Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?