Jamo S 803 Bookshelf Speakers Review


MSRP $330
(H × W × D)
13.94” × 6.56” × 9.94”
354mm × 167mm × 252mm
Power Type Passive
Frequency Response 57-26,000 Hz
Jamo S 803 Bookshelf Speakers

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: The Jamo S 803 bookshelf speakers blend Scandinavian design with a robust soundstage—ideal for small to medium rooms. Their 1-inch soft dome tweeter delivers smooth highs, while the 5-inch woofer ensures a punchy bass response. The WaveGuide technology optimizes detail and stereo imaging. However, they may lack the last octave of deep bass and require careful pairing with components to avoid brightness. Overall, the S 803s offer a compelling mix of aesthetics and performance at a reasonable price.

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Jamo S 803: Our Take

When one steps into the realm of high-fidelity sound, expectations are often as high as the notes a soprano might reach. The Jamo S 803 bookshelf speakers are a fascinating entrant, promising a blend of European design aesthetic and genuine audio pedigree. A part of Jamo's Studio 8 series, these speakers are designed to be both visually and sonically pleasing, aimed at the discerning yet budget-conscious audiophile. With their sleek, contemporary look, they are available in several finishes, ensuring they complement the modern living space as much as they aim to audibly enchant it.

The S 803s are two-way bass-reflex speakers, featuring a 5-inch polyfiber woofer and a 1-inch soft dome tweeter. They also come with a unique feature for their class - a front-facing bass port. This allows for greater placement flexibility, as you can put them close to a wall without overly worrying about bass boominess that rear-ported designs might suffer from. While this is a thoughtful touch, it is imperative to remember that any speaker's performance is contingent on room acoustics and placement.

Sound Signature and Performance

Sound-wise, the Jamo S 803s strive to deliver a balanced audio experience. They exhibit a sound signature that leans slightly towards warmth, which makes them quite forgiving and pleasant with a variety of music genres. The highs are crisp without being overly bright, and the mids are clear, ensuring vocals and acoustic instruments come through with a good degree of realism. However, some might find the bass to be less authoritative than other speakers in this price range, which could be a deal-breaker for bass aficionados or those looking to use them without a subwoofer.

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These bookshelf speakers possess a sensitivity rating of 87 dB and an impedance of 8 ohms, making them relatively easy to drive. They can be paired with a wide range of amplifiers and AV receivers, but they do benefit from quality electronics that can bring out their best. However, pushing them too hard might reveal their limitations, as they can sound strained at higher volumes, something to consider if you are looking to fill a large room with sound.

Build Quality and Design

The build quality of the Jamo S 803s is commendable, especially considering their price point. They feature a wood grain vinyl finish that gives them a premium look, and the magnetic grilles are a nice touch, adding to the overall clean aesthetic when used. The binding posts are sturdy and offer the option for bi-wiring or bi-amping, which is not often found in this category. Even the waveguide around the tweeter has been carefully designed to optimize dispersion and detail.

Yet, no speaker is without its drawbacks. Some users might find the vinyl finish less appealing than real wood veneers, and while the cabinets are solid, they might not match the heft and damping of more expensive offerings. It's a balance of cost versus performance, and for many, the S 803s will strike the right note.

Comparisons and Alternatives

For potential buyers considering the Jamo S 803s, it's worth looking at other options in the segment. The ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2, for instance, is a frequent contender, known for its remarkable soundstage and bass response. Alternatively, the Q Acoustics 3020i offers a similar blend of audio performance and design, with a bit more emphasis on the low-end punch. Both alternatives carry a slightly higher cost but could be worth the difference to the right ear.

The choice often comes down to personal preference, room characteristics, and the types of media one consumes. Movies and games might benefit from a speaker with more pronounced low frequencies like the aforementioned ELAC or Q Acoustics, whereas the S 803s can shine with music, offering a more balanced profile that's pleasing over longer listening sessions.

In conclusion, the Jamo S 803 bookshelf speakers offer a strong option for those venturing into the world of high-fidelity sound on a budget. Their design, flexibility in placement, and warm sound signature make them an attractive package. However, before making a decision, it's worth auditioning them alongside their peers to ensure they meet your specific audio tastes and requirements. With their competitive pricing and admirable performance, they certainly merit a listen.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do the Jamo S 803 speakers handle different music genres?

One of the great joys of evaluating speakers like the Jamo S 803 is discerning how they handle the ebb and flow of different musical styles. With their contemporary design and acoustic prowess, these bookshelf speakers are engineered to offer a balanced and dynamic sound that lends itself well to a variety of genres. Whether it's the intricate plucking of a classical guitar, the pounding bass of electronic dance music, or the soul-wrenching vocals of blues, the S 803s strive to deliver a rich and detailed audio experience. Due to their well-rounded soundstage and frequency response, they can present the intricacies of high-resolution recordings quite competently, making them a versatile choice for audiophiles who appreciate a broad spectrum of music.

Can the Jamo S 803 be integrated into a larger home theater system?

The Jamo S 803 is not just a standalone performer; it's part of Jamo's revered Studio 8 series, which allows for a seamless integration into a larger home theater system. One of their standout features is their compatibility with other components in the series, including a center channel or floor-standing speakers and subwoofers for a more enveloping surround sound experience. Their robust construction and design mean that they can serve admirably as front left/right channels or even as surround speakers in a multi-channel setup, thus catering to movie buffs and audiophiles alike who demand cinematic immersion in the comfort of their own homes.

What is the aesthetic appeal of the Jamo S 803 speakers, and how do they fit in with modern home decor?

The Jamo S 803 bookshelf speakers are not just sonic performers but also design statements. They boast a sleek, Scandinavian-inspired aesthetic that blends minimalism with a touch of warmth, which is quite appealing to modern sensibilities. The clean lines, compact form, and contemporary finishes (which may include options such as black, walnut, or white) allow these speakers to fit effortlessly into a variety of interior designs. The textured wood grain accents and woven linen grilles add an artisanal touch, ensuring the S 803s can stand out or blend in as desired. The speakers' visual versatility ensures they enhance the ambiance of a room even when silent, making them a favorite for those who value both form and function in their audio equipment.

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Jamo S 803

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