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JBL 306P Mk2 review

A trusted leading manufacturer in the music industry, JBL has been on the cutting edge since 1946. From inception, JBL has done a stellar job of upholding its values in regards to science and research. In this review, I’ll be taking a look at one of their budget options for studio monitors – the 306P Mk2.

About the author

I’m a producer and audio engineer with a decade’s worth of experience with a wide range of gear and recording techniques. I’ve worked with a huge variety of monitoring systems, including Genelec, Neumann, Adam Audio, Focal, JBL, and Yamaha, among others.

JBL 306P Mk2 studio monitors review
Image: Higher Hz

Final verdict on the JBL 306P Mk2 3.8

While the JBL 306P Mk2 may inhibit some drawbacks, its capability as a studio monitor is far from lessened. Not perfect, but perfect enough for such an affordable piece of gear. Overall, I was more than happy with my experience.

What I like

  • Wide sweet spot.
  • Smooth sound.
  • Wide frequency response.
  • Affordable.

What I don’t like

  • Midrange dip.
  • Noisey.
Buy JBL 306P Mk2 at: SweetwaterAmazon

Power and frequency response 3.4

The JBL 306P Mk2 have a frequency of 39 Hz – 24 kHz at -10 dB points, and 47 Hz – 20 kHz at -3 dB points. It should be no surprise that these speakers can carry a lot of low end due to their 6.5-inch woofers, but they’re also surprisingly clear along the highs without sounding harsh.

This smoothness can most likely be attributed to the soft-dome tweeter, which is unusual considering how many JBL speakers utilize metal-dome tweeters.

JBL 306P tweeter
Image: Higher Hz

They are rear-ported as well, which sometimes may come at the cost of muddying the sound of your mixes (especially when placed too close to the wall), but in the case of the 306P, I found that it was surprisingly well controlled and may actually be used to your advantage if you find yourself needing some extra low end.

JBL 306P woofer
Image: Higher Hz

These speakers also have an incredibly wide sweet spot that I suspect the waveguide has a heavy hand in creating. Oddly, it seems that the sweet spot becomes more evident the further away you position yourself from the speakers, which isn’t great considering these are meant to be used as nearfield monitors.

Also, there does seem to be a dip around 1.4 kHz, unfortunately, which may skew your perception of vocal clarity in the mix, as well as guitars and similarly resonating instruments. Thankfully, the dip is rather narrow and shouldn’t be as noticeable, but it’s always a bit disheartening to see things like this.

Lastly, I found a lot of hiss coming from the tweeters and rumble coming from the port. It’s safe to say that these are noisey speakers, not the noisiest speakers I’ve heard, but noisey nonetheless.

With all things considered, while these speakers do have several flaws worth mentioning, their flaws are not all-encompassing in regards to their overall performance. Yes, there are things that could be better, but these are great-sounding monitor speakers nonetheless.

I/O and controls 5.0

Audio can be fed through the rear panel via balanced XLR and TRS inputs. You’ll obviously find your standard IEC socket, On/Off switch, and a rotary control for overall volume.

JBL 306P inputs, outputs, and controls
Image: Higher Hz

JBL has also provided switches to fine tune the speakers to your room and placement correction needs. There is an LF Boundary EQ switch (-3 db, -1.5 dB, and 0 dB), as well as a HF switch (-2 dB, 0 dB, +2 dB).

Next to these controls is a graph JBL has provided to outline how they will affect the performance of the speaker. There is also an input sensitivity switch allowing for control of +4 dB and -10 dB.

Build quality 3.5

The 306P Mk2 shares the same genetic makeup as their siblings, the 305P and 308P. These are rather weighty speakers, and all the knobs and XLR/TRS connections feel sturdy and well-constructed.

When you tap on the side of the speaker, there is some resonance, but this isn’t the end of the world. It’s important to keep in mind that these are budget monitor speakers, and that to expect perfection is to miss the intentions of JBLs design choices.

They do share the same plasticy aesthetic as the 305P and 308P, which may not be for everyone, but for me is a factor that makes these speakers so noticeable. Overall, this is a well-designed product.

Compared to other studio monitors

The JBL 306P Mk2 might be the best studio monitors for you, but before you settle on that decision, here are some other choices to consider.

JBL 306P Mk2 vs Yamaha HS5

It’s really a choice of preference when it comes to these two monitors. The JBLs have a lot of bass, a smooth high end, and slightly scooped in the midrange. The Yamahas on the other hand, have less low end, more midrange presence, and slightly aggressive highs.

For me, the JBLs are the better choice, but there are plenty of reasons to go for the HS5.

Read the full Yamaha HS5 review

JBL 306P Mk2 vs Adam Audio T7V

It’s no secret that I love Adam Audio, and for good reason. These speakers are absolutely phenomenal in terms of their stereo imaging, balance, and performance. While the JBLs may be perfect for some, I recommend the T7V.

Read the full Adam Audio T7V review

JBL 306P Mk2 vs 305P Mk2

Although a rather obvious comparison, it is an important one to make. The 305P work far better as nearfield monitors, and while they may not have the extended range as you would find with the 306P, they are more practical for smaller spaces and up-close monitoring. Whichever is more suitable for you is the best choice.

Read the full JBL 305P Mk2 review

Who are the JBL 306P Mk2 studio monitors best suited for?

While the JBL 306P Mk2 is an excellent speaker, it does have its drawbacks. However, the truth is that these minor flaws aren’t incredibly noteworthy in practice.

This is a great affordable studio monitor, and it’s amazing that JBL has been able to get such a great performance out of what is ultimately a budget speaker. I can safely recommend this to anybody.

Buy JBL 306P Mk2 at: SweetwaterAmazon

1 comment
  • Great information, so, compare to 80% of brands, JBL is a real factory and an impressive maker of loudspeakers, its loudspeakers the best of the audio industry. Spare parts, very important are easy to find (if problem) with the other brands and there loudspeakers made by… under specifications… you ca have problems. At the end, the more important is the sound, and here JBL the inventor of studio monitor has no problem to be the best choice. Another great work is the terrible test 100 hours torture test made by JBL Engineers with an unrivaled knowledge.
    In its class, it’s the best, so, not a LSR 6328, but not the same price.