JBL Authentics L16 Review

The Legend Strikes Back

JBL Authentics L16 review

JBL have been accused of being too conservative. Too tame and dull, and many of their speakers have been met with shrugs from critics. But then a couple of years ago, something happened. JBL took a step back and looked at its history. Which is long and full of jewels. After the success – well deserved, we must say – with Everest and K2, we got new and revamped versions of the classic studio monitors and speakers that JBL built its legend status on.

Suddenly, JBL was in vogue again. Reviewers – we – were delighted.

The legend was back!

JBL Authentics L16 design

Great sound in a retro design sells speakers. Therefore, JBL has chosen the same recipe for the Authentics series, which consists of two wireless speakers with design drawn from the classic JBL Century L100 speaker from 1970. L16 and the smaller and cheaper L8 has the same grid pattern as the foam grill on the L100, and L16 is wearing a beautiful walnut veneer and L8 is coated with glossy black lacquer.

The black, cross-hatched grill is not available in other colors but can be detached and reveals that the speaker has two 2 inch midrange drivers, two 1 inch tweeters and two 5,25 inch woofers with a white membrane. They are driven by an amplifier with 6 x 50 watts (RMS) of power.

The JBL speaker combines Bluetooth with Apple’s AirPlay via wifi (using DLNA for devices from other than Apple) so that you can stream music from any device. AirPlay has a longer range and supports a greater bandwidth than Bluetooth 3.0, which the L16 also has built-in.

Unlike many other wireless speakers the L16 has multiple audio inputs, including a phono input! Handy for everyone out there who has acquired a vinyl player but haven´t found any wireless speaker with such input. L16 also has two USB (type A) inputs. One for the phone and one for the tablet. They sit under a removable cover on the top, where there also is an analog audio input (stereo RCA) for external audio sources.

The JBL L16 can also be connected to a digital audio output, like a TV, using the Digital Optical input.

JBL Authentics L16 drivers

Heavy Sound

​There is of course an app for mobile, which controls the speaker. It has adjustment of the sound in the room accessible on the screen, and Harman Signal Doctor, which allegedly improves the sound of compressed files, like MP3. Clari-Fi, as the technology is called, analyzes the audio signal and corrects the deficiencies and deviations, so that the signal is reconstructed with a better sound.

With or without Clari-Fi, it quickly became clear that the L16 really lives up to the legendary status that JBL built. It plays surprisingly loud without losing control. The bass is tighter and goes deeper in Klipsch’s wireless Stadium speakers (~$2.000) but the sound in the JBL speaker has a bit more warmth and fullness. Electric guitars have more body, but are not reproduced as nuanced as with the Stadium. But that’s splitting hairs, because the JBL speaker shakes all prejudices you may have about wireless speakers. In particular, table speakers.

The L16 simply fills a living room with sound and sound clear as a bell even if you really turn up the volume. The bass is of the generous kind and compliments most types of music, because the rich and dynamic bass nicely compensates for the lack of deep bass. Which you don´t miss at all to be honest. The speaker emits a wide and especially large soundstage. You can hear the riffs from the guitar strings vibrate in the air, and voices sound natural and free from coloration of any kind.

​Thanks to really airy and precise highs, many harmonics are well represented in the sound, and the speaker works just as well for classical music as it does with blues or rap. Boring it will never be.


​JBL Authentics L16 is a superb sounding wireless speaker. If you need something bigger than the Audio Pro Allroom Air One and think the Klipsch Stadium is too expensive, L16 is absolutely perfect. The sound quality is more or less flawless, it loves to play loud and you can plug in any audio source you want. Turntable also. That it looks as heavy as it sounds is hardly a disadvantage. This is a thoroughbred stereo with JBL's legendary sound and classic design.


  • IN ThE bOX

300 watts of JBL power and advanced acoustic design produce dynamic, full-range stereo JBL sound from a single, mid-size speaker
High-performance JBL drivers paired with a meticulous acoustic design deliver unmatchable sound from a mid-size speaker. The optimized low- and high-frequency transducers combine with advanced studio quality 24 bit/96 kHz electronics and DSP to present full-range stereo sound with a wide stereo image – all from within a single enclosure. Wherever you play it, expect applause.

Wireless connectivity for AirPlay®, DLNA® and Bluetooth® devices
The JBL Authentic L16 provides easy wireless audio playback from the latest and best in wireless devices. It offers AirPlay® for iTunes and iOS devices, DLNA® for Android devices and Windows PCs and Bluetooth® connectivity – including instant Bluetooth® pairing by way of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. The speaker automatically switches streaming formats as needed, simplifying use with all your devices. For those who still have a large CD or vinyl collection, you can connect your CD player or turntable to the L16 via the optical or RCA phono inputs for a truly authentic experience.

USB ports and optional wireless charging pad lets you recharge your compatible devices
The JBL Authentic L16 has two USB ports, one for charging phones, the other for charging tablets, and an optional wireless charging module that makes recharging your Qi compatible mobile device easy. No worrying about connectors; just place your device on the charging pad and let L16 do the rest. The wireless charging option is another way the JBL Authentic L16 keeps your living space – and lifestyle – clutter-free.

Harman Signal Doctor gives you the best audio experience from any source
A lot of today’s music is compressed, to enable for fast and efficient streaming, however, when compressed, you lose the detail in the music. Harman Signal Doctor improves compressed music streams by replacing lost information, making sure your Authentics speaker is always performing at its best.

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