There are many stories of “starting in a garage” in the audio industry, starting from the corner of the founder’s house, but bringing music to thousands of households, as did Jamo. And in this post, I will review the tiny bookshelf speaker from Jamo – the Jamo C103 bookshelf speaker.
The Jamo History
This story started in 1966. In a small fishing village called Glyngøre in northwestern Denmark, there was a carpenter named Preben Jacobsen. With his exquisite craftsmanship, he produced marvelous craftsmanship speakers. These handmade horns of Jacobsen are very popular among locals. Many people order from him, but he is a craftsman who does not know how to sell.
So he asked for advice from his wife’s brother Julius Mortensen, who has been selling fish for many years. Mortensen, who has extensive experience in merchandising, and Jacobsen, who is good at carpentry and has audio knowledge, specializes in marketing. They hit it off, so they named them with the first two letters of their surnames. In 1968, they co-founded the company Jamo.
Jamo’s performance is booming. In just two years, the factory was unable to provide sufficient production capacity. Therefore, it purchased a professional workshop with new advanced machines and became a professional speaker manufacturer. In the 20 years to 1987, the Jamo speakers shipped from Glyngøre totaled more than one million pairs. With its high-performance characteristics, it has captured the love of many European consumers.
Jamo’s market share continued to grow, reaching a peak in the 1990s, and became the most prominent speaker manufacturer in Europe by selling volume. To further expand the business territory, Jamo released the company’s equity to a Norwegian consortium, but the capital increase was not as expected. Jamo, whose financial situation has deteriorated sharply, was acquired by the Klipsch Group when it was on the verge of bankruptcy. This saved Jamo and gave Jamo a chance to make a comeback and rebirth.
The new-generation Concert series launched in 2014 was Jamo’s highest-end product at that time, starting with the model “C10”. Anyone who sees this series of speakers for the first time is easily attracted by its exquisite and outstanding minimalist design. When I carefully took out the all-black steel-baked C103 from the carton, it. It just gave me the wow factor.
Most speakers are square, but you can’t see or feel a sharp angle or corner on the C103. Every turning point of the speaker is rounded up. Whether it is a steel grille or a matte wood part, even The lacquered finishes are satisfying visually and tactilely. The aluminum parts are polished smoothly without any rough texture. Even the plastic used on the bass reflective hole’s periphery and the terminal fixing plate does not give people a cheap and vulgar feeling.
Obviously, the precision of component production is very high. Even the plastic is handmade. It makes people feel that the material is solid. The appearance and artistry are all eye-catching.
Although it is a bookshelf speaker, the C103 is not tiny in size, with a height of 42 cm. The mid-bass also uses a 7-inch composite diaphragm monomer, which looks very powerful.
Composite diaphragms are not uncommon. Many speakers use composite materials. Some are coated with damping material. Some are coated with a metal film, some are mixed with multiple fibers, while some are classified as ” “Sandwich diaphragm,” in which way C103 belongs to. Jamo calls it Hybrid Composition Conical Cones (HCCC), an extension of the Hard Conical Cone (HCC) technology developed by Jamo.
We can see the honeycomb pattern under the strong glass fiber layer on the surface. That is not for the beautiful carving design. The honeycomb sandwich design enhances the rigidity of the diaphragm, which is Jamo HCCC diaphragm technology.
Pressing the diaphragm with your fingers can feel the rubber suspension supporting the diaphragm. Jamo uses a long-stroke suspension to allow the C103 to cope with massive dynamics and make the single-piston movement faster and more accurate.
The standard cone design of the woofer in Jamo speakers can also be seen on the C103. On this solid aluminum cone, you can also see a circle of fine engraving. The aluminum cone has two critical functions. First, it helps the voice coil to dissipate heat. The mid-bass unit generates heat when it moves violently back and forth, increasing the voice coil’s temperature. To avoid burning the voice coil, the unit itself has better heat dissipation performance. A metal cone is installed in front of the unit to help the voice coil dissipate heat to maintain the unit’s stability.
The second function is to offset the eddy current located in the center of the cone-shaped driver unit, reduce the split of the cone basin, and make the sound cleaner. The cone of C103 is not connected to the diaphragm. There is a small gap between the cone and the diaphragm.
C103 uses a 1-inch silk soft hemispherical tweeter with a shallow horn that resembles a shallow dish outside the unit. Jamo calls it “Anti-Diffraction Waveguide” (ADW). The purpose is the off-axis response of the frequency band can also reduce the treble diffraction so that the extension of the overall treble can be more smooth and balanced.
Jamo has also strengthened the cabinet structure of the C103. Tap the speaker with your fingers, and you can feel that the speaker is powerful, but not only that. On the periphery of the tweeter and mid-bass unit, a bright silver metal ring can be seen. It is not for decoration. It is an aluminum metal frame embedded in the speaker. The driver unit is locked on this aluminum frame. This can reduce the resonance between the speaker cabinet and the unit.
When listening to classical music, the C103 may benefit from the larger body size and the mid-bass unit size, which is impressive in terms of expressing the thickness of the sound part. The second track is that Yuri Temirkanov conducts the St. Petersburg Philharmonic and performs the selection of the third chapter of Rimsky Korsakov’s “Tales of 1001 Nights.” When the orchestra is launched, the sound of the orchestra is full of density. It has a low bass drum and timpani at the beginning, followed by a bass. The thickness and scale of the string parts displayed by C103 here are pretty rare in bookshelf speakers.
The C103 also takes into account the ability to reproduce the entire sound field when playing orchestral music. The depth of the stage and each instrument’s position are clearly expressed, rich in layers and a sense of space.
The melody itself is already intoxicating enough. Under the affectionate co-starring of several musicians, the arrangement is so beautiful. The simpler the orchestration, the easier it is to notice the timbre and quality of instrumental music. The piano sound heard from C103 is mellow and has a gentle texture of jade or ivory, with a moonlight luster in a clear sky at night. The bass is restrained, not swollen. The trumpet is loud and bright. Although the violin sound does not bring a breathtaking feeling, it is also very smooth, like the delicate texture and natural luster of a fine cotton jersey.
The C103 is up to 27kHz in specifications. The extension does not seem to be a problem, but the treble has a slightly darker luster. Even so, the fifth track of Vivar’s “Four Seasons” Violin Concerto “Autumn,” the first chapter, whether it is a solo violin, still has a lyrical brilliance. It is light and lively.
The Jamo C103 is outstanding to meet with its design and exquisite artistry. Besides, music replay’s impressive sound performance includes solid low frequency, colossal scale, sound field reproducibility. And The sound with a bit of warmth on it, with thickness, but still maintains a good resolution.
Jamo C103 Specs
- Weight (Kg/lb): 11.4 / 25
- Power Handling (Watts Long/Short Term): 150W / 300W
- Woofer (mm/in): 177.8 / 7
- System Type: 2-Way Bass Reflex
- Tweeter (mm/in): 25 / 1
- Product dimensions (mm/in, HxWxD): 420 x 224.25 x 297 / 16.5 x 8.8 x 11.7″
- Frequency Response (Hz, +/-3dB): 45Hz – 27kHz
- Minimum Amp Recommended: 50W
- Impedance: 6 Ohm
- Sensitivity (dB, 2.8V/1m): 88dB
- Finish: High Gloss Black, High Gloss White, Real Walnut Veneer