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- Advanced-Technology Loudspeakers, Ultrahigh-End Synthesis Components Redefine the State-of-the-Art in Custom-Installation Home Theater -

WOODBURY, NY - In a move that raises the performance standard for custom-installation home audio systems by a significant margin, JBL today announced the introduction of its most ambitious multichannel system ever - the JBL Synthesis Hercules. Designed to be nothing less than the ultimate music and home theater system, the JBL Synthesis Hercules features driver technologies utilized in JBL's internationally acclaimed flagship K2 S9800 loudspeakers, along with THX Ultra®-certified Synthesis components, to achieve the highest level of sonic performance ever offered by any manufacturer in a system designed for consumer use.

Paul Bente, president of JBL, pointed out: "With the introduction of the JBL Synthesis Hercules system, JBL has truly advanced the state of the art in home audio to a level far above what was previously attainable. JBL Synthesis Hercules was conceived and created entirely without compromise, drawing upon our decades of expertise in professional cinema and recording studio sound to deliver a home listening experience that is truly awe-inspiring."

Bente concluded: "We invite all CES showgoers to visit the JBL booth and audition JBL Synthesis Hercules. We're extremely proud of our achievement in bringing JBL Synthesis Hercules to the consumer market - and anyone who is enthusiastic about experiencing what no-holds-barred audio reproduction is all about simply must hear this system for themselves."

JBL Synthesis Hercules: Ultimate-Performance Multichannel Audio

The JBL Synthesis Hercules system is engineered and constructed to the absolute highest standards to achieve unparalleled fidelity and musical realism and bring out the best in today's high-resolution multichannel music formats and DVD movie soundtracks. To this end, the system utilizes purpose- designed JBL drivers, premium components and the company's most advanced technologies to achieve unparalleled fidelity, dynamic impact and sonic realism.

The loudspeakers in the JBL Synthesis Hercules system at CES 2003 include five SK2-1000 loudspeakers and multiple Synthesis S1S subwoofers. The electronics are composed of the SDP-40 surround processor/preamplifier, SDEC2500A digital equalizer, nine S800 power amplifiers and a custom S2500IC interconnect kit.

The SK2-1000 JBL Synthesis Hercules loudspeakers utilize the identical 435Be beryllium midrange compression driver and 045Be ultrahigh-frequency beryllium compression drivers used in JBL's top-of-the-line, award-winning K2 S9800. The 435Be midrange compression driver uses a 3" voice coil in a compact, neodymium motor assembly that is encapsulated in a Kapton® suspension for unmatched durability. The driver is progressively heat formed (rolled) from pure beryllium into extremely thin foil prior to forming the diaphragm, creating a stronger, less brittle structure with superlative sonic performance. The speakers' 045Be ultrahigh-frequency compression driver features a neodymium magnet and a ribbon voice coil directly mounted to a beryllium diaphragm to reduce weight and deliver maximum high frequencies.

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These unique drivers are mated with a specially designed horn optimized to the drivers' performance characteristics to provide exceptionally open and detailed midrange and high frequency response with no harshness or glare, over a wide listening area. To handle the low frequencies, the SK2-1000 Hercules dual JBL 2251J-2 10-inch woofers feature a Neodymium Differential Drive™ (NDD™) (U.S. patent no. 5,748,760 and other patents pending) voice-coil system with two 3-inch voice coils aligned along the axis of a long high-power magnet, providing extremely high efficiency and eliminating dynamic compression effects even at high volume.

These ultimate-quality drivers are complemented by the highest grade internal components to yield maximum sonic purity and a smooth tonal balance over the entire frequency range, from deep bass to beyond 40kHz. The slim-profile enclosure is finished in an elegant high-gloss black and measures 22" high by 25" wide by just 9" deep to facilitate use in either freestanding or custom-installed applications.

The high-efficiency (95dB) S1S subwoofer provides massive, authoritative deep bass all the way down to 18Hz, thanks to its large 18-inch woofer, which utilizes JBL's exclusive Aquaplas-coated-cellulose-fiber cone material, a highly rigid yet responsive material that yields articulate, accurate response while minimizing low-frequency overhang or "smear."

SDP-40 Surround Processor/Preamplifier: Unmatched System Control and Flexibility

The SDP-40 surround processor/preamplifier is a highly sophisticated and flexible component that incorporates a multitude of advanced functions and features. The SDP-40 incorporates four leading-edge Analog Devices SHARC® 32-bit DSP engines and a Crystal® DSP surround sound decoding chip that provide massive processing power, along with two 24-bit/192kHz D/A converters for each channel and 24-bit/96kHz internal processing to achieve the highest possible resolution, dynamic range and channel separation.

The SDP-40 features a broad range of 6.1- and 7.1-channel surround sound decoding formats, including THX Surround EX™, Dolby* Digital, Dolby Pro Logic* II, DTS® and DTS-ES® 6.1 Discrete and DTS-ES 6.1 Matrix, and 7.1 Logic 7® (Music and Cinema modes). Developed by Lexicon, a world leader in digital technology, Logic 7 is a sophisticated DSP system that provides improved derived multichannel reproduction from both matrix-encoded and two-channel stereo recordings.

Along with unsurpassed audio performance, the JBL SDP-40 offers exceptional connectivity and installation flexibility, offering 12 assignable input channels and balanced (XLR) audio connections that virtually eliminate external interference and unwanted noise. The SDP-40's switching facilities include four high-bandwidth component video inputs and a component video output for full HDTV compatibility; 6-channel analog inputs with bass management for accurate reproduction of DVD-Audio and SACD source material; left and right subwoofer outputs and more. To preserve maximum video-signal integrity, the SDP-40 incorporates two built-in broadcast-quality multiroom video switchers.

The SDP-40 is designed to provide total multizone and custom-installation flexibility, with connections such as two RS-232 control ports, independent three-zone operation, a rear-panel IR input, three DC trigger control outputs (two are programmable) and other versatile features. In addition to providing state-of-the-art performance today, the JBL SDP-40 features upgradeable system software (field-upgradeable via the unit's RS-232 port), three internal expansion slots, and a removable rear-panel plate to accommodate future connection upgrades.

SDEC2500A Digital Equalizer: Precise Room-Acoustics Correction

A key element of the JBL Synthesis Hercules system's performance is the SDEC2500A digital equalizer, a state-of-the-art audio processor that optimizes the performance of a Synthesis multichannel home entertainment system for the room in which it is installed by the application of ultraprecise 83-band digital parametric equalization and leading-edge DSP technologies.

The SDEC2500A provides precise correction of room-acoustics problems. In all rooms, there are powerful room resonances that overly emphasize some frequencies and attenuate others. The SDEC2500A compensates for these irregularities with far more precision than available from traditional equalization methods to achieve extremely accurate in-room frequency response and the highest possible sound quality. Because no two rooms are alike, JBL's exclusive Digital Acoustic Calibration System™ (DACS™) equalization system allows a JBL factory-trained-and-certified technician to literally custom-fit the sound of a Synthesis system to the room in which it is installed. The resulting tonal accuracy enables vocals, instruments and effects to be heard just as the recording engineers intended, with remarkable realism, scale and placement in the surround-sound mix.

S800: Powerful, High-Resolution Multichannel Amplification

The amplification included in the system is truly extraordinary - a total of nine THX Ultra-certified Synthesis S800 power amplifiers, each delivering 200 watts per channel (into 8 ohms, <0.03% THD), or a massive 800 watts in bridged mono mode, to easily re-create sound levels equal to the original performances, even in large home-listening environments.

The S800 is designed for superb sonic performance in every respect, with special attention paid to minimizing the number of components in the audio-signal path to achieve extremely low distortion, exceptional transient response and wide dynamic range, which is critical to realistic multichannel music and home theater sound. The S800 interfaces with the other components in the JBL Synthesis Hercules system for sophisticated automatic control capabilities, and is designed for reliable, foolproof operation.

JBL Synthesis systems are available exclusively from authorized JBL Synthesis dealers, all of which are systems integration specialists. The systems are installed and calibrated by the installing dealer using a calibration kit that includes JBL's proprietary DACS software and equipment and measurement microphones, and that interfaces with the SDEC2500A digital equalizer and computes the necessary corrections for accurate in-room frequency response. JBL Synthesis systems are covered by a two-year limited warranty for electronics and a five-year limited warranty for loudspeakers, and are backed up with a domestic 48-hour "no downtime" guarantee.

The JBL Synthesis Hercules systems will be available in March 2003 in 7.1-channel and 5.1-channel configurations according to customer requirements, with retail prices starting at $150,000.

The Harman Consumer Systems Group (HCSG) is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of a wide range of high-fidelity loudspeakers, audio and video components and multimedia systems for use in homes and automobiles, and with computers. The Group's brands include JBL, Infinity, Harman Kardon, Mark Levinson, Revel, Proceed, Audioaccess and Lexicon.

HCSG is a division of Harman International Industries, Inc. Harman International Industries, Inc. is a leading manufacturer of high-quality, high-fidelity audio products and electronic systems for the consumer and professional markets. The Company's stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol: HAR.