JBL Authentics 300 Review

JBL Authentics 300 Review: Decent speaker with some flaws

The JBL Authentics 300 is the mid-tier speaker in the JBL Authentics series line of speakers and is between the Authentics 200 and Authentics 500 in terms of power and portability. The Authentics 300 delivers 100W of output power and is equipped with a full-range 5.25-inch woofer and a down firing 6.5-inch passive bass radiator for deeper bass performance. It also has a relatively wide frequency range from 45 Hz to 20 kHz and delivers crystal clear sound performance with really punchy bass.

The JBL Authentics 300 series is often compared to the Marshall Stanmore 3 speaker in terms of sound performance and power output. Compared to the Marshall Stanmore 3, the Authentics 300 is slightly louder and has much deeper and heavier bass that feels punchy with more depth. One thing to note about the Authentics 300 is that it has a more balanced sound signature than the Stanmore 3 – the Stanmore 3 delivers better emphasis on the highs and vocal ranges (with a good level of sparkle), but the Authentics 300 sounds more balanced and has better bass response. It’s the kind of speaker that you would get if you enjoy listening to EDM and rock music performances.

Like the Marshall Stanmore 3, the Authentics 300 also features a retro-inspired design and comes with a Quadrex grille which gives it a unique appearance (together with a custom leather-like enclosure). The speaker also features a top control panel like the Stanmore 3 but with plastic buttons to adjust the volume and bass controls, and we felt that the Stanmore 3 just looks more vintage and classy than the Authentics 300.

Having said that, the Authentics 300 comes with all the latest features including Bluetooth 5.3 and Wi-Fi support for you to stream music directly from your smartphone apps. It also comes with AirPlay and Alexa Multi-Room Music with Chromecast built-in for a seamless wireless music playing experience.

Read more: JBL Authentics 300 vs Marshall Stanmore 3: Which is better?

JBL Authentics 300 Full Specs

Power Supply100 – 240V AC, ~ 50/60Hz
Total Speaker Power Output100W (Max @THD 1%)
Transducer2 x 25mm tweeter + 5.25″ woofer
Frequency Response45Hz – 20kHz (-6dB)
Bluetooth Version5.3
Wi-Fi NetworkIEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax (2.4GHz/5GHz)
Battery3.6V, 4800mAh, up to 8 hours playtime
Dimensions (W x H x D)342 x 195.6 x 180.3 mm / 13.46″ x 7.7″ x 7.1″
Weight4.9 Kg / 10.8 lbs
Connectivity Options1 Audio in, Bluetooth/WIFI, Ethernet and USB (USB for Service only except US version)
Voice Assistant IntegrationYes (Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa available simultaneously)
Additional FeaturesMulti-room playback, Automatic self-tuning, Made with recycled materials, JBL One App, 3.5 mm audio input

Sound Performance

Acoustically speaking, the JBL Authentics 300 is a very well-balance speaker that delivers a good combination of highs, midranges and lower-end bass performance. That being said, the JBL Authentics 300 focuses more on the lower-end bass performance and you can expect to hear some rich thumpy beats from this speaker especially if you play EDM or rock music. Charlie Puth’s “Light Switch” sounded really nice and punchy with really nice bass performance – the bass on this speaker hits hard and you can actually feel the impact of the bass on your chest at higher volume levels. While the Authentics 300 does not have the brightness in the highs as the Marshall Stamore 3, it makes up for it with really good bass response and decent midranges.

We also played a couple of instrumental music pieces through this speaker and the Authentics 300 did not shy away from delivering a critical listening experience – the sound of acoustic guitar sounded crisp and you can distinctly pick up subtle sounds such as the plucking of strings or the stroking of the guitar. The sounds of piano and cymbals were crystal clear and very well-balanced; the highs sounded nice and have decent sparkle, while the mids and the bass ranges were very accurately reproduced without any hint of muddiness.

If I would describe the sound signature of the JBL Authentics 300 in a single word, it would be balanced – they have really good tonal balance between the highs, mids and bass and you will not get situations where one frequency sounds more overwhelming than the other. While some may consider this type of sound signature rather “boring”, the key advantage of the Authentics 300 is that they can handle virtually any music genre that you can throw at it including live jazz, EDM, rock, hip-hop and instrumental. This speaker is designed to bring out the best in the highs and bass, and has a sound signature that feels balanced with decent bass without sounding too analytical.

The JBL Authentics 300 comes with a rather large protruding handle for portability (together with a 4800mAh built-in battery)

Design and Specs

Perhaps my biggest gripe with the Authentics 300 is the handle that comes together with the speaker. The handle makes the Authentics 300 more portable, but it isn’t exactly the kind of speaker that you would take around with you outdoors (unlike the JBL Flip 6 or the Charge 5 speakers). The Authentics 300 works better as a wireless home speaker, and that extra handle looks rather unnecessary and slightly protruding – the Marshall Stanmore 3 looks much better than the Authentics 300 in this respect.

While the Authentics 300 has a nice Quadrex grille design at the front, I can’t help but notice that the top panel buttons are made from plastic which isn’t exactly a great contrast with the custom-leather casing – again, the Marshall Stanmore 3 speaker got it right this time with the design with its outstanding brass knobs and brass coated top panel which gives it a really vintage vibe.

One thing to note about the Authentics 300 is that it comes with a built-in 4800mAh battery which provides around 6-8 hours of playtime on a single charge. Again, this would be great if this was designed as a portable speaker, but the Authentics 300 is not exactly the kind of speaker that you would take around with you outdoors given its bulky size and lack of waterproofing. I did find these features rather unnecessary especially considering the fact that the Authentics 300 is designed as a retro style wireless home speaker. The Marshall Stanmore 3 is a much more well-designed speaker than the Authentics 300 in this respect.

The Authentics 300 comes with a 6.5 inch passive bass radiator for deeper bass and a top control panel with plastic knobs

The Verdict?

The JBL Authentics 300 is a nice retro-style speaker that delivers a well-balanced sound signature, with a good emphasis on the bass and lower-midrange. This speaker really shines if you enjoy listening to a lot of EDM and rock music, and this speaker is capable of blasting loud music without any hint of distortion at higher volume levels. The highs and the midranges on this speaker are relatively well-balanced, and they handle vocal and instrumental performances with really nice clarity and balance. While this speaker lacks the brightness in the highs or the gusto in live vocals that the Stanmore 3 speaker can deliver, it makes up for this in the lower-end bass which sounds richer and more well-defined. It also helps that the Authentics 300 has a 6.5 inch bass port which enhances the lower-end bass performance.

That being said, I did find the handle design on the Authentics 300 rather unnecessary and protruding, and the plastic knobs at the top of the speaker did not really stack up against the classier design of the Marshall Stanmore 3. If I had to pick and choose between the Authentics 300 or the Stanmore 3, I would go for the Stanmore 3 speaker for its brighter highs and vintage warmth (with its classier looks), and is more suited as a wireless home speaker for those looking for great sounding speaker in this market segment.