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Crutchfield

JBL MS-8

Digital sound processor

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Item #: 109MS8
 

Review Summary

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Our take on the JBL MS-8

by Zak Billmeier
JBL

Keep your factory stereo and transform your sound

Is your car's "premium factory sound system" pumping out less-than-premium sound? The JBL MS-8 System Integration Digital Processor is a powerful tool for improving the sound in your vehicle, especially if you want to keep your factory stereo or enhance a premium factory system with multiple sets of speakers.

JBL MS-8

BMW dash

You can use the MS-8 to improve the sound while keeping your dash pristine.

What is it for?

Imagine hearing every note of your favorite music as if you were sitting inside a concert hall. The MS-8 transforms your car stereo setup into an exquisitely balanced, full-bodied audio system, perfectly tuned for every seat in your car. And it's not just for improving your factory stereo's sound — it'll make an aftermarket system sound better, too.


Set it up, let it do its thing

JBL MS-8

Using a clever headset microphone that takes your ear positions into account, the MS-8 equalizes and time-corrects your audio output automatically so the sound from all speakers reaches your ears at the same time.

Installation note: The MS-8 is not a plug-and-play processor — it requires grabbing 12-volt power, and making speaker level connections similar to installing an aftermarket amplifier. In fact, we don't recommend this installation for a beginner. And once you've got it installed, a bit of tweaking will probably be needed to deliver the sound and imaging you're after. Of course, if you get stuck while installing or tweaking the MS-8, our Tech Support can assist you.


IMS-8 LCD display

The included LCD display puts system adjustments at your fingertips.

Powerful equalizer lets you tweak the sound to your taste

Once your system's calibrated, the MS-8 features a 31-band equalizer for sound tweakers who appreciate manual control over the overall tone of the music. You can store up to five favorite EQ curves to optimize the sound for different sources or styles of music. Mount the included LCD display in a convenient place so you can keep your eye on your settings.


JBL MS-8 connections JBL MS-8

Build your system

The MS-8 can drive up to eight speakers with its built-in amp, and it uses advanced Logic 7 circuitry to transform your 2-channel stereo into a realistic 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound experience for home theater sound on the road. You'll also find 8 preamp outputs to accommodate just about any amplified system imaginable. An auxiliary input lets you plug in your portable music player while cruising.


Customer Reviews from Car Audio Online Magazine
"Bass is everywhere, front stage is in the windshield, stereo separation is impressive. No matter the source (FM, Sirius, HDD, iPod, CD) it sounds newly detailed, defined. And the bonuses: no hiss, no whine, no pops. I got goose bumps when I played it for the first time with this sucker."
"THRILLED !!! This thing is awesome! Makes me want to drive."
"The MS-8 opened up the depth tremendously, and locked in center information as well. The staging is pinpoint."


See more info on this item

Highlights:

  • automatic equalization and time correction
  • built-in amplifier (18 watts RMS x 8 @ 4 ohms/30 watts RMS x 8 at 2 ohms)
  • 8-channel preamp inputs and outputs
  • speaker-level inputs and outputs
  • realistic 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound from a stereo speaker setup
  • headset microphone for setup
  • remote-mount LCD display with 6-meter connection cable
  • remote control
  • main unit dimensions: 11-1/2"W x 2-3/16"H x 8-3/8"D
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • System integration digital processor (25A ATC fuse inserted in chassis)
  • Display unit
  • Remote control (with mounting bracket)
  • Headset microphone (with attached 25' cable terminated by a 3.5mm connector)
  • Display mounting bracket
  • 12.5" Speaker-input harness
  • 12.5" Speaker-output harness
  • 20' AV 2.5mm minijack cable
  • Two 3mm x 20mm mounting screws
  • Three 3.5mm x 20mm mounting screws
  • Four 4mm x 20mm mounting screws
  • 3mm Hex-key
  • 2mm Hex-key
  • 2 Dual-sided self-adhesive pads
  • 4 Alcohol prep pads
  • Setup & Owner's Manual CD
  • Quick Start Guide (16 languages)

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Features
Controls
Connections
Specifications & Dimensions

Features

Overview: The JBL MS-8 System Integration Digital Processor features a hide-away digital processor with a built-in DSP equalizer that optimizes the frequency response, bass performance, dynamics, clarity, stereo imaging, and detail of your existing car audio system, using the supplied setup/calibration CD, microphone headset, LCD display, and RF remote control. Using the speakers and electronics you already have, the MS-8 lets you tailor your acoustics for maximum sonic impact. Its compatible with virtually any combination of factory-installed and/or aftermarket components.

Digital Sound Processing: Digital sound processing (DSP) allows the JBL MS-8 System Integration Digital Processor to greatly enhance the performance of your existing car audio system. The JBL MS-8 provides simple menu-driven calibration based on detailed input from a binaural headset microphone. It will produce a flat-response, full-bandwidth signal from up to eight input channels, and then use its built-in DSP functions to perform powerful corrections in equalization, time arrival, and crossover.

  • Equalization: The JBL MS-8 will automatically equalize the signal sent to the loudspeakers and optimize their response for up to four seating positions using the included binaural microphone headset. It improves tonal accuracy by automatically compensating for the sonic characteristics of the speakers, electronics and vehicle interior.
  • Time Correction: The MS-8 automatically ensures that the sound from all speakers arrives at the listener's ears simultaneously, in up to four individual seating positions, dramatically improving clarity and imaging.
  • Crossover: The JBL MS-8 provides precise, user-selectable crossover points and crossover slopes for up to eight separate outputs.

Built-in Amplifier: The JBL MS-8 features a built-in 8-channel amplifier (18 watts RMS x 8ch @ 4-ohms or 30 watts RMS x 8ch at 2-ohms). The unit's built-in amplifier can be used to power your factory or after-market speakers in a system with no external amplifiers. The unit also offers preamp outputs for car audio systems with aftermarket external amplifiers powering existing speakers.

Note: Do not connect your head unit directly to any amplifiers, including a subwoofer amplifier. The MS-8's signal processing takes nearly 8ms, so any signals connected directly to a head unit will be ahead of the signals leaving the MS-8 by about 8ms. This difference will cause them to be out of sync with the signals that pass through the MS-8. The MS-8 must generate all the signals that are sent to all of the system's speakers.

LCD Display: The JBL MS-8 comes supplied with a display unit with 2.625" LCD screen (128 x 64 pixels). The display unit must be connected during setup, but may be disconnected after setup and after you've made any additional adjustments in the Audio Controls menu. If the display unit is disconnected after setup and final adjustment, you will not be able to make any additional MS-8 adjustments, and the included remote control will not function. You can adjust the contrast and brightness of the display screen. You can also select type of language text (English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Italian, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, and Finnish. The LCD display features an adjustable mounting bracket which can be mounted to the top of your dashboard or console using the included mounting screws or supplied self-adhesive pad.

Note: Choose a mounting location for the LCD display that is easy to see while you are operating the vehicle, but that does not obstruct your view or normal vehicle operations.

Microphone Headset: The included binaural microphone headset must be connected to the MS-8's Mic connection during the calibration/setup process. Place the microphone headset on your head (make sure that the left and right microphones are on the correct ears). Once setup is complete, you can unplug the microphone headset and store it in a safe place.

Note: Do not use any other microphone with the MS-8.

Controls

Remote Control: The JBL MS-8 features an RF (radio-frequency) remote to control all of the MS-8's user-selectable features. Since the remote operates by radio frequency, you do not need to point the remote directly at the system's display. There are dedicated volume buttons on the remote that always control the system volume, regardless of which menu screen is active. The remote features an integrated battery. You can leave the remote un-mounted or secure with velcro. JBL also offers two safe and convenient methods (Surface Mount or Flush Mount) to secure the remote using the supplied mounting bracket.

Speaker Setup: During the Speaker Setup you will help the MS-8 configure the speakers and acoustics in your system. You must use the calibration CD provided with the MS-8 for this step. If your system does not have a CD player, you can convert the CD to a .WAV file for use with a portable media player or other audio source. The file format you use must be lossless, or the calibration process will not be accurate.

  • Crossover Setup: You can configure the MS-8's eight outputs in a variety of ways, depending on the speakers that are installed in your vehicle. You can configure the MS-8 for a system with one-way (full-range), two-way or three-way front speakers, a one-way or two-way center speaker, side speakers, rear speakers and one or two subwoofers. Remember, however, that the total number of available channels is eight, so any combination of front, center, side, rear and subwoofer channels cannot total more than eight.
    • Subwoofer:
      • Type: enter 1, 2, or 0 subwoofers
      • Subsonic Filter: select a frequency between 20-50Hz and a slope of 6-24 dB/oct.
      • Low-Pass Filter: select a low-pass frequency between 50-200Hz and a low-pass slot of 6-24 dB/oct.
    • Front Speakers:
      • Type: enter 1-way, 2-way, or 3-way
      • Crossover Filter: for 1-way (full-range) front speakers set the HPF between 20-100Hz with a 6-24dB/oct. slope; for 2-way front speaker set the HPF between 50Hz-10kHz with a 6-24dB/oct. slope; for 3-way front speakers set the LPF between 100Hz-10kHz with a 6-24dB/oct. slope and the HPF between 20Hz-10kHz with a 6-24dB/oct. slope
    • Center Channel:
      • Type: enter 1-way or 2-way
      • High-Pass Filter: set the HPF between 50Hz-10kHz with a 6-24dB/oct. slope
    • Side Speakers:
      • Type: enter 1-way or None
      • High-Pass Filter: set the HPF between 50-10kHz with a 6-24dB/oct. slope
    • Rear Speakers:
      • Type: enter 1-way or None
      • High-Pass Filter: set the HPF between 50-10kHz with a 6-24dB/oct. slope
  • Channel Selection: This menu assigns the outputs configured in the MS-8's crossover setup to specific output channels by number. The menu will display only valid choices (according to the entries in the crossover setup).

Note: If the system has both side and rear speakers, the Fader control will adjust between the front speakers and both the side and rear speakers in tandem. It is not possible to adjust the balance between the side and rear speakers.

Acoustic Calibration: Acoustic Calibration can be done for the driver's seat, as well as for up to three additional seats. Connect the included binaural microphone headset to MS-8 and place the microphone headset on your head (make sure that the left and right microphones are on the correct ears). Follow the MS-8's on-screen menu instructions on the system's LCD display to complete calibration.

Note: The MS-8 will not pass an audio signal through to its outputs until you have configured it through this setup/calibration process.

Audio Controls: The JBL MS-8 provides various audio adjustments for your system after setup and calibration are complete. It allows you to adjust the system level, tone controls and 31- band graphic EQ, and engage/defeat the MS-8's Logic 7 processing, digital signal processing (time correction and equalization) and seating-position optimization.

  • System Level: This feature adjust the levels of the Aux input and the system's speakers.
  • Tone Control: This selection lets you adjust the system's overall tone quality. The bass control and treble control are shelving-type controls, with ±10dB of boost and cut at 20Hz and 20kHz, respectively. The midrange control is a peak-and-dip type with a Q of 0.26 that offers ±10dB of boost and cut at 650Hz.
  • 31-Band EQ: The MS-8's graphic equalizer is a sophisticated tone control that divides the audio spectrum into 31-bands, each approximately a third of an octave wide. This format allows you to fine-tune the system's sound with extreme precision. Each band allows ±10dB of boost or cut at the band's center frequency. The equalizer's circuitry is designed to minimize destructive interaction between adjacent bands, giving you precise control with superior sound quality.
  • Logic 7: Logic 7 technology creates an ideal 5.1-channel or 7.1-channel surround-sound listening environment from two-channel source material. Logic 7 processing widens the stereo soundstage and increases the sense of sonic envelopment, making the vehicle's interior boundaries seem to disappear. The music sounds as though it exists on its own, rather than coming from speakers. The MS-8's Logic 7 has been specifically tuned for use in vehicles. It also includes processing for the center-channel speaker (if applicable). Logic 7 processing steers all mono information to the center channel (if applicable). You'll find vocal and instrument placement with Logic 7 enabled and the center-channel level in the center position to be natural sounding and consistent. If you listen to a lot of news, sports or talk radio, you may want to attenuate the center channel; you can even save a Favorite setting with such an adjustment.
  • Seated Position: You can optimize the sound for any of the seating positions that you measured during the setup process. Pressing the Select button cycles through the available positions: Driver, Passenger, Front, Rear, All. "Front" or "Rear" optimizes both front seats or both rear seats as the preferred listening position. "All" is a general setting that will produce good sound for any seating position.

Favorites: This option lets you store and recall currently active audio settings (you can store and recall up to five different combinations of settings). The MS-8 provides five Favorites positions that let you store the system's currently active audio settings. The system stores all audio and input selection settings in a Favorites setting (except the Aux volume setting). This feature lets you tailor the sound for a certain type of music or a certain driver, and save and recall the settings at any time.

Connections

Power & Ground Connections: The JBL MS-8 features 0.375" set-screw terminals for power, ground, and remote turn-on lead.

  • +12V: Connect unit's +12-volt power to the vehicle battery with a 25A fuse within 18" of the positive battery terminal (use 12AWG wire minimum).
  • Chassis Ground Input: Connect unit's ground to a paint-free spot on the vehicle chassis.
  • Remote Turn-On Output: Connect the unit's remote turn-on output to the remote-turn on-input of all amplifiers in the system. The MS-8 must control the turn-on signal of the other devices that come after it in the signal path. The output is +12-volts DC, 1A.
  • Remote Turn-On Input: Connect the unit's remote turn-on input to the remote turn-on output of the source unit if the source has such an output. If not, this terminal can connect to the vehicle's accessory (ACC) power circuit. In either case, a connection with over +4-volts DC will trigger the unit, accommodating a range of factory source units or amplifiers.

Input Signal Connections: Many factory-installed system include on-board equalization (EQ) and crossovers that make simple connection of aftermarket products difficult. The JBL MS-8 includes signal-summing circuitry, signal-conditioning EQ, and time correction processing necessary to reconstruct a two-channel, flat, full-range signal when you use the MS-8 with factory-installed equipment. Aftermarket head units with RCA-type outputs provide a flat-full-range, two-channel signal on their front RCA-type outputs. The JBL MS-8 provides both RCA-type (for aftermarket) and High-Level (for factory) inputs.

  • RCA-type Audio Inputs: If you use the MS-8 with an aftermarket head unit that includes RCA-type outputs, connect the front outputs to the MS-8 RCA-type inputs 1 and 2 only. Do not connect any other head unit output signals to MS-8's RCA inputs 3-8.
  • Hi-Level (Speaker-Level) Inputs; If you use the MS-8 with a factory-installed head unit, or any head unit that does not include RCA-type outputs, connect the front left and front right speaker-level outputs from the head unit to the "Hi-Level Input" 1 and 2 on the MS-8. If the factory-installed system includes a separate amplifier, connect the output of the amplifier to the "Hi-Level Input" of the MS-8.

Note: Many factory-installed separate amplifiers include separate channels for front tweeters, midranges, and subwoofers. Connect all of the front and subwoofer outputs to the speaker-level inputs of the MS-8.The subwoofer outputs of the factory amplifier must be connected only to the MS8's input channels 7 and/or 8.

Auxiliary Input: This stereo RCA auxiliary input allows you connect an external portable audio source to the MS-8. Switching between the unit's RCA-type/Hi-Level inputs and the Auxiliary input is done in the MS-8's menus.

Hi-Level & Low-Level Outputs: The JBL MS-8 features both Hi-Level speaker and Low-Level preamp outputs.

  • Speaker Outputs: The unit's speaker-level outputs connect directly to the speakers if the MS-8's on-board amplifiers will be used.
  • Preamp Outputs: If the MS-8's onboard amplifiers won't be used, connect the RCA-type inputs of additional amplifiers to the MS8's RCA-type output connectors. Some speakers may be powered by the MS-8's amplifiers and some by additional amplifiers, but only use one connection type per output.

Note: You can power some of your system's speakers by the MS-8's amplifiers and some by outboard amplifiers, but you should use only one connection type per output.

MS-8 Display: Connect the unit's 2.5mm Display output to the system's LCD display unit using the supplied cable. You must connect the display during setup, but you may also disconnect it after setup.

Note: If you don not install the display, you cannot adjust the MS-8, and the MS-8's remote control will not functions.

Microphone Input: Connect the unit's 3.5mm microphone input to the supplied microphone headset. You must connect the microphone headset to the MS-8 during setup. Once setup is complete, unplug the microphone headset and store in a safe place.

Note: Do not use any other microphone with the MS-8.

USB (type-B) Port: You can use the USB-Update port to install a firmware upgrade downloaded from www.JBL.com.

Specifications & Dimensions

Specifications:

  • CEA Power Output: 18 watts x 8-channels @ 4-ohms
  • Maximum Output Power: 30 watts x 8-channels @ 2-ohms
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz to 20kHz
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio (Line-Input to Line-Output): >90dB
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio (Line-Input to Speaker-Output): >85dB
  • Maximum Input Voltage (Speaker-Level Input): 15V
  • Maximum Input Voltage (Line Input): 2.8V
  • Maximum Output Voltage (Line Output): 2.8V
  • Maximum Current Draw: 16A
  • Stand-by Current Draw: <0.01A

Dimensions:

  • System Integration Digital Processor: 11.5" (w) x 2.1875" (h) x 8.375" (d)
  • LCD Display Unit: 3.4375" (w) x 2.375" (h) x 0.8125" (d)
  • Remote Control: 1.625" (w) x 3.1875" (h) x 0.5625" (d)
  • Microphone Headset Earcup: 1.875" (diameter) x 0.75" (depth)
 
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JBL MS-8 Reviews

Average Customer Review:

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5 out of 5

JBL MS-8

Written By Mike, Orlando, FL on Wednesday, March 13, 2013
 
I understand that some people think the MS-8 is hard to install and tune. It is but it's the best piece of gear out there to integrate a modern NAV, SYNC, BOSE, etc. system keeping the goodies and gaining incredible sound. They likely should make a version with no amps as I use all outboard Alpine PDX amps. It takes some tweaking and putzing with to get it right. When you do, you will write a five star review. It's not really a do-it-yourself install unless you really know what you're doing. I found using the diagnostic mode (not documented of course) allowed me to use an SPL meter and set consistent levels from all my speakers. Then start the tune. It can have digital clipping if you set the amp levels too low. It's a great box!
Pros:
Works like a champ to integrate a a stock head unit into a real audio system.
Cons:
Not an amateur install and JBL needs a much better manual to explain how to setup the system for maximum affect.
5 out of 5 people found this helpful
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3 out of 5

PLEASE READ

Written By jake, Mena, AR on Monday, February 25, 2013
 
I bought this MS-8 for my 2007 newer body style crew cab sierra with bose system. I bypassed my head unit and ran all my speakers directly to the MS-8. I ended up having to buy all new speakers cause Bose will not let out the info on their Hz levels of their speakers so i couldnt properly tune in the speakers. So if you are buying this system and you dont or cant like me know the levels for your speakers then do not buy this. A HUGE PROBLEM with this MS-8 is that it is very limited in the options for speakers it gives you. For example when you set up your front speakers it only gives you the option of a 2 or 3 way speaker, and of course my front speakers are tweeters which are 1 way speakers. So just because of that issue there that was not specified when i bought this product i totally wasted my money. I would also recemend a profesional shop to install this!
Pros:
amazing tuner for the right set up. The 31 band equalizer is awesome
Cons:
limited on speaker options
1 out of 11 people found this helpful
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2 out of 5

Mediocre at best

Written By HemiSam, Houston, TX on Monday, September 24, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I installed the MS-8 to help me amplify sound from an OEM head unit I wanted to keep due to bluetooth, Sat/Nav and back-up camera functionality. Long and short...the processor is heavy handed at best. I installed it with a lot of car, along with a very nice 6-channel JL amp (which is great), using a nifty Rockford Fosgate amp install kit. All the wiring was soldered and high quality cable. The problem is when you put on the headphones to help the MS-8 identify your seating location, it gets so heavy handed that it sends most the sound to the front speakers (which in my case are Polk 3.5" units). Little music made it to the Polk 6.5" units in the front doors of my crew cab pickup, or to the 6x9 JBL's in the rear door. Further, the processing wasn't all that special, and limited my ability to self tune.

I finally tricked the unit by sitting back when I retuned it for my "sitting position" and added positions for the passenger side and each of the rear seats. Only when I had it send music as if all my seats were taken, and turned off the Logic 7 and Processing, did it sound good and then let my amp do its work.

Can't recommend this unit...
Pros:
Can help one use an OEM head unit with other aftermarket parts
Cons:
Wants to send WAY to much of the power to small front speakers if you tune it sitting in the driver's seat and is heavy handed with the processing. Costly for what it provides
7 out of 18 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

MS-8

Written By BillyG, MA on Friday, July 06, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Simply AMAZING!!!! I have an high end head unit which has its own time alignment. I spent many weeks tinkering with it to get good results and for the most part did "okay". But I knew I was not getting it "spot on". So I debated on buying different sound processors and after MUCH research, I decided to go with the MS-8 for these 2 main reasons. 1. I wanted to be able to have some control of Treble-Middle-Bass AFTER the system had performed calibration so I could tailor these basic settings to my tastes on the fly. Most systems DO NOT allow this but the MS-8 DOES! 2. I wanted an easy way to execute the time/calibration measurements without having to use a laptop computer/software and a stand-alone microphone (also while outside the vehicle). The MS-8 is very simple (but immensely effective) by using the streamlined display, menu system, and supplied microphone headset you wear in the vehicle during the calibration. The sound of my music is so clear, nicely separation on the highs and great blend of bass between my mid woofers and sub. The time alignment and leveling really blends things so nicely that all the music comes through with a great sound stage! I can hear intricate detail on songs I have been listening to for years By having the option to adjust treble-mid-bass on the fly I can quickly get the sound that I need for each song. This is worth way more than what I paid!
Pros:
Very easy to use with ability to adjust treble-mid-bass AFTER calibration. If anyone has issues with this it is because they are not setting it up properly; PERIOD!
Cons:
None whatsover. Simply stunning product!
7 out of 7 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Did exactly what I wanted for my WRX stock HU and then some...

Written By Ron, NJ on Thursday, June 21, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I have a 2011 WRX with the NAVI and spent hours researching to decide if I should replace the HU or leave it... Wow am I glad I left it in my car. The MS-8 turned my factory HU (terrible sound) and stock speakers into something I can actually enjoy listening to. It is amazing what this unit did to my car. It took a few nights to get it to sound right, the options available and the different sound it can produce..awesome. I do caution anyone to not judge the first day you turn this thing on, it takes a few hours to maximize the sound.

Looking forward to adding a powered sub which the MS-8 will handle nicely.
Pros:
Lot's of options for fine tuning. Enough power to really enjoy the music. Great instructions. 8 channels
Cons:
Lot's of options for fine tuning. Always wish for more power.
4 out of 4 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

phenomenal

Written By tvm, chicago,il on Saturday, June 09, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Blown away by what this thing did to my sound! I'm running stock HU with aftermarket speakers and powered sub. no extra amps. It's plenty loud and the sound is just fantastic!!! And if i can set it up, anyone can :) Wiring is a different story, but that's not the units fault, any aftermarket stuff requires that.
Pros:
all of it
Cons:
i don't want to get out of my car anymore ...
7 out of 9 people found this helpful
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1 out of 5

Overly hyped

Written By TobeMac, Bronx, NY on Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This is a dangerous product, because it is overly hyped. Nothing about the MS-8 is simple. JBL says that this thing can be installed during one's lunch break, this is true if your lunch break is 6 hourS. That is how long it took the music shop to install this unit. They charged me $175 dollars to install it, because they charged me by the hour. Now after it was installed, it was my turn to tune and calibrate this unit. I put on the mic head phones and set every thing to the recommended frequency. This took about 10 minutes or so. When I first heard my music, I thought that it sounded different. Not better at all. Maybe a little synthesized. I decide to calibrate the machine a second time, making sure that I follow the instructions carefully. The result was the same. I decided to calibrate it a third time. I was gonna try a different set of frequencies, but half way thru the set up the remote stop working. The remote that came with MS-8 looks like something that would come from a cereal box. I'm not exaggerating. The thing is cheaP! When you press the buttons you feel the plastic bending. Since you can only tune this gadget with the remote I got stuck listening to badly calibrated music for 2 weeks. As expensive as this unit is it should have an excellent remote. I returned this unit and purchased a new set of speakers, radio and an amp. Now my set up sounds awesome. This unit has the potential to be the best EQ and sound processor out there, but not worth it for the price.
Pros:
Has a ton of tuning options
Cons:
Too expesivE, overly hypeD, cheap remotE, not easy to set uP
7 out of 15 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Installed 2 of these

Written By Bigaudiofanatic, Bridgeton NJ on Friday, December 16, 2011
 
I have been doing audio installs for 8 years now. I must say that you do have to know about octave's hertz, crossover frequencies and so on to setup this product to get the best sound "if you are running active" That being said if you can figure it out than you have a great tool at your hands. I will also note that this takes a while to tune so do not expect to be done in 5 minutes after the install is done. Tuning can be time consuming and you have to reset all the calibration and input settings every time you want to change the crossover freq or anything else. So expect to be tuning for a hour or so "again if you are running active"
Pros:
Makes music sound great
Cons:
Learning curve, have to know about hertz, crossover frequencies and octaves to understand what you are doing if you are running an active setup. "Which is normal" Have to know what wires to use.
8 out of 12 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

SUPERB SOUNDSTAGE!

Written By BURG, LUMBERTON NEW JERSEY on Friday, November 25, 2011
 
The jbl MS-8 DSP creates a holographic sound stage with rock solid imaging!There is some break-in time required,so be patient.High end electronics and speakers need a little burn-in time to sound their best! The music sounds as if it is outside the car from the driver's mirror across the hood to the passenger side mirror!It is a stunning effect!You will pick-up your bottom jaw off the floor the first time you hear it!I had the jbl MS-8 DSP installed by a CERTIFIED PROFESSIONAL (IASCA,MERA,etc.)This may be the best upgrade you can make to your mobile sound system. I am very pleased with this product! You will be too! BURG
Pros:
SOUNDSTAGE and IMAGING
Cons:
signal to noise ratio should higher. needs a knob on the display,an ALPS precision potentiometer maybe.
4 out of 5 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

JBL MS-8 in high end system

Written By Dano, Farmington CT on Wednesday, March 16, 2011
 
I just installed a JBL MS-8 in my high end, BMW system. In short, it is amazing. It has provided home hi-fi quality spatial imaging. The automatic equalization results are as perfect as I can perceive. A nice improvement in tonal quality over an already well tuned system. One complaint though - the signal to noise is not great. The white noise is obvious when the car is not running. A bit of a let down over the total silence I previously had. Still, audio reproduction is balance of compromises. I would gladly chose the MS-8 again and again.
System: BMW 635CSi
- McIntosh, MX406 CD in-dash
- McIntosh, MC420M 4 x 50 Power Amp
- Pioneer GM D7500M 1 x 400 Power Amp
- Custom mounted Vifa and Tang-Band drivers
- JBL MS-8 processor
12 out of 14 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Very good but not exactly idiot-proof.

Written By Brandon, New Jersey on Tuesday, February 01, 2011
 
When I first installed this unit, I was disappointed. (like some others) I run high quality aftermarket gear and have a good knowledge base, and was surprised when my setup sounded WORSE after the MS-8's auto tune. After some troubleshooting, I found out that the reason it sounded bad was entirely *MY* fault. I expected the MS-8 to make everything sound perfect with zero effort on my part, but it turns out that it requires a little effort to get it sounding good - just like most other audio gear. After getting some help VIA online forums, I have to say this unit delivers the goods. The stage it produces is pure magic, and extends from mirror to mirror, with a nice center and good height. The tonality improvement was nice, although it required some tweaking for my personal taste - achieved handily through the 31 band EQ. The number one piece of advice I can give is to make sure your calibration is done properly, with the sweeps no louder than a comfortable talking level (about 85-90db).

The *only* reason I do not give this product 5 stars is because it's absurdly hyped. Hype is dangerous, and it encourages fools like myself to be careless during setup and to have unrealistic expectations. In summation, the MS-8 can make a good system sound truly great, but it takes a little TLC and some patience to get the most out of it.
49 out of 51 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Must Have Product!

Written By DP, Midwest on Tuesday, January 04, 2011
 
I love this thing. It is easy to install, and very easy to configure. I have an 02 accord sedan. Alpine ixa-305s, Alpine sbs-05dc center channel speaker, components, coaxial rears, jl enclosed sub, jl hd 900.5, and jl hd 600.4. Very good output. I am no pro tuner, but feel I wasted a lot of time trying to tune this system with a kenwood eXcelon. I just wasn't happy. But this made it so easy, and it sound amazing, from any seat. The active combination of components listed here deliver sweet sound, no hiss, no fuss, no whine. I would say if you can, buy it. It was worth the wait.
6 out of 7 people found this helpful
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2 out of 5

No Thanks.

Written By Todd, Las Vegas on Sunday, December 12, 2010
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I've read nothing but overwhelmingly positive reviews about this thing, but I gotta say I'm very disappointed with the end result. The processed tonality (EQ) reminds me of holding two conch shells up to my ears. It sucked all the life out of the music and gave it a very boring and papery feel. I was expecting it to tighten up the acoustic anomalies in my cabin, but the calibrated sound was NOTHING like the pure sound from my amp. I must note that I'm using very high quality components: 6.5" Dynaudio 2-ways/12" Dyn Sub powered by a McIntosh amp. It just sounded better every time with the processing disabled. Also, the sound position calibration (driver, back seat, etc) all sounded completely different from each other. Example: in the Driver position the sub was cranked, but in the front Passenger position the sub was about half the volume. I re-calibrated multiple times and got consistent results. If you have a stock system and add this, it might be great; it's marketed for that anyway so maybe that's what they're trying to tell you. The good news is that it's amp was quite a bit better than my head unit amp for my rear coaxials. The build quality is good, and it is very easy to use, but I don't think the MS-8 can ever replace quality components, speaker placement, and a well recorded source. Crutchfield Customer Service was perfect though!
12 out of 24 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

WOW

Written By socal vibes, ft. laderdale, fl on Wednesday, July 14, 2010
 
I put this into a stock 09 Prius (WITHOUT the upgraded jbl speaker package) and i am totally knocked out. It really sounds like there's a center channel in my car where none exists. The sound stage is impeccable, and i didn't have to have my car all torn apart to get here. I'm using the MS-8 as an amp too and its plenty loud for my taste. I dont think I could ever be satisfied with stock again.
20 out of 22 people found this helpful
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