JBL's 200W wireless speaker with hi-res streaming is a luxury music system I'd buy

JBL L42ms on a table
(Image credit: JBL)

Along with the launch of its Authentics speaker series at IFA 2023, JBL appears to be on a roll with wireless speakers launches right now, and the high-end JBL L42ms integrated music system will be its next addition. Set to arrive by the end of March 2024, the L42ms comes from JBL's high-end Harman Luxury Audio Group speaker line and joins the larger L75ms ($1,500) as a compact and more affordable option.

I recently reviewed the JBL Authentics 300 portable wireless speaker that can be carried from room-to-room around the home, but the JBL L42ms is designed to rival static music systems from audiophile brands such as the KEF LSX Lite, Sonus faber Omnia, or even Bang & Olufsen Beolab 8, for example. Like JBL's Authentics series, it carries the company's distinctive Quadrex speaker grille, and has all the right smarts to connect to your favorite wireless audio sources as well as adding more wired connectivity options.  

JBL L75ms Music System: $1,500 @ Amazon

JBL L75ms Music System: $1,500 @ Amazon

As the big brother to the forthcoming JBL L42ms, the original L75ms shares JBL's Classic Series design inspiration in a walnut wood veneer cabinet finish and black Quadrex foam grille. It's rated at 350W and includes wireless connectivity via Apple AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast built-in, and Bluetooth.
Price check: $1,500 @ Crutchfield 

The L42ms has the same great styling as its larger sibling, with a curved front baffle that's fitted with that speaker grille. The elegant cabinet is available in walnut or black wood options, and I'd say that the styling and connectivity options make it a strong contender for one of my best music systems for style.  

JBL L42ms in walnut and black

(Image credit: Future)

The L42ms integrated music system measures 6.4 x 24.3 x 9.2 inches (162 x 617 x 234mm HxWxD), and its proportions and styling make it look more like a dedicated center speaker for a home theater setup rather than a rival to Naim's similarly priced and specified Mu-so 2 speaker system. 

Speaking of home theater, this speaker comes with HDMI-ARC for easy television connection, making it a great choice if you're looking for ways to upgrade TV sound. There are also analog stereo inputs including RCA and 3.5mm for other wired sources.

Inside the cabinet, the L42ms has a built-in amplifier that claims 200W total power output (75W RMS to each woofer; 25W RMS to each tweeter). There are 2x 4-inch woofers and 2x 0.75-inch aluminum dome tweeters with waveguides positioned to help the speaker deliver a wide and even stereo sound field that projects forwards to the listening area. 

The built-in DAC supports up to 24-bit/96kHz audio files for true hi-res playback with the best music streaming services when signed up to an appropriate subscription tier.

JBL L42ms control panel

(Image credit: Future)

For streaming audio, the L42ms provides wired or wireless network connection via Ethernet, AirPlay 2, and Google Chromecast, or users can connect directly to their devices with Bluetooth. There's built-in access to Spotify Connect and Tidal Connect music services, and the free JBL Premium Audio setup app provides a fast and easy first-time connection of the L42ms to a Wi-Fi network.

The app also supports Amazon Music and Qobuz music streaming services as well as access to internet radio and podcasts. Users can also access music on UPnP home networked storage devices or a USB drive connected via the USB-A port on the back of the speaker. There's also a Bluetooth handheld remote control, and input selection and volume controls are provided on the top panel of the cabinet.

Samsung Smart Things integration

The JBL L42ms is Roon Ready compatible, allowing subscribers to integrate and manage their networked digital music library and streaming services from one place. Plus, the L42ms also has Works with Smart Things certification. This allows the JBL L42ms to integrate with Samsung Galaxy devices including Samsung phones, Samsung TVs and Samsung appliances for one-touch operation and functionality.

The JBL L42ms integrated music system is expected to cost $1,099 / £999 / €999 (around AU$1,679 at today's exchange rate) when it goes on sale before the end of March 2024.

Look out for my review coming soon.

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Lee Dunkley
Audio Editor

After 2.5 years as Tom's Guide's audio editor, Lee has joined the passionate audio experts at audiograde.uk where he writes about luxury audio and Hi-Fi. As a former editor of the U.K.'s Hi-Fi Choice magazine, Lee is passionate about all kinds of audio tech and has been providing sound advice to enable consumers to make informed buying decisions since he joined Which? magazine as a product tester in the 1990s. Lee covers all things audio for Tom's Guide, including headphones, wireless speakers and soundbars and loves to connect and share the mindfulness benefits that listening to music in the very best quality can bring.