JBL Cinema SB200
A good soundbar option to boost your TV sound, complete with Bluetooth streamingWrite your own review
- Loud, explosive sound
- Good energy
- Good balance
- Direct dialogue
- Could do with more precision
- Dynamics could be better controlled
This JBL Cinema SB200 one-box system is easy to set up, and is at home either on the stand in front of your flatscreen TV or on the wall.
The bar is a little chunky, mainly down to what the JBL describes as a built-in subwoofer. Also inside, hidden under the cloth grille, are two 2.5cm dome tweeters sitting alongside two high-excursion 9cm mid/bass drivers with dual ports.
MORE: JBL Cinema SB400 review
Externally, things are less complex, with simple control buttons on top of the main
unit, which glow when selected – a nice touch – along with a dinky yet nicely styled remote control that’s responsive and reasonably functional.
While there’s no HDMI connectivity, the single digital optical and analogue inputs are enough for a fairly simple connection to either your TV or Blu-ray player.
The SB200 is also Bluetooth-enabled, so you can wirelessly stream music from your smartphone or tablet.
JBL Cinema SB200 review: sound quality
Play the Blu-ray version of Armageddon and the JBL fills the room with loud and explosive sound. However, it needs a night’s running in to rein in the treble and make it sound a tad more organised.
It’s an enthusiastic soundbar, taking delight in delivering the never-ending slew of the film’s bangs and crashes.
The SB200 has Harman’s Display Surround technology that aims to produce virtual surround sound.
It does open up the soundstage a bit, but on the downside the midrange/dialogue feels too isolated from the rest of the action. Keep it switched off and you’ll get a cohesive, balanced sound with direct dialogue.
The JBL gets away without a separate sub by offering fair low-frequency weight. The SB200 goes decently deep and stays just shy of boomy (which is why we’d steer clear of the bar’s Bass Boost option).
There’s a good amount of detail conveyed, but edges aren’t precisely honed and the dynamic shifts of action scenes cutting to dialogue could be handled more elegantly.
But there’s heaps of energy and good timing that keeps all the elements working together with some success.
JBL Cinema SB200 review: verdict
If you’re looking for a simple single-bar solution to boost your telly’s sound, the lively SB200 is a good option.