JBL is well known in the audio industry for providing excellent performing professional sound systems for many multiplex movie cinemas and recording studios throughout the world. JBL has carried this acclaimed sound pedigree over to its line of consumer audio products including its soundbar systems, which brings me to the focus of this review – the JBL SB400 Cinema Soundbar.
The SB400 is a high-quality mid-priced soundbar system. The soundbar itself is made of a very strong and durable type of plastic, so when I lifted the bar to better assess its quality, I could tell immediately this was not a cheaply made piece of audio equipment. This unit was very solidly built and had a fair amount of weight to it.
The soundbar itself is also very attractive featuring a very sleek and low profile design. The bar is 43-inches wide and is ideal for 37-inch and larger TVs. The speaker can be wall mounted with the included bracket or placed on your TV cabinet. An EQ button on the back of the unit provides settings for wall-mounting or table placement for optimized sound quality.
The soundbar produces 120 watts of power (60 X 2) and contains two 2-1/4″ cone woofers per channel and two 1″ dome tweeters.
The SB400 provides plenty of connectivity options, including 3 HDMI inputs and 1 HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) output which will allow you to view the SB400’s on-screen display on your TV. There is also 1 digital optical audio input and 1 AUX stereo minijack input which is used to connect the provided 4-foot minijack-to-RCA analog cable.
Bluetooth connectivity is also available and allows for easy pairing for a wireless connection to your smartphone, tablet, laptop/desktop computer or other Bluetooth enabled devices.
The 100-watt bass-reflex subwoofer enclosure contains an 8-inch down-firing woofer and provides controls for sub level output and low-pass crossover adjustment (40-200Hz). There is also a phase switch (0°/180°) to optimize bass performance. The subwoofer’s wireless connectivity allows for multiple placement options within your viewing environment and can be placed up to 25 feet away from the soundbar.
The supplied remote control has much to be desired – it is a tiny credit card sized device with a very cheesy and cheap looking design. It does, however, contain all the necessary buttons to operate the soundbar system remotely. And one of those buttons I particularly liked enables you to control the subwoofer’s bass output level from your listening position without having to go to the back of the sub enclosure. Nice!
Note: The SB400 can be controlled by your TV’s remote. Therefore bypassing the use of the supplied remote.
When it comes down to performance, the SB400 truly shines. This soundbar system delivers premium sound quality with very impressive bass performance.
The sound quality produced by this system delighted my ears. The sound was open and spacious with very good tonal balance and good dynamics as well. The high-end (treble) was very refined, articulate and delivered a nice amount of detail. Its top end frequency output was smooth, so it never sounded harsh or bright even at high levels.
The subwoofers bass output was a pleasure to experience, delivering deep, solid and punchy bass. Of all the soundbar/subwoofer systems I have auditioned or evaluated, the SB400 has by far produced the deepest and loudest bass output; and may I remind you, this system only contains an 8″ woofer. Very impressive performance. Indeed!
I listened to several of my favorite audio tracks via one of my Spotify playlists. Before I could do my music listening, I paired my Samsung smartphone with the soundbar, which only took a minute or so and went off without a hitch.
The sound quality of music played through the SB400 was very good. Musical instruments within the soundstage had good separation and were easy to distinguish, and delivered good detail. Bass notes within the music were solidly refined delivering taut bass, which blended nicely with the mid and high range of frequencies of the soundbar as portrayed by instruments such as keyboards, guitars and drum cymbals, etc.
The movie, Tears of the Sun, did not receive the notoriety or critical acclaim it deserved in my opinion and is one of my favorite movies due to the powerful story it tells.
Amidst its excellent storyline, this film also has a great audio soundtrack and really delivers during the climactic battle scenes towards the end of the movie. These scenes are filled with a multitude of gunfire and explosions that engulf the soundfield.
The SB400 handled these scenes with aplomb, delivering a very dynamically charged sound presentation. Gunshots were very defined and distinct within the soundfield. Sound effects were open and spacious and spread beyond the boundaries of the soundbar itself. Bass output of the SB400 was very good during the many rocket grenade explosions within the film, delivering powerful deep bass with lots of impact without being overwhelming.
The SB400 rendered very clean and distinct vocals (dialogue) which were natural sounding without any nasal effect that can plague lesser quality speakers.
The JBL SB400 Cinema soundbar system is one of the better performing soundbars on the market. It delivers high-quality sound that is worthy of the JBL name and provides the essential features needed in a quality soundbar system package.
My Rating & Specs
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• Very good sound quality: dynamic, detailed, spacious
• Subwoofer provides deep and powerful bass output
• Bluetooth connectivity
• Attractive design
• Plenty of connection ports
• Uninspiring remote control
• Reported audio pops from some consumers reviews when using the HDMI inputs on the soundbar
Cinema SB 400 System
• Frequency response: 38Hz – 20kHz
Cinema SB 400 Soundbar
• Midrange transducers: Two 2-1/4″ (57mm) cones per channel, video-shielded
• High-frequency transducers: One 1″ (25mm) dome per channel, video-shielded
• Amplifier power (@ 1% THD+N): 60 watts per channel
• Enclosure type: Ported
• Frequency response: 120Hz – 20kHz
• Power requirement: 100V – 240V, 50/60Hz, 60W Power consumption:
• (H x W x D): 3-3/4″ x 43-5/16″ x 2-1/2″ (95mm x 1100mm x 64mm)
• 7.3 lb. (3.3kg)
Cinema SB 400 Subwoofer
• Low-frequency transducer: One 8″ (203mm) cone, down-firing
• Amplifier power: 100 watts RMS, 200 watts peak
• Enclosure type: Ported
• Frequency response: 38Hz – 120Hz
• Audio controls: Volume, phase, crossover frequency
• Power requirement: 100V – 240V, 50/60Hz, 100W Power consumption:
• (H x W x D): 14″ x 13″ x 12-5/8″ (355mm x 329mm x 320mm)
• 23.1 lb. (10.5kg)
Warranty: 1 year electronics / 5 years speakers
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