JBL SB200 Sound Bar
The JBL Cinema SB200 Sound Bar makes a great speaker system for smaller rooms or if a full surround sound system just won’t work in your media or entertainment center.
Ease of Use, Performance: 3/5
Look & Feel: 4/5
How much I enjoy 4/5
Total: 3.5/5 Stars
Sound bars have their niche in home entertainment and fill that void where full surround sound systems just will not work for either space or a financial aspect and work very well when you’re not too concerned about experiencing surround sound. Sound bars come in the less expensive but equally worthwhile speakers and go up to those expensive ones easily reaching $2000 but the JBL Cinema SB200 Sound Bar comes in at a more affordable $300.
The JBL SB200 sound bar is about 4 inches deep, 4.5 inches tall and 35.5 inches wide for a sound bar that works well in front of, above or below a TV on a stand or wall mounted. The sound bar comes with a wall mount plate, the remote control, a short optical cable and an RCA to 3.5mm cable along with an instruction manual that has setup and instructions about use.
The controls for the sound bar are on top with a simple remote included for easy on the couch adjustment but the SB200 can also learn remote commands for volume and mute form your TV remote. This one feature is so easy and worked perfectly for me with my Vizio TV remote the first time I tried it and made using the SB200 as my main speaker system for the living room quite easy.
One main feature of the sound bar is the use of Bluetooth to pair the speaker with any Bluetooth enabled audio source such as an iPad or other tablet which works very well with the simple pairing process. This means you can listen to tunes on the sound bar when you’re not using it for the main entertainment of watching TV or movies.
The controls on the remote and the top of the sound bar are almost identical with the exception of the Bluetooth pairing button on the sound bar for use with a Bluetooth source and wireless connection. The Bluetooth pairing works as easily as any Bluetooth device but you can also connect the JBL sound bar with the rear optical and stereo connections which are switched by the source button.
The optical audio and stereo connection on the back of the sound bar connects the sound bar to your HDTV or other audio source but with only the three connections you are limited in how many devices to connect to the sound bar. The optical connection allows connecting and using several different formats of audio such as Dolby Digital but the stereo connection only uses analog stereo for its source.
The sound bar includes a Harmon Display Surround feature that simulates surround sound by delaying parts of the sound but you can switch this off if you don’t like it or for using the sound bar with music. The JBL sound bar has the wall mount bar which hooks to the back of the sound bar to hang the sound bar on a wall or you can set the sound bar on a table or media.
I’m not sure how the bass is created but looking inside the sound bar the two main speakers seem to have two sections with one pointing forward and the other that has sound coming from a round hole in the back. The inside has two horns which point from inside to the outer front of the sound bar but two slots are also at the back of the sound bar which I assume are both for bass to come out.
The switch on the back for wall mounting or table top use controls how the bass comes out but you can tell a definite difference from one to the other. Mounting the sound bar would obscure the back ports for bass and more front bass when it is mounted on a wall or the front of a media center would make sense.
I could not find out what kind of speakers the sound bar uses but I think it has to do with the dual port design for the two high excursion drivers that are the two larger drivers in the sound bar. Looking inside the front cover of the sound bar you have two drivers that are about 3 inches wide and two that are an inch wide along with the two oval openings for the horns.
The JBL Sound Bar does have Dolby Digital decoding through the optical input and does well when connected to both my Vizio HDTV and my computer for playing movies and television. The Bass boost works well but does not add the same amount of bass that a dedicated subwoofer or separate speaker would, movies sounded great and even ones like Star Wars was very enjoyable using the SB200 for sound.
While the JBL Cinema SB200 sound bar does not do full surround sound it does a great job at imitating it and the sound bar does make a great entertainment system when space is limited or if you just can’t afford a better one. The SB200 does sound great from high notes to low bass and makes an excellent entertainment speaker system that works well for a TV and with its wall mountable feature does have a nice mounting option.
I highly recommend the JBL SB200 Sound Bar for an excellent single speaker solution that does work well for movies and television as well as music with its unique options for connectivity.