The JBL Cinema SB450 is a new soundbar from the brand JBL, which comes with a large and impressive subwoofer. The soundbar has received a price of 599 euros, but is he also worth this price?
JBL Cinema SB450 – design
The JBL Cinema SB450 is a robust soundbar. The device is 110 centimeters wide and almost ten centimeters high. Especially the latter could cause a problem, since there is a danger that the bar may block the bottom of the television screen when both products are on a TV cabinet. This may not be a problem for most people who have a TV on the wall or have a TV with high legs. Nevertheless, it is still something to keep an eye on: measure it in advance as well.
On the top of the SB450 there are eight buttons, with which you can at least operate the core function of the soundbar. So you put the speaker on and off, you can change function and manage the volume with it, for example. The buttons are provided with backlighting, but fortunately do not fall during the viewing. The soundbar stands on two legs and therefore remains well in place. Furthermore, the device looks luxurious and everything is neatly finished, both on the front and back. There are all connections.
The JBL Cinema SB450 is equipped with three HDMI ports to which you can connect different devices, as well as a fourth that is intended for connection to the television. The three HDMI connections offer support for HDCP 2.2 and that means you can also transmit 4K HDR signals from a source, via the soundbar to the TV. In addition, there is support for bluetooth and JBL Connect, making it possible to connect other JBL speakers for a combined sound experience.
There is also a headphone connection and a USB port. That port is intended for service updates; you can not connect a hard disk to it. There is also a button with which you indicate whether the soundbar is on a cabinet or hanging on the wall. For example, the movement of the sound can be adjusted to the position that you have selected for the SB450. Incidentally, it is not possible to play media via Wi-Fi (for example from a smartphone, laptop or a NAS ), so you will have to do it with bluetooth and hdmi.
JBL Cinema SB450 installation
Installing requires no effort. When you remove the soundbar from the (incredibly large) box, you can connect it directly to your TV. That is possible via HDMI, but also via an optical cable. You plug the plug of both the soundbar and the subwoofer into the socket and the equipment works immediately. If you still encounter problems in the installation process by connecting the subwoofer, there is also a button on the soundbar. This button is on the back and allows you to manually establish the connection.
You do not have to take anything into account. There are no settings that you have to look at. For example, the JBL SB450 does not offer presets for movies, music or games. However, you can adjust the intensity of the subwoofer. You do that with the included remote control. However, there is no window on which you can see at what level the bass reproduction is, so you have to listen to this entirely. That is not bad, but then you have to ensure a good song or a good movie to set the bass.
JBL Cinema SB450 – use
The included remote control – no matter how handy – works against the ease of use of the soundbar . It is a thin, narrow and especially small thing that presents a few small buttons. You can control all functions on the soundbar and it is of course handy that a remote control is included, but this accessory just does not fit comfortably. We also noticed that you have to keep the remote right in front of the soundbar, otherwise it does not record your actions. Hopefully you have a universal remote control.
With the remote control you can activate some functions that can not all be switched on with the buttons on the soundbar. There is Harman Volume: this option makes the (background) sound a bit softer in the evening, without compromising the intelligibility of the conversations. There is also the option to activate virtual surround sound. Do not expect too much of this; although it works in itself and you sometimes hear sound behind you, it never sounds so good when there are real speakers behind you.
Incidentally, there is an extra volume knob on the back of the subwoofer. You can thus adjust the volume of the subwoofer. We recommend setting this setting as low as possible, because otherwise the bass sound is quite present. Unless, of course, you like it, put it a lot higher. Make sure that the sub gets the space and do not put it in a corner. Not only can he lose his air, but you can also use it more easily if you still want to adjust the volume. By default, the woofer is at a low volume.
JBL Cinema SB450 – audio quality
The sound quality of the JBL Cinema SB450 is amazingly dynamic. When you watch a busy action movie, you just do not bounce on the couch with excitement. This is partly due to the (correct) settings of the subwoofer: it delivers a compelling sound. The soundbar does have a bit of trouble with the dialogues: they do not always come out very well when a lot is happening in the background. But fortunately everything remains intelligible, even though the conversation is a bit lost in explosions or loud music.
When you play music you soon notice how wide the sound field is. Especially with music that actually presents multiple layers. The soundbar easily fills a room of more than twenty square meters and does so incredibly well. The vocals are always easy to understand, even when musicians are working very hard with their instruments in the background. If you put the sound too loud, the music may sound a little shrill. We do not recommend that – even if you have to set the soundbar very hard to achieve that.
Having said that, we are of the opinion that the JBL Cinema SB450 is not entirely suitable as a music loudspeaker. The sound is not always very warm and you notice that immediately. The soundbar is especially suitable for films and series in which there is either a lot of talk (without too much background noise or explosions, something like the series The Good Wife ) or where there are a lot of bombastic elements (where less is spoken, as in the movie Mad Max: Fury Road ). The JBL Cinema SB450 is a powerful soundbar, but not very versatile.
JBL Cinema SB450 – conclusion
And that is the conclusion for the JBL Cinema SB450. The sound quality is certainly not wrong for films and series and you will also notice that it is an improvement compared to an older soundbar or the speakers of your television (that’s fast, of course). But if you are looking for a soundbar that can also be used for playing music, you might want to look further. Although the quality of the music is not wrong, it lacks warmth and a really lively display. That is unfortunate, especially because there is still a hefty price tag on the SB450.
This soundbar is ideal for watching films and series. The voices come to the fore (although it all becomes somewhat flatter when mixed with bombastic elements) and the sound of explosions, engines or other hard things, for example, almost bounces on the bank of enthusiasm. In terms of connections it is also good: you can send a 4K HDR signal through the soundbar. But actually the SB450 does not jump out when you compare it with the competition.