JBL Duet III review: JBL Duet III

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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Attractive, modern design; decent clarity and sound quality.

The Bad The Duet III speakers are a little short on bass; no auxiliary input for a second audio device.

The Bottom Line While the JBL Duet III speakers just don't have a lot of oomph to them, they look good and offer decent sound.

7.0 Overall
  • Design 8.0
  • Features 6.0
  • Performance 7.0

CNET reviewed the JBL Duet II PC speakers earlier this year and had some good things to say about them, though we did think they were a little short on bass. Now we got our hands on the step-up model, the Duet III, which offers the same design but the speakers are blown up in size by about 25 percent.

The package includes zeppelin-shaped speakers measuring 4.6 inches by 4.6 inches by 12 inches (the Duet IIs are 10.5 inches tall). Their fronts have a metallic silver mesh (read: cloth) covering the speaker grilles and their backs have a glossy black finish. They're attractive, modern looking, and go particularly well with iMac models that feature an aluminum finish.

The speakers themselves are fairly lightweight--the left speaker weighs in at 1 pound, 3.5 ounces and the left at 1 pound, 6.5 ounces--but they're not totally unsubstantial. JBL has conveniently placed a volume control on the top of the right speaker that when turned all the way to the left, shuts off the speaker.

As Jasmine France noted in her review of the Duet IIs, the Duet series has kind of a funky cable setup. She describes it as such: "Coming off the left speaker alone, you have three cables: one for power, one to attach to the right speaker, and one for the audio source. The right tower features just one cable to connect it to the left. On the plus side, the overall length of 7.5 feet should be plenty for most setups." The speaker-to-speaker cable connects with a standard RCA plug, so you could even theoretically extend it farther. Meanwhile, the audio source cable, which terminates in a silver-plated 3.5mm straight plug, measures 66 inches.

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