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CNET First Look
JBL SB 300The JBL SB 300 is a plus-sized sound bar with excellent sound quality, but its unconventional style won't please everyone.
Hey. I'm Matthew Moskovciak from CNET and we're taking a look at the JBL SB 300. This is a premium price soundbar selling for about $500 and has a very distinctive design. The soundar itself has sharp angles with a plastic cabinet that kinda looks cut away to reveal the speaker drill. The subwoofer is wireless and not only is it pretty huge, it kinda looks like Darth Vader's helmet. Both of these components really draw attention to themselves so if you're someone that wants their home theater to blend into your living room rather than stand out, this probably isn't the right system for you. The system comes with a remote which is decent but it's nice that JBL includes one at all since a lot of soundbar systems don't come with a remote. When you make adjustments with the remote, you'll notice there's no front panel display on the JBL so you're not gonna get any visual feedback as to how loud the system is playing or what input you're on. Around back is the connectivity and there's not much. Just a single analog input and an optical digital audio input. That means you're gonna end up connecting all your components directly to your TV first, then connect the TV's audio output directly to the soundbar. That arrangement should work pretty well and allows you to use more than just two devices with the SB 300. There also aren't any extra features on the JBL like Bluetooth streaming or Airplay which would have been nice at this price level. Sound quality is excellent. This is the jumbo size system and that makes a difference as the SB 300 just sounds bigger when you're listening to music and movies. Movies sound particularly powerful and you're really gonna feel the difference between the JBL and the smaller system on, say, loud action movies. Like with most soundbars, music doesn't sound great but the JBL does a better job than a lot of the other competitors. Overall, the JBL SB 300 sounds almost as good as our top choice, the Harman SB16 and it does that for $100 less. So it's a good value if you're looking for a high performance soundbar. Our main hang up is the style but if you can get past the SB 300's looks, it's pretty nice home theater system. I'm Matthew Moskovciak and this is the JBL SB 300