The Good The SCS145.5S is JBL's most affordably priced and compact speaker package. The six-piece 5.1 system comprises 5 tiny two-way satellite speakers and an 8-inch, 100-watt powered subwoofer. Speaker wire and wall brackets are also included.
The Bad The little system has limited loudness capability.
The Bottom Line Anchored by a gutsy subwoofer, the JBL SCS145.5S is a worthwhile budget choice for small home theaters.
The JBL SCS145.5S is one of the most compact Surround Cinema Speaker (SCS) packages we've seen from the company. The system's silver plastic sats stand a mere 4.5 inches tall and don't look all that different from the sort we find with entry-level home-theater-in-a-box systems. However, they sound considerably better--the little guys can rock. The JBL SCS145.5S system owes its muscle to a 100-watt, 8-inch subwoofer. The six-piece system carries a $400 list price, but it's widely available for under $300 (and a lot less) online. For a complete JBL 5.1 system, that's an awfully good deal--especially if you don't have the space or budget for a more upscale system. The JBL SCS145.5S's satellite speakers are among the smallest we've seen. They weigh a little more than one pound each, and they're just 4.5 inches high, 3.25 wide, and 3.75 deep. Each speaker comes with its own metal wall-mount bracket; alternately, the sats can be placed on a shelf or paired with optional JBL's FS1000 floor stands.
The center speaker is a little bigger; it's 3.25 inches high, 7.6 wide, and 3.75 deep, and it tips the scales at almost two pounds. JBL doesn't include a bracket because the company recommends placing the center speaker either directly above or below a TV. When we removed the satellites' grilles, we noticed a thin plastic sheet had been inserted to protect the drivers during shipping. The owner's manual doesn't mention this, but we strongly recommend removing the plastic to make sure you're hearing the sound as intended.
The subwoofer is an unadorned compact cube measuring 13 by 15 by 14 inches. Its solidly constructed medium-density fiberboard (MDF) cabinet is cleanly finished in a muted silver/gray vinyl wrap. The 30-pound baby boomer sits on large, well-designed feet.
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