JBL Cinema Sound CS460

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JBL Cinema Sound CS460

Pros

  • Great sound quality, fantastic bass performance

Cons

  • Requires the purchase of separate receiver

Bottom Line

An excellent unit with a quirky design, JBL's CS460 speakers are a fantastic option for any discerning listener.

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For those of you moving beyond an entry-level home theatre system, there's a range of options that offer an excellent mix of quality and affordability. JBL's latest Cinema Sound CS460 5.1 surround sound speaker system is a perfect example. It delivers exceptional audio performance and has an attractive design to boot. Although the system's pricing is relatively expensive compared to other home theatre options, its audio quality, when used in conjunction with a full home theatre setup, is well-worth the money.

The five surround speakers are rated at 100W, while the 6in sub-woofer is rated at 125W, and they deliver a lot of power. Cranking the volume up as loud as we could, we found the system's quality to be almost faultless. Some distortion was evident at the loudest volume level, but this was expected. A quick calibration, facilitated by Harman Kardon's AVR145 home theatre receiver, allowed us to get right into the heart of the speaker system. The CS460 immediately began to pump out impressive sound, producing clear and distinct tones.

The entire sound range sounded good during our tests, but we were most impressed with its bass reproduction. Whether slow and rumbling or fast and punchy, the sub-woofer did a fantastic job of keeping the walls shaking while avoiding distortion or drowning out the rest of the audio. Even with machine guns firing, bombs exploding, and music thumping, the treble and mid-range frequencies came through strong and clear.

The CS460 doesn't take too long to set up. It comes with colour-coded cables and plugs, which makes it simple to match the speakers to their appropriate ports. Wall-mounting brackets are included in the package, and speaker stands are an optional accessory.

Design-wise, you will either love the CS460 or hate it. The speakers are best described as giant M&Ms with their tops and bottoms sawn off in order to give them a flat surface to stand on. Bulbous and black, they may look ridiculous in some settings, but they have the potential to be incredibly attractive in the right setting. Using the optional stands, the speakers end up looking like some sort of huge, black, metallic flowers. The sub-woofer is mostly dark grey in colour, with silver sides. Controls, connections and the power switch are all neatly positioned on the back.

Overall the CS460 is an excellent package for those of you who can afford it. Although the fact that it also require a separate receiver drives an already high retail price higher, the sound quality that it delivers makes it worth the extra bucks. Whether you're an audiophile, a bass-fiend, or just looking for a well-rounded home theatre package, JBL's CS460 speaker system will deliver.

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