Product review: JBL SB450 Soundbar

JBL have been synonymous with high quality audio products since their formation way back in 1946. The American audio specialists have come a long way, especially in the past few decades, and their products seem to becoming more and more popular. From their Bluetooth speakers to their soundbars, it’s become apparent that JBL are proving to be very popular amongst the UK market. Speaking of soundbars, let’s have a look at the SB450

We’ve had the SB150 in stores for a while but now we have something a bit meatier and more aggressive; the much larger SB450. A few years ago we had the fantastic SB400 in the stores, and this new and improved 4 series soundbar should prove to be excellent from my personal experience, so let’s dive in.

Upon first glance the SB450 is an absolute beast. It’s a lot larger than most soundbars out in the market at 1100 x 76 x 97mm, and the wireless subwoofer seems large enough to fill even the biggest living areas. The whole package feels strong and powerful but the design has a few elegant little touches to it. The chrome touches to the all-black soundbar adds a little bit of design flair so you’re not just looking at a massive black box. JBL have also included a wall bracket so you can easily mount it. What about connections? JBL haven’t just gone with your standard optical connection and a 3.5mm here. They’ve gone all out and added three HDMI inputs and one output, which is ARC (audio return channel) enabled. As is the norm, there’s also Bluetooth connectivity for your smart phone or tablet. But that’s not all…

On top of the bar there is a button labelled ‘JBL Connect’. What this does is allows the user to sync audio across other compatible JBL speakers for a multi-room experience. A great feature indeed, and if you’ve got other JBL products, it’s definitely worth a look.

The SB450 really could be the answer to a home audio hub, so let’s wire up a Blu-ray player and see what this beast can do.

As I use it most of the time to demo things in store, I’m going to play the film San Andreas, mainly for its action scenes which I’m sure the JBL will excel at. Well, it’s pretty easy to say that’s the case here, as immediately the undoubted power of the subwoofer comes roaring through and almost shakes the demo room to the core. It’s a really powerful sound and gives a great cinematic experience. It can get a little bit too much for some people when the subwoofer fully kicks in, but simply using the remote to turn the sub down a bit can help out a great deal. But it’s not just power that the SB450 possesses. Due to its wide soundbar, there’s really good sound staging and the dialogue doesn’t get lost within the sheer volume and power of the overall experience.

Switching to Bluetooth to stream some music and I get the same results. It’s meant to be turned up and listened to. It can lack a little bit of finesse if you’re listening to say some delicate acoustic music, but I don’t think this is what this unit is designed for. It’s the heart and soul of the party, and as long as you’ve got the room to place a big soundbar, it’s definitely worth considering.

If you want to listen to it for yourself, come on down to your nearest Richer Sounds and see what it can do today.

Click here to learn more about the JBL SB450.

Author: Bradley, Plymouth store