JBL shows off a new sound bar, a sound platform, and revamped Charge speaker

JBL today announced the upcoming release of two new home theater products, a 240-watt sound base and a 320-watt sound bar/subwoofer combination. The company has also revamped its Charge 2 wireless Bluetooth speaker with increased performance and added features.

JBL Cinema SB350 ($400)

The Cinema SB350 is the latest mid-tier sound bar from JBL, loaded with a respectable amount of features for a pretty nice price. Features include virtual surround sound, separate volume control for the included sub, accessories to connect and wallmount the unit, and simple one-cable connection via HDMI with ARC, allowing users with ARC-enabled TVs to easily control the unit with a TV remote. The device can also recognize most TV remotes, enabling users without ARC to employ single remote control of their system as well.

Besides HDMI, inpts include both digital optical, and analog inputs, as well as Bluetooth to stream music wirelessly from a moblie device. JBL claims the system will be able to remember up to 10 different Bluetooth devices for instant reconnection.

The combo device has a claimed 320 watts of total amplification, with a claimed frequency response of 45Hz-20kHz. The sound bar includes two-way, dual-driver left and right speaker modules each with two 2.25-inch full-range drivers and a 1.25-inch dome tweeter. The wireless sub features a 6.5-inch driver sealed in a ported enclosure. The SB350 is expected to ship on September 24 for $400.

JBL Cinema Base  ($350)

Today JBL also revealed not only a new sound platform to add to the rapidly expanding genre, but also yet another name for the autonomous home theater devices that bust out sound from beneath your flatscreen. Dubbed the Cinema Base, the system is a “2.2 channel,” 240-watt platform, with dual 3.5-inch subwoofers, aimed at delivering big bass. The unit also sports left and right 2.5-inch full-range drivers, and features a two-channel stereo mode for traditional stereo playback, Dolby Digital Decoding, and the aforementioned proprietary Harman Volume tech aimed at dampening overly loud TV ads.

Inputs include a USB port for mobile device charging and software updates, an HDMI input with ARC, a digital optical input, and a 3.5-mm analog connection. The system can also stream music from mobile devices via Bluetooth. The Cinema Base is designed to support TVs up to 60-inches in size, and users offers its parent company Harman’s Display Surround virtual surround sound. JBL expects to begin shipping the device October 10 at a $350 price-point.

JBL Charge 2 ($150)

In addition to its yet-to-be-released SB350 and Cinema Base, JBL also touted its recently revamped portable Bluetooth speaker, the Charge, for a sequel it’s calling the Charge 2. We dug the original model’s high max volume, its clear and detailed sound, durable body armor, and user-friendly design, but lamented its relatively light feature set considering the price. The Charge 2 appears to pick up the slack of its predecessor.

The updated speaker now includes dual drivers and twin passive bass radiators that could make up for the original model’s somewhat lacking lower end. It also now includes a speakerphone, a typically standard feature for these types of small Bluetooth speakers that was conspicuously absent in the former model, as well as a Social Mode that lets three people with Bluetooth-enabled smartphones or tablets take turns playing their respective playlists via the same speaker, and a rubber paint surface for a more rugged exterior.

According to JBL, the Charge 2 also has 50 percent more power, and the same 12 hours of playtime of its predecessor, flexing a more efficient battery output charge. The device is available now for the same $150 that JBL asked for the original Charge speaker.


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