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JBL SCS-136SI
2 Reviews
rating  3.5 of 5
MSRP  190.00
Description: <ul> <li>7-Piece Home Theater Package</li> <li>5 Matched Satellites, 1 Center and a 100w Powered Subwoofer</li> <li>Video-Shielded</li> <li>Recommended Amplifiers: 10w-100w</li> <li>Speaker-Level Inputs and Outputs for left and right channels</li> <li>Left and Right Line-Level Inputs</li> <li>Dedicated LFE Input</li> <li>Level Control</li> </ul>


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Reviews 1 - 2 (2 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by ragermac a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 13, 2005

Bottom Line:   
Don't listen to this person above me. I just purchased this system recently and it plays great. Does it play like a $2,000 speaker system? NO. But for the money, it is a great package.

The satellites kick out clear sound with little distortion at high levels. The center channel is a little weak but to say your TV speakers are better is just an inaccurate statement.

The sub can get a bit boomy, but it does kick out some solid bass for movies, make sure your subwoofer placement is near the wall of course.

The speakers are well made, solid and come s with mounts and plenty of speaker wire.

If you are looking for a nice surround system for a small to medium room like a bedroom etc. You cant beat the price and value of these speakers.

Sure the so called "Audiophiles" will knock these speakers, but guess what. They werent made for the so called "Audio Elite".

These speakers sound great, trust me.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2004

Price Paid:    $199.00

Purchased At:   B&H Photo



Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:3
Submitted by andygood a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: December 21, 2004

Bottom Line:   
At the expense of sounding like a snob, I am going to hopefully spell out the deal with the small sub/sat packages for those who are looking for your first foray into home theater (which I imagine would be anyone considering a theater in a box).

Since 2002 I have become increasingly more addicted to home theather, I started with a basic Marantz receiver, 36" Sony TV & Polk satellites. I have since graduated to a 57" Hitachi Projection TV & $15,000 worth of Dynaudio Speakers, Anthem pre-amp, Rotel amp, Cardas cables, Paradigm Sub, Arcam DVD player, etc. My secondary basement set up consists of a Pioneer Elite Receiver and DVD player, Velodyne sub, JBL Soundpoint in-walls speakers & a Toshiba 42" widesrcreen. I am not so much bragging as I am trying to qualify my opinion as someone who has devoted some time & money to this hobby. The story is as follows:

When I ran out of surround sound frontiers, the Master Bedroom was the last area of the home to conquer. I swore to my wife that whatever arrangement I chose to compliment our 30" Panasonic widescreen would be seamless. Also, I have spent so much money in the other rooms that I had to really accomplish this on a budget. I figured a cheap Home Theater in a box front Circuit City or Best Buy would provide some extra atmosphere and do the trick. I test "drove" a few of those systems at those stores but ultimately after owning quality components, couldn't even see investing a few hundred dollars into such junk. On the web, the small JBL sub/sat combos caught my eye. They seemed to be the smallest speakers from a reputable name in audio and I have had a decent experience w/JBL with the Soundpoints in our basement. Moreover, at least compared to the Sony & Panasonic all in ones, JBL has a speaker pedigree.

I bought a basic entry level Marantz receiver over the plastic Yamaha crap and found an excellent deal on the 136 system on the web. I hooked up the system and got it to do what these things do, sound came out of all the tiny speakers around the room. I sat on the bed and for a few minutes was proud of myself. I beat the system, I but together an adequate arrangement that had a nice size/quality ratio and didn't succumb to the bottom of the barrel offerings. I was pleased that the satellites are a great size and hid behind the lamps on both nightstands, the center fit nicely on top of the tv, the sub was tucked away in a corner. I caliberated the system with a sound meter, played around with the sub a little and got it the best I could. That night we watched a movie and enjoyed the atmosphere of having some more effects than just the tv speakers.

After another movie and a few days, the flaws began to wear on me. Granted these are flaws that you may not care nor be aware of and just having sound come out of speakers from behind you might be enough. But anyway, the integration of the sub and satellites is dreadful, the sub is just a bunch of dull thumps, no timing (wasn't expecting musicality) and a small level of atmosphere. The satellites and this goes for all satellites this size, they can not cope with any base and without the sub, you are better off with your tv speakers and the mock surround mode which is equipped with most tv's these days. I tried my velodyne sub in place of the JBL but could get the whole thing to sound decent. The center is just a tad better than your tv's speakers and the surrounds throw just enough out there if you sit close to them.

I imagine that this more or less is what you get with most of these systems at this price point and if this is the route you are destined to go, JBL size per perfromance ratio is probably as good as you are going to get.

However, because I love home theater, I just have to tell you guys that if you settle for this type of system you are only a few hundred off of something really special. I ended up buying the Definitive Technology Pro Cinema 60 speakers for $525 and it's not even close. I would imagine an inexpensive Boston Acoustics, Polk or Paradigm system will give you an appreciable upgrade as well. It is amusing to me to read reviews on the similar 135 system from JBL and talk about characteristics of speakers like these having nice "mids & highs". Folks, these are small cheap plastic boxes with metal tweeters, paper drivers & not real crossover system. They have no musicality, they just emit sound. It is quite a thrill to have a little more sound coming at you if all you are used to is conventional tv but again, if you aspire for much more of a Theater like experience, you have to spend a little more. The good news is for a small additional investment, you will get a noticable return. I hope I have saved a few of you on the fence a little trouble and for those of you who will be walking out of Circuit City with one of these ensemables tucked under your arm, I hope you have the expectations from a beginers standpoint or you will be re-boxing this baby.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2004

Price Paid:    $195.00

Purchased At:   B&H Photo




Reviews 1 - 2 (2 Reviews Total)

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