JBL SCS120 Home Theater Speaker Systems

SCS120

Home Theater Speaker Package

User Reviews (23)

Showing 1-10 of 23  
Spencer   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 22, 2000]
Strength:

Great for Home Theater! Excellent Sub. Easy to Mount

Weakness:

Not enough Midrange for Music listening

I bought these speaker two years ago for $700 mail order. I thought it was a really good package back then and still do today.

When I hooked the entire package and turned on Jurassic park, the scene where the bug T-rex chased the Jeep was awesome! I was hooked on Home Theater then.

You'll have to experiment with the sub-woofer placement as this will make a big difference with the low end response. I ended up putting mine to the right side of the room with the cone sticking out in front of the entertainment center.
They do shake the room!

The mounting brackets are easy to install and swivel to suit your placement needs.

For similar speakers today with similar specs, you'll end up paying over $1000.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
David Gage   an Audio Enthusiast [Feb 26, 1999]

I bought these direct from the JBL Outlet Center (1-800-981-3810) for $570 plus shipping. I think they are very good for the price if you are going to use them for a home theater. If you expect to listen to a lot of music through these then you won't be totally satisfied. The small speakers are unable to produce deep midbass and the sub is supposed to reproduce some of this range. The result is that the extreme midbass seems localized from the sub. I usually use a sub with at least an 80 Hz cutoff but that would leave a little missing between the sub and speakers. The sub is pretty powerful and sounds pretty good without being too boomy. With that said I am still giving these speakers a 4 rating because they are really good with home theater. I have these mated to a Sony 30ES receiver and a DVD player. I set the speakers up in a wide arrangement in my room with them facing the sweet spot. The feeling of surround sound is really good with these and you don't hear much point focus of the sound that you do when listening to music. For the price these really can't be beat. I am a graduate student that wanted decent sound now and when I graduate I will look at something better but these are great for right now. Hope this helps.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
Shawn Blake   an Audio Enthusiast [Apr 27, 1999]

Technically this is not a review of the SCS-120 speaker package. However I believe that the SCS-120 is very similar to a set-up that I do own, and that is the combination of the slightly older Music 2 and Movies 20 (part of JBL’s sound effects line). As far as I can tell the satellites in my system are identical to those used in the SCS-120. The difference is in the subwoofer, which is more of a cylinder type in my set-up, and uses smaller drivers (more on that later).
The Music 2:

This is the main system, they are supposedly meant for music but were obviously intended to be easily matched with other products from the sound effects line to form a home-theater package. Each of the two satellites has a pair of 3½" mid-range drivers flanking a titanium tweeter (very stiff), and have removable cloth grilles. In addition they are ported to allow for slightly fuller mid-range. Both satellites have a foam baffle applied to their faces to aid in dispersion. The bass unit, called a ‘bass wave’ (it’s not really fair to call it a subwoofer) houses two 5¼” ‘woofers’ in a triple chambered, dual ported, band-pass enclosure. It can either be placed on it’s end in an upright position (in a corner for instance) using the included base, or placed horizontally along a baseboard or behind a couch. It is very sturdy feeling and accounts for over half the weight of the entire system (44½lbs total). Fortunately it also employs a built in 100w amplifier, which is good since you connect it using speaker level outputs. Bass response sounded pretty good to me but I have almost no experience with subs and can only say that it was cleaner sounding than my floor standing speakers (but they are rear ported and cannot be placed in a corner or against a wall).

The Movies 20:

This is the auxiliary system consisting of three identical satellites meant to be used as the center channel and the surround speakers. The dimensions are the same as the satellites in the Music 2 but these have perforated metal grilles and are unported. One of the satellites is supposed to be specified as the center channel and is supposed to have a sloped low-profile grille to make it less obtrusive on top of your TV, but all of mine look the same and I can’t tell them apart.

The sound:

I had these set up next to my floor-standing Infinity CS3007 (EMIT-R tweeter, 6” mid-range, dual 8” woofers, 37” tall, 58lbs. ea.) and seriously, I couldn’t tell that much difference in musical applications. However it was a VERY CASUAL comparison, I didn’t switch speakers back and forth very quickly, it wasn’t a blind test, and I wasn’t using my own components. That said, you may think the comparison wasn’t worth much and you might be right. But my point is that these small inexpensive speakers sounded very comparable to large expensive speakers when played using average quality consumer type components, not too bad really. And remember that was with music, when used with an older HK AVR-40 for pro-logic movie watching the JBL system was pretty amazing, filling the room (20’x25’) with clean, full sound.

The scoop:

I got this surprisingly good package intending to sell them but now I’m going to keep them. The best part was that I picked them up for $314 including shipping!! I got them at www.audiodeals.com The original list on this combination was $1600!! For the price I paid, and even at twice that, they are simply amazing speakers. A friend that was over watching movies with me turned to me during the movie and said, “I can’t believe we’re sitting in your living room.” (OK we happened to be using a native XGA Proxima projector as well but still the sound was impressive. The projector wasn’t mine but DAMN I can’t wait till they are affordable!).

Finish and details:

There are some very nice touches on this system. All of the speakers (even the bass unit) have some kind of wire management built in that allows you to hide the wires for a nice clean installation. The JBL badges on the face of the satellites are spring loaded and can be rotated so they are right side up regardless of how you mount the speakers. That may not seem like much but to me it says, attention to detail. Also all five (5) satellites have a built in mounting bracket for wall or ceiling placement, again a nice touch. JBL includes speaker wire. I admit it’s not very high quality wire but at least it lets you set up your new speakers right away.

Possible concerns:

All the speakers use spring type connectors instead of binding post. Personally I was a little disappointed at fist because I prefer to use banana plugs, but I just crimped on some gold pins and everything was good after that. The bass unit does not use line level inputs! You have to hook it up using an extra connection to your front left and right speaker outputs. Plus there is no crossover the only control is a volume control knob on the face of the sub. The unit looks like it has line level inputs but these are meant for some special JBL only wireless connection and cannot be used (at least not according to the manual, I haven’t actually tried it yet).

Conclusion: -finally ;)

These are fantastic speakers for the price. They are well finished and attractive and give you excellent versatility in placement. Plus they are a great choice for theater sound on a budget and will make watching movies much more enjoyable than it already is. Most importantly their sound will surprise you with its clarity and range. I have no hesitation with giving them five speakers.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Lewis Burmeister   an Audio Enthusiast [Mar 24, 1998]

I bought mine in March 1997. At first I loved them, they were soo much better them my old Optimus speakers. They are much clearer then the Optimus Pro LX 77's. However, after I bought a SPL meter and VE and started to run them at the proper reference levels I found them to be tiring. More the trained my ears become the more harsh sounding they have become. At this point I would still give them 4 stars for the price, HOWEVER, on 03JAN98 my JBL subwoofer died. I took it to the store I purchased it from, they sent it to an authorised JBL service dealer. As of today, 24MAR98, I still have not gotten it back yet. The local dealer claims another costumer of his had to wait over 3 months to get his sub back from JBL also. As a result of JBL's service department I am giving these speakers one star.

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
Hoang Nguyen   an Audio Enthusiast [Feb 18, 1998]

I dont't have a room for my home theater yet, but I hook connect my TV out to the sub alone:sound great with all low frequency and mid range. I can't wait for my new AC3 ...

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
Travis Lawson   an Audio Enthusiast [Feb 06, 1998]

For a surround sound system I find this 6 piece setup incredible. The bassrumbles the midrange is on the money and the highs are where they should
be. For a sub-$1000 I can't think of anything better. This is their flagship
system for the Simply Cinema series. I say give it a try, especially if you're
looking for Dolby Digital 5.1
-Travis

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Lewis   an Audio Enthusiast [Apr 27, 1998]

Just a follow up. Todays date 27APR98, still no subwoofer. My local dealer gothis JBL sub back. His came back with scratch marks and two corners dinged and screws missing. I still don't have my sub back yet. We have started a formal compliant with JBL corp. against their service center. At the point JBL has no chance of getting my business again.

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
Suixiong Pan   an Audio Enthusiast [May 22, 1998]

These are great general home theatre speakers especially for the price. The bass is great, and the mid-range and highs are clear. I have only one gripe with them: if you are a classical music listener, you might find the sound a bit cold. It lacks the warmth that many bookshelf/floor-standing speakers generate. I guess it might be a common problem for any satellite-sub systems. Would like to give it 4.5 stars but don't have the choice...

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Lewis   an Audio Enthusiast [May 30, 1998]

Second Product Update. 30MAY98 Still no sub. JBL agreed to send new subwoofer to replace the sub their service center still has not fixed. First they sent it to the wrong place then when it did arrive it was damaged. It now has to be sent back and I can expect another month before I get one. JBL has made certain they will not be getting my money again.

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
Josh   an Audio Enthusiast [Aug 03, 1998]

Excellent!!!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-10 of 23  

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