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JBL Cinema SB120 sound bar 129.99$

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  • Dec 5th, 2021 3:11 pm
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Aug 29, 2018
1335 posts
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merciscool wrote: Okay so I've tested both of them out side by side now and decided to return the JBL. I'll give my opinions of both.

JBL

The good
-Much nicer looking in appearance than the Hisense
-Cleaner, more crisp sound out of the box

The bad
-Doesn't get as loud as I'd like for some of my Plex movies, even turned up to max volume of 100
-When changing the various settings on the remote from movie, music, news, voice etc. the sound does not change significantly. It was hard for me to notice a difference, except when using the voice button which did seem to increase the volume of voices slightly.

Hisense

The good
-The various buttons on the remote for movie, music, news all sound significantly different.
-You can increase or decrease the amount of bass. This option is included on the remote.
-Gets louder than the JBL when tested on the same content as the JBL at full volume.

The bad
-The sound is pretty bad right out of the box. Once I hit the surround button on the remote, it got much better, so it needs to be adjusted or you'll think you have pretty poor audio quality.
-It's ugly. The finish on it is not a smooth black matte, but kind of a textured appearance. At least it's smaller if you're concerned with taking up too much space.

Final verdict:

I paid the $78 for the hisense and $130 for the JBL. I tested both of these through HDMI Arc. After adjusting the settings on the Hisense and hitting the Surround button on the remote, the Hisense got MUCH clearer and the sound was pretty much on par with the JBL's audio quality. I would say the Hisense's audio is even better based on how customizable the sound is with each sound option being significantly different from the other options. Coupled with the ability to easily increase or decrease the bass, this was my preferred sound bar.

I returned the JBL because it was almost twice the price of the Hisense and the only thing better about it was that it had a nicer appearance.
Tested my Hisense last night, agreed with the finish. Tested it real quick with some music and The Avengers: End Game. For price paid, it'll do for me. For music, the bass isn't quite there but the sounds and crispness is pretty good. Although my Bose Soundlink Mini 2 creates more bass which is 3/4 the size of this Hisense. For music I'll listen to it on the Bose. Movies/TV Ill use my Hisense.

But whats the deal with volume when you connect to a Bluetooth speaker. Connected to my X90J set at maybe 25-30 on the TV speakers its hella loud already but when you connect to Bluetooth, have to crank volume up to 50-60. At first I thought I had issues with my Bluetooth cuz no sound. Then I realized it was the volume was low

Hopefully its not the same when you connect via HDMI Arc
Last edited by BenzDude11 on Nov 30th, 2021 1:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Dec 20, 2012
2164 posts
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Surrey
merciscool wrote: Okay so I've tested both of them out side by side now and decided to return the JBL. I'll give my opinions of both.

JBL

The good
-Much nicer looking in appearance than the Hisense
-Cleaner, more crisp sound out of the box

The bad
-Doesn't get as loud as I'd like for some of my Plex movies, even turned up to max volume of 100
-When changing the various settings on the remote from movie, music, news, voice etc. the sound does not change significantly. It was hard for me to notice a difference, except when using the voice button which did seem to increase the volume of voices slightly.

Hisense

The good
-The various buttons on the remote for movie, music, news all sound significantly different.
-You can increase or decrease the amount of bass. This option is included on the remote.
-Gets louder than the JBL when tested on the same content as the JBL at full volume.

The bad
-The sound is pretty bad right out of the box. Once I hit the surround button on the remote, it got much better, so it needs to be adjusted or you'll think you have pretty poor audio quality.
-It's ugly. The finish on it is not a smooth black matte, but kind of a textured appearance. At least it's smaller if you're concerned with taking up too much space.

Final verdict:

I paid the $78 for the hisense and $130 for the JBL. I tested both of these through HDMI Arc. After adjusting the settings on the Hisense and hitting the Surround button on the remote, the Hisense got MUCH clearer and the sound was pretty much on par with the JBL's audio quality. I would say the Hisense's audio is even better based on how customizable the sound is with each sound option being significantly different from the other options. Coupled with the ability to easily increase or decrease the bass, this was my preferred sound bar.

I returned the JBL because it was almost twice the price of the Hisense and the only thing better about it was that it had a nicer appearance.
Sorry, what do you mean by adjusting the sound on the Hisense? How do you do that?
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Apr 4, 2008
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Madevilz wrote: Is this much better than the tv speakers?
I just got my HS214 today and tested it out.

Sound quality is more than acceptable for a $77 soundbar, that said, when connected via Bluetooth, there's a high pitch whine when playing something quieter like a piano solo. I tested the same song as well as other songs using the same connection on my LG SN7Y, no high pitch whine. I'm returning the HS214.

I also bought the Hisense 5.1.2 few months ago, and it sounded absolutely amazing except the subwoofer makes a buzzing noise even when nothing is playing, regardless of the connection, so I returned it. No more Hisense for me.
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Feb 12, 2006
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devil2k wrote: I just got my HS214 today and tested it out.

Sound quality is more than acceptable for a $77 soundbar, that said, when connected via Bluetooth, there's a high pitch whine when playing something quieter like a piano solo. I tested the same song as well as other songs using the same connection on my LG SN7Y, no high pitch whine. I'm returning the HS214.

I also bought the Hisense 5.1.2 few months ago, and it sounded absolutely amazing except the subwoofer makes a buzzing noise even when nothing is playing, regardless of the connection, so I returned it. No more Hisense for me.
my only complaint is the poor ass BT 4.2. Otherwise great sound for a tiny built in "sub"

had SO much lag (5seconds or so?) from my Pixel5 I couldnt even watch a video properly. And this is coming from someone who thought those poor quality airpods ripoffs were OK.
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Dec 6, 2012
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Regina
Embarrassing for JBL and Cinema to be on this type of product.
Looking to buy Epson HT2150ST
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Apr 4, 2008
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Kazushi wrote: my only complaint is the poor ass BT 4.2. Otherwise great sound for a tiny built in "sub"

had SO much lag (5seconds or so?) from my Pixel5 I couldnt even watch a video properly. And this is coming from someone who thought those poor quality airpods ripoffs were OK.
For $77 it’s definitely not bad. I would keep it if it didn’t have the high pitch whine issue. Maybe I just got a lemon, but the HS 5.1.2 I got was a lemon, too. You get what you pay for I guess.

I ended up picking up a Sony HT-S200F 2.1 from Super Store for $180 tax in. It’s no where near as good as the LG SN7Y, but worth twice the price of HS214. Super Store’s no tax sale is good till Wednesday if anyone else is interested.
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Feb 4, 2015
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Canada, Eh!!
merciscool wrote: Okay so I've tested both of them out side by side now and decided to return the JBL. I'll give my opinions of both.

JBL

The good
-Much nicer looking in appearance than the Hisense
-Cleaner, more crisp sound out of the box

The bad
-Doesn't get as loud as I'd like for some of my Plex movies, even turned up to max volume of 100
-When changing the various settings on the remote from movie, music, news, voice etc. the sound does not change significantly. It was hard for me to notice a difference, except when using the voice button which did seem to increase the volume of voices slightly.

Hisense

The good
-The various buttons on the remote for movie, music, news all sound significantly different.
-You can increase or decrease the amount of bass. This option is included on the remote.
-Gets louder than the JBL when tested on the same content as the JBL at full volume.

The bad
-The sound is pretty bad right out of the box. Once I hit the surround button on the remote, it got much better, so it needs to be adjusted or you'll think you have pretty poor audio quality.
-It's ugly. The finish on it is not a smooth black matte, but kind of a textured appearance. At least it's smaller if you're concerned with taking up too much space.

Final verdict:

I paid the $78 for the hisense and $130 for the JBL. I tested both of these through HDMI Arc. After adjusting the settings on the Hisense and hitting the Surround button on the remote, the Hisense got MUCH clearer and the sound was pretty much on par with the JBL's audio quality. I would say the Hisense's audio is even better based on how customizable the sound is with each sound option being significantly different from the other options. Coupled with the ability to easily increase or decrease the bass, this was my preferred sound bar.

I returned the JBL because it was almost twice the price of the Hisense and the only thing better about it was that it had a nicer appearance.
Other then pressing surround button are there any other settings that you tweaked and could share?

Mostly for watching netflix and tv.

Thanks.

Note: Got JBL like within 2 days but Hisense supposed to arrive in couple of days.
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Feb 12, 2006
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FWIW, I didn't notice any high pitch whine. Though I had about 5-10 mins of play time yesterday with Bluetooth, and temp setup via ARC on my main TV. Still waiting on an RMA for my secondary TV. Terrible experience, never order a TV from Amazon.
Sr. Member
Nov 10, 2008
935 posts
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Toronto
I received the Hisense yesterday and connected it to the optical out from the TV. The sound is certainly an improvement over TV speakers especially with bass presence and volume but overall just decent. This is my first soundbar so I suppose for the price it is good. The news, movie and music mode buttons change the focus of the sound. The movie mode activates the surround sound like the dedicated button. Music mode seems to be "normal" sound and news focuses sound in the centre to enhance voices. They work well.

In my limited testing I haven't figured out how to tell what level the bass is set at. I think the LED blinks the level number when bass volume up/down are pressed.

I do not like the black buttons on the remote since I can't see what they represent. It's also very light and slips out of the hand easily. I get it confused with my Fire Stick remote. The volume increments are not small enough for me.

As others pointed out, the volume is really low when playing from bluetooth.
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Aug 29, 2018
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devil2k wrote: For $77 it’s definitely not bad. I would keep it if it didn’t have the high pitch whine issue. Maybe I just got a lemon, but the HS 5.1.2 I got was a lemon, too. You get what you pay for I guess.

I ended up picking up a Sony HT-S200F 2.1 from Super Store for $180 tax in. It’s no where near as good as the LG SN7Y, but worth twice the price of HS214. Super Store’s no tax sale is good till Wednesday if anyone else is interested.
Thats the one I originally wanted, but I couldnt find any at my Superstore. Wanted to use points to get it that way nothing OOP. Hows it sound?

Design wise, don't both the Sony and the Hisense look identical?
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Dec 2, 2007
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henrik112 wrote: Sorry, what do you mean by adjusting the sound on the Hisense? How do you do that?
There are different sound options on the remote. The Surround button and the Movie, Music, News buttons. There's also a button to increase and decrease the bass. You cannot do any of these things on the JBL. There are different buttons, for Movie, Music, News and one called voice, but the sound doesn't change significantly like it does on the Hisense. I noticed almost no difference, except for when using the Voice button on the JBL. The ability to increase or decrease the bass is an extremely nice feature in a $78 sound bar.
georvu wrote: Other then pressing surround button are there any other settings that you tweaked and could share?

Mostly for watching netflix and tv.

Thanks.

Note: Got JBL like within 2 days but Hisense supposed to arrive in couple of days.
I kind of answered some of that above, based on the various buttons on the remote. I made sure to compare the sound quality of what I was playing by pressing only the surround button, which improved the audio dramatically in my opinion, then I also played with the audio with each of the individual audio modes I listed above. Once I found one that sounded good, I adjusted the bass accordingly and everything sounds much better than my TV speakers.

I did not test out the bluetooth. Only HDMI Arc. I also don't have the whining that someone on this thread was talking about. Perhaps they got a defective unit.
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Apr 4, 2008
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BenzDude11 wrote: Thats the one I originally wanted, but I couldnt find any at my Superstore. Wanted to use points to get it that way nothing OOP. Hows it sound?

Design wise, don't both the Sony and the Hisense look identical?
I'm sure there are better soundbars for the price, but nothing with an integrated sub. It sounds better than the HS214, fits nicely (and barely) under an iMac 27", and BT doesn't get disconnected when iMac goes to sleep. I'm quite happy with it.

It is one of the 5 best compact soundbars rated by RTINGS.com:
https://www.rtings.com/soundbar/reviews ... type/small
https://www.rtings.com/soundbar/reviews/sony/ht-s200f

And yes, the design are very similar. They both have the same leather textured plastic.
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Nov 28, 2003
547 posts
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Montreal
Madevilz wrote:
Is this much better than the tv speakers?
deals wrote:
Will update this thread once I get it
Tested it with an action movie and the soundbar adds another sound dimension to the movie experience. Im not a big movie watcher, but Its worth it for the price.

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