The JBL Arena Sub 100P is a 10-inch powered subwoofer with a compact and good-looking cabinet design. The 100-watt amplifier is a bit underpowered compared to the best subwoofers we tested, but that makes it a good fit for someone who has bookshelf speakers or a sound bar and just needs a little more low-end content while watching movies or listening to music. Since a subwoofer is a complementary piece in your audio system and not the main attraction, a 10-inch woofer like the Arena Sub 100P is probably what you want if you watch movies in a small- or medium-size living room or theater room.
To test the sound quality and volume of the subwoofers we reviewed, we watched action movies and listened to a variety of music. The Sub 100P ranked well in the short action scene test and acoustic-style music listening test.
For the action scene test, we watched a clip from “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” that has quick bursts of low-frequency material. This JBL sub did a good job recreating the sound of blaster fire and lightsaber clashes. However, it struggled to sustain low-end effects, which wasn't a problem for more powerful subs like the Yamaha SW300. We noticed a volume drop during long rumbles, which is a common problem with underpowered subwoofers.
This subwoofer has one of the narrowest frequency ranges of all the speakers we tested. Its low-frequency response of 41Hz is one of the reasons it struggled with the lowest and longest booming movie effects. There isn’t a whole lot of content below 41Hz in movies, but when those ultra-low frequencies played, there was unwanted port noise and flabby bass response.
The Arena Sub 100P is available in two finish options: black and white. This makes it easy to match to your current home furnishings and décor. The subwoofer’s cabinet is compact enough that it can fit in a small room. You should consider setting up the subwoofer close to the corner of the room because this placement usually creates more prevalent bass response, which may make this underpowered subwoofer seem bigger.
JBL covers this speaker against defects in workmanship for five years and the amplifier for one year. The company’s email, phone and live chat support options make it easy to find answers to questions that may arise as you set up the woofer. The manufacturer answered our email inquiry within 24 hours, but live chat support is the fastest way to get answers to most questions.