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JBL Cinema 610 Review

Many of the top home theater systems in our lineup vary only slightly in audio quality. Just because the JBL Cinema 610 didn't rank among the best home theater systems, that doesn't mean it's inferior. We had a listening panel compare the systems against each other.

Our Verdict

The JBL system features comparable sound quality to the products ranked just above it. If you favor JBL products, you're safe to include this one.

For

  • This system has excellent dialogue clarity.

Against

  • The surround sound effects were lacking.
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Many of the top home theater systems in our lineup vary only slightly in audio quality. Just because the JBL Cinema 610 didn't rank among the best home theater systems, that doesn't mean it's inferior.

We had a listening panel compare the systems against each other. Our panelists critiqued each system by based on its bass response, surround sound effect and dialogue clarity as they watched a scene from an action film. Right from the start, it was apparent that this system featured both great dialogue clarity and bass response.

In terms of overall treble response and dialogue clarity, only our top home theater speaker system ranks higher. The JBL has five satellite speakers that feature a 3-inch driver and 1-inch tweeter in each speaker enclosure. The speakers offer dialogue that is squeaky clean. The dialogue and sound effects split right through the bass to be out front and center. One of our listening panels described the dialogue clarity as "stellar." The JBL speakers received high marks throughout the testing.

The subwoofer's performance was also impressive. At 60-watts, the subwoofer isn't nearly as powerful as the one in the Polk Audio package, but it pairs well with the rest of the system. The bass was prominent and still had plenty of volume to go before maxing out. The subwoofer was low, punchy and powerful. Our panelists felt this was one of the better bass performances in our comparison.

The one place where the JBL home theater system didn't excel was surround sound. Even though there were speakers surrounding our listening panel, most of the reviewers felt as if the front-left and front-right speakers were doing all of the work. There is a scene our reviewers watched where motorcycles surround the main character in the movie. Sound should project from all of the speakers and immerse viewers with surround sound. Instead, the front-left and front-right speakers were doing the majority of the audible lifting.

JBL covers this surround sound system with a five-year warranty. JBL is quick to answer any questions you have via both email and phone.

The JBL system should not be overlooked just because it isn't atop our lineup. This system sounds really good, sharp and powerful. Its dialogue clarity and bass prowess are top tier, but our panel was unimpressed with its surround sound performance.