JBL Cinema Sound CS680

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JBL  Cinema Sound CS680
  • JBL  Cinema Sound CS680
  • JBL  Cinema Sound CS680
  • JBL  Cinema Sound CS680

Pros

  • Clear and powerful output

Cons

  • Bass is sluggish at times, Speakers fall over easily when not wall-mounted

Bottom Line

For a heavily bass-driven system, the CS680 speakers perform very well across the range, but they do struggle to reproduce fast and punch bass.

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JBL's Cinema Sound CS680 speakers, the upgraded version of the JBL Cinema Sound CS460, come with a bigger sub and slightly more conventional design. Delivering more power and a distinctly different sound, the CS680 is an excellent option for bass-hungry users, but as a high-end piece of home theatre equipment, it does have a few notable flaws.

Generally, sound quality on the CS680 is incredibly good. Treble and mid-range frequencies are clear and well defined, and they played out well during our tests. Bass performance, despite being powerful, did tend to lack a little definition and clarity at higher volumes. Bass tends to be slow and rumbling on this system - great for explosions and atmospheric music. The system's handling of punchy electronic music and tracks with fast and jumpy bass-lines didn't quite live up to what we'd expect from a system at this price level, as bass performance during these tracks was sluggish. Apart from this, however, the speakers deliver a well-balanced mix of sound.

This great sound quality did start to slightly deteriorate at higher volumes; however, the amount of power that this system delivers means that all but the craziest users won't need to venture much further than about the 70 percent volume mark. With an 8in, 125W subwoofer, and with each of the five speakers having 3.5in woofers, the amount of bass this system can generate is substantial. Bass-fiends will be well pleased with the CS680's ability to shake walls and rattle windows!

Setting up the speakers is a fairly standard process, and it took us about 20 minutes from opening the box to switching the unit on. As with the JBL Cinema Sound CS460, optional speaker stands are available for the CS680. The speakers themselves don't come with a receiver, so users will need a receiver with outputs for a 5.1 system.

Unlike the Cinema Sound CS460, the CS680 actually has quite a standard look. The speakers are roughly cylindrical, standing upright, and the entire ensemble has an attractive silver-trimmed-black finish. Suitable for most living room decors, the only fault we could find with the design was the fact that the cylindrical speakers, standing vertically, are susceptible to being knocked over. The included wall mounting brackets, however, provide an elegant solution to this problem.

JBL's Cinema Sound CS680 speaker package comes across as being targeted specifically towards users who are after slow and rumbling bass. Those who listen to material that has a lot of quick and punchy bass may be better served by different speakers.

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