JBL Cinema SB100 Soundbar Speaker System Review

I wanted to upgrade from the TV speakers on my 40″ Haier LED LCD HDTV without spending a ton of cash and, after looking at many different units, decided upon the JBL Cinema SB 100 Sound Bar. As well, as this was for the master bedroom I did not feel the need for a full 5.1 system.

JBL Cinema SB100The 60 watt sound is very impressive, especially when watching Amazon Instant Video or Blu Ray (and DVD) movies. High-octane Blu Ray movies are, in a word, fantastic. There is a richness in the sound, and the bar is pretty much mid-range focused, which I find perfect for most offerings. That is not to say bass and treble are left out, as they are not by any means. The high end is quite crisp and the bass booms as required and a bit more using the JBL “bass boost.” The bass is not what you would get from a 5.1 system but, it does deliver. There is an output on the bar allowing you to add a woofer, but I don’t think I will ever do that. When cranked up there is no distortion and it gets loud.

The box arrived with the bar, an IR remote, power cable, optical audio cable, coaxial audio cable, manual, wall mount bracket, warranty card and a quick start guide. Set up was pretty easy. I attached a (not included) Blue Rigger Digital Optical Audio Cable (highly recommended) from the bar to my HDTV and set the bar at the base of the TV, which sits on top of a 36″ tall stand, and then plugged it in and turned it on (on-off switch near the cable connections). The results of my few minutes of effort were immediate and wonderful.

JBL Cinema SB100The bar allows you to control the sound coming either from the TV or the bar itself. This is a no-brainer…bar all the way. Set the TV unit volume to zero and the bar is ready to perform all the time (whether watching TV or using your Blu Ray player). There is an optimization switch on the bar allowing you to set it for being wall mounted or setting in front of the TV. The sound can be set, via the bar itself or the remote, to either normal stereo or to the Harman Display Surround. This bar puts out excellent 3D sound, filling the entire room. I generally use the normal setting for TV while, for me, the Surround is definitely the best setting for Blu Ray, DVD and Amazon Instant, as it really does almost surround you.

As a side-note, I also like the design. The bar comes with a one year electronics and five year loudspeaker limited warranty which is pretty standard in the industry nowadays. If you don’t need to go with a full 5.1 system this is definitely worth a try and easily worth the money (especially on sale). I give this sound bar a solid five star rating when comparing it to other bars I have heard, not all sound systems available. As a side note, if you want/need bluetooth JBL offers this bar as the model SB200.

Turn it on, sit back and enjoy.

Over For Now,

Main Street One

Nikon Nikkor 70-200mm f4G ED VR Lens Review

Preface: This will not be a technical review, such as the ones Ken Rockwell writes, but simply my experience using this excellent lens. If needed, there are ample tech specs at NikonUSA.com.

Nikkor 70-200 f4 Nikon D7000
Nikkor 70-200 f4 with Nikon D7000 DSLR

This lens is fantastic!  I had been debating between this and Nikon’s f/2.8 version and opted to purchase the f4 primarily due to price, but also the very good reviews and recommendations/suggestions from others.  Aside from saving $1,000 over the f/2.8, I have not yet found that I have lost anything in the bargain.  Yes, I realize there may be times when I wish I had the f/2.8 but being able to adjust the ISO on my D7000 that time has not yet come.

Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm f4G ED VR
Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm f4G ED VR

Images are razor sharp with very little vignetting or distortion and the colors are vibrant.  Yes, vibrant.  When you add that to the weight being about half of the f/2.8, due to no tripod collar and less glass, this lens is one that will be staying with me for a long time to come.  Speaking of the tri-pod collar – the balance without it is such that when I use my Manfrotto 3221W tri-pod with the 804RC2 pan/tilt head it is really a non-issue.  And, as Nikon continues to improve on their already great VR (Vibration Reduction) technology, this f4, with the latest generation VR, really does not need a tri-pod in the vast majority of shots I have taken, or will be taking.  For those times when it is quite dark, yes, I would need the tri-pod, as well as for some video shoots.  But, when you want, or need, to walk around shooting with this lens that reduction in weight (the lens as well as the tri-pod) is totally priceless.

The f/2.8 will produce slightly better bokeh (background blur) in almost all cases but that also depends on circumstances. I have been quite pleased with the results I have achieved thus far.  The construction of the lens seems very good.  Yes, it is mostly plastic, but isn’t almost everything nowadays.  If you don’t accidentally drop it you should be fine.

Close-Up Portrait of a Bridesmaid
Close-Up Portrait of a Bridesmaid

Focusing the f/4 is quite smooth, and fast, and the lens hunts very very little.  That it is only a 67mm lens (as opposed to 77mm size of the f/2.8) will save a little cash on No Density (ND), Ultra Violet (UV) and/or Circular Polarizer (CPL) filters.  I happen to use Hoya filters and they screw on and off effortlessly.  And, like all Nikon lenses, this 70-200mm f/4 attaches to the body in a snap.  For many people, like me, this is an absolutely incredible lens, especially for the price (and weight) difference.  It is highly recommended.

Over For Now.

Main Street One