Boom time

Want to blow your guests away with bombastic sound and don’t mind paying a packet for it? This music system may be just right for you.

| Updated on: Oct 13 2009, 20:51 IST

Think JBL, and the first image that comes to mind is thumping sound quality. Let's see how their music system (that also plays iPods, CDs, MP3s and radio) — the JBL MX100 — works.

A lot of thought seems to have gone into its design, which has a curvaceous, elliptical footprint, and a top panel that slopes downwards towards the front viewer.

This top panel has a single JBL logo on the left, with a small compact disc logo on the right. Underneath this surface is a rectangular alphanumeric LED screen.

The chassis is divided into two parts: the front contains a continuous speaker grille while the back is a glossy black that attracts fingerprints. The top surface is a transparent black plastic layer that exposes the LED display in the centre.
The MX100 is heavy and cannot run on batteries, so portability is ruled out.

The back panel houses a set of input/ output slots including an RCA L+R aux in, another EP 3.5 mm aux in, a subwoofer out, a composite video out and an S-Video out. The EP actually doubles up as a digital audio input too, depending on the label. Then we have the right side panel: a groove cut into the globular architecture, which houses various control buttons, as well as a headphone out and a third aux in.

The power output of the system is 30 watts per channel, into 6 ohm transducers. The frequency response is 65 Hz - 20 kHz. The Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) is 75 dB. As for the drivers, we have two tweeter and two LF woofers. The former are 2 x 19 mm titanium laminate dome tweeters, and the latter are 2 x 125 mm felt paper woofers. The player comes with a detachable iPod dock, which connects to a slot on the left side. The CDs are to be slot loaded, with the input centrally located on the façade, towards the bottom edge. It also plays FM radio, with six storable presets.

The package comes with a free CD loaded with Bollywood numbers, which for some strange reason we didn't bother opening. The external modular iPod dock was fixed, and an iPod Nano with music was loaded in. We also loaded a Sheffield Test and Burn In CD to see some theoretical responses first.

The first track we played was simple sine tones sweeping across the frequency range. Here we found that the bass is really powerful and kicking, but not so low in reach. It tapers off after about 60 Hz. The bass is easily louder than the rest of the frequency bands, though high frequencies around 5 -10 K were pretty pronounced. This can offer clarity in sound, but also can sound edgy and harsh sometimes.

These are qualities that an audiophile will look for. But music lovers just need clean, distortion-free loudness, which this unit delivers with no difficulty at all. The output is loud and wholesome, it can really fill up a small hall or living room with ample dBSPL. We played techno music and were again impressed with the bass. A purist may find it overpowering, but it's not boomy. The highs are definitely a little edgy, but not over the top.

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First Published Date: 13 Oct, 20:51 IST
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