JBL Spot Review

The JBL Spot consits of a subwoofer and two small satellites. The Spot comes in black, but is packaged with an extra set of white shells, so you can match the styling to your iPod or MacBook. JBL intends to make an array of covers in other colours and patterns available, including some from Polynesian tattoo artist James Samuela. These aren’t shipping in the UK yet, but distributor Computers Unlimited said that they would be here soon.

We got of to a bit of a bad start with the shells, dubbed wrappers by JBL. We managed to snap one when we tried to fit it. The diagram that demonstrated how the covers should be attached could have been clearer. Our advice; the black wrapper needs to be removed before you add the white wrapper, obvious you may think, but the safety instructions in the manual do instruct you not to remove the cover.

This issue aside, the JBL Spot quickly redeemed itself when we tested the sound with a variety of music styles. Our panel was unanimous in its praise for the clean, crisp and accurate audio. JBL includes technologies in these speakers that guard against the distortion you get when the sound is turned right up, so we pumped up the volume and were pleased with the results. Base was distortion-free and the music was reproduced clearly. The speakers are angled slightly upwards, so that the sound is projected into the room rather than onto the desk, and they created a nice spatial effect that filled the room well.

The back of the subwoofer hides a collection of ports and switches. Unfortunately these are a little close together which makes turning the unit on and off tricky if you have thick fingers. There is also a knob for turning the base up, or down, handy if you want to minimise the oomph behind certain tracks, or maximise it so you can really rock. This knob isn’t easy to manipulate, but it makes a difference. Rest assured that once you have reached your perfect setting the unit will remember it even after you have switched it off.

The other controls can be found on the front of the right hand speaker in the form of plus and minus touch sensitive volume controls; one touch increases the volume, one touch decreases the volume. Touch both together to mute the unit.

OUR VERDICT

At £89.99 the JBL Spot is priced higher than the older JBL Creature II and the JBL Encounter, both of which boost treble as well as base control on the woofer for £69. While it is unlikely that many music fans would miss treble control, the extra £20 is a high price to pay for extra covers. However, the sound is superb and the design stunning – this 2.1-channel multimedia sound system is a great addition to your desk.

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