"Terrible! Avoid at all costs!"1.0 starson by sfsdfd
Pros: Nice sound.
Cons: Many fatal errors make these things unusable.
Summary: Here's the good news: The sound quality is nice. The frequency response seems very detailed, and these diminutive speakers pack more bass than looks would suggest. No complaints about the sound quality.
Here's the bad news: These speakers have MANY very serious flaws that make them unusable.
1) The speakers have a timeout mechanism - they go into a standby mode if the sound stops transmitting. That's fine, but the standby mode mechanism is very overeager: the speakers often enter standby if the music volume stops, or even if the volume just gets a little too quiet, for a short period of time - even as little as 5 seconds. So the speakers can go into standby even during a quiet section of otherwise loud music, and the wakeup process is not trivial: it may take 10 seconds or more to reacquire the signal once the music kicks in again. Worse, this quirk is hard-coded and not adjustable; you can't disable or adjust the standby mechanism.
In short, these $200+ speakers have a tendency to cut out the music for 25 seconds or more when it dips too low. That is a fatal flaw. And it's not the only one:
2) These speakers will SHUT DOWN your Wi-Fi network. I have a very recent 802.11g router (a Motorola SBG900), and when there's music streaming to the speakers, my bandwidth drops from a steady 200kbps to about 5kbps. Seriously. If I unplug the transmitters (which are 10' away from both the router and the receiving computer), my bandwidth comes to life; if I plug 'em in again, my bandwidth vanishes immediately. It's terrible.
3) JBL made some very strange choices with regard to the cabling. The cable from the right speaker to the left is about 25 feet long - a bizarrely long connection for such small speakers - and unless you want to splice it, you're going to have a rat's-nest tangle of excess cable hanging somewhere between or behind the speakers. Meanwhile, the power cable is only about 18" between the active speaker and the power brick; and the power cable coming out of the brick is only about 3' long. As a result, if you mount the speakers 6' high, you'll have a massive black brick with a glowing green LED dangling at about 3', and probably a hookup to a longer power cable about 1' off the floor. It's quite sad; JBL must not have tried to actually mount these speakers before they shipped 'em out.
4) Speaking of mounting: The speakers come with wall mounting brackets that look sturdy at first glance. However, the speakers are very boxy - about 5" deep - so they'll project noticeably from the wall. Much worse, the mounting bracket is very poorly designed. For example, the speakers mount on a ball-and-socket bolt that's *way* too long - you'll see an extra 1.5" inches of bolt projecting from the wall mounting, for no particular reason. (In fact, JBL doesn't seem to trust the integrity of the bracket; they include a camera-strap-like thing for fastening the speaker to the bracket, in case it fails. Creepy.)
5) Want to buy extra speakers and dial 'em in to the same channel? Of course you do; it's wireless, right? Well, not so fast. First, JBL won't sell you *just* the speakers, so you have to buy a whole 'nother set - including a second transmitter - at full price. Second, the wireless setup has a hard limit of two speaker sets per transmitter channel. I own three sets of these speakers, and only two connect to the transmitter at any one time. I don't know why; it's completely capricious, and it severely limits the extensibility of the system.
It's really tragic that JBL made such terrible ancillary choices, because the prime virtue of these speakers - the sound quality - is very nice. But the convenience and sound quality aren't worth the hassles... particularly at such a high price point.
Bottom line: Avoid. Avoid at all costs. These things are FATALLY flawed. JBL needs to recall them and fix them... and if they don't, I'm certainly never buying their equipment again.
- David Stein