The era of high performance, high fidelity audio systems for the Indian market is here. There’s quite literally no shortage of brands and models. Sure, there’s a price to pay, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to change anytime soon. With everything from floor standers to monitor speakers available, there’s no shortage of variety. Floorstanders can be space consuming and for those who prefer more elegant speakers, JBL India is offering a kit called the Cinestyle 30.
Design and build quality
The Cinestyle 30 is a 5.1 speaker setup and unlike some of the other home theatres we’ve reviewed, these are made up of five satellites, almost identical ones and one woofer. The speaker set is Harmon Kardon’s HKTS 30 5.1 audio speaker set. The amplifier is also Harmon Kardon’s AVR 255. We looked at the AVR 134 a while back - it was bundled with the last JBL audio solution kit we reviewed - the JBL Studio One.
Cable setup is extremely simple
Starting with the amplifier, there’s one word to describe it when you get it out of the box - it’s extremely heavy. One of the reasons for AV equipment to be so expensive in India is probably the shipping cost for such heavy speakers. The AVR 255 for example weighs no less than 13.6 kg. Like any other high-end audio receiver-amplifier, the rear has a ton of connections. Installation is straightforward. The connectors on the amplifier end are large, colour coded, so it’s easy to setup the speakers. Rotate the knobs, pass the cable through and tighten to fit the cables. Setting up the cables on the satellite end are much simpler, on the other hand - simply pretty the pin till the passthrough hole is visible, then insert the cable and let go off the pin.
Harmon Kardon AVR255 - a very capable amplifier
At the front of the amplifier, things are much simpler. There’s one single dial for the volume control that’s also illuminated and there are a few connects right below it. There are also a few controls in the form of thin, flat buttons that let you use the amplifier without using the remote control. The amplifier is pretty large and has large vents on either side. We noticed that it does get a little warm after some intensive use and the vents should help keep temperatures under control over extended periods.
No shortage of connectivity options
As for the speakers, these aren’t floorstanders. There are small plastic stands that come attached to the speakers themselves, which make them pretty sturdy. The design of the satellites reminds us of the satellites found on the Altec Lansing MX5021 speaker satellites. Each one of the satellites is identical except for the centre channel that lies on its side. Each satellite has three drivers and these are protected by a metal grill, while the rest of the speaker is made of plastic. The stands on the satellite help conceal the connectors and the cables, so the clutter is minimised. The bundled cables aren’t very thin but they’re long and should easy reach corners of a decent sized room.
The woofer is pretty large for the size of the satellites, in comparison to some of the other speakers we’ve seen. It’s elevated from the ground by a little more than an inch using four spike-like stands. The build quality of the woofer is excellent and it’s fairly heavy too. The black colour scheme goes well with the look of the speakers. The remote like all other Harmon Kardon remotes is massive and can’t be used with just one grip. The buttons and controls are of good quality and well placed. The rear of the remote has a matte finish that makes gripping it easy and comfortable.
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