Summary

Our Score

8/10

Pros

  • Affordable price tag
  • Sturdy build quality
  • Dynamic, cohesive soundstage

Cons

  • Lacks top-end detail
  • Springclip terminals

Review Price £229.99

Key Features: Five identical compact satellites; 60W powered subwoofer; Single 75mm driver; Wall-mountable speakers; 150Hz - 20kHz frequency response (sats)

Manufacturer: JBL

What is the JBL Cinema 510?

It’s a budget 5.1 speaker system comprising five identical satellites and a powered subwoofer, all packed into a single box. At £230, it’s an affordable way of bringing surround sound into your home, and its compact dimensions will make a minimal impact on your space too. But if performance isn’t up to scratch it could be a false economy, so let’s find out how it fares…

SEE ALSO: 6 best surround sound systems

JBL Cinema 510

JBL Cinema 510 – Design

At this sort of price, you might expect JBL to cut a few corners on build quality, but thankfully that’s not the case. Each of the five satellites is solidly constructed from high quality materials, such as the metal mesh firmly fixed to the front and the aluminium JBL badge.

The rest of the enclosure boasts an elegant brushed black finish, accentuated by a silver trim and subtle splashes of gloss black. The curves and slopes lift it from the usual black box mediocrity. As you can tell, we’re quite taken by the 510’s design, particularly at this price.

The only concession to the budget price tag is the inclusion of springclip speaker terminals on the back, as opposed to the binding posts you’d find on pricier speakers. The openings are really small too, so it’s difficult to insert thick speaker cables – we’d recommend using the wires JBL kindly supplies in the box.
 
Of course, the most significant aspect of the satellites’ design is their size. Each one stands an unobtrusive 133mm high, and with a depth of 94mm their footprint is miniscule. If you want them completely out of harm’s way, each speaker has a built-in wall mounting bracket. These removable rectangular clips slot into the speaker terminal recess on the back.

SEE ALSO: 6 best soundbars you can buy

JBL Cinema 510
 
The active subwoofer is a compact box measuring 321mm high by 245mm wide, styled in a simple but tasteful black finish. Again, build quality is excellent and there’s a volume dial on the back to help you integrate it with the satellites. Low-frequency effects are fed into the sub from an AV receiver through a single RCA input (there’s a cable for that in the box too).

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