JBL Synthesis Shines Among Harman Brands at CEDIA

As most of you are likely aware, Harman is now owned by Samsung and includes a number of premier audio brands, including JBL, Revel, the recently acquired Arcam, and Infinity (the latter apparently driven into hiding as nothing appears currently available from that iconic brand).

This year, for reasons that one rep claimed resulted from the Denver Convention Center's fire laws, the Harman booth's previously featured enclosed theater room with video displayed on a huge screen was missing in action. Instead they had several smaller rooms devoted mainly to JBL and Arcam. The most ambitious of these had a full 9.4.6 JBL Synthesis in-wall system. While one rep apologized for the sound in the thin-walled, glass doored room, I found it effective on a concert excerpt from A Star is Born, though a little edgy on the loudest bits and not particularly effective in the bass from four JBL in-wall subs — again, in a flimsy, pre-fab room. The video was a Samsung 8K, 98-inch QLED instead of the usual projector because there was no light control and also likely because, well, Harman/Samsung!

One particularly exciting prospect from that JBL Synthesis setup was that it used a new 16-channel Synthesis processor. The latter should be separately available sometime next year at a possible price I found intriguing — possibly as low as $6,000. When released it should include a myriad of useful features, including Dirac Live room EQ.