American giant JBL is known for its hi-fi amplifiers, portable Bluetooth speakers and even its vintage speakers, such as the JBL L82 Classic and JBL L100 Classic. Unbeknownst to many, the manufacturer also excels in the world of premium home theater. This is embodied through the JBL Synthesis brand, which has just welcomed the new 15.2 channel JBL Synthesis SDP-58 AV preamplifier and the JBL Synthesis SDR-38 AV receiver. Two prestigious electronics designed for the most ambitious private home theaters.
JBL Synthesis: the brand
In the automotive industry, it is common to separate the premium division from the main brand. This is notably the case for Lexus and Toyota, Alpine and Renault, DS and Citroën, etc. In the audio world, Onkyo has its premium segment Integra, Pioneer US has Elite, and JBL has the company JBL Synthesis. A division of Harman International (now owned by Samsung), which also owns Harman Kardon, JBL Synthesis embodies the best of the brand and takes advantage of the manufacturer’s reputation in the movie industry.
In 1983, Lucasfilm trusted JBL to develop the first commercially available cinema speaker system under the THX license. Nine years later, JBL Synthesis launched the first ever THX-certified home theater system. Today, Synthesis continues to evolve by offering numerous cinema speakers, but also AV receivers and processors designed for the most demanding movie lovers.
In addition to JBL Synthesis, the American manufacturer is also known for JBL Pro , which specializes in sound systems for movies, festivals and events such as Woodstock 1999, the Super Bowl, the Grammy Awards ceremony and the 2002 Seoul World Cup soccer tournament. Today, JBL Pro offers a wide range of speakers and subwoofers specifically designed for movie theaters.
JBL Synthesis SDR-38: 7.2 channel receiver
The JBL Synthesis SDR-38 is the new reference AV receiver from the American manufacturer. This high-end model is capable of decoding signals across 15.2 channels and amplifying them on 7.2 channels. Its prowess lies in its Class G amplifier technology, capable of developing up to 7 x 100 watts, with the first 20 watts in Class A. It supports Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro-3D immersive audio formats, as well as the latest video formats up to UHD 8K at 60Hz and 4K at 120Hz in HDR 10+, Dolby Vision and IMAX Enhanced.
Like any modern AV receiver, the JBL Synthesis SDR-38 also offers many streaming options. It can receive music via AirPlay 2, Chromecast or Bluetooth and is Tidal Connect, Roon Ready and Spotify Connect certified. Finally, it features numerous analog and digital inputs and outputs to associate different sources. Thanks to the 15.2 channel pre-out section, it is possible to connect one or several power amps to broaden the possibilities offered by this receiver.
JBL Synthesis SDP-58: 15.2 channel preamplifier
The JBL Synthesis SDP-58 preamplifier is designed to be the heart of a high-end home theater system. It supports Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro-3D immersive audio formats with 15.2 pre-amplification channels (RCA and XLR outputs). Its seven HDMI inputs are certified HDMI 2.1 for 8K streams at 60 fps and 4K UHD at 120 fps. HDR 10+, Dolby Vision and IMAX Enhanced are also part of the package.
The JBL Synthesis SDP-58 processor features a calibration system based on Dirac Live technology. This allows you to automatically calibrate the sound using a smartphone and the included wired microphone, or with a computer and USB microphone (not included). This JBL Synthesis preamplifier also benefits from the same streaming options as the JBL Synthesis SDR-38 AV receiver. There is AirPlay 2, Chromecast and Bluetooth streaming, as well as compatibility with Spotify Connect, Tidal and Roon. Finally, the six digital inputs (4 coaxial and 2 optical) and 6 RCA inputs allow you to associate all the sources in your home theater system.
With these two new electronics, JBL Synthesis confirms its desire to offer premium solutions tailored to the most complete and demanding home theater installations.