I think the challenge for JBL Synthesis® in a poll and discussion like this is two-fold:
- JBL Synthesis® is not considered new, innovative, or cutting edge. (It's old and stale.)
- It takes the owner-operator out of the equation in an environment where DIY tweaking with the latest and greatest hardware and software is highly valued, and it replaces him or her with a trained, paid professional using system-specific hardware and software for an end-to-end "house" system. (It's not as individual or as much fun.)
There are ways to address to these stilted assumptions:
- JBL/Harman is arguably the "house" with the most talent; longest experience; current biggest investment; largest ongoing scientific, artistic, peer-reveiwed, and tested process; most collaboration; and largest portfolio of design, engineering, and innovation. (It's the scientific leader and design innovator.)
- JBL/Harman provides a pre-pro/CPU/PEQ/amplifier/speaker system in which all components are known in conjunction with all others for a predictably excellent outcome, compared to "my-chosen-pre/pro-with-my-flavor-of-the-month RC, my favorite amp, and my favorite speaker" which I can configure a hundred ways to Sunday in any number of possible outcomes. (It's accurate and replicable.)
I've been in literally hundreds of HTs from small, several hundred dollar systems to large, several hundred thousand dollar systems. Sometimes the several hundred dollar systems sounded better balanced than some of the $100k plus systems. ("Excess" is not "excellence.") I've heard amazing systems with high end equipment that literally drove me out of the room with fatigue. ("Sounds fantastic" is not "sounds right.") I even fled from a JBL Synthesis® set up where the owner refused the calibration because it was "good enough" without it. (You know who you are.) I've been in HTs that were like architectural, visual wet dreams burdened with garish, overbearing sonic nightmares. ("Pretty" is not "pleasant.")
Is Synthesis® perfect? No, just as no room, no performance, no recording, and no thing is perfect
Can other systems have
More heavy bass? Yes.
More prominent mids? Yes.
Sharper highs? Yes.
More room-shaking physicality? Yes.
Better looks? Yes.
More volume? Yes.
So, to each his or her own, but I put my cash into the JBL Synthesis® system and have not regretted it, especially after hearing some much more expensive set ups with boomy bass, in-your-face mids, piercing highs, and ear damaging volume complete with distortion and clipping. Even if more expensive set ups matched the JBL, I would be glad to have saved the $$$.
Well, Sanjay correctly might call me out as a JBL whore, but it really was the completeness of the Synthesis® experience that drove me to buy some other, more expensive JBL stuff, to start thinking seriously about room treatments, to be more receptive to RC in general, and to be open to implementing the JBL/Harman recommendations regarding placement, multiple subs, etc.
I want to listen to excellent, accurate music and movies as much as possible with as little ongoing effing around as possible.