Marc Rushton's avatar

by Marc Rushton

16th September, 2019


JBL Synthesis has long been held in high regard for the ultimate in home cinema systems. Until now, its partnership with Trinnov for its flagship processor commanded a pretty penny. 

Rumours of new additions to the Synthesis range have been circling for some time, but at CEDIA Expo in the USA last week, all was revealed.

JBL took the covers off its new SDR-35 16 Channel Class G Surround Sound 16-Channel AV Receiver, and its SDP-55 16-Channel Processor. Both models have been designed to offer entry into JBL's highly-esteemed Synthesis range, at a lower price point.

The SDR-35 offers 7 x 100w Class G processing and amplification, with pre-outs for 16-channel setup, typically the increasingly popular 9.1.6 Dolby Atmos configuration.

The SDP-55 which we suspect will be the hot seller, does the multi-channel processing heavy lifting, without the amplification allowing users the choice of external amplifiers.

In terms of features, both models are identical (except amplification) and boast four independent DSP channels, IMAX Enhanced certification, Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and Auro-3D. 

Given JBL is owned by HARMAN, we would expect the processing to come from fellow stablemate Lexicon, while the grunt is likely coming from the newly added HARMAN brand, Arcam, who pioneered Class G amplifier technology.

JBL has employed Dirac Live for DSP and Room Correction, along with an ESS Sabre 9028 Pro DAC which is said to feature 114 dB dynamic range. 

Both models pack in seven HDMI inputs with support for Dolby Vision, HLG, HDR10, and HDR10+ high dynamic range (HDR) formats. They also support HDMI2.0b with HDCP2.2 and 3D video. The modular nature of the HDMI boards ensures your investment is future proof, allowing you to replace the board for upcoming HDMI 2.1 capability.

Both the SDP-55 and SDR-35 also feature Dante Network Audio. This means all 16 channels of processed audio, plus Zone 2 can be routed on a single CAT5e, CAT6 cable over a standard network. JBL says Dante is easy to set up and compatible with Dante enabled JBL Synthesis amplifiers.

You can also control your favourite content over Ethernet or Wi-Fi, via Spotify Connect, Chromecast, Apple AirPlay 2, Roon, Harman Luxury's MusicLife app, play directly from a USB flash drive, or stream via Bluetooth with aptX HD.

Both models will be available in Australia in early 2020. The JBL Synthesis SDP-55 AV Processor is expected to sell locally for $9,999, while the SDR-35 AV Receiver is expected to sell for $12,499. Prices will be confirmed when stock arrives.

For more information, visit JBL Synthesis.


Marc Rushton's avatar

Written by:

Marc Rushton

StereoNET’s Founder & Publisher and still buried deep in the review room auditioning everything from docks to soundbars, amplifiers and headphones. Marc is also the founder of the annual International HiFi Show.

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Posted in: Home Theatre
Tags: jbl  convoy