JM Labs SIB & CUB 5.1 Speaker System Reviewed

JM Labs SIB & CUB 5.1 Speaker System Reviewed

The Lab Sib&Cub has a unique appearance with "an obvious European flavor." When playing an audio DVD, it captured "the dynamics of the cymbals" which "very few speakers can capture." For movies, "the Cub becomes a growling, rumbling bear with an incredible output on the bottom end that

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Right around the second quarter of last year, reviews of the JM Labs Sib & Cub 5.1 speaker ensemble started popping up all over the world. This is to be expected when a company well known for its accomplishments in the world of high fidelity introduces an offering in the mid- to entry-level price point. We received our JM Lab Sib & Cub 5.1 review sample right at the peak of the hype.

Rather than rush a review on the Sib & Cub, we elected to live with the ensemble for an extended period of time in order to apply a real world review.

Unique Features The JM Lab Sib & Cub commands attention with its unique appearance. An obvious European flavor hints at the company's French foundation while the build quality holds true to JM heritage.

Additional Resources
Read more high end audiophile bookshelf speaker reviews for products like JM Labs, Focal, B&W, Paradigm, PSB and many more at HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Read more about affordable audiophile speakers at AudiophileReview.com.

Each Sib satellite speaker is identical with a concave front baffle featuring a steel mesh grille and simulated wood trim. The foot of each satellite can be rolled completely backward to act as an integrated wall mount--complete with wall anchors and screws.

The back of the Sib has an oval shaped indentation where spring loaded speaker connections can be found. This was a nice touch on an entry level system.

The Cub (subwoofer) of the Sib & Cub system is remarkably simple in its design and application compared to that of the Sib satellite. Here, a single seven-inch downward-firing woofer powered by a modest 75-watt internal amplifier is all that's needed to get the job done.

Simple, yet still quite stylish, the Cub features a coated charcoal gray enclosure and brushed aluminum back plate. The subwoofer comes complete with high and low level inputs and outputs, phase and crossover controls, and gain to control the output.

Installation/Setup/Ease of Use - We installed the Sib satellites on the wall for the front and rear and left the center channel slightly below the display, aimed upward into the listening area. The wall brackets included with the Sibs do not allow for horizontal adjustments, but they can be removed completely. After-market brackets are readily available.

Read more on Page Two

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JM Labs recommends setting the subwoofer crossover as high as 120Hz, however the crossover does not indicate a 120Hz position, so I turned the setting slightly above the 12 o'clock setting.

The Cub is certainly placement sensitive and seemed to produce the most accurate bass about five inches away from the front wall and 14 inches away from the corner of the room.

Although the Sibs do not accept banana plugs, they are a simple and quality termination alternative and can easily accept a larger wire, up to about 12 gauge.

Final Take - I wasn't sure what to expect from the Sib & Cub performance. Though I have always held Focal/JM Lab in the highest regard, I questioned the application of a concave front baffle for satellite speakers.

Right out of the box, the Sibs put my doubts to rest with excellent imaging and staging. Using a DVD-Audio sampler disc, I put the system through its paces and yielded impressive results.

The top end of the Sib satellite is quite remarkable on its own. My favorite DVD-Audio disc used to review speakers is that of ADC Records, 96/24/5.1 Studios, AIX All Stars. In the Surrounded by Christmas tracks of the media, you will find top-end recordings I argue probably don't exist anywhere else in the world. There are very few speakers that can capture the dynamics of the cymbals recorded on this disc. I am still shocked to note that this entry level JM Lab ensemble is one of them.

I found myself trying to pry the grille off so I could find out just what driver JM was using for the top end--no luck. I am left to believe that the concave configuration of the front baffle leaves the midrange in such a way that it does not mask the top end and actually isolates the tweeter as a result.

The Sib & Cub is a remarkably revealing speaker system and this may leave you disappointed, as many recordings today will not live up to the capability of this tiny ensemble.

For movies, the Cub becomes a growling, rumbling bear with an incredible output on the bottom end that ultimately makes for a very well balanced attack during cinema playback. The details were plenty and accurate with a solid bottom end. Occasionally I detected a somewhat nasal sound to voices. This seemed consistent with the media itself.

This is the first home speaker ensemble Ihave reviewed from JM Labs and the experience has been quite positive. Even more so, I learned that JM Labs places its audiophile heritage ahead of its price points. That scores big points with me.

I recommend giving the Sib & Cub speaker ensemble a listen if you're auditioning speakers in the under $1,500 category and looking for something compact at the same time.

Sib Satellites
Drivers: 3/4-inch dome tweeter
4 5/8-inch midrange
Dimensions: 9.75"H x 6.5"W x 5.5"D
Weight: 4.5 lbs.

Cub Subwoofer
Driver: 7-inch
Enclosure Type: Downward Firing vented
Amplifier Power: 75 watts
Variable Crossover: Yes
Phase Adjustment: Yes
High/Low Ins/Outs: Yes
Dimensions: 13"H x 11"W x 11"D
Weight: 24 lbs.
MSRP: $1,295 (entire system)

Additional Resources
• Read more high end audiophile bookshelf speaker reviews for products like JM Labs, Focal, B&W, Paradigm, PSB and many more at HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Read more about affordable audiophile speakers at AudiophileReview.com.

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