JBL Arena 180 Review

JBL Arena 180 is out of stock, but we have another excellent floor standing speaker for you chosen by our editor - Klipsch R-28PF Floor-standing Home Speaker. This affordable piece is packed with powerful features. Enter your text here...

The Arena 180 Floor-standing Loudspeaker is a 2-way floor-standing loudspeaker from JBL. It includes dual 7-in. woofers for room-filling sound and 1-in. dome tweeters for powerful treble. Arena 180’s high definition imaging (HDI) waveguide tech gets data from the M2 Master Reference Monitor. 

The loudspeaker can be used for various applications like movies, TV shows and gaming consoles. The loudspeaker is housed in a contemporary cabinet for a stylish modern appearance.

Arena 180 Floor-standing Loudspeaker by JBL

Sound Quality

Build/

Durability

Price/Value

Style/

Aesthetics

The sound is generally good, but has poor bass/no subs and at low volumes.

The build is very good, but a little thin towards the bottom.

Loudspeakers offer excellent value for under-$400 price range

Modern/stylish cabinet style with top panels and angled sides

What We Liked

  • Provides 50W for every channel with a home theater
  • Flexible loudspeakers for movies, TV shows, gaming, music, etc.
  • Good sound and especially in the mids and treble
  • Affordable provides good value in terms of form and functionality
  • Sturdy build, high durability and contemporary design

What We Didn’t Like

  • Bad performance when played at low volumes
  • Highs are very directional
  • Bass isn’t very good, even with an added subwoofer/amp

Part 1: What Is This Product?

The JBL Arena 180 was launched in 2018, so this offering from JBL is relatively new.

The JBL Arena 180 is a 2-way dual 7-in. floor-standing loudspeaker from JBL. This US company is headquartered in Los Angeles, California (USA), it was founded about 74 years ago in 1946. These loudspeakers are in the low to moderate price range of floor-standing loudspeakers.

This floor-standing loudspeaker is one option in the JBL Arena series, which also includes other models such as the Arena 61C, 81C, 120, 130 and 170. The allows for several options when picking JBL speakers for your home or business from the JBL range.

Part 2: Who Is This Product for?

Who Is This For?

If you’re looking for mid-range durable loudspeakers that provide excellent sound quality, then the Arena 180 is a good option. You can find other cheaper units or much more expensive units, but if you wish for relatively affordable, quality loudspeakers, then A180 is a good choice.

The design of the Arena 180 is contemporary. The cabinet style is modern/stylish with angled sides and top panels to achieve these pleasant aesthetics. This contemporary look is ideal for use when having functions and events in your home or workplace. The A180 is also a practical choice for listening to TV shows, movies, gaming, etc. in the home setting.

In terms of sound quality if you’re looking for bang for your buck, then the JBL Arena 180 is a wise choice. It doesn’t contain any subwoofers, but the two 7-inch woofers provide room-filling sound, and the soft dome tweeters provide powerful trebles.

The unit comes with useful features such as having network integration and driver positioning via a computer-optimized driver. There’s also the company’s in-house waveguide tech via high definition imaging (HDI) through the M2 Master Reference Monitor.

Who Is This Not for?

You should consider another option if you’re looking for a loudspeaker with a rock-bottom price as there are cheaper units available, but you would get a low-end unit in terms of quality, durability and features.

If you’re also looking for a loudspeaker with booming bass, full mids and crisp treble you should also shop around. High-end loudspeakers with all the bells & whistles tend to have a much higher price tag.

A big complaint some people have is that the JBL A180 doesn’t include a subwoofer. If you want your loudspeaker to produce a booming bass at a house party, you would need to add a subwoofer and amp to boost the sound, but this would also add extra cost to your investment.

Another reason to pass on the A180 is if you’re looking for a loudspeaker with a different design such as a Bookshelf, Center Channel or an Outdoor style of loudspeaker.

When choosing a loudspeaker, it’s important to consider where you want to use it and the type of sound you mainly like to listen to. For example, if you have limited space, a Bookshelf unit is a better option. If you want wireless connectivity, you should shop around for a Bluetooth speaker.

Another issue to consider is the type of music you’ll generally be playing on your loudspeakers. Rock, metal and blues are good options for the JBL Arena 180, due to the “high energy” sound they produce. Meanwhile, this loudspeaker is not one of the best choices for listening to orchestral music.

Price

Fun fact: the world’s most expensive loudspeakers are D&W Aural Pleasure by Hart Audio ($4.7 million). The JBL Arena 180 is very competitively priced and overall good value for money so is suitable for the average person who wants quality, but is not ready to spend thousands of dollars on a speaker.

Ease of Use

The A180 gets high marks in terms of ease of use. For example, it’s quite easy to connect. The units excellent terminals including solid plastic screws and gold-plated bindings. In addition, the single-wire terminals can take spades, banana connectors and bare wires.

When installing and moving a floor-standing loudspeaker, you’ll always have to deal with a larger size and heavier weight than smaller units like bookshelf loudspeakers.

That said, positioning the Arena 180 is basically the same as units with similar sizes and prices. The bass-reflex port is located in the back. Thus, the speakers require the same distance between the back wall and unit. It's also advisable to install them 2+ feet from side walls for the best sound effects.

Part 3: What’s Included

The JBL Arena 180 includes the following items in the box:

  • Floorstanding loudspeaker
  • Grille (installed)
  • 4 Spike feet
  • Owner's Manual

Part 4: Overview of Features

JBL Arena 180

Dual Woofers

The 7-inch woofers help to fill rooms with the speakers’ sound. The range of floor-standing speakers is typically 6.5-in. to 8.in, so these woofers are in the mid-range.

The woofers are made of polycellulose. Cellulose is an organic compound used to produce various materials including paper/fibers and is used to manufacture items like plastics.

The A180 includes dual speakers so you’ll get twice the sound of single woofers. This provides 2x the sound for music, movies, TV shows, gaming, etc. in addition, you’ll be getting high-quality JBL components that have been developed over the companies’ decades of industry experience.

Arena System

You can use the Arena 180 as a stand-alone loudspeaker in your home. However, it’s designed to be used as part of the full Arena loudspeaker system. This includes:

  • Floor-standing speakers (2)
  • Bookshelf speakers (2)
  • Center channel speaker (1)
  • Subwoofer (1)

If you wish to get the best results in terms of sound quality, it is recommended to invest in the whole Arena loudspeaker system. That way you can be assured that you will enjoy years of quality sound.

HDI Waveguide Tech

The Wavetech is based on High Definition Imaging (HDI). A waveguide is a device used to direct/control transmission signals. Waveguides are typically more effective when dealing with high-frequency signals that involve wavelengths coming near cross-sections.

This technology is based on the JBL M2 Master Reference Monitor. This system allows you to integrate a big monitoring experience into a recording studio.

The M2 delivers high performance and outstanding listening experience. It offers various features including:

  • Maximum accuracy/dynamic range in small/mid-sized rooms
  • JBL’s linear spatial reference (LSR) design
  • M2 enclosure with a small footprint
  • Big monitor-type bass response

Cloth Grille

The included grille covers the front panel and speaker drivers. This results in a black column that’s only interrupted by the JBL logo and the grille’s silver accents. If you were to remove the grille, you would see three drivers.

Optimized Driver Position

The driver’s position is computer-optimized for the best results. People often refer to the speakers’ drivers as the actual speakers, but they’re not. They’re corn/hornlike components.

The sound is produced by the drivers’ surface area known as the cone/diaphragm. If you were to pull off the speaker’s front grilles, you would see the speaker drivers.

While the drivers themselves are basic their positioning in the speaker is critical in order to get the best sound. That’s why the A180’s computer-optimized driver position is a plus.

Contemporary Design

The A180 includes a stylish modern design, including top panels and angled sides. Its aesthetics are similar to the ES series. The sides feature a finish in black imitation natural wood. Meanwhile, the remainder of the cabinet is constructed in matte black. You can also buy Arena speakers in white.

The speaker cabinet also includes flat surfaces that are tapered to the unit’s rear and downward-angled top. Besides improved aesthetics, this feature reduces standing waves within the cabinet.

User-friendly Cables

The A180’s cables feature high-quality terminals that contain gold-plated bindings as well as solid plastic screws. The single-wire terminals work with banana connectors, spades and bare wire.

Optimized Network Integration

Today’s smart homes include connected Internet (IoT) devices. So, it’s important your audio equipment such as loudspeakers are able to be connected effectively with audio equipment including other speakers.

The JBL Arena 180 features a computer-optimized network integration system. This makes your home audio system more efficient and effective.

Soft Dome Tweeter

The 1-inch tweeter delivers crisp and powerful treble. This style of tweeter has been on the market for half a century. An engineer named Bill Hecht invented it in 1967 during the first years of audio engineering. The goal was to develop a tweeter that wouldn’t crack when touched.

The invention was a game-changer because at the time it was considered that only hard tweeters could create high frequencies. However, the soft dome produced smoother/higher frequencies with little high-frequency resonance.

Some major audio companies have made the design an industry standard. These included Sony, Pioneer, JVC, Philips, Kenwood, Shure and others.

Established Company

JBL is considered an industry leader in the world of audio equipment. It was founded 73+ years ago by James Bullough Lansing in 1946. The company has over seven decades of industry experience, something worth considering when picking new loudspeakers.

Part 5: Tutorial

Part 6: Alternatives -Klipsch R-28F Floorstanding Speaker

Are you looking for the best superior floor standing speakers who deliver excellent performance? Yes, then Tritton Sales is here with Klipsch R-28F. 

The price point of the R-28PF is higher than the A180, but it is still in the mid-range. Here are its key features in detail:

What We Liked

  • Copper and Gold design
  • High bass
  • Twin woofers
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Loud Sound

What We Didn’t Like

  • Big for smaller rooms
  • Take enough space
  • Connectivity issues

Dual Speakers

Klipsch R-28F contains a set of two speakers. So, it's a plus vs. JBL Arena 180 that only includes one speaker. If you want to put together a home theater, this is a good option since you'll have two floor-standing loudspeakers. These speakers work on 90 X 90 Tractrix Horn Technology and have aluminum tweeters for delivering excellent performance. Klipsch R-28F delivers clean, crisp, and natural sound directly to your ears.

260W System Power

This provides a lot of power, so the R-28PF might be ideal for music events when you need more punch. The unit is also bi-amplified with crossover and digital EQ. This helps to give your jams or playlists more punch. On the rear, they have a front-firing port that matches the drivers and cabinet. The overall design is made in a manner to minimize low frequencies and boost flexibility.

1-in. Tweeter

The aluminum dome tweeter contains a tractrix horn. A horn loudspeaker uses an acoustic horn to boost the driver's overall efficiency. The main benefit of horn loudspeakers is their efficiency. They can generally create 10x more sound power vs. cone speakers from an amplifier output. Moreover, Linear Travel Suspension (LSR) tweeter minimizes disturbances for better performance. These pairs of speakers are highly efficient in its category.

Bluetooth Tech 

Another plus of this loudspeaker is it supports wireless Bluetooth tech. This prevents the need to deal with a bird's nest of wires during a party's middle.

Performance

We paired this speaker with our phone as it allows Bluetooth connectivity. The Klipsch paired with my Samsung phone in seconds, and we lined up the songs to play. After playing different genre songs, we concluded that the sound was clear and original without any extra nonsense noise. The thumping bass is strong, and volume delivery is not an issue.

8-inch Woofers

These woofers are a little larger than the A180's. So, you'll get more sound with this unit than the A180. It's a plus based on the music or events you'll be using the loudspeaker for.

Built-in Amp

The amp is designed for high-performance, low distortion, and flat frequency. This helps the speakers to produce full-range sound.

Final Verdict

At this price tag, we are unable to find such a powerful floor-standing speaker. R-28PF is an excellent, wireless, Bluetooth enabled, and powered bookshelf speaker that seems like the premium soundbars. If you are after an excellent performance, then look no further. The inclusion of features like digital and analog inputs, built-in phono stage, etc. deliver value to customers. 

If you are looking for a high-quality floor-standing speaker, then you will never regret choosing Klipsch R-28PF. Win the deal now.

Part 7: Conclusion

What’s the final verdict for the JBL Arena 180? JBL has over 70 years of experience producing audio equipment. This helps to explain the quality and value offered by the A180.

It’s worth noting the A180 isn’t the cheapest or top-notch loudspeaker on the market. You could pick other models if you want to save money or enjoy audiophile-level sound quality. However, if you’re looking for an affordable loudspeaker, with good quality sound and aesthetics, then you should consider the A180.

Let’s start with the aesthetics. The top panels and angled sides provide the speaker with a contemporary look. It’s available in basic black and white, so the unit complements any theme or color scheme of a room.

In terms of sound quality, the A180 provides excellent value. That’s via features like the HDI waveguide tech and optimized driver positioning. Other features include polycellulose woofer and soft dome tweeter.

You won’t get booming bass, but the mids and trebles are ideal for most types of music. It’s good for other applications like movies, TV shows and gaming, so this provides more flexibility.

You won’t get booming bass, but the mids and trebles are ideal for most types of music. It’s good for other applications like movies, TV shows and gaming, so this provides more flexibility.

An X-factor you should consider is the Arena 180 also designed to work alone or with the powerful  JBL Arena system. That includes a pair of floor-standing 180s, a center channel speaker, bookshelf speaker, and a subwoofer. The JBL Arena 180 Freestanding Loudspeaker can turn your home into an arena concert venue!

About the Author Christina lee

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