Ameya DalviJul 15, 2020 15:19:42 IST
Price: Rs 5,999
A vast majority of TV viewers still don’t feel the need for a good sound system. While the sound produced by most LED TVs is just about acceptable for day-to-day TV viewing on DTH like with news, sports and some daily soaps, it feels inadequate when consuming content on OTT platforms like Netflix, Prime Video etc. These online streaming services provide high-fidelity audio that TV speakers cannot do justice to.
A good sound system is necessary to enjoy the HD or 4K experience to the fullest, and that is where a budget soundbar comes in when you’re testing the waters with audio equipment. Our exploration of the budget soundbars category brings us to this affordable option from Zebronics. The Zeb-Jukebar 4000 is packed with features at a surprisingly affordable price point, and sounds good too.
Zebronics Zeb-Jukebar 4000 Soundbar: Design (7.5/10)
This Zebronics soundbar has a fairly standard design, with an all-black body and a metal grille up front with the company logo. The construction is quite rugged, and doesn’t feel cheap. The bar is about 86 cm long and fits perfectly under a 40 to 43-inch TV. You also get a wired subwoofer with a 5.25-inch driver placed on the right, and the port at the front. The subwoofer unit is surprisingly slim, and measures just 11 cm in width. The bundled cables are long enough and the soundbar can easily be wall-mounted with a pair of screws that are provided in the package.
All the input ports are at the back of the soundbar. There is just enough space to connect the cables to the ports, in case you choose to wall-mount it. Ideally, you will need to first connect the cables and then put it on the wall. However, it will be hard to plug in a USB drive unless it’s a small one. You may have to buy a USB extension cable if you are still in the habit of listening to music from USB. The designers should have ideally put the USB port on top, or on the side for easy access.
The power button along with volume control keys are placed on the right side of the soundbar. There is a tiny white 7-segment LED display at the front-centre that is more than a handy inclusion. It displays the input mode as well as volume/bass/treble level among other things; something that’s inexplicably absent on several budget soundbars. A full-function wireless remote control is also bundled in the package.
Zebronics Zeb-Jukebar 4000 Soundbar: Specifications and Features (8.5/10)
There are plenty of connectivity options on the Zeb-Jukebar 4000, some that one rarely sees on a soundbar in this budget. You get Bluetooth 5.0, 3.5 mm Aux in, Optical in, USB and last but not the least, HDMI ARC. It has most of the bases covered. The soundbar has a pair of 6.35 cm drivers to take care of high and mid-range frequencies. They can deliver a combined output of 40W RMS, while the 5.25-inch subwoofer can deliver another 40W RMS, thus taking the total rated power of the system to 80W RMS. The rated frequency response ranges between 45 Hz to 20 KHz.
Unlike the Blaupunkt bar we had tested a year ago, this soundbar isn’t Dolby-certified. But then, the former was an exception, and it’s hard to find Dolby-certified soundbars in this budget. The Zeb-Jukebar 4000 is accompanied by a cool-looking full function wireless remote control, which is reasonably well built and looks different from the one you get with most soundbars. It has controls for volume, bass, treble, equaliser presets (Music, Movie, News, 3D), input selection and audio playback. There’s a power and mute button too. I can’t think of anything important that the company has missed here. However, take good care of the remote, as hardly any of the functions are accessible without it.
Zebronics Zeb-Jukebar 4000 Soundbar: Performance (8/10)
As always, I tried multiple input sources to test the soundbar, and the sound quality was fairly uniform across the board. The good part about this soundbar is that it can remember most of the last used settings like volume, bass, treble levels as well as the last input source when you switch off the bar using the remote, or from the mains. So, you can simply continue from where you left off. When in Bluetooth mode, the master volume of this soundbar syncs with the Bluetooth volume of the source device. You do not need to adjust both volumes separately like in case of the Cloudwalker soundbar; it can be adjusted from either the remote or the source device. That's a big plus!
Moving on to the sound quality, it is quite solid for its asking price. Of course, it doesn’t sound like something twice the cost, but you get more than your money’s worth here. The first thing you notice is the amount of bass that the slim subwoofer can generate. There’s a bit too much of it to be honest, and I would have preferred the bass to be a bit tighter. Thankfully, there are sound adjustments for that. You can throttle the bass and treble between -5 to 5 to suit your tastes, and those adjustments actually make a noticeable difference to the sound output.
There are four sound presets, and those are independent of the bass and treble levels. I would suggest you use the Movie preset at all times for best results. The rest just make up the numbers. The soundbar can get fairly loud for a mid-sized room, and I rarely had to cross the 50 percent mark during the course of my testing. Only when watching movies did I have to push it close to 75 percent at times. The dynamic range of this speaker system is decent. The highs are reproduced well, and there is a good amount of clarity in the vocals, but the instrument separation is average at best in complex tracks. The bass is excessive out of the box, but can be reined in.
When watching web series or movies, there is very little to complain about. The soundbar fills a mid-sized room with punchy sound with enough clarity in dialogues and ambient sounds. Needless to say, the experience is way better than what you would get on the TV speakers. To compare it to the other two soundbars I have tested in this price bracket, I can safely say that this Zebronics soundbar performs noticeably better than the Cloudwalker Burst E3000, and the sound output is comparable to the Blaupunkt SBW-01 in several areas, but cannot beat it.
Zebronics Zeb-Jukebar 4000 Soundbar: Price, alternatives and verdict
The Zebronics Zeb-Jukebar 4000 is priced at Rs 7,499 and generally sells on Flipkart for Rs 5,999 with a one-year warranty. That is a great price for what this product offers. At that price, you get a soundbar with multiple audio inputs including HDMI ARC, good sound and ample sound adjustments. I cannot think of any other soundbar at this price point that gives you an HDMI option.
As for alternatives, the Blaupunkt SBW-01 is a great option for a thousand to 1500 Rupees more, but it is hard to find these days. If you do not need HDMI ARC but prefer better sound quality, then you may want to consider the Samsung HW K350/XL bar that sells for Rs 7,999. You get almost double (150 Watts) the sound output with Dolby Audio support. All said and done, the Zebronics Zeb-Jukebar 4000 is a very good sound system and won’t disappoint the buyers looking to upgrade their TV audio on a humble budget.
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