JBL Synthesis SDR-35 AVR - User Review

So I decided to take the plunge on the JBL Synthesis SDR-35 AVR recently to replace my outgoing NAD T777v3 which was experiencing some hardware issues and was out of warranty.

Would like to share my quick user review of this under-the-radar AVR in case any one is interested :wink:

Product Page

Features of the unit that were attractive to me:

  • Upgraded DACs compared to sister unit from Arcam (AVR-30)
  • Dirac Live with Dirac Live Bass Control included (no additional top-up required)
  • Class G amplification
  • Stereo Direct mode for use with external DAC
  • Flexible Zone 2 functionality for incorporating subwoofer in Stereo Direct mode for music listening

Music Listening
Significant improvement from the NAD T777V3, whether using internal DAC with Dirac or in Stereo Direct mode with my Denafrips Pontus II. Perhaps the Class G amplification showing its worth?

Movie / TV Viewing
The SDR-35’s ability to steer the surround/atmos effects with better precision, as well as the DLBC tighter integration of my 2 subwoofers means that movie viewing is now much more cinematic and enjoyable :partying_face:

Happy to share any further insight if requested!



Would like to pay you a visit. If convenient, let me know.

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Yeah me too! Bro Desray perhaps can go tgt if owner allows.

Honestly I was into SDP75 before the Trinnov.

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Sure! We can arrange - I’ve PM-ed bro desray

@nichino - You may want to provide us with date/time convenient for you. I am clearing annual leave from today till end of the month.

@Wind - Sure thing.

IIRC, the IMS showroom in Tampines has a showroom with the JBL on demo too… just call them and ask for a slot / appointment…

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Have PM-ed @Wind and you on a possible date before the turn of the year - don’t think my place can accommodate more than the 2 of you so apologies for not making this a open house that all others can join!

Alternatively, @petetherock is correct, the IMS Acoustics showroom in Tampines has a fully rigged up JBL Synthesis theater available for demo, but IIRC they are only using the SDR-35 for processor duty with external amps (it’s a full-blown theater so don’t think they can just rewire on the fly). They also have the sibling Arcam AVR range for testing in a simpler setup.

Happy holidays all!

Bro, did you get your 35 from IMS? Mind PM me the price? I’m interested in SDP-58 actually, if you happen to know the price, it will be great!


thanks bro!

Wow nice! Thx for posting the review!

Good to know there’s someone here using JBL synthesis avr!


Did you still find bugs as what he mentioned in his review?

Are there any bugs you are concerned about? I’m too lazy to watch the full video :sweat_smile:

For my SDR-35, I don’t have any discernible major bugs based on my use case scenario, perhaps just some quirks like the first few seconds of audio missing when switching to a new audio format (digital source).

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Don’t be lazy lar… time stamp 10;00 two min before ending

Realised that I’ve watched this review before - thanks for the timestamp!

Re Dirac calibration issues - I did not face any of the issues/bugs/hardware quirks mentioned by the reviewer. My Dirac calibration process was also no more complicated or buggy than on my previous NAD unit. Note that I was using my own UMIK-1 calibration mic - the Synthesis AVR firmware as well as Dirac version have also been updated several times since this review was posted. In fact, I was also worried about the numerous bugs reported on the Arcam/Synthesis units but took comfort in the latest forum reports that most major bugs have since been squashed.

Re the lacklustre OSD - yes there is no snazzy on screen setup menu or OSD, but this is geared towards the CI / prosumer crowd so the detailed IP web interface gives the user all the controls necessary. The lack of a proper Android/iOS remote app may also be a turn off for many, but I am happy with the third party options or the web interface.

Do note that the Synthesis / Arcam units are not in the Google TV Chromecast database for those who prefer to control the AVR volume using the Chromecast remote :disappointed: