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Monitor Audio SB-2 and SB-3 Soundbars Preview

Monitor Audio SB-2 and SB-3 Soundbars

Monitor Audio SB-2 and SB-3 Soundbars


  • Product Name: SB-2; SB-3
  • Manufacturer: Monitor Audio
  • Review Date: September 24, 2014 08:00
  • MSRP: $Contact local dealer
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool


L/C/R channels feature identical driver complement: 1 x 4” C-CAM bass driver, 1 x 1" C-CAM gold

dome tweeter and 1 x racetrack profile ABR.

Dimensions: 14.5 x 110.7 x 88.5 cm (5 11/16 x 43 5/8 x 34 7/8 inches).

Suitable for display sizes from 50” To 60”.


L/R channels feature identical driver complement: 1 x 4” C-CAM bass driver, 1 x 1" C-CAM gold dome tweeter and 1 x racetrack profile ABR.

Centre channel features 2 x 4” bass-mid range driver in ‘MTM’ configuration, 1 x 1" C-CAM gold dome tweeter and 2 x racetrack profile ABRs.

Dimensions: 14.5 x 130.7 x 88.5 cm (5 11/16 x 51 1/2 x 34 7/8 inches)/

Suitable for display sizes of 60”+.


The new SB Series of passive soundbars from Monitor Audio, the SB-2 and SB-3, are designed to bring high quality sound to TVs of 50”and above. The SB-2 and B-3 come with a wide range of mounting options for easy and discreet custom installation, and the two SB models are engineered with Monitor Audio’s flagship cabinet and driver technologies to “combine efficient low-profile design with extraordinary room-filling dynamics.”

The compact SB-2 is engineered for seamless integration with 50”-60” TVs while the SB-3 is built for screen sizes above 60”. Both models feature three separate driver arrays for left, center,  and right channels in a single cabinet. The SB-2 employs individual 4” mid-bass, 1” tweeter and sealed ABR (Auxiliary Bass Radiator) drivers per section. The SB-3 uses twin bass drivers and ABRs in the center section to provide higher acoustic output and power handling for critical center channel reproduction. All drivers are of the latest design developed for Monitor Audio’s flagship speakers and utilize their signature C-CAM material.

Unlike conventional cones, which incorporate a center aperture for the voice-coil, the C-CAM cones deployed by the SB series take the form of a continuous uninterrupted radiating dish, which has inherently greater strength and area. According to Monitor Audio, the voice coil sits beneath and is coupled to the motor by a more efficient drive assembly, increasing excursion and power handling while reducing distortion for a more dynamic and accurate response. Flat diaphragm ‘racetrack’-style ABRs augment the mid-bass drivers to provide additional bass definition and power handling. They reportedly work in a similar way to ported alignments, but remove the possibility of port noise, helping the SBs to play loud and clear.

SB series end caps

SB series endcaps

Sitting in a newly developed horn-loaded tweeter housing for consistent off-axis performance and uniform room coverage, the SB’s improved C-CAM high frequency drivers vent internally around the outside of the magnet system into a rear-loading chamber. This is supposed to produce much lower resonance and better overall damping than typical designs. The frequency response from each new tweeter is said to be wider and more accurate at lower frequencies than previous versions, which leads to better integration with its companion mid-bass driver(s).

The SB’s slim-line cabinets are of high-density MDF, braced internally for maximum rigidity. Additional bracing is supplied by Monitor Audio’s bolt-through driver

mountings designed for our range-topping speakers, which secure the driver to the back of the cabinet and clamp the basket to the front – this similar to what JL Audio does in their E series subwoofers.

Low profile terminals are recessed to facilitate flush-to-wall installation. The terminal panel provides standard fixing points compatible with Sanus TV mounts. Wall mounting is also possible via Monitor Audio’s low profile wall mount bracket (optional) for easy cable access, pre-alignment and fixing. Silicon feet provide a secure cabinettop mounting alternative. In larger rooms, the SB-2 and SB-3 are designed to be used with a subwoofer to deliver the best possible audio experience. Within smaller environments and systems, the Monitor Audio says that the SBs can be deployed without the sub to handle full range audio with a reduced power handling; however, we would recommend adding a subwoofer no matter the room size.

In sum, these look like capable soundbars. There doesn't seem to be anything revolutionary, but rarely are speakers revolutionary. I suspect that anyone who wants the Monitor Audio sound without a bunch of speakers, would be happy with the new SB-2 or SB-3.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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Cliff, like many of us, has always loved home theater equipment. In high school he landed a job at Best Buy that started his path towards actual high quality audio. His first surround sound was a Klipsch 5.1 system. After that he was hooked, moving from Klipsch to Polk to Definitive Technology, and so on. Eventually, Cliff ended up doing custom installation work for Best Buy and then for a "Ma & Pa" shop in Mankato, MN.

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