Are you getting the best value for your money with the JBL 3.1, promised to be a thrilling soundbar that has the ability to produce powerful surrounding sound complete with JBL Soundshift? To verify whether or not the JBL 3.1 is the best sound system for your living room, our experts have tested the device thoroughly in this JBL 3.1 soundbar review.
What We Like
What We Don't Like
JBL 3.1 Design
The JBL 3.1 is a 40-inch soundbar is a great pair for larger TVs. The 3.1 design is like a more simplified version of the 5.1 without the surround speakers. The soundbar itself is around 5 pounds, which is quite lightweight for a larger soundbar. The slim design also makes the soundbar wall-mountable to save space.
The soundbar has a standard design with a metal grille that houses six drivers and three tweeters, which can pump out a total of 450 watts of power. The JBL Bar 3.1 has three HDMI inputs, a USB port for playback, an optical input and also analog 3.5mm connection input on the back.
Across the top of the soundbar is a control panel that features standard controls. The buttons on the surface include the Play/Pause button, the volume controls, and the source button.
While the soundbar itself has a sleek design, the wireless subwoofer that’s paired with the Bar 3.1 JBL is bulkier. The wireless subwoofer weighs in at 26.7 pounds, which is on the heavy side. It also measures 1 foot by 1 foot, and is around 17 inches tall. The subwoofer will take up a lot of space in your home theater setup, so the positioning is one thing to consider.
The size of the subwoofer contributes greatly to the deep and heavy bass that is quite impressive and indispensable to virtual surrounding sound. Despite complaints about the size, the sub houses a large 10-inch driver that brings out deep bass.
The soundbar subwoofer combo also comes with its own remote control. The design is nothing special, and you can control all the functions on the soundbar in the palm of your hand. The remote does offer convenience to the customer, but it doesn’t feature a top notch design.
JBL 3.1 Features
The JBL Bar 3.1 is a sound bar that only has 3.1 channels which can be upgraded to a 5.1 system by adding rear speaker kit like Samsung SWA-8500S. However, it can still create an expansive sound stage with very realistic audio, as our experts have confirmed during our JBL 3.1 soundbar review.
This ability is thanks to Dolby Digital. Even without the industry-standard 5.1 channels which is defined as true surround sound, this sound bar is equipped with JBL’s own surround sound feature. With this technology, the customer will still enjoy great sound.
A 3.1 channel soundbar in a home theater will elevate the audio from your TV speakers and the dedicated center channel will optimize speech and dialogue so you can hear everything onscreen.
Even as just a mid-range soundbar, this JBL system would bring your music and movie content to life. You can find sound modes with the JBL 3.1 sound bar. A sound mode is a preset format that optimizes your audio for certain content. For example, movie mode in the 3.1 soundbar would bring audio for your movies to life for the ultimate cinematic experience.
JBL 3.1 Performance
For assessment of performance, our experts put themselves in the shoes of the customer to determine what the JBL 3.1 brings to the table. We put the sound bar to the test with a Blu Ray version of a few top action movies complete with explosive sound effects.
The JBL soundbar brought impressive levels of bass to the system and delivered a great first impression. When the movies are enjoyed in movie mode, the bass level is heightened even further. The rumblings are enhanced and so is the dialogue when the appropriate sound mode is used.
The 3.1 soundbar from JBL has a frequency response of 35 – 20000 Hz, which can deliver impressive bass, mids and highs. The bass is comparable to the bass produced by Yamaha SR-B20A, too. More testing on the Soundbar 3.1 review showed our experts that not only does the JBL soundbar have great audio relays, but the ARC also allows it to process high quality video frequencies.
One thing to take away from the performance of this soundbar is the loud and powerful bass notes.
The JBL soundbar has its own wireless sub that add to the overall product rating. Our experts have verified that the sub does indeed deliver impressive and powerful sounds that bring the cinema experience home with you.
The build of the subwoofer is high quality, but the size does knock down a few points. It’s quite a cumbersome design but a sub that houses a large woofer would definitely need to have a bigger profile.
The customer would get the most bang for their buck with the JBL 3.1, thanks to one of the best bass modules on the market. The sub will bring your music and movies to life with a high power rating and 103 dB of magnificent sound.
Connections on the JBL 3.1
The JBL 3.1 like the Samsung HW-KM36 features wired and wireless connections. Our experts always recommend using the HDMI input when available. This JBL soundbar has multiple HDMI ports and even ARC for video frequencies.
The HDMI cable is included in your purchase to make setup easy. If your TV doesn’t feature an HDMI port, the Soundbar 3.1 also has optical and analog connections.
For the easiest wireless setup, there is Bluetooth for streaming. You can stream content wirelessly via Bluetooth from your external devices. This way, you would be able to enjoy good sound that is not from your TV.
Depending on your TV, Bluetooth can also be used to connect the soundbar without needing messy cables running along the wall. The sub is also a wireless one that will connect automatically when you turn on your sounding bar.
One helpful tip is to keep the soundbar and your streaming device as close together as possible. Not only will this save space in your home, but it will also give a good a reliable Bluetooth wireless connection. Our experts recommend not exceeding 30 feet.
JBL 3.1 Audio Modes
We touched upon the audio modes briefly in the performance section and will go deeper into what they offer. The audio modes included in your system include standard, movie, music, sports and voice modes.
The standard mode doesn’t include special enhancements. Movie format will bring your cinematic content to life and music mode will breathe new life into your favorite tunes. Sports modes will enhance the commentary and bring more excitement to the screen and the voice mode is basically the same as dialogue enhancement.
Our experts recommend activating the audio modes whenever possible when you use your 3.1 system to bring out the high quality sound you are looking for.
Nothing is worse than a soundbar that is difficult to set up. Our team has verified the 3.1 as an easy to set up soundbar that is simple and straightforward to use. Going with the high definition inputs such as HDMI will also save you time. Most soundbars with this form of connection have a plug and play design with a single cable connection.
Another aspect that adds to the high rating of the JBL 3.1 is the versatility. While the sub is much larger and bulkier than the soundbar, it does provide good bass. The high power sub should be kept close to your setup as it needs to be around a power source.
The soundbar itself is a much slimmer version compared to the sub and can be wall-mounted or placed on a flat surface like most other designs. A helpful tip our experts have is to not put your speakers inside a cabinet with the doors closed when you use it. The cabinet doors will greatly muffle  the sound and impact your listening experience.
JBL 3.1 Price
The JBL 3.1 is an affordable and more simplistic version of the 5.1. It still has incredible power and a quality build. For the price, you get everything you need in the soundbar for easy use. This includes the remote, the cables for connection, and the user manual.
For a soundbar that offers impressive bass tones and simulated surround sound with JBL technology, the price is reasonable. If you like a soundbar combo with powerful acoustic abilities, this is the right one for you.
Is JBL a good soundbar?
Yes, JBL is a good soundbar. The 3.1 has its own bass module and a dedicated middle channel to deliver high quality sound. The device is easy to use with impressive sounds and you get everything you need right in the box including a remote.
Are 3.1 soundbars worth it?
Yes, 3.1 soundbars are worth it. This is especially true if you don’t have a large space. The middle channel gives onscreen dialogue a helpful boost and the bass module is verified to deliver rumbling low tones. If you like immersive sound, 3.1 soundbars can do the trick.
JBL 3.1 Review Conclusion
After extensive and thorough JBL 3.1 Soundbar reviews with different content, our experts ended up praising the audio output and sound quality offered by this soundbar. The soundbar has both wired and wireless connections and supports Dolby Digital and JBL virtual surround sound. It also has sound modes that can further enhance your content to produce the best experience in your living room.
The setup of the soundbar combo is simple and straightforward and it also features multiple forms of connection including ARC and HDMI. The simple design is elevated with a control panel and display screen.