The JBL Bar 5.1 is one of the only sound systems that can be converted from a 3.1 into a 5.1 system instantly. But are you only paying a high price merely for the innovative design or will you also be able to enjoy amazing audio? Our experts are here to make sure you are making the right decision with this JBL Bar 5.1 review.
JBL Bar 5.1 Design
One of the most appealing aspects of the JBL Bar 5.1 is the design. The sound bar can transform from a regular 3.1 into a 5.1 surround sound setup that delivers audio effects enveloping the room.
It is one of the best wireless home theater system that has a matte finish that blends in subtly with your interior. It will match well with other equipment you have in your setup and won’t steal the focus. The 40-inch soundbar is compatible with larger sized TVs and the sub complements the audio effects of the soundbar. Both ends of the soundbar can be detached to become smaller rear speakers to round out the system.
Embedded inside the sturdy soundbar sits 2 side-firing tweeters for the high notes that make up the 5 channels. The subwoofer is downward-firing for the low tones. The entire system has a 550W total output power and a standard frequency range that sits at 40Hz-20kHz.
All the connections can be found on the back of the soundbar. Your audio input settings are displayed on the front in the form of bright indicator lights and a small display screen.
The soundbar can be wall-mounted, but our experts suggest just placing it on a flat countertop for easy access when you want to detach the rear speakers. You also get the remote control for your system included with your purchase.
Features of the JBL Bar 5.1
Sound Quality of the JBL Bar 5.1
To get an accurate JBL Bar 5.1 review, our audio team has tested the sound quality of the JBL Bar by putting it to the test in two common categories: movie and music.
After choosing a film with plenty of audio effects, we found that the bass levels were impressive, but nowhere near as efficient as the tweeters. All the high notes were accentuated and the dialogue was crystal clear. If you set the subwoofer at the maximum effect, you will find yourself pleasantly enveloped in fully balanced sound.
When we took a look at movies with heavy explosions and deep thunderous rumbles, the subwoofer bass more than matches up to your expectations. It delivers the thunderous lows that are punctuated by the tweeters to create balanced sound.
When the Bar 5.1 surround speakers were detached, our team didn’t feel it took anything away from the center channels. Instead, it created a more 3D surround audio experience.
With the help of Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic II and DTS advanced technologies, every movie we played was enhanced by these bonus features.
When our team decided to play music, we were again pleasantly surprised at the superior performance of the subwoofer for deep bass tones in every genre of music.
All in all, our team was thoroughly impressed by the balanced audio this surround soundbar delivered to our living room.
The channels refer to the points of sound emission on a soundbar surround sound system. In the case of the JBL Bar 5.1, it is originally a 3.1 channel soundbar. However, because of its unique design with the detachable satellite speakers, it can convert to a 5.1 system to bring you 5.1 surround sound with amazing quality.
The digit before the decimal point refers to the audio channels and the number after it pertains to the number of subwoofers.
Think about all your favorite 4k HDR and Blu Ray content that will be enhanced by this sound system. 5.1 is the industry standard for true surround sound and this soundbar sound system delivers the experience flawlessly.
The speech will be enhanced from the center channels of the soundbar to give you crystal clear dialogue regardless of the volume. For audiophiles and cinephiles, our experts highly recommend a 5.1 channel soundbar.
Sound Mode Options on the JBL Bar 5.1
Many top soundbar sound systems come with sound modes ready to go. Sound modes are preset audio settings that make sure you get the best acoustics and sound effects for certain content.
A surround system with audio modes will bring you a dynamic range of sound from the lowest to the highest. It will also create a much better experience than your regular TV speakers.
The sound modes on a soundbar are labeled clearly to show you what content they can optimize. For example, the JBL Bar 5.1 surround sound system comes with standard, music, voice, movie, sports and night mode.
It’s easy to switch between these modes with a button on the remote. With or without satellite speakers, the Bar can bring amazing effects to your screen even with low frequency transmissions.
All the sound modes are straightforward on what content they optimize, but the night mode may be confusing for some. This mode is used for quiet environments and your soundbar will tune the effects to a more subtle delivery. For those that like to enjoy a late night movie, this is the best sound mode for you to use.
JBL Bar 5.1 Battery Life
The JBL Bar itself isn’t run on battery power, but the rear wireless speakers do. No one wants to watch their favorite movie and worry about when the speakers will cut out at the same time. This won’t happen with the Bar because it has 10 hours of play time ready to go on a full charge.
When and if the battery life runs out in the middle of your movie, you can just reattach the components to the original soundbar to recharge.
The other components of this sound system need to be close to a power source to run, but the connection between all the parts is wireless.
Wired and Wireless Connections
Without the right connections, your Bar or even other high-quality speakers such as SoundTouch 20 and 30, just won’t work. No matter how many special features the system can boast of, you won’t get to enjoy it without compatible cable or wireless connections.
For wired connections, the Bar supports HDMI input or digital optical for higher definition content. Our experts always suggest going for HDMI  when you use a soundbar because it supports the highest quality content and is easy to use. The HDMI arc port is one that can send and receive both audio and video signals, which is highly recommended by our experts.
The HDMI cable and digital optical are included in your purchase, which makes the setup incredibly easy. The HDMI inputs and optical cable inputs are found on most TVs. However, the Bar also has analog 3.5 mm connections for headphones, a USB port and analog devices.
As for wireless connections, the Bar features Bluetooth 4.2. Bluetooth is the easiest form of wireless connection because almost all devices have it enabled. For easy streaming from any room of the house, all you need to do is pair them together to enjoy a cableless setup.
Our team of experts advise not placing both Bluetooth devices too far apart. Anywhere within 30 feet is enough to guarantee a stable connection.
Inputs and Outputs
Now that we know what types of connections the Bar offers, the next question is to ask yourself how many inputs and outputs do you need? The difference between the two is the output receives and the input sends out the signals.
Look at the back of your device. A good number you would want to have is how many devices you plan on connecting plus one or two more, just for good measure. Since the sub is wireless, you can eliminate that. Take into account receivers, and audio devices you would want to connect.
Also make sure the ports aren’t too close together. If they are, you would only be able to use every other port to ensure easy access.
Like some other brands including Bose SoundTouch 30 or Sonos Play 5, the Bar can also be controlled via the remote control. The volume levels, input, and any other settings you want will be displayed on the small screen at the front of the soundbar.
The display screen is a great way to see exactly what your preferred controls are for music, subwoofer settings and volume among others. The screen also makes the soundbar much more easy to use when you are trying to play your content.
JBL Bar 5.1 Setup
Everything you need comes right out of the box. The setup is only a single cable plug-in design that allows you to go from unboxing to enjoying your favorite music that permeates the room at any volume in a matter of seconds.
Look on the back of your TV and soundbar to determine what connections are compatible. This is a great way to eliminate unneeded wires and ports.
The next part is the placement of the soundbar. It looks like you will have a tough time with so many components, but it’s quite easy.
Our team suggests aiming the devices in the direction of your listening spot in the room. It doesn’t matter how large the room is, the Bar can more than handle itself in any setting.
If you like your content played at a high volume, you won’t need to tweak the positioning as much. However, if you are a picky cinephile or audiophile that loves deep bass, our team suggests placing the subwoofer as low as possible, preferably on the ground to belt out the low bass notes effectively.
The bar ranks very high on performance level. The frequency response is very efficient and it doesn’t matter what volume you play your content at, there will be minimal to no harmonic distortion. For those that like heavy bass you can add the best floor standing speakers under 2000 to your soundbar. Yet, the Bar is still an excellent choice because the subwoofer is powerful yet accurate with the bass tones.
JBL Bar 5.1 Price
Since the soundbar has a unique design, you can expect a higher price tag than you would like. However, the amount isn’t outrageous and is still reasonable for a worthy investment.
Is JBL a good soundbar?
Yes, a JBL is a good soundbar. More specifically, the JBL Bar 5.1 soundbar is one of the best on the market for those who like deep bass, accurate acoustics and versatility.
Are 5.1 soundbars worth it?
Yes, 5.1 soundbars are worth it. In fact, we would say they are more worth it than any other soundbar with lesser channels. 5.1 is the industry standard for surrounding audio.
JBL Bar 5.1 Review Conclusion
After a careful and unbiased JBL Bar 5.1 review, our experts highly recommend this soundbar for accentuated bass and overall performance. The soundbar is powerful and offers users versatility that transforms the 3.1 to a 5.1 by detaching the rear speakers.
You can go from minimal bass to emphatic bass in less than a minute and the setup is exceptionally simple with everything you need right out of the box. The Bar can be wall-mounted or placed on a flat surface to deliver amazing acoustics.
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