A Soundbar that Won’t Leave You Indifferent
JBL Bar 5.1 is a solid mainstream soundbar that creates a pleasant sound experience thanks to its strong bass and high power output, which settles it somewhere in the middle among the best soundbars on the market. This is a pretty large system that offers good connectivity, wireless music streaming support, and true 4K compatibility that makes pairing it with today’s best TVs super easy. Therefore, if you are after a soundbar that delivers a pretty good mixed usage and a punchy mid-range performance, JBL Bar 5.1 is more than a good choice.
Connectivity: Bluetooth, 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, Chromecast, and Apple AirPlay
Frequency Response: 40-20000 Hz
Driver size: 250 mm
Output power: 550W
Battery life: 10 hours (730 mAh)
Dimensions: Bar – Length 98 mm, Height 58 mm, Width 1016 mm; Subwoofer – Length 305 mm, Height 440 mm, Width 305 mm
JBL Bar 5.1 offers a pretty good package; however, it has its weaknesses that are mostly presented in the absence of certain features, such as the Dolby Atmos support, and lack of inputs, such as the Auxiliary and Coaxial inputs that are sort of a standard on the soundbar systems.
On the other hand, JBL Bar 5.1 brings an impressive 550W power output and a modular construction that helps with the ideal positioning of the system. Also, this soundbar offers a 250mm wireless subwoofer, with excellent bass, as well as wireless surround speakers that bring 10 hours of autonomy. In addition, there is also great connectivity that involves the traditional Bluetooth connection and the 2.4GHz wireless, as well as Chromecast and Apple AirPlay, that should help with streaming and allow you to enjoy your favorite content with ease.
This soundbar comes with 4K connectivity, Dolby digital support, and a simple-to-use remote. There are also three HDMI inputs with ARC support, as well as the implementation of the JBL SoundShift function that allows an instant change between your TV sound and the sound of your tablet, phone, or some other device.
JBL Bar 5.1 uses a ‘Multibeam’ technology and the room calibration feature for enhancing the audio experience, including the surround sound. Also, it brings a solid combination of features that maybe aren’t up to the standards of today’s best soundbars, but they are still bringing a pretty decent audio experience.
Where the JBL Bar 5.1 shows its best sides is certainly its performance. As mentioned, this soundbar is a perfect option for mixed usage, because it brings clear and accurate dialogue, which makes it ideal for movies, as well as a punchy, boomy sound characteristic for heavy music, especially bass-heavy tracks, such as EDM.
Unfortunately, its sound isn’t the most balanced one, and it has a problem with layered sounds; however, it sounds much bolder than is the case with the competition and offers punchy, mid-range audio. Since there are only two EQ presets, its customization capabilities are limited, while on the other hand, its good connectivity, including Chromecast and Apple AirPlay, allows for easy streaming of podcasts, audiobooks, etc.
The accompanying remote is super easy to use and offers only the basic functions, while the soundbar comes with only the essential functions such as power, volume, and input, which goes along with the minimalistic nature of this soundbar.
All in all, JBL Bar 5.1 has enough power and capabilities to deliver a decent audio performance in a large or crowded space, making this device suitable not only for home use, but for smaller events and celebrations as well.
In the design department, JBL Bar 5.1 doesn’t bring anything major, mostly because its whole concept is a minimalistic one. This is the approach that is used on the soundbar, subwoofer, and the remote, and as a result, it offers a device with clean lines and only basic functions, such as the power button, volume up/down button, and so on, that can be found on both the soundbar and the remote.
JBL Bar 5.1 has an excellent build quality and offers good connectivity that involves Optical Audio In, three HDMI ports, an Ethernet port, as well as a USB connection. The soundbar’s outside is made of good quality, matt, silver plastic that brings more of a premium touch and is fitted with a discrete JBL logo on the top-middle of the device. In the front, there is the display, hidden under the dotted grill, which is another addition to its classy looks, while the soundbar itself is pretty compact, in contrast to the boxy, large-sized subwoofer.
All in all, JBL Bar 5.1 is a pretty good device, with plenty of attributes, such as great wireless connectivity features, easy setup, as well as the outstanding 550W output power. On top of that, this soundbar is using multiple advanced technologies, such as the Multibeam and SoundShift, that should improve the audio performance and make the overall usage much easier.
Also, this soundbar brings a strong bass, good surround sound experience, and clear audio that makes this system suitable for a whole variety of usages. In other words, this is a well-balanced system that should be suitable for most users.
Yes, the fact remains that there is no Dolby Atmos support and that there are only two EQ presets that limit the customization. Also, there is no aux-in, or the dialogue enhancement feature, yet, its performance is still pretty good, and the overall usability doesn’t suffer because of these issues.
However, another not-that-welcome thing is the size of the JBL Bar 5.1 subwoofer, which is pretty large and limits where you can place it, while the creation of compression artifacts at max volumes is another not that beneficial thing that certainly isn’t a deal-breaker, yet may present an issue for some users.
In other words, JBL Bar 5.1 is a decent device that offers better performance and features than, for instance, the more affordable Yamaha YAS-209. However, more expensive models with Atmos support, such as Sonos Arc, simply bring much more to the table.
JBL Bar 5.1 is somewhere in the class with the Samsung HW-Q60T that offers a similar setup and features, yet brings more EQ presents and better audio format support; nonetheless, it lacks the playback options, room correction, and doesn’t offer the same level of audio performance. Simply, this soundbar is, as mentioned earlier, well-positioned in the middle of the offerings, delivering a pretty good combination of features and performance. Therefore, if you want something that will bring you a lot of versatility and usability, JBL Bar 5.1 is more than a solid option.