Audio enthusiasts have long sought to extend the sonic capabilities of their tv speakers without adding too much clutter. This is where the jbl 5. 1 soundbar comes in.
It provides a relatively unobtrusive alternative for discreetly playing up audio while also offering some nifty features for more discerning listeners. The jbl 5. 1 soundbar has a balanced sound profile, outperforming competitors by leaps and bounds.
This JBL 5.1 soundbar review has been conducted to help you make an informed decision whether the jbl 5. 1 soundbar is worth buying or not.
- 1 Pros & Cons
- 2 30-second review
- 3 Price and Release Date
- 4 Design
- 5 Features
- 6 Set Up
- 7 Movie Performance
- 8 Music Performance
- 9 Setup
- 10 FAQs
- 11 Conclusion
Pros & Cons
- Amazing wireless connectivity options
- Powerful bass depth
- Room correction available as well as night mode
- Could use more EQ controls and/or audio modes
- No Dolby Atmos support.
- At max volume, there is no compression or thumps.
The JBL is a great option for movie fans who have limited space. It offers wireless surround sound from a soundbar. Although the sound quality isn’t quite as extensive as those provided by its rivals, its transformable surround sound capabilities are remarkable.
Although the JBL 5.1 may be a few decades old, it is still an extraordinary audio device. The soundbar is often available for sale, so it’s worth looking into if you are in the market to buy a basic 5.1 system.
How does it work? You can attach the soundbar to one or both ends of a central bar. Alternatively, you can put the soundbar behind your couch and create wireless surround sound.
The wireless subwoofer is also included. It’s wired to power but wirelessly connects to the soundbar. The true wireless surround speakers have 10-hour battery life and can be charged by plugging into the soundbar.
This is a unique proposition that makes the JBL Bar 5.1 surround stand out. It begs the question: Do you get the best of both soundbar and surround sound systems? Or is it multiple devices that don’t have either?
Price and Release Date
In 2017, the JBL Bar 5.1 sound bar was sold for $699 (about AU$850, PS500) and has since fallen slightly in price. It’s worth keeping an eye out for the bar during major sales events such as Cyber Monday and Black Friday, when it may drop in price.
For its high price, the JBL Bar 5.1 is quite affordable. The JBL Bar 5.1 is mainly made of plastic. While it feels sturdy, the buttons aren’t as smooth as those on the Bose SoundTouch 300.
The soundbar’s main body is covered in perforated mesh. This hides a small display underneath, right next to a small JBL logo.
There are four buttons on the top for volume, power, and input source. There are three HDMI ports on the back, one USB port, one AUX, and one optical connection.
Wireless satellite speakers are designed to plug into the end of the soundbar and make a strong magnetic connection. The whole unit appears convincingly like a traditional soundbar when they are plugged in.
The soundbar is 58mm high so that it will fit comfortably in front of most TVs. However, it was designed to attach to a wall under a screen. Everything you need to connect the JBL Bar 5.1 to the wall is included in the box.
You can attach the two wireless speakers to the wall mount with brackets. However, this is not the main selling point of the unit.
The JBL Bar 5.1 surround is 1148mm wide when connected. This is a large soundbar.
The dimensions of the subwoofer are 440x305x305mm. It has the same ‘black box’ appearance that we have come to expect subwoofers. Just above the power input is a button that wirelessly syncs the wireless subwoofer with the soundbar.
The JBL Bar 5.1’s wireless surround sound capabilities are without doubt its most significant selling point. The system is straightforward to set up:
- Unplug the satellite speaker.
- Place them in your room.
- Plug a tiny micro USB into the main soundbar.
- After that, auto-calibration will run, which will give you short bursts of loud, unpleasant white noises for a brief time.
Although we didn’t expect much from such a low-fi approach, we were surprised. It was tested with films known for their surround sound systems, including Mad Max: Fury Road and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Mad Max was able to hear the various soundtrack elements and whispered voices with great clarity. The sound was balanced and instantly immersive. This is exactly what a surround sound system should do.
The best sound quality was more treble- and bass-oriented (and we’ll get to this later). This made the echoing chamber that Rey created in Star Wars feel significant but not fundamental, which was a shame.
The sound stage was optimized for movie and TV viewing. This is especially helpful in large action sequences where you can hear dialogue over the heavy scoring and gunfire.
For wireless music play, the JBL Bar 5.1 surround can be paired with a Bluetooth device to act as a Bluetooth speaker. The Tv remote has a button that allows you to switch between a Bluetooth connection and a wired connection.
This feature was a bit redundant for us. The bar’s intelligent switching when we used the phone while watching a movie meant that sound would often be cut to favor the telephone even though nothing was playing.
The installation of the JBL Bar was straightforward. The subwoofer is connected to the rest via Bluetooth. Unlike other wireless soundbars, I have never had any issues with the wireless subwoofer not connecting to the central unit. Two power supplies are included: one for each subwoofer (more significant) and one for each base. Mounting racks are also included in the package, but I chose to leave them on my TV table.
After the physical setup is complete, you can connect the JBL bar with the method of your choice: HDMI inputs (through the ARC, to allow control of PC audio via TV and soundbar remotes), optical or Bluetooth connectivity.
An antenna is included that can be used for recalibrating the base to determine the exact location of satellite speakers. However, I haven’t found it necessary to use. If you choose to use the surround speakers in a more traditional place, it is good to have.
Blade Runner 2049’s crash scene in which Ryan Gosling is thrown from the sky in a vehicle that looks like a military-grade Lamborghini flies has multiple gunshots and explosions. They sound great through the Bar 5.1 Surround at low and mid-bass levels and firm at high volumes. You’ll want to maximize the subwoofer’s output for movies with a lot of low-end, such as this one. The dialogue is clear and crisp. Even with the sub turned up to maximum, there is a good balance between highs and lows.
The Bar 5.1 Surround produces a booming sound when the Death Star explodes during Stars Wars Episode IV – A New Hope. This is especially true when the bass volume is at its maximum.
The system’s volume is maximum, and the bass at the highest setting gives you a near-theater experience. However, it’s not as loud as one might think.
Although the lows are loud and sufficient, the overall power feels less powerful than music. This means that the system’s volume is a bit lower than you would like if you enjoy watching movies loudly. However, it does deliver serious rumble.
The JBL Bar 5.1 Surround provides a robust low-frequency response for bass-lovers who listen to tracks with a lot of sub-bass, such as Silent Shout by The Knife. The track’s setting doesn’t affect the bass, even at maximum volume (for music, quite loud). The thunder is loud at high volumes and can be heard through walls.
We suggest starting at Mid and working more with low and middle bass levels than with high for music. This can upset the balance.
Bill Callahan’s track Drover has a much deeper bass and gives us a better idea of the general sound signature of JBL Bar 5.1 Surround. This track sounds quite balanced and accurate, even at moderate volume and with the bass set to mid. The drums have a little more depth but don’t sound too thunderous.
Callahan’s baritone vocals are balanced with low-mid richness and treble edge. The reassuring presence of the acoustic strumming and higher-register instrumentation can withstand the bass depth without any problems.
The sound signature changes dramatically by increasing the volume or switching to high bass levels. Now the drums have subwoofer thunder, and Callahan’s vocals sound too bass-heavy–somewhere in between this, and the previous sound signature will be the ideal setup for most listeners.
Jay-Z and Kanye West’s No Church in the Wild give the kick drum loop enough high-mid presence to allow its attack to keep its punchiness. Even at mid-bass settings, the subwoofer amplifies the drum loop significantly.
Surprisingly the sub-bass synth sounds that punctuate the beat are given a back seat to the drum loop’s thunder. This is unusual when a system can produce a huge bass sound but bass heads. The room shakes most often from the sub-bass synth sounds.
However, those lows recede through the JBL Bar 5.1 Surround while the drum loop’s deep bass is delivered with gusto. The track is powerful regardless of the setting. When the lows are set at mid, it has a solid balance across the frequency range. This track has excellent vocals with no extra sibilance and great clarity.
The best sound quality of orchestral tracks, like the opening scene from John Adams’ The Gospel According To The Other Mary, is crisp, and the bass anchors the mix. This subwoofer setting has less impact than other genres.
However, we recommend low or medium settings for jazz and classical music. The JBL Bar 5.1 Surround can deliver a balanced, robust, and dynamic sound signature. However, you might need to adjust the bass levels to achieve this.
The lack of a Movie and Music mode means you will have to set your settings for action-packed movies or music. Films tend to need more volume level and more focused bass, while music prefers lower and lower volumes. Although it’s easy to adjust manually, only three basic EQ settings are available for the bass.
Sound bars should be easy to set up. The JBL Bar 5.1 Surround is not that simple.
HDMI cable can be used to connect your TV’s HDMI port to HDMI ARC. It should work if your TV’s sound settings are set to tv HDMI ARC support. You can also connect an external set-top box to the soundbar using your TV’s optical digital audio output.
The JBL soundbar 5.1 Surround uses Google Home to connect to wifi. To understand this, you will need to go online and read the manual. Although the quick start guide suggests that you download Google Home, it doesn’t explain why or what to do next.
You can set it up in wifi setup mode by holding down the power button until you see the LED display Setup wifi. This didn’t appear on my unit, but I was able to connect to wifi. Select the soundbar from your phone’s wifi settings screen.
Launch Google Home, then add the speaker to your account. Once you’ve done this, you can start audio streaming via Chromecast and AirPlay 2. Bluetooth pairing is also possible.
To get the best surround sound effect, you’ll want to use the soundbar’s automated calibration. You can do this by pressing the HDMI button on your remote control until Calibrate appears on the LED display. The soundbar will emit a series of sounds to help it measure and optimize sound.
Other adjustments are not possible with the JBL Bar 5.1 Surround. The JBL remote control has a Bass button that allows you to adjust the bass level from 1 to 5.
You can also change to Smart mode, which enhances sound effects. This is a more difficult task than it should be. To do this, hold the mute button down for three seconds and then press the + button.
It is straightforward to set up the JBL Bar 5.1. It is straight to set up. Both the satellite and sub-woofer wireless speakers work seamlessly with the main soundbar. Calibrating the system was as simple as pressing one button.
The speakers can produce a loud, booming volume without losing clarity. Additionally, the dedicated driver for voice ensures that dialogue is not overpowered. This is a rare feat in TV audio.
The best thing about the Bar 5.1 is the ability to immerse oneself in the audio world of a movie with just a few rechargeable speakers.
It is not able to reproduce the full range of music and has weak mids. There is also a noticeable gap between the mids produced by the subwoofer and the mids. The design is also not very attractive, and it costs significantly less than you would expect given its price. The sound palette that JBL offers isn’t as rich as some of its competitors.
How many speakers does the JBL 5.1 soundbar contain?
Two wireless surround speakers transform the JBL Bar 5.1 soundbar into a complete 5.1 surround sound experience. The soundbar system recreates the cinema experience and creates an immersive music experience.
Is JBL 5.1 compatible with Alexa?
Before you mount the soundbar on a wall, ensure that it is not plugged into power.
What is the wattage of JBL 5.1 soundbars?
The JBL Bar 5.1 Surround provides the ultimate home cinematic experience. With 550 Watts of power, a 10″ subwoofer, and the ability to bring everything to life, you can make any movie come alive.
Do you want to know more? Check our article what wattage soundbar do I need
Is JBL 5.1 capable of supporting DTS?
They support Dolby Digital, DTS, and Dolby ProLogic II. The wireless speakers can be fully charged in three hours. They can then be used for a maximum of ten hours. The soundbar supports Bluetooth 2.0, hdcp2.2, and can receive 4k signals via the three HDMI input ports.
How do I connect my JBL 5.1 soundbar to my Samsung TV?
Turn on the external device and the soundbar. Press the Source button on the soundbar until HDMI appears on display. Turn the TV on and change its source to the HDMI port connected to the soundbar. Your TV will display images from the external device, and audio will play from the soundbar.
The JBL Bar 5.1 soundbar is a marvel of technology and very good sound quality for its compact size and affordable price. This soundbar makes a great addition to any home cinema room and is a fantastic option for those looking to enhance their TV viewing experience without sacrificing audio quality.
It’s a good buy at its current price, which only further helps to increase the purchased score for this soundbar. If you’re looking for a smaller model without compromising sound quality, this is an excellent choice.
Hooke Audio hope you enjoyed this JBL 5.1 review and were able to find some helpful information for your purchase. Would you consider buying it?
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