About the JBL Bar 5.1
A wireless home theater like no other
The JBL Bar 5.1 system features the first completely wireless surround speakers we've ever seen.
A wireless home theater like no other
Until JBL showcased their Bar 5.1 sound bar system here at Crutchfield HQ, I'd never seen anything like it. Sure, plenty of other sound bars use a sub and surround speakers to create full wraparound sound. But this is the first system to include battery-powered surround speakers that are 100% wire-free.
Our JBL trainer detached the left and right surround speakers from either side of the bar, then walked them to the back of the room. He placed them right behind our seating area and fired up a home theater demo with truly wireless surround sound. No cables running to the back speakers — and no need to plug them into the wall.
How this system works
The surround speakers recharge when they are connected to the sound bar. A full charge gives you full surround sound for up to 10 hours of binge watching. Deep bass is provided by the down-firing 10-inch subwoofer.
The sub also receives signals wirelessly from the bar, so you can place it off in a corner or out of the way. But unlike the surround speakers, you will need to connect it to an AC outlet — this is a big, bad woofer that needs more power to deliver lots of thump.
Recharge the wireless surround speakers by attaching them to the sound bar.
How this system sounds
We were shown a clip from the movie Mad Max: Fury Road. This sound bar system sounded as solid and seamless as a wired 5.1 system — no weird audio delays or dropouts. The scene started with creepy voices "worming their way" through the main character's brain. They seemed to swarm around my head — from behind, right next to me, even off in the distance.
Our training room is a pretty large space, and this system had no trouble bringing the heat. When motors cranked up to start a wild car chase, I could feel the impact. There wasn't much dialogue in the scene, but I was able to clearly hear and understand characters when they shouted over the revving engines and spontaneous blasts.
Space-friendly design with versatile connections
The bar is slim enough to fit under most TVs on a stand, but JBL included a bracket for wall-mounting. They even threw in brackets for the surround speakers.
You'll find convenient home theater connections to go with this system's bona fide home theater performance. There are three 4K/HDR-ready HDMI inputs and one output for connecting the latest gear. Or you can simply connect your TV using the single included optical digital audio cable.
Substantial remote control options
For some sound bar manufacturers, the remote is an afterthought. Not so, here. The JBL remote gives you control over the subwoofer, so you can dial in the amount of bass from your seat. I found this extremely helpful, because different shows and movies can call for more or less low-end.
The remote also lets you adjust the volume on the wireless surrounds — handy, since you may move the speakers around a bit. And my low-key favorite feature? You can adjust the audio using the remote, to ensure it syncs up with the screen. It was much more convenient than diving into the TV settings menu.
- features a sound bar, wireless subwoofer, and true wireless surround speakers
- surround speakers feature built-in batteries and recharge when attached to the sound bar
- delivers 5.1-channel surround sound
- included calibration mic captures the room's reflections and optimizes sound to your room
- built-in Bluetooth® for wireless music streaming from smartphones and tablets
- JBL Soundshift® automatically switches between your TV and Bluetooth audio sources
- learns your TV remote's volume commands
- three-channel sound bar with nine total drivers
- six 2-1/4" midrange drivers
- three 1-1/4" tweeters
- dedicated center channel for clear dialogue
- Night Mode controls dynamic peaks for late-night viewing
- Dolby® Digital and DTS® decoding
- wall-mountable (brackets included)
- 45"W x 2-1/2"H x 3-3/4"D (with wireless surrounds attached for charging)
- weight: 8.6 lbs.
- surround speakers connect wirelessly to sound bar
- built-in rechargeable battery offers up to 10 hours of wireless surround sound
- wall-mount brackets included
- 6-1/2"W x 2-1/2"H x 3-3/4"D (each)
- weight: 1.3 lbs. (each)
- syncs wirelessly to sound bar for easy placement
- 10" down-firing woofer
- built-in amplifier
- 16"W x 12"H x 12"D
- weight: 26 lbs.
Connections and General Info:
- 3 HDMI inputs
- 1 HDMI output with ARC (Audio Return Channel)
- HDCP 2.2 compatible for connecting to 4K video sources
- support 4K video with high dynamic range (HDR) and HDMI-CEC
- 1 optical digital audio input
- 1 analog stereo minijack input
- USB port for connecting a thumb drive
- HDMI cable, optical digital audio cable, and stereo mini audio cable included
- total system power: 510 watts
- system frequency response 35-20,000 Hz
- remote control included
- gives you control over bass level and volume of surround speakers
- warranty: 1 year
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
- MFR # JBLBAR51BLKAM
What's in the box:
- Active soundbar speaker
- Wireless powered sub
- 2 Wireless surround speakers
- Two 5' AC power cords
- Audio calibration microphone
- Remote control
- 2 "AAA" batteries
- 6.5' HDMI cable
- 4' Optical digital cable
- 4' Stereo minijack cable
- 2 Wall-mount brackets (for soundbar)
- 2 Wall-mount bracket holders (for soundbar)
- 2 Wall-mount brackets (for surrounds)
- 2 Wall-mount bracket holders (for surrounds)
- Quick-Start Guide
- Wall-Mount Template
- Important Safety Instructions
- Warranty Card
JBL Bar 5.1 reviews
Thanks for submitting your review
More details on the JBL Bar 5.1
Features & specs
|Number Of Channels||5.1|
|Optical Digital Inputs||1|
|Coaxial Digital Inputs||None|
|HDMI ARC Input||Yes|
|HDMI eARC Input||No|
|3.5mm Stereo Analog Inputs||1|
|RCA Stereo Analog Inputs||None|
|USB Type-A Input||Yes|
|Subwoofer Driver||10" Cone|
|System Frequency Response||35-20k Hz|
|Sound Bar RMS Power||75|
|Subwoofer RMS Power||150|
|HDMI Video Pass-through Resolution||4K|
|HDR Video Compatible||HDR10|
|Control by App||No|
|Remote IR Passthrough||No|
|Learns TV Remote||Yes|
|Bluetooth Connectivity||Built-in 4.2|
|Files on Your Network||No|
|Built-in Wi-Fi Version||None|
|Mounting Bracket Included||Yes|
|Sound Bar Size (inches)||2-3/8H x 33-3/8W x 3-11/16D|
|Sound Bar Weight||8.6 lbs|
|Subwoofer Size (inches)||17-5/16H x 12-1/16W x 13-11/16D|
|Subwoofer Weight||28.7 lbs|
|Speaker Parts Warranty||1 Year|
|Speaker Labor Warranty||1 Year|
|Amplifier Parts Warranty||1 Year|
|Amplifier Labor Warranty||1 Year|
5.1Ch Soundbar Speaker System: The JBL BAR 5.1 is a true 5.1 channel home theater system with 510 watts of total power, wireless connectivity, and support for Dolby Pro Logic II, Dolby Digital, DTS. The JBL 5.1 consists of an active soundbar speaker, a wireless subwoofer, and two wireless surround speakers. The soundbar features dedicated left, center, and right channels; along with HDMI 2.0a (4K) and Bluetooth connectivity. The wireless powered subwoofer only needs an AC power connection, while the two wireless surround speakers are battery powered. The JBL Bar 5.1 truly re-defines the "soundbar" experience.
Active Soundbar: The JBL BAR 5.1's active soundbar speaker features a dedicated left, right, and center channel for excellent stereo imaging and enhanced voice clarity. Each channel of the soundbar speaker houses one 1.25" tweeter and two 2.25" racetrack drivers. The three 1.25" tweeters and six 2.25 racetrack drivers are powered by a 150 watt (Peak) amplifier for dynamic sound performance.
Wireless Powered Sub: The JBL BAR 5.1's wireless powered sub features a down-firing 10" woofer in a bass reflex enclosure with a rear-firing port. A built-in 300 watt (Peak) amplifier is used to drive the 10" woofer and deliver deep, impactful bass. Because the powered sub is wireless, it puts no unsightly cables between the soundbar and subwoofer (still requires a AC power cord connection). You can adjust the bass level (0-20) of the powered sub from the included IR remote.
Battery Powered Wireless Surround Speakers: The JBL BAR 5.1 features two 30W (Peak) wireless surround speakers that let you enjoy true wireless surround sound in cinematic 5.1 channel. These surround speakers are battery powered and feature rechargeable batteries that provide up to 10 hours of playing time. The battery powered wireless surround speakers charge by plugging them into the sides of the soundbar speaker (it takes approximately 3 hours to fully charge each speaker). You can adjust the volume level of the surround speakers independently from the overall system's volume.
Note: The active soundbar speaker measures 45.25" wide when the battery powered wireless surround speakers are plugged in during charging. Make sure you have enough room on either side of the soundbar speaker (at least 6.75") to plug in the surround speakers.
Dolby Pro Logic II, Dolby Digital, & DTS Surround Processing: The JBL BAR 5.1 soundbar speaker system will decode Dolby Digital & DTS soundtracks (up to 5.1ch) via its HDMI or Optical digital inputs. It also supports Dolby Pro Logic II, which lets you listen to 2ch soundtrack in 5.1ch surround sound. You can also choose between six Sound modes and a Night mode.
- Sound Modes: Select between six sound modes - Standard, Movie, Music, Voice , Sports, and Off (Stereo).
- Night Mode: There is a Night mode that reduces major volume differences between soft and loud passages, so a more uniform volume level can be maintained.
Auto Calibration Mic: The JBL BAR 5.1 comes with an audio calibration microphone to optimize the speaker system's sound for your room. The microphone plugs into the side of the soundbar and should be positioned at ear-level at the main listening position.
Mounting Options: The JBL BAR 5.1 offers flexible mounting options for the soundbar speaker, wireless powered subwoofer, and the two battery powered wireless surround speakers.
- You can place the JBL BAR 5.1's soundbar speaker on a shelf or tabletop, or wall-mount it with the included brackets. The soundbar should be centered above or below your TV.
- Because the powered subwoofer is wireless, you can position it any where in the room (within 25'). Ideally the subwoofer should be positioned along the same wall as the soundbar speaker. Placing the woofer in a corner will emphasizes the bass even more.
- The wireless surround speakers can be placed on stands or shelves, or even wall-mounted using the included brackets or optional articulating brackets that are sold separately (there is a 4mm threaded insert on the back of each speaker). The surround speakers can be mounted and positioned vertically or horizontally. For best surround sound effect, position the wireless surround speakers to the sides and slightly behind the listening area (make sure the narrow part of the grille is facing your listening area).
Power Requirements: Both, the active soundbar and wireless powered sub, come with a detachable 5' AC power cord and will need to be plugged into an AC wall outlet, surge protector, or power conditioner. The wireless surround speakers are battery powered and recharge from the soundbar speaker.
HDMI 2.0a Connectivity: The JBL BAR 5.1 is equipped with three HDMI inputs and one HDMI ARC output. All of its HDMI inputs and output support the latest HDMI 2.0a specification with ultra high-definition 4K video pass-through, HDCP 2.2 compatibility, HDR (High Dynamic Range), ARC, & Dolby Digital/DTS (up to 5.1ch).
- 4K Pass-Through: The BAR 5.1 lets you maintain 4K quality from source to screen by allowing 4K video to "pass through" and be displayed on a 4K TV or projector, without compromising image quality. Giving you the pure 4K experience makes this soundbar the perfect partner for 4K-capable TVs and Ultra-HD Blu-ray players. 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, and 1080p video signal are also supported.
- HDCP 2.2: HDCP 2.2 is supported by all of the soundbar's HDMI jacks. HDCP 2.2 is short for "High bandwidth Digital Content Protection" and is used for 4K video copyright protection for compatibility with Ultra HD Blu-ray players and 4K Satellite/Cable providers.
- HDR (High Dynamic Range Video): HDR (High Dynamic Range) reproduces a greater dynamic range of luminosity or brightness levels, bringing greater contrast & wider color spectrum to the screen. This increased contrast reveals the subtle nuances of the image, from detailed blacks and shadows to the brightest whites and colors, plus greater depth. Previously hidden areas of dark shadow and sunlight are now full of clarity and detail. The BAR 5.1 supports HDR10, the most popular HDR format.
- ARC (Audio Return Channel): This feature of the soundbar speaker system's HDMI output allows audio to be sent from your compatible HDTV to the BAR 5.1 through the same HDMI cable already being used to send audio and video to your HDTV. This eliminates the need for extra cables connected to your television.
Note: The ARC-enabled HDMI input of many televisions only sends an audio signal in 5.1ch when receiving Dolby Digital/DTS from the TV's built-in tuner, network connection, or connected USB device; and will output only 2ch stereo from sources connected to the TV via HDMI, or RCA (like your Blue-ray/DVD player or satellite/cable box).
Optical Digital & Analog 3.5mm Inputs: In addition to HDMI connectivity, the JBL BAR 5.1 is outfitted with one optical (toslink) digital input and one analog stereo minijack (3.5mm) input. The optical digital input will support 2ch PCM and Dolby Digital/DTS (up to 5.1ch).
Note: The digital optical output terminals of most newer flat-panel TVs only send an audio signal in 5.1ch when receiving Dolby Digital/DTS surround sound from the TV's built-in tuner, network connection, or connected USB device; and will output only 2ch stereo from sources connected to the TV via HDMI, or RCA (like your Blue-ray/DVD player or satellite/cable box).
USB-A 2.0 Port: The JBL BAR 5.1 features a USB (type-A) 2.0 port for connection of a USB MSC (mass storage class) device, such as a USB thumbdrive or portable digital audio player. You'll be able to playback MP3 and WAV music files stored on a USB MSC device (formatted in FAT 16/FAT32) through the JBL soundbar system. The system can recognize up to 2,000 MP3 files. You'll also get basic playback control (such as Play/Pause, Previous/Next Track, and Random/Repeat) from the included IR remote. Advanced music browsing and song/artist/album info display are not supported. The USB port can also be used to charge (5V/1A) your connected device.
- Supported MP3 Files: 16kHz-48kHz sampling rate with 80kbps-320kbps bitrate.
- Supported WAV Files: 16kHz-48kHz sampling rate with up to a 3000kbps bitrate.
Note: The USB port does not support Apple iOS or Android OS device playback.
Bluetooth Audio Streaming: The JBL BAR 5.1 is equipped with built-in Bluetooth 4.2 with support for wireless audio streaming (A2DP 1.3) and playback control (AVRCP 1.6). You'll be able to wirelessly stream stored music, music apps, and other audio content from your Bluetooth-enabled device (such as your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or computer) to the soundbar speaker system. You'll also be able to control basic playback functions (such as Play/Pause & Previous/Next Track) from the included IR remote. You will still use your Bluetooth source device for advanced music browsing and to view song/artist/album info. You can pair multiple Bluetooth devices with the BAR 3.1, but only one device can be used for playback at a time. The system has a wireless Bluetooth range of approximately 32'.
Note: The JBL BAR 5.1 does not support Bluetooth hands-free communication for making and answering phone calls.
Remote Control: The JBL BAR 5.1 comes with an IR remote for wireless control of the soundbar system, as well as basic playback control of USB & Bluetooth connected devices. The system also supports "System Standby" and "One Touch Play" HDMI CEC commands. In addition, the BAR 5.1 can respond to "Volume Up/Down" and "Mute" commands from most Samsung, Sony, LG, and Vizio TV remote controls automatically (no programming required). If your TV's remote does not control the soundbar automatically, you can program the BAR 5.1 to respond your TV remote's "Volume Up/Down" and "Mute" commands.
JBL SoundShift Technology: The JBL BAR 5.1 is further enhanced with JBL SoundShift technology, which allows you to instantly switch between sound from your TV and sound from your Bluetooth source device.
Front-Panel Display: The front-panel display indicates source selection, surround modes, and other audio settings. The front-panel display can be dimmed and will disappear after five seconds. The front-panel display does not offer song/artist/album information.
Auto On + Standby: The JBL BAR 5.1 system will automatically power on whenever it senses an audio signal from its HDMI & Optical source inputs. The JBL BAR 5.1 will automatically switch to standby mode after approximately 10 minutes of button inactivity and no audio playback from a connected source.
The JBL Bar 5.1 replaces these items
- two-channel sound bar with a total of four 2-1/4" full-range drivers
- built-in Bluetooth® for wireless music streaming
- powerful 8" subwoofer syncs wirelessly to sound bar for easy placement
Q Crutchfield asked: Why did you buy this?
23 questions already asked