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JBL Bar 3.1

Powered 3.1-channel sound bar with 4K/HDR video passthrough and Bluetooth®

21 Reviews | 1 question - 1 answer

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Our take on the JBL Bar 3.1

Sound bars in general are an easy, space-friendly way to improve TV sound. But the JBL Bar 3.1 solves one very specific problem. Our customers often tell us that TV dialogue is too hard to hear and understand. JBL includes a center channel that's dedicated to making speech loud and clear — even in movies and shows with heavy action.  

JBL Bar 3.1

The powerful JBL Bar 3.1 system includes a wall-mount to fit neatly into your TV setup.

Hear characters talk again

Sound bars in general are an easy, space-friendly way to improve TV sound. But the JBL Bar 3.1 solves one very specific problem. Our customers often tell us that TV dialogue is too hard to hear and understand. JBL includes a center channel that's dedicated to making speech loud and clear — even in movies and shows with heavy action.  

Powerful sound effects, too

But it's not all about speech. This system gives you a fully-formed home theater experience with deep bass and simulated surround sound. The bar features nine total drivers, positioned to deliver sound to a wide viewing area. And the included sub adds hard-hitting emphasis to big effects.

I heard this system briefly in our training room — a large space with a lot of open air. The Bar 3.1 was able to cut through the dead spots with full-bodied, exciting sound. Frankly, the sound added some depth and character to the mindless movie clip I was watching! I paid more attention to the on-screen action than I otherwise would have.

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. You'll find convenient home theater connections to go with this system's 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.

Quickly switch over to Bluetooth for music

Sound bars have now become one of the more popular ways to listen to music, too. So JBL made it easy to pair up and play. Their SoundShift feature swiftly — and automatically — switches over from your TV input to Bluetooth when it's time for some tunes.

Product Highlights:

    • sound bar and wireless subwoofer
    • delivers 3.1-channel sound
      • dedicated center channel for clear dialogue
    • 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
    Sound Bar:
    • three-channel sound bar with nine total drivers
      • six 2-1/4" midrange drivers
      • three 1-1/4" tweeters
    • Dolby® Digital decoding
    • Clear Dialogue mode and Virtual Surround Sound mode
    • Night Mode curbs louder noises for late-night viewing
    • wall-mountable (brackets included)
    • 40"W x 2-1/2"H x 3"D
    • weight: 5.1 lbs.
    • syncs wirelessly to sound bar for easy placement
    • 10" down-firing woofer
    • on-board amplifier
    • 16"W x 12"H x 12"D
    • weight: 26 lbs.
    Connections and General Info:
    • 3 HDMI inputs
      • 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 included
    • total system power: 450 watts
    • system frequency response 35-20,000 Hz
    • remote control included
    • warranty: 1 year
    • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

    What's in the Box:

    • Active soundbar speaker
    • Wireless powered sub
    • AC power adapter (attached 4' DC cord)
    • Two 5' AC power cords
    • Remote control
    • 2 "AAA" batteries
    • 6.5' HDMI cable
    • 4' Stereo minijack cable
    • 2 Wall-mount brackets
    • 2 Wall-mount bracket holders
    • Quick-Start Guide
    • Wall-Mount Template
    • Important Safety Instructions
    • Warranty Card

    If you are looking for a simple CLEAN setup for your TV system with good bass, below $500... this is the one for you. I am a person that's very big on hearing good clean bass and good audio and this does it for me. Just buy it... You won't regret it.

    Daniel, Long Island, NY


    JBL Bar 3.1 Reviews

    Average Customer Review(s):

    (21 Reviews)
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    Hands-on research

    Features and Specs

    Enclosure Sealed(spkr)/Ported(sub)
    Design Bar
    Pieces in System 2
    Color Black
    Tweeter 1.25 (3)
    Midrange None
    Woofer 2.25 (6)
    Separate Subwoofer Yes
    Subwoofer Driver 10
    Surround Sound Decoding 5.1-channel
    Dolby Atmos No
    DTS:X No
    Dialogue Enhancement Yes
    Auto Volume No
    4K Video Compatible Yes
    HDR Video Compatible HDR10
    Audio Return Channel Yes
    Remote IR Passthrough No
    Works with TV Remote (IR) Yes
    Control by App N
    Bluetooth Connectivity Built-in (4.2)
    Wi-Fi No
    Wall-mountable Yes
    Mounting Bracket Included Yes
    Surface Mount Stand Included No
    Speaker Parts Warranty 1 Year
    Speaker Labor Warranty 1 Year
    Amplifier Parts Warranty 1 Year
    Amplifier Labor Warranty 1 Year
    System Frequency Response 35-20k Hz
    Powered System Yes
    Sound Bar RMS Power 75
    Subwoofer RMS Power 150
    Inputs and Outputs
    Mini Stereo Audio Inputs 1
    RCA Stereo Audio Inputs None
    Optical Digital Audio Inputs 1
    Coaxial Digital Audio Inputs None
    HDMI Inputs 3
    HDMI Outputs 1
    USB Port Yes
    Subwoofer Output N
    Sound Bar (inches) 2-3/8H x 40-1/8W x 3-1/16D
    Sound Bar Weight 5.1 lbs
    Subwoofer (inches) 17-5/16H x 12-1/16W x 13-11/16D
    Subwoofer Weight 26.7 lbs

    Product Research


    Active Soundbar:  The JBL BAR 3.1'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 racetracks drivers are  powered by a 150 watt (Peak) amplifier for dynamic sound performance.

    • JBL Surround Technology: The soundbar incorporates JBL's Surround Sound Technology with six sound modes to choose from - including 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.
    • Audio Sync: The Audio Sync feature makes sure that the sound from the BAR 3.1 is in sync with the video on your TV; the Audio Sync can be adjusted from 0-250ms.

    Wireless Powered Sub: The JBL BAR 3.1'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.

    HDMI 2.0a Connectivity: The JBL BAR 3.1 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 (up to 5.1ch).

    • 4K Pass-Through: The BAR 3.1 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 3.1 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 3.1 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 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 3.1 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 (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 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 3.1 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 3.1 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 3.1 does not support Bluetooth hands-free communication for making and answering phone calls.

    JBL SoundShift Technology: The JBL BAR 3.1 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.

    Remote Control: The JBL BAR 3.1 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 3.1 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 3.1 to respond your TV remote's "Volume Up/Down" and "Mute" commands.

    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.

    Mounting Options: You can place the JBL BAR 3.1's soundbar speaker on a shelf or tabletop, or wall-mount it with the included brackets. Because the powered subwoofer is wireless, you can position it any where in the room (within 25').

    Power Requirements: Both, the active soundbar and wireless powered sub, will need to be plugged into an AC wall outlet, surge protector, or power conditioner.

    Auto On + Standby: The JBL BAR 3.1 system will automatically power on whenever it senses an audio signal from its HDMI & Optical source inputs. The JBL BAR 3.1 will automatically switch to standby mode after approximately 10 minutes of button inactivity and no audio playback from a connected source.

    Our Product Research Team

    At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team. They verify what’s in the box, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

    Q & A

    Customer Q&A

    Crutchfield asked  
    Why did you buy this?

    You guys recommended it. [ Paul Delwiche  Nov 08, 2018 ]
    Features, options and brand [ Roberto  Oct 12, 2018 ]
    Positive reviews online and I wanted a great sound bar with woofer that had a lot of sound power to it as well as a good price. [ Jayne  Sep 04, 2018 ]
    outstanding reviews consistent across all sites. excellent price (reduction). [ M  Sep 01, 2018 ]
    Dedicated Dialogue Channel. [ Gregory M.  Aug 26, 2018 ]
    3 HDMI inputs and great reviews [ Jeffrey  Jul 23, 2018 ]
    Seemed like what I was looking for, The price was O.K. too. [ Joe  Jul 22, 2018 ]
    best review for 3.1 wireless shoundbar [ Bobaloo  Jul 16, 2018 ]
    I choose this because of the reviews and also from reading the information about the JBL Bar 3.1 [ holliss  Jul 05, 2018 ]
    Price point plus desired features. [ Gary  Jun 26, 2018 ]
    JBL is a solid brand. Bar design seemed good (triple MTM with decent size mid drivers). 3-channel is the way to go - 2-channel can cause "cancellation" of certain shared frequencies and make the dialog sound less clear, and this one was big enough to give some spatial separation between the channels. I liked that it had a 10" sub. And it was on sale! [ Patrick  Jun 08, 2018 ]
    Top rated in my price range. Been through 4 different sound bars and was about to give up [ Jimmy  Jun 06, 2018 ]
    Great reviews, recommendation from Crutchfield advisors [ BRIAN  Apr 13, 2018 ]
    Good reviews and compact size. [ Robert  Mar 24, 2018 ]
    Compared to the other soundbars I looked at, this one looked like the best one at a great price. [ Thomas  Jan 23, 2018 ]
    Jbl rocks [ TOM  Jan 20, 2018 ]
    i have JBL home theater speaker.. and still working excellent... [ ulysses  Dec 14, 2017 ]
    This was on my Dad's Christmas list. [ Heather  Dec 05, 2017 ]
    Very Good Audio brand and the good reviews about this product [ Shane  Dec 03, 2017 ]
    after reading about the various types of sound bars, I felt that getting one that supports 4k and HDR technology would be the way to go to improve my experience. as a new tv is also in my future. [ Deborah  Nov 26, 2017 ]
    3 HDMI inputs with 1 output to the TV. So, I will only have 1 cord running up the wall. [ DAVID  Nov 18, 2017 ]

    1 question already asked

    For more immediate assistance with price inquiries, please contact an Advisor directly by phone (888.955.6000) or online chat. [ Larry  Aug 10, 2018 ]  Staff

    Looking for more? Check out the next model in this lineup.

    JBL Bar 5.1

    Get a full wireless 5.1 home theater experience

    The JBL Bar 5.1 offers these features:

    battery-powered, detachable surround speakers for wraparound sound

    built-in rechargeable battery offers up to 10 hours of wireless surround sound

    included calibration mic captures the room's reflections and optimizes sound to your room


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