JBL goes wide with the JBL BAR 9.1
JBL has unveiled its latest soundbar that promises the complete surround sound experience.
Lots of soundbars are hobbled in the surround experience they’re trying to deliver. Effective front left, centre and right channels are easy to achieve in a soundbar. Dolby ATMOS is doable with the inclusion of upwards-firing speakers in the bar. But effective sounds coming from the back of the room can rarely be produced by a soundbar. Unless the system is something like that used by the JBL BAR 9.1 soundbar.
The JBL BAR 9.1 offers, as the name suggests, nine channels plus the subwoofer/LFE channel. The nine channels are the five channels of the traditional surround system – left and right surround in addition to the front three – plus four upwards-firing full-range drivers. Thus it is a 5.1.4 system.
The surround channels are real surround channels because they can be physically placed in the proper position for surround speakers – to the sides of and slightly behind the listening position. When not in use, the surround speakers clip onto the end of the soundbar and charge up their internal batteries. A full charge gives them ten hours of operation. When deployed for surround operation, they receive their signal wirelessly. Each of them has an upwards-firing full-range speaker for rear height, plus a 19mm tweeter for regular surround work.
A wireless subwoofer with a 254mm driver handles bass. JBL rates the “total system power” of the JBL BAR 9.1 at 820 watts and its frequency response at 34 to 20,000 hertz.
The system has an HDMI input (plus optical digital) and an HDMI output. The latter supports the extended Audio Return Channel (eARC), so sound can be sent by the TV back to the soundbar for seamless joint operation. The HDMI system will pass through UltraHD resolution video encoded with Dolby Vision, so it’s ready for use with an UltraHD Blu-ray player.
The JBL BAR 9.1 also supports Bluetooth and dual-band Wi-Fi. You can send music to it via Chromecast and Apple AirPlay 2.
The JBL BAR 9.1 is available now from Harvey Norman and JB HiFi and sells for $1,499.95 RRP.
Stephen Dawson started writing full time about home entertainment technology just weeks before the DVD was launched in Australia. Since then he has written several thousand product reviews amounting to millions of words for newspapers and magazines around Australia.
JOIN IN THE DISCUSSION
Want to share your opinion or get advice from other enthusiasts? Then head into the Message Forums where thousands of other enthusiasts are communicating on a daily basis.
CLICK HERE FOR FREE MEMBERSHIP
Each time StereoNET reviews a product, it is considered for an Applause Award. Winning one marks it out as a design of great quality and distinction – a special product in its class, on the grounds of either performance, value for money, or usually both.
Applause Awards are personally issued by StereoNET’s global Editor-in-Chief, David Price – who has over three decades of experience reviewing hi-fi products at the highest level – after consulting with our senior editorial team. They are not automatically given with all reviews, nor can manufacturers purchase them.
The StereoNET editorial team includes some of the world’s most experienced and respected hi-fi journalists with a vast wealth of knowledge. Some have edited popular English language hi-fi magazines, and others have been senior contributors to famous audio journals stretching back to the late 1970s. And we also employ professional IT and home theatre specialists who work at the cutting edge of today’s technology.
We believe that no other online hi-fi and home cinema resource offers such expert knowledge, so when StereoNET gives an Applause Award, it is a trustworthy hallmark of quality. Receiving such an award is the prerequisite to becoming eligible for our annual Product of the Year awards, awarded only to the finest designs in their respective categories. Buyers of hi-fi, home cinema, and headphones can be sure that a StereoNET Applause Award winner is worthy of your most serious attention.