With film theaters nonetheless closed in most locations, the house theater expertise is extra vital than ever. A spiffy Atmos encompass sound system can take your viewing expertise to the following degree, however perhaps you do not wish to run wires or have audio system completely put in round your room. Properly, that occurs to be the area of interest JBL is focusing on with the JBL Bar 9.1. It is an Atmos-enabled soundbar with a whopping 820W of energy and removable satellite tv for pc audio system you can place across the room while you want them. It additionally has full integration with Google’s Chromecast platform, so you may handle it from the Dwelling app. Whereas the audio expertise is nice, the worth will not be. JBL desires a cool grand for the Bar 9.1, which is greater than most individuals ought to pay for the comfort.

Design, {hardware}, what’s within the field

The Bar 9.1 appears like your common soundbar with its grey casing and numerous speaker grilles, nevertheless it’s an enormous boy at virtually 35 inches huge. The highest and sides are metallic, however the backside and again are plastic. Round again, you have received your ports together with energy, USB, optical, ethernet, and two HDMI ports (ARC audio and 4K HDR passthrough). The 10-inch subwoofer could be very bodily plain, however it’s massive. Ideally, you need the sub no less than a couple of ft away from the soundbar, which is probably not doable in smaller areas.

There isn’t any actual show on the soundbar—all it has is a “dot-matrix” panel on the entrance that may present you a couple of characters at a time. This makes fumbling with settings fairly annoying, often requiring you to carry a number of buttons on the distant after which look forward to messages to scroll throughout. The soundbar does have a couple of bodily management on the highest floor, however they’re all replicated on the distant. The distant, too, could be very understated. There are only some buttons, so once more, you may wish to maintain the handbook useful to lookup the button combos you may want to vary settings.

You possibly can select to arrange the Bar 9.1 with cables and name it a day. Nevertheless, it additionally has Wi-Fi connectivity, and to make use of that, you may want the Google Dwelling app. That is the way you get the bar related to your WiFi and the way the bar retains its firmware up to date. As soon as it is added to your account, it seems within the Dwelling app like another Chromecast-enabled speaker. You possibly can add it to speaker teams and play to it from any native system. There’s additionally Bluetooth and Air Play 2 help in case you’re not in Google’s house ecosystem.

The satellite tv for pc audio system connect magnetically to the ends of the bar to cost, they usually’re on there very securely. Should you did not know in regards to the detachable satellites, you’d in all probability by no means know they arrive off. When disconnected, the satellites will sync wirelessly with the remainder of the system. I’ve had no connectivity points throughout my testing, both. The satellites are supposed to supply 10 hours of playback, and that appears roughly correct primarily based on my time with the Bar 9.1. It is in all probability a bit much less, however you shouldn’t have any hassle watching a couple of films back-to-back with out docking the audio system.

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This can be a $1,000 audio system, so that you’d anticipate a couple of extras within the field. There’s the distant, soundbar, satellite tv for pc audio system, and subwoofer, after all. There are additionally energy cables, an HDMI cable, and a wall mounting package. Watch out in case you resolve to go that route; the soundbar with audio system hooked up weighs greater than 10 kilos.

Audio and options

Whereas the Bar 9.1 has “9.1” proper in its title, it is really what’s generally known as a 5.1.four setup. The “greatest” Atmos methods have overhead audio system, which you do not get with the Bar 9.1. Nevertheless, the soundbar can bounce pontificate the ceiling to create a extra immersive expertise. You may need to calibrate the audio system to your room, which is a type of issues that requires an esoteric mixture of button presses. Due to this speaker setup, the Atmos “peak” channel is weak in comparison with methods with devoted overhead audio system. Should you’ve by no means had an Atmos setup at house, although, you may in all probability nonetheless be impressed.

Fortunately, that is the one unfavourable factor I’ve to say in regards to the audio high quality. Every part from films to concert events sound wonderful on the JBL Bar 9.1. On default settings, the soundbar has highly effective however not overwhelming bass, crisp highs, and good, wealthy mids. Even with the bass cranked all the way in which up, it is intense however not overwhelming for the remainder of the audio. That is hands-down the perfect sound system in my home.

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The Bar 9.1 helps each optical and HDMI connection choices, however it’s best to go the HDMI route if in any respect doable. Optical solely helps DTS and Dolby Digital, and even then you definitely would possibly undergo from bandwidth points. HDMI has Atmos, DTS:X, and much more superior lossless codecs like DTS-HD Grasp Audio. One factor to notice right here: you may solely use the HDMI audio possibility in case your TV has an ARC or eARC HDMI. If not, you may have to make use of optical, which does not help all the flamboyant Atmos issues. In case your TV’s different HDMI ports use an older spec, you might need to make use of the soundbar’s HDMI-in port to get 4K content material from different sources. This describes my TV, so I am more than happy to see 4K HDR passthrough help.

Must you purchase it?

Perhaps, however provided that you are a nerd for high-quality audio—and never so nerdy that you simply’d set up a full Atmos system. The JBL Bar 9.1 affords glorious audio in a compact, enticing bundle. You do not have to put in audio system or run cables, and it helps each audio format beneath the solar (over HDMI). I additionally respect that the satellites can stay docked with the soundbar more often than not. It is easy to seize the audio system and set them across the room once I’m watching one thing with high-quality audio, and the remainder of the time they’re out of the way in which. I am additionally completely happy to have Google Dwelling integration with the Bar 9.1 as a result of, once more, it is the perfect speaker setup in my home.

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The one {hardware} problem I am seeing is the dearth of a show. Even a rudimentary menu system can be simpler than utilizing button combos on the distant and the easy dot-matrix show. That is not a serious problem, however the value is. The JBL Bar 9.1 is sticking very near its $1,000 MSRP, even after months of availability.

Purchase it if…

  • You need high-end audio in your house leisure system however do not wish to set up a bunch of audio system.
  • You do not thoughts spending so much on a very good sound system.

Do not buy it if…

  • Your TV’s built-in audio system or a less expensive soundbar sound ok to you.
  • You are so into audio tech that the mediocre Atmos help will spoil the expertise.

Purchase: Amazon, Crutchfield, B&H

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