JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam Soundbar review

JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam Soundbar review

Experience 3D spacious surround sound at home with the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam Soundbar. It features Dolby Atmos and MultiBeam Surround Sound Technologies. Completing this soundbar is a built-in passive subwoofer, ensuring you hear a punchy low end.

 

As a compact soundbar, the JBL Bar 5.0 is ideal for watching TV, gaming, enjoying movies and more. In addition to the standard inputs you’d expect, such as HDMI enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC), you can connect your phone using Bluetooth or stream music via AirPlay. There’s even a Chromecast built-in!

 

Featuring five speakers, this single soundbar creates a surround sound experience. Speakers mounted at both ends of the soundbar reflect the sound around you, creating an immersive experience. Alongside, these speakers are four built-in passive radiators that create a punchy low end.

 

Add in Virtual Dolby Atmos that creates the impression of ‘height’ speakers, and you’ll feel part of the environment, be it a jungle, sports stadium or plane flying overhead.

 

Thanks to a dedicated centre speaker channel, the JBL Bar 5.0 delivers perfect dialogue clarity. You shouldn’t have to struggle to hear the actors speak.

 

If you’re already using Alexa or Google Assistant, you’ll be glad to know that the JBL Bar 5.0 integrates with both. Also, this JBL soundbar is compatible with Amazon’s MRM (Multi-Room Music) protocol.

 

Meeting HDCP 2.2 standards, this JBL soundbar is the perfect match for your UHD 4K TV and source. By using the eARC HDMI, you only need a single HDMI lead. An added benefit of this soundbar is that it works with many current TV remotes.

 

Compared to other soundbars, the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam Soundbar is quite expensive. However, it does offer more features than other available options. 9/10

 

Pros

  • 250 Watts of power
  • Dolby Atmos and MultiBeam
  • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No app for control

 

 

 

Design

Sporting a dark grey hue, the JBL Bar 5.0 features an interesting design with multiple contours and grilles. At 71 cm in length, it’s fairly compact and is an ideal soundbar for screen sizes of 32-inches. However, it still looks superb sat beneath a much larger TV or projector screen.

 

The first element you’ll notice is the control panel on the top. There are buttons for volume up and down, power and source selection. Also, a mic for audio calibration (Automatic MultiBeam Calibration (AMC)) sits between the volume controls.

 

Moving to the rear, you’ll see a single connectivity panel. It consists of a power input, HDMI in and out (eARC) and optical input. There’s an Ethernet port, allowing you to connect the Bar 5.0 to your Wi-Fi router. A USB port allows you to update the soundbar’s firmware with ease.

 

Beneath the grille is five strategically positioned speakers that push sound waves out into the room. They create a surround sound, albeit without using multiple speakers. There are also four passive radiators, which provide a punchy low-end without requiring a subwoofer.

 

Covering the basics, the simplistic remote can turn the soundbar on/off, mute it and adjust the volume. An Atmos button is also available, allowing you to operate the virtual Dolby Atmos sound effects.

 

In the box with the soundbar and remote are two wall brackets, allowing you to mount the unit on a wall with ease.

 

JBL Bar 5 rear

photo by JBL

 

 

Features

Delivery 250 watts of power, several elements make the JBL Bar 5.0 unique such as JBL’s MultiBeam technology. It’s five strategically placed speakers within the soundbar provide the user with a better audio experience.

 

Three of these speakers face the listener, improving what you hear and how any dialogue sounds. The remaining two are mounted at both ends and reflect the sound around you. Completing the sound experience are four passive radiators, which handles the low frequencies.

 

Add to this Virtual Dolby Atmos, and you have a superb home cinema sound system. In Virtual Dolby Atmos mode, the MultiBeam speakers create the impression of ‘height’ speakers. Feel and hear the plane move from one side of the screen to the other.

 

Offering HDMI with 4K pass-through, this JBL soundbar is the ideal match for watching content in 4K TV quality. The enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) HDMI port means you only need a single HDMI cable.

 

The JBL Bar 5.0 also offers access to all leading music streaming services. A built-in Google Chromecast lets you stream Hi-Res Audio music from your chosen device, including YouTube Music, Amazon Music, Spotify, TIDAL, and more.

 

But that’s not all, the JBL Bar 5.0 soundbar is compatible with Apple AirPlay 2 and Bluetooth. Enjoy the widest possible range of streaming services. Also, the unit works with Amazon’s MRM (Multi-Room Music) protocol, allowing you to use it as part of a multi-room audio system.

 

While some will prefer to use a remote, others are happy to use Alexa or Google Assistant. Thankfully, the JBL Bar 5.0 works with these popular AI voice assistants (neither is built-in). It can also work with many current TV remotes, allowing simple integration.

 

 

Set-up

Setting up the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam Soundbar will depend on your overall equipment. Ideally, place the soundbar beneath the screen, pointing toward where the user will sit. Doing so will ensure good sound coverage throughout the room.

 

If you plan to use this soundbar with a projector, you’ll need to decide where and how you’ll supply the audio to it. You could use the HDMI eARC port. Connect a cable from your media player to the soundbar and another from the soundbar to the projector.

 

With a TV, you could connect the soundbar using either the HDMI or optical inputs, depending on the available connections on your TV. Regardless of how you connect the soundbar to your existing equipment, it’s worth setting it up first before mounting it on a wall.

 

For the best experience, you’ll want to connect your JBL Bar 5.0 to the internet, either using the built-in Wi-Fi or with an Ethernet cable to your router. Once working with the internet, you can control the unit using Alexa or Google Assistant and access multiple music streaming services.

 

You might not see value in the Bluetooth feature or care much for the simple remote. That fine. By this point, you should be ready to go. It’s best to start with the basic mode and later experiment with the Virtual Dolby Atmos setting. You’ll notice Atmos brings movies to life.

 

 

 

JBL Bar 5 angle

photo by JBL

 

 

Performance

If you’re looking for clarity of sound rather than a ton of low end, the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam Soundbar will be ideal. Sonically, it doesn’t compare to the Samsung HW-Q60T soundbar, which offers the advantage of a separate subwoofer and therefore provide a punchy bass sound.

 

That said, thanks to the five speakers and MultiBeam technology, it does spread sound evenly around the room create a more surround experience. Of course, it won’t compare to a 5.1 speaker set up but does a better job than most soundbars of producing a wide stereo sound.

 

Sadly there’s no subwoofer output on the JBL Bar 5.0. Having a sub output would make the unit even more attractive and flexible. However, it does offer a Virtual Dolby Atmos setting, which provides a noticeable improvement for movies but falls short of the real Atmos experience.

 

For a compact soundbar, it packs a punch. It provides a vast improvement over the built-in TV or projector speakers. It even works as part of a multi-room audio system, allowing you to play the same song throughout the property, sorry neighbours!

 

The additional features such as Bluetooth, Airplay 2 and the built-in Chromecast all work very well, allowing you to access a range of streaming services within a few taps. While you might not use these features daily, they are a nice bonus and far more useful than a USB port.

 

 

Is the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam Soundbar worth buying?

As a fantastic all-around unit, the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam Soundbar is a good option if you’re building your first cinema room or looking to upgrade your TV’s sound.

 

It offers many exciting features, including multiple speakers arranged for maximum sound distribution, Virtual Dolby Atmos, and a built-in Chromecast. The JBL Bar 5.0 also works with Alexa and Google Assistant, allowing hands-free operation.

 

What it lacks in bass, it makes up for clarity. So if you enjoy watching TV shows with lots of dialogue but sometimes struggle to hear conversations, you should consider this soundbar. If you listen to music and like a lot of bass, you might want to look at other options.

 

JBL has packed this soundbar full of nice features yet have expertly balanced them with the desire to create a superb sounding soundbar. 9/10