Review on JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam Sound bar
- Wirelessly connect up to 2 smartphones or tablets to the speaker and take turns playing impressive stereo sound
- Built-in 3000mAh rechargeable li-ion battery Supports up to 12 hours of playtime
- Ipx7 waterproof means no more worrying about rain or spills; you can even submerge flip 4 in water
|Price history for JBL FLIP 4 - Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker - Black|
This review is about Review on JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam Sound bar. So read this review Review on JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam Sound bar with full details and specs.
The Review on JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam Sound bar
JBL has a long history in audio, but recent soundbars have been a bit inconsistent, ranging from the ambitious but deeply flawed JBL Link Bar to the simple but excellent sounding JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass. The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam has ambitions of its own, taking on streaming-centric, compact soundbars such as the Sonos Beam. The JBL looks good, offers superior bass to the Sonos and can sound especially impressive in movies. I also like that JBL’s virtual Dolby Atmos, ample Wi-Fi connectivity and second HDMI port provide additional flexibility.
How it stacks? up
Polk React 8.0 $199 Q Acoustics Media 4 8.0 $350 Like
Excellent sound quality, especially for movies Numerous streaming features
Two HDMI inputs
Relatively expensive Needs tweaking to sound its best. Operation makes installation difficult
However, some of JBL’s design decisions are a bit confusing. There is no dedicated app, like Sonos has, and preposterous button input mechanisms make it more difficult to properly tune your system. In addition, there is no upgrade path to add a subwoofer or additional speakers. There’s also the fact that it costs a bit too much for what you get.
In the end, I found the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam good enough, but the counter-intuitive controls and high(er) price are off-putting. I think most buyers will be better served by buying rivals like the more polished Beam or cheaper Polk React. What’s in the box?
The Bar 5.0 has the same look as all recent JBL soundbars – they remind me a bit of tongue depressors – and the Bar 5.0 also has a very similar size and shape to the rival Sonos Beam. The top of the metal bar houses a set of controls for volume, power, and source, and the grid-covered front includes an alphanumeric LED readout that’s relatively easy to read.
There’s a lot of “stuff” onboard the MultiBeam, but the most unusual is the ability to use Amazon Multi Room Music. JBL is the second soundbar manufacturer after Polk to implement it. Unlike the cheaper Bar 2.1 Deep Bass, the MultiBeam also includes Wi-Fi streaming from Chromecast built-in and AirPlay. Ports include optical digital, Bluetooth and two HDMI inputs (including one ARC).
The main soundbar’s speakers consist of five (hence the name) 48mm, 2-inch-by-3-inch racetrack drivers – three in the front and two on the side. While the speaker offers Dolby Atmos processing, there are no ceiling height drivers on this product, which is a shame. Instead, there are two 3-inch-wide passive radiators.
Unlike the cheaper Polk React, the Sonos and many other single-speaker soundbars, the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam is unfortunately not upgradable. Polk allows you to add rears and a subwoofer if you like, while the JBL lacks the option. It’s something the otherwise inferior JBL Link Bar allowed, with its dedicated SW10 subwoofer, and it would have been great to add that hefty sub to the MultiBeam as well. Simple remote control, complex installation
The remote looks cool, but is just too bare. lack of buttons makes some setup activities too complex, requiring long presses and other non-intuitive operations. It’s like JBL wanted to go the Apple route and present a simplified experience, but got it all wrong.
For example, there are no traditional sound modes like Movie, Music and Voice, just a control for Dolby Atmos – which adds Atmos-like effects to non-Dolby Atmos material – and a hidden switch for the always-on Smart mode. To turn it off, you have to press and hold the mute button button for four seconds, then press Volume Up. The display will then show “Off Smartmode”. Unfortunately, if you turn the soundbar off, Smart Mode will re-enable, so it’s a good thing it doesn’t harm the sound.
Don’t expect too much help from the controls on the bar itself.
Likewise, the remote hides the ability to let you adjust the bass – you have to hold down the “TV” input button for 3 seconds and then “-“. You read that right, and yes, it’s just weird. The only good thing is that once it’s set up, you don’t have to touch the bass control again. Finally, JBL claims that the remote has the ability to calibrate sound – holding down “HDMI” until “Calibration” is displayed – but I’ve never been able to get it to work properly.
Speaking of things that didn’t work, it’s worth mentioning that I had two separate JBL Bar units, the first of which was much less cooperative than the second. For example, the first model wouldn’t upgrade to the latest firmware no matter what I tried, and I also experienced other technical issues with it. After much tossing and turning, I exchanged it for the second unit, which worked as expected. How does it sound?
When I managed to force this soundbar into submission, it was capable of very good sound. The JBL is at its best with an action movie like The Matrix, where it can help dispel disbelief better than any compact soundbar I’ve tested. Compared to the Sonos Beam, the movie’s lobby scene filled the room with ricocheting bullets and used casings. The synth bass score was never pushed to the background and helped boost the kinetic feel the film demands. By comparison, the Beam was a bit more subtle – especially when it came to drop housings, but it lacked the JBL’s cohesiveness and didn’t have the same deep bass response.
The smart mode can really add depth to the sound of a movie, something I heard during Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (42:40) when Spider-Man and Miles decide to team up up to turn off the atomizer. After walking around walls for a bit, Peter Parker walks into the alley, toward the viewer and out of the picture, and the sound follows him. With Smart Mode on you could hear this effect, but not with it turned off.
While the soundbar is good with movies out of the box, it needs a bit of tweaking to handle music well, especially if you like heavier styles like dance or rock. Most of the tunes sounded good with excellent separation of the instruments, but this was undone when I played Alt_J’s 3WW. By default, the bass drum sounded really weird – like someone knocking wet sheets with a wooden spoon. In contrast, the Beam didn’t have the ever-present bass bed that the JBL could capture, but as a counterpart, the drum didn’t sound distorted and broken. I did manage to fix the JBL by changing the default bass from level 3 to 2, but as mentioned above, that adjustment wasn’t as simple as pressing a volume button. Should you buy it?
Most of my hesitation in recommending the Bar 5.0 MultiBeam comes down to the controls. The remote is counter-intuitive in the way it makes adjustments needed to get the best sound. Plus, it would have been great if the drivers that seem to point to the ceiling were too, as this model has Atmos capabilities.
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