JBL Bar 9.1 Soundbar Review
In recent years, there are two main designs for Dolby Atmos soundbars. Most entry-level models use DTS Virtual:X for virtual 3D sound effects, while higher-end models come equipped with upward-firing units that output overhead sound effects through reflection.
JBL Bar 9.1 soundbar, on top of offering true rear sound effects through wireless rear speakers that can be separated from the main unit, also has a main soundbar with a total of 4 upward-firing units, capable of outputting genuine 5.1.4 3D surround sound!
The JBL Bar 9.1 boasts a sleek, dark body with a combination of various textural treatments, as well as strong, defined lines and smooth, rounded edges. From the moment you hold it in your hands, you can sense the solid, high-quality feel of the product, as well as a sense of luxury and premium typical of a flagship product.
With its deep black color scheme, the JBL Bar 9.1 also has a strong ability to blend in with a variety of home decor styles. Whether it’s a minimalist design or a more traditional home decor style, the JBL Bar 9.1 will not stand out in an inappropriate way when placed in any of these settings.
The body of the JBL Bar 9.1 appears cleaner and more streamlined than previous models, with the JBL logo and four buttons – power switch, volume control, and input control – located at the top of the body. The buttons have been changed from individual physical buttons to a single physical button, enhancing the visual unity of the surface of the unit.
The front of the soundbar also includes a simple display screen, which is used to show the current connection status, just like the JBL Bar 5.1. If you need to quickly switch between connected devices, checking the display on the soundbar is also a straightforward method.
The wireless surround sound units of the JBL Bar 9.1 can be “separated” from the left and right sides of the main soundbar unit and placed on the left and right sides behind the listening position, such as the back of a sofa, to form a complete 5-channel surround sound system with the main soundbar unit.
The soundbar is equipped with 4 sets of channel-type bass units and 3 sets of 20mm tweeter units that handle the front left, center, and right channels, while 2 sets of upward-firing full-frequency units handle the overhead front channels.
In addition to also being equipped with 20mm tweeters for rear sound effects, the wireless surround sound units also each have a set of upward-firing full-frequency units, like the main soundbar unit, to output overhead rear sound effects, along with a 10-inch wireless subwoofer unit, to provide full Dolby Atmos and DTS:X 5.1.4 sound output, with a total output power of 820W, enough to handle spaces ranging from about 100 to 200 square feet.
On either side of the soundbar, there is a set of detachable wireless surround sound units that can be charged by being plugged into the soundbar. After charging for 3 hours, they can be used continuously for 10 hours.
This is sufficient for watching three or four sets of movies or even a series of dramas. The display screen on the soundbar will also display a message when the battery is low.
The wireless surround sound units have a magnetic design and are securely attached with a strong magnetism upon slight insertion, so there is no worry of them falling off. The two rear units can be fixed with the included wall mount brackets or easily removed. The main soundbar unit also comes with a wall mount bracket, and the accessory kit is complete.
The wireless subwoofer is equipped with a 10-inch unit and has an output of 300W.
Features and Setting
The JBL Bar 9.1 supports Dolby Vision, and if it is connected to a compatible playback device and a TV, the sound quality will not suffer a significant loss. In terms of surround sound, the JBL Bar 9.1 is also compatible with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X surround sound effects. If there is a source of high-quality video that supports these effects, the JBL Bar 9.1 can achieve the maximum 5.1.4 surround sound effect.
The Bar 9.1 has a 1 in and 1 out HDMI port, which supports 4K HDR images and is also compatible with Dolby Vision.
Because the soundbar system has a new eARC channel feedback and supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision high dynamic range image encoding transmission, as long as all audio and video devices (such as 4K Blu-ray players and game consoles, etc.) are connected to a 4K TV that is compatible with it, use the eARC HDMI port to connect the soundbar system and TV.
The TV can turn into a hub (concentrator), which will return all audio signals to the soundbar system for playback and easily create a simple audio system.
Although you cannot connect a large number of equipment, it is sufficient for basic movie watching and listening to music, as the Bar 9.1 has a very complete music playback function. The JBL Bar 9.1 also provides the most basic Bluetooth connection function, allowing you to use the JBL Bar 9.1 to listen to music with your mobile through Bluetooth.
In addition to Bluetooth, there is also AirPlay 2 and Chromecast, which can meet the high-quality streaming needs of iPhone and Android users for both audio and video. It can be said that it is a very complete package in both audio and video aspects.
The JBL Bar 9.1 offers an easy 2-step automatic sound calibration process:
- Place the rear speakers in the listening position, such as seated on a couch and placed on either side of you. Press the HDMI key on the remote for 5 seconds, and the rear speakers will emit a test sound and be measured.
- Place the rear speakers in the actual position they will be used in, and press the HDMI key on the remote for 5 seconds again. The rear speakers will emit a test sound and be measured, completing the calibration process.
The JBL 9.1 Bar Soundbar’s ability to deliver high-quality sound is further demonstrated when watching movies. Testing it out with a Dolby Atmos demoes, the seamless and cohesive sound effects, are truly top-notch, with clear and uninterrupted audio as objects move from the front to the back of the room.
The JBL Bar 9.1 was tested with the “6 Underground” and “Aquaman” movies. The former was streamed on Netflix using eARC, while the latter was a UHD Blu-ray with Dolby Atmos sound. The positioning of the height channels was quite good, and the 4 ceiling reflection units definitely had an advantage.
The front, back, left and right positioning of the height channels was much clearer than just relying on two channels, and they were also more accurate and detailed.
The height field can be further expanded, and the rain sound during the Aquaman brothers’ confrontation is quite close and has texture. Although the imaging of some collisions and fight sounds is still not as good as that of real height speakers, this is also a limitation of reflective sound effects.
In addition, the 10-inch low-frequency output is quite powerful, with a sufficient sense of volume and impact.
As for adjusting the sound, it is quite convenient. The rear, height, and super low-frequency outputs can be adjusted independently through the remote control, which is simple and direct. It would be even better if there were some preset movie, music, etc. scene modes that could be quickly changed, although the sound of the Bar 9.1 after adjustment is actually quite versatile.
Basically, the same setting can be used for watching movies, boiling dramas, and listening to music, just slightly adjusting the bass.
The JBL Bar 9.1 delivers excellent spatial trajectory, with sound and image perfectly blending together in scenes such as cars passing in front of the camera or coming and going. The detachable surround sound speakers enhance the 3D sound field, creating a physical advantage in sound diffusion and extension.
The surround sound module is also equipped with a built-in battery that lasts for up to 10 hours. After each use, the surround sound speakers can be easily installed back onto the main speakers for charging. In terms of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X sound formats, the JBL Bar 9.1 performs exceptionally well, reproducing excellent surround sound in both Atmos and DTS:X.
The JBL Bar 9.1 is a comprehensive home audio device that offers a lot of versatility. It is easy to use and has a great user experience. In addition to its use as a television speaker, the JBL Bar 9.1 also works well for playing music from a phone or player.
The ability to switch between two modes is also a convenient feature for those who frequently switch between devices for playback. Overall, the JBL Bar 9.1 is a great choice for a versatile home audio system.
Additionally, the JBL Bar 9.1’s wireless surround sound can be placed anywhere without the need for power or audio cables, and it can be placed anywhere without ruining the overall style of the home.
The included micro-USB charging means you don’t have to worry about forgetting to connect the wireless surround sound back to the main unit, avoiding the embarrassment of a dead battery. It’s a very thoughtful consideration.
In terms of sound performance, the JBL Bar 9.1 supports the most commonly used technologies and specifications on the market and can meet the needs of most content playback.
Whether it’s watching TV shows or movies, it can also give its all and restore high immersion and strong burst sound, giving users a sense of immersion.
The JBL Bar 9.1 is the ultimate home entertainment system. With its easy connectivity and immersive sound quality, it’s perfect for streaming movies and TV shows, listening to music, and much more. Plus, its wireless surround sound speakers can be placed anywhere in your home without the need for cables, giving you the freedom to enjoy your favorite audio wherever you are.
So if you want a versatile and high-performing home theater experience, don’t miss out on the JBL Bar 9.1. Get yours today and bring your entertainment to the next level.