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For a lot of people, the JBL Bar 9.1 will open the door into high-performance cinema. This includes everything you’ll need for an immersive Dolby Atmos experience without breaking the bank. The first thing you’ll notice is the smart design of this wireless surround-sound system. As a package of 4 pieces bundled together, you get a soundbar with two wireless rechargeable rear-speakers plus a wireless subwoofer. All the pieces in this bundle have matching rounded edges and a graphite finish that has just the right amount of sheen for a nice modern look.
The Bar 9.1 is designed to sit under your TV or it can be wall-mounted. We think most people will probably just position this on top of a piece of furniture underneath their TV, and the rear-speakers on top of tables or even a pair of stands in the rear of the room. The rear-surrounds are wireless and rechargeable. So, when it’s time to charge them, they dock into the magnetic charging-stations on the sides of the bar, and in about 3 hours they’ll be ready for 10 hours of playtime! With the rear-speakers attached, the bar spans 47-inches wide. But, when you remove these, the bar spans just shy of 35-inches long. Visually, this will look great with TVs that are 43-inches or more.
The Bar 9.1 is a 9-channel surround-sound system that comes with a single sub bass channel — hence the numbers in the name “Bar 9.1.” We’ll break down what all these numbers and channels really mean and why this is cool. But first, let’s talk about that subwoofer. The size of the wireless sub makes the biggest statement in this system. The subwoofer stands a little over 17-inches tall, 12-inches wide, and 12-inches deep. It weighs in at 24 ½ pounds because there’s a massive 10-inch down-firing transducer housed inside the unit that will deliver deep floor-shaking low-end. To present sound across a full-range of frequencies, JBL uses an array of drivers to present sound from 34Hz to 20KHz with a maximum SPL of 103dB. JBL doesn’t provide a plus or minus point on the 34Hz, so we’re not sure if the sub really gets that low, but it sure feels like it! Three front-facing speakers provide the horizontal left, center, and right channels while four height-channels fire sound up to the ceiling for that top-to-bottom sense of vertical elevation. Then, JBL goes the extra mile by giving you two more surround-sound channels in the rear-speakers. So, when the rear-surround speakers are placed in the back of your room, you’ll be completely immersed in a 9-channel “bubble” of 3D sound!
From talking with our customers, we know how excited people are getting about Dolby Atmos. People want better sound than their TV speakers can provide. And as television and movies start to prioritize Dolby Atmos and streaming, this trend is the future. However, not everyone has the space for an entire system of separate speakers and a home theater receiver, so it’s really cool to see how far some of these high-performance soundbars have come. Soundbars are more mobile and affordable than a full surround-sound installation, and while not quite the same, there are a few of them that can offer a comparable sound.
For less than $1,000, JBL gives you the whole Atmos experience complete with a soundbar, a subwoofer, plus rear-speakers. When you compare this with other systems, it stands out as a total package for the money. Similar systems might include a sub, but the rears are usually optional add-ons and more expensive after you expand some of these other systems. At this price point, we like that there’s no extra wires or extra power connections needed. The battery-powered rear-surrounds are not only convenient, they added more to the experience without having to spend any extra money. They did a nice job recreating the elevation in our soundstage, but it was the exhilarating bottom-end weight from the sub that over-delivered on performance.