SmartHouse - - REVIEW // JBL - Writ­ten by DAVID RICHARDS

JBL has re­leased a $699 3.1 4K sound­bar that in­cludes a wire­less sub that gives one the abil­ity to ad­just the bass and while it has a small form fac­tor the out­put is se­ri­ously big.

I hooked this bar up to a new LG OLED TV and I had it con­fig­ured in min­utes. This 4K Ul­tra HD sound­bar has a ded­i­cated cen­tre chan­nel and a 250mm wire­less sub­woofer which de­liv­ers ex­cel­lent 4K Ul­tra High Def­i­ni­tion sound.

Across the top panel of the sound­bar, there are but­tons for power, vol­ume down, vol­ume up, and sound source you also have a choice of con­nec­tion op­tions.

I chose two forms of con­nect to test this sound bar, HDMI ARC the ARC stand­ing for ac­tive re­turn au­dio chan­nel and the Op­ti­cal con­nec­tion both de­liv­ered thump­ing im­pres­sive sound. The power ca­ble con­nects to the rear panel, where there’s a pair­ing but­ton to con­nect it with the sound­bar, at first this re­fused to pair but af­ter a cou­ple of try’s it even­tu­ally con­nected.

This process is sup­posed to be au­to­matic, but I ended up do­ing it man­u­ally. All you need to do is fol­low the in­struc­tions in the man­ual.

Apart from the HDMI ARC out­put, there are three HDMI in­puts (an HDMI ca­ble is in­cluded), an op­ti­cal in­put but you will have to buy a sep­a­rate ca­ble, a 3.5mm aux in­put (a ca­ble is in­cluded), and a USB port for play­ing mu­sic stored on USB de­vices. The speaker can

stream au­dio via Blue­tooth which comes in handy when you want to play streamed mu­sic from Google or Spo­tify direct to the sound­bar.

The to­tal Max­i­mum Power is 450 watts which is ex­cel­lent for the size of this de­vice which ex­tremly thin. A lot of the power is de­liver by the 6 2.25” sound­bar trans­duc­ers, 3 race­track drivers 3 x 1.25” tweeter.

The Sound­bar weighs just 2.3 kg which is very light. How­ever, the sub­woofer is (W x H x D) 12” x 12” x 17.3” (305 x 305 x 440mm) and weighs 12.1 Kg so you need a rea­son­ably large stor­age space or keep it on show. While there is a re­mote I was able to trans­fer the RF func­tions to the LG re­mote.

If you do use the JBL re­mote you can eas­ily ac­cess the power, sound source, au­dio sync (plus and mi­nus but­tons to ad­just de­lay with the video), bass boost/cut (lev­els range from 0 to 30), mute, sound mode (choose be­tween Stan­dard, Movie, Mu­sic, Voice, or Sports).

There is also a Blue­tooth, sound shift (this al­lows for quick switch­ing be­tween sound sources when a Blue­tooth de­vice is paired), shuf­fle (for the USB au­dio mode), sur­round (a vir­tual sur­round ef­fect), night mode (for de­creas­ing tran­sient louder sounds in a mix), and dim dis­play (which makes the LEDs less bright). There’s also a cen­tral play­back pad for con­trol­ling play/pause, vol­ume, and track nav­i­ga­tion.

Af­ter eas­ily set­ting this de­vice up I did two things, I found a Net­flix 4K UHD series and then played di­rectly from a Blue ray player, the Blu-ray con­tent was by far su­pe­rior both in the vi­sion to the TV and the sound out­put. The Blue ray sound was crisp and clear and when the bass kicked in with the lat­est Mad Max movie it felt like there was a hear of ele­phants in the room.

In Stan­dard mode, the au­dio is good, with plenty of pow­er­ful bass ef­fects, but it is in movie mode that you get your $699 worth of value.

For ex­am­ple, when we boosted the bass out­put it re­ally de­liv­ered a rum­bling ef­fect which was ex­ces­sive for the room and the sound­bar which is small when com­pared to the $1,950 Sam­sung N950.

One thing I did no­tice is that au­dio clar­ity was never an is­sue com­pared to for ex­am­ple the more ex­pen­sive Sonos Play­bar which de­liv­ers muf­fled di­a­logue.


For the money this is a solid in­vest­ment for any home or apart­ment. It’s made by Har­man the own­ers of the JBL brand, this is one of the world’s lead­ing au­dio Com­pa­nies that was re­cently ac­quired by Sam­sung. Whether you’re watch­ing movies, or you want to lis­ten to some Sun­day morn­ing mu­sic this is an ideal so­lu­tion. the fact that the bar is small and pow­er­ful makes it ideal at­tach­ing to to­day thin 4K UHD TV’s.

As for the sub­woofer it is well worth the in­vest­ment as it de­liv­ers some se­ri­ous kick arse power. Bass lovers will love it and while you can ad­just the bass lev­els I sus­pect that the

bulk of own­ers will sim­ple take what comes out of the box.

This JBL Bar 3.1 de­liv­ers both great de­sign, func­tion­al­ity and above all when it comes to de­liv­er­ing sound clar­ity and big thump­ing ac­tion au­dio.

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