JBL has officially unveiled a new range of soundbar speakers designed for modern living rooms of all sizes.
The BAR series consists of the BAR STUDIO, BAR 2.1, BAR 3.1 and BAR 5.1, each offering scaling features and power depending on how much you’re keen to spend.
To show off their new product, JBL invited us to a private screening of Mad Max: Fury Road at Sydney’s Golden Age Cinema, where the BAR 5.1 was set up in place of the cinema’s sound system.
If you’ve seen Mad Max: Fury Road, you’ll know what an intense cinematic experience it is. For those who haven’t, imagine virtually non-stop action backed by an epic orchestral score.
The main soundbar was positioned underneath the screen, while the subwoofer and two wireless rear speakers were placed at the back of the small cinema. Metal grinding on metal, catastrophic explosions, roaring truck engines, sand crunching under furiously spinning tyres, ominous bass lines: all of the film’s aural treats were blasted through the BAR 5.1, and it delivered in spades.
Given it impressed in a cinema more than double the size of most lounge rooms, we can only imagine how it performs at home. The BAR 5.1 was at max volume for the duration of the movie, but it retained impressive balance across the full audio spectrum.
JBL also offered a comparison between the BAR 5.1, the Jamo Studio SB40 and the Yamaha YSP-2700. The SB40 offered clarity in the higher frequencies with less impressive bass, the YSP-2700 sacrificed the high range to deliver the most oomph in lower frequencies, while the BAR 5.1 hit the sweet spot with balanced sound across the spectrum.
JBL has also indicated the JBL LINK BAR will be coming to Australia in October – think the JBL Link series combined with the new BAR series.
For now, you can pick up the JBL BAR series from the JBL Australia website or through Harvey Norman (Australia) and JB Hi-Fi (New Zealand).
Since there are a few speakers in the series, see below for a quick breakdown of each.
As the entry-level device in the BAR series, the Studio is the cheapest iteration at A$259.95. It boasts 2.0 Channel audio with 2 x 1.25″ tweeters, 2 x 2″ woofers, Bluetooth, built-in Dual Bass Port design, JBL Surround Sound, HDMI connection and TV remote control compatibility.
The BAR 2.1 packs everything the BAR Studio does with 300W of power and the addition of a 6.5″ wireless subwoofer, which offers plenty of oomph for movies and gaming. Like the BAR Studio, the 2.1 will work with modern TV remote controls but will also come with one of its own. The BAR 2.1 is priced at A$499.
Another step up in the range, the BAR 3.1 will set you back $699 with the extra cash going towards a bigger wireless subwoofer (10″), 450W of power, 4K connectivity and a third 1.25″ tweeter acting as a dedicated centre channel.
The big daddy. The BAR 5.1 is the real deal at A$999 with all of the above plus two detachable, battery-powered wireless surround speakers for the true home cinema experience. The 5.1 boasts 510W of power, which is a blessing – you’ll need it.