First Look

JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam soundbar (first look)

JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam soundbar

The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam soundbar at $599.95 manages to stuff 250W of Dolby Atmos and a sub-woofer into a single soundbar replete with JBL’s excellent MultiBeam tech. Now we all know that Dolby Atmos (DA) needs both the standard channels and height channels. It also requires a TV capable of passing DA via HDMI 2.1 eARC to the soundbar. This soundbar does that and has HDMI In to pass-through Dolby Vision to a TV.

Overview

  • Website here
  • Price: $599.94
  • Warranty: 12-months ACL
  • JBL (Est. the mid-40s) is short for James B Lansing (Yes, he was the Lansing in Altec Lansing as well.) Now it’s part of the Harman group of companies owned by Samsung.
  • You can read more GadgetGuy JBL news and reviews here.  

This creates Virtual Dolby Atmos using 4 x 50W amps driving 5 x 48mm x 80mm full range (50Hz-20kHz) racetrack drivers (Left, Right, Centre, Left and right side/up surround). 4 x 75mm Passive Radiators round out bass.

JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam soundbar
You can see the Left/Centre/Right forward-firing speakers, left and right side-firing speakers and the four passive radiators (up and down)

It accepts PCM (1.0/2.0) and Dolby Atmos (or Dolby Digital) and downmixes to its number of speakers. Featuring Ethernet, Wi-Fi AC, Chromecast, Bluetooth, Optical, AirPlay 2 and Alexa Multi-Room Music (MRM), remote control and also works with Google Assistant and Siri.

Built with industrial elements that exhibit a sleek, modern look, the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam is a welcome addition to anyone’s household. Alongside an upgraded compact design and added technological features such as DOLBY Atmos, this soundbar rounds out the JBL Bar Series, bringing consumers an added layer of innovation and ease of use.” 

Marcus Fry, General Manager, HARMAN Lifestyle Audio

GadgetGuy’s take

We have spent a lot of time and effort explaining Dolby Atmos to readers. We have a complete guide to Dolby Atmos here and a one-page overview here.

The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam soundbar produces virtual Dolby Atmos meaning that it decodes the signal and downmixes it to 5 speakers. Using ‘psychoacoustics’, it bounces the sound off the walls and ceiling. It also phases sound across the three front-firing and two side-firing speakers to emulate the Dolby Atmos effect. We will explore that when we review the bar.

JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam soundbar
To achieve virtual Dolby Atmos side walls nearby work best

It is for smaller apartments and places where you can’t have a separate soundbar, subwoofer and rear speakers. Knowing JBL, it will have an excellent sound signature, and it has autocalibration for the room. It is not a replacement for a larger DA soundbar but a good compromise in the right environment.