JBL is one of the best known brands in the industry and generally offers products with good sound and good value for money. This time we would like to show you how the JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam performs. This is a fairly compact speaker bar that offers powerful sound despite its size.
It is a bar that offers a surround sound experience with Dolby Atmos (virtual) and JBL’s patented beam-forming technology called MultiBeam.
The new JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam features four passive subwoofers for deep and penetrating bass.
There are also five active drivers inside, three of which are front-facing and two of which are side-facing.
This model does not include a wireless subwoofer; in this case, all the drivers are built into the bar’s cabinet. As we’ll see in this review, the bass is more than acceptable despite the lack of an external subwoofer, making this speaker a great option if you’re looking for a soundbar that saves space but doesn’t sacrifice sound.
To find out the pros and cons of this JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam and our review, read on.
The design of the Bar 5.0 Multibeam model is the same as the Bar 2.0 model, with the difference that the speakers are on top. It looks simple but elegant, is made of high-quality metal cladding and the bar looks sturdy.
The bar is very compact with a width of 71 cm, so that you can place it on a narrow piece of furniture and is suitable for TVs with a diagonal of 40 inches or more. If you have a 50-inch or larger TV with side legs, you can place it in between without affecting the picture, as the speaker is not very high at 5.8 cm tall.
Bar 5.0 Multibeam Design
On the right front is a display with information about volume, sources, etc. The screen can show up to 4 characters, so with longer text information, the text moves to the left to show it entirely.
The physical control buttons are located on the top where there are buttons for volume control, Bluetooth, source change and on/off.
Control buttons on the top
This model has a slim remote control that makes it easy to adjust the volume and select the source (HDMI, TV, Bluetooth). The Series 5.0 also has some “hidden” functions that can be accessed with the remote, but are not labeled as such, nor are they mentioned in the included Quick Start menu. For example, to perform an automatic calibration, which we’ll see later, you need to press the HDMI button for 5 seconds. There are a few more buttons missing on the controller, as there are no dedicated buttons to perform certain operations.
On the other hand, there is no dedicated app to manage the bar functions, as it is typical for some Bluetooth speakers of this brand.
Accessories included in the box
- HDMI cable
- Power cable
- Wall mount
- Remote control
- 2 AAA batteries
- First steps guide
The Bar 5.0 Multibeam, comes with an HDMI eARC port on the back for connecting to a TV and an HDMI input for streaming a 4K video signal from the unit to the TV.
It also has an optical digital audio port, a USB port (no drive), and an Ethernet port.
Connections of the JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam
Make sure the band connector is connected to the ARC input on the TV via HDMI. If you have a TV that is a few years old and does not have an HDMI ARC connection, you will need to connect it via an optical connection. If you can, use the HDMI interface to turn the bar on and off with the TV’s remote (not always supported) and play Dolby Atmos content.
As for wireless connectivity options, it has Bluetooth (v4.2) and Wi-Fi. Thanks to AirPlay 2 and Google Chromecast support, you can stream content from your Apple or Android phone.
You can control with your voice some functions, using Google Assistant and Alexa if you have a Google Home or Alexa Echo speaker. It doesn’t have a built-in assistant, so you can’t send commands directly to the bar, but have to use compatible smart speakers.
Now that we’ve looked at the design and connectivity options, it’s time to talk about the most important part, which is the sound quality. JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam has three front speakers, two top speakers and four passive radiators.
This 5.0 channel system uses left, center, and right speakers on the front and two top speakers on each end for surround sound. All speakers are 48mm x 80mm and powered by separate 50W amplifiers, and the four passive radiators are 75mm. It provides 250 W of output power, which is more than enough to fill a medium-sized living room with sound.
This 5.0 configuration features a separate center channel, allowing dialog to be reproduced more clearly and accurately. The dedicated center channel and balanced midrange make voices clear and precise. It’s especially useful for movies, but also for listening to podcasts and audiobooks from your phone at the bar. When using this center channel for dialogue in movies, we’ve seen it clearly separate conversations from the rest of the effects and music mix.
It has an automatic volume control mode to balance the volume between shows, but unfortunately does not have a dialogue enhancement feature. The built-in night mode improves the dialogue and bass masks, but we would have liked to see a separate control for the center channel. As mentioned, voice clarity is very good, though the ability to adjust is always welcome.
This 5.0-channel setup combines with JBL’s MultiBeam processing technology to deliver a true multi-channel experience from a single speaker. More importantly, this soundbar offers Dolby Atmos decoding with virtual processing. We say virtual because although there are additional speaker grilles on the top of the soundbar, they do not apply to the upward-facing Atmos speakers.
JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam Soundbar with Virtual Dolby Atmos
Instead, there’s room for a quartet of 3-inch passive radiators (two on top and two on the bottom) to take care of the bass. The side speakers reflect sound off the walls of the listening area and provide virtual Dolby Atmos playback with the help of an intelligent DSP processor.
This Bar 5.0 MultiBeam series includes a small selection of sound-enhancing features. It features automatic room correction calibration, which automatically optimizes audio performance according to the unique acoustic characteristics of the room.
To do this, press and hold the HDMI button for 5 seconds. During calibration, a short series of test tones are sent to the bar to measure the room acoustics and adjust the performance of the MultiBeam system. When the calibration is complete, the word “Done” appears on the screen. Automatic calibration allows you to optimize the sound experience for your preferred listening position.
You can also choose between two EQ presets, SMART mode on and off. The manufacturer recommends turning SMART mode off when watching TV shows, as it reduces sound effects. Turning SMART mode on activates JBL’s surround sound feature, which is supposed to create a more three-dimensional sound.
Although it is not mentioned in the manual, you can also activate the automatic volume mode by holding down the MUTE button for two seconds and then pressing the volume button down. There is also a sync function that reduces the delay when playing a video from your phone.
You can adjust the bass, but there is no special button on the remote for that, you have to use a combination of buttons. To change the bass setting, you need to press the TV button for three seconds and then increase or decrease the volume to increase or decrease the intensity of the bass.
To switch between the two modes, press and hold the Mute button for three seconds and then press the Volume+ button. While these features are useful, we don’t understand why you can’t control them with a single button on the remote.
When testing the JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam, we found a good balance between treble and bass without anything being too overbearing. Dialogue is not drowned out by incessant bass. It delivers ample volume and no distortion as long as you don’t push it to its limits, which is difficult unless you’re using it in a very large room.
The inclusion of virtual Dolby Atmos is a success and reminds me how clever DSP has become. Of course, a front-facing soundbar will never convince you that sound objects move smoothly above and below your head, but JBL’s quintet of speakers decodes Dolby Atmos well.
Atmos post-processing is less appealing for stereo content like traditional news and TV shows. It can be turned on and off with a dedicated button, so you can select as much as you like.
Since this is a soundbar without a built-in woofer, the bass is not as pronounced. The company claims that the frequency response ranges from 50 Hz to 20,000 Hz, and that this low-frequency response is achieved through a combination of passive radiators and midrange drivers.
Passive radiator at the bottom of the JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam
In our opinion, the JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam delivers more than decent bass, as it does not require a subwoofer and has very compact dimensions. Compared to other bars of similar size, this model undoubtedly has better bass.
The device offers a pretty decent stereo soundscape. The soundscape seems to be slightly wider than the bar itself, but even that doesn’t give a completely immersive feeling, and sounds like voices and footsteps seem to come from a general area rather than a specific location.
Final opinion JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam
Test and opinion JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam with Virtual Dolby Atmos
It’s time to evaluate the performance and give our opinion about the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam soundbar. After extensive testing and watching a variety of content, we think this bar offers clear and defined sound in a truly compact package at a very affordable price.
Thanks to its small dimensions, you can place it wherever you want without it being distracting and taking up a lot of space. The JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam is the perfect speaker if you’re looking for something simple and compact that still delivers great sound.
The center channel reproduces dialogue clearly, the bass is more than acceptable considering there’s no subwoofer and it’s a small bar, and the range of sounds is quite convincing.
If you’re interested in an all-in-one Atmos speaker, the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam is definitely worth a look.
Check JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam price
Bluetooth, Airplay, Chromecast, Multibeam Autocalibration
Alternatives for JBl Bar 5.0 Multibeam
Although the Bar 5.0 Multibeam performs well, as we have just seen, there are other alternatives on the market that might be of interest.
This bar is much larger and has a wireless echo sounder, but it’s an option for a similar price if you want stronger bass and a wider sound spectrum at the expense of more space.
Samsung HW-Q600A 3.1.2 channel soundbar
The Samsung HW-Q600A has a 3.1.2-channel system and is also compatible with Dolby Atmos. For a 5.1.2-channel system, you can also purchase the SWA-9100S rear speaker kit.
However, the HW-Q600A does not have Wi-Fi and does not support voice assistants.
As the new HW-Q600B series has just released, you can now buy the Samsung HW-Q600A at a great price.
See Samsung HW-Q600A price
Dolby Atmos, AirPlay 2, Sonos app
Denon Home Sound Bar 550
Dolby Atmos & DTS:X, Built-in HEOS, Amazon Alexa, Multi-Room Audio
The JBL Bar 5.0 is a bet for the simplicity and convenience of having a compact sound bar, but without this means getting a low quality sound. It offers high power, clarity in dialogues and can reproduce Dolby Atmos virtually. In this sense, it offers an acceptable surround sensation although due to the limitation of not including dedicated speakers for Dolby Atmos, it does not get a really immersive feeling. Bass is more than decent and if you're not particularly demanding in this regard, you won't miss too much that it doesn't have an external subwoofer. But in the end, you can't have everything and if you're looking for simplicity and a compact soundbar that you can place anywhere, the JBL Bar 5.0 is a great choice.
- High power despite compact size
- Wide and clear sound
- Automatic calibration
- Dolby Atmos support
- Compact design
- Allows little sound configuration
- No dialogue enhancement function included
- Few functions included in the controller
- Some settings should have a dedicated button on the controller