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Comparing JBL soundbars 

The technology in smart televisions has improved tremendously over the last five years, but they often lack one crucial element. The TV’s display might use the best organic light-emitting diode components, but the sound quality doesn’t match.

Unless you buy the largest television available, the chances are good that the built-in speakers can’t accurately produce the needed audio. This can leave you frustrated with your purchase, but there are ways to improve the sound quality. You could go the whole nine yards and install a home theater system, but that will probably cost more than your television. Or you can look into getting one of JBL’s five soundbars.

What is a soundbar?

Instead of having an expensive audio setup for your television, a soundbar is more cost-effective, portable, and delivers the same quality. It is a long, rectangular, external speaker you place in front of your television.

Depending on the model, it can produce sound through a 2.1 channel system or 360-degree surround sound.

The 2.1 channel setup is the more basic, as the soundbar has a left and a right channel speaker and a subwoofer for bass. More complex soundbars can simulate surround sound with technology such as Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital, JBL Surround Sound and MultiBeam. Since the soundbar is the primary piece and often doesn’t have additional speakers, the Dolby technology imitates the experience you would get from going to a movie theater. 

You might also see speaker systems using 3D surround, which is another term for projecting the audio to sound like it is coming from around you. While the main component is still the central bar, some packages include smaller satellite speakers to achieve this better.

Connecting a soundbar

Although most soundbars require a wall socket for power, some have a built-in battery, which is convenient for using them with different TVs. In most cases, the batteries can recharge through a power bank or be connected to a power source with a USB cable. 

Adding to the soundbar’s portability, you can connect it to the TV through a single optical wire, HDMI cable or Bluetooth (if the TV supports it). Less common is connecting a mobile device to the soundbar through a 3.5-millimeter jack or a USB cable.

Best JBL soundbars

JBL BAR 9.1 True Wireless Surround With Dolby Atmos

JBL BAR 9.1 True Wireless Surround With Dolby Atmos

For the best audio experience from a JBL soundbar, this bundle includes a 300-watt, 10-inch subwoofer, the main soundbar and two detachable wireless surround speakers powered through a rechargeable battery. The total output of the soundbar system is 820 watts, loud and clear enough for most living rooms. Connectivity is supplied through an optical cable, a Doby Vision 4K HDMI port and Wi-Fi. The bundle includes wall-mounting brackets and screws for all the speakers to make mounting easy. Sold by Amazon

JBL Bar 5.1

JBL Bar 5.1 Surround

Producing a total of 540 watts of power, this soundbar bundle consists of the main central bar, two detachable surround-sound speakers and a 10-inch wireless subwoofer. The entire system is wireless, powered through rechargeable batteries. The main soundbar has three HDMI-in ports and one HDMI-out port. Wireless connectivity is provided through Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, so you don’t necessarily need to connect it to a TV. In addition, the Bluetooth functionality is compatible with all mobile devices. Sold by Amazon

Bar 5.0 MultiBeam

Bar 5.0 MultiBeam

The Bar 5.0 is an easy solution if you are looking for better-quality sound. The single bar doesn’t have any smaller satellite speakers to worry about, and the Bluetooth connectivity is set up in seconds. This soundbar uses Dolby Atmos and JBL Multibeam Decoding to produce clear sounds and deep bass so you don’t need an additional subwoofer. It can also connect to 4K devices with Dolby Vision, simulating 3D surround sound. But you don’t have to use it with only a TV, as Bluetooth lets you connect it to mobile devices to stream audio. In addition, it integrates with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. Sold by Amazon

JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass Soundbar With 6.5-Inch Wireless Subwoofer

JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass Soundbar With 6.5-Inch Wireless Subwoofer

As the name implies, this soundbar comes with a 6.5-inch subwoofer that connects to the main bar through Bluetooth. This makes it convenient to move the bar or the subwoofer around for the best audio. The system has a maximum power output of 300 watts and can connect to audio sources through an HDMI or optical audio cable. The main bar has volume and source control buttons on the top but doesn’t have a remote control. Sold by Amazon

JBL Bar 2.0 All-in-One

JBL Bar 2.0 All-in-One

This soundbar is incredibly easy to set up as it connects to your TV through a single optical cable, HDMI or Bluetooth. It has a total power output of 80 watts and comes with a minimalistic remote control. It doesn’t have any additional speakers, so it is easy to move it around or connect it to mobile devices. However, it doesn’t have a built-in battery, so it is not portable and must be connected to a wall socket. Sold by Amazon

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Charlie Fripp writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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