Large Atmos sound in a flexible encompass sound package deal

JBL’s new flagship soundbar has quite a bit to shout about. Not solely does the Bar 1300 (often called the Bar 1300X is a few areas) handle to match the massive 11.1.4 channel depend of Samsung’s excellent HW-Q990C, but it surely additionally claims an nearly absurdly enormous whole energy output of 1170W – to not point out an included subwoofer that boasts a class-leadingly giant 10-inch driver.


It is also one in all a uncommon soundbar breed that conveniently options battery-powered wi-fi rear audio system which you can really connect to the ends of the package deal’s important bar when you do not need them cluttering the again of your room – or it’s good to recharge them.

The Bar 1300 definitely talks an excellent discuss – particularly for a package deal which, at $1,300/£1,300, nestles in properly towards key full encompass rivals from the likes of Samsung and LG. However does it have the efficiency to again up the hype? Here is my full overview.

JBL Bar 1300

Editor’s Alternative

With a intelligent type issue and an almighty accompanying subwoofer, the JBL Bar 1300 is able to filling even the most important rooms with detailed, cinematic sound, and delivers some of the immersive Dolby Atmos and DTS:X performances the soundbar world has ever seen.

Execs

  • Fantastically immersive Dolby Atmos
  • Luggage of energy and element
  • Actually wi-fi rear audio system
Cons

  • Not fairly nearly as good with music as films
  • No 4K/120Hz or VRR go by
  • No HDR10+ passthrough

Design and construct

  • Soundbar dimensions:
    • Whole soundbar (with removable rears hooked up): 1376(h) x 60(h) x 139(d)mm
    • Important bar with removable rears indifferent: 1000(w) x 60(h) x 139(d)mm
    • Removable surrounds: 202(w) x 60(h) x 139(d)mm; subwoofer: 305(w) x 440.4(h) x 305(d)mm
  • Important bar weight: 4.3kg; Encompass audio system weight (every): 1.25kg; Subwoofer weight: 10kg/
  • Solely obtainable in black

The principle bar element of the Bar 1300 is not significantly hanging to take a look at. It’s only a lengthy grey-black rectangle, actually, with angular edges, rounded corners, and a tough plastic grilled end over a lot of its edges and high. There’s additionally a somewhat awkward-looking, flat, non-grilled plate within the backside proper nook of its high panel, during which some management buttons have been positioned.

Its solely actually distinguishing aesthetic traits are that it is fairly a bit deeper than most rivals (almost 14cm – so make sure that your TV stand can discover room for it in addition to your TV) and that its ends can come off.

Sure, you learn that proper. Its two finish sections can detach to turn out to be the system’s utterly wi-fi (since they will run off an inner battery) rear audio system. JBL is not the primary model to take this novel rear speaker strategy on a soundbar, to be clear – however as you will see within the options part, JBL has taken the removable rear audio system concept to a different degree by giving them unbiased Bluetooth playback functionality.

JBLBar1300RearsDetached

When the rear audio system are indifferent from the primary soundbar, magnetic covers might be clipped onto the primary bar’s ends to make it appear to be a completed product once more, somewhat than like a bar that is, properly, had its ends lopped off.

The principle bar seems to be a lot smaller and weighs a lot much less with the rear speaker ends eliminated that it makes you query its potential energy in contrast with, say, the a lot larger, a lot heavier important bar you get with the Samsung Q990C soundbar package deal. However then it does nonetheless handle to slot in six 46x90mm racetrack drivers, 5 19mm tweeters and 4 70mm up-firing drivers – and eats up an excellent chunk of the system’s enormous 1170W of claimed energy.

JBLBar1300EndDetailWithCapOn

The rear audio system when indifferent undertake an unusually horizontal stance when sat or wall hung behind you, however once more, nonetheless cram in a 46x90mm race monitor driver, a 19mm tweeter, a 70mm up-firing full-range driver, and two rounded rectangle passive radiators per speaker.

The subwoofer, lastly, is a critically substantial affair. The most important I can recall seeing as a part of a soundbar package deal, actually. It wears its bulk moderately attractively, although, with its flippantly textured end and rounded corners, and its enormous 10-inch down- somewhat than side-firing driver provides you loads of room place flexibility. It additionally feels extra reassuringly heavy and properly constructed than the marginally light-weight important bar.

Connections and management

  • Three HDMI inputs, one HDMI output
  • Controllable by way of JBL One app, included distant or on-bar controls
  • Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/Airplay 2/Spotify Join/Chromecast/Alexa Multiroom help
  • Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant voice management (by way of exterior listening gadgets)
  • Auto calibration system

The JBL Bar 1300 will get off to an ideal begin by offering at least three HDMI inputs alongside the HDMI output for passing video on to your TV. The overwhelming majority of soundbars solely present two, however generally one and even no HDMI inputs – nonetheless, the kind of family severe sufficient about dwelling leisure to put money into a premium soundbar just like the Bar 1300 will possible have a minimum of three sources they wish to connect to it.

JBLBar1300Connections

Having three HDMI inputs means you actually can use the Bar 1300 as a system switching field like you possibly can an AV receiver. Although for good measure the Bar 1300’’ output HDMI port is supplied with eARC performance, in order that the soundbar can obtain lossless Dolby Atmos tracks handed on to it by way of your TV (assuming your TV is able to doing so).

Soundbars that don’t hassle with HDMI loopthrough, together with the Sonos Arc, will use the Bar 1300’s eARC compatibility to query the purpose of together with three HDMI inputs. However not everybody’s TV helps eARC and Dolby Atmos passthrough, and even the place they do, I’ve seen loads of proof through the years of eARC generally inflicting audio syncing points with sure package combos. Establishing eARC accurately can generally be fairly a faff, too.

The Bar 1300’s HDMIs handily help passthrough of Dolby Vision HDR alerts – although as typical there is not any help for passthrough of 4K/120Hz and variable refresh price gaming alerts, or the HDR10+ format created by Samsung as a rival to Dolby Imaginative and prescient.

Avid gamers with the newest consoles and premium graphics playing cards can at all times, after all, connect their gaming gadgets on to their TVs and ship audio on to the soundbar utilizing HDMI’s eARC function. However there can sometimes be points with this strategy, as famous earlier.

Different connections comprise a digital optical audio enter, a 5V USB port for service use or powering HDMI video sticks, and an ethernet port if you wish to hardwire the soundbar to your router somewhat than relying on Wi-Fi.

The Bar 1300 offers at least 4 alternative ways of controlling it. The obvious is its distant management – an unusually fashionable and properly laid out however somewhat plasticky affair, with an initially complicated however in the end easy-to-learn button format. JBL additionally presents the JBL One app for iOS and Android that connects simply to the soundbar, makes it a lot simpler to get the soundbar in your Wi-Fi community, and presents a neat graphical management interface.

JBLBar1300Remote

You can too challenge verbal directions to the Bar 1300 in case you hyperlink it as much as an exterior Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant machine, and at last there is a primary set of touch-sensitive buttons on the primary soundbar’s high edge.

One ultimate bit of fine information is that the Bar 1300 contains a very easy-to-read LED show on its entrance edge that can assist you monitor such key info as chosen enter, quantity ranges, and supply codecs.

Options

  • 11.1.4 channel depend
  • Dolby Atmos and DTS:X playback
  • Removable and absolutely wi-fi rear audio system
  • Included subwoofer with 10-inch driver
  • 1170W of quoted output energy

When you’re considering $1,300/£1,300 seems like rather a lot to pay for a soundbar, you are about to be taught that the JBL Bar 1300 isn’t any peculiar soundbar.

For starters it contains 4 parts: the primary soundbar, a subwoofer, and two wi-fi rear audio system. So it’a one in all a nonetheless comparatively uncommon breed of soundbar that delivers full encompass sound and a devoted bass element proper out of the field. In truth, on this case it delivers a full Dolby Atmos and DTS:X expertise, full with up-firing audio system to cater to these premium audio codecs’ overhead results.

The Bar 1300 is the primary non-Samsung soundbar I’ve examined, too, that delivers its encompass sound thrills utilizing a whopping 16 channels of sound, in an 11.1.4 arrange. Multibeam expertise is used to rebound the sound for some channels off facet partitions and ceilings to make them seem like they’re coming from the proper place in a encompass combine.

These channels are backed by some severe energy, too – specifically 650W for the primary bar, 2 x 110W to the rears, and 300W to the subwoofer.

The 300W going to the subwoofer is fed, too, let’s not neglect, right into a down-firing 10-inch driver – the most important I’ve seen in any soundbar package deal to this point.

JBLBar1300SubDriverDetail

The completely wi-fi rear audio system are rated as able to working for as much as 12 hours on a full cost (although their actual battery life will rely, after all, on how loudly you run them), and impressively you possibly can really use one or each of them independently of the primary soundbar as separate or stereo moveable Bluetooth audio system. Additionally they carry USB cost factors in case you don’t need to hassle attaching them to the primary bar to recharge, however no USB cost plugs are included.

Whereas the Bar 1300’s distant management helpfully presents direct quantity management buttons for every of its important bar, subwoofer and rear speaker parts, the soundbar additionally, as you’d anticipate of such a premium mannequin, offers an auto-calibration system that takes a couple of minute to run and works so properly – even in fairly awkward room configurations – that I would suggest you run it every time you set the rear audio system again in place after they have been re-attached to the primary soundbar.

The Bar 1300’s supply compatibility is fairly complete. In addition to the bodily connections talked about earlier, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth choices are additionally in play, full with Chromecast and AirPlay 2 help (in addition to help for the Alexa Multi-Room speaker system). The Chromecast and AirPlay 2 help primarily delivers wi-fi entry to greater than 300 on-line music companies, so you will not go wanting.

Efficiency

It solely takes a number of moments of getting your hair blown again, your flooring violently wobbled and your backbone totally tingled by simply how a lot you are feeling embroiled within the coronary heart of no matter film world you are watching to grasp that the JBL Bar 1300 is a critically nice soundbar. Uniquely so, in some methods.

Its single biggest expertise is it capacity to steer and place results in even essentially the most difficult, dense and large-scale Dolby Atmos or DTS:X mixes with uncanny precision. Not even the subtlest impact a sound mixer has taken the difficulty to incorporate passes the Bar 1300’s ultra-sensitive drivers by; a lot in order that with nearly each 4K Blu-ray I performed by it, I genuinely seen some ambient results and particular background or object placement particulars that I would by no means heard earlier than. And that is having heard these discs a whole lot of instances earlier than on some very spectacular soundbars.

The accuracy of the consequences placement extends, brilliantly, to overhead sounds, which seem with as a lot presence, definition and sheer verticality as I’ve heard from any soundbar. When a movie rains on the Bar 1300, as an example, you’ll be completely satisfied that it is also raining in your lounge.

JBLBar1300EndDetailWithRearAttached

Perhaps even higher than the startling accuracy of the Bar 1300’s impact placement, is the integrity of the three-dimensional soundstage it creates for these results to ‘stay in’. Supplied you’ve got run the complete two-step auto calibration routine, you will end up sat inside a seemingly excellent bubble of sound that extends throughout and above you with seemingly no gaps or holes by which its immersive qualities may escape.

Samsung’s Q990C is the one different soundbar I’ve heard that is able to delivering such a superbly realised hemisphere of sound for the object-based Dolby Atmos and DTS:X codecs to strut their stuff in. And whereas there are a few areas the place the Q990C outguns the Bar 1300 barely, JBL’s bar really manages to realize extra impact readability in that sound hemisphere than even Samsung does.

A few of this readability and sound stage constructing prowess is down, I believe, to the wonderful steering capabilities of the multibeam sound design. A few of it’s right down to the exceptional stability in energy and dynamic vary the system achieves between the drivers in its wi-fi rears and people in the primary soundbar, and a few of it’s down – I feel – to the massive quantity of energy the Bar 1300 has at its disposal. With out this, it is exhausting to think about so many particulars and results being carried so exactly, cohesively and convincingly to all 4 corners of your room.

The mountain of energy can also be put to nice use in a extra normal approach by enabling the Bar 1300 to hit large quantity ranges with out – for essentially the most half – succumbing to distortion, muddiness or brittleness. It is remarkably agile with its quantity too, managing to escalate from murmurs to explosive, bass-laden affect sounds and rating ‘outbursts’ right away. You’ve got not skilled one in all It (Chapter One’s) bounce scares till you’ve got had it hit you want a truck from the JBL 1300.

In truth, the soundbar manages to push big-sound escalations out with a lot aggression that you do not simply hear but in addition really feel the soundwave drive throughout your room.

The subwoofer, as you may hope given how large it and its driver are, underpins the already large sound from the primary bar and rears with enormous quantities of bass. The dynamic vary achieved by the primary bar and wi-fi rears is itself exceptional, however the subwoofer provides a complete additional dimension of heft and scale to proceedings. In truth, it seems to hit frequency depths with out sounding compressed or boxed in that stretch past these of another soundbar I’ve heard.

JBL Bar 1300

JBL

Once in a while the subwoofer’s monster depths can really begin to sound a bit of heavy and ‘flappy’. That’s to not say the sub lacks nimbleness; actually it usually adapts properly, particularly in terms of the amount of its interjections, to the shifting calls for of a film soundtrack. However at its very deepest, its output can turn out to be simply barely distracting.

Now I’ve hit on a minor destructive concerning the Bar 1300, I will add a number of extra. Beginning with a barely harsh presentation of very shrill and aggressive sound results. There are uncommon moments, too, the place male dialogue can sound a contact ‘digital’ and muffled, whereas shrill little one or feminine voices can sound a contact too shiny.

Lastly, the soundbar must be run at fairly excessive volumes; it loses a whole lot of projection, heft and element at something lower than ‘loud’. However I would a lot somewhat a severe soundbar like this was unapologetic about loving loudness than the opposite approach spherical.

Let none of those niggles go away you in any doubt, in any case, that whereas a bit of totally different in its strengths and weak spot to its important rival, Samsung’s Q990C, the JBL Bar 1300 stays a really stellar film performer.

Apart from sometimes letting a vocal mix a bit of an excessive amount of into the combo, it is also a implausible performer with Dolby Atmos music mixes. The identical colossal dynamic vary, consideration to element and exact impact placement delivers simply the kind of epic and immersive or, relying on the monitor, intimate and spartan ambiance solely an excellent Atmos music monitor can present.

The Bar 1300 is, although, much less assured with stereo music. With the rears muted and the Atmos impact set to Low to get near a local stereo expertise, there is a slight tendency for the sound – particularly significantly daring lead vocals – to really feel as if it is ebbing out and in, somewhat than presenting completely constant staging. The size of the left and proper separation is predictably spectacular, although, and detailing continues to be spectacular with out turning into scientific. The subwoofer additionally contributes remarkably subtly to proceedings contemplating how enormous it’s, and the sheer volumes the system can hit with out breaking right into a sweat stay prodigious. The choice for remixing stereo into all of the obtainable channels works moderately properly too – albeit no rival for a real Dolby Atmos combine.

Verdict

JBL’s return to the soundbar fray sounds unimaginable on paper – and truly sounds fairly unimaginable in motion, too.

Its colossal energy is used to ship colossal dynamics and a big and exceptionally exact, detailed soundstage, somewhat than simply getting used to ship large volumes (although it does that too).

Its eye-catchingly chunky subwoofer proves surprisingly nimble for one thing able to hitting the deepest low frequency depths within the soundbar world. And people probably gimmicky, completely wi-fi rears really do nearly as good a job as we’ve ever heard of each mixing in tonally with the primary bar and finishing a flawless hemisphere of sound – particularly throughout Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks.

In truth, I would go as far to say that the Bar 1300 delivers some of the immersive Dolby Atmos and DTS:X performances the soundbar world has ever seen.

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