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Audio = Ground Zero: JBL Bar 9.1 True Wireless

There is no shortage of advancements in the realm of TV related picture technologies, however, while the fact that most screens are wafer thin in size is perceived to be a major selling point, it also means that there is hardly any place for a proper speaker inside.

This is where a good sound system comes in handy to make your TV sound awesome, particularly with respect to dialogue.

Having tried and tested quite a few sound bars over the years with a myriad of configurations and options, there are certain features that I pay attention to when it comes to choosing a new one, e.g. it should

  • have at least three channels to simulate sound for an immersive experience;

  • come with built-in amplifiers; it should ideally fit centred beneath or above the TV and

  • come Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth-enabled , so music can be easily streamed.

Now, while rectangular-shaped sound bars can be slim, low-profile and affordable space-savers that will certainly do better than your TV speakers, a real home theatre can pay dividends when it comes improving not merely sounds your TV emits but enhance the overall experience significantly, as a good sound system can essentially be the audio equivalent of what glasses do for your vision, i.e. making nuances distinct and crystal clear.

All the better when the sound system comes with Dolby Atmos, i.e. the ability for speakers to fire sound upwards, so that its reflection, ideally from flat ceilings, creates a heightened, three-dimensional soundstage.

Enter JBL’s 9.1., which is a borderline perfect hybrid marrying the best a soundbar and a home cinema system can offer.

While a lot of systems advertise “wireless” subwoofers and surrounds yet still necessitate a cord, the JBL 9.1. is an actual (not virtual) Dolby Atmos soundbar with truly wireless, battery powered surround speakers.

Its Atmos/DTS:X - Dolby Atmos features enable the delivery of a true 3D effect and the fact that it comes with up-firing speakers on both the main bar as well as its satellites, it creates sounds that feel like they are exactly where they should be as they pervade your inner core.

Upon unpacking the JBL 9.1, one feels that all components are not merely well made but that quality materials have been used throughout, resulting in a weighty, quality feel, which is further supported by rubber pads under all three constituents, keeping them from vibrating off your table along with grates being thoughtfully made of metal, which aids immensely when it comes to cleaning them.

A scrolling readout on the front of the bar is sufficiently big in size to ensure that any input change, change of audio coding or setting can be easily read from a distance as it is reflected on the readout, with the lights eventually going off so that they are not being a distraction.

The JBL 9.1’s has a veritable sized ten inch sub-woofer, and upon syncing, things are so well calibrated and nuanced that it proves to be difficult to determine which part of the system is emitting them.

The satellite speakers are being charged when attached to the main bar and can be popped free off their magnetic bonds and deployed when needed, which effectively makes them rear speakers with a battery life of ten hours and the additional the option to plug them into a power source should the need arise.

The Room Correction feature works like a charm, with the calibration accommodating the context and layout of your room, offering a degree of flexibility that does not necessitate to rearrange furniture.

Coming equipped with add ons like Bluetooth, WIFI, Chromecast and Apple Airplay 2 support built in, music can be streamed from any device.

Courtesy of the detachable surrounds, a punchy subwoofer and dedicated upward firing drivers, the JBL’s 9.1 Bar is a reasonably priced easy to set up system that creates a room filling true 5.1.4 wall of sound backed by an incredible subwoofer that blissfully envelopes you, with the Atmos feature giving a sense of height and depth that other soundbars struggle with.


image from company website

T • September 5, 2022


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