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Elevate your sound with JBL’s fresh drops.

Updated: Apr 25, 2023

One of the many things JBL is known and appreciated for is its range of high-performing, sturdy and affordably priced Bluetooth speakers that provide excellent value, no matter if they are used inside or within the context of terrain that demands a tough build.

Specifically JBL’s Flip series has established itself firmly on the horizon of outdoor enthusiast with its signature sound, portability and rugged and durable nature with the sixth upgraded incarnation of the series being no exception:

Easy as ever to sync and pair via Bluetooth, cylinder shaped and flanked by passive bass radiators sandwiching the driver and tweeter, JBL’s Flip 6 comes with an IP67 rating which guarantees dust and water resistance.

The build, which is enhanced by plastic bumpers, ensures that the JBL Flip 6 survives both falls as well as being submerged in water, with the backlit easy-to-press Bluetooth, offering a straight forward pairing experience and allowing for up to two devices to be connected, and power buttons being positioned in a manner so they are guarded from the elements.

Being lightweight and with easy-to-operate control buttons, JBL’s Portable app further enhances the experience with access to firmware updates, an equalizer and an alternative way to access PartyBoost.

Battery-wise, a fully-charged battery will allow a performance of up to twelve hours, after which juice can be sourced via a USB-C to USB-A cable or power other USB equipped devices.

The aforementioned JBL signature sound known from previous instalments of the agile and fun Flip series is intact with improved clarity, sonic precision and a punchy bass with plenty of oomph and full-bodiedness.

A splendid, outstandingly portable and excellent sounding speaker that proves to be a notch up from its predecessors with improved drivers and a decent battery life.

JBL Bar 500

Once one enters the realm of soundbars, which is sooner or later bound to happen based on the sad state of affairs when it comes to regular TV speakers these days, it can get quite confusing given that in this crowded market segment there are a myriad of models looking seemingly similar but differing widely in terms of performance and costs.

JBL has over the years proven to be a reliable provider of soundbar solutions for different price segments with especially its mid-range soundbars delivery quite a bit of bang for your buck, for which the recently released Bar 500 is another formidable example..

Comprised of a wireless, separate subwoofer along with an extended soundbar, which lends itself well to stereo imaging, size-wise with a width of just over one metre and a height of around 5.6 centimetres, the Bar 500 should fit formidably in front of – or alternatively wall mounted - most 50-inch and bigger sized TVs.

Not unlike the other soundbars of the JBL range, the setup is similar in that metal cover grilles make appearances on the sides with a LED display showing information complemented by three control buttons.

With the minimalist shaped subwoofer being non-directional, it can practically be placed anywhere in the room and once plugged into a power outlet, it could not be easier to pair as it automatically connects to the soundbar wirelessly.

Equipped with an HDMI output, full WIFI as well as Bluetooth 5.0 support and a variety of options and settings via the tried and proven JBL One app, seamlessness is the name of the game not just when it comes to handling the Bar 500 directly but also coordinating between other devices, game consoles and streaming services.

Connecting the Bar 500 via HDMI with eARC, i.e. Enhanced Audio Return Channel allowing for the transmission of high-quality audio and making the use of multiple cables redundant, enables the transmission of 3D surround sound in the form of Dolby Atmos and a dedicated USB-A allows for firmware updates from JBL to be injected via a USB stick.

The remote control the Bar 500 comes with looks reminiscent of a mini version of the bar and offers clear controlling options, including one geared towards switching virtual sound on / off, activating Dolby Atmos and one enabling automatic calibration by emitting soundbites to then capture the delay using the built-in speakers.

Talking of sound – given what its soundstage space enlarging MultiBearm immersive surround sound feature offers, I would go as far as claiming that within its price range, I have yet to encounter a model that delivers on par – and that is before the subwoofer is even turned on to give the sound profile an even more nuanced level of depth or alternatively a powerful punch if you are so inclined.

Summa summarum: If you are in the market for an affordable, quality soundbar solution, you will find yourself hard pressed to go past JBL’s Bar 500.

JBL Tour Pro 2

Having thoroughly enjoyed the merits of the first incarnation of the JBL Tour Pro series, I got mildly excited when word got out that the 2.0 version was to be unleashed and I was not disappointed:

With its further enhanced True Adaptive Noise Cancelling technology powered by JBL Pro Sound, superb spatial audio is the name of the game.

User experience-wise, things are taken up a notch or two not merely with the unique touch screen enabled smart charging case, which allows for a seamless experience by allowing direct access all key earbuds features without necessitating to use the smartphone App, but with a better battery, providing up to forty hours of playback, and six mic technology ensuring crisp clear call quality, with the Personal Sound Amplification aiding in further accentuating voice volumes without having to remove the earbuds.

Tour Pro 2’s multipoint Bluetooth allows for two devices to be connected simultaneously, which means that you’d e.g. be joining a work meeting on one device while streaming tunes from another.

The fact that audio codec LC3 is supported demonstrates JBL’s ambition to pave the way for its Tour Pros to be early adaptors and readily compatible with innovative new technologies right out of the gate.

The noise reduction and Adaptive ANC department is where I find the Tour Pro 2 to excel in as they accommodate for sound leakage in an intuitive manner that I have not experienced with other earbuds with the option to use and navigate the noises of your spatial context further with the Ambient Aware and TalkThru functions.

On the sound front, the big bass heavy JBL ( ) signature sound is omnipresent and can be further finetuned and adjusted with the EQ, which allows for impressively nuanced calibration.

Working well for phone calls as well, the Tour Pro 2 are an example par excellence for JBL having taken things to the next level as the combination of thought through features, sound quality, design and value for money sets it ahead of the competition.


Words by AW.

Photos courtesy of JBL.


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