Electron Pedia

JBL Bar 5.1 Encompass Overview

JBL just lately expanded its soundbar lineup to incorporate some intriguing 2.1 programs. The $499.95 JBL Bar 5.1 Encompass suits slightly within the heart on the subject of pricing, and isn’t to be puzzled with the non-surround JBL Bar 5.1. This model is composed of a unmarried soundbar and a big subwoofer. Its {surround} features are of the digital selection—this is not a real 5.1 {surround} gadget with rear channels, however it does make the most of “multibeam” generation in an try to fill the room with immersive, theater-like audio. The bass features listed here are robust, regardless that we would like there have been extra adjustable EQ choices and/or listening modes. For the cost, this can be a cast gadget, however the ones looking for true {surround} or severe energy would possibly need to discover different choices.  


The Bar 5.1 Encompass is to be had in a matte darkish grey, with a primary soundbar that measures 2.3 by means of 40.0 by means of 3.9 inches (HWD) and weighs 6.2 kilos, and a wi-fi subwoofer that measures 17.3 by means of 12.0 by means of 12.0 inches and weighs 23.4 kilos. The 2 items hyperlink up mechanically when powered up. The bar can sit down flat on a tabletop, or be fastened on a wall with the provided brackets and screws. The entrance face is all metal speaker grille, with a white LED readout that tells you what sound supply you are attached to.

At the back of the grille, the soundbar employs 5 racetrack-style drivers and two side-firing 1.25-inch tweeters handing over 5 channels of fifty watts every, whilst the 300-watt sub makes use of a 10-inch down-firing woofer, in addition to a bass port at the rear panel for environment friendly air motion. The gadget as a complete delivers 550 watts and a frequency vary of 40Hz-20kHz.

There are connections around the again panel of the soundbar for HDMI (video in for 4K answer pass-through), HDMI ARC (TV), optical, USB (for each provider and audio playback), and the incorporated energy cable. The subwoofer has an influence/pairing button on its rear panel, simply above the relationship for the incorporated energy cable. There may be an HDMI cable incorporated, however no optical cable.

The far off keep an eye on runs on two AAA batteries (incorporated), and has buttons for Energy, TV (HDMI ARC), Bluetooth, Bass Stage, HDMI (That is the video enter for 4k answer pass-through), Quantity Up/Down, and Mute. In contrast to most of the soundbars we check, there is not any number of audio modes right here, like Film or Track, which isn’t essentially an obstacle, however it might be great to have extra tough, actual EQ controls moderately than a easy bass stage vary of Low, Mid, or Top to choose between. There is not any method to regulate treble, as an example. The amount vary is 1-31, and at max ranges, the gadget will get fairly loud.

There may be reinforce for Apple AirPlay 2 and Google Solid. There is not any integrated mic or good controls at the bar or the far off—that is app-based reinforce that you’ll be able to wish to keep an eye on by the use of your telephone.

The Bar 5.1 Encompass helps Bluetooth 4.2 and AAC formats. The USB port helps playback for MP3 and WAV recordsdata.

Film Efficiency

Blade Runner 2049‘s crash scene, through which Ryan Gosling falls from the sky in one thing that appears like a military-grade Lamborghini that flies, options a couple of explosions and gunshots. In the course of the Bar 5.1 Encompass, they sound modest at low and mid bass ranges, and robust at excessive. So for films, particularly the sort that pack numerous low-end like this one, each in sound results and within the ranking itself, you will need to maximize the subwoofer’s output. The discussion is obvious and crisp, or even with the sub at max, there is a cast steadiness between lows and highs.

When the Demise Celebrity explodes in Stars Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, the Bar 5.1 Encompass delivers cast thunder, particularly when the bass is about to max. With the gadget’s quantity maxed out and the bass at its very best, you get a near-theater enjoy on the subject of rumble, however it is not essentially as loud as you could be expecting. The lows are robust, and the amount is excessive sufficient, however the general energy right here feels decrease right here than it does with track. In different phrases, when you like looking at films truly loudly, the program tops out reasonably not up to you may want, in spite of handing over severe rumble.

Track Efficiency

On tracks with intense sub-bass content material, like The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” with bass ranges at mid, the Bar 5.1 Encompass delivers intense low-frequency reaction that may attraction to bass fanatics. Even on the most quantity ranges—for track, fairly loud—the bass does not distort in this monitor without reference to its environment. At excessive ranges, the thunder here’s palpable, particularly at peak volumes, with wall-shaking energy. We advise a place to begin, for track a minimum of, of Mid, and dealing with low and mid bass ranges extra so than excessive, which has a tendency to dissatisfied the steadiness.

Invoice Callahan’s “Drover,” a monitor with a ways much less deep bass within the combine, provides us a greater sense of the Bar 5.1 Encompass’s normal sound signature. At average volumes and with bass set to mid, this monitor if truth be told sounds lovely balanced and correct. The drums get some modest further intensity with out sounding overly thunderous, and Callahan’s baritone vocals get a suitable steadiness of low-mid richness and treble edge. The acoustic strumming and higher-register instrumentation pack a brilliant presence that stands up in opposition to the bass intensity with out factor. Elevating the amount and switching to excessive bass ranges, the sound signature adjustments dramatically. Now the drums have subwoofer thunder and Callahan’s vocals sound too bass-heavy—someplace in between this and the former sound signature would be the ideally suited setup for many listeners.

On Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church within the Wild,” the kick drum loop will get sufficient high-mid presence for its assault to retain its punchiness. The drum loop additionally will get beefed up by means of the subwoofer considerably, even at mid bass settings. Unusually, the sub-bass synth hits that punctuate the beat take a backseat to the drum loop’s thunder—this isn’t most often the case when a gadget is in a position to dispensing a large bass sound. It is usually the ominous sub-bass synth hits that make the room shake, however the ones lows taper off throughout the Bar 5.1 Encompass, whilst the drum loop’s bass intensity is delivered with gusto. It is a tough sound regardless, and when the lows are set to mid, the monitor has a cast steadiness right through the frequency vary. The vocals listed here are delivered with superb readability and no added sibilance.

Orchestral tracks, like the hole scene in John Adams’ The Gospel In keeping with the Different Mary, sound crisp with cast bass anchoring the combination. The subwoofer environment right here has a ways much less affect than it does with different genres, basically as a result of there may be much less bass to change on this combine, however we nonetheless counsel both low or mid settings for classical and jazz. Typically talking, the Bar 5.1 Encompass is in a position to handing over a powerful, dynamic, balanced sound signature, however you could have to actively regulate the bass ranges to get there.

Briefly, the loss of a Film or Track mode merely way you need to create your personal settings for films and track—motion pictures appear to wish way more quantity and maxed-out bass, and track desires extra modest bass and quantity. It isn’t a large deal to manually regulate, however most effective having 3 fundamental EQ settings—and for the bass most effective—is a bit disappointing.


The JBL Bar 5.1 Encompass gadget is robust, and it really works neatly for each movie and track. However the loss of user-adjustable parameters past 3 bass settings way it may well occasionally be tricky to find the perfect sound signature for a given film or monitor. Nonetheless, for the cost (and now we have observed it for considerably much less on JBL’s site just lately), the Bar 5.1 Encompass represents a cast deal. For much less, the $280 Sony HT-S350 delivers a robust 2.1 audio enjoy, as does the super-budget-friendly $180 TCL Alto 7+. At the turn aspect, the $1,300 LG SL10YG is our present top-tier favourite, however it is greater than double the price of the Bar 5.1 Encompass.

The Backside Line

There may be masses to love concerning the JBL Bar 5.1 Encompass soundbar, however its title implies a extra totally immersive theater-like enjoy than it delivers.

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