When transforming your living room into a captivating cinematic experience, the JBL Bar 500 soundbar is making waves in home audio. In this review, we explore how this compact and affordable sound solution from Harman’s JBL brand aims to replicate the exhilarating sound you’d expect from a night at the movies. As technology advances, so do our expectations for home entertainment. JBL is on a mission to deliver a powerful, immersive sound experience that rivals the grandeur of the big screen.
The JBL Bar 500 is not just another soundbar; it’s part of a family of audio solutions designed to cater to varying preferences and budgets. With a total output of 590 watts and the promise of 5.1 surround sound, this sound system boasts an impressive array of drivers, tweeters, and a subwoofer. Beyond its specifications, the JBL Bar 500 also employs clever technology, such as Dolby Atmos upmixing and JBL’s PureVoice, to enhance your audio experience. Join us as we dive into the world of home cinema sound and explore the performance, features, and unique characteristics that set the JBL Bar 500 apart in the realm of affordable, high-quality audio.
A Part of the JBL Soundbar Family
The JBL Bar 500 is not alone in its quest to redefine home audio. As a member of the JBL soundbar family, it finds its place among a range of audio solutions designed to cater to diverse consumer needs. From the more compact Bar 300 to high-end models like the Bar 1300 with removable rear speakers, JBL offers a spectrum of choices. Whether you want to enhance your TV sound or create a full-blown cinematic experience in your living room, JBL has a soundbar solution to suit your preferences and budget. This diversity within the JBL soundbar family ensures an option for every home theater enthusiast, regardless of the size of their space or their desired audio experience.
JBL, a subsidiary of Harman International Industries, is a name synonymous with high-quality audio and innovative sound solutions. With a rich history dating back to 1946, JBL has consistently pushed the boundaries of audio technology. Renowned for its expertise in designing and engineering audio equipment, JBL has garnered a global reputation for delivering exceptional sound experiences. From professional audio equipment used in concert halls to consumer products for everyday listening, JBL’s commitment to audio excellence is unwavering. The JBL brand’s extensive range of products includes headphones, speakers, soundbars, and more, all designed to deliver the best possible sound quality to consumers worldwide.
|Number of Items
|Speaker Amplification Type
|Power source type
|Total USB Ports
|Does it contain liquid?
|Includes rechargable battery
|Item model number
|Recommended uses for product
|Surround sound channel configuration
|Soundbar, Subwoofer, Remote, Wall-Mount Bracket
|10.4D x 101.7W x 5.6H Centimetres
|Audio output mode
|Speaker maximum output power
The heart of the JBL Bar 500’s appeal lies in its powerful sound delivery, promising an immersive audio experience rivaling the best of home theaters. With a robust total output of 590 watts, this soundbar is designed to take your auditory senses on a thrilling journey. The system has an impressive configuration, including four racetrack drivers and three tweeters, all complemented by a dedicated subwoofer. This combination ensures you hear and feel the audio, making your home entertainment truly come to life.
The strategic placement of two racetrack drivers at the left and right ends of the main unit is a noteworthy design choice. This configuration spreads the soundstage far and wide, immersing the listener in a 360-degree audio experience. Whether it’s the subtle rustle of leaves in a suspenseful thriller or the thunderous roar of engines in an action-packed blockbuster, the JBL Bar 500 ensures that every nuance is vividly reproduced. It’s this meticulous attention to detail that allows the soundbar to offer the kind of depth and dimension that elevates your home entertainment to a whole new level. In addition, JBL’s PureVoice technology optimizes dialogue, ensuring that it’s reproduced precisely and without requiring constant adjustments so that you won’t miss a single word in your favorite movies or TV shows. This powerful sound experience extends to various audio sources, making the JBL Bar 500 a versatile audio solution for all your home entertainment needs. Whether it’s the roar of a powerful car engine in “Mad Max: Fury Road” or the rich harmonies of a live concert, the JBL Bar 500’s impressive sound profile can leave a lasting impact. It’s not just about amplifying sound; it’s about creating a dynamic audio experience, enveloping and, ultimately, unforgettable.
Dolby Atmos Enhancement
The JBL Bar 500 takes home entertainment to a new dimension with its Dolby Atmos enhancement. While some soundbars rely on upward-firing speakers for Dolby Atmos effects, the JBL Bar 500 employs a different approach, using upmixing technology that’s permanently active. This innovation allows the soundbar to produce a convincing Dolby Atmos effect without dedicated upward-firing speakers.
When the JBL Bar 500 detects a Dolby source in the audio input, it automatically activates the Dolby Atmos effect. This means that your audio experience becomes more immersive, offering a sense of spaciousness that goes beyond traditional surround sound. While it may not replicate overhead effects as convincingly as some higher-end models, the JBL Bar 500 still provides a noticeable enhancement. This means that during action sequences, you can expect to feel a greater sense of depth and directionality in the audio, making you feel right in the heart of the on-screen action.
Moreover, when a genuine Dolby Atmos source is in play, the sound becomes even more authentic. This enhancement brings a new level of realism to your audio, making you feel like you’re in the center of the movie or show. In essence, the JBL Bar 500’s Dolby Atmos enhancement is designed to expand your home entertainment experience, offering a taste of the cinematic audio sophistication typically found in theaters. While it may not fully replace the immersive capabilities of a full-fledged home theater setup, the JBL Bar 500’s Dolby Atmos enhancement undoubtedly adds an extra layer of audio magic to your living room, making movie nights and gaming sessions more engaging and exhilarating.
Clear Dialogue with PureVoice Technology
In the world of home audio, clear and intelligible dialogue can often make or break the overall viewing experience. The JBL Bar 500 addresses this critical aspect of audio performance through its innovative PureVoice technology. PureVoice is an active algorithm integrated into the soundbar, and its primary mission is to ensure that dialogue is reproduced with absolute precision and clarity without necessitating constant adjustments on the user’s part.
This technology operates seamlessly, constantly monitoring and fine-tuning dialogue audio during the playback of movies, TV shows, and other content. The outcome is an audio experience where spoken words are crisp, distinct, and easily discernible, even amidst action-packed scenes or intense background music. PureVoice works harmoniously with various scenes, adapting to the audio characteristics of each. It brings forth subtle nuances in dialogue, preserving the emotions conveyed by the actors and making sure that no crucial lines are lost or muddled.
One of the key benefits of PureVoice technology is its ability to maintain dialogue clarity even at higher volume levels. This means that even when the sound is cranked up for those thrilling blockbuster moments or high-octane action sequences, you won’t need to scramble for the remote control to adjust the volume during quieter conversational scenes. The dialogue remains distinct and intelligible, and this reliability enhances the overall viewing experience. This commitment to ensuring that every spoken word is delivered with accuracy and precision is a testament to JBL’s dedication to audio excellence, and it further solidifies the JBL Bar 500 as a standout solution for home audio enthusiasts who value crystal-clear dialogue in their entertainment.
In audio, the subwoofer is the unsung hero responsible for delivering the low-frequency elements that bring depth and impact to the sound. The JBL Bar 500 doesn’t just include any subwoofer; it boasts a wireless 10-inch cube that is as visually impressive as it is acoustically powerful. With a remarkable 300 watts of output power, this subwoofer matches the prowess of even the top-tier JBL Bar 1300, promising to take your TV sound to an entirely new level.
What sets the subwoofer of the JBL Bar 500 apart is its capacity to add a new dimension to your audio experience. During those spine-tingling moments in action films, when engines roar, or in thundering musical concerts, the subwoofer’s contribution becomes audible and physically noticeable. The low-frequency rumble and impact created by this subwoofer are akin to a sensory thrill, making it feel like you are right in the heart of the action. Whether it’s the deep growl of a movie monster or the pulse-pounding soundtrack of a thriller, the subwoofer ensures that you feel every beat and rumble in your bones.
Another remarkable feature of the JBL Bar 500’s subwoofer is its seamless integration with the main soundbar. The boundary between the subwoofer and the soundbar is virtually indistinguishable, creating a fluid transition of sound that immerses you completely. This means that you won’t be constantly aware of where the bass originates, but rather, you’ll be enveloped in a wall of sound that feels harmonious and dynamic. This integration distinguishes the JBL Bar 500 from other soundbars in its price range and offers a truly cinematic audio experience. This powerful subwoofer is the linchpin that transforms the sound from merely audible to palpable, adding depth and dimension to your entertainment that you can both hear and feel. It’s one of the JBL Bar 500’s defining features and makes it an enticing choice for those who crave a thrilling and immersive audio experience in their home theater setup.
Immersive Music Playback
The JBL Bar 500 isn’t solely designed to enhance your movie-watching experience; it also excels in immersing you in the world of music. Whether you’re a music enthusiast or just enjoy the occasional music performance, this soundbar is capable of recreating live concert-like audio quality right in your living room. Its spatial representation and audio finesse make it an ideal choice for those who appreciate the nuances and depth of music playback.
Live recordings, such as “Smoke + Mirrors” from the Imagine Dragons, come to life with stunning realism. You can close your eyes and almost feel like you’re part of the live audience. The JBL Bar 500 conveys the concert atmosphere with remarkable credibility, bringing the physical dimensions of the soundbar into the background and placing you front and center in the musical experience. The soundstage it creates is expansive and detailed, allowing you to revel in the performance as if you were present in person.
Even when challenged with classics like “Anniversary” by Tony! Tony! Toné, the JBL Bar 500 shines. It showcases the speakers’ joy of playing, the spatial representation of the lead singer and the choir, and the cleanliness of the bass range. In a nutshell, it delivers an audio experience that is not only faithful to the original music but also immersive and emotionally engaging. While it may not compete with the highest-end models or the top-tier Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Max, the JBL Bar 500 certainly holds its own in terms of offering a musical experience that transcends mere sound reproduction, making it an appealing choice for music lovers looking to elevate their listening pleasure. The sound quality invites you to explore your music collection anew, rediscovering your favorite tracks and experiencing them in a way faithful to the artist’s intent and artistically captivating. This is where the JBL Bar 500 proves its mettle as a sound solution that can cater to the diverse tastes of music lovers, further enriching the overall audio experience within your home.
Usability, Functionality, and Unique Features of the JBL Bar 500
Usability: Intuitive and User-Friendly
The usability of the JBL Bar 500 is a testament to its consumer-centric design. It’s engineered to be user-friendly, making it accessible to many users, regardless of their technical expertise. From the initial setup to everyday operation, the JBL Bar 500 is designed to be hassle-free.
The ease of installation is a significant part of its user-friendliness. Setting up the soundbar and subwoofer is a straightforward process, and it comes with clear instructions, including wall-mounting brackets for those who prefer that option. The wireless connection between the soundbar and subwoofer eliminates the need for cable management and ensures a clean and neat setup.
Including HDMI connectivity with HDMI-CEC support is a convenience that simplifies the user experience. It allows you to control the soundbar with your TV remote, reducing the need to juggle multiple remotes. Additionally, HDMI eARC ensures that you can enjoy high-resolution sound formats without any loss in audio quality, which is a significant boon for audio enthusiasts.
Regarding daily use, the JBL Bar 500 maintains its intuitive approach. The soundbar and subwoofer connect automatically via radio, so there’s no need for manual pairing. The audio calibration function, accessible through the JBL One app, streamlines tailoring the sound to your room’s acoustics, ensuring an optimal listening experience.
The JBL One app itself is designed with simplicity in mind. Its user interface is easy to navigate, making it effortless to access various functions, streaming services, and audio customization options. Whether you’re a tech-savvy individual or someone who prefers a straightforward setup, the JBL Bar 500’s usability ensures that you can enjoy its features without a steep learning curve.
Functionality: Versatile and Comprehensive
The functionality of the JBL Bar 500 is multifaceted, catering to various aspects of your home audio needs. It extends beyond merely enhancing the sound quality to create an all-encompassing audio experience.
One of its key functions is its ability to reproduce not only high-quality audio but also clear dialogue. JBL’s PureVoice technology ensures that spoken words are consistently intelligible, even at higher volumes. This functionality is particularly vital for movie and TV show enthusiasts, as it prevents the need for manual adjustments during viewing.
The JBL Bar 500’s support for Dolby Atmos is another critical aspect of its functionality. While it lacks upward-firing speakers, it leverages upmixing technology to create a Dolby Atmos effect that’s always active. This innovation brings a level of spaciousness and immersion to your audio that enhances your home theater experience.
In music playback, the JBL Bar 500’s functionality is not limited to merely sound reproduction. It’s capable of delivering an immersive and concert-like experience. Whether you enjoy live recordings or classic tracks, the soundbar’s spatial representation and audio finesse offer an emotionally engaging musical experience.
Furthermore, the JBL Bar 500’s seamless connectivity, both wired and wireless, adds to its overall functionality. Its compatibility with streaming services, multiroom audio systems, and various protocols allows it to adapt to your evolving audio needs and preferences. Including multiple HDMI inputs, USB connectivity, and the JBL One app extends the functionality of this soundbar, ensuring that it can easily integrate into your audio ecosystem.
Unique Features: Standout Elements That Set It Apart
What sets the JBL Bar 500 apart from the competition are the unique features that make it a standout choice for enhancing your home audio.
The powerful subwoofer, with 300 watts of output power, adds a distinct dimension to your audio. It’s not just about deep bass; it’s about the physical impact that you can feel during intense moments in movies or musical crescendos. The fluid integration of the subwoofer with the soundbar ensures a seamless sound transition and makes the JBL Bar 500 truly unique in its category.
Dolby Atmos upmixing technology, even without dedicated upward-firing speakers, is a rare feature in this price range. It allows the soundbar to create a more immersive experience, adding depth and spaciousness to your audio.
The inclusion of PureVoice technology is another unique aspect. It ensures that dialogue remains clear and intelligible, regardless of volume, simplifying the user experience and enhancing overall audio quality.
The JBL One app is a feature that streamlines connectivity and control. Its intuitive interface and automatic network connection save time and reduce the frustration of entering network passwords manually.
Overall, the JBL Bar 500’s unique features collectively make it a compelling and distinctive choice in soundbars. It combines power, innovation, and convenience in a way that sets it apart from its competitors, ensuring an exceptional home audio experience that’s user-friendly and adaptable to your specific audio preferences.
Easy Setup and Connectivity
The JBL Bar 500 sets itself apart not only with its impressive sound but also through its ease of installation and a comprehensive array of connectivity options. When setting up a home audio system, convenience and accessibility are key, and the JBL Bar 500 delivers on both fronts.
The initial setup process is straightforward, ensuring that you can start enjoying your enhanced audio experience in no time. After unboxing the soundbar and subwoofer, you’ll find essential components like cables, a compact remote control, and wall-mounting brackets included in the package. Connecting the soundbar to your TV is a breeze, and it’s recommended to use the HDMI transmission path to unlock the practical advantages of HDMI-CEC. This lets you control the soundbar with your TV remote, streamlining your home theater setup. Moreover, this setup lets you experience the best possible 3D sound directly from your Blu-ray player.
For audiophiles and tech enthusiasts, HDMI eARC support is a noteworthy feature. It permits the transmission of high-resolution sound formats like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X without losing audio quality. This is especially vital for those who demand the highest fidelity in their audio experience. The JBL Bar 500 also accommodates additional HDMI inputs, allowing you to connect other devices such as game consoles, streaming sticks, or set-top boxes like the PlayStation 5. This means your home entertainment setup remains versatile and adaptable, capable of handling various media sources.
The USB socket is an added convenience, not just for powering updates but also for connecting external devices. This versatility ensures that your soundbar is equipped to handle future developments and maintain compatibility with evolving technology.
Once powered on, the JBL Bar 500 and subwoofer seamlessly connect via a wireless connection, making the setup process hassle-free. The audio calibration function provided by JBL is an invaluable tool, helping you tailor the sound output to suit the acoustics of your living space. This calibration process involves a series of test tones and ensures that your sound system performs optimally, considering your room’s unique characteristics.
To fully unlock the smart features of the JBL Bar 500, you can easily download the JBL One app for Android or iOS free of charge. Within seconds, the app connects the soundbar to your home network, automatically transferring your home network’s access data from your mobile device. This level of convenience eliminates the often tedious and time-consuming process of manually entering network passwords. Once connected, the JBL One app opens up a world of functionality, allowing you to stream music from various services, adjust the equalizer settings, and even integrate the soundbar into a multi-room audio setup. Suppose your preferred music streaming service isn’t directly supported. In that case, you can still enjoy your music by sending it to the JBL Bar 500 through various protocols such as Apple Airplay, Alexa Multiroom Music, or Chromecast Built-in.
In summary, the JBL Bar 500 is designed with the user’s convenience in mind. Its user-friendly setup, flexible connectivity options, and intuitive app make it accessible to many consumers, from tech novices to home theater enthusiasts. Whether you’re fine-tuning your audio experience or simply connecting to your home network, the JBL Bar 500 ensures the process is as smooth as possible so you can focus on enjoying your enhanced audio immersion.
Smart Features with the JBL One App
The JBL Bar 500 offers a holistic audio experience beyond exceptional sound quality. With the JBL One app for both Android and iOS devices, you gain access to a treasure trove of smart features that put you in control of your audio world. This app not only enhances your interaction with the JBL Bar 500 but also seamlessly integrates it into your connected lifestyle.
One of the standout features of the JBL One app is its ability to provide you with easy access to the internet. When you download the app, it swiftly connects your soundbar to the internet, streamlining the setup process. Your home network’s access data is automatically transferred from your mobile device, eliminating the tedious task of manually inputting network passwords. This level of convenience is not just a time-saver, but it also ensures a secure and hassle-free connection to your home network.
Once connected, the JBL One app unlocks many functions that allow you to tailor your audio experience to your preferences. You can stream music from various services directly through the app, putting an extensive library of songs and playlists at your fingertips. Whether you’re a fan of Spotify, Apple Music, or any other popular streaming platform, the JBL Bar 500’s compatibility ensures that your music source is readily available.
The app also offers an equalizer, a valuable tool for audiophiles and those who want to fine-tune their sound profile. This feature allows you to adjust the bass, treble, and other sound characteristics to match your musical taste or the content requirements you’re enjoying. This level of customization ensures that your audio experience is precisely how you want it to be.
For those who enjoy a multiroom audio setup, the JBL One app has got you covered. It allows you to seamlessly integrate your JBL Bar 500 into a multi-room audio system, providing synchronized sound throughout your home. This means you can have your favorite tunes follow you as you move from room to room, creating an immersive audio experience that caters to your lifestyle.
If the app doesn’t directly support your preferred music streaming service, don’t worry; the JBL Bar 500 offers multiple protocols to accommodate your needs. Whether you prefer Apple Airplay, Alexa Multiroom Music, or Chromecast Built-in, you can easily send your music to the soundbar, ensuring that platform restrictions do not limit you.
In summary, the JBL One app complements the JBL Bar 500’s robust sound capabilities by giving you the tools to personalize your audio experience. It simplifies connectivity, offers a wide range of streaming options, allows sound customization, and seamlessly integrates into your broader home audio ecosystem. The result is an all-encompassing, user-friendly app that provides you with the freedom to enjoy your audio your way.
Sound Test: Unveiling the JBL Bar 500’s Acoustic Prowess
A comprehensive sound test of the JBL Bar 500 is not merely an exploration of its audio capabilities but an immersion into the world of cinematic and musical auditory excellence. This soundbar’s performance extends beyond mere sound production; it’s a journey into acoustic precision, enveloping you in a symphony of audio quality.
During our sound test, the JBL Bar 500 showcased its remarkable power, boasting a total output of 590 watts. The configuration of four racetrack drivers and three tweeters, complemented by the dedicated subwoofer, immediately set the stage for an extraordinary audio experience. The sound filled the room with a rich, full-bodied quality, ensuring that every note and effect was conveyed with astounding clarity.
What truly distinguished the JBL Bar 500 was its utilization of Dolby Atmos’ upmixing technology. This innovation produced a sense of spaciousness and immersion that elevated the sound test to new heights. While it lacks dedicated upward-firing speakers, the upmixing technology effectively expanded the soundstage, making it feel as though the audio was emanating from every corner of the room. The result was an acoustic environment that allowed for a deeper connection to the content, whether the subtle rustling of leaves in a suspenseful scene or the exhilarating roar of engines in an action sequence.
Our sound test also revealed the efficacy of JBL’s PureVoice technology in preserving clear and intelligible dialogue. The algorithm was active and effective, ensuring that spoken words were consistently crisp, regardless of volume. This feature proved invaluable, preventing the need for manual adjustments during quieter conversational scenes and ensuring that dialogue was a focal point of the listening experience.
In the realm of music playback, the JBL Bar 500 shone as it brought concert-like realism to the room. Live recordings came to life with remarkable credibility, creating a captivating atmosphere akin to being in the front row of a live performance. The soundbar’s spatial representation and musical finesse added an emotional layer to the experience, allowing the music to resonate on a deeply personal level.
The powerful subwoofer was a highlight of the sound test, adding a new dimension to the audio. With its 300 watts of output power, it delivered not just bass but a physical presence that could be felt during the most intense moments of our sound test. This seamless integration between the soundbar and the subwoofer created a harmonious audio experience that was both impactful and dynamic.
The JBL Bar 500, when subjected to our rigorous sound test, demonstrated its capabilities as a versatile and high-performing sound solution. Its functionality extends beyond movies and TV shows, elevating music playback to a live concert-like experience. The unique features, from Dolby Atmos support to PureVoice technology, further set it apart in soundbars. In conclusion, our sound test confirmed that the JBL Bar 500 is more than just a soundbar; it’s an acoustic powerhouse that delivers a captivating and immersive audio experience.
In our extensive exploration of the JBL Bar 500, it’s evident that this soundbar has transcended the boundaries of traditional audio solutions to deliver an unparalleled home theater and music experience. With a powerful sound output of 590 watts, innovative technologies like Dolby Atmos upmixing, and PureVoice for crystal-clear dialogue, it provides a holistic audio journey that engages your senses and immerses you in the content. The JBL Bar 500’s integration of a powerful subwoofer, with 300 watts of output power, ensures that the audio is heard and felt, making it a standout choice for enthusiasts of both movies and music. Its spatial representation and commitment to reproducing live music performances offer a level of authenticity that’s as captivating as it is emotionally resonant.
In the realm of user-friendliness and functionality, the JBL Bar 500 excels. Its intuitive setup, versatile connectivity options, and the convenience of the JBL One app ensure that it caters to a broad spectrum of users. The JBL Bar 500’s unique features, from its seamless subwoofer integration to its Dolby Atmos enhancement, set it apart in the realm of soundbars. It’s a sound solution that goes beyond the ordinary. It offers a captivating audio journey that turns every movie night into a cinematic event and every music session into a live concert experience. For those seeking to transform their home audio into something extraordinary, the JBL Bar 500 stands as a compelling choice, offering a captivating and immersive acoustic adventure within the comfort of your living room.
Why You Should Buy the JBL Bar 500:
- Immersive Audio Experience: The JBL Bar 500’s powerful sound output and innovative technologies like Dolby Atmos upmixing create an immersive audio experience that rivals the best of home theaters. Whether you’re watching movies or listening to music, this soundbar elevates your content to a new level of audio quality.
- Clear Dialogue: With JBL’s PureVoice technology, dialogue remains consistently clear and intelligible, even at higher volume levels. This feature ensures you won’t miss a word during your favorite movies and TV shows.
- Powerful Subwoofer: The 300-watt wireless subwoofer adds a physical dimension to your audio, allowing you to feel the impact of deep bass during intense moments in films or music. Its seamless integration with the soundbar ensures a harmonious audio experience.
- Easy Setup and Connectivity: The JBL Bar 500 offers a hassle-free setup, versatile connectivity options, and a user-friendly app for easy control. It’s designed to cater to a broad range of users, from tech novices to home theater enthusiasts.
- Versatility: The soundbar excels in both cinematic and musical audio experiences, making it a versatile choice for those who value high-quality sound in various forms of entertainment.
Why You Should Not Buy the JBL Bar 500:
- Limited Dolby Atmos Realism: While the Dolby Atmos upmixing technology enhances the audio experience, it may not fully replicate overhead effects as convincingly as higher-end models with dedicated upward-firing speakers.
- No Rear Speakers: If you desire a complete surround sound experience, the JBL Bar 500 doesn’t include rear speakers. You might consider alternative models in the JBL Bar family that offer removable rear speakers for a more immersive surround sound setup.
In conclusion, the JBL Bar 500 is a compelling choice for those seeking an exceptional home audio solution that delivers powerful sound, clear dialogue, and a versatile audio experience. While it offers a captivating and immersive audio journey, individuals looking for the utmost Dolby Atmos realism or a complete surround sound setup might explore other options within the JBL Bar family.