The JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass retains issues easy. It is a single soundbar and wi-fi subwoofer combo with Bluetooth streaming. There isn’t any fancy video just like the Roku Good Soundbar or the flawed JBL Hyperlink Bar, no multiroom audio just like the Sonos Beam, no built-in Alexa or Google Assistant like, effectively, just about each different speaker nowadays. As a substitute it simply sounds good — largely due to, you guessed it, deep bass.
LikeDynamic and detailed film soundLarge subwoofer goes deepTwo HDMI ports add flexibility
Do not LikeNot pretty much as good with musicNo encompass or Digital:X processingSparse sound controls
The JBL places extra bombast in your TV viewing than both of its under-$300 competitors I’ve reviewed not too long ago, particularly the Polk Signa S3 ($250 at Greatest Purchase) and the Vizio V21 ($180 at Greatest Purchase). The bigger sub provides the JBL a powerful dynamic vary, which is most useful with blockbuster motion pictures. What this soundbar lacks in refinement and ambiance, it compensates with pure brawn.
Whereas the JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass is probably not pretty much as good a deal because the Vizio V21, it undoubtedly kicks extra butt. In case you have some additional money on-hand from not going to the flicks any extra, and also you crave that theater thump, this soundbar is the next-best factor.
Small bar, huge sub
Regardless of having the same identify, the JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass is separate from (and does not exchange) the sooner JBL Bar 2.1, and it gives totally different options together with a brand new sub and easier distant management. The principle speaker is small, a popsicle stick-shaped, 28-inch bar clad within the firm’s customary gunmetal gray. It has a set of controls on prime for quantity, energy and supply, and the grill-covered entrance consists of an LED readout which is comparatively simple to grasp, particularly in comparison with Vizio’s.
Whereas some soundbars embrace Chromecast or AirPlay Wi-Fi streaming, the JBL is proscribed to Bluetooth for enjoying music out of your cellphone. It additionally has optical digital, two HDMI inputs (one with ARC) and Dolby Digital decoding. The principle soundbar’s audio system comprise 4 full-range drivers and two 1-inch tweeters.
As you’d guess from the identify, the wi-fi subwoofer is a monster. It is 9 inches sq. and 14.6 inches tall with a rear-mounted port, homes a 6.5-inch driver and appears not in contrast to the brand new Xbox Collection X.
The management scheme is just too bare-bones for my style. The distant has virtually nothing to regulate at first look, simply the subwoofer degree and quantity. There aren’t any conventional sound modes like Film, Music and Voice, which I discover useful on different bars when listening to several types of content material.
You may make one mode change however it’s not simple. The soundbar is about in “good” mode by default, which boasts “wealthy sound results.” To show this mode off it’s important to press and maintain the mute button till “TOGGLE” seems on the show, then press Quantity Up. The show will then learn “OFF SMARTMODE.” Sadly the good mode will interact once more for those who flip the soundbar off, so until you wish to undergo that course of each time you are just about caught with it.
How does it sound?
Audio system are restricted by the legal guidelines of physics — small drivers cannot reproduce the total audio spectrum — so soundbars fill the ensuing gap within the backside midrange in various methods. The JBL compensates by including some presence sparkle to its hefty bass response, which helps increase the intelligibility of dialog in addition to the impression of element.
Whereas the cheaper Vizio V21 has a wider soundstage because of DTS Digital:X encompass processing, it is a a lot smaller speaker bodily and lacks the JBL’s muscularity. The Vizio can ship sound results whizzing round your room, however the JBL trumps it for dwelling theater thrills — and it is all due to the large subwoofer.
In comparison with the Vizio and the Polk, the JBL Deep Bass 2.1 sounded essentially the most thrilling once I watched the Thanator chase from Avatar. The bigger sub was capable of catch extra of the low-frequency results — from the pad of the creature’s footfalls to the light roar of the waterfall — and the jungle got here alive with bugs and working water. Whereas the Vizio was capable of make the jungle appear three dimensional because of Digital:X, it could not match the JBL for the slam inherent on this frenetic scene.
Connectivity consists of two HDMI ports, optical and Bluetooth.
Setup was extra finicky than the Polk and Vizio soundbars because of that bigger sub. The only bass button has three ranges, and I felt that it wanted one other step between medium and excessive as the highest degree was overwhelming. This lack is not a difficulty with motion pictures however turned apparent once I listened to music.
On the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ breakout hit Maps, I used to be unable to get a passable mix between the sub and the ‘bar. The medium setting or above was too boomy and the midrange additionally sounded limp and lackluster. The difficulty additionally different per observe. Transferring from Karen O’s soprano to Nick Cave’s tenor was positive to show the identical downside, I assumed, however the JBL really dealt with Cave’s Purple Proper Hand higher, sounding each balanced and evocative. The bass line was somewhat muffled however distinct from Cave’s vocals whereas some soundbars could smoosh the 2 collectively.
In the event you actually wish to exhibit what the JBL can do with music, pull out a replica of Lifeless Can Dance’s Yulunga (Spirit Dancer). The soundbar delivered the track’s large stereo results, wonderful dynamics and deep, deep bass on the massive drums.
Must you purchase it?
The JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass gives a good approximation of your native cineplex within the consolation of your lounge — no masks required. The shortage of encompass sound (simulated or in any other case) is barely a minor letdown in contrast with absolutely the wallop that its hefty sub can put out. If you need a minimal of fuss, options and setup occasions then, the JBL gives wonderful sound high quality for an affordable value.
First printed Sept. 21.