JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass keeps things simple. It is a singleAnd wireless subwoofer combo with Bluetooth streaming. There is no fancy video like Or is flawed , Like any multiroom audio , Like built-in Alexa or Google Assistant, well, pretty much every other These days. Instead it just sounds good – because in large part, you guessed it, deep bass.
JBL is more bombarded in your TV viewing than its either-or-at-least $ 300 competition, which I recently reviewed, titled Polk Cigna S3 ($ 250 at Best Buy) And visio v21 ($ 180 at Best Buy). The larger sub JBL gives an impressive dynamic range, which is most helpful with blockbuster movies. This soundbar lacks refinement and ambience, it compensates with pure controversy.
Although the JBL Bar 2.1 may not be a good deal like the Deep Bass Vijeo V21, it definitely kicks more butt. If you have some extra cash from not going to the movies, and you crave the theater thump, this soundbar is the next best thing.
Small bar, big sub
Despite being a similar name, the JBL bar is 2.1 deep bassThe former JBL Bar 2.1, and it offers various features including a new sub and simple remote control. The main speaker is small, shaped like a popsicle stick, a 28-inch strip in the company’s customary gunmetal gray. It has a set of controls at the top for volume, power and source, and the grille-covered front includes an LED readout that is relatively easy to understand, especially compared to the Vizio.
While some soundbars include Chromecast or AirPlay, JBL is limited to Bluetooth to play music from your phone. It has optical digital, two HDMI inputs (with one) ) And Dolby digital decoding. The main soundbar’s speakers include four full-range drivers and two 1-inch tweeters.
As you guess from the name, the wireless subwoofer is a monster. It is 9 inches square and 14.6 inches long with a rear-mounted port, a 6.5-inch driver and is not unlike the new.
Control plan very Bare bones for my taste. The remote has almost nothing to adjust at first glance, just the subwoofer level and volume. There are no traditional sound modes such as movie, music and voice, which I find helpful at other times when listening to different types of content.
You can make a mode change but it is not easy. The soundbar is set to “smart” mode by default, which boasts “rich sound effects”. To turn off this mode you have to press and hold the mute button until “TOGGLE” appears on the display, then press the volume up. The display will then read “OFF SMARTMODE”. If you turn the soundbar off, unfortunately Smart Mode will re-engage, so you don’t stick to it too much until you want to go through that process every time.
How does it feel
Speakers are limited by the laws of physics – small conductors cannot reproduce the full audio spectrum – so soundbars fill the resulting holes in the bottom middle in many ways. JBL replenished some of the appearance by its superb bass response to its sound, which helps to increase the intelligibility of the dialogue as well as the detail impression.
While the cheaper Vizio V21 has a wider soundstage for DTS Virtual: X surround processing, it is physically a much smaller speaker and lacks the JBL’s muscularity. The Vizio can send sound effects around your room by whistling, but JBL trumps it for home theater – and all of this due to the larger subwoofer.
Compared to Vizio and Polk, JBL Deep Bass 2.1 was most thrilled when I followed Avatar to Thanetor. The larger sub was able to catch more of the low frequency effects – from the pad of the creature’s feet to the gentle roar of the waterfall – and the woods came alive with insects and running water. Although Vizio was able to make Jungle seem three dimensional thanks to the virtual: X, it could not match JBL for the slam contained in this frantic scene.
The setup was more granular than the Polk and Vizio soundbars because of that large sub. The single base button has three levels, and I felt it needed one more step between medium and high because the top level was heavier. This deficiency is not a problem with movies but it becomes apparent when I listen to music.
On the breakout hit maps of Yes Yes Yes, I was unable to get a satisfactory mix between sub and ‘bar. The middle setting or above was also boring and midrange felt lame and lacking. The issue was also varied per track. The move from Karen O’s soprano to Nick Kew’s tenor was sure to expose the same problem, I thought, but JBL actually handled Cave’s Red Right Hand better, which seemed both balanced and developed. The bass line was slightly muffled but different from the tone of the cave while some soundbars can smooch the two together.
If you really want to show what JBL can do with music, take out a copy of Yulunga (Spirit Dancer) of Dead Can Dance. The soundbar delivered the song’s broad stereo effects, excellent dynamics and deep, deep bass on the big drums.
Should you buy it
The JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Base provides a good approximation of your local cineplex in the comfort of your living room – no masks required. The lack of surround sound (simulated or otherwise) is only a minor lethargy compared with the full wall that its heavy sub can be excluded. If you want minimal fuss, features and setup time, JBL offers excellent sound quality for a reasonable price.
First published 21 September.