With its 10 inch down-firing subwoofer, clearly the biggest in this test and in its price range, the JBL Bar 3.1 is not to be overlooked.
The soundbar not only has one but three HDMI inputs, which all support HDCP 2.2 and thereby 4K-video from Blu-Ray. It has a large and clear display in the front, and the remote control feels good to handle.
In Movie sound mode, the soundscape is rendered large enough giving a certain impression of surround sound. But more importantly, movie sound is very powerful and doesn’t compromise the rendition of dialogue and film music. However, it does not have the sophisticated overtones as the Samsung HW-N660, but it more than makes up for that with bass power, which no other soundbar is able to match. This also benefits the music. Rhythmic music especially is rendered with dynamics that no other soundbar can beat. This is the most powerful soundbar we’ve heard in its price range. It also sounds pretty good, if you ignore the slightly grainy overtone area which does not do delicate music any favors. In brief, this is what Klipsch RSB-6 wants to be. Does it help with the gaming experience? You bet!
The bass in the JBL Bar 3.1 is in a league of its own, and it provides an additional thrill to movies and games. You can play music loudly, and it also sounds rather good. When usability also is top notch, there is no other soundbar we would recommend if you are looking for something like a home cinema from a soundbar. With Bar 3.1, JBL fulfills so many of the items on the checklist, that it is quite unique in its price range.
There are those with a little more sophistication, but none that comes close to this kind of power.
Also in this test
Does not follow up
A masculine expression and rugged sound does not have the power to follow up, and Klipsch lands at the bottom.
Let the sound flow
The soundbar from LG is one of the most affordable with built-in network features and streaming of music services. It also sounds good.
The soundbar from Samsung has a beautiful coherence in the tones, which makes both movies and music a pleasant experience.
Small and half-hearted
The small soundbar from Panasonic sounds bigger and more powerful than you might think. But it has a few issues.
Creative Sound BlasterX Katana
Creative’s soundbar is for gamers and the only one in the test with USB inputs that replaces the sound card in PCs and Macs.
Surprisingly huge sound
Yamaha was first on the market with active soundbars. This is their first with DTS Virtual:X surround sound.
Philips Fidelio B1/12
Better on TV than music
This is one of the smallest soundbars on the market. It sounds bigger than it looks, but has its shortcomings.
Extra dimension in height
Sony’s soundbar simulates both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X in height, thus giving an extra dimension to the soundscape. Yes, it works.