Ty Pendlebury/Proinertech

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, nicely, just about each different speaker lately. As a substitute it simply sounds good — largely due to, you guessed it, deep bass.

Like

Dynamic and detailed film soundLarge subwoofer goes deepTwo HDMI ports add flexibility

Do not Like

Not 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, specifically the Polk Signa S3 ($250 at Finest Purchase) and the Vizio V21 ($180 at Finest 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 might not be pretty much as good a deal because the Vizio V21, it undoubtedly kicks extra butt. If 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 an identical identify, the JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass is separate from (and would not substitute) the sooner JBL Bar 2.1, and it affords totally different options together with a brand new sub and less complicated 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 contains an LED readout which is comparatively straightforward to grasp, particularly in comparison with Vizio’s.

Ty Pendlebury/Proinertech

Whereas some soundbars embrace Chromecast or AirPlay Wi-Fi streaming, the JBL is proscribed to Bluetooth for enjoying music out of your telephone. 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 Sequence X. 

The management scheme is just too bare-bones for my style. The distant has nearly nothing to regulate at first look, simply the subwoofer stage and quantity. There aren’t any conventional sound modes like Film, Music and Voice, which I discover useful on different bars when listening to various kinds of content material. 

You may make one mode change nevertheless it’s not straightforward. The soundbar is ready in “good” mode by default, which boasts “wealthy sound results.” To show this mode off  you need 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 have interaction once more for those who flip the soundbar off, so until you need 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 numerous methods. The JBL compensates by including some presence sparkle to its hefty bass response, which helps enhance 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 residence theater thrills — and it is all due to the massive subwoofer. 

In comparison with the Vizio and the Polk, the JBL Deep Bass 2.1 sounded essentially the most thrilling after I watched the Thanator chase from Avatar. The bigger sub was in a position to catch extra of the low-frequency results — from the pad of the creature’s footfalls to the mild roar of the waterfall — and the jungle got here alive with bugs and operating water.  Whereas the Vizio was in a position to 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 contains two HDMI ports, optical and Bluetooth.

Ty Pendlebury/Proinertech

Setup was extra finicky than the Polk and Vizio soundbars resulting from that bigger sub. The one bass button has three ranges, and I felt that it wanted one other step between medium and excessive as the highest stage was overwhelming. This lack is not a problem with motion pictures however turned apparent after 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 problem additionally diverse per observe. Shifting from Karen O’s soprano to Nick Cave’s tenor was positive to reveal the identical drawback, I assumed, however the JBL really dealt with Cave’s Purple Proper Hand higher, sounding each balanced and evocative. The bass line was slightly muffled however distinct from Cave’s vocals whereas some soundbars could smoosh the 2 collectively.

If you happen to actually need to showcase what the JBL can do with music, pull out a duplicate of Lifeless Can Dance’s Yulunga (Spirit Dancer). The soundbar delivered the track’s vast stereo results, wonderful dynamics and deep, deep bass on the big drums.

Must you purchase it?

The JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass affords a good approximation of your native cineplex within the consolation of your front room — no masks required. The dearth of encompass sound (simulated or in any other case) is simply a minor letdown in contrast with absolutely the wallop that its hefty sub can put out. If you’d like a minimal of fuss, options and setup occasions then, the JBL affords wonderful sound high quality for an affordable value.

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