We all know that gaming with a headset is the best way to experience a game's audio, but what if you don't want to wear a headset? TV audio is terrible and there's a lot you miss out on, but how much better are soundbars and can they really justify the $$ outlay? Well this is the very reason when I was offered the chance to review the JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam soundbar. I wanted to find out for myself.
Here's a full rundown of the specs this thing has:
Total Speaker Output
Soundbar Output Power
5 x 50W
5 x 48mm x 80mm racetrack drivers + 4 x 3 inches(75mm) Passive Radiators
100 - 240V AV, ~ 50/60hz
50hz - 20KHz
MPEG 1 Layer 2/3, MPEG 2 Layer 3, MPEG 2.5 Layer 3 (USA only), Dolby Atmos, PCM
HDMI HDCP version
Smart Home Ecosystem
Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Airplay
Wi-Fi 5 (802.11 ac)
Dimensions (W x H x D)
709 x 58 x 101mm
And here's the full rundown of what this thing does according to JBL
Let's cut to the chase, the JBL bar 5.0 Multibeam has been absolutely life changing for me honestly, I didn't think I needed a soundbar until I had one. Whether it be for standard TV, Movies or Gaming, the Multibeam is incredible. Don't get me wrong, I'm not here to tell you that the JBL multibeam is the best soundbar on the market, because I'm sure its not, but as someone with very little experience with soundbars, the difference it made to my particular setup is absolutely night and day to what my TV puts out.
Straight out of the box the JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam is a very classy looking unit, with a plain gun metal grey finish and nothing but a JBL logo on top and a button panel consisting of 4 buttons. Power, volume up, volume down and input, otherwise it's just that plain design with very little distractions other than the LED display on the front that only lights up when you press a button.
Set up was easy, I literally plugged it in via HDMI to my TV and away I went. No extra steps, no nothing. The provided remote controls everything from there with very minimal buttons which makes everything super easy to control. However some sort of backlight would be useful especially when using it in a dark room as the buttons all feel the same so until you learn which is which you often press the wrong button.
In terms of sound quality, this is where the JBL Bar 5.0 has absolutely transformed my gaming experience and to be honest my Netflix experience too. Honestly, I thought my TV’s audio was decent, but it was not. Not by a long shot! It's not until I switched between the in-built audio and the audio of the soundbar. My original audio is extremely tinny compared to the amazing audio quality of the JBL Bar 5.0, which is extremely rich and bass-y and with Atmos turned on, it honestly sounds like you're in a movie theatre. Essentially, it sounds almost like I am wearing a set of high end gaming headphones without the need to have something on my head. I don't quite understand the science behind how, but it does an excellent job of simulating spatial audio. Probably not on the level you would need for competitive gaming such as COD, but when playing Dying Light 2 for example I can hear when a zombie is about to sneak up behind me and really get a good sense of which direction it's coming from. Another way in which the JBL 5.0 absolutely changes my gaming experience is in games like Resident Evil Village, where it does a truly amazing job at helping to built that atmosphere, bumps and creaks fill the room and really put you in the middle of the action. Its truly quite special how it all comes together.
I have very little experience with soundbars, so I am not sure what other soundbars on the market are like. However, all I can do is tell you of my experience, and this little unit has absolutely transformed the way I watch movies and play my games, which, considering how small its footprint is, is truly phenomenal. The best part is, the volume is capable of getting all the way up to 31 and I am yet to get it past 13 so I can only imagine how good this thing would sound cranked right up watching a big action movie. If you're looking for a soundbar, please give the JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam a look, because JBL are extremely reliable when it comes to audio.
The JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam is also the perfect Bluetooth speaker for around the home. A BIG step up over regular Bluetooth speakers this device allows you to share audio from any Bluetooth device such as mobile phone or tablet and even has built in Chromecast, Alexa and Airplay for ease of sharing content throughout your house.
Overall, if you're looking to upgrade your TV's in built audio then look no further than the JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam. It has honestly completely changed the way I consume both games and TV & Movies. It means that I no longer have to wear headphones all the time when playing single player games and means that Movies and TV are much more enjoyable to listen to. Whatever it is you're wanting to watch, the JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam will without a doubt change your life.