JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed May 28, 2021 at 10:35 am
JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam Picture
7.2
Mixed Usage
7.2
Dialogue/TV Shows
7.2
Music
7.1
Movies
Channels
5.0

The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam is a compact 5.0 setup from 2021. It comes with JBL MultiBeam Technology, advertised to help create a wider soundstage by bouncing sound off your walls. With its room correction feature, it has a boxy sound profile that adds punch and boom to your mixes but struggles to reproduce a deep low-bass. Also, it supports Virtual Dolby Atmos, meaning that it can only play Atmos content when downmixing it to surround content, which isn't as immersive.

Our Verdict

7.2 Mixed Usage

The JBL Bar 5.0 is decent for mixed usage. With its room correction feature turned on, this soundbar offers a boxy sound profile out-of-the-box, which adds a little extra punch and boom to your audio. However, it struggles to reproduce a thumpy low-bass, so you don't feel the rumble in bass-heavy music and action-packed movies. It supports surround and Dolby Atmos content, but unfortunately, it doesn't offer a very immersive performance.

Pros
  • Bass adjustment feature.
  • Gets pretty loud.
Cons
  • Lacks low-bass.
  • No dialogue enhancement feature.
7.2 Dialogue/TV Shows

The JBL Bar 5.0 is decent for dialogue-centric content like TV shows. Thanks to its dedicated center channel and balanced mid-range, voices are reproduced clearly and accurately. It also offers lots of wireless playback options so you can stream podcasts and audiobooks from your phone to the bar. It comes with an auto-volume mode to help balance the volume level between programs, but unfortunately, it lacks a dialogue enhancement feature.

Pros
  • Auto-volume mode.
Cons
  • No dialogue enhancement feature.
7.2 Music

The JBL Bar 5.0 is decent for music. It comes with a room correction feature called Automatic MultiBeam Calibration that adjusts audio reproduction based on the room you're listening in. With this feature on, it offers a boxy sound profile that adds extra punch and boom to your mixes. However, it struggles to reproduce a deep, thumpy low-bass. There's a bass adjustment feature to help you customize its sound, but it lacks more robust sound customization options.

Pros
  • Bass adjustment feature.
  • Gets pretty loud.
Cons
  • Lacks low-bass.
  • No graphic EQ.
7.1 Movies

The JBL Bar 5.0 is decent for movies. Out-of-the-box, it has a boxy sound profile that adds a little extra punch and boom to your favorite movies. However, it struggles to reproduce low-bass, so you don't feel the deep rumble in action-packed scenes. It supports surround content, but it doesn't offer very impressive performance. Also, it has to downmix Dolby Atmos content into surround, which isn't as immersive.

Pros
  • Bass adjustment feature.
Cons
  • Lacks low-bass.
  • 7.2 Mixed Usage
  • 7.2 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 7.2 Music
  • 7.1 Movies

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The JBL Bar 5.0 is a compact 5.0 setup released in 2021. It comes with JBL MultiBeam technology, which is advertised to help create a wide soundstage by bouncing sound to every corner of your room. Also, it has built-in Virtual Dolby Atmos, so it uses its side-firing and front-firing speakers instead of dedicated Atmos drivers to play height content. Its main competitors include the Sonos Beam, the JBL Bar 5.1 Surround, and the Bose Solo 5.

Design
Design
Style - Bar

This soundbar has a simple, sleek design. The top of the bar is of metal, and there are two metal grilles on each side. Also, metal grilles wrap around the front and sides of the bar. The bottom is of plastic.

Design
Style - Subwoofer
Design
Style - Satellites
Design
Dimensions - Bar
Width 28.0" (71.0 cm)
Height 2.3" (5.8 cm)
Depth 4.0" (10.2 cm)

The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam has a very compact design, so it should easily fit between the legs of a 55" TV stand. Also, it isn't very tall, so it shouldn't block your TV screen unless your TV sits flush on the table.

Design
Dimensions - Subwoofer
Width N/A
Height N/A
Depth N/A
Design
Dimensions - Satellites
Width N/A
Height N/A
Depth N/A
Design
Back - Bar
Bar Mounting
Universal (holes on underside)

The back of the bar has an opening for the inputs and the power cable. There are also universal holes on its underside in case you want to wall-mount it.

Design
Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
No Subwoofer
Design
Back - Satellites
Mounting
No
8.0
Design
Build Quality

The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam has a great build quality. The metal grilles help to protect the drivers inside. The metal on top of the bar feels very sturdy, and the plastic bottom feels solid, too.

Design
In The Box
HDMI Cable Length
1.2 m (3.9 ft)
Digital Optical Cable Length
N/A

  • Quick Start guide
  • Mounting brackets with screws, collars and template
  • Remote with batteries (2x AAA)
  • Power cable
  • HDMI cable

Sound
7.0
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
Tested Preset
Standard
Slope
-1.07
Std. Err.
3.38 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
51.9 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
15.6 kHz

The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam has a decent stereo frequency response. With its Automatic MultiBeam Calibration room correction feature turned on, it has a slightly boxy sound profile that adds extra punch and boom to your audio. However, it struggles to reproduce a deep low-bass, disappointing if you like thumpy music like EDM or hip-hop and action-packed movies. It comes with a bass adjustment feature and some EQ presets to help you customize its sound.

Note: This soundbar's default bass setting is '3'. During our testing for stereo files, we turned SMART Mode Off. Stereo content played from the two front channels as well as both side surrounds.

7.0
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response With Preliminary Calibration
Suggested Preset
Standard
Suggested Bass Setting
1
Suggested Treble Setting
N/A
Slope
0.18
Std. Err.
3.07 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
55.0 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
15.6 kHz

With calibration, the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam has a decent stereo frequency response. With its bass set to '1', it offers a more neutral, balanced sound profile suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content. However, it still struggles to reproduce a thumpy low-bass, so you don't feel the deep rumble in action-packed scenes.

7.0
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
2.83 dB

The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam Soundbar has a decent stereo soundstage performance. The soundstage is perceived to be a bit wider than the bar itself, but the bar isn't wide to begin with. Its focus is okay, so objects in the soundstage like voices and footsteps seem to come from a more general area rather than a pinpoint location.

7.6
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
91.9 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
1.57 dB

The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam Soundbar has good dynamics. It can get pretty loud, though not quite as loud as some of the other bars we've tested, like the Sonos Arc. There isn't too much compression present when you play it at max volume, which is handy if you like to turn up the volume for parties.

8.0
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.32
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.33

The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam has an impressive THD performance. At normal listening volumes, distortion falls within good limits, resulting in clean and pure audio reproduction. There's a slight jump in distortion when you push the bar to max volume, but this may not be too noticeable with real-life content.

8.2
Sound
Center
Localization
Discrete
Slope
-0.30
Std. Err.
2.96 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
88.9 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.24
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.11

The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam has a great center channel performance. This 5.0 setup comes with a discrete center channel, which helps reproduce dialogue more clearly and accurately. It struggles to reproduce low-bass, but this shouldn't be too noticeable since there generally isn't much bass in audio content played on the center channel.

6.0
Sound
Surround 5.1
Localization
Phantom (Front Firing and Side Firing, Bar)
Slope
-0.77
Std. Err.
3.80 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
89.7 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
1.11
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
2.36
7.1 Rears
No

The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam has a mediocre surrounds performance. It uses its front and side-firing speakers to create a phantom localization. However, this doesn't sound as clear and real as discrete surround setups, so objects in the soundstage like voices and footsteps aren't as clearly or accurately represented. Audio seems like it's coming from in front of you rather than from speakers placed all around you.

Note: During our testing for surround files, we turned SMART Mode on and Dolby Atmos off. Surround content played from the side-firing drivers as well as the two front-firing drivers.

5.2
Sound
Height (Atmos)
Localization
Surround (Downmix)
Slope
-1.81
Std. Err.
5.25 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
84.5 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
1.66
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.01

The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam Soundbar has a disappointing Atmos performance. This soundbar doesn't come with dedicated Atmos drivers. Instead, it plays Atmos content from its side and front-firing channels using Dolby Atmos Virtual technology. Since it has to downmix Atmos content into surround to play it, it doesn't sound as clear or real as a discrete setup.

4.5
Sound
Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
Yes
Dialogue Enhancement
No
Auto-Volume/Night Mode
Yes
Subwoofer Level Adjustment
No
Bass Adjustment
Yes
Treble Adjustment
No
EQ
Presets
Surround Level Adjustment
No
Rear Level Adjustment
No
Height Level Adjustment
No
Virtual Surround
Yes

The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam has a poor selection of sound enhancement features. It comes with an Automatic MultiBeam Calibration room correction feature, which automatically optimizes audio reproduction based on the unique acoustic characteristics of your room. You can also choose between the two EQ presets, SMART Mode On and Off. The manufacturer recommends that you turn SMART Mode Off when listening to TV programs to reduce sound effects. Turning SMART Mode On enables the JBL Surround Sound feature, which is advertised to help create a more three-dimensional sound. Though it isn't in the manual, you can also press the MUTE button for two seconds, followed by the - button to activate auto-volume mode. There's also a Sync feature to help reduce latency with videos, though we don't test for this.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Physical Inputs - Bar
Optical Audio In
1
HDMI ARC
1 (shared)
HDMI Out
1 (shared)
Full HDMI In
1
Analog Audio In 3.5mm (Aux)
No
RCA In
No
USB for Files
1
Ethernet
1

The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam Soundbar comes with some physical inputs. There's a Full HDMI In port, so you can use the bar as a hub between different devices. Also, the US version of this soundbar comes with a USB port for audio playback. International versions of the bar come with a USB port, but it's only for servicing the bar.

8.8
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - ARC
eARC
Yes
Dolby Atmos
Yes
Dolby Digital
Yes
Dolby Digital Plus
Yes
DTS
No
DTS:X (eARC only)
No
Dolby TrueHD (eARC only)
Yes
DTS-HD MA (eARC only)
No
5.1 PCM (eARC only)
Yes

The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam has excellent audio format support via ARC. It supports Dolby Digital, which is the most common surround sound format. It also supports some object-based formats, like Dolby Atmos.

8.7
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Full HDMI In
Dolby Atmos
Yes
DTS:X
No
Dolby Digital
Yes
Dolby Digital Plus
Yes
DTS
No
Dolby TrueHD
Yes
DTS-HD MA
No
5.1 PCM
Yes

The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam has amazing audio format support via Full HDMI In. It supports Dolby Digital, which is commonly found on Blu-ray discs and streaming platforms.

6.0
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Optical
Dolby Digital
Yes
DTS
No

The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam can play Dolby Digital via Optical. You can find this format on most streaming services and some Blu-ray discs. Unfortunately, it doesn't support DTS content, which is even more common on Blu-ray.

9.5
Connectivity
Latency
ARC
-19 ms
Optical
-7 ms
Full HDMI In
27 ms

The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam Soundbar has an incredible latency performance. It has low latency over its ARC, Optical, and Full HDMI In ports, so video and audio are in sync. As a result, it's suitable for watching videos and movies over these connections. However, some apps and TVs compensate for latency differently, so your real-world experience may vary.

10
Connectivity
Wireless Playback
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
Yes
Chromecast built-in
Yes
Apple AirPlay
Yes

The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam has fantastic wireless playback connectivity. You can stream audio from your mobile devices to the bar wirelessly over all the formats we test for.

Connectivity
Other Input Specifications
4k @ 60 Hz Passthrough
Yes
4k @ 60 Hz @ 10 bit Passthrough
Yes
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4 Passthrough
Yes
HDR10 Passthrough
Yes

The JBL Bar 5.0 can passthrough the highest bandwidth signals. When you connect the bar to your TV and your PC, text on the screen appears crisp and clear.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
No
Connectivity
Connectivity - Satellites
Sat Wireless
No
Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
Yes

There's a four-character display on the right side of the bar. It displays the volume level, firmware, and the input you're on. However, you may have to wait for it to scroll through longer words.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

On top of the bar, there are some physical buttons. You can power the bar on/off, adjust the volume, and change the input source.

Additional Features
Remote
Universal Remote
No

The remote is simple and lets you control all of the bar's functions. However, it isn't a universal remote, so you can't use it to control your TV.

Additional Features
Voice Assistants Support
Amazon Alexa
No
Google Assistant
No
Apple Siri
No

The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam doesn't have built-in voice assistant support. According to the manufacturer, it supports voice assistants when you connect a third-party device like a Google Home to the bar. Since this requires a separate purchase, we don't test for it.

Additional Features
App
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
Acts As A Remote
No
Controls Soundbar's Settings
No
Casts Device Files
No

This soundbar doesn't have a dedicated companion app. However, you can use the Google Home app to set up the bar and connect it to Wi-Fi. It lets you control the volume level and cast audio files, but that's it.

Additional Features
Other Features
Power Saving
Standby
HDMI CEC (TV Remote Control)
Yes

The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam Soundbar enters standby mode after ten minutes of inactivity. Also, it supports HDMI CEC, so you can use your TV remote to control some of its basic functions.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam comes in 'Black', and you can see the label for the model we tested here.

If you come across another version of this soundbar, let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Soundbars

The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam is a 5.0 soundbar that supports Virtual Dolby Atmos, so it has to downmix Atmos content into surrounds to play it. It has a boxy sound profile out-of-the-box, and it comes with an Automatic MultiBeam Calibration room correction feature. It also offers lots of wireless playback support.

See our recommendations for the best soundbars, the best small soundbars, and the best soundbars under $500.

Sonos Beam

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Sonos Beam or the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam. The Sonos is a 3.0 setup with a better soundstage performance and a more balanced sound profile out-of-the-box. Also, it has a dialogue enhancement feature. However, the 5.0 JBL is better for movies, as it offers better Atmos and surround performances. It also comes with a Full HDMI In port and more wireless playback options.

Sonos Arc

The Sonos Arc is a better soundbar than the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam. The Sonos has a better soundstage performance, and thanks to its two up-firing speakers, it also has a better Atmos performance. You can even upgrade it as the Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers. However, the JBL is more compact and comes with some EQ presets and a Full HDMI In port.

JBL Bar 5.1 Surround

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the JBL Bar 5.1 Surround or the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam. The 5.1 Surround comes with a dedicated subwoofer, so it can reproduce a much more extended low-bass. The 5.0 MultiBeam has a more compact design, as well as better soundstage and Atmos performances.

Bose Smart Soundbar 300

The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam is a better soundbar than the Bose Smart Soundbar 300. The JBL is a 5.0 setup with a better surrounds performance and Atmos support. It comes with a room correction feature, EQ presets, and a Full HDMI In port, too. That said, the 3.0 Bose has a better soundstage performance.

Sony HT-X8500

The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam is a better soundbar than the Sony HT-X8500. The JBL is better-built, with a room correction feature. It also has better center, surround, Atmos, and soundstage performances.

Denon Home Sound Bar 550

The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam is a better soundbar than the Denon Home Sound Bar 550. The JBL is a 5.0 setup that offers a discrete center channel to help reproduce dialogue more clearly. It also gets louder and comes with a room correction feature. However, the 4.0 Denon comes with a dialogue enhancement feature, and it has a better Atmos performance.

Sony HT-G700

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Sony HT-G700 or the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam. The Sony is a 3.1 setup with a dedicated subwoofer that reproduces a more extended low-bass. It also comes with a dialogue enhancement feature. However, the JBL is a 5.0 setup that's better-built, with better soundstage, Atmos, and surround performances. It also comes with a room correction feature.

Samsung HW-S60A

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Samsung HW-S60A or the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam. The Samsung offers a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box, which some users may prefer. It has a better soundstage performance and a graphic EQ for sound customization, too. However, the JBL supports Atmos content. Also, it comes with a room correction feature, a Full HDMI In port, and supports more wireless playback options.

Harman/Kardon Enchant 1300

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Harman/Kardon Enchant 1300 or the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam. The Harman/Kardon has a better soundstage performance, and it gets louder. However, the JBL supports Atmos content, and it also has more wireless playback options.

Bose Solo 5

The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam is a better soundbar than the Bose Solo 5. The JBL is better built, and it's a 5.0 soundbar with a discrete center channel that supports Dolby Atmos. It also has better soundstage and surround performances, and it gets louder. Also, it comes with a room correction feature, more physical inputs, and more wireless playback support.

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