JBL Bar 1300X Review: A Rechargeable Home Theater

You’ve acquired to hand it to JBL. When it involves design innovation, the storied audio model actually goes for it. Nowhere is that extra apparent than in its dear new flagship soundbar, the shapeshifting Bar 1300X. The system consists of 11.1.4 channels of burly Dolby Atmos sound, in addition to discrete encompass audio system that magnetically join and detach from the principle bar like Star Trek shuttlecraft. Unique to JBL soundbars, the intriguing design permits for a number of sound configurations, in addition to absolutely wi-fi surrounds—no shops required.

The upshot is a cleaner encompass setup than rivals from Samsung, Sonos, and pretty much anyone else, all of which require energy cables for his or her “wireless” encompass audio system. But you’re nonetheless buying and selling wires for batteries; the audio system should return to the mom ship each 12 hours to juice up. So except you’ve acquired a completely open ground plan, I’m unsure the Bar 1300X actually solutions the query of whether or not going absolutely wi-fi confers a definite benefit over shopping for a low-profile extension wire.

One factor that’s not in query is simply how improbable this method is at bombarding your room with thrilling Dolby Atmos sound. In the handfuls of soundbars I’ve auditioned, solely a small few can compete with the Bar 1300X on this division. The system is dear and gained’t be for everybody, however in case you’re on the lookout for a unique approach to load up severe cinematic immersion, JBL’s Bar 1300X could possibly be your ticket.

IKEA With an App

The Bar 1300X’s setup and controls are just a little difficult at first, partly as a result of its whacky design and partly as a result of it doesn’t include a full proprietor’s handbook. After we reached out to JBL, the corporate added the latter to the web site for obtain, which ought to assist with among the extra sophisticated particulars.

Once you’ve fished the huge sub and bar from the Tetris-shaped field, it’s easy sufficient to connect with your TV over HDMI ARC/eARC with the included cable, and there’s an ample suite of inputs, together with three spare HDMI ports. But the near-wordless quickstart information does its finest impression of directions for a Kullen or Hemnes or different Ikea dresser, which might result in some confusion. It took me a while to comprehend that you should take away the inconspicuous finish caps (which aren’t at all times pictured) earlier than attaching the breakaway audio system.

The JBL One app walks you thru fundamentals like Wi-Fi connection and the two-step calibration course of that locks in sound. This is vital as a result of, in contrast to any variety of opponents, the Bar 1300X affords zero sound modes or presets. There’s additionally no approach to regulate the middle channel, select between stereo or encompass virtualization, or regulate the precise/left surrounds independently.

You do get a few EQ choices and the power to boost and decrease the quantity of the peak channels. You may also regulate the surrounds, however there are solely three ranges of management there. Given all that, the Bar 1300X does a exceptional job of adjusting to your room for immersive, comparatively well-balanced sound. After braving the setup, less-experienced customers might discover the principally plug-and-play controls simpler than these of extra conventional residence theater fare.

There are a number of different methods to tinker, like including streaming providers within the app to associate with choices like Spotify Connect, AirPlay 2, and Chromecast. You may also join the system to different JBL merchandise and entry a number of good options through Google Assistant and Alexa with the assistance of a secondary smart speaker.

Excellent Dolby Atmos

Photograph: JBL

Like most bars at this worth, the Bar 1300X is positively loaded with audio system—together with six racetrack drivers and 5 tweeters within the bar alone—to bounce sound ahead and to the perimeters. But JBL additionally provides two secret weapons that assist the system submerge your listening room in a sound twister.

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