JBL Bar 1300: supercharged cinema sound!

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Mis à jour le 10 March 2023.

JBL Bar 1300: accessories
Accompanied by a wireless subwoofer and rechargeable surround speakers, the JBL Bar 1300 benefits from a total amplification power of 1,170 watts to reproduce Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks.

The JBL Bar 1300 comes with a wireless subwoofer and two detachable and rechargeable surround speakers. This 11.1.4 channel and 1,170-watt home theater system supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X audio formats. The JBL Bar 1300 is equipped with three 4K HDMI (eARC) inputs and a 4K HDMI output, as well as an optical input. It can also stream music wirelessly via AirPlay 2, Alexa MultiRoom Music, Chromecast and Bluetooth.

Available for €1,499, can the JBL Bar 1300 provide a true 3D surround sound like that of an AV receiver and speaker system?

JBL Bar 1300: packaging & accessories

JBL Bar 1300: packaging
The JBL Bar 1300 soundbar, subwoofer, surround speakers and accessories are all packed inside a single, rather bulky box.

The box contains the JBL Bar 1300, two wireless detachable surround speakers and wireless subwoofer. The manufacturer also includes a remote control with batteries, power cables for the bar and sub, and a basic HDMI cable.

JBL Bar 1300: accessories
The manufacturer includes an IR remote control and batteries, two power cables and an HDMI cable with the JBL Bar 1300, as well as the accessories to mount the bar and speakers on a wall.

There are also two L-shaped wall brackets for the soundbar and two U-shaped wall brackets for the surround speakers. Two covers also allow the sides of the soundbar to be covered when the surround speakers are detached.

JBL Bar 1300: presentation

The JBL Bar 1300 is the most powerful JBL soundbar in the American manufacturer’s catalog. Heir to the JBL Bar 5.1, it also has detachable and rechargeable surround speakers. Like the soundbar, these speakers are now equipped with vertical effect drivers to create a 3D sound bubble around the listeners.

JBL Bar 1300 : détails
Each end of the JBL Bar 1300 has connectors to charge the removable surround speakers when they are clipped onto the soundbar. The system can be used while charging, but without surround spatialization.

The proprietary JBL Multibeam technology diffuses the sound towards the viewers, but also to the sides and upwards. The reflection of different sound beams on the walls and ceiling ensures a three-dimensional spatialization of the soundtrack. In addition, JBL has equipped this soundbar with an automatic sound calibration feature. This guarantees convincing 3D sound effects, regardless of the room’s configuration.

We are therefore in the presence of an 11.1.4 channel home theater system, with truly wireless surround speakers. These speakers are equipped with a battery offering up to ten hours of autonomy. The amplification totals 1,170 watts of power: 650 watts for the soundbar, 300 watts for the subwoofer and 110 watts for each of the surround speakers.

JBL Bar 1300: design
The JBL Bar 1300 is a genuine 11.1.4 channel home theater system with a total amplification power of 1,170 watts, with 650 watts to power the soundbar’s 15 drivers.

The JBL soundbar is equipped with an impressive 15 drivers: six full-range drivers and three tweeters for the front channels, two tweeters and two full-range drivers for the lateral effects and two full-range drivers for the front vertical effects.

JBL Bar 1300: side tweeter
The manufacturer provides two covers for the soundbar when the surround speakers are detached. They are equipped with a perforated metal grille to let the sound emitted by the lateral tweeters placed at the ends of the soundbar pass through.

The surround speakers feature a full-range driver and a tweeter for the rear surround effects, another full-range driver for the rear vertical effects and two passive radiators for more bass.

JBL Bar 1300: removeable and rechargeable surround speaker
Despite their small size (20.2 x 6 x 13.9cm), the JBL Bar 1300’s surround speakers are equipped with three drivers and two passive radiators.

The subwoofer has a 10” driver. It is down-firing to deliver the bass evenly in all directions using the ground effect.

The JBL Bar 1300 can therefore reproduce the Dolby Atmos and DTS:X audio tracks found on Blu-rays and streaming services. To enjoy these soundtracks, you can simply connect a 4K Blu-ray player, a network media player, a game console or a set-top box to one of the three 4K HDR compatible HDMI inputs. Once connected to the HDMI eARC input of a TV, its eARC compatible HDMI output allows you to transfer the image of the sources (Blu-ray, DVD, console, set-top box…) to the TV and transfer the sound of the TV (DTTV, streaming applications…) to the soundbar, including in Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. To transmit sound from an older TV that does not support ARC/eARC, it is possible to use an optical cable (not included) to connect it to the soundbar.

JBL Bar 1300: connectors
The JBL Bar 1300’s connectors include three 4K HDR HDMI inputs, an ARC/eARC compatible 4K HDR HDMI output, an optical input, an Ethernet port and a powered USB port.

The JBL Bar 1300 soundbar also features WiFi and Bluetooth wireless connectivity. WiFi opens the doors to wireless audio streaming via AirPlay, Alexa Multiroom Music (MRM) and Chromecast protocols from any compatible audio source. 

Bluetooth allows you to stream music wirelessly to the soundbar, but most importantly, to use the two surround speakers as portable Bluetooth speakers. Each can be used independently, with the possibility of pairing them to provide stereo sound.

JBL Bar 1300: remote control
The infrared remote control that comes with the JBL Bar 1300 is compact and intuitive.

To make the JBL Bar 1300 soundbar easy to use, the manufacturer includes a remote control for the main functions. The JBL One app, which can be downloaded onto iOS and Android smartphones, offers the same features. It also lets you set up the soundbar, personalize the settings and access several online music services.

JBL Bar 1300: JBL One app
The JBL One app provides control of all the functions of the JBL Bar 1300 soundbar, allows you to carry out a calibration process and also provides access to several online music services.

JBL Bar 1300: key specifications

  • 11.1.4 channel audio system
  • Automatic calibration
  • 1,170 watts total power
  • Dolby Atmos and DTS:X decoding
  • HDR10 and Dolby Vision
  • 4K HDR HDMI (eARC): 3 inputs/1 output
  • Bluetooth, WiFi, AirPlay, Chromecast, Alexa Multiroom
  • Wireless battery-powered surround speakers (10h autonomy)

JBL Bar 1300: listening conditions

We paired the JBL Bar 1300 to the LG 24LX3 OLED gaming screen via an HDMI eARC connection and an Audioquest Cinnamon HDMI cable. Connected to one of the soundbar’s HDMI inputs, the Pioneer UDP-LX500 4K Blu-ray player allowed us to play several 4K HDR Blu-ray movies with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X audio tracks. We also watched a few series on Prime Video directly from the LG 42LX3’s webOS interface.

JBL Bar 1300
For this review, we connected the JBL Bar 1300 soundbar to the LG 42LX3, a 42” (106cm) OLED television. Both devices were powered by a filtered socket on the Taga Harmony PF-2000 power strip.

JBL Bar 1300: our impressions

The JBL Bar 1300 benefits from a robust and meticulous build. The materials used are of high quality and the finish is impeccable.

The installation and set up only takes a few minutes. The soundbar and subwoofer are automatically paired when the power is turned on. The first time you use the soundbar, you must manually pair it with the surround speakers, after which the pairing is done automatically the next time you use the soundbar. Automatic calibration takes just a few minutes from a smartphone using the JBL One app.

JBL Bar 1300: calibration step 1
The first calibration step involves placing the two surround speakers in the listeners’ positions for a first set of measurements.
JBL Bar 1300: calibration step 2
The second step is to place the speakers in their final location for a second set of measurements. Then, the speakers must be precisely directed towards the listeners.

The TV connected to the soundbar via HDMI ARC is automatically detected. When the ARC function is activated on the TV, the JBL turns on to begin playback when the TV is turned on.

JBL Bar 1300: surround speaker
Although they are compact and discreet, the JBL Bar 1300’s wireless surround speakers effectively reproduced the rear, lateral and vertical surround effects of soundtracks.

For home theater, the spatialization provided by the JBL Bar 1300 impressed us. The front soundstage was very wide and the surround sound effects produced by the wireless speakers were precise, both when streaming The Last of Us and watch movies on Blu-ray. 

JBL Bar 1300: Saving Private Ryan Dolby Atmos
The Normandy landing scene allowed us to evaluate the scale of the sound field generated by the JBL Bar 1300, as well as the precision of the Dolby Atmos effects.

In Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, the lateral and vertical effects provided a great sense of immersion with convincing 3D effects. On the beaches of Normandy (Saving Private Ryan) and in the Austrian glades of Vindobona (Gladiator), projectiles flew from all sides of the room with great realism. The subwoofer was responsive and showed no signs of saturation, even at high volume. Dialogue benefited from the Pure Voice technology, which preserved clarity and intelligibility.

JBL Bar 1300: Gladiator DTS:X
The JBL Bar 1300’s compatibility with DTS:X ensured optimal versatility with all 4K Blu-ray movies and video streaming services.
JBL Bar 1300 : Bluetooth
Both of the JBL Bar 1300’s surround speakers can be used as individual Bluetooth speakers, providing up to 10 hours of autonomy.

Moreover, the ability to use the surround speakers as individual Bluetooth speakers is a real advantage. You can take them everywhere with you to listen to your podcasts and playlists for several hours. You can even recharge them with a mains charger via their USB-C port! Their sound was energetic, but suffered from a lack of clarity with slightly muddy mids. 

Lastly, despite many attempts, it was impossible to pair the two speakers for stereo sound…

JBL Bar 1300: compared to…

LG S95QR

LG SQ95QR
The LG S95QR soundbar offers more vertical range and precision on the front channels, but the JBL is overall more generous and impactful.

More power and more channels give the JBL greater impact and energy during action scenes. However, the LG S95QR’s front channels are more accurate and have more vertical range. The latter also offers more flexibility in the configuration of the different channels to customize the sound. For music, on the other hand, the JBL was the most impressive.

Samsung HW-Q990B

Samsung HW-Q990B
Compared to the Samsung HW-Q990B soundbar, the JBL Bar 1300 compensates for its lesser vertical range with an energy that immediately immerses you in the atmosphere of the program being viewed.

Twice as powerful as the Samsung model, the JBL Bar 1300 is unrivaled in its ability to plunge users in the heart of the action. We’re happy to forgive its lesser vertical range, as its energy and vitality work wonders. The Samsung HW-Q990B has the advantage regarding connectivity as it allows a wireless WiFi connection with Samsung TVs, with Dolby Atmos support, an exclusive feature of the Korean manufacturer.

JBL Bar 1300: who is it for?

The JBL Bar 1300 soundbar will appeal to those who want to enjoy an effective reproduction of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks, without the clutter of a classic home theater system and with greater freedom of placement when it comes to the surround speakers thanks to their built-in rechargeable battery. It will also be a good match for those looking for a versatile system, just as comfortable with movies and video games as music.

In addition, the two surround speakers can act as stand-alone Bluetooth speakers. That’s handy for playing music in different rooms of the house when you’re not using the whole system to watch a movie.

JBL Bar 1300: conclusion

With the JBL Bar 1300 soundbar, the American manufacturer displays its perfect expertise in spatialized surround sound. In a relatively small format, this system manages to deliver a three-dimensional sound worthy of much larger audio systems. The very expressive subwoofer and the flexibility of the wireless surround speakers are a real plus compared to competing systems. The ability to use these speakers as completely stand-alone Bluetooth wireless speakers is the icing on this excellent cake from JBL. What a treat!

We liked

  • The precision and realism of the surround sound effects
  • The impact and energy in the lows
  • The truly wireless surround speakers
  • The balanced musical reproduction
  • The ability to recharge the speakers via USB
  • The many options for audio streaming (Chromecast, AirPlay, Alexa, Bluetooth)

We would have liked

  • More verticality in the Dolby Atmos and DTS:X effects
  • To have been able to pair the surround speakers for stereo

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