One of the devices that caught my eye at CES this year was the Bar 5.0 Multibeam from JBL.  It features not only sound coming directly at you but also has speakers that downfire as well as upfire to try and give you the best replication of Dolby Atmos. Now how does it fare in my daily media consumption ranging from movies to gaming?

Style

The JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam is a soundbar that feels it pumps out enough bass that a subwoofer isn’t necessary. Bar 5.0 Multibeam has a metal interior on top while the bottom is made of plastic. There are two speaker grilles on the top, two on the bottom, and one in the front that wraps around the sides of the soundbar. The soundbar is about 28” wide and 2” thick making it one of the more compact ones I have covered in awhile.  

On the top of the soundbar you have access to Power, Volume Controls, and Source. Flipping to the back give you ports for Ethernet, Optical, USB, HDMI IN, HDMI Out, and of course AC Power. The JBL remote has buttons for HDMI Switching, Dolby Atmos toggling, Bluetooth, and Volume controls.  

JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam includes Remote Control, (1) HDMI Cable, Wall Mount brackets, Power Cord

Setup / Features

Getting the JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam up and running didn’t take too long. Just plugging in the HDMI and connecting it to the TV for the most part. Getting it thru the process of connecting to my Google Home network took a bit longer but eventually got it connected as well. This soundbar supports Google, Alexa, and Apple Airplay. Since this can be connected via Wi-Fi or Ethernet you can cast your music apps with ease. I have used it mostly with Spotify but also Tidal and YouTube Music. This is great as I do not have to rely on swapping over to Bluetooth which also works just as fine as well.

Hidden on the right side of the soundbar is a LED display that is only visible when functions are being done to the device. It shows volume controls, HDMI switching, and audio changes made.

I have used the Bar 5.0 Multibeam with my NVIDIA Shield TV, PS5, Xbox Series X, and mostly the apps on my Vizio TV. Various apps between the TV and NVIDIA ranged from HBOMAX, YouTube TV, YouTube, Disney+, Apple TV+, Netflix and Vudu to name a few.

Sound

Like its namesake, there are five racetrack drivers but also four passive Radiators. This soundbar showcases JBL’s Multibeam tech but also Virtual Dolby Atmos. This basically creates a wide enough soundstage bouncing the audio off all parts of your living area’s walls and every corner possible. I will say thanks to the design of the Bar 5.0 I feel the audio just as clear even if I’m standing on the sides of it. This is great as I spend a good deal in my kitchen to the far left cooking while the TV is on.

As far as the virtual Dolby Atmos is considered, the Bar 5.0 does provide that cinematic experience while watching “Spider Man: Far from Home” in 4K UHD via the PS5. You can feel him swinging from left to right and sometimes “over you”. Explosions are felt coming at you. Watching “The Dark Knight Rises” scene w/ Bane vs Batman which has a fury of punches and thumps, they can be felt but could have used a bit more bass.

Some gripes I had with the soundbar is you must turn it on every time you use it compared to soundbars that will automatically come up when you turn on the TV. Also, sometimes when initializing a program, I would get feedback and must switch from Dolby to TV or vice versa.

Verdict

For $350 you are getting a nice sound system that tries its best to give you that Dolby Atmos experience without the setup of additional speakers and a subwoofer to boot. It’s a bit getting completely setup right but once it done you are in the clear for the most part. If you want a quick simple compact soundbar that can give you more of a movie theater familiarity for your home, you should give the JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam a listen.

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