JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam Review
Three-dimensional sound without any treble channels?

Gesa

soundbarfindr Editorial

As a cinema fan and self-confessed hobby musician, Gesa is always on the lookout for the best sound experience.

JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam — Smart little sound device

Overall, the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam is a solid speaker for upgrading your TV sound. Especially the low price and the optimal compatibility with the smart home are arguments in favor of purchasing it. It is particularly appealing in combination with a slightly smaller TV or when space in your living room is limited.

However, the lack of support for DTS content and the unconvincing surround sound are on the negative side. Also, the JBL Bar MultiBeam 5.0 cannot quite keep its promise of delivering a strong bass despite the lack of a subwoofer. Although the audio sounds quite bass-heavy at first impression, it has clear weaknesses in the low bass.

In the end, you will have to live with some compromises, especially since the soundbar does not offer much room for customizing the sound due to the lack of EQ settings and sound features.

Pro
  • Virtual Dolby Atmos
  • MultiBeam Technology
  • Room calibration
  • Various connections
  • 4K pass through
  • Multiroom Option
  • Smart Features
Contra
  • Weak surround sound
  • No DTS
  • Hardly any customization options
  • Weaknesses in the bass

The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam: Small but mighty

As for the look of the 5.0 MultiBeam, JBL definitely stays true to its line and relies on a simple, black design without many frills. The majority of the casing is made of metal, which gives the soundbar a solid and high-quality impression. The rounded corners and the small width of just 28 inches definitely awaken associations with the small Bluetooth speakers that we know from the American manufacturer.

With its slim dimensions, the soundbar matches almost every TV and even fits between the feet of a 55-inch screen without any problems. Nevertheless, it weighs almost three kilograms and is thus surprisingly heavy.

JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam placed on the table
The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam

Driver quintet from JBL with decent power

A metal grille protects the five drivers inside the soundbar from damage. These include two side-firing speakers, two stereo speakers and a center speaker with 50 watts each. Altogether, the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam and its components have a total output of 250 watts.

Due to the sound-permeable grille on the top, you might think that the soundbar features up-firing speakers as well. However, this is not the case: Instead, four additional passive radiators are hidden behind it, which are supposed to boost the bass of the soundbar.

Side view of the JBL Soundbar
JBL soundbar designed in all black with grille surface

On the top of the 5.0 MultiBeam, there are also four discreet touch buttons that can be used to control the soundbar. They are used to select the audio source, adjust the volume and, of course, turn the device on and off.

If you connect the soundbar via HDMI as recommended, you can also use the TV remote for its control thanks to HDMI CEC. Voice control is also possible, but this requires an external third-party device (more on this in the Smart Features section).

Four touch buttons on the top of the soundbar
Close-up view of the buttons on the JBL MultiBeam

Compact package with plenty of content

The package in which the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam comes is hardly bigger than the soundbar itself, but it contains all sorts of things. In addition to the power cord, the soundbar also comes with an HDMI cable that can be used to connect it directly.

If you don’t have enough space to place the soundbar on a sideboard or similar, you can also hang it up with the help of the wall-mounting kit included in the package – consisting of angle brackets and screws.

JBL Soundbar cable, wall mount and manual
The Soundbar's scope of delivery at a glance

JBL also thought of the batteries for the remote control. The remote is very compact and clearly arranged, which makes it easy to hold and intuitive to use.

Remote control of the soundbar lying in hand
The compact remote control of the JBL MultiBeam

JBL soundbar: Simple setup thanks to Plug & Play

Thanks to the included HDMI cable, the soundbar is connected to your TV in no time. This type of connection is also recommended since the HDMI eARC port of the soundbar supports Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby True HD. However, DTS content cannot be played even with this type of connection.

Furthermore, there is another HDMI input on the back of the 5.0 MultiBeam for your console or BluRay player. It also includes a 4K pass through and support for Dolby Vision.

Other interfaces are an optical port and a USB port. In the US version of the soundbar, the latter can not only be used for service purposes, but even for playback. An Ethernet port is also available for a wired connection to the Internet.

Connectors on the back of the soundbar
The JBL soundbar has various ports on its rear side

A small display informs about the status of the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam

The current status of the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam can be checked via a small display on its right edge. Since it only has four letters, most words are displayed as a scrolling text.

Close-up of the soundbar's small LED display
The display of the JBL Bar 5.0

Sound test: Clear dialogs, but hardly any punch

At first glance, it seems surprising how much bass comes out of the compact soundbar – considering it has neither an external nor an integrated subwoofer. Hence, the four built-in passive radiators seem to do a good job.

Nevertheless, the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam cannot quite convince in terms of low tones. As our frequency response measurement showed, the soundbar hardly reproduces frequencies below 50 Hz, meaning it lacks low bass. The boom of action-packed scenes or bass-heavy music does not really come across.

The bass range is similarly disappointing: It is very unbalanced. The emphasis at around 70 Hz could also be an explanation for the rather muffled and dull sound of the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam.

Graph showing result of the JBL soundbar's frequency response measurement
The result of our frequency response measurement of the JBL Soundbar

On the other hand, the frequency response is comparatively linear in the mids and trebles. This reflects the clear and distinct reproduction of dialogs and quieter scenes, which is probably also due to the installed center speaker.

No cinema feeling with the 5.0 MultiBeam

The miniature size of the soundbar is especially noticeable when it comes to its maximum volume. Although it might be sufficient for smaller rooms, comparable soundbars can reach considerably more decibels. Furthermore, the soundbar only has thirty levels for volume control. Those who want a speaker for big parties or cinema-like sound might be disappointed by the JBL Bar’s power.

The weak surround sound of the soundbar does not create a cinema atmosphere either. Although it is equipped with JBL’s proprietary MultiBeam technology and the surround sound feels spatial to a certain extent, it cannot keep up with setups including rear speakers. Thus, you can always hear that the sound comes from the soundbar.

Accordingly, the three-dimensional sound of the speaker is not really convincing. Dolby Atmos signals can be received uncompressed via HDMI eARC, but they have to be converted due to the missing height channels. This ultimately results in a less immersive sound.

The JBL bar in front of a 65 inch TV
Music playback via the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam

Only the most necessary sound settings

Overall, the options for adjusting the sound of the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam to one’s preferences are rather meager. Initially, only the bass level can be adjusted on a five-level scale. Out-of-the-box, the soundbar’s bass level is set to level three, which, as already mentioned, sounds quite bass-heavy. The bass is even stronger at the maximum level, but the sound is also much more muffled.

Unfortunately, there is no separate configuration for the center speaker, nor is there a feature for dialogue enhancement. At least we could find an equalizer for adjusting the bass, mids and trebles when connecting to the Amazon Alexa app.

Display of the JBL Bar showing the set bass level
Adjusting the bass level of the soundbar

Dolby Atmos is only virtual with the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam

Another setting is the (de)activation of Virtual Dolby Atmos. As already mentioned, the soundbar does not have any height channels and generates three-dimensional sound virtually. For this, it is equipped with a Dolby Surround upmixer, which expands the standard Dolby sound. Of course, this does not sound particularly immersive, but it does provide a somewhat broader soundscape.

The Smart Mode is also supposed to provide more liveliness: It is automatically activated when the JBL 5.0 MultiBeam is turned on and adds extra sound effects to the audio. If you don’t like these effects, you can of course deactivate the mode.

Last but not least, the soundbar also has an audio synchronization feature. This means that you can set an individual delay in order to harmonize picture and sound.

To the namesake "MultiBeam" by JBL

The title of the model already reveals that the soundbar is equipped with JBL’s proprietary MultiBeam technology. Thereby, the audio is reflected at the walls of your room to create a more spatial sound. Of course, it requires a room calibration for this to work properly.

The calibration is quite simple: After pressing a button, a countdown starts and the soundbar plays several test tones. With the help of these, it detects your room and adjusts the reproduced sound to your spatial conditions accordingly. This worked very well in our test.

The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam couldn't be smarter

That JBL also specializes in Bluetooth and smart speakers becomes obvious when you take a look at the wireless transmission options of the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam. Besides a classic Bluetooth 4.2 interface, it is also compatible with Chromecast, Airplay and Spotify Connect. Thus, nothing stands in the way of quickly transferring your favorite music or podcasts.

A network connection can be established just as quickly thanks to the Ethernet port and Wi-Fi interface. Thus, the setup is also multi-room compatible and can be combined with other speakers as desired.

Testing the connection with Alexa, Google and Co.

Although the JBL soundbar does not have its own app for controlling it, you can easily integrate it into the Amazon Alexa app or the Google Home app. This is also necessary if you want to control the soundbar using voice commands, since it does not have an integrated voice assistant. Thus, users who want to control the soundbar via Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri have to use an external third-party device.

In our test, setting up the JBL soundbar in the Amazon Alexa app was very easy. The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam was recognized directly by the app and could be registered with just a few clicks. The controls also ran smoothly and the aforementioned equalizer for sound adjustment was also found in the app.

JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam Review Datasheet

Dimensions Soundbar (WxHxD)709 x 58 x 101 mm
Weight Soundbar2,8 kg
Internal Subwoofer
Rear speaker
Wall mount incl. bracket
Channels 5
Power Output Soundbar250 watts
Total Power Output250 watts
Center speaker
HDMI 2.0 In0
HDMI 2.1 In1
HDMI ARC
HDMI eARC
Digital optical1
3.5mm jack0
USB0
Ethernet RJ451
Dolby Atmos
Dolby True HD
Dolby Digital+
Dolby
Dolby Vision
DTS:X
DTS HD Master
DTS
HDR10+
Bluetooth
WLAN
Chromecast
Apple Airplay
Multiroom
Amazon Alexa compatible
Google Assistant compatible
All information without guarantee

Frequently asked questions about the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam

JBL MultiBeam is a special technology developed by the manufacturer that is supposed to provide a broader soundstage. For this, the sound is projected into different corners of your room.

The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam has five built-in drivers with 50 watts each. This gives it a total output of 250 watts.

To adjust the bass of the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam, you can choose a bass level from one to five.

The best option to connect the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam is via its HDMI eARC port. Then, the soundbar can be controlled via the TV remote and sound formats like Dolby Atmos can be transmitted.

* Approximate price incl. VAT, plus shipping costs. Please note that prices shown here may have changed in the meantime.
All data without guarantee. All trademarks, designs and logos displayed are owned by their companies.