Just announced at CES, JBL’s latest soundbar is the brand’s first to add immersive Dolby Atmos audio to the mix, and it also boasts a clever feature we’ve seen on a previous JBL soundbar: truly wireless surround speakers.
Slated to go on sale this spring for $900, the JBL Bar 9.1 comes equipped with four upfiring drivers (including two in the main soundbar unit and two more in the surround speakers) that bounce sound off your ceiling for Dolby Atmos height cues. While upfiring drivers for object-based 3D audio formats such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X have become more and more common in competing soundbars, this is the first time we’ve seen them in a JBL model.
The Bar 9.1’s most interesting feature—truly wireless surround speakers—isn’t all that new, given that the wireless surrounds first appeared on the Bar 5.1 soundbar a few years ago.
Unlike the typical “wireless” surround speakers that you see on most soundbar models, which must still be tethered to power cords, the wireless surround speakers on the Bar 9.1 are battery powered.
Boasting up to 10 hours of battery life, the wireless speakers can be placed anywhere in the room, and you can recharge them by docking them to the sides of the soundbar. Neat.
Besides its truly wireless surround speakers, the JBL Bar 9.1 comes with a 10-inch wireless subwoofer (which, unlike the wireless surrounds, requires a power cord) and 820 watts of total system power.
The soundbar also features built-in Chromecast, Bluetooth, and AirPlay 2 support, and 4K/Dolby Vision passthrough.