CES 2020: JBL Debuts Soundbar With Detachable Speakers and AirPlay 2 Compatibility

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Speaker company JBL this week announced the upcoming launch of the JBL Bar 9.1, a new soundbar that offers AirPlay 2 and a unique detachable speaker setup.

The JBL Bar 9.1 offers wireless surround sound thanks to the included soundbar base and two detachable battery powered rear speakers that can be removed and placed anywhere in a room for optimal sound.


There's a base soundbar with four upward-facing Dolby Atmos drivers that are designed to bounce audio around the room from all angles, a 10-inch wireless subwoofer for "pulse-pounding" bass, and the two detachable speakers that are meant to shoot sound off of the ceiling and back down.

The speakers feature 10 hour battery life and can be returned to the soundbar for recharging purposes when the battery drains. 10 hours is enough to get through a night of entertainment, recharging the batteries during the day or overnight.

Along with Dolby Atmos, the Bar 9.1 supports Dolby Vision and it also has support for AirPlay 2, so it can interface with other AirPlay 2 devices and playing audio to the soundbar from a Mac, iPad, an iPhone takes just a tap or two. Bluetooth and Chromecast are also supported.

JBL plans to begin offering the JBL Bar 9.1 on the JBL website in the spring of 2020. It will be priced at $999.95.

Article Link: CES 2020: JBL Debuts Soundbar With Detachable Speakers and AirPlay 2 Compatibility
 
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Kabeyun

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This screams gimmick. If you plan on putting up surround speakers, you don’t need detachable ones. If you don’t want surround speakers, you don’t need detachable ones.

Also, the name ,”9.1,” is also unscrupulously misleading imo.
 
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aaronhead14

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This sounds awesome. And the detachable surround sound speakers are perfect for people who don’t have the space to dedicate for permanent rear speakers. We can place them behind us while we’re watching stuff, but then they can be tucked away during the day. Awesome!
 

nutmac

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This screams gimmick. If you plan on putting up surround speakers, you don’t need detachable ones. If you don’t want surround speakers, you don’t need detachable ones.

Also, the name ,”9.1,” is also unscrupulously misleading imo.
9.1 is one of the supported Dolby Atmos speaker setup. Of course, you are right to be skeptical that 3 speakers can effectively output 9 channels. Early reports suggest JBL Bar 9.1 has extremely limited sweet spot.

Also, I am not sure whether I want to charge two rear speakers every 10 hours.
 
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Relentless Power

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First let me start by saying, I have two amazing JBL set ups in my house and I’ve been very happy with the sound/quality of what it delivers. I think a detachable speakers is fairly unique and essentially eliminates any ‘running wires’. The only thing I would question, would be how the sound quality is pending where the speakers are located with the transfer of the signal itself.
 
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cube

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I have uniform wireless 4.1 (plugged to the walls).
 
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Marshall73

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For that kind of money you can buy a proper atmos receiver and a reasonable set of atmos speakers. You also get half a dozen or so hdmi inputs on the receiver with DV 4K pass through.
 

x-evil-x

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For that kind of money you can buy a proper atmos receiver and a reasonable set of atmos speakers. You also get half a dozen or so hdmi inputs on the receiver with DV 4K pass through.
but people don't want to do anything like that. They don't want to run wires and do things the right way. They want soundbars because its almost as easy as just using the tv speakers. Most people anyway.
 
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thebeans

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This sounds awesome. And the detachable surround sound speakers are perfect for people who don’t have the space to dedicate for permanent rear speakers. We can place them behind us while we’re watching stuff, but then they can be tucked away during the day. Awesome!
Yes!!! And only $1,000 too!! What a deal!! I will buy one to use and another half dozen to have as spares.
 

noone

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This isn’t really new. They’ve had the JBL Bar 5.1 system with detachablespeakers since 2017.

The fact that this is 9.1 and Atmos certified is the new part, I guess.

 

JoinTheBattle

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This screams gimmick. If you plan on putting up surround speakers, you don’t need detachable ones. If you don’t want surround speakers, you don’t need detachable ones.

Also, the name ,”9.1,” is also unscrupulously misleading imo.
This is perfect for people like me that have an open living room where permanent rear speakers present a challenge. We have no wall behind our couch and speaker stands behind the couch would be in the way (and have low WAF.) We have a freestanding kitchen island behind our couch the rear speakers could sit on when we're watching a movie, then they could return to the soundbar when we're done. I've actually been waiting for JBL to update their 5.1 model to Atmos for this exact reason.

I agree JBL Bar 9.1 is a slightly misleading name. They should've called it JBL Bar 5.1.4. I'm assuming JBL did it to distinguish it from their Bar 5.1. Regardless of the reason, it's hardly the first soundbar to fudge its numbers a bit.

Also, I am not sure whether I want to charge two rear speakers every 10 hours.
The rear speakers aren't designed to necessarily be used all the time. Sure, you could, but the idea is you'd leave them attached most of the time and would pop them off when you're going to watch a movie or when you want that little bit of extra immersion.

What's unique about the detachable speakers? My Philips Fidelio has had them for years.
Okay? That leaves this and JBL's Bar 5.1 as the only other models that do this. I'd say three models out of hundreds qualities as relatively unique. It's also the first soundbar with detachable Atmos speakers.

Yes!!! And only $1,000 too!! What a deal!! I will buy one to use and another half dozen to have as spares.
$1,000 is right in line with the price of similar options. Actually, it's quite a bit less than similar high-end soundbars such as the Samsung HW-Q90R ($1,400) and the upcoming Klipsch Bar 54A ($1,500). You can argue whether or not any soundbar is worth $1,000+, but compared to similar options this is actually pretty reasonable.

This isn’t really new. They’ve had the JBL Bar 5.1 system with detachablespeakers since 2017.

The fact that this is 9.1 and Atmos certified is the new part, I guess.

The addition of Atmos is a pretty noteworthy change.
 
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Marshall73

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but people don't want to do anything like that. They don't want to run wires and do things the right way. They want soundbars because its almost as easy as just using the tv speakers. Most people anyway.
If you wanna do it that way, ‘most people are happy with the inbuilt speakers of their TV’s’