Getting convincing surround sound out of a soundbar can be a challenge – unless you can simply pop the ends off and place them at the rear of your home theatre setup. That’s the JBL Bar 1000’s party trick: detachable, battery-powered wireless rear speakers that’ll bring true positional audio whenever you want it.
When you’re watching telly, listening to music or generally not in need of accurate 3D sound, the speaker separates dock to the main unit to recharge; once it’s movie or game time, undock and place ’em wherever you want, with no cable clutter to worry about.
The 7.1.4 Bar 1000 leads JBL’s four-strong line-up of new Dolby Atmos-ready soundbars, which includes the Bar 800, Bar 500 and Bar 300.
The top-spec model sends a whopping 880W of power to the seven front-facing speakers and four upward-firing ones, as well as the wireless subwoofer. The lesser Bar 800 drops down to a 5.1.2 arrangement with 720W of power, but it keeps the detachable satellites.
Both have Dolby Atmos on board, as well as JBL’s PureVoice audio-boosting tech for making speech that little bit easier to hear even when the action kicks off onscreen.
The entire range plays nicely with the JBL One smartphone companion app, for customising EQ presets on the fly and streaming from a selection of music platforms. They tie in with Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri, with AirPlay 2 and Chromecast both built-in.
The two lower-end models do without the detachable rear speakers, meaning they miss out on any kind of height channel, but there’s virtual Atmos on hand to replicate it. The 590W Bar 500 has a wireless subwoofer for 5.1 sound, and the Bar 300 completes the line-up as a 260W, 5.0 channel soundbar with integrated subwoofer.
The entire line-up will land in the UK from October onwards. Expect to pay £500 for the Bar 500, £80 for the Bar 800, and £1000 for the Bar 1000. We see what you did there, JBL. It’s not quite a full house, though: the Bar 300 will set you back £350.