At CES 2023, JBL showed off five new soundbars, but the Bar 1300X is the best of the bunch. The 11.1.4-channel speaker can put out 1,170 watts, and it has Dolby Atmos and DTS:X for 3D sound that makes you feel like you’re in the room. There are 21 drivers inside, and six of them are firing forward. This is three times as many as some other companies offer, and JBL says it did this to get the most out of its MultiBeam spatial audio technology you can buy this product directly from JBL’s website.
JBL Bar 1300x: Description
In 2020, JBL released its first soundbar with rear satellite speakers that could be taken off. On the Bar 1300X, each of these units has one upfiring speaker and can stay charged for up to 10 hours (they charge when you reattach them to the main bar). Since they are completely wireless, you can put them anywhere you want. They can also be used as Bluetooth speakers on their own or as a stereo pair. Once you take out the speakers, you’ll see side-facing tweeters that you’ll want to protect with snap-on covers.
One HDMI/ARC port lets you connect to your TV, and three more HDMI ports let you connect to other devices. During my demo, I was able to see a scene from Ready Player One where there was a wild chase. When I took the rear speakers off the 1300X and put them behind me, I was surprised by how immersive the sound was. The video was loud and had a lot going on, but the sound was still clear and crisp, and most importantly, the directional sound made it more fun to watch. The 12-inch wireless subwoofer added plenty of booming bass.
Pros and Cons
- Dolby Atmos and DTS:X processing
- Rechargeable wireless surround speakers
- Four HDMI ports
- No HDMI 4K 120Hz pass-through
- Surround speakers need regular recharging
JBL Bar 1300x: Specifications
|Connectivity||4 HDMI inputs (1 with eARC), optical digital audio, USB type-A|
|Other features||Re-chargeable surround speakers, DTS:X processing|
|Rear speakers included||Yes|
JBL Bar 1300x: Design
The Bar 1300X is expensive, but you’re not just paying for sound quality. You’re also paying for how it looks, and JBL does not let you down here. The rear speakers can be “docked” on either side of the main soundbar to recharge. When they are in this position, they help the bar’s output by widening the soundstage and adding height effects. Once they are charged, you just take them off and put the end caps that come with the soundbar back on.
The main soundbar is 39.4 inches wide, 2.4 inches tall, and 5.5 inches deep. This makes it a good fit for TVs that are 65 inches or bigger. It has six 1.8 x 3.5-inch racetrack drivers, five 0.75-inch tweeters, and four 2.75-inch full-range up-firing drivers for the left, centre, and right channels. The system’s wireless subwoofer is pretty big, with a 12-inch driver and a rear port to boost output.
The JBL surround speakers are small, measuring 8 x 2.4 x 5.5 inches (W x H x D), so they are easy to put on speaker stands. You can also mount them on the wall using the brackets that come with them for a more permanent setup. In this case, you would use the USB-C port on the speaker to power it. Each surround speaker has a 1.8 x 3.5-inch racetrack driver, a 0.75-inch tweeter, a 2.75-inch full-range up-firing driver, and two passive radiators.
JBL Bar 1300x: Features
The top soundbar system from JBL is full of features. You can use both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, and the company’s MultiBeam processing widens the soundfield and creates a more immersive surround effect by using digital processing and beamforming. This is a 16-channel system with a total of 1,170 watts, 650 of which go to the wireless 12-inch subwoofer. On the soundbar, there are four speakers that point up, and each of the surround speakers has one speaker that points up. I’ve never seen a soundbar with more than six drivers that fire up.
The most unusual thing about the Bar 1300X is that it has rechargeable surround speakers that don’t need to be plugged in and can run for up to 10 hours. (JBL does offer a way to power the surround speakers through a USB-C connection if you don’t want to keep plugging them in.) When not in use as a home theatre, these can also be used as Bluetooth speakers, and you can even pair them wirelessly to play music in stereo.
The Bar 1300X can be used to stream wirelessly with both AirPlay 2 and Chromecast built-in. It can also be used with Bluetooth. In the JBL One app, you can also enter your subscriber information for services like Amazon Music Unlimited, Tidal, Qobuz, and Spotify. This gives you a central place to access music and other streaming audio. The Bar 1300X can also be controlled by voice with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri.
Sound Quality & Performance
When it comes to the sound quality and immersiveness of the Bar 1300X Pro, I was impressed by a lot of things and let down by a few. First, the actual surround sound and audio effects from above were amazing. Most Dolby Atmos sound bars make it seem like there are speakers where there are none by bouncing and reflecting sound off your walls and ceiling. I set this up in my bedroom.
The sound bar is under my TV, the subwoofer is to the side, and the surround speakers are on the nightstands on either side of my bed. I was blown away by how real the sounds from above sounded. The combination of 4 Atmos drivers and great room calibration was a big part of this. I could also adjust the volume level using either JBL’s companion app or the remote control, depending on the time of day I was using it and how much I didn’t want to wake up the neighbours.
I’d really like to see JBL add more fine-grained control over those volume levels. The subwoofer, for example, has five levels of volume. Sometimes level 1 wasn’t enough bass, but level 2 was way too much. The same is true for both the surround speakers and the Atmos channels. You only get 3 different levels for those: Low, Medium, and High. I would have liked independent volume sliders for everything I just mentioned, plus a master volume control. Maybe I’m just nitpicking.
But sometimes it was hard to hear what was being said, and if there was a way to adjust the speech enhancement feature, it would help a lot. JBL does have a speech enhancement algorithm called PureVoice, but I couldn’t find any way to change it by hand. I’m glad JBL gives us as much control as it does, and using the app or remote makes it easy to make changes on the fly, but maybe a little bit more customization would make a big difference.
JBL Bar 1300x: Battery Life
Even though it’s been said before, wireless surround speakers don’t magically charge themselves. On a single charge, you can use them for about 10 hours, so the trick is to remember to charge them. When you’re not using the speakers, it would be best to hook them back up to the soundbar. This may not be as fun as having wireless speakers because you’ll have to move them around all the time while you watch TV, but it may save you some trouble.
The price of the JBL Bar 1300X Pro is $1699.95. You get a lot of sound, and it’s comparable to big names in soundbars like Sonos and Sony. It might be one of the best all-in-one box systems for easy surround sound setups. True wireless surround speakers give you a leg up on everyone else just because you can move them around. Put them up when you want to watch a movie, and take them down when it’s over.
There are no wires to run, and the app that goes with it is easy to use. It also works well. This sound bar is perfect for people who want surround sound in tricky situations. Bedrooms, living rooms with open floor plans, basements that can be used for different things, and basically anywhere you want surround sound sometimes but not all the time. The JBL BAR 1300 is all about being flexible, which is important because no room is perfect for surround sound.
Which is better JBL or Sony sound bar?
Overall, the Sony HT-Z9F soundbar is better than the JBL Bar 5.1 Surround. The Sony is a 3.1 setup that supports Atmos and has a wide range of physical inputs that work with common audio formats. The JBL, on the other hand, is 5.1 and has room correction. Apple AirPlay can also be used to stream music to it.
What is JBL Bar 1300X CES 2023?
At CES 2023, JBL showed off five new soundbars, but the Bar 1300X is the best of the bunch. The 11.1, 4-channel speaker can put out 1,170 watts, and it has Dolby Atmos and DTS:X for 3D sound that makes you feel like you’re in the room. There are 21 drivers inside, and six of them are firing forward.