JBL 9.1 VS 5.1 Soundbar: Which one is Better?

An excellent soundbar speaker is an essential part of building a home theater. People do not want to waste their money on low-quality products. Using your JBL soundbar, are you getting the best value for your money?

Some people are unsure which JBL Bar 9.1 or JBL Bar 5.1 to choose, so let’s see the differences.

JBL 9.1 vs 5.1 Soundbar Comparison Chart

Model NameJBL Bar 5.1JBL Bar 9.1
Channel Configuration5.1-Channel (Virtual Surround)5.1.4-Channel
Dimensions40.1 x 2.3 x 3.9″ / 1018 x 58 x 100 mm (Soundbar)34.8 x 2.4 x 4.7″ / 884 x 62 x 120 mm (Soundbar)
Weight6.4 lb / 2.9 kg (Soundbar)23.4 lb / 10.6 kg (Subwoofer)8 lb / 3.6 kg (Soundbar)1.6 lb / 0.7 kg (Each Satellite)24.5 lb / 11.1 kg (Subwoofer)
No. of HDMI outputs1N/A
Input(s)HDMI, Toslink optical, USB Type AEthernet, HDMI, Optical, USB
EthernetLANNot Applicable
Wireless ConnectivityBluetoothBluetooth, Wi-Fi
USB1N/A
Surround Sound SupportedDolby Pro Logic IIDTS:X, Dolby Atmos
Wireless Audio ProtocolsAirPlay 2, Bluetooth, Chromecast built-in, ProprietaryAirPlay 2, Bluetooth, Chromecast built-in, Wi-Fi
Bluetooth EnabledYesYes
Works WithN/AGoogle Assistant, Siri
Connectivity TechnologyWired and WirelessWireless
Subwoofer ConnectivityWirelessWireless – Audio
Audio Return Channel (ARC)YesN/A
Minimum Frequency Response40 hertz34 hertz
Maximum Frequency Response20 kilohertz20 kilohertz
ColorBlackBlack
Wall MountableYes, with Included HardwareYes, with Included Hardware

Descriptive Comparison of JBL 9.1 and 5.1 Soundbar

Lets discuss all the technical info of JBL 9.1 and 5.1 soundbar with the help of the following headings.

Design and Size

The JBL Bar 9.1 vs 5.1 looks very similar at first glance, as they are identical in terms of their design and size.

The JBL Bar 5.1 Soundbar is sleek and stylish with a matte black finish. A fine metal grille covers its front and sides. JBL Bar 5.1 surround speakers are not detachable and are smaller than 9.1 speakers. The JBL Bar 5.1 is not that far ahead in terms of size, with dimensions of 45 x 2.3 x 3.7 inches.

JBL Bar 9.1 is a sleek black soundbar with detachable satellite speakers. The top and front of this bar are made from metal, while a fine metal grill protects the speakers. When the satellites aren’t attached, you can see their 4-pin connectors.

The JBL Bar 9.1 is black in colour and measures 34.8 x 2.4 x 4.7 inches. The soundbar weighs about 8 pounds.

As part of the JBL 9.1, you will find a detachable surround speaker with 6.8 x 2.4 x 4.7 inches and a 24.5-pound subwoofer measuring 12.0 x 17.3 x 12.0 inches.

The JBL Bar 9.1 offers the most flexibility and versatility with its detachable speakers.

Channels

JBL Bar 9.1 is superior to 5.1 in terms of audio channels. In addition to its high-end audio channels, the JBL 9.1 comes with built-in Dolby Atmos, making viewing or gaming an unforgettable experience.

Wall-Mountable

There is a single opening on the back of the JBL Bar 5.1 for the power cable as well as the inputs. Additionally, there are universal holes on the underside to allow the device to be wall-mounted.

JBL Bar 9.1 has a single opening for the power cable and inputs on the back. It also has universal holes on the underside for wall mounting. JBL includes mounting accessories like brackets, screws, and a template in the box, which is nice.

Audio Modes of JBL Bar 9.1 and 5.1

JBL Bar 9.1 includes three EQ presets, such as “smart mode“, “standard mode“, and “night mode“, to improve sound quality. In addition, there is no audio mode selection on the JBL Bar 5.1. The JBL Bar 9.1 wins out in this category by a wide margin compared to the 5.1.

Wireless Connectivity

JBL Bar 9.1 and JBL Bar 5.1 offer the same wireless connectivity and playback options. Each has Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Chromecast built-in, and Apple AirPlay.

Subwoofer

A wireless subwoofer comes with JBL Bar 9.1, measuring 12.0 x 17.3 x 12.0 inches and weighing 24.5 pounds. JBL 9.1 soundbar’s subwoofer is elevated by four plastic peg legs, while its speaker is placed underneath. With a black melamine body, it looks sleek and minimal.

For pulse-pounding bass, it also delivers a maximum power of 300 W. It has a very plain back. The power cable is located below a port at the top of its back.

A wireless subwoofer is included on the JBL Bar 5.1, which has dimensions of 16 x 12 x 12 inches and weighs 28.7 lbs.

In the JBL 5.1 soundbar, the subwoofer sits on four plastic pegs while the speaker is located underneath. The subwoofer comes in black melamine, which gives it a sleek look. The back of the subwoofer is fairly plain. The power cable is located below the top of its backport.

Despite both subwoofers having the same dimensions, ports, and physical inputs, the JBL Bar 9.1 is preferred because, compared to the JBL 5.1, it is slightly larger and lighter. 

Build Quality

The build quality of the JBL Bar 5.1 is excellent. It is protected with a durable plastic body and a fine metal grille from the front and sides. On the other hand, subwoofers are made of melamine and have four legs that raise them since the speaker is located underneath.

I like the build quality of the JBL Bar 9.1. Its top and front parts are made of metal, which helps protect its speakers while enhancing its sleek appearance. The bottom and rear are made from plastic, but the entire device feels sturdy and durable.

The subwoofer sits on four plastic pegs, with the speaker on the underside. Melamine makes it durable and feels solid.

The top, front, and sides of the satellites are the same metal grill-type mesh as the bar. The satellites are both truly wireless, and you can either charge them via the micro-USB port on the bar or by connecting them back to the sides of the bar. You can also use them while charging, which is a great convenience.

Drivers and Tweeters

The drivers and tweeters determine this home theater sound system’s sound quality. In the JBL 5.1, there are five racetrack-style drivers and two side-firing 1.25-inch tweeters that deliver five channels of 50 watts each.

Four racetrack-style drivers and two wide-range upfiring drivers are housed in the JBL Bar 9.1. It is a 400-watt soundbar. Also included are three 1-inch tweeters and two speakers on each side of Dolby atmos drivers.

Sound Format Supported 

It is disappointing that the JBL 5.1 can only play Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital Plus. As well as the aforementioned sound formats, the JBL Bar 9.1 also supports several others, such as Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, DTS:X, and many more.

Overall Sound Quality

When comparing their maximum power output, the JBL 5.1 only produces 550 W vs 820 W for the JBL 9.1. Despite making powerful, crisp bass, the 5.1 is difficult to compete with a 9.1 audio channel with surround speakers and Dolby Atmos.

Remote Control and Inputs

There are dedicated buttons for Power, TV, Bluetooth, Atmos Driver Volume, HDMI, Volume Up/Down, Mute, Bass Volume, and Rear Speaker Volume on the JBL Bar 9.1 and 5.1 remote controls. 

The JBL Bar 9.1 differs only in having a dedicated button for Apple AirPlay and Google Cast. Additionally, Bluetooth pairing is quick and straightforward with Bluetooth 4.2 and AAC codes.

Prices of JBL Bar 9.1 and 5.1

In this category, the JBL 5.1 is the more affordable option. However, if you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck, the JBL Bar 9.1 is an intelligent choice. Considering all of the features listed in this review, we can see why we prefer the JBL Bar 9.1.

What’s in the Box?

JBL Bar 5.1

You will get the following things with your JBL Bar 5.1.

  • HDMI cable
  • 2x Power cables
  • Remote with 2x AAA batteries
  • Mounting brackets and screws
  • Mounting template
  • Manuals

JBL Bar 9.1

You will get the following things with your JBL Bar 9.1.

  • HDMI cable
  • Power cable for subwoofer
  • Remote with 2x AAA batteries
  • 2x U-shape wall-mount brackets (for the satellites)
  • 2x L-shape wall-mount brackets (for the main bar)
  • Mounting screws
  • Mounting template
  • Manuals
JBL 9.1 VS 5.1 Soundbar infographic

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is JBL Bar 5.1 worth it?

The JBL Bar 5.1 is okay for mixed-use. There is no doubt that this soundbar delivers a punchy and booming sound, which is perfect for music and action movies. One downside is that only two EQ presets are available, and it isn’t Atmos compatible.

Is 5.1 or 9.1 better?

Compared to the JBL Bar 5.1 Surround, the JBL Bar 9.1 has superior audio performance. Bar 9.1 is a 5.1.4 system with detachable wireless satellites, offering a more neutral and balanced sound profile.

What is the difference between the 5.1 and 9.1 soundbars?

There are two front-height channels. Because 9.1 has two additional channels, it affords a greater sense of depth and dimension. A 5.1 or 7.1 system, on the other hand, only delivers a horizontal sound field. This means that audio is given to the viewer from a single vertical axis.

You can also visits our guides on our 5.1 sound bars:

  1. Best Settings for VIZIO 5.1 Soundbar
  2. 2.1 VS 5.1 Soundbar
  3. Dolby Atmos VS 5.1 Soundbar
  4. 3.1 VS 5.1 Soundbar
  5. 5.1 vs 7.1 Soundbar

Conclusion

JBL Bar 9.1 is the winner in this review. Compared to the JBL Bar 5.1 Surround, the JBL Bar 9.1 performs better. A Bar 9.1 is a 5.1.4 setup with wireless satellites that can be detached, and it boasts a neutral and balanced sound profile. The centre and surround performance is much better, and it supports both Atmos and eARC.

This model dominates almost every feature discussed in this review. Although it costs more than the JBL Bar 5.1, you can expect better sound quality and enhanced audio channels with the JBL Bar 9.1.

Additionally, it supports a wider variety of sound formats, making it more flexible than the JBL 5.1.

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