JBL 5.1 Soundbar vs Klipsch Bar 48 which is a better choice?

So, you’re moving into a new place. You got your furniture, you got your brand-new TV, all you’re looking for now is a great sound system that will complete your lounge setting and enhance your overall movie-watching, game-playing experience. Now normally you can get a full home theater system, but today I’m going to be comparing two really fantastic soundbars that are not too heavy on your pocket. The first one is the ever-popular JBL 5.1 Soundbar, while the second one is the Klipsch Bar 48 which is one of the best 3.1 systems on the market. Let’s see how these two measure up!

INTRODUCTION

JBL 5.1 Soundbar

The JBL is 5.1 channel soundbar with a 10-inch wireless subwoofer. The soundbar supports Dolby Pro Logic 2, HDMI arc, has HDMI 4K Dolby Vision pass-through, and has a total output power of 510 watts. Undoubtedly, this is one of JBL’s most premium soundbars, and definitely in my top soundbars list. Let’s see how it stands out in our different categories today.

Klipsch Bar 48:

The Bar 48 as the name suggests, is a massive 48-inches wide. It’s an upgrade to the previous Klipsch Bar 40, which was 40-inches wide. It looks more aesthetic under TVs that are 55 inches and larger, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it with smaller sizes. It’s a 3.1 sound system that has an option for additional rear speakers that can enable the 5.1 surround system.

 

PRICING

JBL 5.1 Soundbar

This is an older model compared to the Klipsch Bar 48, and although it came out around $500, it’s available online for around $400 (Link for Amazon attached). For this price point, I’d say it’s a steal!

Check price on Amazon

Klipsch Bar 48:

This extraordinarily good looking soundbar is available through a great deal at Amazon at the time of writing for only around $349. At this price point it’s going to be really tough to beat this value. Although it’s important to note that to make it a full 5.1 system, you’d have to spend another couple hundred bucks.

Check price on Amazon

 

DESIGN

JBL 5.1 Soundbar:

It stands 2.3 inches tall and 40.1 inches wide and has a depth of 3.9 inches and weighs about 6.3 pounds. The subwoofer is a pretty impressive size compared to other subs I’ve seen packaged with rival soundbars. You can find the 10-inch woofer at the bottom. The subwoofer stands 17.3 inches tall, has a width and depth of 12 inches and weighs about 23.4 pounds.

It comes with wall mounts so it can easily be mounted with your TV, but one thing I noticed is that the detachable speakers sag a little on the sides when wall mounted, but that’s just gravity and you’ll learn to live with it. When head to head with the Klipsch Bar 48, I’d say this one looks just a tad bit cheaper in terms of build quality.

Klipsch Bar 48:

As stated earlier, this is a 48-inch wide soundbar that is not really suitable for the subtlest settings. But if you’re okay with the size, it’s an absolute killer combination of looks and sound.

The subwoofer is just under 12 inches wide and just over 16 inches high and deep so its got a fairly compact footprint and still puts out really decent bass. Normally the wireless subwoofers connect to the soundbar via Bluetooth, but here they’ve given a 2.4 GHz antenna, so now you have much more flexibility of where you can actually place the subwoofer.

It looks and feels very good. Most soundbars are made of plastic all around. But here, the cabinets of both the soundbar and subwoofer are made of wood materials, and you have these kind of brushed metallic enclosures on the end that each house a tweeter which all adds up to the Bar 48 both looking and feeling like a high-end system. Plus, you can add to the aesthetic and put on the wood-toned side panels that come with the box and replace the basic black ones. The build quality feels very premium, much like buying a brand-new luxury sedan and getting obsessed over its feel.

 

SOUND

JBL 5.1 Soundbar:

The capabilities of this speaker to give a complete home theater feel is amazing.

Here’s the game-changer: The soundbar has this really cool option for surround sound that it comes with magnetic detachable speakers on either sides of the soundbar that you can easily remove and place behind you on the back corners and you get that whole surround sound experience. These last about 8-10 hours and when you’re done, just connect it back and it starts charging again.

One thing about JBL’s products is that it has the best rumbling bass. Since its pointed downward, it makes the couch vibrate if placed on the floor. It’s perfect for hard surfaces, so it creates a whole rumbling movie theater experience.

It supports Bluetooth so you can connect it to your phone as well. The remote control has this feature called the “sound shift” that lets you switch between Bluetooth and the wired connection on the go.

After watching movies, playing video games, comparing the two soundbars. I believe the JBL is one of the top-performers in the industry, and even compared to the Klipsch it would be my top choice in the under $400 category.

Overall, an extremely immersive experience. House shaking bass, extremely punchy and deep.

The soundbar provides sharp, crisp treble so dialogues are always super clean even when there are bass-heavy scenes with gunshots or explosions, for example, but it doesn’t provide any mids. So, if you’re into the best audio quality for music, you’ll be a little disappointed as mids are a crucial part of music.

Klipsch Bar 48: 

As compared to the 5.1 JBL, this is a 3.1 system, so while you do get a dedicated channel in the middle for dialogue along with the two side channels, the separation of different sounds is not as crisp as the JBL here. They have the option to add wireless rear channels which makes turning the Bar 48 into a 5.1 channel surround system really quick and easy.

Along with the HDMI arc and Bluetooth and the usual features, there is an option of plugging in an extra subwoofer (or replacing the one that comes with the soundbar), in case the already punch bass of this system isn’t enough for you.

The Klipsch Bar 48 has Dolby audio decoding and DTS decoding, as well as different sound modes. You have the surround mode, a stereo mode, a dialogue enhancement mode (which basically beefs up the audio from the center channel so that’ll make the dialogue louder and clearer) and a night mode.

Overall, I was pretty impressed with the Bar 48. The vocals come through clearly with that dedicated center channel, highs are bright and accurate, mids feel warm and detailed, and bass from the wireless sub is deep and does a good job handling explosions and any other moments when you need that rumble.

 

THE VERDICT:

While the Klipsch Bar 48 has a better build quality and feels more premium, at the end of the day sound is what is the most important to me when choosing a soundbar. While the Klipsch Bar 48 is one of the best 3.1 systems out of the box, if you’re like me and want the perfect all-around 5.1 surround sound setup that’s also wireless and still plenty good for music and amazing for movies and TV shows, definitely go for the JBL 5.1 Soundbar. It’s a surround setup out of the box, and since soundbars are relatively long-term purchases, this is something that’ll be well worth your money for a long, long time.

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