They have similar design profiles, 10″ subwoofer systems but they are often compared mostly because of the perfectly balanced tonality of the sound they both produce at around $500.
Which is nothing short of extraordinary and the perfect price point for quality-sounding soundbars.
Is there a superior option for audiophiles and theatre enthusiasts alike? Which one should you pick and which of them is the better option?
Even if you have a particular liking for a particular brand, you will surely get bass-heavy thumps regardless of which you pick. But on average, music performance and clarity of dialogue are the most important factors when getting a soundbar for your TV setup.
Here we breakdown their features, the performance, clarity and overall sound quality, particular preferences, and value for money to determine which is the better choice between these two speakers.
Coming in with some truly premium features the JBL Bar 5.1 has a 550 Watts total speaker power output. And a truly badass 10-inch wireless down-firing subwoofer that will please even the most hardcore bass heads.
The soundbar speaker lineup includes five racetrack drivers and two 1.25-inch side-firing tweeters.
Together with an audio output that is enhanced with JBL Multibeam™ technology to create a virtual surround sound that closely approximates a real 5.1 theater setup.
Chromecast, Alexa Multi-Room Music (MRM), and Airplay 2 come built-in as a clear commitment to endless streaming options and increasing its ease of use.
Additionally, there are various ways to connect. It features, 4.2 Bluetooth, 1 optical output, USB, 1 HDMI output with ARC, and 1 HDMI input.
You also get a remote control with batteries, an HDMI cable, and up to 8 power cords depending on the region. Plus, wall mount brackets with screws.
With a 600 watts total speaker power output, the Klipsch Cinema 600 also doesn’t disappoint.
The 600 features three 1-inch tweeters mated to Tractrix horns, four 3-inch-high output cone woofers (drivers), and a Beast 10-inch wireless down-firing subwoofer.
With Dolby audio built-in, HDMI ARC, 3.5 mm Analog Input, and 1 optical digital input, you have multiple ways to connect to experience its life-like audio recreation.
And just in case you are a Bass head, a subwoofer (RCA) output is thrown in for safety.
Additionally, the Klipsch Cinema 600 ships with a led backlit remote control (batteries included) that offers more functionality, two 1.5 mm power cords which are region-specific, a 1.5 m HDMI cable with two keyhole mounting clips, and a wall-mount template.
It’s a close call but we would have to give it to the JBL Bar 5.1.
The additional streaming capabilities increase the ease of use from a home setup and although the addition of a 3.5 mm analog input on the Klipsch is welcome, it still falls a little bit short.
The sound quality of the JBL Bar 5.1 is simply decent, although it is not a true 5.1 surround system. It uses Multibeam technology to create a virtual surround effect that fills a room with immersive audio.
Dialogues are clean and clear when watching movies and do not distort even at max volume. Similar while listening to heavy bass music, it produces bass that will appeal to bass heads and also keeps the mid-range tight and clear.
It is loud enough to fill any home TV setup and retains enough clarity to deliver a perfectly balanced, robust sound.
The only shortcoming here is that there are no extensive EQ settings, as on certain tracks you will feel like adjusting to get a more linear mid-range.
The Klipsch Cinema 600 delivers a natural-sounding soundstage that is even further enhanced by its surround mode. Dialogues are particularly clear and loud, and the bass is spectacular delivering heavy thumps.
While watching movies, the combination of the subwoofer and the soundbar recreates powerful sound effects keeping vocals clear and crisp. Music with heavy bass content also doesn’t distort even at high volumes.
Plus, it can get extremely loud with deep bass, balanced mid-range, and clear treble. It also gives you more control with its surround mode and dialogue modes.
It does everything right, except for the fact that there are no EQ controls to take things further.
In conclusion, the Klipsch Cinema 600 produces a slightly better and more natural audio quality. It’s louder than JBL’s Bar 5.1 and offers more controls with surround mode and dialogue mode.
Pricing and Value for Money
If you value the additional streaming capability above all else, then the JBL Bar 5.1 is a solid choice.
Though currently, it’s a bit overpriced. It previously retailed at around $499 or less. If you can find it at that price point, all the better. It allows you to stream through Chromecast and Airplay and has a well-balanced audio output with no distortions.
At $549, the Klipsch Cinema 600 is still worth the price. You can wirelessly connect through Bluetooth and you get a more enhanced soundstage with higher volumes, crisp and clear vocals, and more control options.
The Klipsch Cinema 600 is perfect for anyone who wants a soundbar plus sub-woofer combination that comes close to rivalling dedicated home theatre systems.
Ultimately, they both offer good value for money and are top contenders in their price point.
However, for $50 less, you can get an overall better sound profile, more customization, ultra-clear vocals, and better performance for both music and movies with the Klipsch Cinema 600.
Style and Preference
With a total of 7 speakers built into both soundbars, you get a long, and low-slung design on both soundbars.
The JBL Bar has a pretty standard soundbar design. It’s a rectangular pill-shaped design with cool curved corners. The grill runs from the side of one curve end to the other and has its physical controls, volume rocker, power button, and source at the center of the top surface.
Things are basic on the Bar 5.1 remote with dedicated buttons to switch bass from low, mid, and high, one for source, Bluetooth and HDMI. Behind the curved grill is a dot display that smartly indicates when tuning the volume, switching sources, and turning the system on/off.
Things are spruced up a bit on the Klipsch Cinema 600. The design is above the standard of most soundbar designs. The speakers are enclosed behind a grill cover. But its tweeters are mated to Klipsch signature tractrix horns on both ends. It also sports a brushed wood finish enclosure.
The physical buttons are located on the right side of the bar, with standard controls for most soundbars. Volume, source, and power.
The Klipsch remote offers more functionality than the JBL with backlit buttons and dedicated buttons for several inputs and modes.
If you like the minimalistic take of standard soundbars, then the JBL Bar 5.1 would appeal to you.
But if you would rather opt for something that has a more unique look, then the Klipsch Cinema 600 is a perfect choice.
It’s time for our honest verdict. We have looked at each speaker’s features, appraised their sound quality; performance for both music and movies, and evaluated the pricing and value for money, even down to the style and preference. How do you choose between these two options?
The Klipsch Cinema 600 is the better choice.
Not only is the Klipsch Cinema 600 currently cheaper, but it also has a unique design, offers more customization, and has a superior sound.
We particularly love the clean and natural audio that the Klipsch manages to reproduce.
As we alluded to previously, the Klipsch Cinema 600 does everything right.
It has a more natural soundstage, offers better performance regardless of what you are doing, and can simply be maxed out at higher volumes.
The JBL 5.1 is almost equally as good, offering more connectivity options and a virtual surround effect with multibeam technology.
Both the JBL Bar 5.1 and the Klipsch Cinema 600 are unquestionably two of the best soundbars you could pick at this price point.