JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass review: Brawny soundbar brings theater thump home

Matthew N. Henry


Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass retains points very simple. It can be a one soundbar and wireless subwoofer combo with Bluetooth streaming. There’s no extravagant movie like the Roku Sensible Soundbar or the flawed JBL Connection Bar, no multiroom audio like the Sonos Beam, no developed-in Alexa or Google Assistant like, properly, very significantly each individual other speaker these times. As a substitute it just appears fantastic — in huge component for the reason that of, you guessed it, deep bass.


  • Dynamic and comprehensive movie sound
  • Massive subwoofer goes deep
  • Two HDMI ports insert versatility

You should not Like

  • Not as fantastic with tunes
  • No encompass or Digital:X processing
  • Sparse sound controls

The JBL puts a lot more bombast in your Tv viewing than both of its under-$three hundred levels of competition I have reviewed recently, namely the Polk Signa S3 ($250 at Best Obtain) and the Vizio V21 ($one hundred eighty at Best Obtain). The greater sub gives the JBL an amazing dynamic assortment, which is most handy with blockbuster flicks. What this soundbar lacks in refinement and environment, it compensates with pure brawn.

Even though the JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass may possibly not be as fantastic a deal as the Vizio V21, it undoubtedly kicks a lot more butt. If you have some excess cash on-hand from not going to the flicks any a lot more, and you crave that theater thump, this soundbar is the next-best thing.

Smaller bar, significant sub

Irrespective of obtaining a very similar identify, the JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass is different from (and does not change) the before JBL Bar 2.1, and it presents unique options which include a new sub and easier remote manage. The most important speaker is smaller, a popsicle stick-formed, 28-inch bar clad in the firm’s customary gunmetal gray. It has a set of controls on top for quantity, electricity and supply, and the grill-lined front incorporates an LED readout which is somewhat easy to understand, specifically when compared to Vizio’s.


Ty Pendlebury/CNET

While some soundbars include Chromecast or AirPlay Wi-Fi streaming, the JBL is constrained to Bluetooth for playing tunes from your cell phone. It also has optical electronic, two HDMI inputs (one particular with ARC) and Dolby Digital decoding. The most important soundbar’s speakers comprise four entire-assortment motorists and two 1-inch tweeters. 

As you’d guess from the identify, the wireless subwoofer is a monster. It can be 9 inches sq. and 14.six inches tall with a rear-mounted port, properties a six.five-inch driver and seems not in contrast to the new Xbox Collection X

The manage scheme is too bare-bones for my style. The remote has nearly nothing to adjust at first look, just the subwoofer amount and quantity. There are no traditional sound modes like Film, Audio and Voice, which I obtain handy on other bars when listening to unique varieties of articles. 

You can make one particular manner change but it is not easy. The soundbar is set in “wise” manner by default, which offers “rich sound effects.” To flip this manner off  you have to push and keep the mute button till “TOGGLE” seems on the show, then push Volume Up. The show will then go through “OFF SMARTMODE.” However the wise manner will engage again if you flip the soundbar off, so until you want to go via that approach each individual time you might be very significantly stuck with it. 

How does it sound?

Speakers are constrained by the guidelines of physics — smaller motorists are not able to reproduce the entire audio spectrum — so soundbars fill the resulting gap in the bottom midrange in a variety of methods. The JBL compensates by incorporating some existence sparkle to its hefty bass reaction, which helps raise the intelligibility of dialog as properly as the impact of element.

Even though the more affordable Vizio V21 has a wider soundstage thanks to DTS Digital:X encompass processing, it is a significantly lesser speaker bodily and lacks the JBL’s muscularity. The Vizio can ship sound effects whizzing all-around your home, but the JBL trumps it for property theater thrills — and it is all for the reason that of the significant subwoofer. 

In comparison to the Vizio and the Polk, the JBL Deep Bass 2.1 sounded the most thrilling when I viewed the Thanator chase from Avatar. The greater sub was equipped to capture a lot more of the very low-frequency effects — from the pad of the creature’s footfalls to the mild roar of the waterfall — and the jungle came alive with bugs and functioning h2o.  Even though the Vizio was equipped to make the jungle seem to be 3 dimensional thanks to Digital:X, it could not match the JBL for the slam inherent in this frenetic scene.


Connectivity incorporates two HDMI ports, optical and Bluetooth.

Ty Pendlebury/CNET

Set up was a lot more finicky than the Polk and Vizio soundbars thanks to that greater sub. The one bass button has 3 stages, and I felt that it essential a different phase in between medium and superior as the top amount was too much to handle. This lack just isn’t an challenge with flicks but turned apparent when I listened to tunes.

On the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ breakout strike Maps, I was not able to get a satisfactory blend in between the sub and the ‘bar. The medium setting or over was too boomy and the midrange also sounded limp and lackluster. The challenge also varied for each observe. Transferring from Karen O’s soprano to Nick Cave’s tenor was positive to expose the exact same difficulty, I assumed, but the JBL actually handled Cave’s Purple Ideal Hand far better, sounding each well balanced and evocative. The bass line was a little muffled but distinctive from Cave’s vocals while some soundbars may possibly smoosh the two collectively.

If you really want to show off what the JBL can do with tunes, pull out a duplicate of Useless Can Dance’s Yulunga (Spirit Dancer). The soundbar shipped the song’s large stereo effects, fantastic dynamics and deep, deep bass on the huge drums.

Need to you invest in it?

The JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass presents a first rate approximation of your community cineplex in the comfort and ease of your living home — no mask needed. The lack of encompass sound (simulated or or else) is only a minor letdown when compared with the absolute wallop that its hefty sub can set out. If you want a minimum of fuss, options and setup instances then, the JBL presents fantastic sound high-quality for a reasonable cost.

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