Sunday, November 26, 2023

JBL Authentics 500 Wireless Smart Speaker Review

There are a lot of speaker manufacturers. Some are better than others, and some are legendary. JBL is one of those manufacturers that have had legendary models. They have tapped into the styling of legendary speakers with the look of the new Authentics Line. Up for review is the new Authentics 500. MSRP is $699.

Features and specs:


General Specifications

Sound system: 3.1 & Dolby Atmos Music

Power supply: 100 - 240V AC, ~ 50/60Hz

Total speaker power output (Max @THD 1%): 270W

Transducer: 3 x 25mm aluminum dome tweeter + 3 x 2.75" midrange + 6.5" subwoofer

Networked standby power: < 2.0 W

Operating temperature: 0 °C - 45 °C


Audio Specifications

Frequency response: 40Hz - 20kHz (-6dB)

Audio inputs: 1 Audio in, Bluetooth/WIFI, Ethernet and USB (USB playback is available in US version. For other versions, USB is for Service only.)



Dimensions (W x H x D): 447 x 240 x 255.7 mm / 17.60" x 9.45" x 10.07"

Weight: 7.8 kg / 17.20 lbs

Packaging dimensions (W x H x D): 515 x 322 x 315 mm / 20.3" x 12.7" x 12.4"

Packaging Weight: 11.4 kg / 25.1 lbs


Control and Connection Specifications

USB port: Type C

USB rating: 5V DC, 1A

Supporting ­formats: mp3,WAV

MP3 codec: MPEG 1 Layer 2/3, MPEG 2 Layer 3, MPEG 2.5 Layer 3

MP3 sampling rate: 16 - 48 kHz

MP3 bitrate: 80 - 320 kpbs

Bluetooth version: 5.3

Bluetooth pro­le: A2DP 1.3.2, AVRCP 1.5

Bluetooth transmitter frequency range: 2400 MHz - 2483.5 MHz

Bluetooth transmitter power: <17 dBm

Wi-Fi network: IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax (2.4GHz/5GHz)

2.4G Wi-Fi transmitter frequency range: 2412 - 2472 MHz (2.4 GHz ISM Band, USA 11 Channels, Europe and others 13 Channels)

2.4G Wi-Fi transmitter power: <20 dBm

5G Wi-Fi transmitter frequency range: 5.15 - 5.35GHz, 5.470 - 5.725GHz, 5.725 - 5.825GHz

5G Wi-Fi transmitter power: <23 dBm


The JBL Authentics 500 came shipped in a nice color printed box, with photos and specs of the speaker. Opening the box revealed a well-protected speaker held in place by custom molded cardboard. Materials used in the construction was mostly plastic. But quality of materials used, as well as fit and finish, was excellent. Also included was the power cord and Quick Start Guide.


I love the design of the JBL Authentics 500. For looks, they revived the retro look of the L100 from the 70s. For the sound, they tapped modern innovations, such as use of Dolby Atmos. This also includes a 3.1 design. There is a left channel, a center channel, and right channel. Those three channels comprise of separate tweeter and midrange drivers. The point one of the 3.1 design is the down firing subwoofer. So in JBL fashion, thanks to the 1 inch tweeters, 2.75 inch midrange, and 6.5 inch subwoofer and 270 watts, you will get high quality room filling sound.


Most users will use the built-in Bluetooth or wi-fi to access their music. But there is also an ethernet port, so you can actually use a hardwire connection. Through this internet connection, you can also access Alexa or Google Assistant, for use as a smart speaker. Additional input connections are 3.5 mm auxiliary input, and USB.


Last but not least, there’s also the JBL One App.  The app walks you thru setting up the Authentics 500.  It was a breeze.  The EQ also worked well, although was much simpler than I would have liked for such a great speaker.  Rather than just bass mids and highs, it would have been nice to have something with more frequency points like a 10-band graphic EQ.  But before I knew it, I was up and listening to music from the Amazon Music app on my phone.


All of this design comes together in a synergy for an excellent smart speaker. You get solid smart speaker connectivity thanks to the Ethernet port.  Separate tweeter, midrange, and subwoofer ensures your music will sound amazing, and it’s 270 watts makes sure its room filling. Its multiple inputs makes sure the source of your music isn’t limited. And the app lets you tailor the sound to your liking. And connecting the JBL Authentics 500 to my home network was simple. Now let’s see how it sounds.


Given us being in the Holiday season, I turned to some of my favorite Christmas music from one of my favorite bands Manheim Steamroller.

Deck the Halls:  cymbals were really crisp and clean with very good resolution.  Snare drum was very dynamic. Bass drum had very good low-end extension and played with authority.  Horns were silky smooth with excellent harmonics without being too brassy. Strings were also smooth like honey with good resolution of the bow.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman:  tambourine was extremely crisp and clean. Piano sounded very natural with excellent texture of the strings coming thru. Horns were silky smooth, as were the strings. Cymbals were also crisp and clean. Kick drum had excellent low-end extension and played with a lot of authority. There were a lot of instruments. And not only were they resolved extremely well, they were also placed correctly across the soundstage.  

Carol of the Bells:  Bells were extremely crisp and clean with excellent tone.  Texture of the rainstick was also very good. Drums were dynamic with great pitch definition. Horns section provided smooth harmonics that were aurally sublime. Bass beats were very deep and played with a lot of punch!


I was impressed with the sound quality of the JBL Authentics 500.  The separate drivers for tweeter, midrange, and subwoofer, did provide resolution that revealed subtleties to the music.  And not only was the soundstage pleasantly wide, it even provided depth and height to it.  And imaging was also very good.  It’s subwoofer also seemed to play deeper than it’s published frequency response.  Sound signature seemed to be pretty neutral.  When cranking up the volume, not only did it fil the room with sound, it still sounded really good playing loud.

JBL has done it again with their JBL Authentics 500. It’s a well-made smart speaker that taps into that JBL sound. It yields a sound that is not just room filling, but also excellent quality. Based on its design, features, quality and performance, the JBL Authentics 500 has earned our Editor’s Choice Award. For more info and complete specs, check out their website at