Tuesday, February 20, 2024

JBL Bar 500 Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer Review

I enjoy movies, as do most people. And to bring out the best experience you need surround sound. While TV speakers have improved over the years, let’s face it, they’re still subpar. To get the best viewing experience for movies, or TV, you need more. And for some, a full surround system can be either intimidating, or out of their budget.  A soundbar is a good compromise. Up for review today is the JBL Bar 500.

Features and specs:

General Specifications

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

Networked standby power: < 2.0 W

Operating temperature: 0°C - 45 °C


Audio Specifications

Total speaker power output (Max @THD 1%): 590W

Soundbar output power (Max @THD 1%): 290W

Subwoofer output power (Max. @THD 1%): 300 W

Soundbar transducer: 4x (46x90)mm racetrack drivers, 3x 0.75" (20mm) tweeters

Subwoofer transducer: 10” (260mm)

Frequency response: 35Hz - 20kHz (-6dB)

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


Soundbar dimensions (W x H x D): 1017 x 56 x 103.5 mm / 40’’ x 2.2’’ x 4’’

Subwoofer dimensions (W x H x D): 305 x 440.4 x 305 mm / 12" x 17.3" x 12"

Soundbar weight: 2.8kg/ 6.2 lbs

Subwoofer weight: 10 kg / 22 lbs

Packaging dimensions (W x H x D): 1105 x 370 x 475 mm/ 43.5" x 14.6" x 18.7"

Packaging Weight: 16.2 kg / 35.6 lbs


Control and Connection Specifications

USB port: Type A

USB rating: 5V DC, 0.5A

Supporting file format: MP3

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: 5.0

Bluetooth profile: A2DP 1.2, AVRCP 1.5

Bluetooth transmitter frequency range: 2400 MHz – 2483.5 MHz

Bluetooth transmitter power: <15 dBm (EIRP)

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 (EIRP)

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

5G Wi-Fi transmitter power: 5.15-5.25GHz <23dBm, 5.25-5.35GHz & 5.47-5.725GHz <20dBm, 5.725-5.825GHz <14dBm (EIRP)

2.4G wireless transmitter frequency range: 2406 - 2474MH

2.4G wireless transmitter power: 10dBm (EIRP

Video Specifications

HDMI video input: 1

HDMI video output (with Enhanced Audio Return Channel, eARC): 1

HDMI HDCP version: 2.3

HDR pass through: HDR10, Dolby Vision

The JBL Bar 500 came in a great looking box with color images and specs of the soundbar. Opening the box revealed a well-protected product held in place by custom molded Styrofoam. Materials used in the construction was mostly plastic with some metal. Quality of materials used, as well as fit and finish, was very good. Included in the box was the soundbar, subwoofer, remote, cables, mounts, and user guide.

As briefly mentioned before, a soundbar is a good compromise. They are designed for sound. You get better quality speakers, and more of them, as well as a much larger amplifier to power them. And in some cases like the JBL Bar 500, you also get a separate wireless subwoofer. While a subwoofer is not needed, it improves the sound and experience so much! Ever watch an action movie without a subwoofer? The sound without a sub is just…flat.


A soundbar is also less hassle than a full surround system. First, it’s cheaper, as you don’t need a receiver. It’s also much less intimidating and easier to set up. There are a lot less connections, and less wires. And no speakers to place, or mount on the wall.

The JBL Bar 500 is designed with simplicity in mind. As far as speakers, you get the sound bar and wireless subwoofer. No separate speakers to worry about. You simply set the soundbar on your console under your TV, and set the subwoofer on the floor next to the console, or in the corner of the room. And if your TV is wall mounted, you can mount the soundbar on the wall under your TV. For connections you have power, USB, ethernet, HDMI in.  And for TV, you have HDMI for TV ARC/TV eARC. So you can easily hook it up to your TV and internet for all your streaming content. And with the HDMI input you can also use not just a streaming stick, but also cable box, Blu-ray player, or gaming system. There’s a USB port for a flash drive, as well as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for wireless connectivity.

The JBL Bar 500 also does a good job on surround sound. It features four woofers and three tweeters in the soundbar, and 290 watts. Thru Dolby Atmos it delivers 5.1 surround sound. A sound test, using the built-in software, tunes the soundbar to your room, to deliver 5.1 surround sound. Even without rear mounted speakers, it employs sound reflections using the walls in your walls in your room, for the perceived 5.1 surround sound. And the wireless subwoofer takes care of the .1 for the bass. Pairing it to my smartphone with Bluetooth was also really easy.  Now that it’s set-up, let’s see how it sounds.


Ready Player One – Race scene:  vocals were very smooth and easy to understand. Highs, with all the mayhem and collecting of coins, were really crisp and clean and the bass with T-Rex and Kong was deep and played with a ton of authority! While I didn’t hear sounds coming from behind, it did sound excellent from the front as well as deep on the sides as far forward as my sitting position.

Greatest Showman – the various musical numbers had excellent vocals. Not only did the soundbar provide good resolution to reveal the texture of the timbre of all the singers, there was excellent harmonics. The imaging was also excellent, as was the soundstage both deep and extremely wide!

Music. Nat King Cole – L-O-V-E: this was another excellent example of great resolution and soundstage. Vocals were silky smooth with excellent texture of the timbre. Trumpet and trombone were also smooth with excellent harmonics and not to brassy. Imaging again was excellent with vocals, trumpet and trombone at different points in space, in a deep and wide soundstage.


The JBL Bar 500 proved to be a great soundbar. The built in amplifier provided sufficient power to deliver good performance from the built in speakers. The wireless 10 inch subwoofer provided not just deep bass, it did so with authority. And thanks to Dolby Atmos and sound calibration, the JBL Bar 500 delivered a good surround sound experience. Connecting up to my smartphone via Bluetooth was easy and worked well.  It’s also well-built to provide years of use. Based on its design, feature, quality and performance, the JBL Bar 500 has earned our Highly Recommended Award. For more info and complete specs, check out their website at www.JBL.com.