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JBL Bar 800 review: The best surround sound system up to 800 euros?

JBL Bar 800 cover photo
Picture: TechnikNews
(Post picture: © 2023 TechnikNews)

With the Bar 800, JBL has introduced a chic Dolby Atmos soundbar with detachable rear speakers and subwoofer. You can read below how the soundbar has fared in everyday life over the past 4 months.

At the end of last year, JBL presented the latest generation of their soundbars, including the JBL Bar 800. I have had these extensively tested for the past 4 months. How I liked the Bar 800 and whether I can recommend it, I will tell you below.

tl; dr

JBL Bar 800 with TV

Picture: TechnikNews

Overall, I really liked the Bar 800 from JBL, because the overall package is just right and the sound surprised me positively. Setup is simple and straightforward. The design is typical for JBL, very minimalist and chic. The soundbar was also able to convince me with a fairly well implemented app. Their sound is fairly balanced. The mids and highs are beautifully clear, while the bass is very powerful and deep. Thanks to true Dolby Atmos, films, series and music sound very spatial and powerful in Dolby Atmos. In terms of price, the soundbar is within the range for what is on offer, but it could be a bit cheaper. I can recommend the Bar 800 almost unconditionally to anyone looking for a stylish soundbar with subwoofer and very good sound. You can buy the JBL Bar 800 at:

Unboxing & scope of delivery

JBL Bar 800 packaging

Picture: TechnikNews

The JBL Bar 800 is delivered in relatively small cardboard packaging. In addition to the soundbar itself, its most important functions are also printed on the packaging. The box contains the soundbar itself, the rear speakers including magnetic covers and the subwoofer. There is also a remote control, two power cables, an HDMI cable and wall brackets for the rear speakers.

The JBL One app, which can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, is required for the complete setup and calibration of the sound system. Although the app is not absolutely necessary, it should be installed in order to access the full functionality of the Bar 800 and to calibrate it.

First you should connect the soundbar and the subwoofer to the power supply and dock the rear speakers to the soundbar. If the soundbar and the subwoofer then have power, a pop-up will appear in the app. The pop-up prompts the user to enter the setupproprocess to start. During the setup, you mainly connect the soundbar to the WLAN and do a sound calibration. Overall I liked the facilityprozess because it is very simple and well thought out.

Design & processing

JBL Bar 800 with docked Bear speakers

Picture: TechnikNews

The design of the JBL Bar 800 is quite simple and very chic, just the way I like it. The only available color that the soundbar comes in is black, which I find a bit of a shame. I would have loved a white model as it would have fitted my room a bit better. Regardless of that, I really like the design of the Bar 800. The soundbar is really big with dimensions of 117,4 centimeters in width, 12 centimeters in depth and 5,6 centimeters in height. If you then remove the rear speakers, the Bar 800 is reduced to a width of 88,4 centimeters. A large part of the soundbar is made of metal, which makes it appear high quality and good looking. The top of the soundbar is made of matte plastic, which is well integrated into the design. There is also an LED display on the front, which is not very large, but is sufficient for operation. Everything looks very high quality and is very well processed.

The rear speakers are also very chic and match the rest of the design. To cover the charging contacts on the speakers and the soundbar itself, there are magnetic plastic covers that match the design. They have a USB-C port that allows them to be charged. There is also a power button on both speakers for manual switching on and off. There is a thread on the back to attach the two rear speakers to the wall using the wall bracket supplied.

JBL Bar 800 subwoofer

Picture: TechnikNews

The subwoofer is one of the most beautiful subwoofers I have ever seen. It is almost entirely made of matte plastic and is not too big or bulky. There is only a small, simple JBL logo on its top, which matches the chic design. The processing of the subwoofer is extremely good. Everything looks as if it came from one piece.

Connections, connectivity & operation

On the soundbar itself, there are only two buttons for volume control and a paring button. In contrast to the rather small number of buttons, the soundbar offers a relatively large number of connections. In addition to the power cable connection, the HDMI-eARC port and the optical audio connection, the soundbar also has an HDMI input to connect other devices to the television via HDMI line-in, a USB-A port and an Ethernet connection. In addition to Bluetooth, the Bar 800 also offers Apple AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast and Alexa Multi-Room Music for connecting devices wirelessly. Personally, I mostly used AirPlay to listen to music through the soundbar, and unlike my Sonos Beam Gen-2, I surprisingly didn't connectprohad problems.

The soundbar can be operated in several ways. You either control it using the supplied remote control, the buttons on it yourself, or you use the JBL One app for this. The normal remote control of the television or set-top box can also be used to adjust the volume. The operation is very sophisticated and simple, since pretty much everything has been thought of. I think it's good that the user can adjust the volume of the rear speakers and the strength of the Dolby Atmos effect in 3 stages. The subwoofer can either be turned off completely if you don't like bass at all, or regulated in 5 stages.

sound quality

JBL Bar 800 with TV

Picture: TechnikNews

The sound quality of the JBL Bar 800 is really at a very high level. It has a 5.1.2 channel speaker system that supports Dolby Atmos and 3D sound. Overall, the soundbar, the rear speakers and the subwoofer offer a peak performance of 720 watts.

On paper, the sound setup sounds pretty good. But how does it fare in reality? – Well, pretty good actually! When watching films and series on the TV that do not support Dolby Atmos or 5.1 sound, the sound is pretty good despite the lack of support. The mids and highs are balanced and the bass is deep and powerful. However, if you then consume 5.1 surround sound or Dolby Atmos material, you will hear a significant improvement in the overall sound image. Everything sounds clearer, more balanced and much more spacious. Thanks to the two drivers pointing upwards, you can also hear a helicopter flying over you in action films with Dolby Atmos, for example, which really impressed me.

The small ProThe problem with Dolby Atmos is that not only does the film or series have to support Dolby Atmos, but there also has to be an HDMI-eARC connection on the television. Almost all current televisions offer this connection, but many older models do not. To find out whether a television supports Dolby Atmos, it is usually sufficient to look at the HDMI connection of the TV. If it is labeled HDMI-ARC (Audio Return Channel), it unfortunately does not support Dolby Atmos. Only HDMI-eARC (enhanced Audio Return Channel) connections support Dolby Atmos.

Audio streamed via AirPlay, Google Chromecast or Alexa Multi-Room Music also sounds very good. I have often listened to music from Apple Music via AirPlay on the soundbar and have been very happy with the sound.

JBL One app

JBL One App - Bar 800

Screenshot: TechnikNews

Like most current speakers and soundbars, the Bar 800 also offers an app called the JBL One App, which can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play Store. The most important functions of the app include an equalizer and audio calibration. The equalizer is not very extensive, but you can use it to customize the sound a bit. Software updates can also be downloaded and installed via the app. Overall, the app convinced me with its structure and its functions.

Prices & Availability

The JBL Bar 800 has come onto the market for a recommended retail price of 899 euros. In the meantime, however, it has fallen in price, which is why you can buy it for less than 800 euros. The soundbar is available from most electronics stores, such as MediaMarkt or Saturn, and also from the JBL online shop:

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Jonas Wilhelm

Jonas lives near Ingolstadt and has been with us for over a year TechnikNews. He regularly writes test reports and news for the site. In his free time, he likes to find out about the latest technology when he's not listening to music too loudly or watching series. He also often meets up with his friends and enjoys cooking.

Jonas has already written 31 articles and left 2 comments.

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John

Hi Jonas tried pressing the bass button on remote but nothing happened I much appreciated your reply to my query John

John

Hi Jonas liked your report I've not long had my jbl 800 soundbar still finding my way around it you mentioned that you can switch off the subwoofer but I can't seam to find out how to switch it off can you advise me much appreciated

Thomas

Hello Jonas, great comprehensive test. But I have a question.
How long does the rear speaker battery last?

LG Thomas