JBL is aiming to take some of the pain out of setting up home theater surround sound with a new soundbar system featuring wireless, battery-powered rear speakers that you can position into place when you’re ready to enjoy the show.
We saw a similar package launched back in 2017 that likewise features detachable, battery-powered wireless speakers, but that system is 5.1 surround sound and doesn’t feature Dolby Atmos. The new JBL Bar 9.1 is the company’s first system to feature Dolby Atmos and has four upward-facing Atmos drivers that use room reflections to bounce audio from all angles.
Accompanying that soundbar are two wireless speakers with batteries built in that can be attached to the main speaker for charging, and then detached when you’re ready to put them where you want them—probably behind your couch considering they’re meant to be rear speakers. Once they’re in place, JBL says the rear speakers shoot sound off your ceiling and back down where you’re listening so it adds to the 3D audio effects.
Just like the JBL Bar 5.1, the battery-powered rear speakers bundled with the new JBL Bar 9.1 are good for up to 10 hours of playback per charge before you have to redock them on the main soundbar. The system comes with a 10-inch wireless subwoofer and touts up to 820 watts of total system power. That’s quite a boost from the 510 watts of power that the 5.1 setup can pump out.
Other features include built-in support for 4K passthrough with Dolby Vision, as well as Bluetooth, Chromecast, and Airplay 2 connectivity so you can stream music straight to the soundbar. The JBL Bar 9.1 is expected to be available for purchase through JBL.com this spring and pricing is currently set at $999.95, or $300 more than the company’s existing non-Atmos 5.1 surround sound system.