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Saturday - 31 July 2021

Madder than Max, well almost

JBL 5.1 Soundbar Launch

Some would say that being flown from Auckland to Sydney to watch a movie is a bit extravagant, especially since it wasn’t even a red carpet premiere, however, sound giants JBL had a plan and it was indeed, very cunning.

Founded in 1902 by James Bullough Lansing, JBL (now part of the Harman Kardon and ultimately the Samsung group) have a long and illustrious history with the movie industry and groundbreaking sound milestones. Some of you may remember, that way back in 1928 the World’s first talking movie (the Jazz Singer) featured Lansing’s HD loudspeakers, then in 1937 MGM-Lansing won the first of two Academy Awards. In 1952, with Singing in the Rain, JBL’s voice of the Theatre became THE standard for the motion picture industry, and in 1983 George Lucas (of Star Wars fame), selected JBL to develop the first THX licensed Theatre Audio System in conjunction with Return of the Jedi.

In between doing all of the above, the group found time to develop the first ever in-car radio, Crown introduced first open reel tape recorder with built-in power amp, Harman Kardon introduced first FM tuner, AKG developed the World’s first dynamic cardiod microphone, HK released the World’s first stereo receiver, JBL powered first of three Woodstocks, Becker launched first car cassette radio, Martin lit up the disco floors and developed fog machines, AKG brought sound to the Mir Space station, Harman enables first bluetooth car connectivity, JBL produce first iPod docks, JBL introduces Flip, STC launches Marimba Cloud….This all brings me back to the here and now in one of the oldest movie theatres in Sydney (Golden Age Cinema – Surry Hills), with popcorn in hand, ready to watch Mad Max: Fury Road.

As anyone that has seen this blockbuster would attest, it’s a full-on, exciting and loud action movie that requires a big screen and lots of volume – a big ask for a sound bar, regardless of the brand, and the history behind it. I was about t0 find out if JBL’s BAR 5.1 was up to the task.

The JBL Bar 5.1 is a 5.1 channel, 4K, Ultra HD, Soundbar with true wireless surround speakers. With 510 watts of power, detachable battery-powered speakers (with 10 hours playing time), a 10” wireless subwoofer, and JBL soundshift – there are plenty other specs that I won’t bore you with – suffice to say, it didn’t disappoint. In fact, I was so impressed with the sound I felt scammed – I opted to go in search of hidden speakers following the movie’s end.

To say the movie (sound) experience was epic is an understatement, I felt absorbed in the action and the bass was Beyond Thunderdome (get it?). I get a feeling that my neighbours won’t enjoy the experience as much as me when I get to do a follow-up home trial, or maybe they will choose to join me in a weekend movie marathon – you never know, ‘this could be the start of something big.’

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