When is a soundbar not a soundbar? When it has detachable rear speakers, a wireless subwoofer and 15 audio channels, that's when. Such skills elevate it to somewhere near proper surround sound system territory.
But connect the JBL Bar 1300's detachable speakers to the main soundbar, and it'll be small enough to fit under your TV.
It's not the first JBL soundbar to offer this functionality – the Bar 9.1 offers more of the same – but the new Bar 1300, launched at CES 2023, has more audio channels than any other model in the range (the next closest is the Bar 1000, with 11 channels). It also packs Dolby Atmos and DTS:X 3D virtual surround sound technologies.
Inside are six up-firing drivers and JBL's MultiBeam tech (also seen in the Harman Kardon Citation MultiBeam 700), which, like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, makes standard audio sound like surround sound.
The detachable speakers have rechargeable batteries and need no wires to work. Either can pair with a Bluetooth device to work as a standalone speaker, or can work together to provide stereo sound. And the wireless subwoofer features a 10-inch (25cm) driver.
It's intended as a home cinema system – with parent company Harman's PureVoice tech optimising vocal clarity for clearer dialogue – but also connects to online music services over wi-fi. Connect it to a voice assistant-enabled device and you can bark commands at Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri. You can tweak the EQ using the new JBL One mobile app, too.
The JBL Bar 1300 will go on sale in mid-February 2023 for £1299.99 (around $1555, AU$1999).
Check out the best soundbars money can buy
And our Sonos Beam review