Home-grown consumer technology brand Zebronics has recently introduced the ZEB-Juke Bar 1000. Priced at Rs 9,999, this sound bar offers an affordable option with Dolby Atmos support. It is a 2.1-channel audio system consisting of a main bar equipped with two dynamic audio drivers and a wired sub-woofer. The sound bar boasts a peak audio output of 150W, with 60W coming from the main bar and 90W from the sub-woofer. In terms of price and specifications, the ZEB-Juke Bar 1000 appears to be a promising entry-level sound bar system. But does it live up to these expectations? Let us delve into it:
The ZEB-Juke Bar 1000 boasts a premium design, featuring a glossy finish on the main bar and a smooth matte finish on the sub-woofer. The main bar is rectangular in shape, with more depth than height, making it suitable for easy placement on a table under the TV. It also supports wall mount installation, although I would not recommend this option due to the location of its ports on the backside.
Speaking of ports, there is an HDMI-in with support for Enhanced Audio Return Channel (e-ARC), a USB-A port for thumb drives, AUX, optical in, power input, and audio out for the wired sub-woofer. Additionally, it offers Bluetooth v5.3 for wireless connectivity.
When it comes to the design, the sound bar features a metallic grille on the front, concealing the mesh-covered left and right channel speakers and a centrally aligned small LED display. The control buttons, circular in shape and made of rubber, are located on the top side.
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While the ZEB-Juke Bar 1000 may not be packed with features, it covers the essentials effectively. It comes with a wireless remote control that includes dedicated buttons for adjusting bass and treble. Furthermore, the remote provides quick access to limited audio presets, including movie, game, and music modes. Like other audio systems in its category, this sound bar supports a 3D effect that enhances the soundstage for a more immersive surround sound experience. Activating the 3D effect is as simple as pressing the dedicated button on the remote control.
The ZEB-Juke Bar 1000 offers good sound quality for a 2.1-channel audio system. The speakers deliver loud and clear audio with a commendable bass response when combined with the wired subwoofer. With the option to adjust treble and bass via the remote control, it is easy to customise the audio output to suit personal preferences. However, the ZEB-Juke Bar 1000 falls short in delivering on its core features - Dolby Atmos and eARC.
Dolby Atmos is a sound virtualisation technology that utilises both channel-based and object-based audio to enhance existing surround sound effects. It is best experienced on audio systems with height channels, which the ZEB-Juke Bar 1000 lacks. Furthermore, the 2.1-channel configuration does not amplify the sound to a level where the Dolby Atmos difference is discernible. Similarly, while the eARC function enables lossless Hi-Res audio over HDMI, the limited audio channeling hampers the overall experience.
The Zebronics ZEB-Juke Bar 1000 proves to be a competent 2.1-channel sound bar but falls short as a Dolby Atmos audio system. With that said, there are 5.1-channel sound bars available from other brands in the same price range that offer better value for money, despite lacking Dolby Atmos and e-ARC capabilities.