Ameya DalviMay 3, 2021 5:42:00 PM IST
Price: Rs 6,199
Rating: 3.8 / 5
We’ve looked at quite a few budget speaker bars in recent months, but the Zebronics Zeb-Juke bar 3800 Pro Dolby is an unusual option in this segment. First, unlike most of the soundbars we reviewed, it does not have a subwoofer, and the bar must handle all frequency ranges (including the low ones) alone. More interestingly, the bar is Dolby Digital Plus compatible, which is a rarity in this segment. But how does it really work, you ask. Let’s find out.
Zebronics Zeb-Juke Bar 3800 Pro Dolby Soundbar: Design (7.5 / 10)
- 1 Zebronics Zeb-Juke Bar 3800 Pro Dolby Soundbar: Design (7.5 / 10)
- 2 Zebronics Zeb-Juke Bar 3800 Pro Dolby Soundbar: specifications and features (8/10)
- 3 Zebronics Zeb-Juke Bar 3800 Pro Dolby Soundbar: Performance (7.5 / 10)
- 4 Zebronics Zeb-Juke Bar 3800 Pro Dolby Soundbar: Price, Options and Judgment
The Zebronics 3800 Pro Dolby soundbar has a largely standard design, an all-black body and a metal grille on the front with a sports brand and the Dolby Digital Plus logo. The structure is quite durable and the finish is decent. The bar is about 90 cm long and fits perfectly under a 40-43 inch TV. As I mentioned in the introduction, there is no subwoofer here and the bar has to make all the hard yards. The soundbar can be mounted on the wall with the screws provided. It also comes with a fully functional wireless remote control and a pair of AAA batteries needed for its power supply.
All input ports (except the USB port) are on the back of the soundbar. Because the cables are sideways, connecting the cables to the ports is relatively easy if you install it on a wall. Another smart decision by the design team is to place the USB port on the side of the bar, where connecting a flash drive is much easier than to the USB port behind the bar. The power button – along with the volume keys – is located on the right side. At the front and center is a small, seven-segment LED display that is always convenient. It shows, among other things, the input source and the volume / bass / treble level.
Zebronics Zeb-Juke Bar 3800 Pro Dolby Soundbar: specifications and features (8/10)
All popular connection options are in the Zeb-Juke Bar 3800 Pro Dolby. You get Bluetooth 5.0, 3.5mm Aux input, optical input, USB and last but not least, HDMI ARC. It has most of the platforms. The soundbar has two pairs of 6.35 cm controllers to take care of all frequency ranges, including low; they must also cover the missing subwoofer. Both produce 60 W RMS combined peak power. The nominal frequency response ranges from 45 Hz to 20 KHz.
Confirming an impressive list of features here is a Dolby certificate. Dolby-certified audio bars with HDMI ARC input are rare in this budget, and the Juke Bar 3800 Pro can handle Dolby Digital Plus audio. A beautifully functioning, fully functional wireless remote control is what you get with most Zebronics soundbar speakers. It is reasonably well built and has controls for volume, bass, treble, equalizer presets (music, news, movie, 3D), input selection and audio playback. A power button and mute button are included. I can’t think of anything important that the company would have missed here. Take care of the remote control, as most functions cannot be accessed without it.
Zebronics Zeb-Juke Bar 3800 Pro Dolby Soundbar: Performance (7.5 / 10)
I tried to test the soundbar with multiple input sources, and understandably HDMI and USB playback was better than Bluetooth and Aux. In Bluetooth mode, the volume of this soundbar does not synchronize with the Bluetooth volume of the source device. So you have to adjust both volumes separately, which I don’t like. Interestingly, the soundbar supports AAC codecs via Bluetooth, which I haven’t encountered to date in the budget soundbar.
The transition to sound quality is surprisingly good for a 2.0-channel soundbar. The output is powerful, the bass is striking and more often than not, you don’t miss a dedicated subwoofer, and it says something. There are sound adjustments that allow you to strangle the bass and treble from -5 to 5 according to your preferences, and it makes a significant difference in sound reproduction. There are four sound presets and they are independent of the bass and treble levels. It’s best to always use a preset movie or music and leave the other two alone.
The soundbar can belong to a medium-sized room with a volume of about 50 percent. In just a few situations, when I was watching programs or movies on certain OTT platforms, I had to push it up to 70 percent for added clarity. The dynamic range of this bar is pretty decent. The heights are well reproduced and there is a lot of clarity in the vocals. The basses also have a good presence, although it’s not too tight. Music playback is almost valid, especially when played via Bluetooth or Aux. It sounds much better when playing from a USB port or via HDMI. Nevertheless, this soundbar is not the best for playing music.
When watching a network series or movie (especially Dolby Digital or Dolby Digital Plus encoded), this soundbar comes to life. There is a significant difference in the sound quality of such content compared to other low-cost Dolby-certified soundbar bars. It fills the room with a striking voice with plenty of clarity in the dialogues and surprisingly good detail in the voice. During operating cycles, you don’t miss the extra beat the subwoofer can produce, but in most cases, you don’t lose the sub-speaker. It goes far beyond the TV viewing experience beyond what most TV speakers can control, and especially when watching content Netflix and Prime Video with high quality sound. When watching Dolby compatible content, the words ‘Dolby Audio’ flash on the LED display. However, it does not specify whether it is a Dolby Digital or Dolby Digital Plus signal.
Zebronics Zeb-Juke Bar 3800 Pro Dolby Soundbar: Price, Options and Judgment
The Zebronics Zeb-Juke Bar 3800 Pro Dolby is priced at Rs 699 with a one-year Warranty and is available on all popular e-commerce platforms such as Flipkart and Amazon. While you get 2.1-channel audio bars (with a subwoofer) in that price range, hardly all are Dolby-certified and some even lack an HDMI input. I would say this is a good price for a soundbar with multiple audio inputs, including HDMI ARC, support for Dolby Digital Plus, good sound reproduction and adjustments; it’s even better if you don’t have room for a subwoofer or you don’t like extra bass.
In terms of options, there are hardly any sound bars without a subwoofer that sound just as good in this price range. It beats the Xiaomi Soundbar (sold for Rs 4,999) comfortably in terms of both features and performance. You have some competition from Zebronics itself. The Zeb-Jukebar 4000 – which comes with a subwoofer and sells for Rs 200 less – sounds pretty good, even if Dolby Audio isn’t followed. It also has all the connectivity options, but if you’re looking for a simple and professional soundbar without the clutter of extra cables or subnets, the Zeb-Juke bar 3800 Pro Dolby is a great option.