JBL Authentics 500 Review – Solid Speakers For Small Spaces

 Do you have limited space at home for giant speakers? Is audio quality important to you? Do you think retro design is evergreen? If your answer is yes to all these questions, the JBL Authentics 500 is the speaker designed for you. With a price of RM3699, is it worth it?


JBL Authentics 500

Bluetooth Speaker Type

3 x 1″ Al Tweeter drivers

3 x 2.75” Midrange

1 x 6.5” Subwoofer

I/O port 1x Audio In

1x USB-C

1x Ethernet

Dolby Atmos Music Codec

MPEG 1 Layer 2/3

MPEG 2 Layer 3

MPEG 2.5 Layer 3


All operating systems are supported

Virtual assistant support Yes

Touchpad None

Bluetooth Bluetooth 5.3

AUX Audio Jack Yes

NFC None

Selling Price RM 3699

The body of the Authentics 500 reminds us of a classic electric guitar AMP. The body has a leather-like texture synonymous with guitar AMPs that are also used on Marshall products. The size is compact with a measurement of 447 x 240 x 255.7 mm. It is a speaker with Dolby Atmos that is in the same size category as the Sonos Ray.

At the top there are power, bass and treble control knobs. The knob has a circular light ring around it. With this the user always knows at what level the audio volume, bass and treble are at any time. There is also a bluetooth tethering button and a Heart which is used to launch favorite playlists directly.

The audio adjustment knob also has additional features. Press once to pause/start music. Press twice to skip to the next music and three times to return to the previous music. All buttons are responsive and easy to use.

On the front is an audio grille that houses 3 x 1″ tweeters and 3 x 2.75” speakers. The boxy design on the front reminds me of the audio equipment design of the late 70s and early 80s. As a person born in the 80s, I quite like this classic design because it is quite compatible with the body finish of Authentics 500 which is also classic. At the bottom is a 6.5" subwoofer for bass.

On the back there is a port for LAN, 3.5mm audio input, USB-C and speaker mute. The USB-C port is only for diagnostics. The speaker can play audio files using a USB-C drive as long as they are in MP3 and WAV formats only. It's strange that there is no FLAC high bitrate audio support on a premium speaker.

I'm also a little disappointed that the input options provided are quite limited. For example there is no RCA input support whereas the body of the Authentics 500 is large enough to provide more input options. It became an issue when I tried to match the Authentic 500 with a JBL turntable that was reviewed at the same time.

The wireless audio system is via Bluetooth 5.3. AirPlay, Chromecast Built-In, Spotify Connect, and Tidal Connect support are provided to make it easy to send audio from smart devices directly to speakers with just a few taps. Another confusing thing is that bluetooth Codec is only SBC. No AAC let alone LDAC. Authentic 500 is a flagship speaker but the codec support provided is like an entry-level speaker.


Usage is easy through the JBL One application. The process of registering a speaker to a fast device takes only a few minutes. The first time it's done, the app will look for the latest software version the speaker might have. The process is fast for me because I have a fast internet connection in the studio.

After tethering, various settings such as access to various streaming applications and changing the audio using the equalizer can be done. Because it supports a variety of popular apps, the process of streaming audio from the phone to the speaker is as easy as pressing a menu in the Spotify, YouTube Music, and Apple Music apps.

Because Authentics 500 is a smart speaker with WiFi support, it can stream various streaming services directly. Immediately after the control is done from within the application, the music will not be interrupted even if the user makes a phone call, or opens another application in the phone.


Small chili padi because the strength of this speaker lies in its audio quality. For bass fans, the Authentics 500 provides a very satisfying thump without the other audio issues that interfere with the output. If tuned well, the voice will sound crisp and clear. When playing Dolby Atmos music through the Apple Watch, each instrument has good separation even at louder settings.

This speaker is designed to listen to music so there are drawbacks when used as a home theater system. The Dolby Atmos 3D effect from some of the movies we tried didn't really stand out. Because of its small size, the audio also does not feel very comprehensive and feels a bit cramped.

But once again I want to remind you, Authentics 500 is designed for small rooms and not as a substitute for a soundbar at home. In a small room (as it is designed to be used), the Authentics 500 provides an excellent audio experience compared to other speakers in its class and size.


In every purchase, you will receive the following.

1 x JBL Authentics 500.

1 x Power cable.

1 x Manual.

1 x warranty card.


The JBL Authentics 500 is a compact speaker that offers very satisfying audio for its size. Able to fill the space well helped by quite clear audio and a very satisfying bass thump. I quite like the physical knobs with lights that clearly indicate the audio volume level.

Although solid I cannot forgive the lack of AAC and LDAC codec support which could offer better audio. The lack of input options is also disappointing for a speaker that costs almost RM4000. This is also a drawback because the relatively expensive price makes it a little difficult to recommend it to everyone. But if you are really looking for a compact speaker with solid audio with a classic design, the JBL Authentics 500 is one that meets this criteria.


Complete audio system.

Dolby Atmos support.

Suitable for many types of content.

Solid bass.

Chromecast, Air Play and Spotify Connect support.


No AAC and LDAC codec support.

Limited input.

The selling price is quite expensive.

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