JBL vs Onkyo – Which Brand Is Better?

Norvan Martin
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JBL and Onkyo are two renowned and well respected brands in the audio industry. While JBL produces high quality speakers, soundbars, headphones, and subwoofers, Onkyo produces, amplifiers, receivers, subwoofers and speakers.

In this article, we will cover a general overview of both brands, looking specifically at sound quality, durability, price and so on. Of course, each brand has different devices at different price points, however we will compare them as closely as we can.

JBL speakers are typically portable with a sturdy build and offer a neutral sound profile and excellent connectivity. They are versatile and can be used for parties, movies and gaming. On the other hand, Onkyo speakers and speakers are good options for surround sound on a budget and offer high-quality sound than JBL.

Read on to learn more. 

Before we get into it, here are some similar comparisons that you may be interested in:

JBL vs Onkyo Comparison Table

Brand ReputationRenowned for high-quality audio products.Well-regarded in the audio industry.
Sound QualityImpressive audio performance with deep bass.Known for delivering detailed and clear sound.
Build Quality/DesignDurable build and modern, stylish designs.Sturdy construction with a focus on functionality.
Product RangeExtensive range of speakers, headphones, and audio systems.Offers a variety of audio equipment, including receivers and speakers.
PricingVaried pricing to suit different budgets.Competitive pricing with options for various price points.
FeaturesInnovative features like wireless connectivity.Feature-rich products, including advanced AV receiver technologies.

Quick History

Quick History

JBL was founded in 1946 by James Bullough Lansing just after World War II. It is headquartered in Los Angeles, California, USA.

The company manufactures amplifiers, loudspeakers, and headphones with the JBL Professional LSR10S being one of its best-selling subs with a class D amp, among other features.

It is currently owned by Harman International after its Vice president Bill Thomas sold it in 1969.

JBL logo

In the 1970s, JBL entered the studio industry and launched its new technologies academy of motion pictures’ first full-line portable system in the 1980s.

Also, the company was the first to introduce titanium in high-frequency diaphragms.

Onkyo Quick History

Takeshi Godai established the Japanese company Onkyo in 1946.

onkyo logo

Godai intended to address the gap in delivering satisfactory Japanese-made dynamic speakers. The work Onkyo originated from a Japanese word meaning “sound acoustics.”

Sound Quality

JBL Sound Quality

JBL speakers tend to depict a neutral, balanced sound profile, clarity and power. Their bass-heavy audio profile makes them ideal for party and personal use, especially for those looking for deep bass to listen to modern pop and hip hop music. The speakers are also loud with rich sound.

JbL speakers

In general, JBL speakers are versatile and can be used for a variety of things including movies and gaming. In addition, the brand offers a wide range of speaker types, so you can find the perfect option for your use case.

The speakers perform well in both high and low volumes. Built for DJs and other professionals, the speakers are tough and reliable. The Bluetooth speakers have long battery life lasting 24 hours or more.

On the other hand, JBL headphones are packed with features that help them deliver a well-balanced sound that closely follows the Harman curve.

However, the design and fit of these headphones are not very comfortable. A top-of-the-range JBL could sound unique with the depth, power, and accuracy every listener appreciates!

Onkyo Sound Quality

If you are an audiophile, you want a receiver that can deliver your specific notes as perfectly as possible, Onkyo is the better option – offering superior detail and depth. The range of AV receivers from Onkyo sound very impressive and complete with incredible functionality and product regardless of your listening environment.

Onkyo home system

When it comes to choosing and paying for the better fidelity unit, putting your money on Onkyo is one of the best decisions for audiophiles.

Like JBL, Onkyo also offers a wide selection of speaker types which makes the brand quite versatile.

They have a more well-rounded sound signature that offers more detail; audiophiles refer to it as a more “clinical” sound. The highs, mids, and lows are equally discernable.


JBL Features

JBL manufactures futuristic speakers to ensure users can easily fit them into their modern home systems. Bluetooth speakers and subwoofers from JBL, for instance, come with the following features:

  • Polypropylene or cellulose-fiber cones
  • Rubber surround
  • Frequency response depends on specific speakers
  • Sensitivity of about 2.83V at 1 meter
  • Power handling up to 250W RMS

Onkyo Features

Many people expect to get a bundle of features in today’s world, especially when paying more for a product. However, the features of an Onkyo receiver are mainly related to the system’s sound.

It has some of the best step-up receivers with features such as:

  • Dirac Live
  • Streaming suite
  • Support for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa

Build Quality

JBL Build Quality

JBL speakers are well built with Aluminum, Nickel, and Cobalt which is a strong high-power permanent alloy.

Also, the wireless speakers are high quality and built with solid features. The performance is reliable and they are waterproof which makes them all weather.

How To Pair Your JBL Speaker To Your Device

The headphones however have a plasticky build that makes them look average despite the well-balanced sound.

Onkyo Build Quality

People tend to look at their build quality first when buying expensive devices. However, other than looking good, the device should be able to deliver good service over many years.

When it comes to build quality, Onkyo is a bit shaky. Many people complain of their receivers either requiring repair or going dead in less than a year despite the two-year warranty on their devices.

Ease of Use

JBL Ease Of Use

Setting up JBL speakers may not be easy if you are not ready to handle the process. However, if your speakers are within the Bluetooth range, JBL speakers will easily pair with nearby devices.

The subwoofers may not be very easy to set depending on your car, but they are easy to use.  The wireless headphones are easy to use, whether you want to talk or just listen.

Onkyo Ease Of Use

Onkyo receivers are particularly easy to set up. As an excellent performer, the products are made with superb usability and valuable features that make them easily accessible by all users.

The direct source buttons added for ease of control in the absence of a remote further make the Onkyo TX-NR585, for instance, much more user-friendly.


JBL Cost

Bluetooth JBL speakers are available at a range of prices. You can, however, get them between 40 dollars and 400 dollars.

However, the GBL Go is still ranked the most affordable Bluetooth speaker owing to the added value of sound quality and portability. The cost is generally high due to the high cost of engineering, high cost of quality materials, and the cost of advertising.

  • Headphones: $10 – $200
  • Amplifiers: $50 – $5000

Onkyo Cost

Onkyo receivers are generally costly. This is most likely attributable to their high-quality build and good sound performance.

  • Speakers: $20 – $6000
  • Receivers: $200 – $3000
  • Amplifiers: $40 – $1000

Space Requirements

JBL Space Requirements

JBL speakers are built to fit in many room sizes. The Bluetooth speakers are tiny in size and easily portable. Therefore, you can easily place them anywhere in your room or carry them for an outdoor listening experience.

Onkyo Space Requirements

Generally, Onkyo receivers are a little taller. Although they may not take much space on your table, they are much taller and broader than many competing receivers in the market.

Remote Controls

JBL Remote Controls

JBL builds remote controls to help with easy and safe control of music together with other call functions on other devices such as smartphones.

JBL Click, for instance, is a mountable Bluetooth controller that makes it easier to control your music and call functions on any smartphone. However, JBL Boombox and JBL Partybox 310 do not have remote controls.

Onkyo Remote Controls

Onkyo receivers come with remote controls that make them easy to control even from the comfort of a seat. Besides, the remotes are intuitive and easy to use. The wireless remotes are device-specific and can be purchased separately from the device.

On the other hand, the Onkyo remote for Android utilizes the home network to operate wirelessly and deliver several remote control functions to manage your Onkyo hi-fi systems. Besides, the app permits wireless streaming of audio from personal computers and handsets.

Onkyo is, therefore, more advanced when it comes to remote controls and will make your entertainment system easy to navigate.

Connectivity Options

JBL Connectivity Options

Connectivity Options

JBL speakers, especially the Bluetooth-enabled ones, connect easily via Bluetooth. In fact, JBL makes them so that you can easily wirelessly connect up to 100 JBL speakers via Bluetooth.

Onkyo Connectivity Options

Onkyo receivers have several connectivity options to take care of the analog and digital features.

They are therefore compatible with older devices and the modern class of devices. Some of the vital connectivity features include:

Power Range

JBL Power Range

The speakers have a high power handling capacity. For instance, the 840 Cinema Surround Speaker can handle 350 watts of continuous play, while the JBL Stage 1210 12” woofer can handle up to 250 watts RMS and 1000 watt peak power.

  • Subwoofers: 50W to 1600W rated power
  • Speakers: 50W to 250W rated power
  • Amplifiers: 50W to 800W per channel

Onkyo Power Range

  • Speakers: Up to 24 watts RMS
  • Receivers: Up to 500 watts
  • Amplifiers: Up to 240 watts

Frequency Response

JBL Frequency Response

JBL speakers work well under various frequency ranges. For instance, the JBL ES Series speaker systems, such as the ES 20, operate between 65 HZ – 40 kHz.

The 840 Very High Power Cinema Surround Speaker for digital surround sound immersion application performs within the 60 Hz to 19 kHz frequency range.

Onkyo Frequency Response

The frequency response is varied depending on the device. For instance, the speakers have a frequency response of between 50Hz to 20kHz.

JBL Flip 3 vs Onkyo X9

JBL Flip 3 vs Onkyo X9

Why is JBL Flip 3 better than Onkyo X9? Why is Onkyo X9 better than JBL Flip 3?
74.57% less body volume Has a subwoofer
Has a passive radiator 23Hz lower low-frequency
Weather-sealed (splashproof) 4 more drivers
2 newer Bluetooth version 20000Hz higher high-frequency
36.36% more battery power Supports Bluetooth pairing using NFC
Has a noise-canceling microphone 5 more live Bluetooth connections
1.02kg lighter
80mm shorter


JBL offers a wide range of speakers for all use cases. Although most of them do not have EQs for customized sound, they have a pretty neutral sound profile. Besides, they have an excellent build quality that ensures that the portable JBL sound systems last longer.

Although the build quality of Onkyo can be less than desirable, the vintage brand manufactures audiophile-grade sound systems. They are however costly.

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Norvan Martin is the founder of BoomSpeaker.com. He is a professional Electronics Engineer and is passionate about home theater systems and AV electronics. BoomSpeaker was created as an online hub to share his knowledge and experiences as it relates to home theaters and home audio electronics. My email: [email protected]  Connect on Pinterest and Linkedin