JBL’s new LIVE range has been tuned for the urban music enthusiast, offering modern connectivity and noise cancellation with a sleek, timeless design.
JBL states that “Whether you’re tuning in or tuning out, life without music isn’t an option.” We tend to agree, so we gave JBL’s flagship LIVE 650BTNCs a road test to see how they suit modern lifestyles.
JBL’s new LIVE 650BTNC headphones have been engineered for the urban stage, offering modern connectivity and active noise cancellation with a sleek, timeless design.
My first impression of the 650BTNCs is their impressive build quality. The mix of leather, cloth, metal and plastic all joins well, and the overall design is stylish yet subtle, classic even. I became especially fond of the padded cloth mesh on the headband and the metal accents that tie the design together. Functionally there are buttons on the underside for on/off, Bluetooth, noise cancelling and volume, which are all where you’d expect them.
The ear pads on the 650BTNCs are super soft and fit snugly just over your ears without crumpling them. The headband is firmer but works well keeping the pads over your ears. You could easily go for a jog without worrying about them slipping off your head, but they aren’t so tight that they’ll leave you with a headache.
So the important part, how do they sound? In short, very LIVE-ley. There’s quite evidently a deep punctuated bass, which makes every track on your playlist really pump, but there’s also clarity. The bass doesn’t step on the mid-range and there’s also a noticeable bump in the highs that adds a bit of top end sparkle.
It goes without saying that JBL’s powerful 40mm drivers really deliver on this front and for the price point they’re about as good as you’re going to get. You also have the option to customise the EQ on JBL’s app if you’re so inclined, with the options of ‘Jazz’, ‘Vocal’, ‘Bass’ and ‘My EQ’ or custom.
In terms of noise cancellation, the LIVE 650BTNCs do a great job at shutting out most of the ambient noise you’d find in an urban environment. With the function activated I was satisfied that the loud conversation up the hall was sufficiently muted.
On one instance I pulled them off and heard a truck blare through one ear, which… ouch. It was a bit of a shock, but damn do they do a good job of blocking out the traffic. There is a very quiet hiss when nothing is playing, but then again why would you have your headphones on to play nothing?
In terms of all the bells and whistles, these headphones have the lot. Tapping the ear cup can activate Google voice assistant or Amazon Alexa, given you have the associated app as well as JBL’s own app to configure your settings. You can also make phone calls through the built-in mic.
Also impressive is the fact that you can enjoy 30 hours of wireless music streaming or 20 hours with noise cancelling activated before your 650BTNCs need a charge. There’s also the option of multi-point connectivity and a detachable cable with built-in mic and controls, which is handy when you’re out of battery.
Where JBL’s new LIVE 650BTNCs excel most is in their value. Coming in at under the $200 mark, there’s really not a lot on the market that compares at this price point while offering Bluetooth, noise cancellation and the latest features in terms of voice assistance connectivity.
Sure you could spend more on headphones with the same features made from shiny metal, but they’ll likely cost you almost twice as much, and they sure won’t sound twice as good. JBL has done a fine thing here and at $199 you really can’t go wrong.
For more information head on over to JBL’s website.