JBL Stay 650BTNC evaluation: A beautiful listening companion

Relating to noise-canceling headphones which can be good for commutes, workplaces, and lengthy aircraft rides, it’s onerous to beat the Sony WH-1000xM3 and Bose QC35 II. However the truth of the matter is, you don’t have to pay practically $400 to get an ideal pair of wi-fi noise-canceling headphones anymore.

Because of myriad technical developments, now you can get a strong pair of noise-canceling headphones like JBL’s Stay 650BTNC for half that value. With 20 hours of battery life, heat and dynamic sound, and sufficient noise-canceling horsepower to make even the longest flights cozy, these are an ideal selection for individuals who refuse to faucet into their financial savings account for musical satisfaction.

Out of the field

Pop open the lid of the 650BTNC’s package deal and also you’ll discover the over-ear headphones sitting inside a molded plastic chamber alongside a micro-USB charging cable and a three.5mm cable for wired listening. Under the principle part is a drawstring-style smooth case.

jbl live 650btnc Riley Younger/Digital Traits

We want the headphones got here with some type of onerous case for journey, one thing you’ll discover with most flagship journey headphones, however given the value, it’s not an enormous shock to search out only a smooth case. Heavy vacationers will merely have to take care in packing the cans.

Options and design

The headphones are fairly good to have a look at, with a clear design that showcases JBL’s emblem on the skin of the rounded earcups. Plush leather-based padding adorns the earcups’ inside and headband for comfy listening, and you may select from three totally different colours, together with white, blue with gold accents, or black on black — relying on how flashy you need to get.

Eye-catching in all the proper methods.

Our evaluation unit got here in white, and now we have to confess they’re eye-catching in all the proper methods, garnering quite a few compliments from buddies and coworkers throughout testing. Whereas we additionally want the look of this woven material headband to the plastic and leather-based designs supplied by Sony and Bose, there’s some concern that it’d get soiled over time. Nonetheless, that’s not a significant difficulty for the darker colours.

The headphones are impressively gentle, particularly essential when sporting them for longer classes. They by no means really feel heavy or aggravating throughout longer listening classes, as a substitute changing into one together with your cranium on these lengthy flights.

Riley Younger/Digital Traits

We additionally love that you just hardly ever want to drag out your cellphone. The onboard controls and ports are simple to entry, regardless of being well-hidden on the underside of the earcups. On the proper earcup you’ll discover buttons for energy, quantity, play/pause, Bluetooth pairing, and noise-canceling, all situated in cascading order down the skin of the cup. Tapping the skin of the left earcup accesses Google Assistant or Alexa, permitting you to skip songs or test the climate — although we do want there was a chosen contact management for track skipping.

The underside left earcup is the place you’ll discover the micro-USB charging port, and the underside proper is the place you’ll discover that three.5mm jack for plugging within the headphones between prices or into airplanes or, say, a Nintendo Change (which inexplicably doesn’t help Bluetooth audio).

Plush leather-based padding makes for comfy listening.

The noise-canceling itself doesn’t provide the identical sort of discount you’ll discover within the aforementioned Sony and Bose fashions, however the 650BTNC do considerably scale back the cacophony of airplanes and public transit, making the listening expertise far more pleasing than it in any other case could be.

For many who journey often sufficient that noise-canceling is a should, it might be price it to save lots of up for a pair of the massive boys, however for individuals who do most of their listening at dwelling or within the workplace and journey only a few occasions a 12 months, they’re greater than ample. Actually, they do very nicely with the sounds of HVAC methods, lowering the annoying background noise inside buildings to just about inaudible ranges.

Sound high quality

When it comes to sound high quality, there’s little to complain about right here. The nice and cozy low-end is met by brilliant treble, and a slight scoop within the midrange to supply musical readability. We listened to all kinds of music starting from Jazz and Hip-Hop to Radiohead, and maybe the largest praise we can provide the headphones is that they don’t have any noticeable influence on the music we love.

jbl live 650btnc Riley Younger/Digital Traits

All the things we count on to listen to is there, with the noise canceling itself lending an enormous quantity of readability to the general soundstage, making all the things you take heed to sound prefer it’s present in a extra open musical house. This makes them unbelievable to be used in workplace settings, the place there’s nothing to distract you however the sounds of your favourite band or podcast.

The bass, specifically, may be very nicely managed — simply punchy sufficient to make low-fi hip-hop like MF Doom’s Potholders bounce into your eardrums, however not sufficient that it overwhelms the tones above it. That is unsurprising given JBL’s lengthy historical past of creating merchandise with balanced sound signatures, however it’s nonetheless welcome within the post-Beats period, and we’ll commend them for the tuning.

Sufficient noise-canceling horsepower to make even the longest flights bearable.

One model of music that we wished had only a bit extra definition was classical, which tends to be a bit much less compressed than different kinds, and thus didn’t fairly leap out of the headphones with the identical power we’d count on from higher-end headphones just like the Sony WH-1000xM3, which characteristic AptX and LDAC expertise for higher-quality Bluetooth transmission. Then once more, that’s to be anticipated in a pair of headphones that value practically half as a lot.

At $200, these are an ideal sounding pair of headphones that make all the things you take heed to sound enjoyable and energetic, and that’s about all we will ask.

Guarantee data

JBL gives a one-year guarantee on faulty components and workmanship.

JBL Stay 650BTNC In contrast To

Our Take

In case you’re after an ideal pair of noise-canceling headphones for journey, work, or dwelling, however don’t fairly have the finances for top-tier choices, the JBL 650BTNC inhabit a really strong center floor, offering consolation, usability, and nice sound for round half the value of flagship choices.

Is there a greater different?

The closest competing pair we’ve frolicked with are the Panasonic RP-HD605N, which supply comparable options and battery life for a similar value, and likewise include AptX and LDAC codecs to supply pristine Bluetooth transmission. It’s not a very honest comparability, on condition that the Panasonic mannequin initially bought for $100 extra, however now that they’re the identical value, they provide higher sound high quality, and a hardcase in addition. Nonetheless, the JBL 650BTNC are strong contenders, and so they additionally look higher in your head. The Panasonic mannequin is basically a Sony WH-1000x clone, the place JBL’s pair flaunt extra model.

How lengthy will they final?

JBL has been a high quality producer of headphones for a few years, and these headphones are nicely put collectively. Whereas the shortage of a tough case does imply you may need to pay particular consideration to them when touring — or go away them in your head — these headphones ought to final a number of years if handled nicely.

Do you have to purchase them?

In case you can’t splurge on the top-end fashions, sure. For these available in the market for excellent over-ear headphones at a really cheap value, the JBL 650BTNC are completely price trying out.

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