JBL noise cancelling Personal Audio

Ultimate Value Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

JBL has long been my go-to model when requested for suggestions for great-sounding, feature-packed, but reasonably priced audio paraphernalia. Every little thing, from the Assistant-enabled JBL Hyperlink collection of moveable audio system, to the rugged, compact JBL Endurance collection of sport earphones: the brand has received all bases coated.

The JBL Reside 650BTNC in Black. Picture: JBL

Greatest recognized for its Flip and Charge moveable wi-fi speaker households, JBL has made a name for itself in quality audio – and the JBL Reside 650BTNC is not any exception.

Build and Type Factor

Made out of plastic, metallic, artificial leather-based and material, the headphones feel inflexible and positively look greater than they value. The headphones are circumarual, which means the cups utterly cowl your ears. This often presents a cumbersome type factor since extra materials is required to comfortably encircle your ears.

Nevertheless, JBL’s recessed design allows for a smaller floor (where the JBL emblem attaches to) to hitch the snug ear cups with cavernous ear chambers to the scarf. This makes for snug gripping when placing on the headphones.

The JBL Reside 650BTNC. Image: Ian Ling

The market for lively noise cancelling (ANC) headphones has historically been dominated by Bose, although Sony has made nice strides to dethrone it. The JBL Stay 650BTNC quietly (pun meant) excludes itself from the higher echelons of flagship wi-fi noise-cancelling headphones that value more than SGD 500, as an alternative coming in presenting a extra reasonably priced SGD 249.

At half the worth of those contenders, JBL has needed to make some sacrifices. The scarf is strengthened with a more rigid metallic, which suggests clamping pressure is just a little stronger. To compensate for this, the headbands are also manufactured to be somewhat wider than I was used to, which I felt seemed a tad alien. However, I still felt some fatigue around my temples after prolonged utilization of around four hours, although it can be largely attributed to my spectacles.

The scarf itself is flippantly padded and coated in material – very similar to the fabric used to cover its signature wireless audio system. I found little situation with strain on the crown and odours being trapped by the fabric material. Constructed from bent metallic sheets, the hinge mechanism impressed plenty of confidence regardless of its combination folding-swivelling motion.

The ear cups absolutely extended, with metallic hinge absolutely folded and swivelled. Picture: Ian Ling

The extension mechanism in the headband delivers to eleven satisfying clicks. For reference, I’m advised I have a relatively massive head for my measurement however comfortably use 2-Three clicks on all sides. Coupled with the swivelling ear cups, the headphones is very customisable for a large number of head styles and sizes. The folding action additionally permits for folding, although it solely allows for one cup to be retracted; nonetheless presenting a large footprint in your bag.

The plastic used on the ear cups also seems to be created from a more scratch-prone materials, with tiny, virtually invisible micro-scratches appearing within a day of use despite being diligently stored within the offered carry case.

Sound and Noise Cancellation

At half the worth of the costliest wireless ANC headphones, the JBL Stay 650BTNC nonetheless dishes out great sound and noise cancelling efficiency.

Giant 40mm dynamic drivers deliver a full-bodied sound that does not skimp on bass. For a lot of the mass market, these pair of headphones can be a very interesting choice. Jamie Woon’s Sharpness was a deal with, with an intriguing bass line driving the music alongside.

The ear cups on the JBL Stay 650BTNC. Image: Ian Ling

The flicker in the opening arpeggi in Fleetwood Mac’s basic In all places dulls when the thumping bass kicks in and overpowers it. This muddling impact can be heard in Stan Getz’s resonant baritone in The Woman in Ipanema. With deep, bassy vocals at the forefront, the syncopated pizzicato guitar loses plosive readability; it emerges unadulterated when Astrud Gilberto’s candy crooning takes over.

The soundstage, nevertheless, shines on Getz’s seminal masterpiece. It’s trivial point with eyes closed to Gilberto, or the raspy tenor saxophone. The massive ear chambers on the headphones give plenty of air for Van Morrison’s Brown Eye Woman and George Benson’s Give Me The Night time to breathe.

The headphones can be utilized wired, and with the option of noise cancellation. ANC turned off, the headphones do not present much in means of sound isolation. Consequently, the audio sounds ethereal, with a persistent, echoing wooshing that sounds somewhat like placing your ear right into a conch. That’s not too huge a deal: top-end Bose and Sony headphones endure from this concern too. In contrast to these prime canine, nevertheless, the ANC on the JBLs do not put any “suction” or strain on the ears.

The JBL Stay 650BTNC in Blue. Picture: JBL

ANC activated, an honest chunk of the humdrum cuts out, though it’s still relatively straightforward to make out words – I discovered it truly attainable to have a conversation with the ANC on. Nevertheless, it does do an excellent job of attenuating a lot of the low-end environmental noise from engines, footsteps and frappé blenders on the native Starbucks.

Because of this the JBL Reside 650BTNC is a viable choice for everyday environments, and even for short flights in a pinch. Nevertheless, I’d assume twice about relying on it as insurance towards unruly toddlers bawling on a redeye long-haul.

The microphone on the JBL 650BTNC, like on most different wireless headphones (even one of the best), is terrible. I’d slightly slide off the headphones and decide up the decision on my telephone.

The material on the JBL Stay 650BTNC is just like that discovered on its iconic Bluetooth audio system. Image: Ian Ling


Regardless of coming in at only half the worth of its prime rivals, the JBL Stay 650BTNC packs a critical punch. Battery life on the headphones is rated for around 20 hours with ANC and wi-fi enabled. We found that we solely had to cost the cans around once every week for average every day use for commutes and temporary café work periods.

Nevertheless, the JBL Reside 650BTNC costs by way of previous-generation microUSB, which spells horror for digital minimalists in search of to stay by a single cable to rule all of them. Nevertheless, it delivers quick charging with two hours of playback on a 15 minute charge, so forgetful souls like myself can sleep peacefully.

The microUSB port on the JBL Reside 650BTNC. Picture: Ian Ling

The mixing of Google Assistant would also be a delight for most customers. After setting it up inside the JBL Headphones software, customers can entry it by holding the touch-sensitive left ear pad whereas speaking, and releasing when finished. This eliminates the necessity to mutter the kooky-sounding “OK, Google” in public, and I loved it fairly a bit. Tapping it once proclaims the time and lively notifications (from pre-selected purposes), also alleviating the necessity to wake your telephone to examine the time.

The touch panel on the left cup doesn’t sense swipes or some other enter: for monitor management, quantity management, ANC toggling, energy on/off and Bluetooth pairing, the JBL Stay 650BTNC presents a full line of switches, buttons and toggles alongside the rim of the left earcup.

The rear of the left cup on the JBL Reside 650BTNC, with power/connection indicator and change combination, quantity and monitor controls visible. Picture: Ian Ling

First is the facility slider, which shortly turns the cans on and off, indicating status with a white/blue mild. Under that’s the volume toggles, that also double as a skip/rewind management with a pause/play or call decide up/reject button in the middle.

Underneath that’s the Three.5mm jack to be used with the included analogue cable, followed by the Bluetooth pairing button and the ANC on/off change.

The entrance of the best cup on the JBL Reside 650BTNC, displaying yet one more indicator, along with ANC and Bluetooth pairing toggle. A microphone and the 3.5mm jack could be seen under it. Picture: Ian Ling

As seen on the pictures above, the headphones have ostentatious lights that help rework you into a lighthouse at the hours of darkness. The row of buttons positioned all along the rim of the ear cup may be unwieldy for some, however I discovered it preferable to swipe-based touch controls on costlier headphones when it comes to reliability.

Cop Or Drop?

At SGD 249, the JBL Stay 650BTNC provides a few of the greatest options from top-end models while retaining a fantastic form-factor. The place it lacks when it comes to match and end and ANC performance, the headphones greater than make up for it in construct, function set and sound quality.

Personally, I discovered it preferable in every day purposes to the blockbuster Sony WH-1000XM3 that I posited to be the perfect ANC journey headphones. With a smaller package deal, and with out the rattling problems with the ANC system on the XM3s, the 650BTNC’s weaker ANC is enough for casual café creativity the place blocking out the drone is sufficient. Multipoint Bluetooth connectivity also means I can move seamlessly between iPhone, iPad, MacBook and Mac Professional without taking off my cans. Your transfer, Sony.

The JBL Stay 650BTNC comes with a tender material carrying case, together with JBL’s iconic orange microUSB cable and braided material Three.5mm cable. Picture: JBL

For frequent fliers and long-haul travellers, nevertheless, I consider the noise-sucking blackhole that comes with top-tier wi-fi noise cancelling headphones can be the perfect insurance coverage towards errant youngsters and loud-mouthed seat-mates.

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