JBL CLUB 950NC Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Reviewed Jun 03, 2020 at 08:33 am
JBL CLUB 950NC Wireless Picture
7.2
Mixed Usage
7.4
Neutral Sound
7.4
Commute/Travel
7.4
Sports/Fitness
7.3
Office
5.8
Wireless Gaming
7.4
Wired Gaming
6.2
Phone Calls
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Yes
Noise Cancelling Yes
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The JBL CLUB 950NC are decent Bluetooth over-ear ANC headphones. They look and feel quite well-built and durable, and are comfortable enough to wear for longer listening sessions. They have a well-balanced and versatile sound profile that's suitable for a wide variety of genres and content, from country to hip-hop. If you like to fine-tune the way your headphones sound, you can also change their audio reproduction via a parametric EQ or presets in their dedicated companion app. Unfortunately, despite having ANC, their noise isolation performance is only okay and they don't help give any peace and quiet on a bus or plane. Their integrated microphone is also very disappointing and your voice sounds distorted, unnatural, and difficult to understand.

Our Verdict

7.2 Mixed Usage

The JBL CLUB 950NC are decent over-ear headphones for mixed usage. They look and feel well-built and durable, and are comfortable enough to wear for long periods without fatigue or discomfort. Their sound profile is well-balanced and versatile enough for a wide range of genres and content, from hip-hop to podcasts, and their companion app gives you access to a parametric EQ and presets to customize the way they sound. Unfortunately, their ANC doesn't help very much, and even with it turned on, they only do an alright job at blocking out background noise. Overall, while they aren't exceptionally good for any certain usage, these headphones are versatile enough to be decent for most uses.

Pros
  • Durable and comfortable look and feel.
  • Well-balanced and versatile sound profile.
  • Companion app gives access to parametric EQ and presets.
  • Excellent battery performance.
Cons
  • Test unit has issues with stereo imaging.
  • ANC is only slightly better than passive noise isolation.
  • Poor overall integrated microphone performance.
7.4 Neutral Sound

The JBL CLUB 950NC are decent over-ear headphones for neutral sound listening. Their default sound profile is very well-balanced and accurate, and you can easily customize the way they sound through a fully parametric EQ or presets within their companion app. Their soundstage isn't great, though this is to be expected of closed-back over-ear headphones. Unfortunately, our testing revealed some issues with their stereo imaging, though it wasn't too noticeable in real-world usage and your unit may perform differently. Their weighted harmonic distortion is also only okay, and more critical listeners may notice some artifacts in their sound reproductions. On the bright side, their frequency response consistency is fairly decent, and you may only have to adjust them slightly to experience the same sound every time you wear them.

7.4 Commute/Travel

The JBL CLUB 950NC are decent over-ear headphones for commuting and travel. They're comfortable enough to wear for long periods without fatigue, and their 25-hour battery life should easily last most travel days. Unfortunately, while they have ANC, it doesn't do much to help with blocking out background noise, especially in the bass range, where the low rumble of bus and plane engines sit. On the bright side, their well-balanced sound profile is suitable for most content from music to podcasts, and their control scheme is robust. They also don't look too much audio, so you can turn them up without bothering the person sitting next to you on the bus.

7.4 Sports/Fitness

If you prefer the fit of over-ears to in-ears or earbuds while at the gym, the JBL CLUB 950NC are a decent choice. They feel stable enough for most moderate exercising, though they may slide around during more intense workouts. They're comfortable enough to wear for extended periods, and they look and feel quite durable and well-built. Unfortunately, they don't have an IP rating for dust or water resistance so you may not want to wear them while running in the rain. Their bulky over-ear design also causes your ears to warm up after a bit of use, though this is to be expected.

7.3 Office

The JBL CLUB 950NC are decent over-ear headphones for the office. They're comfortable enough to wear for an entire day without any fatigue, and their 25-hour battery life should last the majority of an entire workweek. Unfortunately, their ANC doesn't help with blocking much background noise, though overall, they do a good job at cancelling out workplace noises, like chatty coworkers and AC units. They also have good leakage performance, so you should be able to turn up your music without bothering colleagues sitting nearby.

5.8 Wireless Gaming

The JBL CLUB 950NC can only be used via Bluetooth or with a wire. Therefore, they can't be used wirelessly with an Xbox One or PS4. While they work with Bluetooth-enabled PCs, their high latency and poor integrated microphone make them a poor choice.

7.4 Wired Gaming

The JBL CLUB 950NC are decent headphones for wired gaming thanks to their included 1/8" TRRS audio cable with in-line microphone. They can easily be plugged into the controller of a PS4 or Xbox One for full audio and microphone compatibility, making them suitable for online gaming. They're fairly comfortable, though they may cause your ears to get warm during longer gaming marathons due to their over-ear design. It's worth noting that we only test the integrated microphone, so we aren't sure how the in-line mic performs while using these headphones wired.

6.2 Phone Calls

The JBL CLUB 950NC aren't recommended for phone calls. The integrated microphone is poor overall, and your voice sounds very distorted and difficult to understand, especially in even moderately loud environments. On the bright side, their audio cable also features an in-line mic, so you can continue to make phone calls while using the headphones wired. It's worth noting that we only test the integrated microphone, so we aren't sure how the in-line mic performs.

  • 7.2 Mixed Usage
  • 7.4 Neutral Sound
  • 7.4 Commute/Travel
  • 7.4 Sports/Fitness
  • 7.3 Office
  • 5.8 Wireless Gaming
  • 7.4 Wired Gaming
  • 6.2 Phone Calls
  1. Update 6/17/2020: Raised 'Case' score from 8.0 to 8.5.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

The JBL CLUB 950NC look almost identical to the JBL CLUB 700BT Wireless, except that they have an over-ear design with larger ear cups. They have a well-designed and premium look, with an all-black matte finish. While they have the same exposed wire on each ear cup as the 700BT, they don't look as retro, due to their larger ear cups that make them look quite modern and sleek.

7.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.82 lbs
Clamping Force
1.3 lbs

The JBL CLUB 950NC are quite comfortable. They feel about the same as the JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless. Thanks to the shape of their ear cups, they don't feel like they clamp as tightly, despite having a higher clamping force. Overall, they're comfortable enough to wear for long periods without too much fatigue or discomfort.

7.5
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Decent
Feedback Decent
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control On/Off
Talk-Through
Adjustable
Additional Controls Bass Effect + Voice Assistant

The control scheme of the JBL CLUB 950NC is good. The controls are basically the same as the JBL CLUB 700BT Wireless, except that because these headphones have ANC, they have an ANC on/off button. While their controls give you a ton of functionality, unfortunately, the buttons are close together, and they don't give voice feedback, so it can be difficult to know what button you're pressing. However, once you get the hang of what button is where they're decently easy to use.

6.0
Design
Portability
L 6.1 "
W 5.0 "
H 3.5 "
Volume 107 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required No

The JBL CLUB 950NC aren't very portable. Due to their over-ear design, they have larger ear cups and take up more space than the JBL CLUB 700BT Wireless. However, like those headphones, they can be folded up in two different ways to make them smaller. Unfortunately, their ear cups don't swivel to lay flat.

8.5
Design
Case
Type Hard case
L 6.5 "
W 6.2 "
H 3.0 "
Volume 121 Cu. Inches

Update 06/17/2020: Upon comparing the case to other models, we've decided to raise the score from 8.0 to 8.5. This review has been updated to reflect these changes.

The JBL CLUB 950NC come with an excellent hard carrying case. It feels like it should easily protect your headphones from a few accidental drops and it looks quite waterproof, though we don't test for this. The case is even fairly small when compared to some other hard carrying cases, like the one that comes with the Jabra Elite 85h Wireless, which makes it easier to toss into most bags.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

The JBL CLUB 950NC look and feel well-built. They look and feel the exact same as the JBL CLUB 700BT Wireless and are made of a mix of good quality plastic and metal. Unfortunately, they don't seem to have an IP rating for dust or water resistance, so they may not be the best option to use in the rain or while working out. They also have exposed wires on each ear cup, like the JBL CLUB 750BT, which could potentially get damaged over time. That being said, they feel like they should easily be able to withstand a few accidental drops or bumps without sustaining any damage.

7.5
Design
Stability

The JBL CLUB 950NC feel fairly stable on the head. They clamp tightly enough to stay on, even during more vigorous head movements, but will likely fall off during more intense workouts or exercises.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • JBL CLUB 950NC headphones
  • 1/8" TRRS audio cable with an in-line mic
  • USB-C charging cable
  • Carrying case
  • Manuals

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-2.09 db
Treble Amount
-1.63 db

The sound profile of the JBL CLUB 950NC is quite well-balanced and natural. While they lack a bit of low-bass, it's at a low enough frequency that it likely isn't noticeable with most music, except maybe in some dubstep tracks. The rest of the bass range is slightly over-emphasized, giving them extra kick and thump without being too overpowering. Overall, these headphones are well-suited to a wide range of genres and content.

7.1
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.6 dB

The frequency response consistency of the JBL CLUB 950NC is decent. People with glasses may notice their bass response to be slightly different due to a lack of proper seal with the large ear cups. Their treble range is also very susceptible to fit, so you'll have to adjust them slightly to get the same sound reproduction every time you wear them. Overall, they aren't quite as consistent as the JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless but are much better than the on-ear JBL CLUB 700BT Wireless.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
8.0
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.68 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
33.15 Hz
Low-Bass
-1.76 dB
Mid-Bass
3.16 dB
High-Bass
2.24 dB

The bass accuracy of the JBL CLUB 950NC is great. While low-bass is recessed, it's at a low enough frequency that it's not noticeable with most music, unless you listen to a lot of dubstep. Other than that, the rest of the range is slightly over-emphasized, giving extra thump and warmth that doesn't sound too boomy or muddy.

9.2
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.08 dB
Low-Mid
0.5 dB
Mid-Mid
-0.12 dB
High-Mid
1.38 dB

The mid accuracy of these headphones is outstanding. Almost the entire range is very well-balanced and accurate, resulting in present and natural-sounding vocals and instruments.

8.1
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.57 dB
Low-Treble
0.92 dB
Mid-Treble
1.69 dB
High-Treble
-10.08 dB

The treble accuracy of the JBL CLUB 950NC is great. Almost the entire low-treble and mid-treble ranges are well-balanced and even. High-treble is very recessed, but this is at high enough frequencies that it likely won't be noticeable to most people, and will prevent the headphones from sounding hissy. It's worth noting that our test results show some slight driver mismatch in the low-treble range, though in real-world usage we didn't find this to be too noticeable. Let us know in the discussions if you own these headphones and you've experienced noticeable driver mismatch.

7.4
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
2.0 db
Dips
0.6 db

The peaks and dips performance of these headphones is decent. The peak in low-bass is because their very low-bass range is recessed, while their mid-bass is slightly overemphasized. Overall, it shouldn't be overpowering but may make some thump and rumbles more noticeable. The peaks in the treble range build slow enough that they aren't too piercing or noticeable. The largest dips are in high enough frequencies that they likely won't' be heard by most people.

5.7
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.43
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
1.23
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.8
Weighted Phase Mismatch
51.57

The imaging performance of these headphones is sub-par. While group delay and amplitude mismatch are within good values, there's some frequency mismatch that might be more noticeable. We also tested a very bad phase mismatch, though again, this may not be noticeable to everyone. It's worth noting that these results are only valid for our unit, and yours may perform differently. Let us know in the discussions if you own these headphones and have noticed issues with your stereo imaging.

5.4
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
3.9 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
5.01 dB
PRTF Distance
13.2 dB
Openness
3.1
Acoustic Space Excitation
2.8

The passive soundstage of the JBL CLUB 950NC is sub-par, though this is common for closed-back headphones. They have a good amount of pinna activation, which helps their soundstage to appear relatively large, but it's unnatural and perceived to be located inside your head as opposed to in front.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No

The JBL CLUB 950NC don't have any virtual soundstage features.

6.7
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.565
WHD @ 100
0.468

The weighted harmonic distortion of these headphones is only okay. While most of the ranges are within good limits, high-treble crosses the audibility threshold. Overall, most people likely won't notice too much distortion, but critical listeners may not find these headphones' audio reproduction to be as pure and clean as some other options.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
2.2.0
Power
On
Connection
Bluetooth 4.0
Codec
SBC, 16-bit, 48kHz
EQ
Off
ANC
On
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
Integrated

These are the settings used when testing. Therefore, our results are only valid when these headphones are used with these settings.

Isolation
6.9
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-18.69 dB
Bass
-5.78 dB
Mid
-16.99 dB
Treble
-34.32 dB

The noise isolation of the JBL CLUB 950NC is only okay. While they have an ANC feature, unfortunately, it doesn't work very well and doesn't do much to help minimize the amount of background noise. While they do a good job of blocking out background chatter, they are bad at cancelling out the low rumble of bus or plane engines. These headphones do a good job of blocking out higher-pitched sounds, like fans or AC units, but this is dependant on the fit and seal and isn't due to the ANC.

7.5
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
36.38 dB

The leakage performance of these headphones is good. Even at higher volumes, the leakage isn't louder than the noise floor of an average office.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
Yes
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No

The JBL CLUB 950NC have an integrated microphone in the headphones themselves, as well as an in-line mic if you use them wired.

5.2
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
177.02 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
4.93 dB
HFE
3568.48 Hz
Weighted THD
4283.578
Gain
25.21 dB

The recording quality of the integrated microphone is poor. While using the mic, your voice sounds very distorted and difficult to understand. If you want a pair of similarly-performing over-ears with a superior integrated mic, check out the Sony WH-H910N/h.ear on 3 Wireless.

5.8
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise
Speech + Subway Noise
SpNR
8.45 dB

The noise handling of the integrated mic is sub-par. Even in moderately loud environments, the person you're speaking to will have a difficult time hearing you.

Active Features
8.6
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
25 hrs
Additional Charges
0.0
Total Battery Life
25 hrs
Charge Time
1.6 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
Auto-Off Timer
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
Yes
Charging Port USB-C

The battery performance of the JBL CLUB 950NC is excellent. They last 25 hours off a single charge with ANC on, which is even longer than advertised. While we don't test with ANC turn off, they're advertised as 50 hours, so if you need a longer battery, you can always turn off their noise cancelling feature. They charge in 1.6 hours, which is great, and less than the two hours advertised. They also have an auto-off timer to help conserve battery, which can be turned on and off within their companion app.

7.5
Active Features
App Support
App Name JBL Headphones
iOS Yes
Android Yes
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
Parametric + Presets
ANC Control
On/Off
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No

The dedicated companion app for these headphones is good. While it doesn't give you many customization options, it does give you access to a parametric EQ and presets, so you can fine-tune the way they sound. It also lets you turn on/off ANC, talk-through (called Smart Ambient), and the auto-off timer.

Connectivity
7.7
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
5.0
Multi-Device Pairing
2 Devices
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
66 ft
PC Latency (SBC)
175 ms
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
245 ms
Android Latency
228 ms

The Bluetooth connectivity of the JBL CLUB 950NC is good. They can be paired to two devices at once, making it easy to switch between your phone and PC, but unfortunately, they don't support NFC for quicker pairing. Their line of sight range is poor, though this is very dependant on your surroundings, and real-world usage will likely vary. We also recorded high latency on all devices, though again, apps and devices tend to compensate for this differently, so your mileage may vary with real-world usage.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A

The JBL CLUB 950NC only support Bluetooth for a wireless connection.

9.5
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable Yes
Length 4.1 ft
Connection 1/8" TRRS
Analog/USB Audio Latency
0 ms

The JBL CLUB 950NC can be used wired with any 1/8" TRRS cable. The included 4.1 ft cable features an in-line mic, so you can make phone calls while using them wired, which is great. If you're looking for a pair of similarly performing JBL headphones that include a coiled cable for DJing, check out the JBL CLUB ONE Wireless.

Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC/PS4 Analog
Audio + Microphone
PC/PS4 Wired USB
No
PC/PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No

Thanks to the in-line mic on their wire, the JBL CLUB 950NC are fully compatible with PC or PS4 gaming when used wired.

Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio + Microphone
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No

Thanks to the in-line mic on their wire, the JBL CLUB 950NC are fully compatible with Xbox One by plugging them into the controller.

0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock

The JBL CLUB 950NC don't have a base or dock.

Compared to other headphones

Comparison picture

The JBL CLUB 950NC are decent overall Bluetooth over-ears with ANC, though unfortunately, they don't stand out much from some other options, and perform much worse in many regards. Their ANC doesn't add much and is easily outperformed by other options like the very popular Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018 or Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless, or even budget options like the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless. On the bright side, these headphones have a very well-balanced sound profile, and their companion app includes a parametric EQ, which is great. If you're looking for a better pair of headphones, check out our recommendations for the best over-ear headphones, the best noise cancelling headphones, or the best closed-back headphones.

JBL CLUB ONE Wireless

The JBL CLUB 950NC Wireless and the JBL CLUB ONE Wireless are very similar headphones in terms of performance and looks. However, the 950NC have a bit more balanced sound profile, a slightly better noise cancelling (ANC) feature, and their battery charges quicker. However, the CLUB ONE have a slightly better performing integrated mic, they come with a coiled audio cable for DJing, and they have a Silent Now feature that allows you to only use their ANC without listening to music, to help limit audio distractions.

JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless

The JBL CLUB 950NC Wireless are slightly better over-ear headphones than the JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless. The 950NC have a better-balanced and more accurate sound profile out-of-the-box, though they don't have nearly as much low-bass. Their battery also lasts a little bit longer, and they now charge via USB-C, which is more convenient for most people than the micro-USB found on the 650. On the other hand, the 650 have a better integrated microphone, slightly better noise isolation, and much better stereo imaging.

Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless are better Bluetooth over-ears than the JBL CLUB 950NC Wireless. The Sony are a bit more comfortable, feel more durable and well-built, and have a better integrated microphone. They also have a slightly more bass-heavy sound profile which adds extra kick and thump without being overpowering. While both headphones have ANC, the Sony's is one of the best we've ever tested and works drastically better, especially at blocking out the low rumble of bus or plane engines. On the other hand, the JBL come with an audio cable with an in-line mic so you can take phone calls while using your headphones wired. The JBL also have physical buttons, as opposed to the touch-sensitive ones found on the Sony that don't work properly in cold climates.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018

The Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018 are better Bluetooth over-ears than the JBL CLUB 950NC Wireless. The Bose are much more comfortable thanks to their lightweight design that doesn't clamp nearly as tightly on the head, and their integrated microphone sounds much better overall. They also have a much better ANC feature, that does an outstanding job of blocking out background noises. While both headphones have well-balanced default sound profiles, the JBL have a better app that gives you a parametric EQ and presets to adjust the way they sound. The JBL also have a longer battery life, leak less audio, and come with an audio cable with an in-line mic, so you can make phone calls even while using the headphones wired. 

Jabra Elite 85h Wireless

The Jabra Elite 85h Wireless and the JBL CLUB 950NC Wireless are both decent Bluetooth over-ears that perform similarly for certain uses. The Jabra are more comfortable and have a better control scheme, as well as a significantly better sounding integrated microphone. They also have a longer battery, and a slightly better-balanced default sound profile, though both are quite well-balanced out-of-the-box. On the other hand, while the Jabra have a graphic EQ in their companion app, the JBL's EQ is fully parametric, allowing you to finetune their sound profile more precisely.

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JBL CLUB 950NC Wireless Price

Black CLUB 950NC
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