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Reviewed on Mar 13, 2018

JBL E45BT Wireless HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
6.6
Mixed Usage
7.2
Critical Listening
6.5
Commute/Travel
7.2
Sports/Fitness
6.6
Office
5.8
TV
5.5
Gaming
Type : On-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : Yes
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The JBL E45BT are decent mixed usage wireless headphones, similar to the JBL E55BT, but with an on-ear fit. They have a great battery life and wireless range and they sound good enough for most listeners with a satisfyingly well-balanced sound. Unfortunately, although their build quality is decent, it feels a bit cheap and they do not have the best isolation for noisy environments. They're also not as comfortable as the over-ear E55BT or E65BTNC.

Test Results
Design 6.5
Sound 7.3
Isolation 5.3
Microphone 6.1
Active Features 6.6
Connectivity 6.5
Pros
  • Above-average sound quality.
  • Great wireless range and battery life.
Cons
  • Sub-par noise isolation.
  • Plasticky build quality.
  • Bass delivery varies significantly across users. Sensitive to glasses.

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Test Results

Style

The JBL E45BT have the same design as the E55BT but with on-ear cups instead of over-ear ones. They share the same headband, frame, and button layout although the buttons on the 45BT feel just a bit cheaper. The only real difference is the size of their cups which make these headphones a bit more compact and protrude less when on your head. They both look decently well designed, if a bit plasticky, but should be good enough for most.

6.5 Comfort
Weight : 0.4 lbs
Clamping Force
:
0.8 lbs

The JBL E45BT have an on-ear fit that is somewhat comfortable but not enough for long listening sessions. The small ear cups are decently padded but may constrain the top of your ears which coupled with the moderately tight fit, causes a bit more listening fatigue than the JBL E55BT.

7.0 Controls
Ease of use : Okay
Feedback : Okay
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through
:
N/A
Additional Buttons : Bluetooth Sync

The JBL E45BT have the same control scheme as the E55BT. It is a simple and efficient 3 button set up for call/music, track skipping and volume controls as well as a dedicated Bluetooth button and power switch to turn the headphones on. The buttons feel a little plasticky and cheap but deliver decent feedback and are easy to use.

7.5 Stability

These headphones have a stable fit, and they're tight enough on the head for running, but may not as stable as the E55BT for some. They slipped more often during the testing procedure compared to the over-ear variant but maintained a stable fit for more casual activities. They should be decent enough for sports but won't be the best headphones if you have an intense workout with a lot of movement and physical activity.

6.8 Portability
L : 3.5 "
W : 6 "
H : 2.2 "
Volume : 46 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

These headphones are decently portable and fold into a more compact format. They won't be the easiest to carry around on your person but they will easily fit into a handbag or backpack. Unfortunately, they do not come with case or pouch which is slightly disappointing.

0 Case
Type : No case
L : N/A
W : N/A
H : N/A
Volume : N/A

The JBL E45BT do not come with a case or pouch.

6.5 Build Quality

The JBL E45BT have a decent build quality that's almost identical to the over-ear E55BT, and they have a more premium-looking design than the T450BT. The headband is flexible and has a thin metal frame for reinforcement. The ear cups are also fairly dense, making the headphones sturdy enough to handle a couple of accidental drops without getting damaged. Unfortunately, the plastic used in their build quality feels a bit cheap, which is most noticeable with the buttons on the right ear cup. They're a sturdy headset, but they just don't feel as durable as some of the competing options, like the Skullcandy Grind or the more recent JBL Everest 310

7.8 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 2.5 C

The JBL E45BT headphones have a decently breathable on-ear design. They do not fully cover your ears so the outer-ear will remain relatively cool while you exercise. They still trap a bit of heat and won't be as breathable as in-ears or earbuds but should be good enough if you do decide to use them for sports.

Cable
Detachable : Yes
Length : 4.3 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRRS

The JBL E45BT come with a 1/8" TRRS audio cable with in-line controls and USB charging cable.

Top
Headshots 1
Headshots 2
8.7 Bass
Std. Err.
:
1.92 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
10 Hz
Low-Bass
:
1.69 dB
Mid-Bass
:
2.36 dB
High-Bass
:
2.01 dB

The JBL E45BT have an excellent bass. Their LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 10Hz, indicating a very deep bass. Also, low-bass, mid-bass, and high-bass are virtually flat but consistently overemphasized by about 2dB. This means that the bass of the JBLs is deep, thumpy, and punchy enough to handle bass-heavy genres like EDM, Hip-hop and film scores. Also, their bass delivery varies noticeably across users, and is sensitive to the quality of fit, seal, and whether you wear glasses. The response here represents the average bass response and your experience may vary.

7.5 Mid
Std. Err.
:
3.38 dB
Low-Mid
:
-4.16 dB
Mid-Mid
:
-2.69 dB
High-Mid
:
-0.27 dB

The mid-range performance is good. The wide 4dB dip between 250Hz and 700Hz, thins out vocals and lead instruments a bit, by reducing the emphasis on their fundamental frequencies. As a side effect, this usually gives more room to the lower frequencies in the mix, which results in a more pronounced perception of kick and thump in bass. Additionally, the response above 700Hz is virtually flat and within 0.3dB of our neutral reference.

8.6 Treble
Std. Err.
:
2.76 dB
Low-Treble
:
1.08 dB
Mid-Treble
:
0.37 dB
High-Treble
:
-1.87 dB

The treble is great. The overall response is a bit uneven but well-balanced. The 5dB peak in low-treble brings out a bit of excess detail in vocals and lead instruments, and the 5dB peak at 7KHz, adds a bit of excess brightness and sibilance (S and T sounds) to the treble.

6.5 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.75 dB

The JBL E45BT have a mediocre frequency response consistency. In the bass range, they show more than 12dB of variance at 20Hz, which is significant and quite noticeable. This is mostly due to their on-ear design and sub-par ergonomics which affects their bass delivery and makes it highly dependent on the position of the headphones. However, their performance is a lot more consistent in the treble range.

4.4 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
3.64 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
2.44 dB
PRTF Distance
:
4.03 dB
Openness
:
5.1
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
4.2
Correlated Crosstalk
:
0.0 dB

The JBL E45BT has a sub-par soundstage. Due to their on-ear design, the drivers don't have enough distance to activate the resonances of the pinna (outer ear) like a loudspeaker, and that shows in the inadequate PRTF accuracy and size values. Also, they don't show a notch in the 10KHz region, further indicating that their soundstage will be perceived to be small and located inside the listener's head as opposed to in-front.

7.6 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.27
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
1.18
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
3.09
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
10.06

The imaging is good. Their weighted group delay is 0.27 which is within good limits. Also, the GD graph shows that the group delay response never quite crosses the audibility threshold. This indicates a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. In terms of driver matching, the L/R drivers of our test unit showed some mismatch in frequency and phase response. This could skew the stereo image a bit and have a negative effect on the placement of instruments in the image. However, the mismatch is not very large and the effect would be subtle.

7.8 Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
:
0.886
Weighted THD @ 100
:
1.965

The JBL E45BT have a good harmonic distortion performance. The overall amount of harmonic distortion at 90dB SPL is quite low and within good limits. At 100dB SPL however, there is a significant change in THD in high-bass and low-treble. This suggests that the JBL may struggle to produce a clean bass under maximum load, and that their treble may sound a bit harsh and fatiguing to some.

4.8 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-12.19 dB
Bass
:
-0.35 dB
Mid
:
-10.01 dB
Treble
:
-27.06 dB
Self-Noise
:
20.51 dB

The isolation is sub-par. These headphones don't have active noise cancelling, and isolate passively. Because of that, they don't isolate in the bass range at all, meaning they will let in the low rumbling sounds of an airplane or bus engine. In the mid-range, important for blocking speech, they isolate by 10dB, which is decent. In the treble range, occupied by sharp sounds like S and Ts, they reduce outside noise by 27dB, which is above-average. You can also check out the more recent E65BTNC if you prefer over-ears and also need a bit more isolation for your commutes.

6.3 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
43.24 dB

The leakage performance is below-average. The significant portion of the leakage, is spread from 500Hz to 4KHz, which is a relatively broad range. This means their leakage sounds fuller than that of in-ears and earbuds, but not as full as open-back headphones'. Also, the overall level of the leakage is not very loud, just above the noise floor of most apartment rooms. So if you listen to these headphones at moderate volumes, then the leakage shouldn't be a concern, even in an apartment setting.

6.2 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
LFE
:
281.0 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
:
5.0 dB
HFE
:
3466.89 Hz
Weighted THD
:
4.709
Gain
:
35.88 dB

The integrated microphone has a mediocre performance. The LFE (low-frequency extension) of 281Hz suggests that speech recorded/transmitted with this mic will sound rather thin. The HFE of 3.5KHz indicates that recorded speech will noticeably lack detail and presence. However, speech would still be decently intelligible with them in quiet environments.

6.1 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
:
13.78 dB

The noise handling performance of the mic is below-average. In our SpNR test, they achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 14dB, suggesting that the JBL E45BT are best suited for quiet environments, and may struggle in moderate or loud places.

8.8 Wireless Range
Obstructed Range
:
49 ft
Line of Sight Range
:
163 ft

The JBL E45BT have a great wireless range. They reached up to 49ft when the Bluetooth source was obstructed and almost 165ft in direct line-of-sight. This should be more than enough for most use cases and office environments and will be a decent option if you have a fixed source like a TV or PC.

3.5 Latency
Default Latency
:
168 ms
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

These headphones like most Bluetooth headsets will not be ideal for watching movies. They have a bit less latency than the E55BT but If you need to watch a lot of video content, then use them wired, since they have practically no latency with the audio cable.

7.4 Battery
Battery Type
:
Rechargable
Battery Life
:
26 hrs
Charge Time
:
1.9 hrs
Power Saving Feature
:
No
Audio while charging
:
No
Passive Playback
:
Yes

These headphones have a good battery life and decent charge time. They last quite a bit longer than the over-ear E55BT at 26 hours compared to 19 but unfortunately do not have an auto-off timer like the Everest Elite 700. On the upside, you can use them passively with the audio cable if the battery dies and while they charge. However, they do not support audio while charging when used wirelessly which is a little disappointing.

0 App Support
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
N/A
ANC control
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
:
N/A
Playback control
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

The E45BT don't support the JBL Headphones app. For similar on-ear headphones that have a nice app and a great parametric EQ, take a look at the JBL Live 400BT.

6.8 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
4.1
Multi-Device Pairing
:
2 Devices
NFC Pairing
:
No

They connect wirelessly via Bluetooth and can pair simultaneously with multiple devices. Unfortunately, they do not have NFC support, but on the upside, they are fairly easy to pair thanks to their dedicated Bluetooth pair button.

9.1 Wired
OS Compatibility
:
Not OS specific
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
PS4 Compatible
:
Audio + Microphone
Xbox One Compatible
:
Audio + Microphone
PC Compatible
:
Audio + Microphone

The JBL E45BT come with a versatile cable that has an in-line mic compatible with most consoles and PCs. The in-line remote also has limited functionality for both iOS and Android and is not OS specific.

0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
:
N/A
PC Compatible
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A

These headphones do not have a base/dock. If you want a versatile headset with a base that you can also use wired check out the SteelSeries Arctis 7.

In the box

  • JBL E45BT Headphones
  • Audio cable
  • USB cable
  • Manuals

Compared to other Headphones

The JBL E45BT are decent wireless headphones for most use cases. They have a great range and battery life and an above-average sound. Their on-ear fit is not as comfortable as some of the other on-ear headphones we've tested. They also have a bit too much latency for gaming and watching movies, but they're versatile enough for sports and even for some critical listeners. See our recommendations for the best on-ear headphones, the best headphones under $100, and the best wireless headphones.

JBL E55BT Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The JBL E55BT and E45BT are practically the same headphones, but the E55 are over-ears while the E45 are on-ears. They have very similar audio reproduction and are built the same way. However, the over-ear design is more comfortable for most and is steadier on the head for sports. On the other hand, it's not as breathable as the on-ear design of the E45BT. There are also more bass delivery inconsistencies with the over-ear E55BT, and they have noticeably shorter battery life and wireless range than the on-ear E45BT.

JBL Live 400BT Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The JBL Live 400BT are a little better than the JBL E45BT Wireless. They're both on-ear headphones with a similar sound profile. However, the Live 400BT are a bit better-balanced and have a parametric EQ in their app, making their sound profile more versatile. They have the same build quality and design, but the Live 400BT have a bit more control options thanks to their talk-through mode. They also leak a little less and have longer battery life. On the other hand, the E45BT have slightly lower latency, so you might not notice the delay as much on these. Overall, the Live 400BT would be the better pick for most.

JBL T450BT Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The JBL E45BT are better headphones than the JBL T450BT. The E45BT have a  more premium-looking design that's more durable than the T450BT. They also sound better and have a headphone jack, so you can use them wired if their battery dies or with your console controllers. The E45 also have a better battery life and can pair with 2 devices simultaneously, unlike the more budget T450BT. On the other hand, the T450BT are a bit more lightweight, portable, and stable for sports than the E45BT.

Sony WH-CH500 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The JBL E45BT are better headphones than the Sony WH-CH500 in every way. They have better sound quality, build quality, sound quality, battery life, can be used wired even if the battery is dead, and they support full multi-device pairing. On the other hand, the Sonys have slightly better feedback on their control scheme and have NFC support for easier pairing, with better wireless range. The Sonys are usually cheaper than the JBL.

JBL Everest 310 Wireless
SEE PRICE
B&H

The JBL Everest 310 and JBL E45BT are very similar on-ear headphones. Both have a sound profile that is better suited for bass-heavy genres due to their recessed mid-range. However, the Everest model feels slightly better-built than the E45BT. They also isolate more noise due to their cups covering the ear more. On the other hand, the E45BT have slightly lower latency, so you might not notice the delay as much on these. They are also noticeably more stable, which is good for sports. Also, the Everest 310 has a unique music sharing feature that lets you connect another pair of Bluetooth headphones to the Everest and listen to the same audio content.

+ Show more

Conclusion

6.6 Mixed Usage

Decent for mixed-usage. The JBL E45BT have a good battery life, great wireless range, and an above-average sound quality. They're not the most comfortable headphones, and their build quality feels a bit plasticky, but they're a good option for most use cases. However, like most Bluetooth headphones they have a bit too much latency so they won't be ideal for gaming and home theater.

7.2 Critical Listening

Above-average for critical listening. The JBL E45BT have a good bass that doesn't drown instruments and vocals, and a decent reproduction of higher frequencies that's not too sharp. Unfortunately, their soundstage is sub-par, due to their closed-back on-ear design, and they're a bit inconsistent in the bass range.

6.5 Commute/Travel

Average for commuting. They're lightweight, easy-to-use, and decently portable. However, they do not block a lot of noise for busy city commutes, and their on-ear design is not as comfortable as the E55BT.

7.2 Sports/Fitness

Above-average for sports. They're lightweight, breathable and tight enough to stay on your head when jogging. Their wireless design also makes them less likely to fall because the audio cable got hooked on something, and they have a decently efficient control scheme. However, they're not as stable as the E55BT and won't be the most portable headphones for more intense workout routines which may hinder your movements.

6.6 Office

Decent for office use. The JBL E45BT have a long battery life and a decent sound for hours of continuous listening but do not block a lot of noise. You may hear the chatter of a lively office and they leak a bit at high volumes, so you may distract some of your colleagues in quieter conditions.

5.8 TV

Below-average for home theater use. The JBL E45BT have an above-average sound and have a great wireless range, but too much latency for watching movies and a lot of video content. They come with an audio cable which can alleviate some of the latency issues, but it's fairly short and won't be suitable for most home theater setups unless you have an extension cord.

5.5 Gaming

Sub-par for gaming. The JBL E45BT have a bit too much latency, a mediocre mic and no customization options. Also, they're not the most comfortable headphones to use for long gaming sessions but at least they come with a versatile audio cable that is compatible with most console controllers and PCs.

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