The JBL E65BTNC are above-average mixed usage over-ear headphones that are versatile for everyday casual use. These wireless headphones are an upgrade to the similarly designed JBL E55BT, with noise-canceling and better build quality. However, their ANC feature is decent but slightly disappointing when compared to other high-end headphones. On the upside, they have good audio reproduction and have an amazing wireless range.
The JBL E65BTNC have a straightforward design and are quite similar to the E55BT. They are still as comfortable but have slightly smaller ear openings, which some may find not as comfortable. They have a dedicated Bluetooth and ANC control buttons but like most closed-back over-ears, aren’t very breathable. Thankfully they do fold into a more compact format to fit into the included pouch (that the E55BT lacked) and have a better build quality overall, especially with new metal hinges that feel more solid.
These over-ear headphones are fairly bulky and look a bit better-made than the JBL E55BT, while still keeping a very similar design. The cups are big and well-padded, while the headband has a mesh finish. They come in 3 color variants: black, blue (our unit) and white.
The JBL E65BTNC are comfortable over-ears that feel like the similar E55BT. The cups are well-padded, but strangely, the ear space is a bit smaller than before, making it feel a bit more cramped for bigger ears. They are still comfortable to wear during long listening sessions but aren’t quite on par with some similar high-end headphones like the Sony WH-1000XM3 or Bose QuietComfort 35 II.
The E65BTNC have a decent control scheme that gives you quick access to common functionalities such as call/music management, track skipping forward and backward and volume control. They also offer dedicated ANC and Bluetooth buttons. The physical buttons on the E65BTNC are better-made than the E55BT and also offer good feedback. Some may find the ANC button in a weird position, but it shouldn’t be much of a problem to use. You also get a small audio beeping feedback when you reach maximum volume or when you switch ANC on and off.
Like most closed-back over-ear headphones, the JBL E65BTNC aren’t very breathable. They trap heat under the ear cups, and their closed design doesn’t help much with airflow. While they are fairly stable, the temperature difference is noticeable, and they won’t be ideal for sports as you can expect to sweat more while wearing them.
By design, they aren’t very portable headphones, but they do fold into a smaller format, which makes it a bit easier to travel with. They also come with a pouch which doesn’t add too much bulk. If you want to travel with them around your neck, the cups swivel to lay flat. This also makes it easier to slide the headphones inside a bag.
The JBL E65BTNC are well-built headphones. The headband is reinforced with a thin metal sheet which makes it sturdier. While they are still very similar to the JBL E55BT, they do feel better-finished and better-built, but not by much. The biggest difference we’ve found is that the hinges are now made out of metal instead of plastic, which should last longer and suffer less damage over time.
These headphones have a decent clamping force and are stable enough for light physical activity. Their bulky design won’t be the best for sports, but being wireless gets rid of a cable that could get hooked on something, which is convenient. However, the protruding ear cups sway a bit when running or doing strenuous exercises.
The JBL E65BTNC are good sounding closed-back over-ear headphones. They have a deep and powerful bass, a very well-balanced mid-range, and a good treble. The bass is slightly hyped, which some may prefer. However, their treble could lack some detail on leads and cymbals. This makes them quite versatile and well-suited for a variety of genres from EDM and Hip-Hop, to rock and podcasts.
The bass is quite good. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 10Hz, which is excellent. Also, low-bass, which is responsible for the thump and rumble common to bass-heavy tracks, is overemphasized by about 5dB of our neutral target making the bass a bit thumpy. Mid-bass, responsible for the body of bass guitars and the punch of kick drums, and high-bass, responsible for warmth, are overemphasized by about 3dB and 2dB respectively. Overall, the bass of the E65BTNC is heavy, but without overdoing it, which fans of bass-heavy genres may like.
The mid-range of the E65BTNC is excellent. The response is flat and even across the whole range. Low-mid is very slightly underemphasized by less than 2dB, making the vocals and instruments slightly thick, but this shouldn’t be audible for most users. This results in a clear and well-balanced reproduction of the fundamental and lower harmonics of vocals and lead instruments.
The treble is also good. The response is fairly uneven but well-balanced throughout the range. It is a bit underemphasized and veiled which results in a lack of brightness and presence on vocals and lead instruments. There is also a small negative impact on sibilances (S and T sounds) as they lack a bit of detail.
The frequency response consistency is decent. The bass range is susceptible to some inconsistencies depending on the positioning preference. Our human test subjects with glasses or lots of hair seemed to break the seal and get slight loss in low-bass. Also, we seem to have a unit with different ear pads thickness. This resulted in a weird fit over the right ear, which could explain the higher inconsistencies of the right measurements.
The imaging performance is great. The weighted group delay is at 0.36, which is very low. The GD graph also shows that the group delay response is almost entirely below the audibility threshold. This ensures a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were very well-matched, which is important for the accurate placement and localization of objects (instruments, voice, footsteps), in the stereo image. However, these results are only valid for our test unit, and yours may perform differently. Our unit also had different padding on each cup, which resulted in a slight frequency mismatch as the right ear cup wasn’t getting the same seal and bass as the left one.
The soundstage is poor. The PRTF graph shows a decent amount of pinna interaction, but it isn’t accurate. Also, there is only a small dip around 10KHz. This could result in a relatively large soundstage, but may be perceived as unnatural and located inside the listener’s head. Additionally, the closed-back design will make them sound less open and spacious compared to open-back headphones.
The harmonic distortion performance is decent-at-best. The amount of THD in the bass range is rather elevated, but not as much throughout the rest of the range. Humans are not very sensitive to lower frequency distortion, so this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Also, there are no sharp spikes in the THD response, and there is not a big jump in harmonic distortion under heavier loads either, which is good.
The JBL E65BTNC have a decent noise isolation performance. These headphones have an active noise cancelation feature to help them reduce ambient noise. They do a decent job at blocking low-frequencies like rumbling noise of bus engines, which makes them a decent choice for commuting. Luckily, they also don’t leak too much, so you can mask more ambient noise by raising your volume a bit but be careful not to disturb people around you too much, especially in quieter environments.
The noise isolation performance of the E65BTNC is decent. In the bass range, where the rumble of bus and airplane engines sit, they reduce outside sounds by about 11dB, which is about decent. In the mid-range, important for blocking out speech, they achieved an isolation of about 23dB, which is good. In the treble range, occupied by sharp S and T sounds, they reduce noise by about 34dB, which is good.
The leakage performance is decent. The significant portion of the leakage is spread across the upper mid and treble range. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage averages at about 39dB SPL, and peaks at 58.5dB SPL, which is slightly above the noise floor of most offices.
The integrated mic is average. Like most Bluetooth microphones, speech recorded or transmitted with this microphone will sound relatively thin, but fairly easy to understand in quiet environments. It may lack a bit of detail and brightness though. In noisy environments, the mic will do a decent job at separating speech from ambient noise in moderately loud places like a busy street, but it will struggle in noisier conditions like a subway station. When used wired, you’ll be able to use the in-line microphone which should perform better than the integrated one.
The mic has a decent recording quality. The LFE of 269Hz results in a recorded or transmitted speech that is relatively thin. The HFE of 3.5KHz suggests a speech that lacks detail and presence, but this is expected on Bluetooth microphones. However, the intelligibility of speech on this microphone will be decent in quiet environments.
The microphone is average at noise handling. In our SpNR test, they achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of about 15.8dB, indicating they are best suited for quiet and moderately loud environments. However, they will struggle to separate speech from ambient noise in louder situations.
The JBL E65BTNC have a decent battery life when used with Bluetooth and ANC on, which should last you more than a normal day of listening. However, they fall short to some other high-end models in the same price range. They, unfortunately, don’t have any power saving features, but thankfully, you can use them passively, even when the battery is dead. They do not have a companion app to enhance your listening experience.
We measured about 20 hours of battery life when used wirelessly with ANC on, which is a bit disappointing when compared to similar high-end headphones but is more than enough for a full workday. This is more than the 15 hours advertised by JBL. Unfortunately, they don’t have any power saving features unlike the JBL Everest Elite 700. On the upside, you can use them passively with the included audio cable, even if the battery is dead. They also allow you to use them when charging, but you’ll need to use the audio cable as well. According to JBL’s spec sheet, you can expect 24 hours of playback when used wirelessly with ANC off and the ANC feature can be used for about 30 hours when wired.
Unfortunately, these headphones are not compatible with the JBL headphones app like the JBL Everest Elite 700 are.
The JBL E65BTNC Bluetooth headphones can connect to two devices simultaneously, which is convenient, and they can also be used passively with the included audio cable. Unfortunately, their latency is slightly too high for watching video content and gaming, but they perform quite better than most Bluetooth headphones we’ve tested so far. On the upside, they have an excellent wireless range.
These Bluetooth headphones do not support NFC for quicker and easier pairing. But, you can connect to two devices simultaneously, which is convenient if you often switch between two audio sources like a computer and a phone.
You can use the included 1/8” TRRS cable to use these headphones passively, even if the battery is dead, which is convenient. They also support audio and microphone on consoles. When plugged in, the ANC is automatically switched off, but you can still turn it on if there’s battery left.
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 Astro A50.
The wireless range of the E65BTNC is excellent. With an obstructed range of 59ft, you will be able to leave your audio source at one place and move around a small apartment or office without hearing frequent audio cuts. You shouldn’t have any problems, especially if you keep your audio source on you.
Like most Bluetooth headphones, the JBL E65BTNC have too much latency for video content or gaming. However, the 120ms measured is significantly lower than most Bluetooth headphones we’ve reviewed so far which are usually around 200ms. Also, with the included cable, you can use the headphones passively and get rid of the latency issues.
The JBL E65BTNC are above-average closed-back over-ears that are versatile for a variety of use cases. These noise-canceling headphones have decent isolation performance but might be a bit disappointing when compared to high-end headphones in the same price range. However, they do everything pretty well and should satisfy most users. When compared to other headphones below, they tend to lack a longer battery life or a compatible app. On the upside, they have better wireless range and the in-line microphone is a welcomed addition. See our recommendations for the best noise cancelling headphones.
The Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 are better headphones than the JBL E65BTNC. They have better sound quality than the JBLs, leak less and have an amazing 30-hour battery life. They also have a great control scheme and come with a nice solid case as well. The JBLs have an in-line microphone when the headphones are used wired, and they are more stable for physical activities. They also have better latency performance and a useful Bluetooth Sync button.
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II are better headphones than the JBL E65BTNC. They have better neutral sound quality and their noise canceling feature is one of the best we’ve tested so far. They are also one of the most comfortable headphones we’ve reviewed. On the other hand, the JBLs have better wireless range and feel more stable since they have higher clamping force on the head, which can be useful during physical activity. They also have an in-line microphone that the QC 35 II lacks.
The Sony WH-H900N are slightly better headphones than the JBL E65BTNC. They have a great audio reproduction which follows our target curve accurately and will be versatile for a wide variety of music genres. They also have a great 27-hour battery life (but will take 5 hours to charge fully), and they have a great companion app that allows you to customize the sound to your liking. On the other hand, the JBLs have an amazing wireless range and better isolation performance, making them slightly more versatile for everyday casual use such as commuting and at the office.
The JBL E65BTNC are better headphones than the Skullcandy Crusher Wireless. The biggest difference between them is that the JBLs have a noise canceling feature while the Crusher Wireless have poor isolation performance. Sound-wise, the E65BTNC sound more neutral while the Skullcandy are more designed for fans of heavy bass. Most users will find the JBLs to be more versatile for everyday casual use than the Crusher Wireless.