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Reviewed on May 02, 2019 , Jake Thauvette, Marc Henney, Sam Vafaei, Yannick Khong

JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless
HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

Test Benches:

  • 1.2: Winter 2018
  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2017
  • 0.9: Winter 2016
7.0
Mixed Usage
What it is: This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
7.5
Critical Listening
What it is: The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
7.0
Commute/Travel
What it is: How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
Score components:
7.1
Sports/Fitness
What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
Score components:
7.2
Office
What it is: How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:
6.1
TV
Score components:
5.7
Gaming
Score components:
Type : Over-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : Yes
Noise-Cancelling : Yes
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The JBL Live 650 BTNC are decent, mixed usage, Bluetooth over-ear headphones. They have a good and accurate sound, but will be better suited for bass-heavy genres. They are comfortable, well-built, and can be used for commuting thanks to their active noise cancelling (ANC) feature. They block out an okay amount of ambient noise and their battery life will last you 22 hours with ANC enabled. While they have lower latency than most Bluetooth headsets, they still won’t be ideal for watching video content wirelessly. However, you can use them passively, and they have one of the best wireless ranges we’ve measured so far.

Test Results
Design 7.1
Sound 7.5
Isolation 6.7
Microphone 6.0
Active Features 7.2
Connectivity 6.6
Pros
  • Exceptional wireless range.
  • Good audio reproduction.
  • Comfortable and durable build.
Cons
  • Bulky design.
  • Sub-par microphone for calls.

Check Price

7.1

Design

Score components:
JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless Design Picture

The JBL Live 650 BTNC are well-designed over-ear headphones. They are quite similar to the Everest 710 and E65BTNC. They are comfortable to wear for a while, but their cups might be a bit shallow for people with larger ears. They are well-built headphones and their control scheme is easy to use. However, like most over-ears, they aren't the most portable option and won’t be ideal for sports as they trap heat inside the cups and aren’t stable enough for running. On the upside, you can use them passively even if the battery is dead, which is convenient.

Style
JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless Design Picture 2

The JBL Live 650 BTNC, style-wise, are kind of a mix of the JBL Everest 710 and the JBL E65BTNC. The cups are large and have thick padding, while the headband has a mesh coating. They have nice metallic accents on the cups and hinges which gives them a more premium look. They come in an all-black, all-navy, or all-white color schemes.

7.5 Comfort
What it is: Adjustability and degrees of freedom, pressure, stiffness and weight.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used for long durations.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless Comfort Picture
Weight : 0.57 lbs
Clamping Force
What it is: The force that the headphones exert on your head, once you have them on. This is purely a measurement of the force applied, which does not take into account the earpad's surface area and the resulting pressure you will feel, on or around your ears.
When it matters: The tighter the headphones, the more force they put on your head. This can get uncomfortable or cause pain and soreness during long listening sessions.
:
0.8 lbs

The Live 650 BTNC are comfortable headphones. They aren’t as comfortable as the JBL Everest 710, but clamp less than the JBL E65BTNC. The padding on the cups is quite soft and their overall design feels fairly lightweight. However, the cups are quite shallow, so they might not be ideal for people with larger ears. Overall, they’ll be fairly comfortable to wear for extended periods of time if you can find a good fit.

7.4 Controls
What it is: The control scheme of the headphones, the number of functions provided, button layout and ergonomics as well as the quality of tactile feedback.
When it matters: If you want to control volume, pause your music or make phone calls without directly interacting with your audio device.
JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless Controls Picture
Ease of use : Good
Feedback : Good
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
What it is: Being able to mix audio channels directly on the headphones.
When it matters: This is most useful when using a separate chat software so that you can mix in-game audio and chat audio depending on your needs.
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : Yes
Talk-Through : No
Additional Buttons : Bluetooth Sync

The control scheme of these headphones is fairly simple and quite responsive. The physical buttons are easy to locate and to use. The middle button is indented, as opposed to the raised middle button on the E65BTNC, which was slightly easier to locate. You get common functionalities like call/music management, volume control, and ANC control. They also have a dedicated button for Bluetooth sync, which is easy to use and makes pairing easier. Additionally, you can enable your device’s voice assistant by tapping once on the JBL logo on the left ear cup; however, this can be accidentally triggered when manipulating the headphones, which could be a deal breaker for some.

6.4 Breathability
What it is: How hot the headphones get when you wear them for an extended period of time.
When it matters: If you often have long listening sessions or use your headphones while doing physical activities like running or working out.
Score components:
JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless Breathability After Picture
Avg.Temp.Difference : 5.9 C

These over-ears are not the most breathable and trap a decent amount of heat inside the ear cups. The seal around the ears will block airflow and some will notice a difference in temperature when wearing them for workouts. Over-ears usually make you sweat more when working out.

5.8 Portability
What it is: The volume of space occupied by the headphones when folded into their most compact format.
When it matters: If you're often on the move and need to carry your headphones in a bag, purse , or pocket.
Score components:
JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless Portability Picture
L : 6.0 "
W : 7.0 "
H : 3.0 "
Volume : 126 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

The JBL Live 650 BTNC are not the most portable headphones, but they do fold into a more compact format. Their cups also swivel to lay flat, which is easier to carry around your neck or to slide in a bag. They come with a soft pouch that doesn’t add too much bulk to their design.

5.5 Case
What it is: The provided carrying options to protect your headphones when transporting them.
When it matters: To prevent damaging your headphones, if you often carry them in your bag or pocket.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless Case Picture
Type : Pouch
L : N/A
W : N/A
H : N/A
Volume : N/A

The JBL Live 650 BTNC come with a soft pouch that will only protect the headphones against light scratches. It won’t protect against physical damage due to falls and the material doesn’t seem to be water resistant. On the upside, it is easy to carry around and doesn’t add much bulk to the headphones.

7.5 Build Quality
What it is: Durability, material quality, cheap/expensive feel.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used by multiple users (classes/studios), by children, in tough conditions, on a daily basis, or for exercise.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless Build Quality Picture

The Live 650 BTNC are built practically the same way as the E65BTNC. They have a slightly more polished look but don’t feel more durable. The cups are dense enough and should survive a few accidental falls without too much damage. The headband is solid thanks to a reinforcing metal sheet, yet it is still fairly flexible. However, we suspect the hinges to be the weak point of these headphones, and they could break with time.

7.5 Stability
What it is: How the headphones are designed to prevent them from slipping off your ears or falling off your head.
When it matters: If you plan on using the headphones while doing sports or other physical activities that requires a lot of movement.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless Stability Picture

Since they are a bit looser than the E65BTNC, they won’t be as stable. You shouldn’t have any problems during casual listening sessions, but they might wobble around a bit when running. On the upside, their wireless design means you won’t have any cables in your way and it can’t yank the headphones off your head if it were to get stuck or hooked on something.

Cable
JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless Cable Picture
Detachable : Yes
Length : 4.1 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRRS

The JBL Live 650 BTNC headphones come with a nice braided 4.1ft 1/8” TRRS cable and a micro-USB charging cable.

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Headshots 1
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7.5

Sound

What it is: How accurately the audio is reproduced. The tests are performed with the headphones' most commonly used features enabled (noise-cancelling, wireless, etc.)
JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless Frequency Response

The JBL Live 650 BTNC are good sounding closed-back over-ear headphones. They have a deep and powerful bass, a very well-balanced mid-range, and a great treble. Their bass is overly thumpy, but fans of bass-heavy genres may prefer this. However, their treble is a bit uneven and may lack a bit of detail on S and T sounds. Overall, these headphones are thumpy and will be better suited for bass-heavy music. They have a very similar sound profile to that of the JBL E65BTNC.

8.1 Bass
What it is: Frequency Response from 20Hz-250Hz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on bass frequencies, such as those of kick drums and bass guitar.
Score components:
JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless Bass
Std. Err.
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in bass frequency response (20Hz-250Hz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) bass performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
2.75 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
What it is: The lowest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response.
When it matters: Shows how extended the bass is.
Good value: <40Hz
Noticeable difference: 5Hz
:
10 Hz
Low-Bass
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 20Hz-60Hz.
When it matters: Kick drums and low frequency effects get their 'thump' from this range. Mostly felt than heard.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
5.09 dB
Mid-Bass
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 60Hz-120Hz.
When it matters: Melodic bass instruments have most of their fundamental frequencies in this range. This is where the 'body' and 'punch' of the bass sits.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
2.27 dB
High-Bass
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 120Hz-250Hz.
When it matters: Most instruments get their warmth and full-ness from this range. When over-emphasized, mixes tend to get muddy and boomy.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-0.76 dB

The bass performance of the Live 650BTNC is very 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 which some people may prefer. Mid-bass, responsible for the body of bass guitars and the punch of kick drums, is overemphasized by about 2dB. Overall, the bass of the Live 650BTNC is heavy, but without overdoing it, which fans of bass-heavy genres may like.

8.8 Mid
What it is: Frequency Response from 250Hz-2KHz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on mid-range frequencies. This is the case for the majority of audio content.
Score components:
JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless Mid
Std. Err.
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in mid frequency response (250Hz-2.5KHz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) mid performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
1.59 dB
Low-Mid
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 250Hz-500Hz.
When it matters: Most instruments have their fundamentals or low harmonics in this range. Over-emphasis in this range sounds muddy and cluttered. Under-emphasis, thins out the vocals and lead instruments.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-1.61 dB
Mid-Mid
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 500Hz-1KHz.
When it matters: This range is occupied mostly by upper harmonics. Over-emphasis sounds forward and boxy. Under-emphasis pushes instruments to the back of the mix.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-1.73 dB
High-Mid
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 1KHz-2KHz.
When it matters: Most instruments, especially vocals, get their intensity and clarity from this range. Over-emphasis sounds honky and harsh, under-emphasis sounds weak and distant.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
1.09 dB

The mid-range 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 thin, but this shouldn’t be audible for most users. This results in a clear and well-balanced reproduction of vocals and lead instruments.

8.2 Treble
What it is: Frequency Response from 2KHz-20KHz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on high-range frequencies, such as voice, cymbals, and any other material where brightness, brilliance and airiness is desired.
Score components:
JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless Treble
Std. Err.
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in treble frequency response (2.5KHz-20KHz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) treble performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
3.29 dB
Low-Treble
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 2KHz-5KHz.
When it matters: Almost all instruments rely on this range for their presence, detail, and articulation. Over-emphasis can sound harsh and painful. Under-emphasis hurts the comprehensibility of vocals and lead instruments.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-0.97 dB
Mid-Treble
What it is: The average amount of over/under emphasis in frequency response from 5KHz-10KHz.
When it matters: This is the sibilance range. Cymbals, vocals, and lead instruments rely on this range for brightness and presence. Over-emphasis sounds piercing and painful, under-emphasis sounds dull and lispy.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-1.46 dB
High-Treble
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 10KHz-20KHz.
When it matters: This range gives brilliance and airiness to the sound. Over-emphasis sounds hissy, under-emphasis sounds closed-up and lifeless.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-4.64 dB

The treble of the Live 650BTNC is also very 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 sibilants (S and T sounds) as they lack a bit of detail.

Raw Frequency Response
What it is: The average uncompensated frequency response of the headphone. For in-ears and earbuds, this corresponds to the average of 5 measurements/re-seats on the dummy head (HMS). For over/on-ear headphones, this corresponds to the average of 5 measurements/re-seats on the HMS (Head Measurement System) for the mid and treble ranges, and 5 measurements/re-seats on 5 human subjects for the bass range.
When it matters: This is for those who want to see the raw and uncompensated frequency response of the headphone. Some of the more advanced users, are able to read and evaluate headphone frequency response in its raw form and without compensation. This will be especially useful to them if they have their own headphone compensation/target curve, which may differ from the compensation curve/target response used by RTINGS.com.
7.5 Frequency Response Consistency
What it is: The amount of deviation of each frequency response pass, from the average frequency response.
When it matters: Shows how consistently the headphones perform after re-positioning them.
Score components:
JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless Consistency L JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless Consistency R
Avg. Std. Deviation
What it is: The average amount of deviation in frequency response of 5 re-seats, from the average frequency response.
When it matters: Shows how consistently the headphones perform after re-positioning them.
Good value: <0.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.49 dB

The frequency response consistency is good. The bass range is susceptible to some inconsistencies, but the ANC feature seems to be used to deliver more consistent bass across users. Our human test subjects with glasses or lots of hair seemed to break the seal and get a slight loss in low-bass, but only in the left ear, so this could also be due to positioning. There is also a slight variation in the treble range of about 8dB at 4kHz, which is noticeable.

8.7 Imaging
What it is: Imaging qualities are inherent to the audio content, the headphones have to 'reproduce' them rather than 'create' them. They determine how accurately the objects are positioned in the stereo image, and how transparent the imaging is.
When it matters: When accurate positioning of the objects in the stereo image, and clear and transparent imaging is desired.
JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless Group Delay JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless Phase Response
Weighted Group Delay
What it is: The average amount of group delay calculated based on a perceptual weighting filter. Group delay indicates how long it takes for each frequency to reach their maximum amplitude. This is a monaural quality and can be perceived even with one ear.
When it matters: Headphones with lower group delay have more transparent imaging and a tighter bass. Headphones with higher group delay in the bass range tend to have a wimpy and loose bass, and headphones with higher group delay in the treble range tend to have a less transparent imaging.
Good value: <0.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.25
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
What it is: The Left/Right balance of our test unit, that is, the amount of amplitude difference between the left and right drivers. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When a properly balanced stereo image and low manufacturing tolerance is desired. A poor score indicates a noticeable difference in level between the left and right drivers.
Good value: <1.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.24
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
What it is: The amount of difference (Std. Err.) between the frequency response of the left and right drivers of our test unit. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When an even and stable stereo image, as well as a low manufacturing tolerance, is desired. A poor score indicates there may be 'holes' in the stereo image at certain frequencies.
Good value: <2
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
2.07
Weighted Phase Mismatch
What it is: The amount of difference (Std. Err.) between the phase response of the left and right drivers of our test unit. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When an even and stable stereo image, as well as a low manufacturing tolerance is desired. A poor score indicates there may be inaccuracies in the stereo image reproduction at certain frequencies.
Good value: <16
Noticeable difference: 3
:
4.69

The imaging performance is great. The weighted group delay is at 0.25, which is very good. 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.

4.8 Soundstage
What it is: Soundstage qualities are not inherent to the audio content, the headphones have to 'create' them rather than 'reproduce' them. They determine whether the sound is perceived to be coming from inside or in front of the head, how open and spacious the soundstage is, how much the headphones acoustically interact with the environment, and how strong the phantom center is.
When it matters: When an accurately produced, large and spacious soundstage, similar to that of a stereo loudspeaker setup is desired.
JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless PRTF
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
What it is: The standard deviation of the PRTF (Pinna-related transfer function) of the headphones compared to a reference loudspeaker's PRTF at 30°. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: An accurate pinna activation is mainly responsible for how natural and speaker-like the soundstage is perceived to be. The less error in the shape of the PRTF, the more natrual and speaker-like the perception of the soundstage will be. High amounts of error may indicate a soundstage that is unnatural or odd.
Good value: <2.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
3.61 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
What it is: The average amplitude of the PRTF (Pinna-related transfer function) of the headphones compared to that of a reference loudspeaker's PRTF at 30°. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: This value is responsible for the perceived size of the soundstage. The higher the value, the larger the perceived size of the soundstage. However, values above the reference (5.0dB) could result in a soundstage that is perceived as unnatural or odd.
Good value: >3.7
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
6.17 dB
PRTF Distance
What it is: The depth of the "10KHz notch" of the headphone's PRTF, which is caused by phase cancellations at the concha. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: This value is mainly responsible for the perceived distance and elevation of the soundstage. A small distance value may result in a soundstage that is perceived to be located inside the head. Larger values may help pull the soundstage out from inside of the head and bring it to the front.
Good value: >13
Noticeable difference: 1
:
4.74 dB
Openness
What it is: How open the headphones are, and how open and spacious they sound. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test differentiates between acoustically and electronically produced crosstalk and only takes the acoustically generated crosstalk into account. This value is the inverse of the Noise Isolation test score, and could be indirectly related the acoustic impedance of the headphones.
When it matters: When a headphone with a sense of an open, and spacious soundstage is desired. A value of 10 indicates a fully open headphone, and a value of 0 indicates a fully closed headphone.
Good value: >7.5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
3.7
Acoustic Space Excitation
What it is: How loud the headphones are, and how much they excite their environment acoustically. If the headphones are loud and open enough, the sound leaking from the headphones will be affected by the environment (reflections/reverb) before reflecting back into the open headphones and to the listener's ears. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This value is the inverse of the Leakage test score.
When it matters: Headphones with higher excitation values, similar to openness, tend to have soundstages that are perceived as more open and spacious.
Good value: >7.5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
2.8
Correlated Crosstalk
What it is: How strong and solid the phantom center is. This is mostly a stereo quality and its effects on mono content are minimal. This test is sensitive to the phase of the crosstalk and whether it is produced acoustically or electronically.
When it matters: When a true reproduction of the stereo image is desired. A value of 0 indicates no crosstalk, or that the existing crosstalk is not correlated enough to affect the phantom center. A negative score means the crosstalk is out of phase with the original signal, resulting in a slightly wider stereo image at the expense of creating a 'hole' at the center of the stereo field. A positive score means the crosstalk is in phase and positively affecting the phantom center.
Good value: >1dB
Noticeable difference: 0.3dB
:
0.0 dB

The JBL Live 650BTNC have poor soundstage. The PRTF graph shows a good amount of pinna activation; however, the interaction is not accurate, and there's no 10kHz notch present either. This and their closed-back design suggest a soundstage that is relatively large but unnatural and should be perceived to be located inside the listener's head, as opposed to in front.

6.7 Total Harmonic Distortion
What it is: The subtle, unwanted frequencies (harmonics) produced alongside the intended frequencies.
When it matters: When clean and pure sound reproduction is desired, though its effect is not as noticable as frequency response.
Score components:
JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at 90dB SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at moderate listening levels.
Good value: <0.100
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
4.427
Weighted THD @ 100
What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at 100dB SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at loud listening levels.
Good value: <0.300
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
13.677

The harmonic distortion of the Live 650 BTNC is okay. The THD in the bass range is within good limits but stays fairly elevated in the mid and treble ranges. High bumps shown in the graph suggests that these frequencies can sound harsh and impure, which can get fatiguing over time.

6.7

Isolation

Score components:

The isolation performance of the JBL Live 650 BTNC is acceptable. Even if they are ANC headphones, they don’t do that great of a job at blocking lower frequency noises like engine rumbles, meaning they won’t be ideal for commuting. However, they isolate well against work environment noise such as ambient chatter and A/C noises, so they’ll be suitable for the office. Also, they don’t leak too much, so you might be able to block even more noise by raising your volume without disturbing people.

6.3 Noise Isolation
What it is: How much outside noise is blocked out by putting the headphones on.
When it matters: If the headphones are going to be used in a noisy envinronment (airplane, subway, etc.)
Score components:
JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
What it is: The simulated noise isolation of the headphones, demonstrating how much outside noise is blocked out by putting the headphones on. This recording is created using an EQ and is not an actual recording. For headphones with ANC (active noise cancellation), the playback simulates the isolation with ANC enabled.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used in a noisy envinronment (airplane, subway, etc.)
:
Overall Attenuation
What it is: The overall amount of environmental noise reduction in dB.
When it matters: In loud envinronments like planes, trains, offices, etc.
Good value: <-20dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-18.66 dB
Bass
What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the bass range (20Hz-250Hz).
When it matters: When the outside noise is bass-heavy, like in airplanes.
Good value: <-15dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-8.67 dB
Mid
What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the mid-range (250Hz-2.5KHz).
When it matters: When the environment's noise is mid-heavy, like in an office.
Good value: <-15dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-18.29 dB
Treble
What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the treble range (2.5KHz-20KHz).
When it matters: When the environment's noise is treble-heavy. Although uncommon, areas with sharp sounds fall under this category.
Good value: <-30dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-29.94 dB
Self-Noise
What it is: The amount of noise created by the active electronics of the headphones (if applicable), measured from 300Hz-20KHz. Applies mostly to wireless and noise-cancelling headphones.
When it matters: If too loud, it could become distracting when listening to quiet material like podcasts and audiobooks.
Good value: <16dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
24.15 dB

The Live 650 BTNC have a passable isolation performance. With ANC (active noise cancellation) enabled, they achieve about 9dB of isolation in the bass range, which is okay. This means they won’t do a great job at blocking out the rumble of airplane and bus engines. In the mid-range, important for blocking out ambient speech, they isolate by 18dB, which is good. In the treble range, occupied by sharp sounds like S and Ts and fan noises like A/C systems, they isolate by 30dB, which is also good.

7.6 Leakage
What it is: The amount of sound bleeding out of the headphones.
When it matters: When the listener doesn't want people around them (in office, recording studio, etc.) to hear what is being listened to.
Score components:
JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless Leakage
Leakage Audio
What it is: The simulated sound leakage heard 1 foot away from the user, while the user is listening to a 100dB SPL signal. This recording is created using an EQ and is not an actual recording.
When it matters: When you don't want people to hear what you are listening to.
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
What it is: The amount of sound leakage heard 1 foot away from the user, while the user is listening to a 100dB SPL signal.
When it matters: When you don't want people hear what you are listening to.
Good value: <35dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
36.51 dB

The leakage performance is good. The significant portion of leakage sits between 1kHz and 7kHz, which is a relatively broad range. This results in a leakage that sounds fuller and more comprehensible than the leakage of in-ears and earbuds, but not as much as open-back headphones. However, the overall level of leakage is not too loud. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage at 1 foot away averages at 37dB SPL and peaks at 54dB SPL, which is around the noise floor of most offices.

6.0

Microphone

What it is: The microphone section shows the quality of speech capture and transmission by the mic, as well as how well the microphone under test handles noisy environments.
When it matters: For your speech to be transmitted to and understood properly by the listener, the microphone needs to have a good recording quality. If the environment the microphone is being used in is noisy, a microphone with a good noise handling performance would be needed as well.
Score components:
Integrated
What it is: The microphone integrated in the ear cup or ear bud of a wireless headphone.
When it matters: For calls, gaming and voice over IP software or for any other use of the microphone.
Good value: Yes
:
Yes
In-line
What it is: The microphone inside the in-line remote of audio cables for wired and wireless headsets.
When it matters: In-line microphone are usually better than integrated mics. If you need better recording quality and noise handling for calls, gaming and voice over IP software then use the audio cable of your wired or wireless headphone if it has an inline microphone.
Good value: Yes
:
Yes
Boom
What it is: A typically better microphone, that's also adjustable and extends so that the mic is closer to your mouth.
When it matters: Much better recording quality and noise handling than in-line or integrated mics. Primarily used for gaming and voice over IP software.
Good value: Yes
:
No
Detachable Boom
What it is: A boom mic that is detachable from the headset.
When it matters: If you want to use your headphone outdoors without the bulk and hassle of the Boom mic.
:
N/A

The JBL Live 650 BTNC have a mediocre integrated microphone. In quiet environments, speech recorded or transmitted with this mic will sound thin, noticeably muffled, and lacking in detail. It will also struggle to separate speech from ambient noise in moderately loud environments such as a busy street. However, they also come with an in-line microphone, which we expect to perform slightly better than the integrated one.

5.9 Recording Quality
What it is: Microphone recording quality shows how natural, neutral, extended and intelligible speech would be with the device under test, in a quiet environment.
When it matters: A microphone with a good recording quality ensures that the person listening to you would hear a full, clear, and easily understandable speech. Therefore, it is important whenever a good quality of speech transmission and intelligibility is needed.
Score components:
JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless Microphone Frequency Response
Recorded Speech
What it is: Actual audio recording of the headphone's microphone, recorded while placed on the dummy head, with speech being played back through the dummy head's mouth simulator.
When it matters: When a clean, full, and intelligible speech transmission is required.
:
LFE
What it is: Low-frequency extension shows how deep the bass response of the microphone is, and therefore, how deep and full your voice would sound to the listener. It is the lowest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response.
When it matters: LFE is not a big factor in speech intelligibility and even speech recorded with a mic that has an LFE of 500Hz could still be easily understood. Therefore, it is mostly important if you are concerned with how deep and full your voice would be heard.
Good value: <150Hz
Noticeable difference: 30Hz
:
369.71 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
What it is: Frequency Response Standard Deviation shows how accurately and balanced sound is captured by the microphone at each frequency. FR Std. Dev. is calculated between LFE and HFE, and the rest of the spectrum is ignored.
When it matters: A good frequency response is desired when a natural and neutral speech quality is desired. As opposed to HFE which is more a metric for speech intelligibility, frequency response could be considered as a metric for a natural and neutral sound.
Good value: >3.5dB
Noticeable difference: 0.5dB
:
3.09 dB
HFE
What it is: High-frequency extension is the highest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response. It shows how extended the treble response of the microphone is.
When it matters: HFE is one the most important factors in speech intelligibility. The higher the HFE, the brighter, more open, and more extended the speech quality will be which makes it a lot easier to understand by the listener.
Good value: >8KHz
Noticeable difference: 1KHz
:
3000.72 Hz
Weighted THD
What it is: The unwanted frequencies (harmonics) produced alongside the intended frequencies, which cause deformation of an output signal compared to its input.
When it matters: When clean and pure sound reproduction is desired, though its effect is not as noticable as frequency response.
Good value: <1.5
Noticeable difference: 1.0
:
3.184
Gain
What it is: Shows how much louder the microphone can go above our reference loudness level. The gain value is reported relative to our reference level, which is 94dB at a distance of 5cm from the mouth.
When it matters: A microphone with a high gain is important when the input signal (speech) is very quiet. For example when whispering, or talking on the phone in a library.
Good value: >18dB
Noticeable difference: 3dB
:
32.17 dB

The recording quality of the integrated microphone is sub-par. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 370Hz, which means transmitted/recorded speech with this mic will sound noticeably thin. The HFE (high-frequency extension) of 3kHz indicates speech that lacks detail and is noticeably muffled. This will have a negative effect on the intelligibility of speech, but it should still be understandable in quiet environments.

6.0 Noise Handling
What it is: How well the microphone is able to separate speech from background noise, so that the transmission would include more voice and less noise.
When it matters: When a clean and intelligible speech transmission is desired in a noisy situation like talking on the phone on a busy street or on the bus.
Score components:
JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless SpNR
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
What it is: Speech to Noise Ratio is the difference in level between speech and background noise as heard by the listener
When it matters: If the microphone is going to be used in a noisy environment, it is important for it to be able to separate the speech from background noise, so the voice would be easily audible and understandable.
Good value: >24dB
Noticeable difference: 3dB
:
12.37 dB

The integrated mic is mediocre at noise-handling. In our SpNR test, it achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 12dB, indicating the mic is best suited for quiet environments and will struggle to separate speech from ambient noise in moderate and loud situations.

7.2

Active Features

What it is: Headphones with active components that require a battery. This includes noise cancelling and wireless headphones that actively reduce noise or transmit audio via a wireless connection.
When it matters: How suitable the power and wireless specifications of an active headphone will be, depending on your listening habits. The range and/or discharge time of the active headphone you select will be important if you're often on the move or have long uninterrupted listening sessions.
Score components:

The JBL Live 650 BTNC have a good 22-hour battery life with their ANC enabled and they are also compatible with an app that allows good sound customization. They should last you for the longest rides or trips without a problem and will be good to use at the office during a workday as well. The app allows you to add as many points as you want to their EQ and fully customize the sound profile to your liking, which is great. However, the app lacks a few other features that would have been nice to have.

7.3 Battery
What it is: The power source of your headphones. All headphones with active features have a battery that will deplete over time.
When it matters: To continue using the active features of your headphones. Some models lose features or switch off completely when the battery is drained, which limits what you can do with them until the next charge.
Battery Type
What it is: The type of battery that the headphones use. Usually AAA or embedded, Li-ion rechargeable batteries.
When it matters: When your headphones run out of power. Rechargeable batteries usually charge via the headphones Micro-USB port whereas AAA batteries have to be replaced or charged with an external device.
:
Rechargable
Battery Life
What it is: The amount of time it takes for a headphones' battery to be completely drained. Battery life will vary depending on the active features used and volume level.
When it matters: For active headphones that connect wirelessly, have noise cancellation or other audio-enhancing features, that cease to work once the battery is dead.
Good value: >10hrs
Noticeable difference: 0.5hrs
:
22.1 hrs
Charge Time
What it is: The amount of time your active headphones have to be connected to a power source to charge from 0 to a 100%. However, charging time will vary depending on your power source.
When it matters: To be able to use the active features of your headphones. Especially, wireless ones that completely switch off and need to be recharged when the battery is dead.
Good value: 2h or less
Noticeable difference: 0.25h
:
1.8 hrs
Power Saving Feature
What it is: A feature that turns off the headphones, after a set time, when they're not in use.
When it matters: To prolong battery life when the headphones are not being used, or if you forget to manually turn off your headphones.
:
No
Audio while charging
What it is: Some active headphones remain usable while charging. They continue to stream audio and do not disable other active features.
When it matters: This makes sure that your headphones's battery are not being drained when you're relatively close to a power source. However, this means wireless headphones will need a wired connection to the power source during the charging process.
:
No
Passive Playback
What it is: Active headphones that still work when all their active features are turned off or out of power.
When it matters: If you run out of power and do not have spare AA/AAA batteries or access to a power source to recharge your headphones.
:
Yes

With their ANC enabled, we measured about 22 hours of continuous playback on the JBL Live 650BTNC. This should be more than enough for a normal workday of casual listening, with enough power for your morning and after-work commute as well. They only take just under 2 hours to charge fully, which is good. Unfortunately, they don’t have any power saving features, so be sure to turn them off when you’re not using them. On the upside, you can use them passively with their analog audio cable, even if the battery is dead, which is convenient.

7.0 App Support
What it is: The additional app provided to enhance your listening experience. They typically deliver a set of practical features that give you more control over the sound, noise cancelling and effects that the headphones produce.
When it matters: An app with a lot of features allows you to customize your listening experience to suit your taste and preferences. For example, additions like an equalizer can give you more bass or treble and room effects can simulate a bigger Soundstage in closed back headphones.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless App Picture
App Name : JBL Headphones
iOS : Yes
Android : Yes
Mac OS : No
Windows : No
Equalizer
What it is: Parametric, graphic or preset sound profiles that slightly alter the frequency response.
When it matters: If you want to tailor, your listening experience. Depending on what you're listening to you may want more or less bass for some tracks or more mid-range for vocals-heavy audio.
:
Parametric + Presets
ANC control
What it is: Control over the Active noise canceling technology. This could be either a simple on/off button, and adjustable slider or even adaptive self-regulating noise cancellation.
When it matters: If you're in an environment where you need to monitor your surroundings or completely isolate yourself from ambient noise.
:
Yes
Mic Control : No
Room effects
What it is: Room effects that enhance the audio quality to make it more immersive.
When it matters: If you want to further tweak your listening experience. Adding room effects, can simulate a more spacious Soundstage or deliver a surround sound-like feel.
:
No
Playback control
What it is: An in-app player that gives you access to play/stop, track skipping or volume controls directly with the app.
When it matters: It's a shortcut that allows you to control your audio without leaving the application.
:
No
Button Mapping : No
Surround Sound : No

These headphones are compatible with the JBL Headphones app. It is a pretty decent app that offers control over your ANC, but also gives you access to a full parametric EQ. You can add as many points as you want and fully customize their sound profile. Unfortunately, it lacks a few features like a playback control or some room effects, but overall this app is still a good tool to help enhance your listening experience.

6.6

Connectivity

What it is: The inputs and outputs of wired and wireless headphones, as well as their latency performance and range.
When it matters: To know how compatible your Bluetooth device, console or PC will be with your wired or wireless headset.
Score components:
  • 10% Bluetooth
  • 33% Wired
  • 10% Base/Dock
  • 22% Wireless Range
  • 25% Latency

The JBL Live 650 BTNC are Bluetooth compatible headphones that can be simultaneously connected to two devices. This can be very useful if you often change between a work computer and your phone. Also, their wireless range is remarkable as it maxed out our testing facility. You can use them wired, even if the battery is dead, and their audio cable has an in-line microphone that is compatible with most devices like gaming consoles, which is nice. However, their wireless latency might be too high for video content and gaming, but it is slightly lower than most Bluetooth headphones.

6.8 Bluetooth
What it is: Bluetooth support for wireless headphones.
When it matters: To connect wirelessly to Bluetooth sources like your phone, tablet, console, PC and TV.
Score components:
  • 80% Multi-Device Pairing
  • 20% NFC
  • <1% PS4 Compatible
  • <1% Xbox One Compatible
Bluetooth Version : 4.2
Multi-Device Pairing
What it is: A Bluetooth profile that allows some headphones to be simultaneously connected to multiple Bluetooth sources, and have full call and media support on both/all devices they are connected to.
When it matters: To quickly switch between your Bluetooth sources. For example, switching from your phone to your home or work PC and still have call and media support on both devices.
Good value: 2 devices.
:
2 Devices
NFC
What it is: Near Field Communication technology that allows you to quickly, pair your headphones with your Bluetooth and NFC-enabled device.
When it matters: This makes pairing with an NFC-enabled device a lot easier than the typical and often tedious hold-to-pair procedure that most wireless headphones have.
Good value: Yes
:
No
PS4 Compatible
What it is: Bluetooth compatibility with the PlayStation 4.
When it matters: To connect your headphones wirelessly with your PS4.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
No
Xbox One Compatible
What it is: Bluetooth compatibility with the Xbox One.
When it matters: To connect your headphones wirelessly with your Xbox one.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
No

The JBL Live 650 BTNC headphones are Bluetooth compatible and can also be connected to two devices simultaneously, which is very convenient, especially at work where you can switch from your computer and phone easily. However, they don’t support NFC for quicker and easier pairing, but they do have a dedicated Bluetooth sync button.

9.1 Wired
What it is: The type and compatibility of audio cables for wired and wireless headphones.
When it matters: For all devices with a regular audio jack (line-out) and also compatibility of the in-line remote/boom microphone with consoles and Personal computers.
Score components:
  • 13% Analog
  • 9% USB
  • 26% PS4 Compatible
  • 26% Xbox One Compatible
  • 26% PC Compatible
Cable Tested : Not OS specific
Analog
What it is: A regular 1/8" TRS audio jack or a 1/4 or 1/16 TRS with a 1/8 TRS adapter.
When it matters: For all devices with a line out.
Good value: Yes
:
Yes
USB
What it is: A USB or USB adapter to connect to your devices for audio and microphone.
When it matters: A digital USB adapter usually offers a slight advantages over a regular audio jack, like a DAC, and amplifier module or software support and compatibility with PCs. However it may not be as compatible with consoles.
Good value: Yes
:
No
PS4 Compatible
What it is: PS4 compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your PS4 controller.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
Audio + Microphone
Xbox One Compatible
What it is: Xbox One compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your Xbox One controller.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
Audio + Microphone
PC Compatible
What it is: PC compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your PC.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
Audio + Microphone

The JBL Live 650 BTNC come with a standard 1/8” TRRS audio cable that has an in-line microphone as well. This means that they’ll support audio and microphone on pretty much every platform that has the appropriate jack, like gaming console controllers and PCs.

0 Base/Dock
What it is: The base station, dock or dongle transmitter of wireless headphones that receive data/audio via a proprietary frequency range.
When it matters: Knowing the inputs and outputs of the base/dock/dongle as well as its compatibility with consoles and Personal Computers. Also whether the base supports dock charging to easily recharge the headphones without any cables.
Score components:
  • 5% Optical Input
  • 22% Line In
  • 5% Line Out
  • 22% USB Input
  • 4% RCA Input
  • 9% PS4 Compatible
  • 9% Xbox One Compatible
  • 9% PC Compatible
  • 2% Power Supply
  • 13% Dock Charging
Wireless Type
What it is: The type of wireless connection used by the base station/dock to communicate with the headphones.
When it matters: For latency and range. For example Radio frequency has low latency but mediocre range when obstructed and proprietary docks have their own 2.x GHz or 5 GHz frequency which varies in performance.
:
N/A
Optical Input
What it is: Optical input for audio.
When it matters: Optical can carry a bit more data at faster speeds than typical wired connection which allows for more high quality, lossless audio.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
Line In
What it is: The regular wired input via a 1/8" TRS audio jack.
When it matters: For any device that has a line out for audio transmission.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
Line Out
What it is: A regular 1/8TRS audio jack output.
When it matters: If you need to share the audio source with other devices. A line out lets you connect other headphones or speakers to the dock/base station.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
USB Input
What it is: A digital USB input instead of a typical 1/8 TRS line-in.
When it matters: A USB connection can provide both an audio input and power to the Dock or Base station.
:
N/A
RCA Input
What it is: Audio input using via an RCA connectors.
When it matters: Provides better stereo audio to the dock/base that's then transmitted to the headphones.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with the PlayStation 4.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with the Xbox One.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
:
N/A
PC Compatible
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with your Personal Computer.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
Power Supply
What it is: The connector type of the power source.
When it matters: The accessibility of the power source. For example a power supply with USB/USB-C connects to multiple devices, PC , PS4, Xbox One or even with your regular phone charger whereas a A/C adapter is less common.
Good value: USB/USB-C
:
N/A
Dock Charging
What it is: Charging the headphones via the dock/base station instead of a charging cable.
When it matters: It makes charging your headphones easier and gives you a sport to store your headphones when they are not in use.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A

These headphones do not have a base or a dock.

9.9 Wireless Range
What it is: Headphones that offer a cable-free listening experience over a wireless network, typically via Bluetooth or radio frequency.
When it matters: If you don't want to be limited by the length of an audio cable. This means having the freedom to move around in your home or office with a much greater range than an audio cable could provide, especially, if the Bluetooth source is heavy or difficult to carry. Note that wireless range also depends on your Bluetooth sources' signal strength which may vary from device to device or depending on your phone model.
Score components:
Obstructed Range
What it is: The range that the wireless headphones can reach before dropping any audio when the Bluetooth source was placed in another room. We test our obstructed range with a Moto E4 Plus. Results may vary depending on your phone model or Bluetooth source.
When it matters: If you can't or prefer not to carry your Bluetooth source on you, while listening to your audio in an indoor environment. Although, the obstructed wireless range will slightly depend on your home or office layout. Note that wireless range also depends on your Bluetooth sources' signal strength which may vary from device to device or depending on your phone model.
Good value: >35ft
Noticeable difference: 5ft
:
67 ft
Line of Sight Range
What it is: The range that the wireless headphones can reach before dropping any audio when in direct line of sight of the Bluetooth device.
When it matters: If you can't or prefer not to carry your Bluetooth source on you, while listening to your audio in a large and open environment.
Good value: 170ft or more
Noticeable difference: 10ft
:
335 ft

The JBL Live 650 BTNC have exceptional wireless range. They maxed out our testing facility in our line of sight range test and had an excellent 67ft of range when the source was obstructed by walls. However, wireless range is dependent on your device’s signal strength and many other factors, so your results may differ.

3.0 Latency
What it is: How long it takes for audio to play through your headphones once the audio signal has been sent from a source.
When it matters: When gaming or watching movies. High latency means you will hear the audio much later than the images you see on screen.
Score components:
Default Latency
What it is: The Base RF latency or the default sub-band coding (SBC) of most Bluetooth headphones.
When it matters: When watching videos a high latency can cause sync issues between the images you see and the audio you hear.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 15ms
:
180 ms
aptX Latency
What it is: An audio coding algorithm (Codec) that improves bit rate efficiency. It reduces latency and improves sound quality over Bluetooth.
When it matters: For better sound quality if your often streaming music over Bluetooth. Also it slightly improves latency when watching videos with wireless headphones.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 15ms
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
What it is: Low latency variation of aptX that significantly reduces sync issues between video and sound when using Bluetooth headphones.
When it matters: When watching videos or gaming latency is a lot more noticeable than just listening to music.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 5ms
:
N/A

With 180ms of latency, the Live 650 BTNC perform slightly better than most Bluetooth headphones. However, some may still notice a delay when watching video content. On the upside, some devices and apps seem to offer some sort of compensation so you may not notice it as much.

In the box

JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless In the box Picture

  • JBL Live 650BTNC headphones
  • 1/8” TRRS audio cable
  • Micro-USB charging cable
  • Carrying pouch
  • Manuals

Compared to other Headphones

JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless Compare Picture

The JBL Live 650 BTNC are decent mixed usage over-ear headphones that set themselves apart by their amazing wireless range, and a good app with an amazing parametric EQ. They are headphones that perform decently well in all our tests, without necessarily excelling at anything. They are quite similar to some other JBL headphones and their ANC is a bit disappointing when comparing to other high-end noise cancelling headphones. See our recommendation for the best wireless over-ear headphones, the best over-ear noise cancelling headphones, and the best headphone brands.

JBL E65BTNC Wireless

The JBL Live 650BTNC and the JBL E65BTNC Wireless are very similar headphones. They have a similar build and overall look, but the 650BTNC are slightly better. The E65 feel slightly more tight on the head and their ANC is slightly better for commuting. However, the Live are compatible with the JBL Headphones app, which offers an amazing parametric EQ. They have more battery life than the E65, which is convenient. On the other hand, the E65BTNC are better for watching video content thanks to their low default Bluetooth latency.

Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC

The Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC are slightly better headphones thanks to their ANC feature, but they are slightly less comfortable and feel a bit cheaper than the JBL Live 650BTNC. They have a great app that offers a parametric EQ like the JBLs, and they block more ambient noise. However, they have a lackluster control scheme that is a bit hard to use.

JBL Everest 710 Wireless

The JBL Live 650BTNC will be more versatile than the JBL Everest 710 Wireless thanks to their ANC feature. However, the Everest model will be more comfortable for most and sound more neutral. They also have a unique music sharing feature that lets you sync any other Bluetooth headphones to listen at the same content. They also have amazing battery life, but aren’t compatible with the JBL Headphones app, meaning the Live 650BTNC will be more customizable with a great parametric EQ.

Skullcandy Venue Wireless

The JBL Live 650BTNC are slightly better mixed usage headphones than the Skullcandy Venue. They are more comfortable and feel better-built. They also have a better sound quality and have a great EQ that lets you customize the sound profile to your liking. Both ANC features are fairly disappointing, but the JBLs leak less so you’ll be able to listen at higher volumes.

Conclusion

7.0Mixed Usage
What it is: This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
Decent for mixed usage. The JBL Live 650 BTNC have an accurate sound profile with an overemphasized bass which will be better suited for bass-heavy genres. Also, their isolation performance is okay, and they can be used for commuting as well. While they are decently stable, they might not be the best option for sports since they get quite warm and their bulky design isn’t ideal for this use case. On the upside, they’ll be good for the office since they have a long battery life and block work environment noises. They are also comfortable to wear for a while. However, like most Bluetooth headphones, they won’t be great for watching TV and gaming because of their latency.
7.5Critical Listening
What it is: The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
Good for critical listening. The JBL Live 650 BTNC have a deep and powerful bass, a very well-balanced mid-range, and a great treble. Their bass is overly thumpy, but fans of bass-heavy genres may prefer this. Also, their treble is a bit uneven and may lack a bit of detail on S and T sounds. Overall, these headphones will be better suited for bass-heavy music, but you can easily EQ them inside their app.
7.0Commute/Travel
What it is: How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
Score components:
Decent for commuting and traveling. Their isolation performance is okay and they will block a bit of the low-end rumble of bus and plane engines. However, they aren’t the most portable headphones, but you can easily carry them around your neck since their cups rotate. On the upside, they have a good battery life that will be more than enough for your longest rides and flights.
7.1Sports/Fitness
What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
Score components:
Acceptable for sports. These headphones are decently stable for sports, but might not be ideal for this use case due to their over-ear design. They are quite bulky and trap heat inside the ear cup, which should make you sweat more than usual while being active. Their bass-heavy sound profile can be good to keep you pumped during your workouts.
7.2Office
What it is: How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:
Decent for the office. The JBL Live 650 BTNC are comfortable to wear for a while and their battery life will last you more than a normal workday without a problem. They also don’t leak too much so you shouldn’t disturb surrounding colleagues. They support multi-device pairing, which is useful if you often leave your work computer but still want to play music on your phone.
6.1TV
Score components:
Mediocre for TV. While their sound is good and they are comfortable to wear for a while, they won’t be good for this use case. They do have lower latency than most Bluetooth headphones, but the delay might still be noticeable for some. You can use them passively with the included audio cable to get rid of the delay, but you might need an audio cable extension if you want to watch from your couch. They’ll be good for watching video content on your phone or tablet when wired.
5.7Gaming
Score components:
Sub-par for gaming. The JBL Live 650 BTNC headphones won’t be suitable for this use case because of their latency and poor microphone for gaming. On the upside, if you don’t need a mic and are playing on mobile or plugging your headphones directly into your console controller, they have good sound and are comfortable to wear during gaming sessions.

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