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JBL Live 660NC Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Reviewed May 25, 2021 at 09:50 am
JBL Live 660NC Wireless Picture
7.2
Mixed Usage
7.3
Neutral Sound
7.4
Commute/Travel
7.3
Sports/Fitness
7.2
Office
5.8
Wireless Gaming
7.4
Wired Gaming
6.7
Phone Calls
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Yes
Noise Cancelling Yes
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The JBL Live 660NC Wireless are over-ear headphones with active noise cancelling (ANC). Out-of-the-box, they have a slightly bass-heavy sound profile, but if you prefer a different sound, their companion app offers a parametric EQ and presets to help you tweak their sound to your liking. However, while their ANC performance is decent overall, it struggles to block out the rumbles of bus or plane engines, and it performs very similarly to their passive noise isolation capabilities in the mid to treble range. They’re advertised to last around 40 hours with their ANC, but we measured just under 26 hours. That said, they offer a decently well-rounded and versatile performance and even have voice assistant support that you can activate using their app.

Our Verdict

7.2 Mixed Usage

The JBL Live 660NC are satisfactory for mixed use. They have an active noise cancelling (ANC) feature, and while it struggles to cut down the rumble of bus or plane engines, it does a much better job of blocking out office chatter. They have a decently comfortable fit, a long-lasting battery life to get you through the day, and don't leak too much audio. While they sound slightly bass-heavy out-of-the-box, their companion app has a parametric EQ and presets to make them more neutral. They're also stable enough for moderate physical activity but lack an IP rating for water resistance. We don't currently test for this, though.

Pros
  • Parametric EQ and presets available.
  • Stable and decently comfortable fit.
Cons
  • ANC struggles to cut down bass-range noise.
  • Poor passive soundstage.
7.3 Neutral Sound

The JBL Live 660NC are decent for neutral sound. Out-of-the-box, they have a slightly bass-heavy sound profile with a touch of extra thump and punch. That said, you can customize their sound using their companion app's parametric EQ or presets if you prefer a more neutral sound. However, their passive soundstage doesn't feel very immersive, and they're somewhat prone to inconsistent audio delivery. It's important to take time to ensure the correct fit each time you use them.

Pros
  • Parametric EQ and presets available.
Cons
  • Poor passive soundstage.
7.4 Commute/Travel

The JBL Live 660NC are decent for commute and travel. They're well-built, have a decently comfortable fit, and have a long-lasting battery life to help you make it through your journey without pausing to recharge them. Unfortunately, they have a somewhat bulky design, and their ANC struggles to cut down the rumble of bus or plane engines.

Pros
  • Stable and decently comfortable fit.
Cons
  • ANC struggles to cut down bass-range noise.
7.3 Sports/Fitness

The JBL Live 660NC are decent for neutral sound. They have a decently comfortable fit and are stable enough for moderate physical exercise without falling off your head. However, they lack an IP rating for water resistance, although we don't currently test for it, and they aren't very portable. They could also make you sweat a bit more as their ear cups can trap in some heat.

Pros
  • Stable and decently comfortable fit.
Cons
  • Can make your ears warm over time.
7.2 Office

The JBL Live 660NC are satisfactory for office use. These well-built headphones have a decently comfortable fit, and their under 26-hour battery life should easily last you through long days at work. Thanks to their ANC, they can also block out ambient chatter around you. Their ear cups can trap in some heat over time, though.

Pros
  • ANC can reduce mid to treble-range noise.
  • Stable and decently comfortable fit.
Cons
  • Poor passive soundstage.
  • Can make your ears warm over time.
5.8 Wireless Gaming

You can use the JBL 660NC with a Bluetooth-enabled PC, but their latency is likely too high for gaming. They aren't compatible with PS4, PS5, or Xbox consoles.

7.4 Wired Gaming

The JBL Live 660NC are decent for wired gaming. They come with a 1/8" TRS to TRRS cable, so you can only receive audio using this connection and can't use their mic. That said, they have a slightly bass-heavy sound profile, which can help bring out sound effects in gameplay, and they have a decently comfortable fit.

Pros
  • ANC can reduce mid to treble-range noise.
  • Stable and decently comfortable fit.
Cons
  • Can only receive audio with their TRS to TRRS cable.
  • Poor passive soundstage.
6.7 Phone Calls

The JBL Live 660NC are alright for phone calls. Their integrated mic does an alright job of recording your voice, but it sounds a bit thin and slightly muffled. The mic also struggles to separate your voice from ambient noise around you, so you may want to take calls from a quieter location to be heard more clearly. On the upside, they have a decent ANC to help cut down background sounds.

Pros
  • ANC can reduce mid to treble-range noise.
Cons
  • Sub-par noise handling.
  • 7.2 Mixed Usage
  • 7.3 Neutral Sound
  • 7.4 Commute/Travel
  • 7.3 Sports/Fitness
  • 7.2 Office
  • 5.8 Wireless Gaming
  • 7.4 Wired Gaming
  • 6.7 Phone Calls
  1. Updated May 25, 2021: Review published.
  2. Updated May 19, 2021: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

The JBL Live 660NC have a simple over-ear design that's very similar to the JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless. They have large plastic ear cups with the manufacturer's logo in the center. The headband, in contrast, has a mesh fabric coating, but it also has the manufacturer's logo on the top-facing side. They come in four colors to better suit your style: black, blue, white, and pink.

7.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.58 lbs
Clamping Force
0.9 lbs

The JBL Live 660NC are decently comfortable. They feel lightweight on your head, while the ear cups and headband are well-padded and comfy. However, you can start to feel them clamp on your head after long periods of use.

7.7
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Good
Feedback Good
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control On/Off
Talk-Through
On/Off
Additional Controls Voice Assistant

The JBL 660NC have good controls. They're located on both ear cups and are easy to use. The volume up and down buttons allow you to skip a track forward or backward by pressing and holding the respective buttons. The middle button lets you play or pause audio as well as answer or end calls. You can also decline calls by holding this button. You can touch the JBL logo on the left ear cup for two seconds to activate Google Assitant or Amazon Alexa voice assistant. If you use a different voice assistant, you can activate Siri or another voice assistant by holding the middle button for two seconds. You can also click the ANC button once to two this feature on, off, or activate 'Ambient Aware', which allows you to hear background sounds while still listening to audio. You can also press this button twice for talk-through, so you can chat with people without removing the headphones from your head.

Overall, the buttons are clicky and are easily distinguishable. They chime when powered on or pairing the headphones. There are also chimes for min or max volume.

6.6
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 5.5 ยฐC

The JBL Live 660NC have okay breathability. The ear cups trap in some heat, and their seal can block airflow. You may notice a temperature difference when wearing them during physical activity, which could make you sweat more.

6.1
Design
Portability
L 6.9"
W 6.7"
H 2"
Volume 93 inยณ
Transmitter Required No

The JBL Live 660NC have mediocre portability. The ear cups can swivel inwards to help reduce their footprint, making them easier to place in a bag. They also come with a soft drawstring pouch to help protect them when you're on the go.

5.5
Design
Case
Type Pouch
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A

The JBL Live 660NC come with a soft pouch that only protects the headphones from light scratches and dust. It also has a drawstring closure. The material doesn't seem water-resistant either, and the fabric won't guard your headphones against physical damage like falls.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

These headphones have a good build quality. They're made of plastic with faux leather padding. The headband is coated in a mesh fabric, and there's a metal plate inside it to help reinforce the frame. However, they lack an IP rating for dust or water resistance, although we don't currently test it.

7.5
Design
Stability

The JBL Live 660NC are stable headphones. Thanks to their clamping force, they should stay on your head during casual listening sessions as well as moderate physical activity. Since they have a wireless design, you also don't have to worry about something snagging the headphones off of your head.

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

  • JBL Live 660NC headphones
  • 1/8" TRS to TRRS audio cable
  • USB-C to USB-A charging cable
  • Carrying pouch
  • Manuals

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
1.86 dB
Treble Amount
-1.24 dB

These headphones have a slightly bass-heavy sound profile that delivers a touch of extra thump and punch to your mixes. They're still well-balanced enough for a variety of audio content, though. If you prefer a different sound, their companion app has a parametric EQ and presets, so you can customize their sound.

7.3
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.54 dB

The JBL Live 660NC have decent frequency response consistency. They're prone to inconsistent bass delivery, and you may especially notice a drop in bass if you have thick hair or glasses. There's also some deviation in the treble range. That said, if you take the time to adjust their fit and seal on your head, you should get a more consistent sound each time you use them.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
8.5
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.17 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
10 Hz
Low-Bass
2.16 dB
Mid-Bass
2.53 dB
High-Bass
-1.35 dB

The JBL Live 660NC's bass accuracy is excellent. There's an overemphasis in the low and mid-bass, which results in a touch of extra thump, rumble, and punch. However, the slight dip in the high-bass can weaken their boominess.

9.2
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.01 dB
Low-Mid
0.01 dB
Mid-Mid
-0.61 dB
High-Mid
-0.77 dB

The JBL Live 660NC have outstanding mid accuracy. The range is exceptionally well-balanced and flat, so vocals and lead instruments are clear, accurate, and detailed.

7.3
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.54 dB
Low-Treble
-1.86 dB
Mid-Treble
-1.45 dB
High-Treble
-4.81 dB

The JBL Live 660NC have decent treble accuracy. It's underemphasized across the range, which results in slightly veiled vocals and lead instruments. Sibilants like cymbals are also a bit dull.

7.6
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.59 dB
Dips
1.14 dB

The JBL Live 660NC's peaks and dips performance is good. There's a peak in the low to mid-bass, which adds extra thump and punch. A dip in the high-bass lessens the boom in your mix. Another peak between the mid to high-mid makes vocals and lead instruments a bit boxy and intense. The left and right drivers then diverge in the low-treble, so the dip in the left driver veils the upper harmonics of vocals and lead instruments while the right driver makes them sound harsh. The peak in the mid-treble makes sibilants like cymbals piercing.

8.1
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.79
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.34
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.35
Weighted Phase Mismatch
3.36

The imaging performance is great. The weighted group mostly falls under the audibility threshold, but small peaks indicate a slightly loose bass. The treble is fairly transparent. The left and right drivers are also well-matched in amplitude and frequency, which is important for the accurate placement and localization of objects (like voices or footsteps) in the stereo image. While there's some mismatch in frequency, it's fairly slight, although there may be holes in the stereo image. These results are only valid for our unit, though, and yours may perform differently.

3.8
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
4.03 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
3.37 dB
PRTF Distance
3.64 dB
Openness
2.8
Acoustic Space Excitation
2.7

The JBL 660NC have a poor passive soundstage. Their soundstage doesn't feel particularly large or natural. It also feels like sound is coming from inside your head, rather than coming from speakers placed around you. The soundstage also doesn't feel as open or spacious as that created by open-back headphones.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No
7.7
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.266
WHD @ 100
0.132

The JBL 660NC have a good weighted harmonic distortion performance. While there are a couple of peaks of normal listening volumes in the treble range, this can be hard to hear with real-life content. Most frequencies fall within good limits, which results in mostly clear and pure audio reproduction.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
v3.4.0
Power
On
Connection
Bluetooth 5.0
Codec
SBC, 16-bit, 48kHz
EQ
Off
ANC
On
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
Integrated

These are the settings used to test these headphones. Our results are only valid when using this configuration.

These headphones also have a smart audio mode which is advertised to improve your audio latency based on what you're doing. We tested our model using the 'Audio Mode', but we don't know how the other modes perform.

Isolation
7.2
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-18.56 dB
Bass
-10.28 dB
Mid
-17.78 dB
Treble
-28.32 dB

The JBL Live 660NC have a decent noise isolation performance. They have active noise cancelling (ANC), but it struggles to cut down bass-range noise like bus or plane engines. It does a better job of cutting down mid-range sounds like ambient chatter, as well as high-pitched noise like the hum of an AC unit. However, their ANC doesn't offer much better performance than their passive capabilities in this regard.

7.6
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
35.99 dB

The JBL Live 660NC's leakage performance is good. Most of the leakage is concentrated in the mid to treble range, which should sound mostly thin. If you're listening to audio at high volumes in a moderately noisy environment, the leakage shouldn't be too noticeable.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
6.8
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
364.41 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
2.68 dB
HFE
3,948.06 Hz
Weighted THD
0.128
Gain
1.61 dB

The JBL Live 660NC's microphone is alright. Your voice sounds thin and a bit muffled. However, you should have no problem being understood by whoever's on the other end of the line.

5.7
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise
Speech + Subway Noise
SpNR
8.22 dB

The microphone's noise handling performance is sub-par. It struggles to separate your voice from moderate noise, so you may need to take calls from a more quiet environment.

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

The JBL Live 660NC have a great battery performance. Although they're advertised to last around 40 hours with their ANC, we only measured just under 26 hours. That said, battery life can vary according to your usage, so your real-life results may vary. On the upside, they charge in under two hours and have an auto-off timer to help conserve battery life when not in use. You can also use them passively with their audio cable if you run out of battery life.

8.0
Active Features
App Support
App Name JBL Headphones
iOS Yes
Android Yes
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
Parametric + Presets
ANC Control
On/Off
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No

The JBL Live 660NC are compatible with the JBL Headphones app. They have a parametric EQ and presets so that you can customize their sound to your liking. You can also turn 'Ambient Sound' on or off and switch between ANC on, 'Ambient Aware', ANC off, and talk-through. You can turn auto-pause on or off, adjust the auto-off timer, see the battery life, and set up either Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa voice assistant.

There's a smart audio mode advertised to improve your audio latency based on what you're doing. There are three settings: 'Video Mode', 'Audio Mode', and 'Normal'. We tested our model using the 'Audio Mode', but we don't know how the other modes perform.

Connectivity
8.4
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
5.0
Multi-Device Pairing
2 Devices
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
335 ft
PC Latency (SBC)
211 ms
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
94 ms
Android Latency
121 ms

The JBL Live 660NC have great Bluetooth compatibility. They can connect with up to two devices at once, which is nice if you like to stay connected to your phone and laptop. They also support Google Fast Pair for seamless pairing with your Android device, although we don't currently test for this. They have low latency on Android and iOS, which is nice if you like to stream videos. However, their PC latency is much higher. That said, they also have a dedicated 'Video Mode', which can help reduce latency. They have 22 ms of latency on Android, 45 ms on iOS, and 177 ms on PC. However, some apps and devices compensate for latency differently, so your results may vary.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
9.5
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable Yes
Length 4.1 ft
Connection 1/8" TRRS
Analog/USB Audio Latency
0 ms

The JBL Live 660NC come with a 1/8" TRS to TRRS cable, which only transmits audio, so you can't use their mic. They also come with a USB-C to USB-A cable to charge the headphones.

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

You can connect these headphones to Bluetooth-enabled PCs with full compatibility. You can also use their 1/8" TRS to TRRS cable to connect them to PCs, as well as PS4 and PS5 consoles. However, you can only receive audio, and you can't use their mic.

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

You can plug the JBL Live 660NC into your Xbox One or Xbox Series X controller. However, you can only receive audio and can't use their mic.

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

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The JBL 660NC come in four color variants: 'Black', 'Blue', 'White', and 'Pink'. We tested the 'Black' variant, and you can see their label here. We expect all color variants to perform similarly to our model.

If you come across another variant, please let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Headphones

The JBL 660NC are over-ear headphones with an active noise cancelling (ANC) feature. Like the JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless, this feature offers decent overall performance, although it still struggles to block out bass range noise like bus or plane engine rumbles. They also have voice assistant support that you can set up using their companion app and are advertised to have Google Fast Pair, which lets you seamlessly pair with your Android device. However, we don't currently test for this.

Check out our recommendations for the best noise cancelling headphones, the best over-ear headphones, and the best wireless Bluetooth headphones.

JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless

The JBL Live 660NC Wireless are slightly better over-ear headphones than the JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless. The Live 660NC have a more neutral default sound profile, which some users may prefer, their ANC does a slightly better job of cutting down bass-range noise like bus or plane engine rumbles, and they have a better battery performance. However, the Live 650 BTNC are more comfortable and come with a 1/8" TRRS cable, so you can use the mic and receive audio when using the headphones wired.

JBL Live 460NC Wireless

The JBL Live 460NC Wireless and the JBL Live 660NC Wireless are very similarly performing headphones, and you may prefer either model. While both headphones are decently comfortable and well-built, the biggest difference is that the Live 460NC are on-ear headphones with more consistent audio delivery. In contrast, the Live 660NC are over-ear headphones with a somewhat better noise isolation performance and leak less audio.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018

The Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018 are better headphones than the JBL Live 660NC Wireless. The Bose are more comfortable, have a more neutral default sound profile, which some users may prefer, and their ANC does a significantly better job of cutting down noise around you. However, the JBL have a somewhat better battery performance, and their companion app has a parametric EQ and presets to adjust their sound.

Razer Opus Wireless

The Razer Opus Wireless are better over-ear headphones than the JBL Live 660NC Wireless. The Razer are more comfortable, better-built, and have a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box, which some users may prefer. They also have a better-performing ANC, which does an outstanding job of cutting down ambient noise around you. However, the JBL's companion app offers a parametric EQ, which some users may prefer, and you can pair them with up to two devices at a time.

Beats Solo Pro Wireless

The JBL Live 660NC Wireless are slightly better headphones than the Beats Solo Pro Wireless. The JBL are over-ear headphones that are more comfortable and have a better battery performance. Their companion app also offers a parametric EQ and presets so that you can tweak their sound, and you can pair them with up to two devices at a time. However, the Beats are on-ears that are better-built and have a better noise isolation performance. They also have an H1 chip so that you can seamlessly pair them with your Apple devices.

JBL Tour One Wireless

The JBL Live 660NC Wireless and the JBL Tour One Wireless are similarly performing over-ear headphones. The Tour One are more comfortable and have a better battery performance. However, the Live have a better noise isolation performance and can deliver audio more consistently.

JBL Quantum 800 Wireless

The JBL Live 660NC Wireless are better over-ear headphones than the JBL Quantum 800 Wireless. The 660NC are better-built, more stable, and have a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box, which some users may prefer. They also have a better battery performance, and their companion app offers a parametric EQ and presets. However, the Quantum 800 have a better performing ANC.

Skullcandy Crusher Evo Wireless

The JBL Live 660NC Wireless are slightly better headphones than the Skullcandy Crusher Evo Wireless. While both headphones are comfortable and well-built, the JBL have a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box and have a decent ANC, which can help block out some ambient noise around you. Their companion app also has a parametric EQ and presets so that you can adjust their sound. However, some users may prefer the Skullcandy's haptic bass slider.

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