JBL Quantum 400 Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Reviewed Jul 23, 2020 at 09:57 am
JBL Quantum 400 Picture
5.4
Mixed Usage
6.3
Neutral Sound
4.8
Commute/Travel
5.2
Sports/Fitness
5.5
Office
5.3
Wireless Gaming
7.1
Wired Gaming
7.3
Phone Calls
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless No
Noise Cancelling No
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The JBL Quantum 400 are an okay pair of wired gaming headphones. They're similar in design and performance to the JBL Quantum 800 Wireless, but don't have the latter's wireless connectivity or active noise cancellation feature. They offer a wealth of customization options, with a dedicated companion app providing access to a Graphic EQ, microphone volume control, and RGB lighting customization. These headphones have a somewhat bass-heavy sound profile that should be pleasing if you like an extra bit of thump and kick in your favorite action games. Their microphone performs quite well overall, making your voice sound clear even in hectic environments. They also come with a 1/8" TRRS and USB-A to USB-C cable, ensuring full compatibility with all gaming systems. On the downside, they have a bulky design that's not especially portable and lack basic call and music controls.

Our Verdict

5.4 Mixed Usage

The JBL Quantum 400 are inadequate for mixed usage. They're intended to be used as dedicated gaming headphones, and their design reflects this. They aren't very portable, block little ambient noise, and don't have an especially well-balanced sound profile. Thankfully, that can be adjusted with a graphic EQ in their companion app. Thankfully, they have a very good microphone that's well suited for speaking to teammates, even in loud environments.

Pros
  • Companion software offers a graphic EQ and audio presets.
  • Lightweight construction.
Cons
  • Bulky, gamer-oriented design.
  • Significant variation in listening experience depending on fit.
  • Disappointing noise isolation performance.
  • No music/call controls.
6.3 Neutral Sound

The JBL Quantum 400 are passable for neutral sound. They have a bass-heavy sound profile that some may perceive as being boomy, very accurate mids, and veiled treble. They don't provide an especially consistent listening experience, with sounds across the audible spectrum being perceived very differently depending on their positioning. Thankfully, their sound profile can be adjusted via a graphic EQ or audio presets in the dedicated JBL Quantum Engine software.

Pros
  • Companion software offers a graphic EQ and audio presets.
  • Lightweight construction.
Cons
  • Significant variation in listening experience depending on fit.
4.8 Commute/Travel

The JBL Quantum 400 are a bad choice for traveling. They aren't very portable due to their bulky design, non-detachable microphone, and total absence of a carrying case. They don't block out ambient noise very effectively, especially in the lower bass range, which includes sounds like bus and plane engines. They also lack any music and call controls, so answering a call or skipping a track is a bit of hassle when you're on the go.

Pros
  • Companion software offers a graphic EQ and audio presets.
  • Lightweight construction.
Cons
  • Bulky, gamer-oriented design.
  • Disappointing noise isolation performance.
  • No music/call controls.
5.2 Sports/Fitness

The JBL Quantum 400 are poor for sports and fitness. While they don't weigh that much, they don't clamp your head very tightly and will fall off if you make any sharp head movements. They also lack any easily accessible call and music controls.

Pros
  • Companion software offers a graphic EQ and audio presets.
  • Lightweight construction.
Cons
  • No music/call controls.
  • Somewhat unstable fit.
5.5 Office

The JBL Quantum 400 are inadequate for office use. They're decently comfortable, with a lightweight construction that shouldn't be too tiring to wear throughout a day at the office, but they don't look especially premium or inconspicuous. They also don't block out much in the way of ambient noise and feature little controls.

Pros
  • Companion software offers a graphic EQ and audio presets.
  • Lightweight construction.
Cons
  • Bulky, gamer-oriented design.
  • Disappointing noise isolation performance.
5.3 Wireless Gaming

The JBL Quantum 400 are wired-only and can't be used wirelessly.

7.1 Wired Gaming

These headphones are a decent choice for wired gaming. They come with both a 1/8" TRRS and USB-A to USB-C cable, ensuring full audio and microphone compatibility regardless of what system you choose to game on. Their microphone also provides good overall performance, as it ensures your voice comes through clear and mostly absent of any background chatter.

Pros
  • Companion software offers a graphic EQ and audio presets.
  • Customizable RGB lighting.
  • Lightweight construction.
  • Microphone volume control and sidetone in dedicated app.
Cons
  • Significant variation in listening experience depending on fit.
7.3 Phone Calls

These headphones are decent for phone calls. While they lack any sort of on-board call controls, their boom microphone does a good job of making your voice come through clear, and mostly free of any ambient noise.

Pros
  • Companion software offers a graphic EQ and audio presets.
  • Good microphone performance.
  • Lightweight construction.
  • Microphone volume control and sidetone in dedicated app.
Cons
  • No music/call controls.
  • 5.4 Mixed Usage
  • 6.3 Neutral Sound
  • 4.8 Commute/Travel
  • 5.2 Sports/Fitness
  • 5.5 Office
  • 5.3 Wireless Gaming
  • 7.1 Wired Gaming
  • 7.3 Phone Calls

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

The JBL Quantum 400 have a distinctly gamer-oriented aesthetic. They look quite similar to the JBL Quantum 800 Wireless, with a customizable RGB lighting scheme when used with a USB connection and ear cups made of glossy plastic, which tends to show fingerprints. That said, their headband design is quite different, with a rubberized logo stamped into the top and audio cables discretely nestled on their inside surface. Overall, they aren't very discrete or casual and look like gaming headphones.

7.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.59 lbs
Clamping Force
1.0 lbs

The JBL Quantum 400 are fairly comfortable. They’re quite lightweight and lined with plush faux leather padding, so they shouldn’t be too fatiguing to wear even during long gaming sessions. They also don’t clamp your head very tightly, but they do offer a slightly more secure fit than the similar JBL Quantum 800 Wireless thanks to their revised headband design, so they shouldn’t fall off if you’re using them for their intended purpose.

5.9
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Decent
Feedback Decent
Call/Music Control No
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control Mute/Unmute
Channel Mixing
Yes
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls No

These headphones have a disappointingly confusing control scheme. They feature infinite scrolling wheels for volume and channel mixing that are quite close to one another and lack any sort of audio or physical feedback, making it quite easy to change a setting while reaching for another function. That said, their boom microphone can be flipped up to mute it, which is quite intuitive.

5.5
Design
Portability
L 8.0 "
W 6.5 "
H 3.4 "
Volume 177 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required No

The JBL Quantum 400 are similar to other gaming headphones in that they aren’t especially portable. While their ear cups do fold flat, they’re still quite bulky, don’t have a detachable boom microphone, and lack any sort of carrying case to protect them if you end up throwing them into your backpack.

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

The JBL Quantum 400 don't have a carrying case.

7.0
Design
Build Quality

The JBL Quantum 400 are mostly made of dense plastic that feels like it can endure a couple of drops and bumps without too much of an issue but doesn't look especially premium. Their headband and ear cups are lined with decently plush faux leather padding, while their hinges feel sturdier than the similar JBL Quantum 800 Wireless.

6.0
Design
Stability

Their stability is mediocre. They’ll fall off if you move your head too quickly, so they’re clearly not designed as an accessory for high-intensity workouts. If you intend to use them for their intended purpose as gaming headphones and don’t bob around too much, they shouldn’t shift around on your head.

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

  • JBL Quantum 400 headphones
  • USB-A to USB-C cable
  • 1/8” TRRS cable
  • Manuals

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
0.78 db
Treble Amount
-2.66 db

They have a somewhat bass-heavy sound profile that some may perceive as being boomy. Mid accuracy, however, is excellent, so in-game dialogue should be easily discernable, even over the heavy thumps of explosions and gunshots. Their very uneven treble might cause more frequencies to come across as alternatively piercing and veiled. Thankfully, you can customize your listening experience in the JBL Quantum Engine via a graphic EQ or with a selection of seven audio presets to better suit your tastes.

5.7
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
1.09 dB

Their frequency response consistency is disappointing. While mids tend to be delivered fairly consistently, sounds in the bass and treble range experience significant variation depending on the headphones' fit and positioning. If you wear glasses or have long hair, it might be tricky to achieve a consistent, repeatable listening experience.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
7.4
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.59 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
24.84 Hz
Low-Bass
1.25 dB
Mid-Bass
4.64 dB
High-Bass
3.7 dB

Bass accuracy is decent. Aside from a small dip at the very lowest frequencies, bass is overemphasized across the range, which might please gamers who prefer a little more thump and rumble in their favorite first-person shooters or adventure games, but this also creates a little bit of boominess. That said, their bass accuracy is heavily dependent on the headphones' fit and positioning, so your own listening experience could vary significantly, especially if you wear glasses or have long hair.

9.4
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
0.85 dB
Low-Mid
0.13 dB
Mid-Mid
0.89 dB
High-Mid
0.5 dB

The JBL Quantum 400 have remarkable mid accuracy. Sounds across the range follow our target curve almost exactly, ensuring clear and present dialogue, vocals, and lead instruments.

4.2
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
7.74 dB
Low-Treble
-4.56 dB
Mid-Treble
0.63 dB
High-Treble
-6.16 dB

The JBL Quantum 400’s treble accuracy is poor. It’s very uneven across the range, muting the finer edges of higher-pitched vocals and instruments while simultaneously causing sibilants to sound overly bright and piercing. With that said, treble accuracy is based heavily on headphone positioning and fit, so your own experience may vary significantly.

5.9
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
2.5 db
Dips
2.99 db

Their peaks and dips performance is sub-par. Some peaks in the bass range are responsible for the boominess heard in their sound profile. A much larger dip in the low-treble range veils higher-pitched vocals and instruments while the adjacent peak causes sibilants to sound piercing and overly bright.

8.1
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.37
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.46
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.03
Weighted Phase Mismatch
11.03

The JBL Quantum 400 have good imaging. Their weighted group delay falls well within acceptable limits, ensuring tight bass and transparent treble reproduction. While there's a slight bump above the audibility threshold in the low bass range, it shouldn't be too noticeable. The L/R drivers on our test unit are quite well-matched. The phase mismatch between the L/R drivers on our test unit is also quite low, which is good for object localization and immersion, especially when playing video games or listening to music in a quiet room. These results are only valid for our test unit, and yours may perform differently.

3.9
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
7.26 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
2.52 dB
PRTF Distance
6.28 dB
Openness
4.4
Acoustic Space Excitation
3.6

They have a poor passive soundstage, which is normal for closed-back headphones. Sound will be perceived as coming from the inside of your head rather than outside, resulting in a small-seeming listening experience.

2.0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
On/Off
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
Yes

They have JBL's Quantum Surround 7.1 and DTS X 2.0 virtual surround sound features. We currently don't test for these features, however, and the headphones score is based on whether or not they have them.

7.0
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.563
WHD @ 100
0.213

The JBL Quantum 400's weighted harmonic distortion is okay. There's a spike in the low-treble range at a moderate volume, but that shouldn't be too noticeable, and the rest of the range falls within acceptable limits.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
3.1.0.0
Power
USB
Connection
USB
Codec
PCM, 24-bit, 48kHz
EQ
Default
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
Boom

This is the configuration we used testing the JBL Quantum 400. Our results are only valid when using these settings.

Isolation
5.5
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-14.94 dB
Bass
-1.24 dB
Mid
-9.84 dB
Treble
-34.34 dB

The JBL Quantum 400 offer disappointing passive noise isolation performance. They block out very little in the bass range, which means you’ll hear quite a bit of rumble from bus and plane engines. In the mid range, which encompasses ambient speech, their performance is similarly disappointing. They do fare better in the high treble range, effectively blocking out high-pitched noises like AC units and sibilants.

6.9
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
40.25 dB

The JBL Quantum 400’s leakage performance is decent. Any audio leakage should be lost at the noise floor of a normal office.

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

The JBL Quantum 400 have a boom microphone that we tested while using the headphones' USB-A to USB-C cable.

8.0
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
88.51 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
4.12 dB
HFE
7346.09 Hz
Weighted THD
0.036
Gain
19.66 dB

The JBL Quantum 400's microphone recording quality is great. While your voice might sound a little thin, it's also clear, detailed, and full-bodied, so you should be easily understood by your teammates on the other end.

8.6
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise
Speech + Subway Noise
SpNR
37.03 dB

The JBL Quantum 400's microphone noise handling performance is excellent. They have a speech-to-noise ratio that's more than enough to make your voice come across as clear and distinguishable even at a loud gaming tournament.

Active Features
0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
No Battery
Continuous Battery Life
N/A
Additional Charges
N/A
Total Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
Passive Headphone
Charging Port None

The JBL Quantum 400 don't have any active features and don't need a battery.

7.5
Active Features
App Support
App Name JBL Quantum Engine
iOS No
Android No
macOS Yes
Windows Yes
Equalizer
Graphic + Presets
ANC Control
No
Mic Control Adjustable Level
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
Yes

The JBL Quantum 400 are compatible with JBL's Quantum Engine software. It provides users with a 10-band graphic EQ, seven audio presets, channel mixing, RGB lighting customization, and microphone volume adjustment and sidetone microphone monitoring.

Connectivity
0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
No Bluetooth
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
N/A
PC Latency (SBC)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
N/A
Android Latency
N/A

The JBL Quantum 400 aren't Bluetooth compatible.

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

The JBL Quantum 400 can't be used wirelessly. If you're looking for a similar option that can be used without an audio cable, consider the JBL Quantum 800 Wireless.

8.4
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
USB-C
Detachable Yes
Length 10.0 ft
Connection USB-C
Analog/USB Audio Latency
57 ms

These headphones come with a 1/8" TRRS cable as well as a 10 ft USB-A to USB-C cable, which is handy for PS4 and PC users who sit a long way from their device. Their USB audio latency is quite low, so even competitive gamers shouldn't notice a delay.

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

The JBL Quantum 400 offer full audio and microphone compatibility with PC and PS4 consoles, regardless of if you use their 1/8" TRRS cable or USB cable.

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

The JBL Quantum 400 offer full audio and microphone compatibility with Xbox One consoles when you plug the 1/8" TRRS cable into their controller. Unfortunately, you won't be able to use their USB cable with the Xbox One.

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

These headphones don't have a dock.

Compared to other headphones

Comparison picture

The JBL Quantum 400 are a decent pair of wired gaming headphones. They offer a wealth of customization options, with a dedicated companion app providing access to a Graphic EQ, microphone volume control, and RGB lighting customization. However, their build quality isn't as sturdy as rivals like the HyperX Cloud Alpha, while their bulky, gaming-oriented design provides less versatility than something along the lines of the SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless. If you're looking for gaming headsets, take a look at our recommendations for the best gaming headsets, the best gaming headsets under $100, the best PS4 gaming headsets, and the best Xbox One headsets.

HyperX Cloud Alpha

The HyperX Cloud Alpha are better wired gaming headphones than the JBL Quantum 400. The HyperX are much better built, offer a more comfortable fit, and have a better-balanced sound profile. Their microphone performance is fairly similar overall. Meanwhile, the JBL offer a more customizable listening experience overall, thanks to their feature-rich Quantum Engine companion software, and are slightly better at blocking out ambient noise.

Logitech G433 Gaming Headset

The Logitech G433 Gaming Headset are much more customizable headphones than the JBL Quantum 400. The Logitech's padding is a little plusher, they have an easier-to-use control scheme, and feature a similarly comprehensive dedicated companion app in the Logitech G HUB software, which offers the same range of configuration options as the JBL Quantum Engine software. However, the JBL have slightly better noise isolation performance, making them better suited for loud and hectic environments.

JBL Quantum 100

The JBL Quantum 400 are better wired gaming headphones than the JBL Quantum 100. The Quantum 400 offer a much sturdier build-quality as well as a broad array of configuration options in their companion JBL Quantum Engine software, not to mention USB audio compatibility. However, the Quantum 100 are much cheaper, have a boom microphone that makes your voice sound fuller, and deliver a broadly similar, only slightly less neutral listening experience.

HyperX Cloud Stinger

The HyperX Cloud Stinger are better wired gaming headphones than the JBL Quantum 400. The HyperX have a more balanced sound profile overall, a more comfortable fit, and a slightly better microphone. However, the JBL offer a bit of extra flair in the form of RGB lighting, not to mention a more customizable listening experience courtesy of their dedicated companion software.

SteelSeries Arctis 5 2019 Edition

The SteelSeries Arctis 5 2019 Edition are better wired gaming headphones than the JBL Quantum 400. The SteelSeries have a slightly more comfortable fit, a better-balanced sound profile overall, and an even comprehensive companion app in the SteelSeries Engine software, which expands on the options offered in the JBL Quantum Engine software. The JBL, however, block out slightly more ambient noise while their boom microphone does a better job of making your voice sound full-bodied and clear.

SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless

The SteelSeries Arctis 3 2019 Edition Wireless are better gaming headphones than the JBL Quantum 400. The SteelSeries have a more conservative design, far more comprehensive control scheme, and the option to be used wirelessly for listening to music while gaming on a wired connection. They also have a slightly more comfortable fit, while their microphone performance is marginally better. However, the JBL do have an advantage in the form of their dedicated Quantum Engine companion software, which provides a pretty comprehensive array of options.

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