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In general, Im a really big fan of JBL’s portable speaker line up…but when it comes to their headphones, thats a different story. You could have the best sounding headphones, with the best active noise cancelation, and the best battery life ever, but if they don’t fit well… none of that matters. And thats pretty much the biggest issue I have with the JBL E65BTNC’s.
And poor fit isn’t just an issue thats exclusive to the E65BTNC, even JBL’s more expensive headphones like the Everest Elite 750NC’s suffer from poor fit as well… but not as bad as the E65’s. The E65BTNC’s retail for $200 but im going to have some better fitting options linked down, namely the Sony WH-CH700N and the Sennheiser 4.50BTNC’s. if you use those links it really helps out the channel. And also checkout the new perch shelf down below.
the JBL E65’s come included with a 2.5 to 3.5 millimeter audio cable, a micro USB cable for charging and a pretty rugged carrying pouch. And over all the build quality of these headphones is pretty decent. youve got a cool textured design on the plastic body panels, the headband is covered in a fabric mesh which I personally like cause it dosnt get gel stains like other headphones that have leather underneath their headband, and the faux leather used on the ear cups feels pretty good. The padding is too soft for my liking, but its still pretty good. These headphones can be laid down flat or fold up, and the hinge that allows this is pretty well made. Like I said, build quality on these headphones is pretty decent.
But when it comes to fit, thats a different story. I know im biased here cause I do have a big head, but these headphones have a considerable amount of clamping force and the ear cups don’t apply even amounts of pressure around your ear… instead they place the majority of the pressure on the anterior portion of your ear. And this is both uncomfortable and annoying. And the reason these headphones do that is because of their hinge. The ear cups on these headphones swivel more than enough, but they don’t have as much range of motion when it comes to pivoting. And other headphones that use a similar hinge design like the best studio 3 or the Sennheiser HD1 might not sit as comfortably as headphones that have a fork design like the Sennies 4.50BTNC or the Sony 700N’s. Headphones that have a fork design like this almost always fit very comfortably on your head as long as they don’t have too much clamping force.
When it comes to battery life, the JBL E65BTNC’s are below average compared to other $200 ANC headphones. These headphones have a claimed battery life of 24 hours but thats with ANC turned off. With ANC turned on these headphones only managed to get 14 hours of playback time. But their bluetooth connection is pretty stable, and since they have very little latency these headphones are decent for watching videos.
The active noise cancelation on the E65’s also does a pretty descent job of blocking out a good amount of low frequency sounds like road noise and a good amount of chatter. Objectively, these headphones block out more noise than the Sennheisers and Sonys. And so you can see first hand we’re going to jump into an ANC test.
But even though the E65’s are able to block out the most ambient noise here… they have a considerable amount of cabin pressure. So much in fact that I can only wear these headphones for 30 minute intervals and sometimes they just give me headaches. But I know that might not be the case for some people.
When it comes to sound quality, my biggest issue with these headphones is lack of clarity. I can’t help but feeling that these headphones sound a little fuzzy and when you crank the volume up higher everything still sounds a little distorted. The sound stage is also a little narrow, instrument separation is a little weak, and these headphones do tend to sound a little shallow. The Bass on these headphones is little weak as well, and since these headphones don’t connect to JBL’s headphones app you cant directly change their EQ settings.
Now lets talk about those control buttons, their layout is perfectly fine. They’re easy to find and they’re easy to tell apart from one another. But what I don’t like about them is that you have to press and hold the volume up or the volume down buttons for a few seconds to skip or go back track. This just takes too long compared to most other headphones out there. Instead I would like if we could just double press or triple press the center button to skip or go back a track. But instead on these headphones if you double press the center button you activate your voice assistant. And this is pretty annoying cause since im so used to double pressing the center to skip a track I end up activating Siri by accident.
So over all I have to give the JBL E65BTNC’s credit where credit is due. Their build quality is decent, and their active noise cancelation blocks out a considerable amount of ambient noise. But since these headphones just don’t sit well on your head and combined with that fact that the ANC on these headphones have a lot of cabin pressure these head phones are just very uncomfortable to wear. And when choosing headphones, comfort is the most important thing to take into consideration. But since the battery life on these headphones is below average compared to other headphones on the market, and since their audio quality lacks clarity… I just cant recommend these headphones.