Speed Review - JBL Quantum 50
Short, cheap and to the point.
Price - $49 AUD
Test time - 10hrs
Connectivity - Wired 3.5mm - All consoles, PC, Mobile.
JBL gifted me these at Christmas to help introduce the new Quantum range. They're a wired set of gaming in ears designed I would say for mobile (for those that have an AUX port left that is) and console. I did however test them on my desktop PC for benchmark consistency with other products. I ran them via both a Corsair ST100 Headphone stand with 7.1 virtual surround sound and through the standard headset port for raw unprocessed output.
They come with the stock standard S,M,L tips, a large mid cable control system (at the 'Y' join) and an in line mic about a halfway between bud and control. The bud itself is sporting an 8.6mm driver which is a decent size (for scale, both the EPOS GTW270 and Jabra Elite 75t's have 6mm drivers) and it shows with the casing have this UFO disc like outer casing. It's quite big.
I've given these about a 10 hour test run. But since they're $50 headphones, I wasn't going to spend a large amount time on them. I first ran them through the Corsair ST100 Headphone stand via its 7.1ch amplifier. This didn't provide the greatest accuracy during Rainbow 6 for positional audio. Turns out it was also dulling the sound a bit too. When I ran the Quantum 50s directly to my PC's sound card, they were far thumpier and cleaner. Still not as accurate as higher end phones like the EPOS GTW270s or Astros A50s, why would they be, they're headphones that cost a pineapple ($50 Australian dollars for those playing OS), but damn they did a good job at punching out gunfire, while keeping things reasonably well balanced across the rest of the audio spectrum. Music is given the same treatment here too. Nice and punchy, and still relatively clear.
The microphone however is pretty 'meh'. It's nothing fancy but its not like JBL were trying to compete much here. It's a simple pinhole in-line mic hanging just at mouth level. I ran a test with a friend and its good enough for call outs, but you're not going to be hosting important Zoom calls off this thing (unless you're desperate). What they did do well was the in-line remote control. It's large, functional and accessible with each function having its own solid amount of real estate. Rocking a large volume slider, a small mute up/down switch below the aforementioned slider, and a function/action button on the opposite side all by its lonesome for play/pause/answer etc.
Now, as for design, there's a few things here. Being a sealed ear unit, the cable seems to give off some 'feedback' if it rubs on anything while your playing. This isn't necessarily the fault of JBL as much as it is the nature of silicon tip sealed headphones. Yes, acoustically it deadens the outside, but its seems to amplify any movement on the cable. It transmits vibration straight through the cable into your ears. It's weird, but it's there. I'm shaking my head with them in as I type and the feedback of the movement is definitely present. I mean, this won't be an issue if you play relatively still, but if you're animated in your reaction to say first person shooter, you MIGHT get a little distracted.
Another one of my take-aways is the in ear comfort/pain I found. Even with small tips, it kicks in for me at around the 3 hour mark. During the two main test periods (Medium tips first. Small second) I played up to 3 hours before I just had to remove them to release the pain in my ear in both instances. Looking closely at the bud and driver port, they're not a perfect round, they're actually more like an oval shape with it being taller than it is wider, and it wouldn't surprise me if this is what causes the pressure pain in the inner ear canal. Also with a bit of the housing being carried outside the ear, the centre of gravity could be playing a part too. HOWEVER, everyone's ears are different and is simply my personal experience with fit.
Again, for $50, I would find these a good value gaming earphone. The audio is nice and above board for its dollars. The mic does what a cheaper scale set of headphones should be expected to do. The fit is, literally, my sore point. BUT everyone's ears are different and these should still be considered if you're looking for a simple and effective in ear console headphone on a budget.
Nathan is a Gamer, Collector and an Electronics Retail Lifer/Employee. He can't commit to a favourite game, but the Hitman Saga is up there and you'll find him on
twitch.tv/nateoriousfox casually playing Rainbow Six Siege. His dedicated hardware reviews and other critical thoughts can be found at technatelogic.com (coming soon).