JBL Live 650BTNC Review – JBL’s Budget Noise-Canceling Headphones

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With so many high-performing, impressive headphones with powerful noise cancelling that gather attention, it feels like it is almost impossible to find a quality ANC headset that doesn't require breaking into a bank vault. If you set aside all these prodigious expensive headphones, you'll spot the JBL Live 650BTNC headphones, a fantastic budget-friendly model.

The American company JBL decided to offer a better variant of the JBL E65BT Noise-Canceling headphones. The headset is sold for under $200, and inside the scope of delivery is included: a pair of JBL Live 650BTNC, charging cable, carrying case, AUX cable, and documentation.

It becomes appallingly painful for a Bose 700 user to see that 650 BTNC Live is capable of charging while playing music. For us, in this case, it is a very positive aspect.

JBL Live 650 BTNC Noise Cancelling Headphones Review

JBL Live 650BTNC Review

Type: Closed-back Over-ear Noise Canceling Headphones | Bluetooth: 4.2 | Bluetooth Profiles: SBC, HFP v1.6,A2DP V1.3, AVRCP V1.5 | Latency: 180 ms (average) |Battery: 30 Hours (20 Hours with ANC) | Charging Time: 2 Hours | Quick-Charge: 2 Hours in 15 mins | Drivers: Dynamic | Drivers Size: 40 mm | Weight: 249g | Microphones: Integrated | Frequency Response: 20 – 20000 Hz



The over-ears don’t impress much in terms of design. The headset is stylish and comfortable. It is clean-cut, mildly interesting, but nothing spectacular. It doesn’t compare to models from Bowers & Wilkins, Bang & Olufsen, AH-GC25NC from Denon ($100 more expensive than Live 650 BTNC), or Ultrasone Go, the $150 on-ear Bluetooth headphones.

In terms of looks, they highly incline toward the youth generation, especially since the Bluetooth headphones masters the lower end of the sonic spectrum, portraying powerful, imposing, and energetic basses.

Overall 4/5

The JBL Live 650BTNC headphones come in a cardboard box in white and orange color. On the package, the manufacturer highlights the headphone’s wireless connectivity, noise reduction system, the use of the voice assistant, etc. Once the box is open, you come across the headphone protected in a plastic element. In addition to the Bluetooth headset, you get a power cable, warning card, safety sheet, and a quick start guide. Delivered with a carrying case, a 3.5 mm mini-jack cable, and a charging cable, the JBL Live 650BT NC Bluetooth headphones are the perfect companion for a smartphone, a tablet, or an audiophile player, Bluetooth compatible or not.

JBL is known to offer several color choices on its products. The brand is no exception to this rule with the 650BTNC. It is available in black, dark blue and white. The JBL Live 650BT NC wireless headset adopts a collapsible structure to use the carrying case, which allows it to be stored when not in use; this saves space and transportability

Overall 5/5

JBL has always made products that breathe quality while having a design in the era of time. And the JBL Live 650BTNC is no exception, with an exterior appearance to match its overall performance. JBL used good quality materials for its construction. The different materials (metal, fabric, leatherette, plastic) used to design the JBL Live 650BTNC are good. The finishes are not as good as on the high-end headphones from Sony or Bose, but the whole is satisfactory.

The JBL Live 650BTNC is a pleasure to watch. The clean, no-frills design is broken only by the JBL logo outside the rounded earbuds. Soft leather upholstery adorns the inside of each ear and headband, making it easy to listen to your favorite tunes.

It rests on the head easily. Listening to music on hours in a row is attainable since the comfortable material in which the earpads and headband are made of provides sufficient comfort. The upholstery is of high-quality and feels very soft at touch.

Once on your head, the JBL 650BTNC is comfortable and relatively light – 260 grams on the scale. In case of prolonged wearing, several hours or more in a row, you can enjoy listening to music without feeling any discomfort. The JBL Live 650BTNC headphones benefits from a padded arch covered with fabric, and thick pads finished in polyurethane leather (PU leather), thus guaranteeing long listening sessions without becoming annoying. The contact is enjoyable (these headphones are over-ear; thus, the pads cover your ears).

On the outside of the ear cups, you can see the JBL logo. The people around you don’t need to ask you what the brand of your headphones is. All buttons are located on the right side of the headset. We find the basics: The volume control located under the ear cup, allowing you to adjust the sound level without using your smartphone or walkman, as well as the other functions power on/off and play/pause, followed by the controls responsible for activating or deactivate Bluetooth or active noise reduction (ANC button). The audio management is straightforward and allows you to change volume, switch between songs, accept/reject incoming calls, play/stop music, or connect the headphones to a source via 4.2 Bluetooth.

There’s also a jack port to use the JBL Live 650BTNC in wired mode when you are short of batteries. Meanwhile, the left side only houses the micro USB charging port.


The JBL Live 650BT NC headphones can easily stream music from a compatible smartphone, tablet, or computer thanks to its Bluetooth receiver. In terms of autonomy, JBL Live 650BTNC is optimal, offering up to 20 hours of playback in Bluetooth with ANC activated. With the wires plugged in, it lasts 10 hours more, up to 30 hours runtime. 20 Hours takes a while to consume, and it only takes 2 hours to charge entirely. And as quick as 15 minutes to refill 2 hours. Equipped with a 3.5mm mini-jack input, the JBL Live 650 Bluetooth NC headphones also compatible with wired sources, allowing you to use it with an audiophile player or a computer to use the headphones when the latter has no battery.

650BTNC headphones are equipped with a wireless Bluetooth 4.2 module; only the simplest SBC codec is supported. It would seem that this is not very good for headphones for $ 200. Of course, competitors like the Sony WH-1000xM3 are equipped with AptX and LDAC technologies to transmit Bluetooth tunes better. Again, this is to be expected in a wireless NC headset that costs almost half the price. Nonetheless, the headphones can connect via wire, so if you want to squeeze out 100% of what you can get, plug them into a great amplifier.

Although it has no aptX compatibility, the headset maintains a stable connection over the duration and can even play movies without delay between sound and image.

The presence of a multipoint feature greatly enhances the value of JBL Live 650BTNC, but also practicability. It allows the the user to connect the headset with multiple devices by remembering the Bluetooth connections. You can, for example, watch YouTube videos on a laptop and have your phone connected at the same time for incoming phone calls. Furthermore, JBL provides a mobile application My JBL Headphones (available on iOS and Android), which includes some handy features such as battery indicator and an audio equalizer.


Besides the intuitive app, a set of built-in hands-free microphones provide several functions: voice capture, Ambient Aware, and Talkthru technology. Communication is straightforward, and the recording is mildly intelligible. The Ambient Aware technology is similar to Jabra’s HearThrough, which allows you to be aware of your surroundings by serving the sounds recorded by microphones. While Talkthru lets you hear your voice while speaking.

In addition to the very good passive isolation offered by its closed structure and padded ear cushions, the JBL Live 650BT NC wireless headphones have an active noise reduction function. The active noise reduction of JBL Live 650BTNC is particularly useful at this price. Aside from the low-end and the upper-end frequencies, the noises are properly reduced. Thanks to two microphones located on the headphones that capture ambient noises, the ANC processor reduces these noises. This function is an ideal solution for getting rid of surrounding noise and immersing yourself fully in the music, which is especially useful when you are on public transport, on an airplane, or in a room with other people.

The Active Noise Reduction does not offer the same effect as Sony and Bose models. But, JBL Live 650BTNC significantly reduces external sounds and public transport noises, making your listening experience much more pleasant.

For those who travel quite often, the noise suppression function is necessary. But if you listen to music most of the time at home or in the office and travel only a few times a year, the Live 650BTNC is a more than adequate choice. The noise-canceling headphones work very well with ventilation and air conditioning sounds, reducing annoying background noise inside buildings to almost inaudible levels.

Surprisingly, these headphones are more pleasant to listen to music with “noise canceling .”With ANC turned on, everything we expect to hear is where it should be. The noise cancellation gives tremendous clarity to the overall soundstage, making everything you listen sound as if it exists in a more open musical space. Therefore, making the 650BTNC a fantastic audio device for use in the office, where nothing distracts you except your music.

When it comes to customization, the My JBL Headphones application, available for free and compatible with iOS and Android, allows you to personalize your listening experience by adjusting the headphones’ sound settings. Besides, the JBL Live 650BTNC headset features Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice assistants, so you can control your music and answer phone calls without having to take your smartphone or tablet out of your pocket. Just tap the headset and ask the voice assistant to play a song, listen to a radio station, or give the weather forecast.


The JBL Live 650BTNC Bluetooth headset features 40mm dynamic transducers and displays a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz and a sensitivity of 100dB at 1kHz / 1mW. With an impedance of 32 ohms, the JBL Live 650BT NC over-ear headphones are an ideal solution to enjoy your favorite tunes wherever you go, with a smartphone or an audiophile player. These headphones deliver a spacious soundstage with clear highs, detailed mids, and toned bass.

The Live 650BTNC succeeds because of its bass range, pleasant and dynamic sounds even for demanding bass lovers who enjoy a marked, conspicuous, lower range. Bassheads will find this model appealing. Fortunately, even with powerful, deep basses, the audio spectrum is just mildly affected, the upper end of the bass range retains a well-controlled frequency response. The vocals in the distance are still audible and discernable. Trebles are also pleasant and don’t suffer from any spike.

The JBL Live 650BTNC is better equipped for contemporary electronic music such as dubstep, electro, pop than it is for classical music that involves various musical components and nuances. Its dynamics aren’t prepared for heavy-in-detail music like it is the case with Jazz, Baroque, Opera, and other classics.

In terms of sound quality, I have nothing to complain about. Warm lows meet with bright highs and small mids to provide musical clarity. I listened to various music on JBL Live 650BTNC. Perhaps the biggest compliment we can give to headphones is that they have no discernible effect on the music we love. One music style in which Live 650BTNC suffers a bit is in classical music, where we would have liked a more precise musical definition.

The audio quality of the JBL 650BTNC is not on par with high-end headphones. It’s not as detailed and precise, but the rendering is dynamic and punchy. The bass is strong and well defined. The sound is clear, no matter what kind of music you are listening to. Most of the users will be satisfied. If you are the type who likes boosted bass, you can use the equalizer preset “Bass.”

If you’re committed to heavy bass synthetic music and want to buy a pair of high-quality over-ear headphones with active noise reduction under $200 that are stylish, look modern and feel amazing on the head, JBL Live 650BTNC is the right companion for you.

Overall 4.6/5

Active noise-canceling headphones have long enjoyed well-deserved popularity. There are interesting models in all form factors, even among in-channel ones. However, the highest quality full-size options are usually quite expensive. In this regard, the JBL Live 650BTNC looks attractive due to its price.

In the end, for modern music listeners, JBL Live 650BTNC is a fantastic option that provides good comfort, quality basses, various built-in microphones that allow good communication, active noise canceling, and a few other handy features. The headset isn’t the cheapest around, and for the price, we would have expected aptX support for Hi-Rez audio playback via Bluetooth, JBL sadly failed to include.

It is doubtful that this JBL’s audio configuration would satisfy you if you don’t like bass or don’t listen to pop or electronic music. And for those looking after a pair of modern headphones with bass, it is hard to find a model with such characteristics on the consumer market, at least not without vast spendings.



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