In real life, the JBL Tour One looks cooler than in the pictures. The harmonious outline is emphasized by a silky finish, which is reminiscent of the film which is pasted on expensive cars. However, the dignity of the best wireless noise cancelling headphones is not limited to appearance – it is not for nothing that they were awarded the innovation prize at CES 2021. So let’s go ahead with this JBL Tour One review and see what it is like in these wireless over-ear Headphones that it got this award.
In terms of functionality, the JBL Tour One flagship is pretty much in line with the situation. Noise cancellation here isn’t simple, but adaptive—it adjusts to position automatically, without user intervention. The principle of the system is not disclosed, but it works – this is the main thing. There are also ways to listen to the environment and conversations without removing the headphones, they are switched on with a special button.
Thanks to Google Fast Pair, pairing with your smartphone is instant. Pausing playback when taking the headphones off the head also works. You return to the place, and the music starts again. The quality of the connection with the sound source is impeccable – you have to try to create an interruption. Four microphones ensure excellent speech legibility during phone calls. The sound is like an expensive smartphone.
The manufacturer has not forgotten about the wired connection, and it works both with ANC (Active Noise Cancelling) and in passive mode – this will come in handy if the battery is dead and there is no way to refill the charge. That doesn’t happen often though: even with ANC on, the claimed battery life reaches 25 hours. During our JBL Tour One review, it turned out to be a little over 23 hours, but we listened to music with the AAC codec and at higher volumes. If you turn off sound cancelling, the model lasts for more than two days. Nevertheless, the ability to do without recharging warms the soul. Still, its ability to do that without recharging satisfies our soul.
It’s also true that in passive mode, the headphones play a bit dry, not as interesting and rich as in ANC mode. But it is still qualified, so the drivers in them are of high quality. And now, let’s talk about what is not here. They did not bring Bluetooth multipoint – this function came into fashion relatively recently, although it appeared in Bluetooth v4.0. Practically no one was interested in it last year, but this year it suddenly turned into a big demand, however, among a small number of users.
Over the ear wireless headphones controls are hybrid: frequently used functions such as power on, volume, and ANC controls are toggled with buttons. They vary in size and shape and are therefore easily recognizable by touch. There is also a touch panel on the right body – its action with a long touch can be programmed through the JBL Headphones mobile application. It can be calling any voice assistant, switching ANC, or activating talk through (similar to “transparency” mode, only with music volume down).
You can toggle noise reduction on and off with the buttons on the left case, so it’s logical to bring a voice assistant or talk through mode calls to the touch panel. You can assign the voice assistant’s call to the left button, and give the sensor an ANC switch. The action of just a small touch cannot be changed: it is always to pause and resume playback or to answer and end a phone call.
Of course, the app allows you to update the firmware. It has a 10-band graphic equalizer with presets, as well as three modes in the Smart Audio and Video section: Normal for a stable connection in congested air, Audio for the best sound quality, and Video (less latency to synchronize picture and sound). The app also contains a quick reference guide with animated control tips.
Finally, there is a very useful function that has not yet been seen in other headphones – “Alarm”. It allows you to program the time after which it is necessary to turn off music playback and activate noise reduction, as well as after what time it is necessary to wake up the owner. An irreplaceable thing while traveling.
Previously, the lack of advanced codecs (aptX, aptX HD, LDAC) was considered a disadvantage, but lately, headphones have become increasingly common and work fine with AAC alone. And the JBL Tour One is no exception. Never felt that they were missing anything during our JBL Tour One review. As per the description, the wireless over ear headphones is said to feature the sound of the JBL Pro, but we couldn’t find any reference to the JBL Pure Bass. The JBL Tour One listening experience is actually a little different from the JBL Tune 760NC.
If the user is accustomed to the V-shaped feature, at first he will miss the bottom. In fact, there are as many of them as there should be because the headphones do not reproduce what was not recorded. Bass is dense, loud, textured, but they don’t hit the head.
High tones are devoid of aggression but transparent and detailed. When the percussion starts, you’ll hear it – it’ll have both brilliance and a sense of celebration. The xylophone sound is clean and fresh, the drums and cymbals are not jumbled and full of dignity. But the voices of both men and women cause a special pleasure. It feels like you’re sitting in the front row of a concert and asking the artist for an autograph without getting up from your chair.
If you switch from these best wireless noise cancelling headphones to some decent wired ones, the difference in sound is noticeable, though not shocking. The desire to live with strings forever does not arise – it is still more convenient without a cord. The sound is different, but according to subjective sensations, it is certainly not worse. It’s nothing surprising. It’s just that JBL Tour One communicates very well the middle part of the range, which is most important for perception, containing most of the musical information.
The flat and perfect mids and lack of rising at the sides allow you to increase the volume and end up with a wide step, almost like a full-size model with larger cups. All this is a merit of high-quality drivers and electronics, as well as competent sound settings.
JBL Tour One specifications
- Type: wireless over-ear covering
- Weight: 268 g
- Wireless interface: Bluetooth 5.0, SBC codecs, AAC
- Google Fast Pair: Yes
- Control: Buttons and Sensor
- Noise Cancelling: True Adaptive
- Transparency mode: Adaptive Ambient, TalkThru
- Battery life: 25 h (ANC ON) / 50 h (ANC OFF)
- Drivers: Dynamic 40mm, Pure Bass
- Wired connection: Yes
It was not possible to find flaws in JBL Tour One which could have become a serious argument against the purchase. The best wireless noise cancelling headphones definitely deserves attention. They are attractive in appearance, use effective noise cancellation, have a stable Bluetooth connection, and provide excellent speech legibility. They can work all day with or without noise reduction. Finally, they are very comfortable in terms of fit and character, so you can listen to them tirelessly, enjoying the expressiveness and fidelity of the music.
Priced at $149.95 on the Bhphotovideo.com and Newegg.com websites, the JBL Tour One is an impressive pair of wireless over-ear headphones when it comes to design, comfort, and sound quality. Going up against the excellent Sony WH-XB910N or Bose QuietComfort 45 and other competition from Sennheiser and Skullcandy, the JBL Tour One is a refreshing option that’s worth considering if you’re shopping for the best wireless noise cancelling headphones under $150. So how did you like this JBL Tour One review? Do let us know in the comment section below.