When one thinks of listening to music for enjoyment’s sake, the first thing you think of are definitely not in-ears. Let alone true wireless in-ears. However, today I took a listen on the JBL Live Pro+ True Wireless IEMs, and I enjoyed it very much. From the countless features, to that classic JBL bass signature, I had a lot of fun with these, although at first I was very skeptical. I’ll explain that in a few.
To start, we’ll briefly go over the many features offered with these. Get ready, because the list is long.
- Adaptive noise cancelling with smart ambience
- Water Resistant
- Bluetooth v5.0
- 3-Mic technology for high voice clarity
- ANC On – 6 Hours of listening with 18 hours of charge – 24 Hours
- ANC Off – 7 Hours of listening with 21 Hours of charge – 28 Hours
- Wireless charging
- USB Type C charging cable
- My JBL Headphones App
- Five different tip sizes
- Charging case
11 mm Driver
Frequency Range – 20-20kHz
Impedance – 16 ohm
Finally. We’re onto the sound. I’d like to put out there that my sound profile of the JBL Live Pro+ IEMs will be shorter than usual. I will spend the rest of this explaining why.
I was impressed with the space the JBL Live Pro+ were able to provide the listener – more than the common set of in-ears. It made for a well and evenly represented song every time.
ANC On – Loses width and depth, but a more focused sound
Smart Ambience On – Slightly less width, maintains a decent amount of depth
Very bass-centric, subby, but it lacks focus at times. All around it makes a nice basis for the rest of the music, and when the bass is prevalent in a song, it’s pleasing to listen to, sounding full as ever.
ANC On – Lows lose their push in exchange for an even-subbier profile.
Smart Ambience – Very focused, in your face. At times had a brightness that was distracting.
Mids lack clarity, a little muffled but not to the point of irrelevance. Everything decently shows through, they just lack definition that would really push certain timbral aspects of the song.
ANC On – Loss of clarity
Smart Ambience – Became the prevalent frequency range, providing slight muddiness
Highs are not too clear on the Live Pro+’s, but they’re bright enough to make the range distinguishable. Still, just a little bit more brightness, a touch of clarity, would make vocals pop out of the headphones.
ANC On – They exchange their texture for brightness, which could be nice to some listeners, but I found it to be distracting, and that it took too much away from the music.
Smart Ambience – They lost their definition in exchange for brightness
WAIT… LET ME EXPLAIN
If you have reached this point, it means you just finished reading the sound profile for the JBL Live Pro+ True Wireless headphones.
Now I need you to disregard that sound profile. This is about to get real 21st century.
So, I mentioned that very long list of features earlier that come with the purchase of the JBL Live Pro+’s, a staple of all JBL products. In that list I mentioned the Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and Ambient Awareness features, which are accessible via the My JBL Headphones app. This app is essential for listening with these, so if you are as low-maintenance as they come, I’ll see you later. However, if you’re willing to give a little in order to get a LOT, then the JBL Live Pro+’s are perfect for you. I will reiterate that the overall sound profile of these headphones wasn’t all that satisfying off the bat. A bit flat-sounding. The app changed that completely. I’m talking night and day.
The first thing I jumped to was their EQ feature. I boosted some of the sub frequencies (because JBL), added a little mid to give it some definition. I boosted the highs as well to give the whole some shine, floored at the clarity.
Wow. I’ll admit that I was very skeptical of this feature, but I was dead wrong. Their parametric EQ is stunning. That is, for an EQ on your dang phone. The highs were suddenly crisp, the low grew a body that pumped like heaven, the mids had achieved peak definition, without sacrificing any clarity whatsoever. It dawned on me that this would be a review of an entirely new aspect of sound – customization. How can one review a pair of headphones that are capable of constant variation? In their place, I’ll review the EQ, which again, is essential to this experience.
Whatever was missing, was missing no longer. Every issue I had was an easy fix with the right boost or cut. The transparency of the EQ is worth noting – in the highs, I anticipated uncomfortable brightness, mids of milk, and lows with little accuracy. What I ended up getting was a signal relatively unaffected by running through the EQ itself – all I got from it is what I wanted to get from it, my personal EQ. No extra unwanted transients. One could argue that a pair of headphones that require an app to sound good, aren’t really good headphones. I’d give them the JBL Live Pro+’s, and then see what they think.
I could understand why one would steer away – the thought had crossed my own mind – but we are entering a new age. There was a time that people wanted to hear what they wanted to hear. To help with that, they made record players, cassette decks, CD players, the iPod. People were given the ability to listen to anything whenever they wanted. Nowadays, people want to hear what they want to hear, as well as HOW they want to hear it. JBL gave us the Live Pro+’s. They did a great job of giving people ability, and in a way that ends up sounding very nice. “We’ll give you the tools, you build it,” is what seems to be JBL’s mantra here. Yes, it is probably an engineer’s worst nightmare, giving the listener the metaphorical wheel of the car, but at the end of the day, and for the days to come, it’s user’s choice. If you end up choosing these, even if you’re hesitant, once these headphones literally mold to your preference, you won’t wish to take them out.
JBL Live Pro+ True Wireless IEMs available at Audio46