JBL Tune 500 Wired On-Ear Headphones Review

JBL Tune 500 Wired On-Ear Headphones Review

JBL is known for offering good sound for cheap. And in terms of build quality, few other brands can compete at the same prices. So, what about this affordable little model, the Tune 500? At just under 30 bucks, what can we expect in terms of sound quality and design? I’m guessing it’s nothing earth-shattering. But let’s explore these cans a little further in this JBL Tune 500 Wired On-Ear Headphones Review.

JBL Tune 500 Wired On-Ear Headphones Review


You can expect a no frills design with this on-ear model. The earpads are made from a thin leather-like material, and you’ll get some cushioning on the headband as well. But the Tune 500 sits quite firm against the ears, and those with big noggins may start to feel some pressure after long periods of wear. That being said, the snug fit means that the sound isolation is very effective. And in this respect, it probably beats some of the cheaper noise-cancelling headphones out there.

JBL Tune 500 Wired On-Ear Headphones photo of earpads

JBL Tune 500 Wired padded headband


As mentioned above, the JBL Tune 500 sports somewhat of a spartan design. But it works. The plastic build is very light, and the flat, tangle-resistant cable has a simple mic and 1-button remote. The button allows you to play/pause, skip tracks, answer calls and activate your voice assistant.

JBL Tune 500 Wired: universal one-button mic and remote

The terminations look reasonably well-insulated. And the right-angled plug is useful for kids with pockets or clumsy fingers.

JBL Tune 500 Wired: right-angle 3.5mm plug

The small, foldable design of these on-ear cans also makes them very portable. And given the price, you shouldn’t feel too bad about throwing them in your backpack without a case.

JBL Tune 500 foldable design

JBL Tune 500 swivels flat and folds

Even those who listen at dangerously loud levels should get enough volume from the Tune 500. Careful kids! And the frequency range is a standard 20-20,000 Hz. But let’s see how that translates into sound below.



You’ll hear a very forward leaning bass that takes center stage in the sound signature. The bass gives ample oomph to pop tracks, while hip-hop fans will enjoy the heart-pounding subbiness that the Tune 500 produces as well. So, those who appreciate a massive sound will dig these headphones. At the same time, you can’t expect to much in terms of clean detail in this range. In fact, you’ll hear a little cloudiness on certain tracks. And I would say that the Tune 500 is less than ideal for genres involving acoustic instruments, like classical or jazz. But hey, for a $30 headphone, I can’t complain.


I love the balance in this range because the low-mids are given plenty of love; rock and pop-rock tracks sound warm and fleshy, while vocals avoid harshness by sitting nicely within the mix. So, this is a very easy-listening headphone. However, those expecting clean separation and transparency may want to keep looking. Guitar strums were muddy at times, and classical string instruments lacked texture and nuance. Indeed, this is a headphone designed for modern genres.


Again, listening to violins in the high frequencies, there was more smoothness than detail. But at the same time, this roundness was pleasing to the ear. Unfortunately, this slightly blunted character doesn’t give much crispness or sparkle to percussion instruments. And pop fans might be hungry for a little more snap in this range, as these cans fall on the darker side of the spectrum. But the good new is that folks with extra sensitivity to high frequencies will find the sound signature forgiving on the ears.


You’ll get a decently spacious soundstage from Tune 500 for the price. Just don’t expect too much dimension. Instrument placement felt less than precise, and gradations in width and depth were sometimes difficult to discern. But again, $30, people. I feel ridiculous for even making judgements about soundstage on these poor ladies.


If you’re on a budget, and you’re a sucker for some powerful bass, the JBL Tune 500 is a great option for the price. It may not be the most versatile choice in terms of genre, but if you mainly listen to modern styles of music, you should be satisfied. Given the bare bones design, I wouldn’t expect these cans to outlive your hamster. But it certainly gets the job done.

You can find these headphones for the best price here:

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6 thoughts on “JBL Tune 500 Wired On-Ear Headphones Review

  1. I hate them. I threw them away 10 minutes after using them the first time. If you like to throw money away, go ahead.

  2. I bought these on a pre Christmas special. They are basically what you would expect from an inexpensive headphone.. I would concur that the Bass overwhelms a little but not so much as to ruin the rest of the range. It’s acceptable for what they are for pop and hip hop. No, they are not for the serious listener of Jazz or Classical. They are comfortable enough for extended listening. The trouble is that the quality isn’t that great and I can see them breaking with rough handling.

  3. So, after a few months of use I can concur with the reviewer. The JBL 500M are nothing special. A cheap pair of on ear headphones with a creaky plasticky feel and are better off for casual listening to streaming content. I did however spend some time listening to Apple music through them on an iPad and as long as you stick to pop, Country and Rock these are fine. Anything more critical you will start to hear why they are cheap. They cover the spectrum nicely even if it has some peaks and valleys. Actually, comfort is my biggest complaint as I wear glasses and they can cause some pain after an hour or so.

  4. Bought these for $19.99 at TJ Maxx in pink for my 4 year old and in black for my 17 year old daughters for flight travel and tablet use worth every cent especially compared to novelty garbage ie: skull candy and the likes at higher prices and when I gave them a try I was impressed definitely not my Bose sound quality I love but for a twenty spot rock on JBL decently durable and pumped clean and clear at high volume…sound snobs or people who are rough on things may not be your ticket but my kids love them quick fold toss in the back packs and roll! two thumbs up in price range and quality

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