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JBL, the overlooked heavy hitter of gaming audio.

Updated: Apr 22, 2021

Why is it that most gamers overlook JBL when buying a gaming headset? We know they make amazing sounding audio equipment; in fact, it's what they specialise in. So why is it that we tend to favour other familiar brands that ‘specialise’ in everything else except audio?



I have recently put the JBL Quantum One and the JBL Quantum 800 through their paces and I can tell you right now that I will never underestimate them again!


The JBL Quantum One is a fantastic piece of equipment, one that looks as good as it sounds and feels even better. It’s one that has more features than you know what to do with. The wired gaming headset comes complete with features such as Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), Talk Through (TT), 3D audio with head tracking and much more.


The Quantum 800 also includes ANC and TT, but also simultaneous connectivity, 7.1 surround sound and again much more that really solidifies the headset experience. Read on for why one of these headsets should be a real serious consideration when purchasing your next gaming headset.


Design


When it comes to the design, one doesn’t beat out the other - they look and feel identical with a fantastic look. Whilst being well aware that design is completely subjective to the purchaser but I can honestly say that I can’t imagine that there would be many people out there that these headsets don’t appeal to, especially when backed up with their features. All the impressive extras make most things more attractive to us. They’re classy, simply sleek and include just a hint of that futuristic/cyboygy look that gaming headsets seem to have to be these days. The biggest and most notable design differences between the two, is the fact that one is wired and one is wireless and one has a removable mic and the other doesn’t (more on those points and their effect over the headset later). Both feature some absolutely amazing RGB lighting, which is completely customisable in the PC software (JBL QuantumEngine). The build quality, while being solid, does feel a little plasticy but that's not to say this thing isn't well made. I've tested it’s durability on a number of occasions now and it has stood the test every single time.


Audio Quality


Again, both headsets are virtually the same in terms of audio quality. Both feature 7.1 surround sound, so the audio is rich, deep and not super overdone like a lot of headsets can be. They are both perfect for gaming; in particular FPS games. I’m talking about games like Call of Duty, both headsets amplify incredible sounding explosions, realistic sounding gunshots and pinpoint footsteps; that playing experience alone makes the JBL Quantum range of headsets the perfect addition to your arsenal. The one advantage that the Quantum One has over the Quantum 800, is the head tracking 3D audio. This 3D head tracking means that the pinpoint accuracy of the footsteps and movement is crazy precise and is sure to assist in your gaming experience.


What the Quantum 800 lacks in head tracking technology, it makes up for in pure freedom. The freedom to connect wirelessly to just about any device you can imagine. What really impressed me was that not only can you connect wirelessly, but the Quantum 800 allows you the option to connect to multiple devices simultaneously. This means you can be playing your Playstation 4, Playstation 5, PC or Laptop via the USB dongle and simultaneously connect to your mobile phone via bluetooth. During testing, I was able to be mid game on my platform of choice, then take a phone call, watch a YouTube tutorial and even chat to friends using discord all on my mobile phone - without having the trouble of disconnecting from my gaming platform and on to the phone. In fact you can play Call of Duty and take a phone call without ever missing a moment of the action. Other headphones allow you to use this feature also, but none do it quite as well as the Quantum 800. With some, the game audio drops out when mobile audio plays and others the microphone quality over bluetooth is just plain terrible and unusable. However, the Quantum 800 was exceptionally clear and the game sound continued in the background without missing a beat. The user even has complete control by making both the game audio and the chat audio adjustable via the 2 scrolling adjusters on the side of the left ear cup.


Microphone


The microphone on both headphones is absolutely fantastic and very close to being the best headset microphone we've ever tested. The Quantum One excels on PC and the Quantum 800 excels on both console and mobile devices. Both sound crystal clear for voices, but both could do with some adjustments in the external microphone noise cancellation department (especially considering how impressive their ANC is, as discussed below). Notable though, was that the Quantum 800 had me receiving compliments from my fellow gamers on how clear my mic was, so it's definitely a very capable microphone.


The microphone on the Quantum 800 isn't removable, which is a bit of an oversight in my opinion. However, for a wireless microphone to perform the way it does, makes it worth the trade off. I wish every headset microphone sounded like this one.


Key Features


Both headsets include ANC and it works an absolute charm. The combination of ANC and the amazing noise deadening of the earcups, block out about 90% of normal outside noise. This allows you to listen at a much lower level, lessening the impact it has on your ears and the fatigue you'll feel over time. ANC is easily toggled on with the dedicated button on the top of the left ear cup. Better still, holding this button for 3 seconds cycles from ANC to Talk Through. TT utilises the same technology as the ANC to block out sound, but then actually picks up voice and external environmental noise and plays it back in your headphones clearly, but still alongside your gaming audio. This is particularly useful when wearing your headphones on the move (no longer be the person oblivious to the world around them whilst wearing headphones) or when gaming at home and somebody wants to talk to you. You can converse without missing out on crucial gaming audio.

Another great feature, and one that I think truly makes the JBL Quantum 800 an absolute game changer, is the simultaneous connectivity. This feature allows you to be connected to 2 devices at the same time. For example, you are able to be connected to your console or PC via the USB dongle, and your mobile phone or laptop via the bluetooth connectivity. This allows you to be playing COD, whilst simultaneously taking a phone call with perfect, crystal clear audio from each. This is made even better with the ability to adjust each audio source independently via the scrolling wheels on the side of the headset. You're also able to watch videos such as gaming tutorials or even chat with frien