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JBL Tune 770NC - Priced About Right

Glenn Hart,
Publish Date
Fri, 13 Oct 2023, 12:20PM

JBL Tune 770NC - Priced About Right

Glenn Hart,
Publish Date
Fri, 13 Oct 2023, 12:20PM

When it comes to personal audio devices, JBL must be in the running for the title of "Most Prolific." From high-end gaming headsets to entry-level earbuds, the brand seems to be continuously updating each product line with slightly new features.

It's easy to focus on the upper end of the price range to see what's at the cutting edge of JBL's latest innovations.

It's also fun to see what you get for not much money at the entry point.

But how about the middle?

I don't know about you but I'd never be comfortable laying down $500 or more for a set of headphones I might lose or sit on. However, $200 seems much more realistic - especially if I can fulfil all my basic requirements.

The JBL Tune 770NC wireless, over-ear headphones might fit right into that Goldilocks, just-right zone where price meets product to create genuine value for money.

These headphones are on the smaller side - just big enough to be considered over-ear rather than on-ear cans. That's not necessarily a bad thing as their pared-down form-factor combined with their folding design certainly makes them easy to stuff in your bag.

They seem to be durable enough to handle this kind of treatment too - while everything feels quite light and plasticky, I haven't managed to break, dent or even scratch them yet. There's not even any creaking when I flex the headband.

That headband is not as squishily padded as some - and neither are the ear cups - and yet I've found the Tune 770NC plenty comfortable enough to wear for hours on end, every day at work.

On the downside, there's no carry case included and the AUX cable is just terrible. It's a flimsy, flat, tangly thing with a standard 3.5mm jack at one end and JBL's usual (and annoying) mini jack at the other that only fits into the headphones themselves. This means you can't easily swap this dumb cable out for a decent one you don't have to untangle every time you use it.

I guess when you're trying to keep things "mid-range" you have to cut costs somewhere.

And it's out-and-out sound quality where the Tune 770NC also doesn't quite match up to some of those higher-priced headsets. While the sweeping surround effects on U2's classic, "Beautiful Day" definitely come across, along with Bono's emphatic lead vocal, there doesn't seem to be quite enough space for the rest of the band to fit in without sounding somewhat squashed. Larry and Adam's bass guitar and bass drum seem to get muddled somehow. This is a shame because JBL usually excels when it comes to pushing out booming, lower frequencies.

However, it's a totally different story when it comes to Oliver Nelson's classic jazz combo performing "Stolen Moments." This exquisitely mixed track is the ultimate in stripped-back cool, with each instrument finding its place in the room - flute to the left, sax to the right, piano in the background... it's quite a trip.

My conclusion is it's probably worth tweaking the EQ using the JBL Headphones app to suit the kind of content you're likely to be listening to.

I'm impressed with the Active Noise Cancelling - I've tried it in several settings; out walking the dog, working at home and while I've been using the Tune 770NC to monitor the breakfast radio show I work on every morning. The ANC does an excellent job of blocking out unwanted distractions everywhere I go.

Previously when I've tried to use JBL wireless headphones at work, I've had to leave ANC switched off because it would result a slight phasing effect due to the delay caused by the processing. There's still a minuscule delay with these headphones but it's next to nothing and I've found I can definitely live with it. This tells me not only has JBL upped its ANC game but the latest Bluetooth 5.3 codec also makes a big difference.

I've tried quite a few Bluetooth 5.3-enabled devices lately and it basically means lag is no longer an issue - especially when gaming or watching video. In fact, I enjoyed a totally lag-free, immersive experience watching the final episode of the John Wick prequel, "The Continental" last night - and I hadn't even switched across to Video Mode in the JBL Headphones app.

The onboard controls are all on the right-hand ear-cup - such as they are. An on/off/pairing button, a button to toggle ANC on and off and a volume rocker with a play/pause/answer button in the middle. While it takes a while to get used to exactly where each of these controls are - they're jammed together pretty tightly along with the AUX input jack - if you've owned JBL headphones before you'll find this setup pretty familiar.

Voice quality is surprisingly good for both phone and video calls and you can access your virtual assistant with the press of a button.

Battery life is also impressive; you'll get forty hours playback or more with ANC on and charging up is quite speedy, although the USB charging port is in kind of a weird place at the top of the right-hand earcup. Not only does this mean you can't charge the headset while you're wearing it but you couldn't anyway because it turns off as soon as you plug it in.

It's little quirks and limitations like these which keep these headphones from joining my list of best headphones ever... but those headphones all cost hundreds of dollars more. At an RRP of NZ$199.95, the Tune 770NC does indeed give me pretty much everything I actually need, just maybe not some of those nice-to-have extras.




Click here for more information and pricing on the JBL Tune 770NC.

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