JBL Quantum One – Headset Review

by Ben Kirby
1 comment

I need to get this off my chest right away. This JBL Quantum One is the best gaming headset that I’ve ever reviewed. There. Phew!

I’ve reviewed plenty of headsets over the years. So it takes something special to stand out the way that the Quantum One does.

As a fan of JBL, thanks to an awesome iPod dock my brother got me years ago. I jumped at the chance to see what they’re offering in the gaming market. 

Known as a consumer audio company, namely for the household.  JBL are actually a part of the Harmon Kardon family, so that gives you an idea of expected quality!

Between the great experience I’ve had with JBL in the past and the fact that they’re obviously a brand as part of audio pedigree. I knew the Quantum One would be good.

JBL Quantum One

Look

The JBL Quantum One look awesome. I mean, once you start PC gaming, RGB lighting becomes a must, right? Obviously lighting isn’t an actual necessity, but I’ll tell you want the lights on this headset look great.

Fully customisable lighting on each earpiece, aside. The overall style of the JBL Quantum One is pretty par for the course with over-ear headsets these days. Stylishly black and modern, with branding and nice lines and shapes etched into the headband.

Nice and chunky, and honestly yo look at them, you get the impression that this is a sturdy, effective piece of kit.

One element that I really liked is something simple and a little daft, but the “L” and “R” in their respective earpiece makes it very easy to determine that the headset is going on, in the right way.

The JBL Quantum One sets itself apart style-wise when powered-on and lit-up. Fully customisable lighting, when you’re sat in a dark room…….damn it just looks good! You can make the lighting reactive to what you’re hearing in-game, too.

Sure, it’s a little redundant when you actually have them one, because, well, you can’t actually see it. But when you pick them up, or pop them on the desk for a minute, they look great.

It’s worth noting that they’re really well packaged, too. The box and packaging look great, and you get a great idea of the quality before you even open things up and get them on!

Audio

Let’s be honest, though. It doesn’t matter how they look if they don’t provide a decent audio experience. They could be the comfiest headset ever, but if they sound awful, it doesn’t matter.

The JBL Quantum One, then, sound excellent. Highly customisable audio profiles within their JBL QuantumENGINE software, head-tracking and spatial audio, so you can move your head around to heard things going on in different directions. Everything is here.

Are the drivers delivering the experience though?

The first thing to do with the JBL Quantum One, is to calibrate the headset. Now, I can’t lie. I’ve never had a headset that needed calibrating. With an in-ear mic, and a whole step-by-step process to follow, I was taking full control of the experience from the get-go.

I’ve played countless hours of Rainbow Six Siege, PUBG, Ghost of Tsushima, Spellbreak and even Rocket League wearing this headset, and I’ve found exactly what I’m looking for every time.

Bass and Treble delivering those low ends, helping me immerse into the worlds I’m playing in (especially with the active noise cancellation!). All of that middle textural sound, that reloading, those ball hits, all the detail, coming in clear as day.

That higher end is catered for, too. Just been flash-banged and got those ringing ears? Yup, that’s cutting through everything else going on. Those incredible game scores able to flex, and weave throughout the background of anything you’re playing.

Sure, sound design is a massive element of the creation of the games themselves. But I’ve had headset struggle to cover the spectrum of audio that has been so carefully crafted in a game, and that’s a disservice to the developers.

The JBL Quantum One is simply allowing you to experience the game audio at a level you don’t get in cheaper headsets.

These do come with a pretty hefty price tag, though, and to be honest, if you’re going for the gaming-only experience, you’re getting your money’s worth.

Listening to music, though was a different experience. It was like the equaliser settings just don’t quite hit the sweet spot. After trying all of my usual review songs, songs where I know all of the instrument parts and textural elements. I found consistency a real struggle.

The JBL Quantum One have the ability to deliver everything you need in a headset from a gaming audio perspective, but I really felt I had to work to dial-in settings for music, only to then change it again for another song.

Perhaps a software issue, and something that can be worked on, but for a headset at this price (circa £229!), I was a little surprised.

Build

A true show of the value for money, once you take the audio out of the equation. How much money had been spent on materials to build this thing and make it last?

The build on the JBL Quantum One is fantastic. With so many perfectly-placed buttons and dials on the set itself, you’re fully in control. Active noise cancellation, mute the mic, re-centre the headset tracking, and adjust volume. All on the left-had ear cup.

Padding and the soft leather on the over-ear parts are soft, flexible and genuinely feel more on the premium end of the scale.

The JBL Quantum one is built to be used with ease, and built to be used for a long time. Braided cabling gives you a solid feel, and doesn’t fill you with dread of it being flimsy and cheap.

The removeable mic is solid, and well-sized. But flexible.

You have the USB type C input to connect your headset to the PC and the desktop sound controls (quick access to prioritise chat audio over game audio, or vice-versa, or find a balance that works for you).

There’s also a 3.5mm jack input for use with the other auxiliary cable, allowing connections to your other non-PC devices. The aux cable on the JBL Quantum One has an in-line mic, and volume controls, which are again sturdy and well-placed.

There’s nothing here to dislike. Sure, it’s plastic, but it’s strong, nicely designed and flexible. One of the better built over-head headsets I’ve had in quite some time.

Comfort

So it looks good, and it sounds good, yeah? Great, but if I can’t tolerate wearing it for more than an hour at a time, what use is it? Especially at the price!

Good news, the JBL Quantum One is comfy. So comfy in fact that it’s changed my mind about over-ear headsets.

I’ve often found that my ears start to ache after a while with the over-ear headsets, and eventually just decided that in-ear was the way to go for me. Of course, it’s a personal preference, but when you get uncomfortable just passively, that’s not good.

With the JBL Quantum One, I can’t quite place it, but there’s something about the build that just works for me. The padding and covering is soft, smooth and light. My ears fit comfortably within the earcups themselves, and despite the sturdy build, this isn’t a heavy headset.

I have literally no complaints, and it’s surprised me greatly. I expected these to sound great, but I would struggle to wear them for any amount of time. Instead, I’ve worn them exclusively for all gaming, video editing and even just video watching.

If comfort is a big deal to you when you’re gaming, then you’d struggle to find a more comfortable over-ear headset. Honestly, great work here from JBL. Worth the price of admission here, to me, because I’ve struggled with so many others in the past.

Microphone

No complaints here. I’ve recorded audio, played countless hours of team games and never had a complaint or criticism.

Such a solid, and sturdy detachable microphone. This is a real jewel in this crown of a headset.

The in-line mic on the auxiliary cable is decent too.

I’ve reviewed headsets in the past that just don’t cut it. Sure, it’s non-issue if you’re playing a solo game, or using the headset to just listen. But if you’re communicating, you need it to be clear and useful.

What better way can I describe the microphones on the JBL Quantum One than “clear” and “useful”. Great work here. Discord chat, in-game chat, audio recording. It just picks everything up, and leaves a lot of the background noise out of it.

Overall

It’s been pretty clear from the beginning that I’m a real fan of the JBL Quantum One.

They look great, they sound great, they’re feature-rich, and offer a complete package in terms of control and elements like spatial audio and head tracking.

For the price, I don’t think that JBL are too far off the mark. If I’d bought the headset for just listening to music, I’d be a touch disappointed because of how much effort I’ve had to go through to get things sounding like they should.

£229 isn’t pocket change after all. However, this is a headset that I’ll be using for as long as humanly possible. Well built, comfortable and well supported with the QuantumENGINE software (I’ve had software updates and firmware updates for the actual headset).

Taken as a whole package, I’d say it’s maybe a touch too high. If listening to music wasn’t quite so taxing, you’d be on the money. However, that can be fixed with updates. And I know that the headset is properly capable of delivering sounds at every register.

I’ll say it again, this is the best gaming headset I’ve ever reviewed. Not without it’s flaws, but it’s hardly a deal breaker for me when it comes to experience games with such clarity and control.

9.5/10

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1 comment

Jacqueline October 24, 2020 - 2:03 pm

Kannst du mir mal deine Pubg 10-Band Equializereinstellungen von JBL Quantum One geben? Ich bin leider zu blöd um den Equializer einzustellen….ich kann im spiel fasst nichts orten und auch Schritte um mich herum kann ich nicht eindeutig zuordnen. Ich Verstehe nicht wie ich das einstelle oder wie sich der Sound im Equialiser zusammensetzt.

Liebe Grüße

Reply

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