We, at MajorHifi, have a bit of a crush on JBL. Why? Solid products at affordable prices. So, when I get a JBL headphone on my desk with a price tag above $50, I expect it to be excellent. But what about the JBL Live 200 BT wireless earphones? At 70 bucks, will they blow us away with JBL’s famous bassy sound signature, or could this be the first overpriced JBL product we’ve ever tested? Let’s find out in this JBL Live 200BT Earphones Review.
JBL Live 200BT Earphones Review
I’ve never had a problem with JBL in this department. The fit is secure, the seal is snug enough to isolate from outside noise, and these buds still feel comfortable after extended periods of use. The tips are slightly angled to make the fit more ergonomic. And the earphones, including the neckband, are extremely light. In fact, I usually have an aversion to neckbands, but I forgot about it as soon as I put them on.
To neckband or not to neckband? I never understood the purpose of neckbands, but I think I’m starting to sort of get it. It prevents the buds from being lost down your shirt, and it also keeps the earphones stable when active. If you’re running, for example, you won’t have the weight of the cable thumping against your neck. Then again, the beauty of a wireless design is the ability to go bulk free. And you can’t just stuff these buds in your pocket. So, you might become one of those people who wears earphones around your neck all day. That being said, the neckband is extremely flexible and light. So, although the Live 200BT might not fit into the back pocket of your jeans, they’re pliable enough to throw into a crowded backpack. The earbuds are also magnetic. So, they’ll stick together through good times and bad.
The Live 200BT offer 10 hours of battery life, which is about standard for wireless earphones. And it only takes 15 minutes of charging to yield one hour of playback. The headphones also come with the usual micro-USB charging cable.
The mic and remote are on the right side of the neckband. You’ll get all the usual functions: play, pause, skip, volume, call answering and voice assistant activation.
In true JBL fashion, the build quality is great. The earphone cables are insulated with a woven fabric and the buttons on the remote are wiggle free. The earbuds themselves have aluminum shells, and, in general, the whole package seem very sturdy. As mentioned above, the neckband might provide some stability when running. But be warned, the Live 200BT are not waterproof, nor are they aren’t designed to stay snug in your ears after heavy sweating. So, if you are looking for an ideal pair of sports wireless earphones, consider spending an extra 30 bucks, and go for the JBL Reflect Contour Mini. They’re waterproof, and the fit is so secure that you can go skydiving while sweating buckets.
Those who know JBL expect a bass-heavy sound. And while the lows on these earphones are a little shy of what I anticipated, the bass will be present and punchy enough for anyone who isn’t a die hard bass head. Pop and hip-hop have just enough meat in the low-end to do justice to JT and OutKast. And the high frequencies are pretty bright, giving percussion instruments a crisp sparkle. Combine this quality with a fat bass, and you’ve got one funky headphone.
But these glistening highs can become a problem when listening to music in the very highest registers. Trumpets, for example, can emit a piercing sound, making those frequencies sometimes difficult to listen to. So, these buds may not be ideal for jazz.
What about rock and roll? Not bad. The upper mids are emphasized causing vocals to sit a little forward. The result is a slightly harsh sound when listening to certain songs with powerful vocals at louder volumes. That being said, the Live 200BT produces a warm and full bodied sound that lends itself well to big rock choruses.
But what sets these buds apart from JBL’s cheaper models is the clarity. Unlike many other bass-heavy earphones, the lows on the Live 200BT don’t cloud the rest of the mix. Listening to acoustic guitars, there was a good amount of transparency and resolve to make it a suitable headphone for folk music. And string instruments, like cellos, had a decent amount of detail as well. So, although JBL has maintained a bass-present sound signature, they’ve managed not to screw up the rest of the frequencies. Golf clap.
One more thing to note: For you rockers out there with tinnitus and a love for loudness, these earphones might not hit the max volume you need.
If a neckband is an absolute must for you, then the JBL Live 200BT is a good way to go. But for utmost portability, consider a wireless model without the band. (If you’re worried about your cable flapping in the wind, most wireless earphones come with a shirt clip.) And if you’re using your wireless buds for sports, JBL has a big selection of more suitable sports models, like the Reflect Series. In fact, sports is what JBL does best. Does the Live 200BT sound good? Sure. But is it $70 good? Hmm. You might be paying for the neckband.
You can find these headphones for the best price at:
Audio 46: JBL Live 200BT (Use our promo code, “majorhifi” to get a 10% discount)