I’ve been on a JBL kick lately. I love to recommend their E Series headphones for those who love a thick bass, but want to avoid the bulkiness of other headphones. That is why I was excited to hear about JBL’s release of the newest member of the E Series family, the E65BTNC. This time, the headphones are not only wireless. They are also noise cancelling, a first in this series! And while I enjoyed the JBL Everest Elite 750NC which are also noise cancelling, they were above many folks’ price point–including my own. So how good is the quality of the E65BTNC? And how does it compare to others in the price range like the Sennheiser 4.50 BTNC? Today, I’ll find out with this JBL E65BTNC and Sennheiser 4.50 BTNC comparison review.
Affordable Noise Cancellation – JBL E65BTNC and Sennheiser 4.50 BTNC Comparison Review
|JBL E65BTNC||Sennheiser 4.50 BTNC|
|Impedance||32 ohms||18 ohms|
|Type||over-ear, bluetooth, noise cancelling||over-ear, bluetooth, noise cancelling|
|Drivers||40 mm, dynamic||dynamic|
|Sensitivity||42 db SPL / 1mW @ 1kHz||113 dB SPL / 1mW @ 1kHz|
|Battery Life||24 hours, ANC off; 15 hours, ANC on||25 hours|
|Charge Time||2 hours||??|
In the Box
|JBL E65BTNC||Sennheiser 4.50 BTNC|
|E65BTNC headset||4.50 BTNC headset|
|Detachable audio cable||Detachable audio cable|
|USB charging cable||Carrying case|
|Warning card||Quick Guide|
|Warranty card||Safety Guide|
|Safety sheet||USB charging cable|
|Quick Start Guide|
Just by looking at both headphones from a distance, I notice the Sennheiser 4.50 BTNC seems a little bit blockier than the JBL E65BTNC. Getting a bit closer, I’m able to see that their diameters are actually about the same size, it’s just the JBL E Series design gives it a more aesthetically pleasing look to my eye. Both ear cups have buttons on them to control playback, volume, and calls. They both also have a slot of a detachable cable to plug in. The 4.50 BTNC uses a 2.5mm cable which may be harder to find but are still affordable. The E65BTNC uses a 3.5mm cable which you can find pretty much anywhere for a good price.
Place the earphones on my head, I notice that the Sennheiser 4.50 BTNC squeezes the head a little bit harder. This makes its initial noise isolation stronger than the E65BTNC–a nice feature since reducing noise is one of the main intentions of both headphones.
I’ve read a few complaints of the fit of the Sennheiser 4.50 BTNC online. The complaints come from folks with bigger heads. They say the earpads are just too small and the headphones end up acting more like on-ear than over-ear. For me, the headphones fit just fine, but when I look at the earcup, I notice it is a good deal narrower than the JBL E65BTNC. The E65BTNC has a wider space in the cup for the ear to fit inside.
Both headbands are similar in many ways. They both have light padding, which may turn off some folks who prefer more padded headbands. But alas, one main difference between the headphones is that the Sennheiser 4.50 BTNC’s padding is coated with pleather, while the JBL E65BTNC’s headband padding is coated with cloth. Therefore, the 4.50 BTNC will be easier to clean if it gets dirty or if it gets sweaty, a comforting thought to those who travel a lot in a variety of climates and environments. On the other hand, I do find the JBL E65BTNC‘s headband to be a bit more comfortable to my head– it feels softer.
Both headphones have excellent battery life! The JBL E65BTNC claims that with Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) turned off, it will last for 24 hours of playback. With ANC turned on, it will last for 15 hours. The Sennheiser 4.50 BTNC claims 25 hours of battery life, but doesn’t specify if that is with ANC turned on or off. My guess would be that it is just about the same as the E65 since they both use the same type of battery, a Li-ion Polymer batteries.
One of the biggest differences between the two difference, and this is where the sound quality makes a big leap, is that the Sennheiser 4.50 BTNC supports aptX, the best sounding Bluetooth codec out there right now. By contrast, the JBL E65BTNC only supports Bluetooth 4.2. While Bluetooth 4.2 will perform well for the majority of music listeners out there, the few that play higher quality files like FLAC and WAV will be able to tell a difference, assuming you are listening on a device that supports aptX as well.
Another big difference between these two headphones is their noise cancellation strengths. The JBL E65BTNC has impressive noise cancellation! You can hear the difference immediately when you slide the headphones on your head that their ANC is at work. Conversely, Sennheiser 4.50 BTNC purposely lets in some ambient noise. At least I am choosing to think it is purposeful. Sometimes noise cancellation makes me feel dizzy if it is too strong. I experience this feeling when I listen to headphones like the Bose Quiet Comfort 35. But the 4.50 BTNC does a good job of letting some of the ambient noise in while blocking out other noise. I like this feature, but I could definitely see some folks being turned off by it.
The JBLE65BTNC has a thick low end and low mids. It has a broad boost around 100Hz that expands to boost up the low midrange. The midrange is also powerful with a boost around 2kHz. There is also some space with a cut around 400Hz. The high frequencies are accentuated around 10kHz. I especially like the sound of the E65BTNC headphones with hip-hop and pop, but it sounds nice with everything accept for songs that rely on clarity in the low end like bluegrass. Its stereo image is quite good, considering it is a noise cancelling headphone, but it struggles with depth and height.
Sennheiser 4.50 BTNC
The 4.50 BTNC headphones also have a nice and thick low end. It seems to have more clarity than the JBLs in this area, not just in this part of the frequency spectrum, but overall. Saying that, it has a boost around 30Hz which adds a bit to its sense of height and depth. The midrange is also quite powerful with a boost around 2kHz. In this way, both headphones actually have a surprisingly similar sound, especially in the upper mid frequencies. It has a cut around 4kHz and another boost around 5kHz. These series of boosts and cuts give vocals a more present feel, making them feel louder in the mix than the JBL E65BTNC. The high frequencies are where these headphones differ the most, as they are more balanced up here overall. They do well with their stereo imaging, and their height is a little bit taller than the JBLs. Their depth still lacks, but that is what I was expecting since these are noise cancelling headphones.
While the Sennheiser 4.50 BTNC headphones have better sound quality overall, the JBL E65BTNC has a better sound cancelling and a less bulky look. Depending on what you are looking for, you will find it in one of these two headphones, especially if you are looking to spend around $200.
Both headphones are available for the best price here: