The noise-cancelling, JBL E65BTNC has been on the market for a while now, pleasing bass-heads with it’s punchy and thick low-end. But recently, JBL released its Live series, which has a somewhat different sound signature, as well as some added functionality. My colleagues and I have already written extensively about both the JBL Live 650BTNC vs JBL E65BTNC. So, this review is for the kids who are already familiar with at least one of these models but want a comparison before they pull the trigger. Which headphone will sing to you? Let’s take a closer look in this JBL Live 650BTNC vs JBL E65BTNC Review.
While both models provide decent sound isolation even with the noise-cancellation turned off, the Live 650BTNC is more comfortable. The E65BTNC feels tighter against the jawline, and as a result, the earpads seems less soft than the pads on the Live 650BTNC. But as you can see from the photo below, the earpads share almost the same thickness.
The Live 650BTNC is featured on the left next to the E65BTNC on the right:
The difference in noise-cancelling effectiveness was minimal. And I actually had to swap them back and forth a few times to hear any difference at all. To be honest, I’m still not sure. But I did notice that the E65BTNC seemed to more easily let in outside frequencies whenever I adjusted the earcups on my head, creating changes in pressure here and there.
With active noise-cancellation switched on, the Live 650BTNC offers 20 hours of battery life, while the E65BTNC will give you 15 hours. But both headphones will give you up to 30 hours of playtime with the active noise-cancellation turned off. Both headphones also charge via Micro-USB connection.
Both models fold and swivel flat.
Controls and Functionality
You can expect almost identical functionality from these models with one major difference. The Live 650BTNC is compatible with the new JBL app, which offers an equalizer. A major plus, if you want to boost or moderate your bass, mids and high frequencies.
You’ll get fat and forward leaning lows from both models. But the Live 650BTNC has a tighter, more disciplined bass, making the JBL E65BTNC sound almost cloudy in comparison. And while both headphones give ample warmth to rock and pop-rock tracks, the low end on the Live 560BTNC is cleaner and more detailed. So, if you listen to genres that involve a lot of acoustic instruments, the Live 650BTNC is the preferable choice.
The Live 650BTNC presents the fuller and more even midrange. So, if you love your rock and pop-rock choruses to sound meaty and expansive, the Live 650BTNC is the better option. In contrast, the E65BTNC has more forward leaning vocals and the low-mids are overshadowed by the bass frequencies. So, it offers a more dynamic feel. And again, in comparison to the Live 650BTNC, the E65BTNC sounds a little mushy, especially in the lower mids. So, if you appreciate a well separated sound with clean layering of instruments, you can’t beat the Live 650BTNC.
If you like your pop tracks to really snap, you’ll definitely prefer the Live 650BTNC. It offers a more sparkly high end, adding extra crispness to percussion. As a result, it has a more energetic feel when it comes to funky genres. In terms of transparency, the Live 650BTNC also has the upper hand, with acoustic instruments, like strings, presenting a more natural timbre and tone.
Not too much difference here. But because the instrument placement sounds cleaner and more accurate on the Live 650BTNC, it offers a slightly vaster and more multidimensional soundscape.
I like to stay pretty neutral in comparison reviews. But the Live 650BTNC presents so much more skill across the board that it’s impossible for me not to recommend it over the E65BTNC. That beings said, if you mainly listen to pop and hip-hop, the E65BTNC is still a solid choice. But if you listen to all types of genres, and you’d like some creative control over your sound (using the equalizer), I highly recommend the cleaner, more versatile Live 650BTNC.
You can find both of these headphones for the best price here: