JBL Quantum TWS Air Review

JBL’s Quantum gaming headphones have been around for a while. I have experience using the Quantum 200 and 610 specifically, and I find them to be fun, cost-effective headphones for gaming. They have released a true wireless version of their Quantum line that comes with many of the same features that exist in their over-ear models. At only 99.95, let’s see if the true TWS Air can capture the same fun and immersion that the others do.

What You Get

  • 1 x Quantum TWS Air earbuds
  • 1 x USB Wireless Dongle
  • 1 x Charging Case
  • 1 x 3 sizes of ear tips
  • 1 x Type-C USB charging cable
  • 1 x Warranty / Warning (W / !)
  • 1 x Product Quick Start Guide / Safety Sheet (S / i)

JBL Quantum TWS Air single

Look & Feel

The over-ear Quantum’s separates itself stylistically from JBL’s other over-ear headphones with a specific design on their ear cups. This design is carried over to the Quantum Air, sporting the same pattern. It’s a good visual signifier of what product it is, but unfortunately, it only comes in one color. The earbuds themselves are very small, and they’re very comfortable. You barely feel any kind of pressure, and most of the time it doesn’t even feel like anything is in our ears at all.

JBL Quantum TWS Air case

Design & Functionality

Inside the Quantum Air is a 6mm dynamic driver with four microphones for both its smart ambient technology and voice chat. The ambient features do their job well, but when using the Quantum Air for in-game voice chat or Discord, my voice never feels loud enough. Functionally, the Quantum Air is very responsive through its touch sensors, giving you good control over a lot of its features. Most of these features, like EQ and spatial audio, can be accessed through the JBL headphones app, and the Quantum PC software that you can download for free.

Bluetooth

Using the Quantum Air Wirelessly is only one of the ways to connect these earbuds, but it pairs easily with most devices. Without the Type C dongle, you won’t be getting low-latency or lossless audio, but thankfully these earbuds work both ways. You can use the Quantum Air as a dual source, which works like multipoint Bluetooth. This allows you to connect to your preferred gaming console with the USB-C stick, as well as your phone through Bluetooth.

Battery Life

The Quantum Air has a pretty short battery life, capping at a maximum of 24 hours including the charging case. This isn’t too bad considering the price, and thankfully the earbuds charge quickly.

JBL Quantum TWS Air pair

Soundstage

While JBL earbuds usually don’t carry the widest soundstage or the deepest imaging, gaming earbuds almost demand that. The Quantum Air needs to be able to portray detailed environments, sound effects, music, and dialogue with balance and clarity to do most modern games justice. Without any spatial features, the Quantum Air does an average job of communicating layered environments. A conventional stereo field has good width and directionality without the need for spatial audio. Dialogue is in your face, with other effects surrounding your game’s setting realistically. If music plays, it doesn’t spread nearly as wide as ambient effects, but I wouldn’t say it feels buried in the mix.

I’ve used JBL’s QuantumSURROUND before, but I’ve never been a huge fan of it. Unfortunately, my feelings about it haven’t changed with the Quantum Air. The way it’s implemented here coats the whole sound signature in an effect that only mimics an immersive spatial environment. It feels like a reverb was added to most music, effects, and dialogue, which did not help communicate soundscapes with much grace. My negative impression of its sound caused me to ignore it during my testing mostly. I felt much more immersed in my games listening to the Quantum Air in stereo.

Low End

Being that this is a JBL product, you are sure to hear a full bass response. The Quantum TWS doesn’t let you down here, as it constantly engages you with an ever-present rumble. This rumble has a big bloom, and it rattles you with a growl that crawls underneath most effects and music. The only place where it feels less energetic is in its mid-bass where the kick is not as emphasized. This keeps most elements from bleeding into the midrange, but it makes gunshots appear less thunderous than musical elements or environmental effects. Overall, the bass is very gripping, but it could use a cleaner balance.

Mids

It’s not surprising hearing the recessed mids of the Quantum Air, but with EQ there isn’t much damage to note. Most of the midrange appears roomy but underemphasized. It lacks transparency, but there’s a surface to the frequencies that give the sound signature a neutral timbre. Nothing ever comes across as dull, especially when you have EQ to add enough excitement to certain sounds in a way that doesn’t feel artificial. The upper-mids are the most expressive part of the region, which is good for crisper voices and clicking effects.

Highs

The Quantum Air evens itself out with its treble response. It helps underline many different effects and voices, as well as extends the height of ambiance with a defined tail. Even with its pronounced frequencies, you never have to worry about the highs being too bright and harsh. Everything is brought under control, and only accentuates the texture of the frequencies.

Summary

There isn’t much out there in the way of true wireless gaming earbuds that are this inexpensive. For that, the JBL Quantum Air will be very worthwhile. Its sound has some nice qualities, including its natural stereo soundstage, bass, and treble. However, the mix quality is a letdown, and that can be a pretty big deciding factor on whether to go for the Quantum Air or not.

ProsĀ  Cons
  • Good stereo imagingĀ 
  • Theatrical bass
  • Crisp treble
  • Low latency and lossless with USB-C
  • Price
  • Recessed mids
  • Lacks color variants
  • Poor mic quality

The JBL Quantum Air is available at Audio46.

Compare the ranking of various headphones, earbuds and in-ear monitors using our tools.

Discuss this, and much more, over on our forum.

---
MAJORHIFI may receive commissions from retail offers.
Previous articleStrauss & Wagner Bern Review
Next articleIBasso 3T-154 Review
Alex S. is a sound designer and voice-over artist who has worked in film, commercials, and podcasts. He loves horror movies and emo music.