Perhaps not the most traditional looking headphones, JBL ups their game with the noise cancelling JBL Everest Elite 750nc headphones.
Hey every, Jimmy with JimsReviewRoom. I tested the Everest Elite 700 last year – the active noise cancelling on those were pretty decent, but wearing them, they were heavy, the comfort was a bit lacking compared to the competition, and in the end, the audio performance was good, but there were better options out there. Today, JBL sent over a review unit of the new Everest Elite 750NC, and with the dramatic changes, this looks to be much improved. This retails for $299 at the time of this review, making these a cheaper alternative for those who are price shopping. As always, I’ll place my affiliate links above, click on my links, and they’ll give you the most updated prices in real time. You never know when these things might go on sale.
Going over the physical features first, the band up top gives a premium look and it’s a significant improvement over last year’s “Plain-Jane” model. Going down the arms, they extend with a firm amount of feedback with no accidental retractions when bumped, and graciously, the headphones do fold inward for easy stowing. While the headphones are folded, we can take a closer look and confirm, the hinges and locking points are all metal – giving peace of mind over the long term versus plastics, which could wear down or even break over the years. While we’re here, conducting my stress test, which I do admit is extreme, is a way to reveal any weak areas that could be potentially an issue. Overall with my abuse, it feels more solid than last years and built with better quality materials. When comparing to the competition, they feel as good and as premium as the other headphones I’ve tested on Jim’s Review Room.
Getting back to the headphones, the ear cups do swivel to rest on the neck when not in use. The earpads themselves feels good, they’re soft and supple against my face and jawline, and wearing these for several hours straight, my ears didn’t sweat. I didn’t have any wearing fatigue at the crown of the head, and the clamping force at my jawline is very much reasonable this time around compared to last year’s Elite 700. Overall, I was able to wear these for almost three hours straight with no issues. The only word of caution, the earpads don’t seem to be removable – when I gave them a firm tug, they didn’t detach.
COMFORT AND CONTROLS
Comparing these to the competition, the JBL’s do feel good when wearing, but if comfort is one your top priorities, the Sennheiser PXC550’s and Bose QC35’s do beat it. Using my trusty Jim’s Review Room scale, they’re coming in the 230 gram range, while the JBL and Sony MDR1000x for reference, comes in around the 275 to 285 gram range. From my experience, anything under 300 grams is good, but the lower, the better.
Touching base on the button location, this was possibly my biggest gripe out of the entire physical experience. With the 750NC’s, they do take muscle memory to remember where each one is located. And even then, after a week of testing, I’m still hitting the wrong buttons as they’re not well defined. On a positive note, they are tactile which is a plus as they do give a decent click for each press.
Unique functions worth mentioning, when holding down either volume up or down will allow you to skip or go back on songs. A double tap on the pause and play button allows you to bring up Google Assistant which I confirmed worked each time. Moving down, most headphones are still using USB 2.0 for some reason, we’re not jumping to USB Type-C just yet. Last, the Bluetooth pairing button is here, very straightforward, but the “S” is your Smart button. Within the JBL Headphone app, you can have this button turn on and off the Active Noise Cancelling or you can use this to toggle JBL’s Ambient Aware. Ambient Aware is the complete opposite of noise cancelling – instead of blocking out the world, the built-in microphones amplify your environment. If you want to hear someone talking near you, you can hear them. If your boss is calling for you while at the office, Ambient Aware when on, will surely make his or her voice audible.
BATTERY LIFE AND BLUETOOTH RANGE
Regarding battery life, JBL is claiming up to 15 hours of use with Active Noise Cancelling enabled. Comparing to the competition, it is somewhat on the lower end with other flagships getting at least 20 hours or more. With my testing at 50% volume, the same test I do on all of my headphones, I was able to get 14 hours and 45 minutes from a full battery to dead. Charging does take about 3 hours to do.
Jumping over to the left earcup, a 2.5 mm port is provided if you want to use a physical connection. The headphones do continue to work through this cord if you were to turn them off, you just lose the noise cancelling and the physical buttons to control volume.
As for wireless range, the Everest Elite’s are using Bluetooth 4.0 and testing this with my Samsung S8+, wireless range was crazy good. Shocked considering this was not using Bluetooth 5.0. I was able to get 88 linear feet going through two walls before I heard the first hiccup or break in the audio connection.
And last of the physical features, the carrying case supplied is one of the good ones out there. It’s reinforced, has pockets for your wires or other miscellaneous accessories, and most important, it’s compact.
ACTIVE NOISE CANCELLING
So, I know it’s been a long review so far, but finally touching base on Active Noise Cancelling. I did not experience much of the airplane cabin pressure feeling that some notice with ANC headphones. Also, the hissing is kept to a minimum when the headphones are silent, but with music playing, you don’t hear any of it at all.
I tested this at Starbucks during the busy morning, tested these on the streets, in the city, the park – the Active Noise Cancelling performed decently. They were much better than the Beats Studio Wireless and Sony XB950’s I’ve recently tested, blocking out a moderate amount of background noises and voice chatter around me. Now, when comparing against the Sony 1000x and Bose QC35’s, the Everest Elite’s earpads didn’t cover and seal in my ears as well as those two competitors and others out there… so it leaked in more audio than it should. By manually adjusting the earcups back, it did help, but specifically, the ANC performance was not as good as the others flagships from both Sony and Bose. As stated earlier, it’s decent, it still blocks out noises, but if you’re a big-time traveler on airlines and ANC is the utmost importance, Sony and Bose are still two of the best that you can get.
As for audio performance, the overall sound signature is bass boosted that’s punchy and direct. I don’t declare these as bass heavy headphones as the Elites never get deep and resonating, but at its factory settings, you get booming and full-sounding bass that isn’t muffled nor distorted. For reference or comparison, the bass performance was similar to the Sony 1000x. Not bass heavy, but bass boosted. The mid-range stays very clean and intact. It’s not bright nor recessed, vocals are apparent but never felt artificial. The details in the midrange are quite impressive at higher volumes as you’re able to hear specific instruments, string plucks and smaller instruments in the distance being hit. As for the high notes, it compliments the rest of the audio frequencies but I wished it was a little sharper and offered more detail up here.
When I reviewed the 1000x, I mentioned the high notes were slightly recessed compared to the Bose QC35’s. With the Elite 750’s, it falls into 3rd place making me desire something with a bit more flare or brilliance at the top end. With those desires, JBL does offer their own Headphone app. Looking at the main screen, you have battery life, noise cancelling controls, and at the very bottom, you can slide and adjust how much Ambient Aware you want. But getting into the EQ Settings, you can adjust the audio signature to your liking. It is conservative, even after sliding the settings all the way to the left or right, but the adjustments do improve upon the JBL factory settings. I can have the high frequencies I mentioned earlier become a bit sharper or adjust the low end and give myself slightly more bass.
The Everest Elite’s perform where they should in regards to spatial sound… just a smidgen below the best and more expensive options out there. It’s very close in character to the 1000x’s, with very clear left and right audio channels, and distance of where the vocalists are to instruments heard in the background or foreground is noticeable.
A BIG IMPROVEMENT
So in the end here, the Everest Elite’s make some big improvements over last year’s model. My biggest gripes would be the buttons on the right rear earcup and I do wish the earcups sealed slightly better like the competitors. Also, if NFC was offered and battery life could improve, that would make these things awesome. On the positive side, they’re comfortable, they’re built well, the carrying case is a nice touch, I did love the ambient aware feature and most important to me, the audio signature is impressive and I keep referring to this, but it sounded similar, not identical, but similar to the Sony 1000x. If you’re in this price range, this is worth a look as an alternative to the more expensive models out there.
So that’s it for this review, hopefully, it helped you in some way. And if you can, please be sure to follow my Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram. I’m Jimmy with Jim’s Review Room, and I’m here to help you make that purchase decision. You guys take care, and I’ll see you, on the next one.
[table id=1 hide_columns=”all” show_columns=”a,b,f,h,k” /] Specs from manufacturer. If incorrect, please contact us.