The market for wireless noise cancellation is extremely overcrowded these days, which means that every company is working hard to stand out with some exciting new features. That’s why JBL decided to upgrade its range of headphone options with the CLUB range.
The JBL CLUB 950NC headphones are some of the more expensive JBL earphones on the market, but they also come with a better set of features, including noise reduction options, and an excellent bass boost too.
The “CLUB” part of the headphones references the fact that the range was inspired by some of the biggest DJs in the world, including Nicky Romero, and Armin Van Buuren.
It would be easy to assume that these headphones are going to be chunky, bass-heavy options, but we decided to test them ourselves to find out.
JBL CLUB 950NC review: Design and size
The JBL CLUB 950NC headphones are some of the more advanced noise reduction headphones JBL has to offer, but that doesn’t mean they’re not comfortable. Clearly, the company wanted to make you feel like you could wear these headphones all day without a problem.
The CLUB 950NC therefore give you an extra padded on-ear fit, intended to help you really get into the music.
The thick padding on the headband increases the comfort level, but it’s worth noting that because these are high-quality headphones, they’re also not particularly lightweight.
There are going to be moments when you feel overwhelmed by the increased pressure of your headset, particularly during long listening periods.
Another point worth noting about these JBL Club headphones, is that they’re extremely portable. You can fold the headphones down, and make sure that they fit neatly into any backpack or large jacket pocket when you’re on the move.
Though your headset will still be a lot bigger than your standard in-ear headphones – you should be able to carry these headphones with some ease.
JBL CLUB 950NC review: Features
The most exciting feature of these JBL headphones, is that they come with noise reduction functionality built in. Not only do you get the standard passive noise cancellation of on-ear headphones, but you get adaptive NC too.
Activate adaptive noise cancelling by pressing and holding the smart ambient button. The short press controls either the ambient aware or Talk Thru feature, which you can assign according to your needs in the app.
The TalkThru mode reduces the volume of the music so you can have a conversation while being aware of what’s around you. Ambient Aware makes it possible for more distractions to filter through.
Both of these noise reduction features are well executed in the JBL Club headset, and you get a handful of other great capabilities too, like a dual mic configuration, and an excellent call quality.
The circular surface on the outside of the earcup, which also includes the JBL logo, is a button that activates Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Switch to the edge of the right earcup and you can see a strip of controls for volume and playback.
There’s also a raised section long button at the top and bottom for volume up and down. For a price of around $200, features of the JBL CLUB 950 include:
Excellent Bluetooth connectivity
Hi-Res audio and JBL Pro sound
Adaptive noise cancellation
Ambient aware and talkthru mode
High-power 2000 MW input power
Amazon Alexa access
App support with extra features
Foldable compact design
Comfortable ear pads
Up to 55 hours of battery life
JBL CLUB 950NC review: Connectivity
Connectivity is a crucial component for any set of wireless Bluetooth headphones. With these JBL earphones, you can expect a decent quality of Bluetooth pairing. The Bluetooth connection button is on the left earcup, along the edge, next to the Ambient button.
There’s also a 2.5mm headphone jack for the supplied headphone cable, which features a one-button control and in-line mic.
Power up your JBLs for the first time, and they will begin the pairing process automatically. You can add an extra device here and link up to two products to your headphones at the same time.
A solid blue LED light will indicate that you’re pairing, while the LED white light shows that you have noise cancellation enabled.
To make the most of the performance and connectivity elements of the 950NCs, you’ll need to download the My JBL headphones companion application for Android and iOS. You can see the battery life of your headphones here and access a few audio adjustment features too
JBL CLUB 950NC review: Performance
One of the nice things about the JBL Club 950NC headphones that you don’t get on all noise cancellation headsets, is that these come with a handy EQ adjustment function on the app.
That means that if you’re not totally happy with the sound straight out of the box, you can select various pre-sets instead. The headphone app included with the product comes with pre-set EQ modes connected to each of the DJs associated with the headset’s development.
Each EQ option has its own unique flavor to explore. However, if you’re just happy to stick with the basics, the standard audio is great too. The presentation is fun and lively, with an excellent bass boost function that you can turn on or off with a button on the right ear cup.
We were surprised that although there is the option to enhance the bass on these headphones, JBL hasn’t gone over the top with the lower frequencies. For those who love bass, there’s always the opportunity to add more – but you can enjoy all the frequencies somewhat equally if you prefer.
JBL CLUB 950NC review: Verdict
The JBL CLUB 950NC headphones offer something for everyone at an excellent price. Fierce competition means that the JBL earphones have their work cut out for them if they really want to be the best of the best. However, we think the company is definitely moving in the right direction.
Crisp EQ performance, solid noise cancellation, and a decent level of comfort are all great bonuses. However, the bass mode is a little too intense for some, and there aren’t any advanced audio codecs either.