JBL is a pioneer in the audio industry and they just ventured into a brand new realm, where their expertise in this field can truly be shown off. They are officially in the gaming market now, with their just released Quantum Series Headsets. This line has 7 different models that offer a vast range of features and price points for all gamers. Today we’ll be covering two models. This includes the entry level Quantum 100 and the top tier head tracking capable beast…the Q ONE.
JBL Audio Engineering for Gaming
The gaming headset market is stacked with fierce competition, but this hasn’t swayed JBL from showing what they are capable of with the brand new Quantum Line. Seven models make up this latest series, that consist of wired and wireless units comprised with impressive components and cutting edge tech that is aiming to take your gaming experience to the next level.
As you move up the model line, you go from wired over-ear headsets with JBL QuantumSOUND and 40mm drivers, to wireless functionality with certified 50mm drivers complete with JBL QuantumSPHERE 360 Audio and integrated head tracking for next gen soundscape accuracy. Compatibility is wildly impressive, as all models work across Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, PC, Mac, mobile and VR.
The JBL Q100 is the entry level headset within the Quantum gaming line. It comes in at $39.95 and packs a lot of punch and features for this price point. The headset is very light and the earcups have been wrapped with a very soft leather liner that encases the memory foam padding, allowing it to be worn comfortably for many hours without any fatigue.
I always test audio gear with some very demanding bass boosted instrumental tracks that do a wonderful job in displaying the range of sound each audio component is capable of for music. They push the mids, highs and lows to their absolute limits and I’m happy to report the Q100 can be pressed to the very top of its volume without any distortion or loss of clarity. The drivers also deliver clean, direct bass and an impressive balance of sound overall. The performance here is much more in line with what you might expect to find at double the asking price. Alright JBL, we are off to a good start. Now let’s test some games.
An exciting new brawler just released, that has been highly anticipated for quite some time now. I’m of course referring to Streets of Rage 4. It’s a phenomenal arcade style beat ’em up which is known for its outstanding gameplay and absolutely iconic soundtracks. Each hook, high kick and body slam came through with crisp midrange and crystal clear highs. The 40mm drivers delivered solid bass notes on each amazing music track, displaying tight and accurate responsiveness.
Last up on the test bench for this set was Doom Eternal. This is a punishing shooter that moves at a frantic pace. The JBL QuantumSOUND did a great job here in providing excellent awareness in regards to where enemies were at during the chaos of each blitzkrieg. For the multiplayer offerings, I put on the detachable boom mic and cooperatively took on the demon hordes online in Revenant and Macubus modes. Chat delivery was clear and there is a single physical mute button located directly under the volume dial on the left earcup. Strategizing during the heat of battle was a breeze; beating the opposition at times was a different story.
The JBL Q100 is a clear winner at this pricepoint and the performance it delivers is likely to be far superior to anything currently on the market under $50. It’s very comfortable and features solid build quality all around, making it a huge step up from your standard earbuds or TV speakers.
The Quantum ONE is the flagship model for this gaming headset line by JBL. It’s stacked with tech, premium materials and comes with an impressive assortment of accessories to use this model on both your PC and game consoles. In the box, you’ll receive a detachable boom mic, 3.5 audio cable (for Xbox, PS4, Switch, VR and mobile devices), calibration mic and a Discord Certified Type-C to Type-A USB cable connected to a Game/Chat hardware module.
The visual design cues of the headset is striking, with three bright RGB zones on each side and distinct angles throughout giving it a stealth fighter like vibe. A thickly padded adjustable headband provides tremendous support, while each earcup is incredibly soft and supportive. There is a copious amount of memory foam in place, making this a highly comfortable headset, despite it having some noticeable weight from the tech and materials used within it. Even after several hours and consistent days of testing, there was little to no fatigue to be found. It’s obvious comfort was a leading priority here and JBL nailed it.
The left earcup houses all the controls, that include a Volume Wheel, Active Noise Control / Talk-Through and a button to recenter the head tracking feature. Inside each earcup you’ll see L and R stamped in bright orange…I can’t believe someone hasn’t done this already. The fabric inside is transparent, allowing you to take a peek at the Hi-Res certified 50mm neodymium drivers. The colors and effects that pulse and breath around the outside of the Q One can be customized through the JBL QuantumENGINE.
The JBL QuantumENGINE also features an adjustable equalizer, plus preset sound profiles to choose from as well. Here you can also tap into the spatial sound capabilities for this unit, that include DTS, QuantumSPHERE 360 and 7.1 surround sound. Note the calibration tool within the software is not functional yet (an update is inbound soon). At the top right corner you’ll see a “RE-CENTER” button. Click this and look directly at your monitor. Lastly, left click the bullseye on the screen and the headset is now correctly calibrated. Don’t forget there is the handy recenter button on the left earcup as well to make this adjustment during gameplay if ever needed.
QuantumSPHERE 360 is really exciting tech, especially for those that play competitive shooters online. On top of the immersion achieved through normal surround sound, the head tracking capabilities allow you to more accurately pinpoint footsteps and the direction of gunfire related to your position and where you are looking. We fired up Modern Warfare and Halo: Master Chief Collection for hours of Team Deathmatch and Free-for-All action. Enabling this mode on both shooters made everything more crisp and detailed in execution. It absolutely heightens your awareness during firefights and I believe in time with even further polish, this will be an absolute game changer.
I also tested out Daymare: 1998 on the Q ONE. This is a survival horror game modeled after the original Resident Evil games. It’s brutally difficult, dark and absolutely creepy. Every zombie and monster lurking within the shadows instantly became that much more terrifying. Bold, powerful sound emanated from the 50mm drivers, creating an absolutely chilling experience.
The JBL Quantum gaming headsets are indeed the real deal. The Q100 exhibits performance and sound well beyond its $39 price tag. The flagship Q ONE demonstrates the full power of JBL audio engineering, packing gorgeous RGB lighting, Active Noise Cancellation, 3D audio through built in head tracking and Hi-Res certified 50mm neodymium drivers. Competitive gamers will truly appreciate the spatial sound abilities on the Q ONE. Initial setup and configuration takes a little time, but it’s well worth the effort once everything is dialed in and installed.
The QuantumENGINE software suite is a versatile tool, allowing PC gamers to customize their audio experience and RGB effects. JBL went all in with their first headset line aimed and developed specifically for gamers. Their expertise through decades of experience in the audio industry is clearly demonstrated through the Quantum line. It’s official, there’s a new player in town.