Today I have headphones on the test in my new JBL Live 660NC Review.
- 1 Intro
- 2 JBL Live 660NC Specifications
- 3 Design & Comfort
- 4 Using the JBL Live 660NC: Easy Controls and App Features
- 5 Battery Life and Connectivity: Impressive Longevity and Reliable Wireless Performance
- 6 JBL Live 660NC – Sound Test
- 7 Final Verdict
The JBL Live 660NC headphones have gained attention in the audio market with their combination of active noise cancellation, software features, and built-in virtual assistant support. Positioned in the middle of the price spectrum, these wireless headphones offer a compelling package for everyday use. In this comprehensive review, we delve into the design, comfort, controls, sound quality, and other key aspects to determine if the JBL Live 660NC justifies its cost and stands out among its competitors.
These headphones are the successful successor of the Live 650BTNC model. The new generation of the Live series remains in an affordable price range and brings slight visual changes, but also significant improvements in the interior.
JBL Live 660NC Specifications
- Driver size: 40mm/1.6″ Dynamic Driver
- Power supply: 5V, 1A
- Weight: 265g/0.6 lbs
- Battery type: Lithium-ion Polymer(750mA/3.7V)
- Charging time: <2 hrs from empty
- Music playtime with BT on and ANC off: Up to 50 hrs
Music playtime with BT on and ANC on: Up to 40 hrs
- Frequency Response: 16Hz – 20kHz
- Impedance: 32 ohm
- Sensitivity: 97dB SPL@1kHz/1mW
- Maximum SPL: 94dB SPL
- Microphone sensitivity: -19dBV@1kHz/Pa
- Bluetooth version: V5.0
- Bluetooth profile version: HFP V1.7,
- A2DP V1.3, AVRCP V1.6
- Bluetooth transmitter frequency range: 2.4GHz – 2.4835GHz
- Bluetooth transmitter power: <10dBm
- Bluetooth transmitter modulation: GFSK, π/4 DQPSK, 8DPSK
- Maximum operation temperature: 45°C
You can download the manual here->JBL Live 660NC Manual
Design & Comfort
The design can be said to be almost unchanged, which implies two-part resonators, the outer parts of which are round, while the inner parts are oval and follow the shape of the cushions. The headphones are made mostly of hard plastic, but there are chrome metal reinforcements in key places, such as hinges and sliders. The headband is completely covered with robust fabric, which is somewhat rougher on the upper side, while the lower side is hard upholstered. Soft cushions are placed on the inside of the resonator, and the frame of the resonator is hollowed out to accommodate controls and connections.
On the right side, there are multi-function buttons for turning on, Bluetooth pairing, volume and playback control, position matching, and activation of the ANC system, as well as a 3.5 mm jack for connection via cable, while on the left resonator, there is a USB-C port for charging batteries.
Inside the resonator, there are speaker units with a diameter of 40 millimeters, which is already a standard for this class. The manufacturer does not provide detailed information about the design of the driver and the accompanying amplification, so the improvements compared to the previous model are reflected only through the specifications, which state an increased frequency range from 16 hertz to 20 kilohertz.
On the other hand, the maximum sound pressure has been lowered to 94 decibels, which may not appeal to all users, but it will contribute to the preservation of hearing. Bluetooth connectivity has also been improved and is now version 5.0, which means that two Bluetooth sources can be connected at the same time. As a significant factor in every wireless headset, the internal battery has been slightly increased to 750 mAh and provides up to 50 hours of autonomy with the ANC system off, or 40 hours with ANC. JBL also claims that the battery can go from completely empty to full charge in two hours, while a quick 10-minute charge provides up to four hours of operation.
Using the JBL Live 660NC: Easy Controls and App Features
The JBL Live 660NC is a pair of wireless over-ear noise-canceling headphones that offer various controls and app features. Here are the details about the controls and app features based on the provided information:
- Adaptive Noise Cancelling (ANC): The headphones feature Adaptive Noise Cancelling technology, which allows you to block out external noise or let it in according to your preference.
- Ambient Aware: With the Ambient Aware technology, you can increase the ambient sounds around you, making it safer to walk on busy streets while wearing headphones.
- TalkThru: TalkThru lowers the volume of music and amplifies speech, making it easier to have conversations without removing your headphones.
- Voice Control: The JBL Live 660NC supports voice control with Hey Google and Alexa. You can activate ANC or Ambient Aware, check the battery life, or power off the headphones using your voice.
- Hands-free Calls: The headphones have buttons on the ear-cup for managing calls. They feature mic technology for clear stereo calls.
- VoiceAware: The VoiceAware feature allows you to control the amount of microphone input routed back into your earbuds, giving you control over how much you hear of your own voice.
- Auto Play and Pause: When you remove the headphones, your music automatically goes on hold, and it resumes playing when you put them back on.
- Multi-Point Connection: The headphones support Multi-Point Connection, enabling you to switch seamlessly between Bluetooth devices without missing a call.
- Google Fast Pair: The JBL Live 660NC supports Google Fast Pair, allowing immediate connection to your Android device with a simple tap on the screen.
- My JBL Headphones App: The headphones can be easily personalized using the My JBL Headphones app. The app enables you to change the EQ settings, select your preferred Voice Assistant (Google Assistant or Alexa), and set Smart Ambient settings, among other features.
- Battery Life: The JBL Live 660NC offers up to 50 hours of battery life. With ANC and Bluetooth on, the battery lasts up to 40 hours. A quick 10-minute charge provides an extra 4 hours of playtime.
- Comfort-fit Design: The headphones feature a comfort-fit fabric headband and soft ear cushions, ensuring a comfortable fit during extended listening sessions.
- Carrying Pouch: The package includes a soft pouch for protection and storage while traveling.
Battery Life and Connectivity: Impressive Longevity and Reliable Wireless Performance
The JBL Live 660 NC headphones offer impressive battery life and reliable wireless performance. Here are the details about the battery life and connectivity of the JBL Live 660 NC headphones:
The JBL Live 660 NC headphones provide an exceptional battery life of up to 50 hours when used with active noise cancellation (ANC) and Bluetooth enabled. This extensive battery life allows you to enjoy your music for extended periods without worrying about frequent recharging. Additionally, the headphones support Speed Charge technology, which allows you to get an extra 4 hours of playtime with just a quick 10-minute charge.
The JBL Live 660 NC headphones feature Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity. Bluetooth 5.0 offers enhanced wireless performance, including improved range, faster data transmission, and more stable connections compared to previous Bluetooth versions. With Bluetooth 5.0, you can expect reliable and seamless wireless pairing with compatible devices.
Furthermore, the headphones support multi-point connection, enabling you to effortlessly switch between multiple Bluetooth devices. This feature allows you to switch from, for example, watching a video on your tablet to taking a call on your mobile phone without missing any important notifications.
The JBL Live 660 NC headphones also support Google Fast Pair, a feature enabled by Google that enables quick and automatic pairing with Android devices. By simply tapping the device’s screen, you can easily connect the headphones to your Android device, streamlining the setup process.
To control various functions and personalize your listening experience, the headphones are accompanied by the “My JBL Headphones” app. The app allows you to adjust settings such as EQ presets, choose your preferred voice assistant (Google Assistant or Alexa), and configure Smart Ambient settings.
In summary, the JBL Live 660 NC headphones offer an impressive battery life of up to 50 hours and reliable wireless performance through Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity. With multi-point connection support, Google Fast Pair, and the My JBL Headphones app, these headphones provide convenient and customizable features to enhance your listening experience.
JBL Live 660NC – Sound Test
Although the changes to the exterior are minimal, the JBL Live 660NC still brings audible improvements during playback. Peter Gabriel’s first solo album sounded just right, putting in the foreground perhaps the most important quality of these headphones – excellent color. Namely, the Live 660NC provides a surprisingly natural sound, especially when you take into account the limitation of Bluetooth transmission.
The soundstage isn’t spectacularly big – in fact, you could say it’s just big enough to avoid feeling cramped – but still, the drivers, aided by a good DSP system, manage to place every note in a pleasing place. The legendary “Solsbury Hill” therefore sounded clear and sufficiently detailed, even with somewhat more saturated tones, which brought a vivid and at the same time more recognizable presentation. The ultimate definition is not clear and the tone is somewhat softer, which is quite fine for headphones of this type and price class. Much more important is the way the tones blend into the musical whole, and that’s where the Live 660NC really excels – musical, intimate, and with a touch of pleasant warmth, which will make long listening sessions and low-quality recordings more pleasant.
It’s always positive when wireless headphones also offer the option of connecting via a cable – when the battery runs out or if we simply want to determine their maximum range. For this purpose, we used a portable DAC/headphone amp of three times the price, which currently brought a much higher, almost audiophile quality of reproduction. The same tracks that we listened to earlier via BlueTooth were now placed on a wider stage, with a more pronounced stereo effect and a clearer spatial presentation. The tones got precisely outlined, but not surgically sharp edges, while in the lower range, the notes went even deeper while maintaining excellent definition. And, for the umpteenth time, we thought how much the Bluetooth sound would improve just by adding aptX or a similar, higher quality codec – because these headphones are capable of that.
The practicality of the tested headphones is further improved by the JBL Headphones application, which allows you to choose between five predefined equalizer modes, as well as create the sound you want. ANC works quite solidly and will neutralize most sounds from the environment, with minimal impact on the quality of playback, and Ambient Aware and TalkThru are also available. Secondary options, such as automatically pausing playback when the headphones are removed or turning off after a set period of inactivity, are also very convenient, as well as the support for voice assistants Google and Alexa.
Although the manufacturer presents them as an over-ear model, the tested headphones are somewhat smaller in size, so the cushions can press the ear shell around the perimeter, which should be taken into account during prolonged use. Of course, this is a consequence of exemplary portability, because the JBL Live 660NC is extremely grateful to carry and heat up relatively little during operation, and will provide you with excellent sound and isolation from the environment in all situations.
JBL Live660NC Pro & Cons
- Various connectivity options
- Solid construction
- Battery life
- Uncomfortable design due to narrow earcups
- Audio lacks openness
- Buggy voice assistant
- Treble not impressive
- aptX or a similar codec would improve the sound over BlueTooth