JBL Quantum One Review
JBL Quantum One
The gamer in you will thank you for investing in JBL’s new headset, reckons PAT PILCHER, who finds that listening to the Quantum One is an immersive experience.
JBL has officially entered the gaming fray with the Quantum One gaming headset. It not only sounds great, but packs a metric tonne of nifty features, including head-tracking, noise-cancelling, and spatial sound. Costing $549, the big question to my mind is this – do the Quantum One’s deliver on their sticker price?
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There are more than a few subtle clues that the Quantum One is a gaming headset. While it looks like a generic high-end headset, small giveaways such as a USB PC connector, a built-in mixer, clip-on boom mic and RGB lighting all combine to give it a distinctly gaming vibe.
It felt solid but comfy. Where some over-ear gear makes my head feel as if it’s in a vice, the padded headband of the Quantum One’s made for a lose (but snug) fit. Comfort was helped along by earcups covered in leatherette and padded with memory foam. The Quantum One’s weighed in at a mere 369 grams, so they didn’t feel too heavy in use.
There’s a load of inputs and controls. These are all located on the left side earcup. The controls include a Mic mute button, volume dial, head-tracking recalibration, and an enable/disable noise-cancelling button. There’s a port for the mic, a 3.5mm jack (for use with consoles), and a USB port for a PC (which is required if you want to use head-tracking). The USB cable also features an audio mixer puck, which lets you increase the volume of multi-player chat or in-game audio.
The noise-cancelling mightn’t be anything new. It mightn’t be terribly innovative either. Still, it is something that’s rarely seen on gaming headsets. Getting rid of ambient noise did help a lot to make gameplay just that much more immersive and focused my attention on the game.
Audio-wise, the 50mm drivers delivered crispy highs and tightly controlled bass, all of which made for detailed and engaging in-game audio. Rated at 114 dB, the Quantum One delivered loud, clear sound, even at lower volume levels. While it has the same 20-40,000Hz frequency response as many other hi-res headsets, the audio delivered by the Quantum One felt balanced in that it wasn’t too shrill or bass-heavy. Even with levels cranked up, everything sounded clear. The soundscapes blasted into my ear cavities felt incredibly immersive. The surround sound, especially when used with spatial audio and head-tracking software on a PC, seemed very precise. I was able to catch other players trying to sneak up on me. This was helped greatly when I was able to look around and hear the sound to match my head movement.
PC gamers will need to download and instal the configuration app, the QuantumEngine. It allows you to adjust the audio and save custom audio profiles (or you can simply choose to use the supplied pre-configured settings). It also allows you to calibrate head-tracking and spatial audio. If the fancy takes you, you can also tweak the headset’s RGB lighting. The software sports an easy to navigate UI. While there are many settings to tweak, each is intuitively laid out.
As good as this all sounds, the head-tracking needs a little work. Several times while testing, it lost track of where I was looking. Eventually, I discovered that it helped if I calibrated it on start-up, even if doing it every time was an annoyance.
So, the verdict. JBL has crafted a stunning headset with the Quantum One. While it certainly isn’t cheap, you do get a hell of a lot of headphone for your money. Its audio performance is solid and would be more than enough to give some high-end non-gaming headsets pause for thought. Add to this the huge amount of customizability you get with the Quantum engine, and there is a whole lot for gamers to like.