Balanced sound reproduction
The controls don’t get in the way
Recommended price: 251.99 euros
At JBL they understand that headphones should not only sound good, but sound good. Our eyes are feasting on the JBL Tour One M2, but will our ears join in?
Let’s be honest: most headphones look the same. It always includes two shells that can be rotated and tied together with a strap. To be honest, we’re not really crazy about how most headphones look today. However, that changed when we first saw the champagne-coloured JBL Tour One M2. In our opinion, these headphones, which JBL is mainly targeting professionals, look particularly stylish.
Design and comfort
It wasn’t just our eyes that were happy with the JBL Tour One M2: our heads quickly fell in love with it, too. Obviously, the headphones are designed to be worn on your head for several hours and this works without any complaints. The device weighs around 278 grams, so it is definitely not too heavy. The cups, which can be rotated, fit comfortably in your ears thanks to the ultra-soft cushions. In fact, there’s only one thing to say about wearing comfort: it’s just as good here. The fact that comfort goes hand in hand with durability makes it even better. In other words, hitting your head or taking something out of your backpack isn’t a problem: the headphones stay firmly on your head.
We also find comfort in the way the JBL Tour One M2 operates. On the right cover there are two buttons on the back, near your neck, to adjust the volume. Above you will find the on/off switch with which you can immediately put the headphones into pairing mode. On the right side you will also find a touch-sensitive surface. This allows you to pause or continue music, record and make phone calls, fast forward, etc. The touch-sensitive surface starts high enough and is easy to find, but it certainly doesn’t get in the way when operating the physical buttons. On the left side of the headphones you will find the multifunctional TalkThru button: by default this button turns on the TalkThru mode. However, you can also set this button to switch between Ambient Aware and ANC modes or even activate the voice assistant.
The sound quality of the JBL Tour One M2 will depend a little on which device you connect to and how. Not only do the headphones offer Bluetooth technology, but they also come with a classic 3.5mm cable. However, our iPhone 13 doesn’t have an AUX input, but it does have Bluetooth – so the Tour One was tested wirelessly here. The headphones support Bluetooth 5.3, although our phone has not yet reached that point with Bluetooth 5.0. Listening via iPhone also means we use the AAC codec. This is our top option: Otherwise, the Tour One M2 only supports SBC. Support for LC3 and LC3+ audio codecs will come to headphones at a later date.
This is all well and good, but what does that look like? Overall, thanks to the 40mm drivers, it sounds really good. When testing headphones, we always keep the EQ flat, but even then the bass comes through well in true JBL style. Even if you choose to increase the bass level, it still makes an impression: powerful as it should be on songs like Cherrymoon Trax. House housebut the JBL Tour One M2 knows how to keep that bass under control Topic changes From Thundercat. It is also evident in that song that the midrange remains relatively constant. The vocals don’t stand out, but overall enough space is given in the mix. There’s certainly a lot going on at the higher end of the spectrum: toppers look fresh, elegant and rarely sharp.
The JBL Tour One M2 also comes with a spatial audio option. We were less than impressed. The One M2’s soundstage is on the less spacious side anyway. Especially when we look at how Jabra brings spatial audio to the Elite 10 headphones, we can’t help but conclude that JBL still has some work to do here.
Additionally, JBL offers plenty of special features that allow you to customize the audio experience to your liking. One of these functions is called “Personi-Fi”: through a hearing test, the headphones will boost certain frequencies, so that your music experience is optimal. For us, this mainly meant that the trilogy was beefed up a bit, which in itself didn’t contribute much to the overall experience.
Another tool that isn’t actually used very often is the different listening modes. For example, you can set the JBL Tour One M2 to music or video mode – in the latter case, JBL reduces audio delay, so picture and sound arrive at the same time. It’s a nice addition, although I’m used to the delay by now. The functionality doesn’t add much, but the sound quality of your chain immediately becomes less good.
Moreover, the JBL Tour One M2 comes with a number of transparency modes. You can turn on the adaptive ANC feature to get rid of all ambient noise. This usually works well, although you sometimes hear that the ANC has to work more intensely to keep up with ambient noise. Furthermore, the Tour One M2 comes with a transparency mode that JBL calls “Ambient Aware.” Anyone who’s read our JBL Tour Pro 2 headphones review knows we’re not really fans of those two words. However, in these headphones the situation is much less catastrophic: there is still noise, but it does not dominate all the sounds you want to hear. We can say that it is useful here.
Last but not least, the headphones also have a TalkThru function, which mutes the music and allows you to have a conversation without taking off the headphones. With VoiceAware, you can also adjust how much sound you hear. The function does work, but certainly not as good as your ears. However, it only takes a little effort to slide the shell back and expose your ear. We won’t see you using this feature any time soon.
We can summarize the battery life: without ANC and at medium volume, you can play for about 50 hours. Do you activate ANC? Then the battery life drops to about 30 hours. That’s a long battery life, although it could have been a little longer. The JBL Tour Pro M2 headphones are absolutely great to have on your head. While other headphones always disappear from our heads after an hour or two – because we get tired of them and need to recharge – the JBL Tour Pro M2 simply stays in place. And before you know it, those 30 to 50 hours have gone by, which really shows that these are excellent headphones.
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