JBL Quantum 600 Review
Not a brand commonly associated with gaming, JBL is one of the most trusted brands in the audio industry for over 70 years and is a household name for audiophiles. But now JBL has its sights set on the gaming market with their all-new JBL Quantum range. The JBL Quantum range is able to combine decades of research with precise engineering with JBL claiming that the Quantum range provides “hyper-accurate, immersive sound that reveals every detail of the world around you”, but can JBL really give gamers the ultimate competitive edge?
Sound is Survival– JBL
JBL Quantum 600
The JBL Quantum 600 lands in the middle of a full-stack range of Quantum gaming headsets. The Quantum 600 offers wireless capabilities when compared to the JBL Quantum 400 but misses out on luxury features such as active noise cancelling found in the JBL Quantum 800. The JBL Quantum ONE is JBL’s flagship headset and features next-gen accuracy audio and independent soundscape thanks to its head-tracking and JBL QuantumSPHERE 360. Nevertheless, the JBL Quantum 600 still punches above its mid-range price tag, featuring over-ear closed-back ear cups, 2.4GHz wireless connectivity for PC and PS4, JBL QuantumSURROUND and on the fly audio-chat balance.
Sound is produced from huge 50 mm dynamic drivers with a frequency response of 20Hz – 20kHz and a 32-ohm impedance. Communications are handled via a unidirectional flip-up boom mic with a sensitivity of -40dBV @1kHz/Pa. Built from durable lightweight materials, the Quantum 600 promises to deliver on comfort, immersive sound and a 14-hour battery life (with RGB off) no matter your platform. This is thanks to the lossless 2.4GHz wireless dongle (PC and PlayStation) or the 3.5mm audio cable that’s compatible with XBOX, Nintendo Switch, Mobile, MAC and VR.
If there is one way to build suspense about a gaming headset, it is to deliver a unique unboxing experience — JBL has done just that! The Quantum 600 is showcased in a premium package littered with great graphics, useful specs plus the Quantum slogans ‘Sound is Survival’ and ‘Dare to Listen’.
The Quantum 600 is constructed from a solid but flexible black plastic that features orange highlights on the braided cables and illuminated RGB JBL logos on the ear cups. This is where the Quantum 600 does excel in design; controls are perfectly positioned for quick adjustments in-game and are naturally where you expect to reach.
The right ear cup hosts the power and sync button while the left provides quick access to the controls for the audio-chat balance, mic mute, volume, as well as the USB-C and 3.5mm inputs. The 3.5mm cable features inline volume control and mute control.
Comfort is key for any headset and while the Quantum 600 boasts leather-wrapped, memory foam ear cushions, unfortunately, comfort is where the Quantum 600 did disappoint. Despite the ear cushions providing great noise isolation, I was disappointed with the very snug fit and needed adjustment throughout longer gaming sessions for fresh air.
This is a result of the leather material featured on the ear cups rather than a more breathable fabric commonly seen on gaming headsets. Weighing in at 346 grams, the Quantum 600 is lighter than the EPOS│SENNHEISER GSP 500 (358g) and heavier than the HyperX Cloud Alpha S (310g) or the Logitech G PRO X (320g).
One quirk that should be noted is that when charging the Quantum 600, you’re unable to use them wirelessly. I will quote JBL on this one “We have disabled this for safety reasons”. While I can’t explain these safety reasons, I can explain the frustration of not being able to continue a game because your headset dies… Cough “Sound is Survival”. You can still reach for the 3.5mm cable as a replacement but I feel like this is a bit of a design oversight.
Assisting with keeping on top of battery life is a 2hrs charging time — This provides a 14-hour max battery life with RGB lighting off and the JBL QuantumENGINE software assists with providing visual battery status.
This is where the Quantum 600 truly shines! When first paired or connected using the cable you’re met with a neutral, warm sound signature that highlights JBL’s focus on bold bass and rounded mids. It’s not until you launch the JBL QuantumENGINE software and apply DTS from the Spatial Sound menu, that you truly unleash the full potential of the Quantum 600. The 50mm dynamic drivers deliver bright, finely tuned highs, a detailed mid-range and impressively low bass. This had me frantically scrolling playlists looking to challenge the Quantum 600, but nothing could challenge the Quantum 600 as it always confidently delivered.
Music aside, Netflix favourites benefited from the wider sound stage that the Quantum 600 and DTS mode can provide. The depth impacts movies like I wasn’t expecting and complemented Rupert Gregson-Williams’ Wonder Woman soundtrack and even Hans Zimmer’s epic score from Interstellar.
Gaming with the Quantum 600 also delivers a great experience, the 2.4GHz wireless dongle was flawless and provided quick paring with latency-free audio for both on PC and PS4. Spatial awareness was elevated thanks to the superb stereo imaging and surprisingly wide soundstage given the closed-back design. JBL has specifically tuned the Quantum 600‘s 50mm neodymium drivers sound curve for gaming and this is evident throughout my time with the headset. From “just one more round” of Overwatch to Call of Duty: Warzone, the Quantum 600 represents lively action and excitement with rewarding audio cues. Bullet impact feels realistic and environments are full of detail and dimension. This is highlighted in Shadow of the Tomb Raider with such a dynamic and immersive jungle environment that provides a rich audio gameplay experience.
On another level, JBL QuantumSURROUND is a mode enabled in JBL QuantumENGINE software that puts an added emphasis on the soundstage by simulating 7.1 surround sound. I found this especially rewarding in competitive shooters like Valorant or CS:GO where hearing enemies location and tracking movement is a huge advantage. I was actually really impressed with JBL’s implementation of QuantumSURROUND. Simulating 7.1 can lead to some undesirable results, with a trade-off in one way or another, but JBL has managed to hold onto to a considerable amount of quality without creating a virtual mess.
Through advanced algorithms, JBL QuantumSURROUND simulates stunning multi-channel audio to create an incredibly realistic spatial soundstage for cinematic levels of immersion and a true audio edge over the competition.– JBL
Unfortunately, a lot of these great features are only supported via the wireless dongle and JBL’s QuantumENGINE PC software. Meaning that anything other than a PC or PS4 will force you to reach for the 3.5mm cable (sorry Xbox owners).
The Quantum 600 features a flip-up boom unidirectional microphone convenient for quickly muting voice with an audible click that’s visually represented by a red LED. This mic is also DISCORD-certified and is covered with windshield foam and is flexible to allow for the perfect pickup position.
The game-chat balance dial lets you mix the chat and game audio levels, which is handy to dial down your overexcited squad or boost your team chat when game audio is heightened. While testing with a voice recorder and in-game with DISCORD, the microphone was able to provide a natural clean tone without overbearing compression. While when chat escalated the Quantum 600‘s mic managed well without any nasty clipping.
I was impressed with JBL’s QuantumENGINE PC software, something companies often struggle with. JBL has managed to create an intuitive responsive layout and I love the dark, edgy styling — nice one JBL! QuantumENGINE let’s you adjust the surround sound settings, EQ, RGB effects, plus microphone volume and sidetone.
On a more advanced level, within JBL QuantumSURROUND you can set head diameter and body high allowing for QuantumENGINE to place you correctly in the virtual space.
JBL Quantum 600 Review
- DESIGN - 78%78%
- SOUND - 90%90%
- MICROPHONE - 72%72%
- VALUE - 80%80%
The JBL Quantum 600 is an excellent mid-range headset, suited more towards PC and PS4 platforms. The Quantum 600 offers wireless freedom, excellent sound, construction and value ($229.95 AUD). PC players will appreciate the JBL QuantumENGINE software that complements the headsets abilities and allows for flexible customization. Outside of using the headset on PC and PS4, the added support for a 3.5mm input is a great addition, especially for other platforms such as XBox One, Nintendo Switch, Mobile, MAC and VR.
JBL has done some impressive work with their first entry into the gaming market. This has me looking forward with anticipation; hoping that JBL continues this trend with what’s to come from the Quantum range!
For more on JBL, check out our previous coverage.