JBL Live 770NC review

The JBL Live 770NC headphones strike a balance between price and performance. In most areas, they aren’t as good as the best over-ear wireless headphones in NZ, but at $279, they’re significantly cheaper and capable enough to deliver a good experience.  

These headphones are in the mid-range bracket, the price tag is friendly on the wallet, but it’s fair to expect a few trade-offs. The build is functional, though it leans a bit toward the plasticky side. Sound-wise, they hold up well until you crank the volume, and you won’t find fancy extras like touch controls here. However, they’re straightforward, easy to use, and pretty much cover all the basics you’d need. 

If you want over-ear headphones with noise-cancellation capabilities without spending over $500, the JBL Live 770NC are a good option. Just don’t expect premium performance. 

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Comfortable
  • Massive 50-hour battery life
  • Adequate audio quality

Cons

  • Cheap build
  • Spatial sound is poor
  • No touch controls

Price 

The JBL Live 770NC from here on, I’ll refer to them as the 770NCs cost $279. This is much cheaper than the best headphones on the market, the $600 Sony WH-1000XM5 and the $639 Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless. 

These mid-range headphones are more in line with the Sony WH-CH720s and the Sennheiser HD 450SE. 

Design 

There isn’t anything flashy about the 770NC’s; they’re basic-looking headphones without standout design features. They come in black, white and blue, all of which look fine.  

There’s no touch controls here, instead the right earcup houses physical buttons and switches. There’s a power switch and volume up/down, play/pause, Bluetooth on and ANC on/off buttons. These work well. They’re responsive and easy to navigate.  

There’s an aux port on the right earcup for wired us and for charging there’s a USB-C port on the left earcup. 

I found the 770s comfortable. The faux leather cushioning is soft enough that it didn’t bother me or get uncomfortable after long periods of use, but it doesn’t react well to sweat. Similarly, the headband doesn’t have the softest cushion I’ve ever used, but it’s fine. The clamp force is also good, meaning I didn’t feel like the 770NCs squashed my head, and I managed to get a nice fit. 

But the build does feel cheap. These are plasticky and they don’t feel like a premium set of headphones. Which is to be expected

JBL Live 770NC review

Audio 

The 40mm drivers can deliver thick bass frequencies and crisp mids. But they’re more bass-oriented, as the higher frequencies didn’t sound as good.  

At higher volumes bass frequencies could take over the mix and muddy the other sounds and audio feels a little cramped. What I mean by that is the headphones don’t generate a wide soundstage, it all feels like it’s coming from a small area and the sounds overlap each other. Premium headphones are much better in this area.

To remedy that, the 770NCs support “spatial sound” which tries to spatialise stereo content. This was very poor, and I found audio sounded much worse when I had this turned on, so I left it off. 

You can equalise the audio to your preference within the JBL Headphones App. This works very well. It’s easy to use, and changing frequencies has a noticeable impact. This means you can get audio to sound exactly how you want. The app also comes with six presets if you’re not too sure what you’re doing.  

You can also use “Personi-Fi” in the app to adjust the headphones to how you personally hear things. This is quite a long listening test that asks you to say when you can and can’t hear certain frequencies. It’s fine. 

JBL Live 770NC review

ANC/Features 

The ANC here is ok. It can cancel most of the noises generated by traffic on a busy street and the hum of an airplane engine. But it doesn’t cancel everything. Higher pitched sounds will creep through, like an announcement on a speaker and you’ll also hear low rumblings of engines.   

They support Ambient Aware, in which the four microphones pick up and play outside sounds into your ears, and TalkThru, which boosts conversational sounds and turns the audio down so you can have a conversation while wearing the headphones.  

The other “advanced” features on offer here are smart assistant support, the 770NC’s are compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant, VoiceAware in which you can control how much of your voice you can hear on a phone call and Auto Play & Pause in which the headphones will pause audio when you take them off and will continue playing when you put them on. This was hit and miss; sometimes it worked well, but other times it didn’t. The headphones would always recognise when I had taken them off, but a lot of the time, they didn’t start playing when I put them back on.

Battery 

The 770NC’s boast really good battery life, 65 hours with ANC turned off and 50 hours with it turned on. It’s massive and it’s probably way more than you’ll need.  

To compliment those capabilities, the battery only takes two hours to charge from empty and you can also give it a five-minute quick charge for four hours of playback. AS a comparison, our favourite headphones the Sony WH-1000XM5’s only last 30 hours with ANC on and 40 with it off. 

JBL Live 770NC review

Verdict 

The JBL Live 770NC headphones are a solid choice for those on a budget. At $279, they don’t compete with the high-end market leaders, but they offer substantial value with competent noise cancellation and decent sound quality, especially in bass and mid frequencies.  

While the design feels a bit cheap, and they lack premium features like touch controls, these headphones are comfortable and practical for everyday use. The standout feature is their battery life, offering up to 50 hours of playback with ANC turned on.  

If you’re after a pair of reliable, no-frills headphones that cover the essentials well, the 770NCs are worth considering. Just don’t expect them to outperform their high-end counterparts. 

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Price
Design
Audio
Battery
Innovation
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Yes, Patch is my (real) name and reviewing tech is my game. Get in touch at patch.bowen@thebit.nz
jbl-live-770nc-review The JBL Live 770NC headphones strike a balance between price and performance. In most areas, they aren't as good as the best over-ear wireless headphones in NZ, but at $279, they're significantly cheaper and capable enough to deliver a good experience.   These headphones are in the mid-range...