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Premium over-ear headphones are typically quite large, in order to completely cover the wearer's ears and create a snug fit with proper noise isolation. However, it helps for headphones to not be unnecessarily bulky, so that wearing them is still comfortable and convenient over long stretches.
The JBL Tour One does manage that balance, with a considerably sleeker form factor than the company's previous flagship Club One headphones. The ear cups and headband are mostly matte black, with reflective black strips accenting the edges of the ear cups and the area just under the headband. The headset is light and was very comfortable to wear over long listening sessions, but I did need to adjust my glasses to ensure the noise isolating seal was maintained.
The power and pairing functions are controlled with a sliding switch on the right earcup of the JBL Tour One; flicking this to the middle turns the headphones on, and holding it in place for a couple of seconds in the lowest position puts it in pairing mode. There are also dedicated buttons for volume adjustment on the right earcup, and a customisable button on the left.
There is a 2. The JBL Tour One uses a four-microphone system for voice pickup and active noise cancellation, with two facing forward, the third facing to one side, and the fourth inside one ear cup. The outside of the right earcup is touch-sensitive. You can tap it to control playback and answer or disconnect calls. I found the touch controls to be a bit fiddly. They were easy to trigger accidentally, and occasionally did not register double or triple taps. There is also wear detection which automatically pauses or resumes your music when the Tour One headphones are taken off or put on, and this worked well for me.
This app displays the estimated battery level of the headphones and lets you customise and adjust various functions and settings such as active noise cancellation, ambient sound mode, and talk-through mode. There's also a 'smart audio mode' for audio quality, stability and latency improvements, equaliser settings, touch controls, customisable button controls, and voice assistant settings, among other things.
The programmable button on the JBL Tour One can be set to either cycle between ANC and ambient sound modes, or invoke the voice assistant on your smartphone through a long press. A long press on the touch-sensitive zone can also be set to control ANC and transparency modes, or activate the talk-through function which quickly lowers the audio volume and allows you to have conversations. This is a very functional app, allowing you to set the JBL Tour One up exactly as you want, and also update its firmware as and when needed.
One thing worth noting is the ability to set the active noise cancellation and transparency modes as quickly according to the environment, and I often found myself also tweaking the equaliser to find the right settings for the particular genre of music that I was listening to. The lack of support for advanced Bluetooth codecs is a bit disappointing at this price. The frequency response range is ,Hz when used in passive mode with the stereo cable and ,Hz when used with Bluetooth.
The sales package includes a hard carry case, a stereo cable for wired connectivity, an airplane adapter, and a charging cable. It ran for around 30 hours on a single charge with active noise cancellation on and the volume at moderate levels, but this will vary a bit depending on your usage. Charging was also reasonably quick, with the headset getting to a full charge in around two hours when using the included cable and a 10W power adapter. High-end headphones come with the expectation of good sound quality, and the JBL Tour One largely delivers on this, with a refreshingly neutral and adaptable sound.
That said, the lack of support for advanced Bluetooth codecs did hold these headphones back a bit when it came to detail and definition in the sound, depending on the source device. I used the JBL Tour One for music, calls, and video content with an iPhone 13 as my primary source, but I also paired these headphones with an Android smartphone and a MacBook Air on occasion for reference. It's possible to optimise the sound for specific functions such as listening to music or watching videos, using the app, and this did seem to help make each use case a bit better.
My earliest impressions of the sound quality of the JBL Tour One were fairly neutral, but over time, and by listening to music across a wide range of genres, I grew to quite like its balanced sound. The slow vocal-based buildup of this track sounded gentle and refined, and the headphones still adapted almost seamlessly to its faster, rhythmic sections.
The clean and balanced sound is refreshing and enjoyable, but the lack of advanced Bluetooth codecs holds the JBL Tour One back a bit. Lows sounded relaxed, yet had just enough attack and drive to not get lost in the much more capable mid-range and highs. Known best for youthful, bright-colored beach speakers, JBL shows its grown-up side with its new Tour One headphones.
For some people, Bluetooth headphones are only important when isolating themselves from grunting gym-goers or noisy subway cars. For these purposes, a pair of cheapies will do the trick just fine. True music aficionados, however, want a little more. The ear cups are protected by a couple of plastic inserts, which keep the foam earpads from deforming during shipping. The first thing you'll notice about the Tour Ones is how understated they are. They feel light and a bit—shall we say—delicate.
On the outside of the headphones, the JBL logo is tastefully engraved into each of the earcups. In addition, the headband is adorned with a discrete Tour One logo printed on a glossy black accent. Everything on these headphones is pleasingly symmetrical, save for the volume buttons on the right earcup. The left side of the headphones has the customizable function button and the USB-C charging port.
Next to the port is a nearly invisible LED that will let you know when the headphones are charging or when the battery is about to die. The inner portion of the headband is metal, the center of which JBL wrapped with marshmallow-y memory foam and faux leather. The padding for each earcup is the same foam and the same faux leather.
There is also a step adjustment in the band to fit both larger and smaller-sized heads. Additionally, the headphones swivel inward if you need to pop them onto your collar temporarily. As I said, the understatement of these headphones is striking. But do they? These cans sound balanced to my ears—with only a tickle of mid-range dominating the mix. Because this pair comes with a wired option, I chose to evaluate both wireless performance via my iPhone Xs, and my iPad Pro, and wired performance through two Fiido DACs that I own.
While not quite as powerful when using wireless, instrumental separation on the Tour Ones was still remarkable. On the other hand, switching to hip-hop allowed these headphones to shine. Overall, I would rate the sound quality of these headphones as excellent, with the mids displaying slightly more prominence.
For all but the most well-tuned ear, the Tour Ones will be a significant step-up over something like the AirPods Pro. The feathery weight of the Tour Ones is fantastic here, though they do start to get a bit cumbersome after four or five hours.
I noticed this much more when wearing my glasses, as the earcups pressed the temples into the bony area behind my ears. However, the padding does a lot to mitigate the ultra-light clamping force, so it is possible to wear these headphones for most of the day. The generous earcups also stand out. Bluetooth pairing consists of toggling the switch on the right earphone and holding it down. Once in pairing mode, you can connect to most devices with Bluetooth support. JBL designed the Tour One to switch between two devices, so if you have a computer and a smartphone, you can use the headphones with both.
Switching is as simple as toggling the button downward for a moment. To pair new devices, just hold down the button for a bit longer. There are a minimalistic amount of controls on the headphones themselves. Below this switch are the volume buttons, which allow you to adjust volume without taking your phone out of your pocket. Like many headphone controls, a single tap plays and pauses audio, a double skips forward, and a triple skips backward.
Touching and holding can be customized to toggle TalkThru, Ambient Sound Control, or the voice assistant. On the left earphone is a customizable function button that you can also use to summon your voice assistant or toggle noise cancellation modes. Given the sensitivity of the touch sensor, sometimes lifting your arms overhead will inadvertently tap the touch panel, which pauses your music.
Touch and hold would also get confused at times, which required me to turn the headphones off and back on again. Again, not a huge deal, though slightly annoying. Ambient Aware mode allows you to hear outside sounds while using your Tour Ones. The benefit of this mode is that you can still hear when someone says something to you, but your music will also play at normal volume. To activate the TalkThru feature, tap and hold on the outside of the right earcup. The mode also uses the built-in microphones for a more natural-sounding conversation.
I found TalkThru to be ideal for when I needed to pay close attention to my conversations, though I feel like sliding the JBLs off of my ears and onto my shoulders was slightly more polite.
True Adaptive Noise Cancelling; no icon JBL Pro Sound, hi-res certified; no icon 4-mic Technology for Accurate and clear voice call. Variations. Black. Unbox the Tour One and the first thing you see is a premium moulded black travel case with a useful snap-fastener on the zip. JBL Tour One Wireless Over-Ear Headphones with True Active Noise Cancelling, 4 Built-In Mics and Hands-Free Controls, in Black. Visit the JBL Store.