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JBL uncorks a flood of noise canceling headphones for CES

The new lineup includes high-resolution travel cans and plenty of true wireless options.

Credit: Harman

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JBL is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, and the storied audio brand is kicking off the pre-CES 2021 festivities with several product announcements to commemorate the occasion. The fresh haul of audio gear includes a new pair of premium headphones, new additions to its true wireless earbuds lineup, the next edition of the company’s popular Charge Bluetooth speaker series, and a new all-in-one soundbar.

Headlining this impressive list of audio products are the JBL Tour One headphones, a $300 pair of over-ear, noise-canceling cans that seem poised to stack up against popular travel headphones like the Sony WH-1000XM4. In similar fashion to Sony and its WF-1000XM3 in-ear alternatives, Harman also announced the JBL Tour Pro+, a pair of in-ear headphones featuring Adaptive Noise Cancelling technology. Both products are slated for a May 30, 2021 release, though you won’t have to wait quite as long to snag some of Harman’s other new products.

JBL Tour One over-ear headphones

JBL Tour One headphones
Credit: Harman
  • Price: $299.95
  • Release date: May 30, 2021
  • Battery life: 50 hours of total music playback, 25 hours with Adaptive Noise Canceling and Bluetooth on
  • Rapid charging: 10 minutes of charging gains four hours of playback
  • Voice Assistant compatibility: hands-free voice capability with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant

In addition to being equipped with True Adaptive Noise Cancellation technology that JBL says monitors environmental sound and adapts in real time to block unwanted noise, the Tour One are outfitted with 40mm dynamic drivers and Hi-Res Audio Certification thanks to their ability to support frequencies up to 40kHz. The Tour One also feature a four-microphone setup to aid in call quality, and a handy fast-pairing feature that JBL promises will offer seamless connection.

While the Sony WH-1000XM4 are still widely regarded as the undisputed champs in the noise-canceling headphones department, JBL has its own sought after sound signature and the new Tour One headphones may be a worthy alternative.

JBL Tour Pro+ TWS in-ear headphones

JBL Tour Pro in-ear headphones
Credit: Harman
  • Price: $199.95
  • Release date: May 30, 2021
  • Battery life: 6 hours with ANC, eight hours without, up to 30 hours total with case
  • Rapid charging: 10 minutes charge for one hour of playback
  • Connectivity: Dual Connect + Sync and Fast Pair technology
  • Voice Assistant compatibility: Hands-free voice capability with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Water-resistance: IPX4 weather resistance rating

With Adaptive Noise Cancellation, Adaptive Ambient Aware, and TalkThru technology, the Tour Pro+ are positioned to be JBL’s answer to the ever-growing crowd of noise-canceling wireless earbuds on the market like Jabra's Elite 85t, Sony's WF-1000XM3, and Apple's AirPods Pro. The Tour Pro+ follow a similar model in the JBL lineup, the Club Pro+ (which also offer ANC). The Tour offer 6.8mm dynamic drivers, three-microphones to analyze your audio environment, and customized tap controls. They're in a tough crowd, but if they can deliver on their specs, the Tour Pro+ could be another worthy AirPods Pro alternative—especially at this price.

JBL Live Pro+ in-ear headphones

JBL Live Pro wireless earbuds
Credit: Harman
  • Price: $179.95
  • Release date: March 14, 2021
  • Battery life: up to 6 hours playback with ANC, 7 hours without, up to 21 hours total with case
  • Colors: Black, White, Pink, Beige
  • Connectivity: Dual Connect + Sync, Fast Pair technology
  • Voice Assistant compatibility: hands-free voice compatibility with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Water-resistance: IPX4 weather resistance rating

Part of the Live Series lineup that JBL markets as headphones for “consumers looking to get more out of their listening experience,” the Live Pro+ feature Echo Canceling Mic Technology for improved phone calls and ANC. They represent a slightly more cost-effective alternative to the Tour Pro + TWS buds they were released alongside. Outside of the family, the Live Pro+ will have a ton of competition, often from buds with better water resistance such as Jabra's Elite 75t (which added basic digital noise-canceling last year), so they'd better bring it when it comes to sound quality.

Reflect Mini NC TWS in-ear headphones

JBL Mini earbuds
Credit: Harman
  • Price: $149.95
  • Release date: Spring 2021
  • Battery life: up to 7 hours playback, up to 21 hours with the case
  • Colors: Blue, White, Black
  • Connectivity: Dual Connect + Sync, independent earbud use, Google Fast Pair
  • Voice Assistant compatibility: built-in voice capabilities with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Water-resistance: IPX7 weather resistance rating

With dunkable protection against both water and sweat, the Reflect Mini NC TWS are a compelling new option for workout junkies looking for active noise canceling buds that won’t falter under pressure. They’ve also got 6mm dynamic drivers, adjustable ear fins, and allow for hands-free stereo calls with an auto-pause feature. In other words, the Reflect Mini NC TWS seem well equipped to be effective on-the-go earbuds, even if they could use a boost in battery compared to what some other sport-oriented earbuds around this price offer.

JBL Charge 5 portable Bluetooth speaker

JBL Charge 5 portable speaker
Credit: Harman
  • Price: $179.95
  • Release date: April 2021
  • Battery life: supports 20 hours of playtimeColors: Black, Blue, Gray, Red, Teal, Squad
  • Connectivity: Wireless Bluetooth v5.1 streaming
  • Water-resistance: IP67 weather resistance rating

JBL’s Flip 5 Bluetooth speaker is our current favorite portable speaker for its room-filling sound, excellent price, and solid protection against the elements, so we have high expectations for the Charge 5. Fortunately for JBL, the Charge 5 looks ready to impress on paper with upgraded battery life (20 hours versus 12) and Bluetooth connectivity (5.1 vs. 4.2) over the Flip 5, as well as identical waterproof and dustproof ratings. That said, the bump in battery, Bluetooth, and quite possibly sound will cost you close to twice the price.

JBL Bar 5.0 all-in-one soundbar

JBL all-in-one soundbar
Credit: Harman
  • Price: $399.95
  • Release date: Spring 2021
  • Wireless connections: Bluetooth, Apple Airplay 2, Chromecast
  • Sound formats: JBL 3D Surround Sound, Virtual Dolby Atmos

Not to be confused with the JBL Bar 5.1, the JBL Bar 5.0 is an all-in-one soundbar with four passive radiators that JBL says will fill rooms with deep, punchy bass—without a separate subwoofer. The company also says this new soundbar will be able to utilize a combination of Virtual Dolby Atmos and JBL’s MultiBeam technology to produce heightened, space-filling sound. It’s a tall order for an all-in-one bar, but we’ll reserve judgement until we've heard what this new soundbar can do with our own ears.

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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