JBL’s Quantum 600 is a great sounding headset, but it has an audio tune that may not be suitable for competitive gaming
- Manufacturer: JBL
- Model: Quantum 600
- Price: £99.99
- Platforms: PC, PlayStation (2.4GHz wireless), Xbox, Switch, Mobile (3.5mm analogue)
- Reviewed on: Windows PC
- Supplied by: JBL
JBL Quantum 600 Review
The JBL Quantum line was a huge surprise to me. Whenever I think of JBL I remember the big headphones my dad would wear when I was younger, so I have always associated JBL with music, and rightly so. JBL has been manufacturing audio equipment for nearly a century, and has been a top dog in the music scene for well over a decade, but what happens when you take a rich pedigree of premium music audio and apply it to gaming?
I was lucky enough to be sent JBL’s wireless Quantum 600 headset and I have to say, you can definitely tell JBL knows what they are doing when it comes to making a good headset.
Design and build
What’s in the box?
- JBL Quantum 600 headset
- Type-C to Type-A charging cable
- 3.5 mm audio cable
- USB wireless dongle
- Windshield foam for microphone
- Quick start guide / warranty card/ safety sheet
Starting off, the Quantum 600 definitely keeps with JBLs typical design aesthetic; If you have a scroll through the JBL catalogue it’s easy to see the Quantum 600 are the gamer cousins to some of JBL’s over-ear headphones.
Made mostly of smooth plastic the Quantum 600 has a great visual style, The headband is larger and prettier than the traditional music line JBL headphones with a gloss JBL on the top and little slices in the plastic for an extra bit of aesthetic flair. The cushioning on the headband is a nice plush leatherette that wraps around, covering the sides and bottom of the headband and blending near-perfectly into the headband, leading to a really nice clean look.
The headband ends with an angular finish rather than a clean straight line. This means that the sliders are always partially exposed. This is a fairly unique choice, and it adds a little extra dimension to the design of the Quantum 600. The sliders themselves are printed with markers so that you can equally adjust each side. The annoyance I found here is that the marks do not really correspond to the notching on the slider, as there are actually stops between each number. This isn’t an issue by any standard. It just seems strange to me that they chose to not have a number for every adjustment.
This leads us to the cup attachment points on the forks that are lovely, slim and wrap around the back of the cup, flowing together in a really satisfying way. They also have swivel and tilt: the swivel goes forward just beyond straight and will also swivel fully inwards so that they can rest on your chest or flat on a desk. This for me is one of the most important features of any large gaming headset, as having swivelling forks avoids any kind of clamping force related discomfort, meaning that the headset is able to always apply pressure equally around your ears.
The cables linking the two drivers run to the headband freely along the slider. This is a style that has always been around but is seldom seen in gaming to my knowledge. In recent years it has seen a resurgence with the popularity of lighter headsets; It’s a nice flourish as it adds detail and is an opportunity to add extra style with fancy cable sleeves, as has been done with the black and orange cable on the Quantum 600.
Moving on to the cups, they have a smooth flowing shape that ends with a raised round section that has an angular cut out around it, a grill pattern on top of it and the RGB-lit JBL logo also on its face. The face of the cup rises with a smooth slope that is only interrupted by a futuristic edgy cutout, that also acts as the separation between the black plastic seen everywhere else and the gloss metallic grey paint/plastic featured on the body of the cups.
Reminiscent of a car’s paint this adds a sweet quality feel to the whole headset. If I didn’t know better I would think it was actual lacquered paint; it feels sleek and polished and it looks fantastic. It’s a super unique touch to feature this style of paint/plastic. It shimmers slightly under light, reminding you that you are dealing with a decent piece of hardware made by a high-quality manufacturer.
The cups have deep super plush memory foam cups that are wrapped in soft leatherette. These again scream high-end music headphones to me. I’m not sure what it is but it just had that feel to it, the whole headset really does feel like it is a music-focused set of headphones that had an edgy phase in its life and decided to become a gaming headset.
The JBL Quantum 600 supports lossless 2.4GHz wireless with the included USB-A dongle. The dongle provides wireless support on PC and PlayStation, but the RGB, EQ, Mic settings and JBL sound enhancement features are only available on PC.
There is no Bluetooth support, so for devices without USB compatibility, such as Xbox, Switch or mobile devices, you are limited to a wired 3.5mm analogue connection that uses a flat audio profile and cannot be changed with the QuantumENGINE software.
The JBL Quantum 600s range seemed pretty good, I was perfectly able to walk away from my setup into my kitchen without ever losing audio or communication. This would be just over maybe 10 meters away so it seems to hold the general standard if not exceed it.
Features and controls
Control-wise the Quantum 600 is fairly standard, with most of its function in the Quantum engine. The headset has only 3 controls onboard: a mute button, a volume wheel and a chat/game balance wheel.
On each cup you will find some controls: On the right cup is the power switch, and on the left cup is where most of your controls will be, including a charging port, 3.5mm jack input, a volume wheel, mute button and a chat/game mixer. You will also find your microphone on the left-hand cup that features a flip to mute and a red LED to tell you when it is muted.
It is lacking any way to store and switch between EQs on the fly and this would have to be done through the software provided. This isn’t really a huge deal as it’s fairly common among headsets, especially in its price range. As per usual, the RGB can only be adjusted in software and it will not be activated if the headset is connected through the 3.5mm jack rather than wirelessly or by USB type C.
As far as audio offerings it does support Windows Sonic, DTS, Dolby Atmos and special audio in software. I personally found Atmos remained my favourite as it has always been when available, as DTS and Sonic spatial audio didn’t seem to provide a huge improvement for me, but this may also differ based on the games you play and enjoy.
The Quantum 600 has a nice pair of 50mm dynamic drivers pumping clean audio straight into your ears. Everything comes through crystal clear, and the sound stage is wide and alive. Nothing overpowers anything else, you never get any muddiness, and the bass is tuned to perfection. It punches hard but somehow doesn’t blow out – it’s like listening to bass on a high-quality subwoofer.
In terms of quality, I find it really hard to give the Quantum 600 anything but props. The audio tune is where the issue lies. Of course, you can set your own EQ, but while gaming the audio is good, it just feels off. As I said it’s clean and high quality but the balance between frequencies doesn’t feel well-suited to gaming. Listening to music, however, brings this headset to life. It’s a whole different experience, they flourish and excel past most other gaming headsets.
This is where it became very apparent that JBL is showing its roots with the Quantum 600. As I said, you can adjust the EQ to make them sound considerably better but there is always that feeling that something is missing. They in no way have been tuned to prioritize noise like footsteps or clip changes or even silenced shots. Playing something more cinematic based is a whole different beast, they once again excel but that is more media based than gameplay based. I would highly recommend them for atmospheric games, but for me, in games like Call of Duty, it’s just not the same experience.
There are hints within the headset that it still has its cousin’s appetite for music; When you turn the headset on you are met with some guitar strums and a little bass rise, then some string plucks to alert that it is paired, and when you switch it off it does another guitar strum and bass drop. It reminds me of the menu sounds from guitar hero, but it gives me the impression that the Quantum 600 have not fully embraced gaming as their home and to some extent want to be music-based headphones.
The flip-to-mute microphone is made of slim rubberized plastic. It’s relatively stiff for a headset microphone, and it doesn’t stay in position very easily; You may need to bend it past where you want it to sit and allow it to spring back to the ideal position.
The pickup is really good, despite the fact it’s quite short and only reached the corner of my mouth. The audio it provides is average from my experience. It’s not bad, but it doesn’t stand out from most headsets.
Unfortunately, the mic is not detachable and it is very prominent, even when folded up. This makes the Quantum 600 less desirable if you like taking your headset out and about with you.
JBL quotes the battery life as up to 14 hours, but it should be noted that this is with RGB switched off. The headset can be charged with the included USB-A to USB-C cable and takes around 2 hours to fully charge. It should be noted that the cable is for charging only and does not deliver audio.
The Quantum 600 is a brilliant and high-quality piece of kit. The build quality is amazing and the styling is sure to please most, with its clean aesthetic feeling like the perfect merge of the music and gaming industry. It may not have the best audio balance for competitive gaming compared to some other headsets, but the sound quality itself is stunning, with rich bass and mid-frequencies ideal for immersive single-player games or media consumption.