JBL Club Pro+ TWS is part of its exclusive high performance, audiophile JBL ‘Club’ sub-brand, so you know it must be a step or two above to earn that name. Well, they are. The JBL Club Pro+ TWS features Qi wireless charge, three mics (on each bud), some of the best adaptive noise cancelling I have experienced (from an earphone), and six to eight hours sound (18-24 with the case).
Where do we start with earphones (our generic term for in-ear devices)? These cost $329.95 – similar to Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Pro+ (review here 9/10), Sennheiser Momentum (review here 9.4/10), Bose QC (review here 9.3/10) and Jabra 85t (review coming).
The paradigms are subjective because we cannot measure in-ear frequency response or decibels.
How do they sound with the genre and content you like to listen to? For example, podcasts have a very different sound signature to rock, heavy metal, synth, and pop?
Does it have a decent EQ to adapt to your taste?
ANC levels and effectiveness?
Are they loud enough with minimal distortion?
Battery and case charge life?
Do they measure up to the class that their price suggests?
Well, after serious testing, we can say that apart from the Sennheiser Momentum (the music class leader in every way), we would happily ‘shove these in our ears’ and enjoy JBL’s excellent sound signature and superb noise cancelling. Here are the results of our tests.
From: JBL online and reputable CE retailers like JB Hi-Fi
Warranty: 1-year ACL
Country of Manufacture: China
JBL (Est. the mid-40s) is short for James B Lansing (Yes, he was the Lansing in Altec Lansing as well.) Now it’s part of the Harman group of companies owned by Samsung.
You can read more GadgetGuy JBL news and reviews here.
The JBL Club Pro+ BT, TWS, ANC, Qi acronyms mean
Bluetooth 5.1 (latest)
TWS – Qualcomm’s True Wireless meaning each bud independently (Dual Connect + Sync technology) joins to the host device
Qi – wireless charging case that uses any Qi pad
ANC – Adaptive Noise cancelling that changes to suit the environment and includes smart ambient noise pass through as well
TalkThru – lets you hear what others are saying without removing the earphones
Voice assistants – Apple, Google or Alexa using tap to talk
JBL Headphone app for added value
The JBL retail package is a winner with its flip-open cover that reveals a window to the device. JBL knows how to merchandise. Its price positions it as a premium device, so compare it to the aforementioned ones. Perhaps it lacks the ‘German audio precision’ of the Sennheiser. It is more a traditional design than the Bose and pretty much what I expect from an in-ear canal device. It performs comparably to the Jabra 85t and the Samsung Galaxy Pro+ – both with charge cases.
Overall, they are well built and comfortable earphones.
Select the correct silicon ear tip size – small, medium, or large. It has ‘fit my ear’ calibration, and unusually found that I needed to use the large ear-tips for the best ANC. This testing is a great feature, and you can run it at any time and gives it an edge.
This is the most important thing as a sloppy fit means noise cancelling is not as effective, and too tight a fit means less ear comfort. While silicon works for most people, you may want to look at Comply True Wireless foam tips as replacements later.
We tested in a variety of uses, and the buds stayed firmly in the ear. They don’t stick out too far either.
Next, download the My JBL Headphone app for Android or iOS.
First, you do not need the app to use these as a BT device on Windows, Mac, Android, or iOS (or Linux). Please read our Windows settings advice later on the best setup. The app (Android test) does have the fit test and firmware update, so you will need it at some stage.
The app has an EQ called Stage+. The DJ pre-set is named Tigerlily after the Australian DJ. The custom EQ gives +/- 5dB using a finger drag system – excellent. Or you can use Piano, Jazz, or Vocal pre-sets and customise these as well.
ANC controls are ANC on, ambient aware and off. The ambient aware allows you to hear about 80% of the surrounding sounds. TalkThru enables you to talk to others and hear your voice in the earphones – excellent. Surprisingly when using them as a hands-free phone, you don’t hear your voice. Smart audio allows for standard codecs (SBC or AAC), aptX LL or HD (higher res) and video modes (adjusts latency for video lipsync). There is no mention of LDAC.
How do they sound? Pretty sweet!
Remember that JBL tries to keep as true to the original sound as possible. That means the content dictates the sound, and as such, EQ effectiveness is important. Using a white noise generator, we found it could handle low-bass right (sub-50Hz) up to upper treble in line with its 10Hz-20kHz claims. There was a slight hint of harshness at a maximum volume that you can remove with the EQ.
Next, we tried sample tracks (see Sound Signature here) and found:
Bass-heavy tracks: It was perhaps a bit too strong in low-bass, and the EQ fixed that.
Mid heavy tracks: It had excellent mid and delivers clear vocals with crisp sibilant sounds
Podcasts: Perfect with a clear voice
General music: a good neutral signature with balanced and accurate sound.
Overall, it was a good flat response capable of faithfully playing most genres without issue.
Subjectively – JBL has done it again with its neutral approach and EQ adjustments I could get from warm and sweet to bright vocal. But you probably don’t want to adjust EQ for every genre, so my advice is to back off low bass and high treble just a little.
This relates to where you perceive the sound is coming from. Due to the closed-back nature, the sound stage is within your head, albeit with excellent left and right separation. This is typical of most TWS earphones.
If you want a more expansive sound stage, you need to go open back like the Sennheiser Momentum. But remember that open back is designed primarily for music quality, and ANC efficiency levels back off accordingly.
We felt that it had ample volume adjustment for all tastes. If you are using it on a Windows PC, it may lack volume unless you adjust the sound properties. At the Windows Start Menu and go to Windows System, Control Panel. Click on the Sound icon. Click on Headphones, select JBL Club Pro+ TWS and then its Properties. Under the Enhancements tab, click on Bass Boost, Headphone virtualisation and loudness equalisation. One last step. Go to the Spatial Sound tab and select Windows Sonic for Headphones. Apply and exit.
I was impressed at the clarity. You can’t hear your amplified voice if the earphones, but you can hear well enough. Callers commented that it was clear at their end too.
Battery life – Qi is excellent and works with Samsung Galaxy Reverse charge too
JBL claim 6/8 hours use with BT and ANC on/off. It also depends on the volume, audio content and EQ settings. A typical volume we managed to achieve three sessions of about two hours with 10% left. Recharge is about two hours via 5V/1A/5W charger (not supplied) or nearly four hours with a Qi charge pad. You can use any USB-C PD charger, but it makes no difference in the charge time.
Touch controls can be fiddly, and these are sensitive. These are pretty typical, and don’t forget that you lose the right buds touch commands if you are using one bud (mono). You can also reassign the controls via the app.
1x tap once to play/pause
2x skip forward to the next track
3x skip back to the previous track
1x turn ANC on/Ambient on/off
Tap and hold either bud to activate the voice assistant
2x either bud to answer/end/mute/unmute
Our last paradigm is ‘Do they measure up to the class that their price suggests?” Yes, they do. JBL Club Pro+ TWS are premium BT, ANC, Qi earphones worth the price. It is tough to compare earphones subjectively as we cannot objectively measure in-ear performance.
The Samsung Galaxy Bud Pro+ on the music front is just behind. The lack of Qualcomm codec support makes these just for Samsung Galaxy owners. Samsung has better battery life. JBL is slightly ahead on ANC, has a better app and EQ.
I think the closest comparison is the Jabra 85t (in the process of being reviewed). Both are excellent good all-rounders with similar audio characteristics and an excellent app.
The Sennheiser Momentum is 10/10 for audio lovers. Momentum audio is almost perfect, offering an excellent listening experience. But that is at the expense of ANC. As reported in the Momentum review Christian Ern, Portfolio Manager for Consumer Headphones at Sennheiser, Germany, said while Sennheiser’s ANC (noise cancelling) was good, it was not as good as other brands like Bose. His Germanic response was, “Yes, and it ruins sound’.
JBL Club Pro+ TWS, BT, ANC, Qi earphones
JBL Club Pro+ TWS are premium BT, ANC, Qi earphones worth the price.
Value for money
Ease of use
Comfortable and fine for extended use
Good to great noise isolation (with the right tip size)
Battery life close to claim and fast charge – 10 min for 1 hour
No IP rating
Higher latency than acceptable for video (can be adjusted)