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Hands-on review: JBL Live 660NC Adaptive Noise Cancelling Headset

By Owen McCarthy
Thu 18 Nov 2021

I’ve always admired JBL products for their quality builds, ease of use and great sound. As I write I’m listening to Christelle Pascal singing You Say. She has a voice with a broad range and she packs quite a punch. So does the JBL Live660NC. 

Out of the box

The headset conveniently folds up when not in use. Included is a convenient bag with draw-strings is provided. You will find an audio cable with a 3.5mm plug as well as the bright fluoro USB cable for charging. Charging from empty will take less than two hours, according to the Quick Start Guide. I installed the JBL Headphone app, which gives you control of whether you want to hear background noise. It also enables you to connect to “OK Google” or Alexa, allowing voice control. I’ve always wanted to control house lights from my headset. 

A couple of days ago I had to place a phone order. I took my hat off to the sales representative as I could tell she worked in a tightly packed office that could benefit from technology like this. The Noise Cancelling (NC) feature is controlled from the headset. 

I really like the fabric covering of the headset with the JBL logo discretely embossed at the top of the headpiece. Those of us who don’t know their right from their left will rejoice that each earpiece informs you which ear it belongs to. I found the fit comfortable and quite snug. I was able to wear them for hours without any discomfort. 

When it came time for some gentle listening, I started off with Led Zeppelin’s Rock and Roll, because it had been a long time since I’d rock and rolled. I was impressed with the way the instruments and vocals came through crisp and clear, with the guitar riffs incredibly detailed. I wasn’t sure if the same rule applied to reviews, so I avoided Stairway.

Moving on, I grooved along to CCR’s Fortunate Son. You’ll be impressed at how the vocals leap out at you. It must be the headphones because I know “It ain’t me.” Moving along, I grooved up slowly to some Abbey Road, being transported by McCartney’s brilliant bass and some innovative use of the Moog.

Shihad’s rendition of the classic I Got You is a revelation. It features an amazing drum performance and a bass accompaniment that had my foot tapping, especially when the guitar starts duelling with it.

I got a bit of a fright when I switched to Benee and heard the lyrics from Superlonely, explicitly and cheerfully expounding on teenage angst. Pausing briefly to ponder whether I should email her and ask if she kisses her parents with that potty mouth, I quickly found myself singing along, which lead to a please explain when I finally removed the headset.

I had some fun putting the Live660NC on, taking them off and listening to the sound switch off, on, off, on…. In short, I was having a lot of fun. 

Being an observant person, I’d noted that I can have two items connected so I decided that while I waited patiently at hospital, (thanks to COVID my darling must do chemo on her own) I would try them with an Android phone that I’m also reviewing. The phone call went swimmingly, and then I remembered I needed to catch up on my current TV favourite, Foundation. Hari Seldon has had a lot to say since his death.

I’m not sure if my head is different, but in contrast to other reviewers, I found the headset very comfortable although admittedly a snug fit. 

In these modern times of working from home or in one of these modern workspaces that share many features with industrial revolution sweatshops, JBL’s Live660NC headset provides you with peace and quiet in your own space. I couldn’t use them in an online meeting situation, but I suspect they will ensure interruption-free meetings. 

Price-wise, they are around the $250 range, making them a very cost-effective solution for those who need to be able to block out surrounding distractions.

If the headset is not your cup of tea, keep an eye out for my forthcoming review on the JBL LivePro+ earbuds, which has noise cancelling properties and wireless charging. I can’t wait to spend a few hours working feverishly listening to music and watching videos, while the rest of you are busy relaxing at home, watching telly or listening to music. Sometimes life just isn’t fair.

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