JBL is a well-respected name in the world of audio, but how well does it manage the gaming side of things? The Quantum line of gaming headsets has been around for a while, but they’re still fairly unique compared to the rest of JBL’s lineup. JBL usually doesn’t contend with the gaming-market in general or full-on microphones, which makes you wonder how good something like the Quantum 600, a $150 wireless headset, actually is.
With 14 hours of battery life, customizable sound through JBL QuantumEngine, and a well-constructed frame, the Quantum 600 sounds like it should be a killer gaming headset. However, features are only part of the equation, and execution is much more important.
Table of Contents
- The Hardware: Flexible, but Uncomfortable
- Sound Quality: Specialized to a Fault
- The Software: Form and Function
- In Conclusion
Out of the box, you’ll get a charging cable (USB-A to USB-C), an aux cord for wired connection, and a wireless dongle alongside the headset itself—pretty standard for a headset like this.
What’s also standard for a gaming headset is how this thing looks, which frankly, I’m not a fan of. If you look at the less expensive entries in the Quantum series you’ll see pretty boring designs, but as the price goes up so does the flash. LED lights and other design flairs are tacked onto the base design, and it just becomes more garish as you go along. The RGB lights up the massive JBL logo on each earcup, which is just a bit much for my liking. You can disable the lighting, but I would’ve preferred to see some more subtle RGB elements on this headset instead of such an overused and in-your-face style.
Construction-wise though things are pretty solid. The headset is easy is adjust to your head size, it’s fairly flexible while remaining sturdy, and the microphone has a nice satisfying click when you fold it up and down. Unfortunately, this is a non-removable microphone, further cementing this headset as an at-home-only device.
But there are quite a few useful buttons and sliders on the earcups to keep things convenient. Besides the standard ports you’d expect, there’s also a mute microphone button, a volume slider, and even another slider that toggles the headset between “Gaming” and “Chatting” mode—it basically just turns on/off the spatial sound. Other features like the microphone automatically muting when folded or the LED indicating when the mic is muted are also great additions.
When it comes to comfort, I find the Quantum 600 middling. The earcups are rather shallow and I could feel my ear piercing through the minimal cushioning to the innards of the headphones frequently, requiring me to readjust the headset. The actual cushioning used around the brim of the earcups and the headband are nice to the touch (even if they get a bit hot), but there’s only a thin layer protecting your ear from the insides. At least it’s smooth to fit the headset to your head because otherwise, this would be a major strikeout for the 600.
When it comes to audio, the Quantum 600 performs well all-around. You can switch the headset between two modes: “Game” and “Chat.” In “Game” mode, the headset makes heavy use of spatial sound to bring a more immersive experience. You can better tell which direction sounds are coming from in games that support it, and you can also tune the spatial sound through the QuantumEngine software. It does a convincing job without sacrificing the inherent quality of the sound too much.
Eric Schoon / Review Geek
In “Chat” mode, things sound much flatter, but that’s to be expected, and it works fine for speaking to people in voice calls. The real issue this headset has with audio is when you want to listen to music or watch a movie, as it doesn’t fare great in either of those scenarios.
For videos and movies, the audio tends to be loud and echoey in Game mode, and too quiet in Chat mode. Music sounds quiet in both settings, but if you mess around with the QuantumEngine software’s equalizer settings (which we’ll get to soon) you can actually fix this. This headset has the potential to be great in these scenarios with the right settings, but I don’t think you should be expected to dive into the software to fix such a basic issue—especially since console users won’t have that privilege.
You can skip some of these issues by plugging in the headphones via an AUX cord, which removes compatibility with the QuantumEngine software and just uses a default sound profile. It actually sounds pretty good for movies and music, but gaming-wise you’re missing out on the more advanced spatial sound QuantumEngine brings.
So then, that just leaves the microphone—how does it fare? It’s… alright, definitely serviceable for in-game comms or calls over Discord but I wouldn’t call it impressive. Your actual voice comes through well, but there’s a constant white noise accompanying it regardless of the noise level in your room. At the very least, it does automatically cut out if you’re not talking, which is nice for voice calls so people don’t need to hear the white noise all the time. I wouldn’t say the microphone is particularly bad or good, just ok, which for a gaming headset is about what you’d expect—I’ve definitely heard better from other models in the price range though.
Before wrapping up, let’s talk about the QuantumEngine software designed for this headset—because it’s actually very good. It passes the aesthetics category with flying colors, featuring plenty of cool design elements, but functionally it does everything you need it to as well. You can view the battery percentage, adjust the game/chat mode mixer, and adjust equalizer settings to manipulate the sound of the headphones.
Already a lot of great options, but you can also customize the RGB lights and even choose how the spatial sound works. You can switch between the standard DTS surround sound and JBL’s own “QuantumSURROUND” which has multiple profiles available that allow you to choose how immersive the spatial sound is. You can even input your head’s width so QuantumSURROUND can better simulate an environment around you.
Overall, QuantumEngine provides a good number of options for a gaming headset, and more importantly, everything is intuitive and easy to use. While other aspects of the headset are a bit iffy, JBL hit the nail on the head as far as software goes—but of course, that only matters if you’re on PC.
The Quantum 600 is an interesting headset because there’s a lot it hits out of the park, but it makes some big missteps along the way. The audio is great for gaming, the construction is solid, and the software is good, but the uncomfortable design and weaknesses when it comes to non-gaming media are really a letdown. I don’t think you should need to dig into the software just to make a headset work well with movies and music, but you’ll likely need to here if you care about audio quality.
For $150 I’d say it’s a good gaming headset, but one that definitely has room for improvements should JBL decide to do a second generation. The microphone still needs some fine-tuning, it should be better calibrated for other media, and adding more cushion to the earcups would go a long way towards making this one of the best wireless headsets on the market—but for now, it’s merely ok.
If you’re only going to be playing games and talking to people over comms or stuff like Discord, I think the Quantum 600 is a great headset for you, that’s where this thing shines. However, if you want these to become the next all-rounder pair of headphones for your computer I’d recommend picking up something else. This headset just doesn’t have the versatility to fill that sort of role.
Here’s What We Like
- Good sound for games
- Great Software
- Decent Microphone
And What We Don't
- Uncomfortable Earcups
- Flashy Design
- Finicky sound for non-gaming media