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JBL LIVE PRO Plus Review Dual Connection ANC Earbuds

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Bursting into the scene with big sound and low weight, the LIVE PRO Plus have all the important features to hunt in TWS earbuds, including dual connectivity, which makes switching between devices easy. The LIVE PRO+ also have ambient mode, which turns on automatically when one earbud is in (just like with the Galaxy buds!) 



The LIVE PRO Plus earbuds look and feel premium and, they're comfy too. They have a large body, short nozzle with metal mesh tip and a quirky hair dryer style with thick square stem. The design of the LIVE PRO Plus earbuds is very ergonomic and has a vivid white matte finish that contrasts nicely against the orange bore of the included eartips. The 2.5cm long stem is offset against the body shell, allowing the stem to sit comfortably inside the notch of the ear.


The LIVE PRO Plus charging case has a rounded square cube shape that measures 5cm wide, 5cm long and 2.5cm high. The case has a cool breathing battery light reminiscent of KITT's (Knight Rider) light bar. The charging case lid has a strong hinge lid that does not wobble. The docking area is magnetic and you can easily pinch the earbuds out of the charging case. The LIVE PRO Plus charging case weighs 50 grams, while the earbuds weigh 5 grams each.


The LIVE PRO+ earbuds take 2 hours to charge to 100% with quick charge support, which gives you 1 hour of playtime from a 10 minute recharge. Battery life at 50% volume is 7 hours with ANC OFF and 6 hours with ANC ON. The LIVE PRO+ charging case supports wireless charging, taking 3 hours to recharge via a Qi wireless charger (not included) and 2 hours via USB cable (included). The case can hold an extra 21 hours of power.



The status leds do not blink during audio playback, although it wouldn't matter since the status leds are located out of sight on the underside of the stem. The LIVE PRO Plus earbuds come with mobile app support too via the JBL Headphones app, which is a nice looking, highly functional mobile app. The JBL Headphones app has a clean/ easy to navigate user interface that does not require an account registration. The only phone permissions required to use the app with the earbuds are the phone's location and bluetooth.


From the JBL Headphones app, you can set your preferred voice assistant (google or alexa) so, you can control audio playback via voice commands. You can view battery level for the earbuds and charging case and, you can adjust between three anc sub-modes (everyday, travel and active) and two ambient sub-modes (AmbientAware and TalkThru). AmbientAware mode works similar to regular ambient/transparency mode, amplifying sounds all around you which is perfect for situational awareness.


TalkThru works just like in the QUANTUM ONE gaming headset. It lowers the audio you're listening to while amplifying external sounds closest to you, making it a good setting to choose when talking to someone. The different anc sub modes (everyday, travel and active) are only capable of attenuating low bassy tones like deep rumbles of heavy machinery and bass heavy music. Anything high frequency like clanking of gym weights and people screaming, not so much.


The JBL Headphones app feature three other modes: Normal mode, Music mode and Video mode. The latter works a bit like low latency game mode, reducing lag when watching videos. In video mode, power consumption increases and wireless range decreases too. Normal mode gives you the longest, strongest and more stable wireless connection, while Music mode increases the bitrate and sample rate to improve the sound quality.


Speaking of audio quality, the JBL Headphones app also features a 10-band equalizer with three preset modes and one custom mode so, you can create the sound profile you want. Most headphones EQ apps tend to have between 3 or 7 band filters. The more band filters the better as this allows you to tweak more ranges of frequencies, making the JBL app's 10-band EQ one of the best features you get with the LIVE PRO Plus earbuds.


On top of all these features, the JBL Headphones app also features touch control remapping, although it works slightly different than most other apps as you cannot remap the gestures (tap, double tap and tap/hold). The touch control remapping on the JBL app only lets you re-assign functions based on specific "control groups" such as playback control (play/pause, skip to next and skip to previous) and Ambient sound control (anc, ambient aware, off, and talkthru). This means, you cannot mix and match features from different groups. You either pick "playback control" or ambient sound control. One or the other, not both.


The LIVE PRO Plus earbuds can be paired whilst inside the charging case. You can switch between one or two earbuds for mono or stereo listening, which is seamless without audio disconnecting or pausing when putting one earbud back in the charging case. There is no re-connection delay either. The earbuds re-connect instantaneously when taken out of the charging case. The earbuds power off automatically when inside the charging case (you don't have to close the lid).


You can also set a sleep mode and disable on-ear detection if you don't want the audio to automatically pause/resume when taking off the earbuds. There is also a very useful feature called "find my buds" that you can use when misplacing your earbuds. The "find my buds" feature works like a bluetooth tracker letting you track your lost earbuds via sound by triggering a loud high pitched noise through the earbuds.


The bluetooth chip inside the LIVE PRO+ earbuds supports SBC and AAC codecs and multipoint connection; hence you can connect the earbuds to separate devices at the same time. There are a total of 3 microphones per earbud - two for active noise cancellation and one for calls. The call quality is loud and clear in quiet environments, although you will hear a decent a amount of background noise in loud environments.


As far as sound, the 11mm dynamic drivers have good sensitivity (102dB), which enables loud volume without distortion at max volume. You can tweak the sound signature though via the app and, you should since that's the best way to get the sound you want. If you prefer keeping the default sound, the stock sound signature has a punchy dynamic bass sound that blends nicely into the midrange and a forward clean treble. Accessories included are a a JBL-branded flat rubber cable and various soft silicone eartips with thick rubber bores. You can buy the JBL LIVE PRO Plus from amazon.


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