The JBL Quantum 50 is a wired gaming earphone with an inline voice-focus microphone, Twistlock technology, and JBL’s QuantumSOUND signature:
|JBL QuantumSOUND signature From the tiniest footsteps to the loudest explosion, JBL QuantumSOUND Signature makes every scene epic and every gamer more competitive. The high excursion 2.5” drivers and tweeters deliver a sound curve tuned by JBL audiologists and specifically designed for gaming.|
This is the only wired earphone with in-ear earbuds, while starting from JBL Quantum 100, 200 and so on, are all wired gaming headsets with over-the-ear cups.
It is designed primarily for smartphone gaming but can also be used for laptops and tablets as long as there is a 3.5mm ear jack. The higher-end, newer smartphones with no 3.5mm ear jack will require an adapter. In our case, we are using the JBL Quantum 50 for a laptop that does not move around so much, and picked this earphone because it is a wired earphone.
The reason for a wired earphone is simple: we already own a plethora of devices that require charging, such as tablets, smartphones, smartwatches, wireless sports earbuds, cameras, keyboards and mice, etc. Therefore, we would prefer a wired earphone that is battery-free so that we have one less item to worry about the battery life.
Music and Noise Isolation
We picked the JBL Quantum 50 Wired Gaming Earphones over the JBL Endurance Run because we prefer the cool, outer casing look as shown below, and also the separate controller and microphone which enhances communication.
The JBL Quantum 50 comes with 3 pairs of ear gel to fit most ears, but it is the Twistlock technology that keeps the earbuds secure in your ear. We tried both medium and small and the earphones felt almost equally secured and good enough for a run. However, we plan to use this earphone with a laptop for gaming, video conferencing and music. For sports, we are still using the Klipsch T5II Sports TWS which is a perfect earphone for all-weather, outdoor sports and running.
We like the design of the 3.5mm ear jack with the 45 degrees bend, which makes sense than a straight plug or 90 degree bent. A 45 degree connector means that the wire only needs to bend 45 degrees in any direction, whether it’s straight or sideways from the 3.5mm jack. It may seem like a minor issue, but it shows the JBL’s engineers’ expert attention to every detail.
Cable Adjustments and Mono Mode
We have heard of “Mono” mode in True wireless earbuds, but this is the first time we see a wired earphone with “Mono” mode as well.
For wireless earphone, the Mono mode means that only one side earphone is in use, while the other side could be inside the charger. The JBL Quantum 50 wired gaming earphone has a special wire management channel that clips the top part of the wire that leads to the earphone. This helps to prevent the earphone from swinging around and it is not in use.
The wiring after the volume controller to the 3.5mm plug uses fabric sheath (see below), which does not fit into the cable management channel.
The photo below shows that cable adjuster which is a common design feature for most wired earphones.
We prefer the fabric sheath wire over the rubber sheath, as the rubber has a tendency to crack and tear after some time. The fabric covered wire should be able to last much longer without deterioration.
Unlike most earphone design, JBL separated the microphone and placed it nearer to the mouth, while the inline-controller is further down nearer to the chest with only 3 buttons:
- The Mute button is used for the microphone during a call.
- The Volume Control is used to adjust the sound level of the earphone driver.
- The Multi-Function button is for special smartphone functions with the JBL phone app such as music control.
Depending on the smartphone, the “multi-function” button is for music control such as play, stop, forward and backwards.
The JBL Quantum 50 Twistlock technology includes a part of enhancers that fit snugly into the ear concha. In the Twistlock design, the earphone speakers are around the 4 o’clock or 8 o’clock position, depending on whether it is the left or right side. Once inserted in, “twist” the earphone bottom towards the front on both sides to “lock” the earphone in place.
We removed the ear gel and “enhancer”, which is a silicon cover over the Twistlock structure attached to the earphone.
Another design feature is the oval speaker driver, similar to Klipsch T5II Sports TWS, which is said to fit the ear canal better.
Passive Noise Isolation
Although the marketing material and packaging did not mention this, we feel that the earphone casing design offers some passive noise isolation similar to wireless earbuds. The noise isolation is far from perfect and could not beat the Jabra Elite Active 75t, but it reduces significant ambient noise such as vacuum and people talking around you.
We feel that the Quantum 50 could have done better in terms of sound isolation, because the design intent was to allow the “gamer” to hear the “tiniest footstep” sound. Such a feat could be difficult to achieve if the earphone could not block of substantial ambient noise.
We tested JBL Quantum 50’s bass with the classic heavy metal “Enter Sandman” by Metallica, and also “Believer” by Imagine Dragons on the laptop. We feel that the music is clear but they are not as heavy or impactful as the bass from the Klipsch T5II TWS when played on the smartphone.
Is the wired earphone going to be phased out in future? We hope not, as it would mean another extra device for charging. Personally, I own 3 pairs of True Wireless Earbuds for use during sports or when moving around. If we are going to sit at the desk for 8 to 10 hours, a wired earphone is quite useful as there is no need to worry about battery charging. It is also much cheaper, reliable and free from connection issues.
In fact, we were looking for a wired earphone that is has similar advanced feature as a wireless TWS earbud, except that it comes with a wire instead of wireless. What this means is a wired earphone with button control for music, and calls, and advanced noise cancellation feature. It does not need to have a battery and wireless electronics since a physical wire connects the earphone to the source device. There is no such wired earphone in the market today.
In conclusion, the JBL Quantum 50 is a very good earphone in the category for wired, in-ear earphone, because most players are now focusing on the True Wireless category. This has left an enormous gap, but it remains to be seen if the wired earphone category would be extinct soon.