JBL Live 670NC review: Rich sound with 65-hour playback but weak ANC

Accepting the good with the bad for a bargain

JBL Live 670NC
(Image: © Future)

Tom's Guide Verdict

These JBL on-ear headphones offer rich sound and strong features at the price, but miss several marks, including 3D audio and ANC.


  • +

    Natural, punchy sound

  • +

    Massive feature set

  • +

    Superb transparency modes

  • +

    Incredibly long battery life


  • -

    Disappointing ANC and spatial audio

  • -

    Poor comfort

  • -

    Inadequate voice calling

  • -

    Touch controls need work

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JBL Live 670NC: Specifications

Price: $129 / £119 / AU$199
 Black, blue, sandstorm, white
Battery life (rated): 50 hours (ANC on); 65 hours (ANC off)
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.3 with SBC, AAC, LE Audio
Size: Not specified
Weight:  7.7 ounces

JBL's true wireless Live series with smart charging case may have stolen the headlines when the buds were unveiled at CES 2024, but the Live 670NC on-ear headphones also deserve attention based on price and potential.

These $129 on-ear headphones come equipped with a ridiculously large feature set that excels for the most part. We’re talking adaptive active noise cancelation, Bluetooth 5.3 with LE Audio, multipoint technology, Personi-Fi 2.0 sound personalization, spatial audio, and various customization settings. Not to mention some of the biggest playtime in the category.

The Live 670NC are also flawed by design, causing serious discomfort, and greatly affecting ANC. Do their sonic attributes outweigh their shortcomings? Keep scrolling to find out.

JBL Live 670NC review: Price & availability

The JBL Live 670NC are priced at $129 / £119 / AU$199. The attractive price point makes them more affordable than the Sony WH-CH720N

They're available to buy from the JBL website as well as online retailers including Amazon and Best Buy. There are four colors options including black, blue, sandstorm, and white. Although color options are limited in some territories.  

JBL Live 670NC review: Design

JBL Live 670NC listing image

(Image credit: Future)
  • Strong JBL styling and build quality
  • Poor comfort levels

These are premium-constructed headphones built from aluminum and sturdy plastic. The earpads don faux leather, while the headband is wrapped in woven fabric. Details like the debossed/embossed logos and foldable design for convenient storage via bundled carrying pouch are sleek touches. JBL’s bold colorways are also attractive, especially the black version with silver accents, which create an alluring shimmer when exposed to light.

On the flip side, there is no aesthetic distinction between these on-ear cans and JBL’s other models. Picking them out of a lineup takes a lot of effort.

The leather pads are cushy, and the extenders provide enough length to accommodate all head sizes for optimal fit. If only JBL let up on the clamp force. These headphones apply a lot of unwanted pressure around the ear within an hour of use.

JBL Live 670NC review: Features

JBL Live 670NC control app

(Image credit: Future)
  • Class-leading companion app
  • A multitude of personalization tools
  • Versatile connectivity

I previously had the Sony Headphones Connect app marked as the category’s best companion app. Now, that honor is bestowed upon the JBL Headphones app for its simplicity and stack-filled feature set. Everything is categorized and laid out neatly on one page for instant activation.

Here's a list of everything you’ll find in the app: Ambient Sound Control (ANC/Ambient Aware/TalkThru), Auto Power Off, control customization, EQ, Low Volume Dynamic EQ, Max Volume Limiter, Personal Sound Amplification, Smart Audio & Video, Sound Balance, Spatial Sound, VoiceAware, and voice assistance. That’s not including the multiple settings hidden within certain features.

The Live 670NC support different wireless technologies. You have Bluetooth 5.3 with LE Audio, multipoint to pair to two devices simultaneously, and one-tap Google Fast Pair. Connectivity is stable with a range of up to 50 feet.

JBL Live 670NC review: Controls

JBL Live 670NC showing controls on headphones

(Image credit: Future)
  • Multi-faceted control scheme
  • Reliable voice assistance
  • Touch accuracy is off

The Live 670NC wireless headphones have physical, touch, and voice controls, giving you various ways to operate the headphones. Each button is responsive to presses. The power slider features a spring-loaded toggle with nice recoil feedback. JBL’s powerful mic array demonstrates excellent speech recognition when using Google Assistant and Siri for hands-free voice commands. 

On the right earcup is a touch panel that accepts several inputs (single/multi-tap and long hold) for playback and call management. It doesn’t perform up to par and barely registers double and triple taps.

JBL Live 670NC review: Sound quality

JBL Live 670NC headhones with smartphone streaming Daft Punk for sound quality assessment

(Image credit: Future)
  • Open and energetic soundstage
  • Vast sound customization
  • Poor spatial audio

These headphones produce a pleasant mix of lows, mids, and highs, though you’ll want to play around with the sound features to optimize sonic presentation. I recommend enabling the Personi-Fi (JBL’s sound profile creator) for top-tier results. 

Daft Punk’s “One More Time” delivered a substantial frequency response that fed my ears punchy, detailed sound. The minimalist bassline had plenty of kick, and the auto-tuned vocals were strikingly clear. Furthermore, percussive instruments like the shaker and hi-hats were prominent. I was digging the bouncy vibes on Justin Timberlake’s “My Favorite Drug,” where the funky bass and rhythmic hand claps were reproduced well and stimulated foot taps throughout the listen. 

My Personi-Fi profile was superior to JBL’s default sound profile. It cleared up the low end and emphasized vocals on most tracks. Turning on the Low Volume Dynamic EQ boosted highs and lows.

JBL Live 670NC showing app's personalized sound report

(Image credit: Future)

There are six presets in the EQ setting: Bass, Club, Extreme Bass, Vocal, Studio, and Jazz. Half of these are worth checking out. Club brought more thump to contemporary tracks, Jazz showed better low-frequency control than any of the bass-centric presets, and Studio offered the most balanced sound.

This was my first taste of JBL’s Spatial Audio mode, and sadly it didn't impress. There are three selectable modes: Movie, Music, and Game. Each of them diminished sound quality. Vocals were hollow and bass was heavily bloated in Music mode. Special effects lacked vibrancy when switching to Movie and Game modes.

Smart Audio & Video is a latency mode that will improve audio quality or lip synchronization when watching videos. It enhanced performance on both ends. 

Streaming on Apple (AAC) and Android (SBC) devices was on point. Tracks played smoothly on the best music streaming services. Listeners will gain the most out of Tidal due to the platform’s advanced audio format support including Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 Reality Audio.

JBL Live 670NC review: ANC

JBL Live 670NC testing ANC performance

(Image credit: Future)
  • Robust transparency modes
  • Inferior noise reduction
  • Mediocre call quality

On-ear headphones don’t always provide the best noise isolation. One would think that adding ANC into the mix would help reduce background interference, but the Live 670NC’s version doesn’t hold up to quality standards.

Regular ANC shuts out 70% of external sounds at max level. Adaptive ANC is only more effective by about 5%. I could hear birds chirping, cars strolling down the street, and people talking from several feet away. High-frequency sounds were annoyingly loud and ruined my Spotify listening sessions.

JBL does let you use ANC in wired mode, which preserves battery life and grants some noise cancelation.

There’s also a Leakage Compensation setting that will “check your leakage status” to automatically adjust sound quality. It works well. 

The real prize is JBL’s proprietary dual-transparency mode. Ambient Aware increases situational awareness by capturing incidental noises at a high level, and TalkThru lowers volume to 10%, so you can hear conversations clearly. This came in handy when sharing an office with the missus.

Don’t expect much from call quality. The feedback I received from clients and friends was mixed. Noise and wind were heavy during outdoor chats. Voice calling was clearer indoors, though that was only the case when speaking in an extremely quiet environment.

JBL Live 670NC review: Battery life

  • Some of the highest ANC playtime
  • Strong quick charging
  • Terrific battery management tools

JBL Live 670NC image showing controls and charging port

(Image credit: Future)

Battery life shines on the Live 670NC. A full charge gets you up to 65 hours of use and up to 50 hours of ANC playtime, which in terms of their ANC duration is better than the Sony WH-CH720N and about the same as the Sennheiser Accentum. I still had 15 hours of listening time left after a full week of testing (5 hours daily). Employing power guzzlers multipoint and spatial audio decreased battery life by about 5 hours. If that worries you, just know that a 5-minute quick charge can net you 4 additional hours of music listening. That nearly matches the Sony WH-1000XM5 fast charging speed, which claims 3 hours playback from a 3-minute charge.

JBL Live 670NC review: Verdict

The Live 670NC blend extensive functionality and satisfying sound into a light and sturdy package. Instruments and vocals spread across the spectrum evenly for proper tonal balance. Stellar connectivity keeps the headphones operating at a high level. Having up to 65 hours of battery life is also amazing.

Unfortunately, these headphones have as many weaknesses as they do strengths. ANC and spatial audio are marketed as huge draws, but neither live up to their hype. The soreness caused by tight clamp force on my head became unbearable after a while, and call quality could have been done better too.

What keeps the Live 670NC in consideration for your next headphone purchase is their affordability. All those features combined with enticing sound and lengthy playtimes are worth the investment, but only if you’re fine with the drawbacks.

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Alex Bracetti

A lifestyle journalist with an affinity for consumer products, Alex has over a decade of experience and has worked with popular publications such as Complex, Thrillist, Men’s Health, Gear Patrol, AskMen, and Hoop Magazine. He currently focuses on audio, reviewing the most coveted headphones in the market for both Tom’s Guide and Laptop Magazine.