The JBL Tour One M2 is the new high-end headphone from the American manufacturer and replaces the Tour One. JBL has wholly revised its acoustics and delivers headphones with ANC that are as pleasant to wear as they are to listen to.
- Powerful, balanced and detailed sound
- Wide soundstage
- Remarkable sound immersion
- Good arrangement of sound planes
- Comfortable to wear
- Excellent battery life
- Feature-packed app
- Noise reduction during calls can be improved
When JBL launched the JBL Tour One headphone in the summer of 2021, the brand had real ambitions to compete with, if not surpass, the market benchmarks: Bluetooth headphones with noise reduction from Sony and Bose. On paper, there is no reason not to, as JBL has the necessary expertise in transducer development and amplification. However, the JBL Tour One was a disappointment due to its limited acoustic qualities. Narrow soundstage, unevenly distributed energy from low to high frequencies… the copy had to be revised. The JBL Tour One M2 delivers a high-quality sound and has some interesting functions. Well, not all of them…
The JBL Tour One M2 are articulated circumaural headphones. The ear cups are equipped with memory foam that surrounds the ear and rests directly on the skull.
The wearing comfort is simply excellent. The contact is soft, the foams in the shells and the headband are very tender, and the pressure exerted is perfectly balanced. You can immediately feel that these headphones are designed for very long listening sessions. In addition, they are light, and the inertia caused by rapid head movements is negligible. It is hard to imagine a more comfortable fit.
The JBL Tour One M2 has a touch-sensitive area on the right earpiece, which allows you to manage music playback and calls. The power and Bluetooth pairing button, two volume control buttons, and the 2.5mm mini-jack analogue input (cable included) are on the right side of the headset. The left shell has a button for ANC and transparency mode and the USB-C charging port.
The assembly quality is excellent, especially the joints, which do not make any unpleasant noise when the shells are rotated.
THE JBL HEADPHONES APP
JBL offers a companion app, JBL Headphones, to adjust settings and activate certain features of the JBL Tour One M2.
Spatial sound: this mode increases, according to the manufacturer, the sound immersion, depending on the type of content listened to (music or movie). Let’s not beat about the bush, and the results are disappointing: apart from a not-very-happy equalisation of the midrange sounds, we don’t benefit from any convincing spatialisation, even when playing titles in Dolby Atmos or 360 Reality Audio. In short, it’s much better without it.
Smart Talk: this function automatically pauses the music and activates the transparency mode to hold a conversation without removing the headphones.
When the mode is active, speak for a few seconds and activate the microphones. The music resumes as soon as the conversation is interrupted, after 5, 10 or 20 seconds.
Voice Aware: This mode allows you to hear your own voice during calls via integrated microphones with adjustable intensity.
Personal Sound Amplification: Similar to the ambient/transparent mode that allows you to hear around you, this mode focuses on mid-range sounds and amplifies voices, particularly with manual gain adjustment.
Low volume dynamic equalisation: this mode boosts the intensity of low tones. It’s quite well done, and the equalisation varies dynamically as you turn up the volume until it disappears at around 50% and above. It is an old-fashioned loudness, straight out of the 80s in short.
Personi-Fi: this function analyses the user’s hearing and adapts the response curve of the headphones accordingly. In practice, you must press a button for a long time and release it when you can no longer hear the sound being played. To carry out the test, I had to indicate that I could no longer hear certain sounds, even though I could still hear them a little. Otherwise, it was not possible to move on to the next sound. In the end, the customisation consists of a strengthening of the mid and high tones and unbalances the signature of the JBL Tour One M2. To be avoided.
Equaliser: Up to 12 adjustment points can be moved in frequency and volume to customise the headphones’ sound.
The JBL Tour One M2’s Bluetooth controller is compatible with the 5.3 standards and potentially with Bluetooth Audio LE. However, this low-power link is not used for sound transmission but only to manage the headset’s settings via its app. The audio is therefore transmitted via the SBC or AAC codecs. The Bluetooth connection is multipoint, and the JBL Tour One M2 can be paired with two devices simultaneously. The Google Fast Pair protocol is supported, and the headset signals itself to the nearest Android smartphone during pairing. To make matters worse, the connection is stable through walls and wooden floors up to 10 metres away.
Latency is 217ms for SBC and 222ms for AAC. This results in a noticeable delay with video games, with the sound arriving slightly after the image. On the other hand, there is no problem with videos, as smartphones and computers automatically synchronise images and sound.
ACTIVE NOISE REDUCTION
The active noise reduction works better than the previous model, although the JBL Tour One M2 still falls short of the isolation offered by the best Sony and Bose headphones.
More concretely, the ANC focuses mainly on the low-frequency range. For example, road noise is considerably reduced in a car, but not ventilation noise. In a tram, the metallic sounds of switches on the track are still audible. Conversations and laughter break through in a waiting room and disturb the music unless you listen loudly enough (50% volume and above). The app offers to adjust the intensity of the CNA, but there is no point in reducing the intensity.
In addition to the Bluetooth link, the JBL Tour One M2 headphones can be listened to via its 2.5mm mini-jack line input (cable included). Two scenarios are possible: either the headphones’ power supply is turned off, in which case the wired source feeds the transducers directly (passive mode), or the headphones are turned on, in which case the incoming signal is digitised and processed by the onboard amplifier (active mode). The good news is that the sound signature changes very little between Bluetooth and passive line input: at the most, we perceive more high bass and, depending on the analogue source, an overall increase in punch. Thus, even when the battery is exhausted, the JBL Tour One M2 can be used with its cable and delivers a sound equivalent to that obtained with Bluetooth.
However, you cannot listen in USB mode, as the headphones switch off when the battery is charging.
The pick-up quality is average, and the user’s voice is transmitted with little definition, even in a tranquil environment. The noise filtering works well… but only when not speaking.
If I carry out the usual test with the water tap open, the person I’m speaking to hears coloured water as soon as I speak. So it’s best to use the JBL Tour One M2 for phone calls in exceptional cases.
JBL claims up to 50 hours without active noise reduction and 30 hours with. I measured 31 hours of ANC active, at 50% of my iPhone volume. The JBL Tour One M2 requires about 2 hours to charge fully but can recover 5 hours of battery life in just 10 minutes, thanks to a quick charge at the beginning of the cycle.
The JBL Tour One M2 corrects the shortcomings of its predecessor and delivers a well-balanced sound full of punch without forgetting the micro-information that makes music so good.
Its active noise reduction falls short of the market’s best but is still effective in isolating you in moderately noisy environments. The remarkable wearing comfort of these headphones makes them ideal for long listening sessions and binge-watching series and films.
JBL Tour One M2 Wireless, Over-Ear Headphones with Noise Cancelling Technology and up to 50 hours Battery Life, in Champagne
|Current Price||£237.86||December 11, 2023|
|Highest Price||£299.99||January 28, 2023|
|Lowest Price||£199.00||November 25, 2023|
Last price changes
|£237.86||December 9, 2023|
|£237.97||December 8, 2023|
|£237.61||December 5, 2023|
|£239.98||December 3, 2023|
|£240.39||November 30, 2023|