A part of my daytime job requires editing videos. I edit at least two videos per week. I am not a professional editor, but I help the in-house production team with basic edits because editing those videos require a sound knowledge of theology and a pastoral perspective, although I don’t know the head or tail of Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro. Anyway, I wasn’t happy with the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro headphones provided by the studio because my ears are extremely sensitive to infections, and sharing headphones will lead to increased appointments with my doctor. Then the aforesaid is hardwired and I hate hardwired stuff because I feel like a cat on a leash!
Therefore, after much research and reading thousands of reviews I finally settled for the Bluetooth enabled JBL Tune 500BT. It was affordable and within my budget. I am clueless about audio technologies but who cares. It’s JBL after all. A brand with a reputation. The reviews were promising. The blog posts were enticing. The importer is a reputed business establishment in Sri Lanka. Hence on 19th December 2019, I ordered the item online which arrived after two weeks. Today’s blog post is about what I think of that pair of JBL Tune 500BT now, 2+ years later. [In pic: My worn-out pair of JBL Tune 500 BT On-Ear Headphones. Credit: SR Production]
Note: I am not a professional audio engineer. This post is not a review of the JBL Tune 500BT. I am merely sharing my observations and you might have a different opinion.
Features of the JBL Tune 500BT
It’s available in four different colors but who cares? I am not looking forward to listening to music while dressing up babe dolls. So, I settled for black. It doesn’t have a ton of features, but I liked what it has. 16 hours of battery life (if you are in a hurry charge for 5 minutes and use for 2 hours), multipoint connections (auto-switch from Final Cut Pro on an iMac Pro to an incoming call on my Oppo A12) It’s got a few buttons on the right ear cup (on/off, volume +/-, and call answer and play/pause for movies and music). Those are the pros.
Performance of the JBL Tune 500BT
That pair of JBL Tune 500BT didn’t take much longer to disappoint me. The battery life is still good, the multipoint connections are working as intended, the buttons are sensitive but what is a pair of headphones unless it has an acceptable level of audio quality. The merchant advertised noise cancellation but by the size of the earcups, you can tell it doesn’t have any noise cancellation at all. What more? According to JBL, these headphones feature “JBL Pure Bass Sound” – maybe they are talking about a different kind of bass sound because the JBL Tune 500BT doesn’t have any bass!
Durability of the JBL Tune 500BT
By now you might dismiss this post saying I have been a victim of a counterfeit product. I know I wasn’t because I bought from a reputed merchant, and I have all the documentation that proves what I bought was a genuine JBL product. Unfortunately, in 2021 two years later the right side stopped working and I had to fix the internal connectors according to the instructions in this YouTube video. It worked but then the left side stopped working. So I opened up the left ear cup and fixed the internal connectors. Not cool when you must waste time fixing stuff instead of using them. It’s simply frustrating!
My final verdict is JBL Tune 500BT on-ear headphones are not worth the price I paid for them (LKR 13,000/- Approx. 65 US Dollars) nor the two weeks I spent with fingers crossed waiting for them to ship to Sri Lanka. Of course, I am still using them because I can’t afford another pair of headphones right now. However, if I am to buy a pair of headphones again, I will stay away from JBL Tune 500BT. I will also seek the help of our in-house audio engineering professional before spending on a new pair again. (Don’t miss my previous post titled, “Rules of Thumb for Thumb Drives and Flash Drives”)
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