JBL Quantum ONE Gaming Headset Review
The “flagship” gaming headset market is a narrow field. $300+ price points are increasingly common in the standard headphone space, but still rather rare in gaming audio. As a result, competition is fierce, and gaming headsets that want to demand this high price have to really bring it.
JBL launched an astounding number of different gaming headsets earlier this year under their new Quantum branding. I previously reviewed the affordable Quantum 300, and despite a few minor complaints, it was still good enough to be one of the year’s best new headsets. When the range got a set of heavy discounts for Black Friday, I sprang for a Quantum ONE to see if the most expensive version of the headset could deliver on its promises.
Instead, it delivered only disappointment and bafflement.
The JBL Quantum ONE normally retails for $299.99 (official site here), but it receives regular discounts below that price. That MSRP puts it up against well-reviewed high-end models from Astro, HyperX, and SteelSeries. It’s also $100 more expensive than JBL’s own Quantum 800, which offers both USB wireless and Bluetooth connections, neither of which are featured on the ONE. The Quantum ONE is a wired noise canceling 3D audio headset with USB-C and 3.5mm connections. If you don’t use a USB connection to a PC you’ll miss out on most of its features, including customizable RGB lighting zones, noise canceling, and head-tracking 3D audio.
In the box, you get a USB-C game/chat balance dial, a 3.5mm connection cable, a detachable microphone, and a second small microphone with a foam IEM ear tip on the end of it. This second mic is a calibration microphone that you can use to customize the HRTF used for the headset’s 3D audio to your personal ear characteristics. In order to do this, you have to deeply insert and seal this mic into your ear, plug it into the headset, and put the headset on over the mic. It’ll run some quick audio tests, then you repeat the process for the other ear.