PSA: JBL Quantum 300 Mic Audio Improved!
When I reviewed the JBL Quantum 300 last year, I loved almost everything about it. It offers excellent sound quality, comfort, and incredible 3D audio support for its ~$80 price point. It was good enough to make my “2020’s Best Gaming Headsets Under $100” list…with only one small caveat.
Mic performance wasn’t outstanding when plugged into the included USB sound card.
Essentially, the USB dongle had an aggressive noise gate applied to the sound, and the overall volume pickup of the microphone was a little low for my tastes. A noise gate attempts to detect your voice in real time, and when you’re not talking, it cuts off the microphone to present a silent background to those listening to you. If a noise gate is tuned too aggressively, it will sometimes turn on and off while you’re trying to speak, leaving blips in the audio. This also sometimes requires the user to speak louder than normal to cut through the gate and get the mic to turn on.
This small issue only affected the mic input on the USB sound card, and wasn’t an issue with the microphone hardware itself, so console players or those opting to use their built-in motherboard audio, or those not using voice chat on PC wouldn’t have run into it. The rest of the headset’s features were still enough to make it worth buying, and the mic noise gate might not have bothered others who aren’t as picky as I am.
With a new patch for the QuantumENGINE software released recently (version 184.108.40.2063), JBL has re-tuned the noise gate and improved the volume of the Quantum 300’s microphone. It now sounds and performs exactly how I wanted it to in the first place, and it’s even easier to recommend than it was before.
Finally, if you’re interested in my thoughts on the QuantumONE, the flagship headset in the line, I reviewed that one right over here. In short, it has beautiful audio performance and premium materials, but I’m not sure if its high end features are a great fit for the current mainstream market.