The JLab JBuddies Studio children’ headphones, designed for youngsters ages six and up, have one clear benefit over some competing fashions: Their $30 value. Thankfully, they nonetheless handle to ship respectable, clear wi-fi audio—simply do not anticipate highly effective bass response or something in the way in which of additional options. So whereas these headphones aren’t thrilling, they get the job performed, they usually achieve this affordably. JBL’s JR300BT headphones stay our favourite kid-friendly choice, however you’ll be able to virtually snag two pairs of JBuddies for a similar value.
Available in blue/grey or grey/purple fashions, the circumaural (over-ear) JBuddies Studio Bluetooth headphones appear like on-ears, however ought to match like over-ears on most children. They handle to supply a major quantity of padding within the headband and the earpads regardless of their budget-friendly value. The padding is like reminiscence foam, which helps make the headphones appropriate for longer listening situations on highway journeys or planes. To that finish, additionally they fold down at hinges above the earcups into a comparatively compact, travel-friendly measurement.
The left earcup’s facet panel homes a pinhole microphone, a micro USB jack for charging, an influence button, and a quantity rocker. The energy button additionally doubles because the play/pause and name administration management. Unfortunately, this button could be double-clicked to routinely redial the final quantity known as in your linked cellphone. We’re not large followers of mixing the quantity buttons with monitor navigation, because it’s too simple to unintentionally skip a monitor whenever you imply to regulate the quantity. Adding name controls to this solely makes issues much more sophisticated.
It’s disappointing that JLab gives the JBuddies Studio in Bluetooth or wired variations solely—the wired mannequin comes with a cable that has an inline distant management and mic, however this model merely ships with the micro USB charging cable, and there is no jack for a 3.5mm cable if you wish to purchase a cable as an additional. There’s additionally no carrying pouch, however earlier than we gripe about some other lacking equipment, it is vital to keep in mind that these headphones are a mere $30.
Internally, the earcups home 40mm drivers delivering a frequency vary of 20Hz-20kHz, with a most quantity stage of 85dB.
The mic gives common intelligibility. Using the Voice Memos app on an iPhone 6s, we may perceive each phrase we recorded, however the recording was fuzzy and the mic sounded a bit distant, as is typical with built-in mics on Bluetooth headphones.
JLab estimates battery life to be roughly 13 hours, and whereas this all the time is dependent upon quantity ranges, the accuracy of this estimate is bolstered by the quantity stage that tops out at 85dB.
One word we really feel obliged to level out: The JBuddies Studio appears to be like bodily similar to the JLab Neon—related sufficient, in truth, that after we unpacked our unopened JBuddies Studio field, it had a Neon inside as an alternative, solely we did not know. There is not any apparent visible marking that might point out the incorrect mannequin has been shipped, however whenever you pair the headphones over Bluetooth, they should not present up as JLab Neon. If you see Neon on the record, remember that these are grownup headphones that may get lots loud—the precise reverse of what you are after with volume-limited children’ headphones. Perhaps the field we obtained was an anomaly, however we’re sharing this expertise within the spirit of placing listening to security first.
On tracks with intense sub-bass content material, like The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” the JBuddies Studio Bluetooth ship an honest sense of bass depth for the worth. The bass would not distort, and it would not depend on DSP (digital sign processing) to maintain from distorting (in contrast to the Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones, which ship extra highly effective bass response, however at the price of music typically sounding dynamically squashed). So bass response right here is modest, however that can also be as a result of the quantity is modest.
Bill Callahan’s “Drover,” a monitor with far much less deep bass within the combine, offers us a greater sense of the final sound signature. The drums on this monitor sound somewhat skinny in contrast with how they sound on grownup headphones that push the bass extra and get louder. That doesn’t suggest the monitor sounds utterly brittle and bereft of low frequencies, however it’s not precisely a full, wealthy sound. Callahan’s baritone vocals do appear to get a touch of low-mid boosting, however it is a crisp, vivid affair for probably the most half, highlighting the higher-register components of the combination.
On Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild,” the kick drum loop receives sufficient high-mid presence to maintain its assault sharp and punchy, whereas its maintain receives a stable quantity of low and low-mid presence—once more, nothing terribly highly effective, however the music sounds fuller than the Callahan monitor by these headphones, as a result of it has extra bass within the combine to start with. The sub-bass synth hits are extra implied than delivered, nonetheless—we hear their raspy prime notes and the vinyl crackle that’s often relegated to the background. The vocals are crisp, however at instances appear a tad extra sibilant than needed.
On orchestral tracks, just like the opening scene from John Adams’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary, lower-register instrumentation is represented to a sure diploma. Nothing sounds boosted, however there’s a little bit of richness in there. Primarily, this monitor highlights the upper register brass, strings, and vocals when performed by the JBuddies.
When you pay $30 for headphones, your expectations should be cheap. The one factor you are asking the JLab JBuddies Studio Bluetooth to do above all else is to restrict quantity ranges, they usually do that successfully. They additionally sound respectable and do not distort. If something offers me pause about getting these headphones for a kid, it is that pesky auto-dial characteristic. If that is a deal breaker for you, JBL’s JR300BT supply stronger audio and a extra whimsical design, albeit for $20 extra. If you assume your little one goes to interrupt no matter headphones you buy inside a 12 months, maybe a budget-friendly mannequin is the way in which to go.