JBL Quantum 400 Review
With the JBL Quantum 400, JBL has a mid-range gaming headset in its range that has it all. We tested the headset.
JBL Quantum 400: Technical data
For a short time, the audio manufacturer JBL has been trying to open up the gaming accessories market for itself. The main focus here is on headsets with various features. There are the Quantum models 100, 200, 300, 400, 600, and 800, and a JBL Quantum ONE, which with QuantumSPHERE 360 ™ supports a head tracking system similar to that of the Apple AirPods Pro and Max.
But today, we are talking about the JBL Quantum 400. As can be seen from the name, this is a mid-range headset for gamers.
- Companion software offers a graphic EQ and audio presets.
- Customizable RGB lighting.
- Lightweight construction.
- Microphone volume control and sidetone in dedicated app.
- Significant variation in listening experience depending on fit.
The Quantum 400 can be used in a variety of ways. It can be connected either via a 3.5 mm jack connection or via USB Type-C. Thanks to the 3.5 mm jack cable with three channels, it is possible to use the headset on a PC and various consoles such as the Nintendo Switch, Xbox, or PlayStation. But not only here, even with your smartphone, you can use not only the headphones but also the microphone.
Unfortunately, the Quantum 400 is not wireless, even if this always has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, you can use the headset as long as you like, regardless of the device, and without having to worry about the battery level. Very few headsets with a built-in battery work with the jack without power – this problem does not apply here.
With a weight of 274 g, the headset sits comfortably on the head. These are over-ear headphones. The earpads can, of course, be exchanged.
The sound drivers reproduce sound from 20 Hz – 20 kHz and have an impedance of 32 ohms.
The microphone has a built-in pop filter and, although it cannot be removed, it can be folded up, which automatically activates the mute function.
In addition to the headset itself, the scope of delivery also includes a 3-meter long USB-C cable made of nylon. In addition, an approximately 2-meter long jack cable, also made of nylon, is included.
Equipment of the Quantum 400
We have already anticipated some of the functions of the JBL Quantum 400. It is a wired gaming headset that can be connected either via a jack or USB. The Quantum 600 is a wireless variant.
Let’s start with the choice of material: The Quantum 400 is primarily made of plastic, which is typical in this price range and is of high quality here at JBL. If you want more beautiful materials here, you have to spend more money accordingly.
The ear pads tend to be made of synthetic leather and are particularly adaptable to your head.
The headband is padded on the underside, and the whole headphone sits very well on my head, at least for me. This can also be done over several hours without any problems.
The microphone on the JBL Quantum 400 benefits greatly from the fact that the headphone cables are tied. Often with wireless headphones, the microphones are not that good. However, the microphone has an astonishingly good sound and creates a pleasant conversation environment for you and your counterpart.
The microphone cannot be removed, but it can be folded up. This is one of two ways to mute the microphone; alternatively, there is a mute button on the left auricle. If the microphone is deactivated, a red LED lights up. This is still confusing to me because, in-studio situations, red always means “recording.”
The microphone arm can also be bent relatively freely, so perfectly aligned in front of the mouth. A pop screen is also installed directly from the factory.
A secondary speech ratio can also be set, but the intensity can only be regulated via the software.
A function that I would also like to mention is that with the drivers installed on the headphones, you have the option of choosing a chat/game ratio in addition to the overall volume. For this, the headset has two audio outputs in your computer, one with the name Game, through which the sounds from games run, and one with the name Chat. You can set this channel as output in the audio chat tool of your choice.
It should also be mentioned that the JBL Quantum 400 is officially certified by Discord.
We found out that the microphone sounds worse when the headset is connected via USB. The reason is still unclear. We are trying to solve the problem with JBL. You can also hear the sound of the microphone in our video.
The JBL_QuantumENGINE software
The JBL_QuantumENGINE software is available for the Quantum 400 headset from JBL. Not only does it come with drivers, but it also enables several setting options.
The JBL_QuantumENGINE software is currently only available for Windows. However, the download can be found here.
The software makes it possible, among other things, to set the light control, apply an equalizer or make 3D sound settings. But we will come to the individual topics later.
The design is very appropriate. The software is somewhat reminiscent of a mixture of cyberpunk and watch dogs.
The room sound / 3D audio simulation
The JBL Quantum 400 also offers a room sound, which means that a virtual 3D model is calculated from a stereo sound. Theoretically, this has long been nothing special. There are even corresponding functions in Windows 10. However, JBL uses its algorithm at this point and alternatively offers one from DTS.
The last time I tested the system from Corsair, which built this function into the CORSAIR VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless SE and even the Corsair ST100 headset stand.
And somehow, I get the same result every time, especially when a game or a film doesn’t have 3D sound. An algorithm can offer added value here. But: a normal stereo sound also contains spatial information. No further interpolation is required here. All 3D games also provide a 3D audio experience, in which sounds in the room are aligned with the visual objects. This is the only way for a person’s tone to come from that person’s direction. So why throw the whole thing through a filter again?
Specifically, this means: The JBL QuantumSurround sound converts the sound. In the open field, it makes sense and sounds good, but if, for example, a voice comes from off, the software can no longer cope with it. Example in Cyberpunk: V is talking to Jonny Silverhand. Or the same with phone calls.
On the other hand, the DTS sound seems primary to want the existing sound to sound more defined, that is, fewer lows and mids, more highs, so that clicks and clacks can be heard and positioned better. So, for example, you can take any first-person shooter in which someone draws a gun from behind you. But, on the other hand, the effect also diminishes the overall sound experience here.
The only implementation that I liked here so far is the 3D audio in Apple’s AirPods Pro, but this is not about interpolating sound that does not exist, but rather reproducing existing 3D sound from 5.1, 7.1, or Dolby Atmos films better and especially to adapt the sound to the position of the iPad or iPhone. JBL also offers QuantumSPHERE 360 ™, but this function is reserved for the Quantum ONE headset.
JBL Quantum 400 lighting
The JBL Quantum 400s are the first headphones in the range to offer LED lighting on both sides. In addition, the JBL logo can be illuminated as desired. The settings for the lighting can be set in the JBL software. However, you shouldn’t expect too much from this either. In contrast to Corsair, for example, there is no interface to any games, and of course, the headset does not adapt to the rest of the PC lighting either.
On its own, however, the lighting looks pretty cool, the colors are intense, bright and the software can be used to create interesting lighting animations.
As always just a gimmick, but in this case, actually a nice eye-catcher.
The sound of the JBL Quantum 400
Now that we have tapped everything to do with headphones, let’s take a look at the most important thing: The sound of the headphones, of course, as always with my subjective opinion. In contrast to the speakers that JBL has on the market, I’ve personally never been particularly enthusiastic about the headphones from JBL – but these are not headphones, but a gaming headset. And I have to admit. The sound surprised me in the most positive sense.
I use the CORSAIR mentioned above, VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless SE, the most expensive model from the memory and gaming accessories manufacturer. The microphone is still better for a wireless headset, but it’s not particularly great. The material processing is, of course, good, but what I never particularly liked here is the headphones’ sound. Not so with JBL, the sound pressure that the headphones can build up in the bass range is impressive, but the Quantum 400 is not only superior here. It offers an astonishingly good sound, enabling even better immersion in the world, especially in games.
The headphones are not only fun in games but also for music. I’ve already taken them outside with me once or twice to listen to music. This might look strange with a gaming headset, but it shows the quality we are talking about here.
In other words, that’s the sound I would have liked from the Corsair.
I am currently enjoying my wireless headset in the home office, and if you like to run around while talking on the phone and not just play, I would recommend it to you. However, if you only use your headset for gaming on the PC, you will make the better choice with a wired headset. Here the JBL Quantum 400 is perfect.
The JBL Quantum 400 surprised us. The sound is much better than expected for this price range. The microphone is of good quality – what more could you want? In addition, the headset is amazingly versatile, as the microphone is available not only on the PC but also on virtually every console with a jack output, and nothing stands in the way of using it with a smartphone.
If you are looking for a wireless headset, you can also look at the JBL Quantum 600. It also offers higher quality materials.