JBL has its fingers in a lot of audio pies these days, from Bluetooth speakers to gaming headsets and more—you name it, JBL has done it. Now the company is back with another pair of true wireless earbuds, the JBL Club Pro Plus. These earbuds bring active noise cancelling (ANC), various EQ options, and more.

Is that enough to differentiate these true wireless earphones from all the 0thers?

Who is the JBL Club Pro Plus for?

  • Everyday listeners who need something with ANC for their bus or train commute.
  • Fitness enthusiasts who need something sweatproof but don’t care for an ear hook design.

What is it like to use the JBL Club Pro Plus?

The JBL Club Pro Plus lays in front of its case on a white shelf

The JBL Club Pro Plus is designed to fit the shape of your ear.

If you’ve used a pair of true wireless earbuds before, the JBL Club Pro Plus should feel like pretty standard fare. The company bills these new earbuds as the ones to get if you need something that’s ready for anything, and that’s largely true.

Related: What makes a good set of in-ears?

The JBL Club Pro Plus is made mainly of plastic, as is its charging case, which helps keep things lightweight. The earbuds feature touch-sensitive panels that offer a decent spread of onboard controls, which you can adjust in the My JBL Headphones app.

The buds feature a molded shape meant to nestle snugly into your ear, but whether it successfully manages this depends on your particular ear shape. There are no additional stabilizers like ear fins or hooks, so getting a decent seal with the properly sized ear tip is very important (especially if your ear shape isn’t suited to the shape of the bud). Fortunately, the JBL Club Pro Plus comes with three different sizes of silicone ear tip, so finding a decent fit shouldn’t be too hard.

Someone holding the JBL Club Pro Plus earbuds, with an Apple MacBook Pro on a wooden table

If your ears aren’t the right shape, their stability for exercise is questionable.

The case is a little thick, compared to similarly shaped ones from the likes of the Apple AirPods or the Google Pixel Buds A-Series, but it still fits in a pocket just fine. Magnets hold the earbuds in place when you store them for charging, though insufficient connection with the charging contacts still happens—this is actually a rather persistent issue. I routinely have to fiddle with one bud or the other to make sure they’re both charging, otherwise I’ll pull them out and run into a situation where one is full and the other barely has any juice left. This can mean more than just being forced into mono listening occasionally (something the earbuds support, which is nice).

Much like with pretty much every other pair of true wireless earbuds, the JBL Club Pro Plus breaks its connection with your paired device when you store it in the charging case. However, since either bud can pair with your device, if the charging connection doesn’t happen for both earbuds, one will stay paired. This drains the earbud battery even more, and it makes answering phone calls kind of a pain if you’ve walked away from wherever you left the buds to charge.

Should you download the JBL My Headphones app?

The JBL Club Pro + lays on a wire table next to a Google Pixel 4a running the JBL smart control app.

The JBL app works well, and offers a solid array of features.

When both earbuds are adequately charged, the JBL Club Pro Plus is pretty nice to use, and the MY JBL Headphones app is a big part of that. The earbuds’ companion app lets you switch between active noise cancelling modes, transparency modes, and select a connection mode to prioritize connection stability, sound quality, or audio-visual sync. You can also set on-ear controls, assigning profiles like volume control, playback control, ambient sound control, and more to either the left or right ear. Unfortunately, this means you’ll need to switch back and forth in the app if you make a habit of just listening with one earbud.

The available ANC modes are Everyday, which is the maximum noise cancelling, and Active, which is meant for people exercising outdoors and blocks less noise overall so you don’t miss cars while running. Similarly, the transparency mode (called Ambient Sound Control here) lets you switch between Ambient Sound Aware, which prioritizes the sounds of things like traffic coming through over the earbuds’ microphones, and TalkThru, which focuses on picking up speech. You can also just shut either of these features off whenever you like.

screenshots of the JBL My Headphones app

The app will also give you a live battery reading the individual buds and the charging case (that EQ line isn’t how I actually listen to things, I swear).

MY JBL Headphones also features EQ profiles associated with different well-known DJs like Martin Garrix, Tigerlily, and more—no doubt where the Club in the name comes from. It also offers a custom EQ feature where you can curve a line across the frequency spectrum as you like to increase or decrease output.

How well does the JBL Club Pro Plus cancel noise?

An isolation chart for the JBL Club Pro +, which shows solid ANC and isolation performance

ANC and isolation like this is pretty impressive stuff.

The JBL Club Pro Plus features decent isolation and above-average ANC performance for a pair of true wireless earbuds. It doesn’t approach the high water mark of something like the Sony WF-1000XM4, but attenuation like this should make the rumble of nearby traffic or the sounds of transit considerably quieter.

See: The best noise cancelling true wireless earphones

Turning on ANC should render sounds in the low-mid range, especially around 250Hz, at one eighth their regular volume. Walking down the sidewalk of a busy street with ANC turned on won’t eliminate traffic noises, but a lot of engine sounds will go away, making cars sound a little like faraway power saws.

How is the JBL Club Pro Plus battery life?

The JBL Club Pro Plus lays inside its case on a cafe table next to a cup of iced coffee and an Apple MacBook Pro.

These earbuds will fit right in at a cafe.

According to JBL, the Club Pro Plus can last up to 6 hours on a single charge with ANC turned on, and that’s not too far off. At a consistent output of ~75dB, the left earbud of the JBL Club Pro Plus lasted 5 hours, 23 minutes, while the right one lasted 5 hours, 53 minutes—some degree of difference between the earbuds is expected, as it’s largely the nature of how true wireless earbuds work. According to JBL, the earbuds should last up to 8 hours with ANC off, and it wouldn’t be surprising if the buds approached that number. Either way, there’s nothing especially impressive here.

Learn more: How long do AirPods last, and can you make them last longer?

JBL also claims the charging case has enough charge for 18 hours of ANC audio, or 24 hours of non-ANC audio, and we haven’t seen anything to dispute that throughout the review period. However, it is admittedly hard to get a sense of the case’s charge capacity given how frequently one earbud or the other doesn’t make the connection it needs to begin charging. The case also supports wireless charging with Qi-compatible charging pads.

How does the JBL Club Pro Plus connect?

The JBL Club Pro Plus connects to devices using Bluetooth 5.1, which means it won’t ever be compatible with features like Bluetooth LE Audio and the LC3 codec (which will launch using the 5.2 firmware). The true wireless earbuds support the default SBC Bluetooth codec and AAC, which means there isn’t a reliable high-quality option for Android users either. AAC will work fine most of the time, but it’s definitely tailored to Apple devices, and doesn’t operate as efficiently elsewhere.

How does the JBL Club Pro Plus Sound?

A frequency response chart for the JBL Club Pro +, which shows very accurate audio across the frequency spectrum

The Club Pro Plus frequency response (cyan) is pretty close to the ideal (pink) for consumer-oriented headphones.

The JBL Club Pro Plus sticks very closely to our target curve pretty much across the frequency spectrum. This shouldn’t come as much surprise; like most test targets, ours is influenced by the Harman curve, and both Harman and JBL are Samsung subsidiaries. There’s a little more under-emphasis than we’d like to see with the upper-bass and midrange response, but otherwise music of all genres should sound quite nice coming out of these earbuds.

Lows, mids, and highs

Pineapple by Engelwood sounds really nice coming through the JBL Club Pro Plus—the kick drum comes through with just the right amount of oomph to feel nice without drowning out even the quieter guitar strumming in the background. In Don’t Change by Electric Six, the vocals clearly compete a little bit with the bass guitar, but it’s still easy to hear the song’s layered composition. In a song like this, the rhythm guitar, bass guitar, and lead guitar normally would drown each other out a little, but they come through distinctly with the JBL Club Pro Plus.

Can you use the JBL Club Pro Plus for phone calls?

A man sits outside listening to the JBL Club Pro Plus paired to Google Pixel 4a

The microphone actually sounds pretty good, all things considered.

The JBL Club Pro Plus microphone sounds pretty average for a pair of true wireless earbuds. It does an alright job cutting down on things like wind noise, and it filters out the persistent hum and rumble of things like refrigerators or washing machines. Incidental noise will still come through even if it’s pretty quiet. Basically, this should be fine for phone calls in most situations, but if the cars start honking on your walk, whoever you’re talking to will still hear it. Listen for yourself:

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Should you buy the JBL Club Pro Plus?

If you want a pair of true wireless earbuds with impressive audio and noise cancelling, you should consider the JBL Club Pro Plus, as long as you’re comfortable with some mundane inconveniences.

The JBL Club Pro + lays in its charging case on a wooden surface.

The earbuds only come in black.

On paper, the JBL Club Pro Plus is very compelling. It sounds great, features solid ANC and isolation, and it has an IPX4 rating so you can exercise without worrying about sweat damage. In fairness, most of the time its execution matches that promise, but little things can add up.

The microphone is pretty lackluster, and the lack of a reliable high-quality Bluetooth codec for Android is a shame. While the IP rating is nice to have, these don’t sit securely enough in the ear for a lot of vigorous forms of exercise (like running). The inconsistent charging connection feels like a serious unforced error, and it can drag everything else down—hopping on the bus in the morning and finding one or both earbud is out of juice gets old pretty fast. The JBL Club Pro Plus battery life already isn’t spectacular, but the charging issue can make it feel pretty egregious.

However, if you don’t mind these kinds of inconveniences, you’ll probably enjoy your time with the JBL Club Pro Plus.

JBL Club Pro Plus
All prices listed in USD unless otherwise specified. Prices may change over time, and vary by region. Unfortunately, we cannot list Amazon prices on the site, as they vary greatly by currency.

What should you get instead of the JBL Club Pro Plus?

If workout earbuds are what you’re after, something like the Bose Sport Earbuds retails for less money, sounds great, and features ear hooks that make for a much more secure fit. These earbuds don’t do much for isolation, but you might actually like that if you’re a runner and want to stay aware of your surroundings.

If you’re looking for something with more options overall, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro runs for $199.99 USD, just like the JBL Club Pro Plus, and features more audio codecs, more customizable controls, Spotify integration, as well as more secure fit and higher IP rating. Its battery life is a little worse with ANC turned on, but it also doesn’t have the charging issues of the Club Pro Plus.

Next: The best JBL headphones

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JBL Club Pro Plus
7.9