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The JBL Live 660NC lays flat on a wooden surface.

JBL Live 660NC review

The JBL Live 660NC is a straightforward pair of ANC headphones. It's not terribly exciting, but it's plenty reliable.
February 15, 2023
JBL Live 660NC
The bottom line
The JBL Live 660NC is a reliable, if a little lacklustre pair of noise cancelling headphones. There's not a lot flash here, but the fundamentals are mostly handled well. Just don't expect the microphone to be your next remote-work lifeline.

JBL Live 660NC

The JBL Live 660NC is a reliable, if a little lacklustre pair of noise cancelling headphones. There's not a lot flash here, but the fundamentals are mostly handled well. Just don't expect the microphone to be your next remote-work lifeline.
Release date

July 28, 2021


$199.95 USd


95 x 60 x 55mm



Model Number




What we like
Decent ANC
Easy app
Battery life
What we don't like
Bass response
Narrow ear cups
SoundGuys Rating
User Rating
Rating Metric
Our Rating
User Rating
Sound Quality
Isolation / Attenuation
Active Noise Cancelling
Durability / Build Quality

Look, JBL puts out a lot of products. The company could be the most prolific manufacturer in the audio space, covering a wide spread in terms of quality and price. The JBL Live 660NC lands pretty much smack dab in the middle of the price spectrum, offering active noise cancelling, software features, and built-in virtual assistant support. All good things, to be sure, but not exactly the most groundbreaking stuff.

Does it execute well enough to justify the cost?

Editor’s note: this is the first version of the article. Updates will follow as the market changes.

About this JBL Live 660NC review: We tested the JBL Live 660NC over a period of a weeks. It used firmware version 4.6.0, and the JBL Headphones app ran version 5.10.21. The company provided the unit for this review.

The JBL Live 660NC is a decent pick for anyone who needs an everyday pair of wireless headphones. If you want something that folds for commuting and travel, this could be a contender.

What’s it like to use JBL Live 660NC?

The JBL Live 660NC sits on a headphone stand.
The headphones come in black, blue, or white.

The JBL Live 660NC is a fairly standard pair of wireless headphones. This monochromatic device is made of mostly plastic, with a metal strip running through the headband for added stability. Visually, this is pretty nondescript, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing—not everyone wants their headphones to be a fashion statement.

The Live 660NC is a reasonably comfortable pair of headphones. The cushioned headband is covered in fabric, and the ear pads are thick and covered in a soft leatherette. The headphone hinges can rotate and fold to make the headset more compact—there’s also an included carrying pouch, which makes for a travel-friendly device—and the ear cups have a little extra tilt range. Basically, most people should find this pretty comfortable. I’m happy wearing them for more than two hours during my workday.

However, the JBL 660NC has very narrow ear cups for a pair of over-ear headphones. If you’ve got a history of problems with that kind of thing, you may want to steer clear. I wouldn’t expect any better an experience for people with glasses either.

A man wears the JBL Live 600NC outside.
The ear cups are pretty narrow, but this is a comfortable pair of headphones.

Using the headphones is easy. There’s an array of on-ear controls and an app for fine tuning and additional features.  All the buttons feel pretty well spaced out, so it’s easy to find them when you’ve got the headphones on. Nestled between the controls is also a 3.5mm jack socket, so if you need a zero latency wired audio connection, you’ll have that available too.

How do you control JBL Live 660NC?

A close up shot of the JBL Live 660NC on-ear controls.
The button and tap controls are pretty straightforward.

The JBL Live 660NC features button controls along the edge of the right headphone, and the side panel of the left headphone is tap sensitive. Most buttons just do one thing, but it’s still got a handful of options.

Volume up
Volume up
Volume down
Volume down
Multifunction button (tap)
Multifunction button (double tap)
Skip forward
Multifunction button (triple tap)
Skip back
Bluetooth button (hold)
Bluetooth pairing
ANC button (tap)
Toggle ANC/Ambient Aware/off
ANC button (double tap)
Talkthru mode
Side panel (tap and hold)
Voice Assistant

Should you use the JBL Headphones app for the JBL Live 660NC?

The JBL 660NC lays on a leather surface next to a Pixel 4a running the JBL Headphones app
JBL Headphones is a pretty straightforward app.

You should probably install the JBL Headphones app (iOS/Android) if you choose to buy the Live 660NC, if only for getting firmware updates. However, the app is pretty useful in its own right, too. It gives you access to ANC controls, EQ presets (and the ability to make your own), voice assistant settings, and more—all organized on one page. There’s even a toggle for switching between the default audio mode and a video mode meant to reduce audio-visual lag (latency). It’s easy to use and it works reliably.

How does the JBL Live 660NC connect?

The JBL Tune 600NC lays on an Apple MacBook Air sitting on a wooden surface.
Pairing to devices is pretty easy.

The JBL Live 660NC connects to your device of choice like most Bluetooth headphones. The headphones use Bluetooth  5.0, with support for the default SBC codec, as well as AAC. This is pretty much bog standard—there’s no high quality codec option like aptX, but for most uses SBC and AAC will do just fine. There’s no Google fast pair, and certainly no H2 chip for deeper Apple integration. The headphones also support Bluetooth multipoint, which is nice if you’re paired to something and feel an urge to change a setting in the JBL Headphones app (Or if you just want to change audio sources fast).

Pairing the JBL Live 660NC is very straightforward—it works like any other average Bluetooth device. Here’s what to do:

  1. Turn on the headphones. A few seconds after the guitar sound plays, it should start pairing mode.
  2. Open your device’s Bluetooth menu and find the headphones.
  3. Pair with the headphones.

How long does the JBL Live 660NC battery last?

JBL claims that the Jabra Live 660NC can last up to 50 hours on a single charge, or 40 hours with ANC enabled. Our standard battery test lasted 47 hours and 8 minutes with ANC on, showing this to accurate.

Yes! You can charge the Live 660NC for 10 minutes to get 4 hours of playback time. Charging back up to full will take around 2 hours, though.

How well does the JBL Live 660NC cancel noise?

An ANC chart for the JBL Live 660NC, showing decent low end attenuation.
This is decent, but not spectacular.

The JBL Live 660NC offers decent active noise cancelling (ANC). It cancels out up to 30dB of noise at around 300Hz, which is nothing to sneeze at. The headphones passive isolation is also pretty good, but not exceptional.

This initially released a few years ago, when the big heavy hitters in the audio market were products like the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 or the Sony WH-1000XM4—compared to those, it can’t quite keep up, but still performs admirably. Compared to current kings like the Sony WH-1000XM5 or Apple AirPods Max, the JBL Live 660NC really struggles, but that’s not to say it’s got bad ANC. It should ably quiet the rumble of a bus on your morning commute without any issues.

How does the JBL Live 660NC sound?

A frequency response chart for the JBL Live 660NC , which shows an extra bump in the bass range.
The lows and highs look a little… high.

The JBL Live 660NC sounds pretty close to our in-house target curve in most places, but there’s definitely some extra sub-bass and high end emphasis. The headphones over emphasize sound under 100Hz by more than 5db in spots, and there’s also big spike around 6-7kHz. A frequency response like this means that most music should sound fine coming out of the JBL Live 660NC, but very low rumbling and whirring like you might hear in EDM could be pretty disruptive.

Listening to a rock song like Starlifter: Fearless Pt. II by Crown Lands, the instrumental in the first few minutes sounds pretty nice coming thing through the JBL Live 660NC. However, once the vocals start, the rumble of the bass guitar starts to get a little distracting. It never crosses into unpleasant territory, but even toggling between a few of the different EQ presets in the JBL Headphones app will illustrate the difference in clarity (depending on the kind of music you listen to).

Can you use the JBL Live 660NC for phone calls?

A frequency response for the JBL Live 660NC microphone, which has a pronounced rolloff in the lows and highs
This is decent enough, but don’t expect the world.

The JBL Live 660NC microphone has a pretty typical-looking frequency response for an embedded microphone in a pair of Bluetooth headphones. However, the microphone doesn’t have much of the typical muffling that these kinds of devices struggle with. What you do get though is some fairly obvious speech processing artifacts. With deeper voices like that of SoundGuys own AJ Wykes (he’s the British voice in the samples), digital compression is very audible. With higher voices, there’s also a slightly noticeable crackle in the background.

Basically, this is good for a quick phone call, but probably not much else.

JBL Live 660NC microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

JBL Live 660NC microphone demo (Office conditions):

JBL Live 660NC microphone demo (Windy conditions):

How does the microphone sound to you?

287 votes

Should you buy the JBL Live 660NC?

The JBL Live 660NC lays on a leather surface next to a Google Pixel 4a running Spotify.
If you want something basic to listen to music and block the sounds of your commute, this is a pretty good option.

If you’re on the hunt for a good pair of noise cancelling headphones, the JBL Live 660NC could be just the thing. The microphone isn’t very good, and the narrow ear cups may turn listeners with larger ears away, but otherwise this is a pretty reliable noice cancelling headset. For under $200 USD, you’d be hard pressed to find a more capable option.

Sometimes a lack of gimmicks or bells and whistles can be kind of nice, especially given how well the Live 660NC handles the basics. Not everything needs to try reinventing the wheel, after all.

JBL Live 660NC Wireless HeadphonesJBL Live 660NC Wireless Headphones
JBL Live 660NC Wireless Headphones
In your world, music is essential, so slip on a pair of JBL Live 660NC and elevate your day. Feel the power of JBL Signature Sound delivered by 40mm drivers, enjoy the convenience of Adaptive Noise Canceling and Smart Ambient technologies that allow you to focus on what matters for you, and talk to your favorite Voice Assistant with a tap on the ear cup. Rock out uninterruptedly for 50 hours!

What should you get instead of the JBL Live 660NC?

If you want better noise cancelling, you’ll need to aim for a higher price point, but the results may well be worth it. Options like the Sony WH-1000XM5 or the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless feature some of the best ANC on the market, along with great sound, battery life, and designs better suited to people with large ears than the JBL Live 660NC. However, they represent a pretty dramatic price increase—if you want to go all the way in the other direction, check out the Monoprice BT-600 ANC.

Frequently asked questions

The Live 660NC has a 3.5mm jack socket on its right headphone, and it comes with 3.5mm cord, so it’s definitely a headphone jack-friendly product.

Unfortunately, the JBL Live 660NC’s USB-C charging port doesn’t work for audio.