JLab Audio Omni Wireless Headphones Review
Wired or wireless, this is one deal you won't want to miss
The Insides That Count
We wouldn't blame you if you thought the Omni (MSRP: $99.99) from JLab Audio were too good to be true. With a stellar frequency response that is remarkably close to an equal-loudness contour, average isolation, and imperceptible distortion, it's hard to believe they cost as little as they do. It's even more unbelievable when you consider they also use Bluetooth 4.0 to deliver impressive wireless sound quality.
They might seem like lofty claims, but we have the numbers to back it up. Here's our detailed look into the science behind how the Omnis performed.
When we measure frequency response, we start with a parent signal of 82dB and measure the response the headphones produce across the audible spectrum. Most headphones fall in one of two categories: a flat studio response or something closer to an equal-loudness contour. The Omnis opt for the latter and for the most part hit the mark fairly well.
An ELC—represented by the blue line above—means the harder to hear frequencies are boosted so the entire spectrum can be heard equally as well by your average human listener. Instead of opting for matching an ELC completely however, the Omnis hardly boost sub-bass and bass sounds at all, instead keeping them relatively flat at 92dB until well into the midrange sounds.
From there the frequency response matches the general idea of an ELC fairly closely, with a small boost around 1.5kHz and again as sounds enter the harmonic range. Overall, these seem purposefully tuned to try and match the broadest range of music.
Much like Tracking, almost every headphone we get will have some level of distortion interfering and mucking up your music. While nobody wants fuzzy, crackling sounds disrupting their tunes, it's actually fairly uncommon for a headphone to register enough distortion to be audible to the average person.
The red line in the chart above represents the acceptable bounds before distortion becomes audible. As you can see, from sub-bass to the high frequencies, the Omnis results almost unanimously stayed below the limit. Meaning you can listen to your music without ever having to fear mechanical sounds compete with "Hello" by Adele.
Even if a pair of headphones are not playing music, they'll still be able to block some ambient sound from leaking in thanks to the how tight the fit is, how thick the padding on the earcups are, and other miscellaneous factors. If the heapdhones don't feature active noise cancellation, we use this passive isolation result in order to determine how much of the world around you will leak in and disrupt your music.
The Omnis performed fairly on average in this regard. Sub-bass, bass, and most midrange sounds will continue unimpeded, which means you might want to reconsider using the Omnis during your commute. You'll still be able to hear the roar of bus engines, the subway, and the general hubbub of a busy city street even while wearing the Omnis.
They do much better at blocking higher frequencies, sometimes lowering the relative volume to half or as quarter as loud. The bad news? There isn't a lot of ambient sounds that register that high for the Omnis to successfully block.
Of course, playing music will cut down on your awareness of outside sound, but take care not to crank the volume too high, otherwise you might cause some permanent damage to your hearing.
If you've ever gotten a truly bargain pair of headphones you might've noticed one side always seems to sound louder than the other. Almost every headphone will have some minor issues with tracking, but we account for that with an acceptable threshold (marked in blue in the above chart). If the tracking result falls into this area, it's safe to say the average user isn't going to notice anything strange in how their music sounds.
As you can see, the Omnis had an excellent tracking performance, barely breaking out of the acceptable bounds until around 5kHz. Even though they extend relatively far past the bounds in those spots, the frequencies are high enough that it's unlikely you'll notice them anyway.
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