headphones
Expert Score
8.5

JVC XX Elation Headphones Review

Day or night, these over-ears hold up for the long haul.

Credit: Reviewed.com / Nick Schmiedicker
March 01, 2016

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Without a doubt, the $100–$300 range of premium headphones has been shaped by the popularity and success of Beats. The primarily plastic build that still looks good and a rich, some would argue too rich, bass response does a great job of appealing to as many people as possible

Another in a long line in these headphones, the wireless JVC XX Elation Headphones (MSRP: $149.95) are great for taking the club experience home with you. They won't have nearly as many lasers (unfortunately), but they feature a bass boost that adds a kick to the drop in your favorite EDM mix. With a more affordable price tag compared to high-end wireless options—like the Sony MDR1ABT or the Beats Studio Wireless— and they start to look better and better.

That price tag doesn't mean you're losing out on special features, though. The XX Elations are jam-packed with things like NFC Bluetooth pairing and a "Hyper Bass Boost." Together they sell the convenience of impactful sound for the right kind of buyer.

Design

A midrange option that’s more bass than beautiful

It's ironic that these days style is equated with a plastic build. Beats started this trend and it didn't take long for other manufacturers to copy a winning formula. The XX Elations definitively fall into this category, but not in a bad way.

JVC XX Elation - Earcups
Credit: Reviewed.com / Nick Schmiedicker
While each earcup has a decent amount of padding, they're rather small and can be a bit uncomfortable if you have larger ears—like me.

The downside to a plastic housing is that they don't feel especially sturdy. The earcups have a fair amount of padding, but they're a little small and pressed uncomfortably on my ears after only an hour or so of listening. The band has a tight fit though, so they may or may not loosne up given enough time and use. Of course, I also have a pretty big head and some of my coworkers were able to wear them without much issue. So if your hats run small, you'll probably have a better time than me.

The price of the XX Elations is all the more impressive when you see what kind of extra features you’re getting. On the right earcup you’ll find all of the controls and inputs you’re looking for: the removable audio cable for wired support, power button, micro USB port for charging, a toggle for sound and phone control, as well as the button for the optional bass boost. It’s a lot of controls packed into a small space, though, and more than once I accidentally blasted the volume while aiming for the bass boost.

JVC XX Elation - Controls
Credit: Reviewed.com / Nick Schmiedicker
The XX Elations are packed to the brim with special features and you'll find all of the controls on a single, crowded earcup.
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Sound

Boosted bass that hits like a hammer.
Even without the assistance of the “Hyper Bass Sound” button, the XX Elations boost bass to such levels that it might seem a little overwhelming if you’re not used to it. The opening bass guitar of “Fret & Regret” by Gemini Club is the perfect example; each time the note is plucked the XX Elations put a weight behind it that you just won’t notice on your Apple EarPods.

JVC XX Elation - Frequency Response
Credit: Reviewed.com
While they try to follow an equal-loudness contour, the XX Elations under-emphasize the treble frequencies to an alarming degree.

Unfortunately, all of that extra bass is paired with diminished high notes. A lot of my favorite songs lost some of their bright, airy details thanks to the overwhelming emphasis on bass. That also translates to a powerful output that packs a punch. I was able to leave them on my desk, turn the volume up, and play a video for my coworkers that they could hear just as well if I used my computer speakers.

Convenient one-touch Bluetooth that takes a hit in quality.
When we test headphones we always use a wired connection if we can. Compared to wired, the wireless connections are always going to have better sound quality. Well, the XX Elations bridge that gap by using an aptX codec for enhanced wireless quality, as long as the source—your laptop, tablet, phone—has the same codec. We're split if most will hear the different, but if you want the best wireless sound quality head to the aptX website to check compatibility.

With one-touch pairing, going wireless is as simple as can be. Tweet It

Not only are they wireless, but the XX Elations also use one-touch pairing with NFC for added convenience. With NFC turned on, all you have to do is touch your phone to the N Mark on the right band and you're good to go. It was a little tricky at first, but after a little practice I could connect a phone like the Nexus 6P easily.

Stopping outside noise in its tracks—except for bass.
The XX Elations do everything they can to hammer home the bass notes, but when it comes to blocking outside sound bass notes are where they have the most trouble. I could block a lot of the sounds of a busy subway train by playing songs but it would still leak in and mess with how it sounded. On the other hand, when I wore them at the office the chatter of my coworkers was cut out completely, even with the volume at low.

Head over to the Test Results page for a closer look at the rest of the data we gathered in our audio lab.

Verdict

Functional and affordable, they’re a decent pick for wireless.

Finding a great pair of wireless headphones that doesn’t put a serious dent in your bank account—yes, I’m looking at you Sony MDR-1ABT—is tricky. If you're on a tight headphone budget, the JVC XX Elations are a compelling option for folks that really love their bass and want a high-end wireless over-ear option.

JVC XX Elation - Desk
Credit: Reviewed.com / Nick Schmiedicker
With built in Bluetooth you won't need to be chained to your phone or laptop.

Still, depending on your budget the $150 asking price might be a little tough to stomach. If that's the case, the JLab Audio Omnis are a sub-$100 pair of wireless over-ears that deliver excellent value. Then there’s the House of Marley Liberate Wireless, another fine option with aptX compatibility and great reviews for under $150.

But, for lovers of bass, the XX Elations are a hard deal to pass up. With a similar build as the Beats, they're an affordable wireless alternative that, on sale, can often be found for closer to $100. With a price like that, subtly listening to EDM at the office has never been easier.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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