In the 1984 mockumentary, “This Is Spinal Tap,” Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest) attempts to explain to filmmaker (Rob Reiner) that the band’s Marshall amplifier is better since the dials turn to eleven (i.e., rather than the standard setting of ten). Subsequently, “up to eleven” has become a popular expression of a product reaching its zenith and JBL’s Synchros S700 headphones ($349.95) both literally and physically surpass this mark.
The product’s packaging initially appears as standard faire with a simple white sleeve displaying the headphones against a white background. However, once the previously mentioned sleeve is removed, the internal box is covered in a shocking jolt of orange with the apt phrase “the sound of what comes next” printed atop.
Inside the box is a perfectly tailored black carrying case with subtle imprinting of “JBL” on the front and “Synchros” on the back. The case features the added touch of also embossing the metallic zipper with the company’s logo. The lid opens 180 degrees and features a mesh pocket to hold cables or other accessories, while the bottom includes foam cutouts to support/protect the Synchros S700. Also, of note, the entire internal compartment of the case is lined with a soft, black faux-fur and the headphone’s cups swivel 90 degrees in either direction to allow for easy storage.
These headphones are available in either all black (Onyx) or white with gray accents (Glacier). The external motif appears similar to a speaker grill; yet, this author’s first impressions were more organic in nature, such as radiating ribs. While the black model is monochromatic, visual interest is created by utilization of different textures and material. The Synchros S700 features an aluminum frame, stainless steel headband, cordura fabric, and with supple, leather ear cushions.
In terms of fit, the product’s adjustable headband was quickly sized to my head (not an easy feat due this author’s sizeable cranium with a hat size of 7 7/8 or XXL). The cushioning located in both the ear cups and along the headband made extended use of the headphones completely feasible. Moreover, the marking on the headband (ranging from the smallest, one, to the largest, past the twelfth marking) allowed one to quickly resize, if required to share this product with others.
JBL’s Synchros S700 have a 2.5mm headphone jack in the bottom of the left ear cup and included the following three cables:
• 3.5mm iOS-suitable three-button remote/microphone cable (i.e., volume controls plus the ability to interact with Siri, answer/end phones calls, play/pause, and fast forward/rewind) for compatible iPod, iPhone, and iPads
• 3.5mm three-button remote/microphone cable for popular smart devices - Samsung, Sony Xperia, Nokia Lumia, HTC, LG, Blackberry, Google Android and Windows
• USB-charging cable
Based on the last included accessory, these headphones possess a built-in battery to power JBL’s “LiveStage” technology. As the name implies, “LiveStage” utilizes internal processing that mimics a concert or speaker experience oriented in front of the listener. The internal battery takes approximately 3 hours to charge and lasts for roughly 30 hours of continuous use. “LiveStage” can be powered off via depressing the hidden button under JBL’s logo on the outside of the left ear cup or, after 10 minutes of disuse. In a stroke of brilliance, JBL designed the Synchros S700 so that when lacking battery power, one can still continue listening to music (i.e., albeit without “LiveStage” processing).
This author has been a music fanatic for years, yet these headphones change how he experienced sound. Perhaps in publishing, there is an extensive amount of hyperbole; however, without exaggeration, the Synchros S700 permit one to hear every strum of the guitar and/or beat of the drum. Truthfully, songs that this author has replayed hundreds of times were completely anew by hearing (almost feeling) instruments that had previously gone unnoticed.
In terms of technical specifications, the Synchros S700 possesses 50mm drivers with a frequency response of 10Hz – 22kHz. Thus, these headphones create a body-shaking amount of base and, at one-third of the possible listening volume, the author had trouble hearing himself speak! While the specs are impressive on paper, they pale in comparison to the real-life performance of Synchros S700 - permanently changing the way one perceives music!
Additionally, extra points go to JBL for going against recent trends to manufacture headphones in wild colors/designs/patters that are lacking in audio performance. The “JBL Synchros S700 Headphones” video on YouTube expertly summarizes these sentiments with the perfectly crafted advertising tagline, “you don’t need to be a doctor to know that trends fade, but true sound never does.”
Audiophiles, JBL’s Synchros S700 headphones will be a purchase you won’t regret.
Rating: 6 out of 5!
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