JLab Taps Knowles to Step Up Earbud Sound Quality

JLab, the San Diego-based company known for inexpensive earbuds and headphones that mostly sell for less than $50 at Best Buy and on Amazon, has stepped out of its low-price comfort zone with a $200 set of noise-canceling wireless earbuds that are unique in the market.

Unique because the Epic Lab Edition earbuds are based on the Knowles Preferred Listening Response Curve developed by Illinois-based Knowles, a leading global supplier of micro-acoustic microphones, balanced-armature drivers, and other high-performance audio components used in earbuds, hearing aids, and products across many industries.

Designed to help headphone manufacturers create “products that consumers prefer,” Knowles analyzed 200 recordings that made the Billboard Hot 100 list over from the last 20 years and conducted a series of blind listening tests to come up with the response curve. The company found that “listeners consistently preferred between 12 and 21 dB of boost at frequencies beyond 10 kHz, depending on age and hearing ability.”

Because it’s difficult to achieve that level of treble boost using a single driver, the JLabs’ Epic Lab Edition earbuds take a dual-driver approach, using a 0.4-inch (10mm) dynamic driver to boost bass and a Knowles-designed balance-armature to extend treble in each bud for a more balanced listening experience that brings “depth and life to music.”

But that doesn’t mean one size fits all.

Among its many features, the JLab App includes a 10-band equalizer (EQ) with presets for the Knowles Preferred Response Curve, JLab Signature sound, and Bass Boost; there’s also a preset for storing a custom response curve. The app can also be used to control music playback and turn active noise cancellation (ANC) on and off or engage a Be Aware mode that lets outside sound in. JLab employs adaptive ANC that automatically adjusts to the environment in an effort to optimize sound quality.

The Epic Lab Edition earbuds are IP55-rated for significant resistance to dust and water and support LE Audio-enabled Bluetooth (via a USB-C dongle) on compatible devices for improved sound quality over lower bit rates. The earbuds are compatible with spatial audio via Dolby Atmos, Tempest 3D AudioTech, and Windows Sonic and also support Sony’s high-resolution LDAC technology for Android users and AAC for iOS users.

Battery life is rated at up to 56 hours with charging case (13 hours per earbud) or up to 36 hours with ANC activated (9 hours per earbud) and a 15-minute quick-charge mode yields an hour of play time. To ensure comfort and a good fit, JLab includes three different-size silicone eartips and three foam eartips.

“For the Epic Lab Edition, I tasked our engineering team with creating something that brought exceptional sound quality to market and still offered an incredible value compared to similarly priced earbuds,” said JLab CEO Win Cramer. “We’ve shown the world the amazing things that can be done in the under $100 category, and now we’re going full throttle with our most premium sound experience yet [while offering] something no other brand has right now."

For more information, visit jlab.com. Click here for more on the Knowles Preferred Listening Curve and here for more information on Knowles balanced armatures.


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