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JBL Tour One

MayaTlab

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I bought them.
One thing I really love about them is how JBL acknowledged that trying to reinvent the wheel in terms of HP designs is a bad idea and simply tried to copy every successful bit of design around for a pair of ANC, portable over-ears (the QC35/XM3-4 headband design, the Bose tilted earcups to provide room for the earlobe, the clicking headband, etc.). They made a few mistakes in the process (the cups don't align with the headband when swivelled flat like on the XM3/4 for example, or the yoke isn't offset like on the XM3/4) but I quite enjoyed the results. With the exception of the pleather used which feels horribly cheap and sticky. The design is dumbly great IMO, unlike what Bose or Apple tried to do with the 700 or Max with the headband to cup attachment designs / mechanisms (which in both cases ruined the headphones for no benefits whatsoever, albeit for very different reasons).
I also really like the controls. Simple, dumb, well executed.
But the main problem I had with them, just like any other pair of ANC over-ears from Harman before, is the terrible electronics. I'm not going to mind that the ANC performance wasn't superb, but I am going to mind a stupid lot when the ANC "hiss" constantly varies for no good reason whatsoever , frequently becomes annoyingly audible, and may vary asymmetrically between the left and right earcups. I also had the usual set of connectivity and operational problems I've had with quite a few BT headphones.
The SQ with ANC on was alright (without taking into account the ANC noise), as in what I've come to expect from Harman products, which is "we tried to reach our target but couldn't quite nail it once it's actually on a real human's head", ie the general curve sounds fine to me but above 1kHz it's quite uneven and peaky to the point of being tiring without EQ, and there's a general lack of care for going the extra mile to avoid these problems (the K371 is a case study of how to ruin a theoretically solid sounding pair of headphones). Thankfully the app's EQ allows you to select the frequencies you want to act on, so it's one of the few app EQ saved on device that I really enjoy using, even though the UI makes it fiddly for trebles adjustments.
I think I would have kept them if it weren't for the ANC hiss problem. Perhaps ulterior firmware updates may improve the ANC behaviour to make it more stable. Apparently it's the first implementation for Harman of that : https://ams.com/-/harman-anc, so perhaps it's just growing pains for now.
 
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typericey

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@MayaTlab thanks for the owner's report. I do hope the ANC noise can be solved by firmware. Though I wonder if yours is an isolated issue i.e. a defective unit.
 

Grotti

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(the K371 is a case study of how to ruin a theoretically solid sounding pair of headphones).
I don't want to go off topic, but could you elaborate on this? A few sentences would be sufficient....
 

3125b

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A few sentences would be sufficient....
If I may.
They don‘t fit everyone well and the plastic headpband is very fragile. Although I like mine, I don‘t recommend them to anyone due to the second issue.
 

MayaTlab

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I don't want to go off topic, but could you elaborate on this? A few sentences would be sufficient....

Horribly unstable FR when on my head : https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...k-headphones-200-300.16005/page-3#post-828653
Most of that is down to the headband to cup attachment design lacking range of motion (up / down, forward / backwards), resulting in seal being suboptimal when I move around, and the cup / pad design relying too much on the pad to form its front volume and therefore being inconsistent as the pad doesn't deform in a constant fashion.
It was even worse when they shipped with the pads irremediably crumbled by the improperly designed packaging (now fixed).
Mines also broke (right channel stopped working) and were exchanged.
This is all a shame as for the price it's a very, very neat pair of HPs... in theory. I like the intent (at least Harman is actively trying to pull us out of the headphones dark ages), I just don't like the execution.
 
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markanini

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Horribly unstable FR when on my head : https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...k-headphones-200-300.16005/page-3#post-828653
Most of that is down to the headband to cup attachment design lacking range of motion (up / down, forward / backwards), resulting in seal being suboptimal when I move around, and the cup / pad design relying too much on the pad to form its front volume and therefore being inconsistent as the pad doesn't deform in a constant fashion.
It was even worse when they shipped with the pads irremediably crumbled by the improperly designed packaging (now fixed).
Mines also broke (right channel stopped working) and were exchanged.
This is all a shame as for the price it's a very, very neat pair of HPs... in theory. I like the intent (at least Harman is actively trying to pull us out of the headphones dark ages), I just don't like the execution.
If only the unstable seal was fixed it would be such a killer set.
 

MayaTlab

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If only the unstable seal was fixed it would be such a killer set.

Agreed. Can we say that it's one of the most significant headphones releases of the last few years ? I hope that version II will solve most of the K371's problems and that Harman's vision will be better realised. Perhaps it's the evil leftist in me that's speaking but I love the idea of providing as good an SQ as you can provide for a cheap, affordable price everyone can afford.
 

MayaTlab

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BTW, I think that the following is a pretty good illustration of small design details that make all the difference when using HPs on a daily basis.
I don't want to be too harsh on the Tour One as it's overall one of my favourite ANC over-ears I've tried lately in terms of design but I mentioned in my first post that one thing I didn't like about them is how they don't naturally fold in a way that aligns the headband with the cups. Why is that important ?

Well, Harman followed Sony's footsteps when they designed the Tour One's case :
Screenshot 2021-07-26 at 20.28.13.png
The problem is that, if you want to design your case like this, it's a lot better then to design your headphones so that they naturally fold flat with the headband aligned with the cups. Rtings's photos of the Tour One, QC35, XM4 show the former's shortcoming vs the latters :
Screenshot 2021-07-26 at 18.58.15.pngScreenshot 2021-07-26 at 18.58.20.pngScreenshot 2021-07-26 at 18.58.25.png
Basically, the overall geometry is a bit off.
Whenever I was putting the Tour One back in their case, they didn't fit in quite as effortlessly as the Sony did.
These design details matter IMO :D.

Designing headphones seems quite hard, and I think that one thing the Tour One deserves a lot of credit for is that Harman didn't try to make their life harder than it really should be by trying to come up with novel (and in general invariably terrible) solutions to problems that shouldn't have existed in the first place had you not tried to pointlessly reinvent the wheel and stick to the sort of basic design shape we've come to expect for portable, wireless closed back over-ears (it's no surprise that Bose will soon release a QC45 with the same basic design as the tried and validated QC35 design instead of following in the 700's footsteps).

I think that the following rules should be a mandatory guideline for headphones designers :
1) Don't try to reinvent the yoke design unless you're a design genius.
2) You're not a genius :D.
3) Since you're not genius, stick to refining, perfecting the yoke mechanism and try to execute it to perfection.

The way the Sony XM4 folds flat + the slightly offset yoke, to avoid having the headband stick too far out from someone's head, is, IMO, a good example of how to further refine the yoke mechanism.
I have only extremely strongly opinionated and vulgar words for the headband to cup attachment designs of the K371, Bose 700 and AirPods Max.
 

markanini

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Perhaps it's the evil leftist in me that's speaking but I love the idea of providing as good an SQ as you can provide for a cheap, affordable price everyone can afford.
Let me be the advocate for the alternate viewpoint then. In a free market demand isn't set in stone. Each individual buyer could be concerned with any combination of: brand recognition, celebrities tie-ins, spec sheet figures, connectivity features, target adherence just to name some. That in it it self is conducive to big bang for buck sets emerging. Because it's a consequence of manufacturers offering a variety of products in hopes of one of them becoming a big seller. The objectively minded consumer in this case is then free to choose a set that fits his or her criteria, and the market has provided a number of viable products.
 

MayaTlab

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Screenshot 2021-07-29 at 22.02.18.png
https://www.rtings.com/headphones/reviews/jbl/tour-one-wireless

I'm not certain that this review is that useful to begin with then. While I don't know the extent to which Harman uses the ANC circuit to various effects it could be the case that the consistency results would have been much better with the ANC turned on, for example.
I find their explanation in regards to the cause of their troubles a little weird. BTW the Tour One's ANC algorithm can be tweaked in the app, there are two options, "True Adaptive NC" and another one which name I don't recall. I wonder if they tried both.
I did have a lot of maddening issues related to the stability of the ANC "hiss" / "woosh" (call it however you like), particularly when "True Adaptive NC" was enabled, but I'm not sure that I experienced such stability issues in regards to the FR.
 
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