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[Review] JBL J88 Headphones - A great big "meh"



Before buying these headphones, I wanted to try something out of the norm. Sadly the norm was what I got. The JBL J88's aren't bad by any stretch, but they're nothing spectacular either. Packaging, build, and fit are nice. These headphones are much bigger in person than they appear online, and the ear pads are the perfect size for my lobes. They're made of a delectably plush memory foam, encased in a soft pleather, which my friend Mr. Mayflower could only describe as, "Having a boobie on your head." Laugh all you want, but these things feel great!




Build quality is adequate.


The aluminum accents look great brand new, but if you watch any Linus videos you'll know all about staining aluminum with your fingerprints. The cable is flat, and detachable, but connects with a proprietary locking connector where one end is a standard 3.5mm TRS, the other is 2.5mm TRRS. No replacing this with any off-the-shelf cable you have laying around. The adjustable headband is marked with numbers so you can get the "perfect fit" every time, and holds the position you choose with a lot of strength once these are on your head (you have to take them off if you want to adjust at all). They seem sturdy enough for most on-the-go use. Now I know I said the fit was nice above, but I'd like to see a higher clamping force. With the memory foam cushions, more force should really have been applied to get a better seal around any given head. As if Harman wanted to add one last nail in the coffin, the J88's do not isolate well at all. Why even bother going with a closed headphone if it doesn't isolate? 


Sound could be better.


In addition to the comments on the low clamping force above, a tighter seal would really make these sound much better. When I press the cups up against my head even a little bit, the very "meh" sound jumps to a fun and peppy experience. Without the added pressure these sound rather muddy, and remind me of the low-cost Philips O'Neil Stretch I gave to my brother as a gift a few years ago (minus the isolation of course!).  It really is a shame that I will be returning these when they could sound like exactly what I'm searching for in a closed headphone. Before these headphones, I never really understood what people meant when they asked about a headphone's sound stage - these have none. Everything in the music is present, but it's all squished up on the same 2D plane.


Final thoughts.


A great big "meh" is all that comes to mind. For the $130 I spent on these, I could have saved a few bucks and purchased another V-Moda Crossfade LP, or spent a little more and gotten a tried and true pair like Audiotechnica's ATH-M50. These are no doubt JBL's/Harman's attempt at a "Beats Killer" and they have certainly succeeded in vaulting that incredibly low bar.  


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> <WARNING!!> Hear the truth


Does this headphone also tune into Rush Limbaugh's radio show?

"Pardon my French but this is just about the most ignorant blanket statement I've ever read. And though this is the internet, I'm not even exaggerating."



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These are no doubt JBL's/Harman's attempt at a "Beats Killer" and they have certainly succeeded in vaulting that incredibly low bar.  



That's just plain old good writing. Thanks for the review. :P

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Another headphone set to scratch of the list.   Unless of course you want some boobies on your ears B)

QuicK and DirtY. Read the CoC it's like a guide on how not to be moron.  Also I don't have an issue with the VS series.

Sometimes I miss contractions like n't on the end of words like wouldn't, couldn't and shouldn't.    Please don't be a dick,  make allowances when reading my posts.

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  • 4 months later...

How was the sound and comfort compared to the V-Moda Crossfades?

Quote me to get a reply!

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How was the sound and comfort compared to the V-Moda Crossfades?


J88's comfort is better but it's not like any V-Moda is incredibly uncomfortable. The Crossfade LP clearly wins in the sound department.

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