The Best Beats Alternative Just Got Better

All images: Adam Clark Estes/Gizmodo

A couple years ago, I declared the JBL Everest Elite 700 the best alternative to the pricier, trickier Beats. They sound great, cost less, and even look a heck of a lot like the Beats Studio Wireless. Now, JBL has released a new model that offers even more—the Everest Elite 750NC—and boy are they excellent.

The most noticeable difference between the $250 Everest Elite 700 and the new $300 Everest Elite 750NC is the design. While the new model shares similar contours with the older version, the 750NC is undeniably sleeker and lighter. The tilted, swiveling, oval-shaped ear cups provide a more ergonomic fit, and a plusher cushion on the top of the headband cuts down on discomfort over hours of listening. The 750NC feels very solid, like its predecessor, but you’ll forget you’re wearing them after a few minutes. You could even compare them to the nice fit of the Beats Studio Wireless, which feel like a firm but comfortable hug. With any headphones, though, comfort is only half the battle.

Sound quality is what differentiates the JBL Everest Elite 750NC from its predecessors as well as the Beats. The 750NC headphones put out some big, big sound. When you listen at full volume, you can actually feel the bass on tracks like “The Grid” from the Tron: Legacy soundtrack by Daft Punk. Hearing “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin feels like sitting in a sound studio with your eyes closed, and you’re plugged straight into the amp. “Jesus, etc.” sounds like smoking cigarettes, which I’m quite sure was Wilco’s intent when they released it 15 years ago.

The module for controlling them is built right into the side of the ear cup.

So these headphones can do big sound, which is fun. If you compare them to the $380 Beats Studio Wireless, the cheaper JBL Everest Elite 750NC offer more thump on bass-heavy tracks, but the precision isn’t quite there. Smaller, more delicate high end notes and texture get a little bit lost in what I’d describe as muddy mids and, naturally, a whole lotta bass. The more expensive Beats, however, sound crisper and more detailed. You pay for that fidelity, but the difference might not be worth $80 to you.

What the new JBL headphones offer that none of the Beats headsets have, however, is a more flexible noise cancellation feature….

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