JBL Quantum 610 gaming headset review: Surround sound excellence – Dexerto

JBL’s Quantum range is a sprawling range of headsets and other audio devices, so how can the JBL Quantum 610 Wireless possibly be the one?
The gaming market is getting, frankly, oversaturated with options for headsets and microphones, full of gimmicks that ultimately don’t pay off in the long run. JBL’s lineup that we’ve managed to get our hands on, including the Quantum Stream and TWS earbuds, have either highlighted major issues in price to quality disparity or been good all-rounders that do the job to a satisfactory level.
JBL’s issue is that there are so many options, and even their own Quantum lineup is filled with choices that might lure people away from what we think is possibly the best price-to-performance option you can get. the JBL Quantum 610 gaming headset.
What’s in the box: Quantum 610 headset, 3,5mm to 3.5mm combo jack, wireless dongle, carry bag, USB-C cable
Getting the Quantum 610s set up is no bother, as all the Quantum devices intended for PC will begin installing what JBL dub the ‘Quantum Engine’. It’s effectively just a reskin of major operating system functions, while also aiding in setting up the various different sound modes that you can choose from.
However, unlike the Quantum Stream, it still does require you to head through to Windows’ actual control panel pages, not even Microsoft’s cute Windows 10/11 redesign setting page.
Once done, it worked like a charm and even brings up a YouTube video that JBL has set up to show you how it’s done. It’s foolproof.
As for the design of the headset itself, it’s sturdy, if a little claustrophobic on the ears. The cups are designed to keep you locked in as much as possible so that the various illusions and 7.1 surround sound that you’ve set up aren’t lost on your brain.
We found the headset’s built-in buttons and dials to be adequate, although our fingers did naturally rest on the dial for swapping between game and chat audio, rather than the volume audio.
In a really great and very low-key addition, the Quantum 610s act effectively as two headsets in one. On PC and Mac this just means that you set your default devices to the 610 as playback and communication, it allows you to boost your game’s audio or your team’s audio independently. This also works on consoles, but only for PlayStation.
We were also impressed with the battery life, as it did actually last that rough estimate of 40-ish hours and then we just continued using it over USB-C charging.
Other than this, as it works over 2.4GHz, there’s little need for futzing around with Bluetooth in Windows, nor is there any issue when connecting it to PlayStation consoles and the Switch.
The Switch does see it as just a USB headset, but really, who needs to be talking strategy about… er… Splatoon?
For other consoles – namely the Xbox – it loses most, if not all features outside of volume control and the microphone, with it becoming a very basic headset. JBL needs to pick up the slack and begin offering Xbox alternative versions or additional dongles, as their entire Quantum lineup has the same issue.
We really liked this headset, when we turned it down. The Quantum 610s are loud and full of bass, to the detriment of enjoyment at times. Testing it out in stereo also gave this horrible, muffled quality to some things too (older YouTube videos and songs on Spotify), but was easily rectified by swapping it over to 7.1 Surround Sound.
Though, we were able to comfortably rewatch the new Beavis and Butt-Head movie, as well as type out a couple of reviews while listening to Metallica.
Weirdly, on Switch and Xbox, even though it is clear they defaulted to Stereo over 3.5mm, the audio was pleasant and of good quality.
The headphones are absolutely not going to satisfy you if you’re used to higher quality and richer sound. There’s no nuance between highs, mids, and lows. They do their job and we couldn’t find any discernable issues with them once we’d swapped from stereo.
JBL has crafted decent-sounding headphones for their headset. They’re not the gold standard, but if left on a desert island with them, you wouldn’t complain one ounce.
JBL claims it’s a boom microphone, but to be honest, you already know what this is going to provide. JBL might have hyped it up a little too much, as the Quantum 610’s weakest aspect is the microphone.
A tinny, mildly whiny microphone with zero weight behind your voice. It might be Discord certified, but that’s as far as we’d go for using it. Chatting with friends might be super easy and whipping the microphone up to mute things works great, but the quality is subpar at best and at worst, an issue.
You know that feeling when you get something that you didn’t know you needed until you have it? That’s this headset. The 7.1 surround sound is excellent. All issues that we might have had with the audio during regular use began to melt away, as the 360, 7.1 surround sound began to take its full effect.
We tested out a few retro-inspired and older shooters (due to their high enemy count from all surroundings), Destiny 2’s PVP, and a couple of games of Counter-Strike to put it through its paces.
Counter-Strike and Destiny 2 had the same results, with the whole match elevating our senses that little bit higher than usual. Hearing where people were coming from isn’t new for us, but it still sent a little tingle to the brain stem as we were gunned down in cold blood.
At least we could see the culprit square in the eyes.
It wasn’t until we began to play our single-player shooters like Amid Evil that things began to heat up. These were fascinating moments, as games that we already enjoyed were given new life as enemies could be heard from all angles.
The horrific monsters in Amid Evil now posed a little bit more of a threat as we heard them spawning behind us. Meanwhile, Serious Sam HD became a lot more frantic when we knew that the screaming bomb men were coming from every angle. Games like Half-Life 2 felt more luxurious for the surround sound.
It is, however, the time when we have to talk about performance on other things. We tried to get the JBL Quantum 610s to work wirelessly on the Steam Deck. The TWS worked out the box, so we assumed that these would at least connect. While the dongle found them, it seems that it’s an understandable oversight that a handheld Linux PC that no one has wouldn’t work.
Plugging in the 3.5 jack was fine, but we missed having that tension of the surround sound in all our games. On Switch, it was a bog standard headset regardless, with no features carrying over.
At around the price of £101/$150, we’d fully recommend these as your next gaming headset. The support might be lacking on Xbox and Switch, but the fact that they work as intended still provides a decent quality of sound.
These though, are intended for the PC audience. On Mac, the Quantum Engine just doesn’t exist, leaving you in the lurch for certain things, so it’d be probably best to steer clear if you’re intending to get these for light gaming on macOS.
On PC you get phenomenal 7.1 surround sound, combined with decent audio – even if it is too bass filled by default – making this headset a great deal.
The JBL Quantum 610 gaming headset is excellent, offering quality sound and connectivity, though it falters when it comes to its microphone.
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