Pros: Great price, decent active noise cancelling, secure fit
Cons: Use of collar to connect earbuds
I was recently sent JLab Audio's EpicANC earbuds. I had read their press release prior to their being released and was interested in JLab's implementation of active anc(active noise cancelling). I am also interested in how these will work in a home office environment since I am currently at home because of the covid19 pandemic.
The EpicANC came with the tip sizes, xsmall, small, medium, and large tips. There is also a pair of cloud tips and two cush fins(that were already installed). Also included is a soft travel case, aux adaptor, and micro usb charging cable.
The headphones boast a total of 14 hours of Bluetooth 5 and ANC playtime, 25 hours of bluetooth playtime, and 50 hours of active noise cancelling playtime. They are rated at IP54 sweatproof, so they could be used at the gym. For active noise cancelling, they have a low setting and a high setting. Also, if you need to be more conscious of your surroundings, their Be Aware setting allows you to hear the outside world when needed. These also come with a handy aux to micro usb cable so these can be used on flights. The JLab symbol of each earbud is magnetic, so they can stick together magnetically when not being used or so they don't bounce around when walking.
I apologize my ears are not pretty, I am not an ear model.
The EpicANC are made of a durable\tough plastic, utilizing an angled nozzle for the tips. They have a cush fin on each earbud which helps the buds stay in place. I found that the large ear tips worked best for me, but everyone's ears are different. Once in your ear, moving them back and fourth helps the cush fins find their place. A proper fit helps for better bass response. I found that they stayed in my ears well enough but wish that they would allow for deeper insertion for better isolation. The collar that holds everything together is made of very pliable rubber. The earbuds are pretty comfortable, I was able to wear them for hours(listening at safe volume) and did not find them fatiguing. Because the EpicANC utilize bluetooth 5, I experienced no dropouts or connectivity problems.
A picture of the main controls
Pairing is easy, as soon as the earbuds turn on they are ready to pair.
Built into the right side of the EpicANC's collar are the controls. They are raised\rubberized and after using them for a bit, fairly easy to tell by feel which button is which. The controls are well spaced and not pushed too close together. There are the volume up and down buttons, which also serve to skip and reverse if you press and hold them for 2 seconds. The center button does several things, it powers on/off the earbuds, plays/pauses/answers/hangs up calls, rejects incoming calls, activates siri/google, and deals with bluetooth pairing. The ANC button is on the side of the main controls, and can be turned on\off and you can also cycle through the three settings(marked by muted beeps) of low anc/high anc/Be Aware.
A shot of the charging port and ANC button
Here is a shot of what they look like when worn.
I listened to several different genres of music when reviewing these headphones on my LG G8 ThinQ. I found that the instruments were well separated, the highs were fairly crisp, but the midrange was just ok. I think the midrange could be worked on in the next iteration. The EpicANC sound signature differs between the ANC (active noise cancelling) chosen, the low setting seems to have more bass while high anc seems to sound thinner to me with reduced midrange\bass. I actually thought that the low ANC setting sounded the best, although quite bass heavy.
The ANC was better than I expected, I found that even at the low setting that they blocked out the hum of the air conditioning or my kids trying to talk to me. I actually liked the low setting the best, but of course everyone is different. I used these at my home office and while writing my review here and found these did a good job of blocking out constant noise and even people talking.
I used these on some conference calls and the people I was talking to said I sounded great and that they could not tell I was on earbuds. They seemed to block out a lot of the background noise also.
Overall, I would recommend the EpicANC to someone looking for an affordable ANC solution that does not carry the price of its competitors. It works great in noisy environments and works well on conference calls and Zoom meetings. At $79, these are a great deal and I think most will be happy with them. My only real con is the use of the collar, which I have never really liked on earbud\headphones.