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Why These JBL ANC Earbuds Are Great Deal For 50% Off at Amazon

The JBL Live Pro 2 and Live Free 2 are great earbuds. Normally $150, you can pick either of them up for $75 ahead of Black Friday.

David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Kobo e-books and audiobooks.
Expertise Headphones, Bluetooth speakers, mobile accessories, Apple, Sony, Bose, e-readers, Amazon, glasses, ski gear, iPhone cases, gaming accessories, sports tech, portable audio, interviews, audiophile gear, PC speakers Credentials
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David Carnoy
3 min read
JBL Live Free 2 earbuds and case
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JBL Live Free 2 earbuds and case

The Live Free 2 in black. Other colors are also available for $90.

David Carnoy/CNET

Earlier this year I highlighted discounts on JBL's new-for-2022 Live Pro 2 and Live Free 2 buds. Both sets of buds offer a comfortable fit -- the Live Pro 2 have stems while the Live Free 2 have a pill-shaped design -- along with strong noise canceling, good sound quality and voice-calling performance, plus a robust feature set. The list price for both is $150, but they're both on sale at Amazon ahead of Black Friday for $75, their lowest price to date. The Live Pro 2 are on my list of favorite earbuds of 2022.

Read more: Best Early Black Friday 2022 Headphones and Earbuds Deals

The Live Pro 2 and Live Free 2 are equipped with the same 11mm drivers, six microphones, oval tubes and oval silicon tips. I got a tight seal from the largest set of ear tips and both buds fit my ears securely -- I was able to run with them without a problem and they are IPX5 splash-proof. Both use Bluetooth 5.2 and have multipoint Bluetooth pairing, allowing you to pair them to two devices simultaneously. The touch controls worked fine. Also worth noting: Both models' charging cases feature wireless charging and while they're thicker than AirPods cases, they're still quite compact. 

JBL Live Pro 2 earbuds and case
Enlarge Image
JBL Live Pro 2 earbuds and case

The JBL Live Pro 2 buds are also available in a few different color options.

David Carnoy/CNET

Aside from the design, the biggest difference between the two buds is battery life. The stemless Live Free 2 are rated for up to seven hours, while the Live Pro 2 are rated for 10. They have a quick-charge feature that gives you four hours of juice from a 15-minute charge.

You may get better microphone pickup from the Live Pro 2 because their stems are closer to your mouth, but both models were good at reducing background noise during calls. There's adjustable sidetone via the app that allows you to tweak how much you hear your voice in the buds as you talk (I always appreciate some good sidetone). 

I was impressed with the noise canceling, which has an adaptive setting that can be toggled on and off in the app. It did an excellent job of muffling sound with virtually no hiss. There's also an ambient aware mode (an adjustable transparency mode) and a talk-through mode that reduces the volume on whatever you're listening to and opens the earbuds up to the outside world so you can have a conversation. The buds have upgradeable firmware. 

Read moreBest Wireless Earbuds for 2022

The models sound similar, delivering dynamic, bold sound (read: a relatively wide soundstage) with good detail and strong bass. Their sound compares favorably to the sound offered by more expensive buds like the Beats Fit Pro and they also sound better than the AirPods Pro. While they're a touch bass-heavy, you can tweak the sound profile a bit in the EQ settings of the app to tone things down a bit. They lack a bit of the refinement and depth that some higher-end buds such as the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2, Apple AirPods Pro 2Sony WF-1000XM4 and Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 offer, but you'll be hard-pressed to find better sound at this price.

I can't guarantee the buds will fit everybody's ears as well as they did mine. JBL claims they should fit those with smaller ears, but my ears are more medium-sized so I can't say whether that's really true or not. While I was slightly more partial to the Live Pro 2 -- they make for a good AirPods Pro 2 alternative, especially for Android users -- the Live Free 2 are more discreet-looking and didn't stick out of my ears much at all. 

Alas, they don't support the aptX audio codec for Android users (the AAC audio codec sounds just fine, however). But with just about every key feature you could ask for and strong overall performance, they're a decent value at $150 and a true bargain at $75.

Watch this: These Are the Absolute Best Earbuds of 2022