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MP3 Players

Hear this: JBL's new headphone range

JBL yesterday launched its first headphone range, releasing six models aimed at travellers, sporty types and those with a fervent desire to nix the sounds of the outside world.

JBL yesterday launched its first headphone range, releasing six models aimed at travellers, sporty types and those with a fervent desire to nix the sounds of the outside world.

Jetsetters have been well catered for, with every item in the Reference line-up being packaged with an airplane adaptor. Say farewell to cruddy plastic regulation headphones and their scratchy foam covers -- the explosions and car chases in the in-flight movie can be heard through your own 'phones.

JBL has also had a crack at the increasingly crowded Bluetooth headphone market, with the inclusion of the iPod-focused 610s.

The design of the range echoes the company's speaker range, with most items featuring silver accents, rounded edges and saucy curves. The foldable 410 and 510 models stand out with their blocky hinges, but we suppose the convenience of being able to squish them up outweighs the fact that they look like a prop from Back to the Future.

JBL's Reference headphone range

Reference 210
The cheapest of the bunch by far, the 210s are basic in-ear headphones with a volume control built into the cable. Having tried them out briefly, we can report that the earbuds are on the large side, so dainty-eared audio aficionados might run into trouble.

  • Price: AU$54.95
  • In-line volume control
  • Foam ear pads
  • Round plastic carry case
  • 5.2 grams
Reference 220
These earphones can be worn several ways: the package includes foam ear pads, silicon in-ear inserts in three sizes, detachable ear cuffs, and a foldable strap that can go on top of your head or under your chin.

  • Price: AU$209.95
  • Phono to 3.5mm stereo adaptor
  • Zippered carrying case
  • Available in black or white
  • 4 grams (without cable)
Reference 410
  • Price: AU$134.95
  • On-ear design
  • In-line volume control
  • Phono to 3.5mm stereo adaptor
  • Padded headband
  • Foldable
  • 73 grams (without cable)
Reference 420
  • Price: AU$394.95
  • Larger over-ear design
  • Curvier and more streamlined than the blocky 410s
  • Leather headband and earcup lining
  • Carrying case
  • Phono to 3.5mm stereo adaptor
  • Extension cable
  • Available in black or white
  • 170 grams (without cable)
Reference 510
JBL says its noise-cancelling 510s will eliminate up to 70 percent of ambient noise -- handy for air travel or noisy work environments. Looks-wise, they are almost identical to the Reference 410s.

  • Price: AU$254.95
  • On-ear design
  • Phono to 3.5mm stereo adaptor
  • Padded headband
  • Foldable
  • Storage pouch
  • Inline battery-powered control
  • 73 grams (without cable)
Reference 610
The Bluetooth model of the bunch, the 610s are built for iPods and include a dongle that clicks into the player's dock connector. They can also be used with mobile phones that support the A2DP profile. Control buttons on the earcups allow track navigation and browsing within iPod menus.

  • Price: AU$424.95
  • Leather headband and earcup lining
  • Carrying case
  • Phono to 3.5mm stereo adaptor
  • 1.75m cable allows headphones to be used without Bluetooth
  • Rechargeable batteries and charger
  • 212 grams (without cable)