The JLAB Studio Pro ANC prove the price doesn't have to be prohibitive for great noise-cancelling headphones

Solid headphones for a great price.

Jlab Studio Pro ANC
(Image: © Future)

iMore Verdict

For the asking price of $99, you’re unlikely to find a more fully-featured set of headphones. Rough around some of their edges they might be, but a good pair of headphones you’ll get if you pony up their low cost.


  • +

    Extremely well priced

  • +

    Solid sound profile

  • +

    Great controls


  • -

    No case in the box, only a carrying bag

  • -

    Noise-canceling isn’t the best

  • -

    Audio confirmation noises are confusing

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If you’re in the market for a lower-cost pair of over-ear headphones with noise canceling, you’re spoilt for choice with options from all the major manufacturers like Sony and Sennheiser vying with lesser-known brands like 1More for your hard-earned cash. One brand that has traditionally served the budget end of the spectrum very well has been JLab, which has made some impressive options in recent months.

The Studio Pro ANC are designed to be the brand's top-of-the-line noise canceling over-ears, and they come in a suitably low price to make them a very compelling option if you either don’t want to spend as much as you might need for some of the more expensive options, or if you can’t. But how good are the Studio Pro ANC, and should you consider them over the competition?

JLab Studio Pro ANC: Price and availability

JLab Studio Pro ANC

(Image credit: Future)

The Studio Pro ANC will set you back $99 from the JLab website or Best Buy, putting them squarely in the ‘not too expensive’ category. That’s less than the equivalent Sonys and Sennheisers, and arguably a better deal when you consider what JLab has managed to pack in.

For a pair of decently put-together, comfortable headphones that pack in noise canceling and transparency modes, that’s a pretty remarkable price. 

JLab Studio Pro ANC: Build and fit

JLab Studio Pro ANC

(Image credit: Future)

The Studio Pro ANC feel well built enough, although there are a couple of spots that make me think twice before tossing them and their carrying bag into my rucksack. They are a light headset, which comes with both positives and negatives, for a start. In combination with their soft, deep earcups and large caverns for your ears, the weight makes for a very comfortable pair of headphones.

It doesn’t, however, make for a very sturdy-feeling pair of headphones. When considered with the thin, metal slider that connects the earcups to the headband, the whole package feels slightly less confidence-inspiring than you might hope. Don’t get me wrong, the plastic feels high quality and durable, and the headband feels nice on the head, but the whole package feels like it can’t take as much of a beating as an everyday pair of headphones should.

What might go some way in making them feel less stressful to cart around would be a hard-carrying case, an increasing rarity in the headphone space. Instead, you get a padded carrying bag, which the headphones can fold up and fit into. It’s fine, and will protect them from some damage during storage, but a hard case would go a long way in making me more comfortable in what I call ‘bag-tossability’.

JLab Studio Pro ANC: Features

JLab Studio Pro ANC

(Image credit: Future)

The Studio Pro manage to pack in some solid features for the price, including on-device EQ, noise canceling, and some very solid battery life. They don’t connect to the JLab app as well, which for some is going to be a travesty in customizability, and offers a massive boon that makes them a simpler affair to use.

I stand in the former camp. I like being able to customize my headphones, yes, but I hate that so many of them need my personal details before I can start using all the features of the headphones that I’ve bought. In this case, most of the customization options are accessible on the headphones themselves, although they aren’t as in-depth as they might be if you had a connection to an app. 

First up are the three EQ modes, accessible by holding down the volume up and down buttons for 3 seconds. The first is what JLab calls SIGNATURE, and it’s a warmer signature that boosts some of the lower frequencies for that ‘bounce’ that so many listeners like in their headphones. The second is ‘BALANCED’, a signature that allows the rest of the frequency range to breathe for a more neutral sound. Finally is ‘BASS BOOST’ which does the obvious — there’s more bass. All are well implemented, and give you exactly what you want out of each. My personal favorite is the SIGNATURE sound, although your mileage may vary.

You can press the lovely, clicky JLab button on the right earcup and cycle through the various noise-canceling modes.

Once you’ve mucked about with those, you can press the lovely, clicky JLab button on the right earcup and cycle through the various noise-canceling modes. There are four in total: Be Aware mode, ANC high, ANC low, and ANC off. The first, Be Aware mode, is JLab’s version of transparency mode. That uses the headphones microphones to pump in noise from the outside, so you can hear what’s going on around you. It’s a little weaker than most transparency modes, but it still works well enough. Press again and you get the ANC high setting, which blocks out the most noise. It’s not the strongest of noise canceling modes, but then you’re not paying the big bucks as you might to get the best noise canceling possible. Press for a second time and you get noise canceling low, which turns the noise canceling down slightly, more suited to a quieter environment like an office or a library. Finally, there’s noise canceling off, which turns the noise canceling off completely, relying on the physical seal around your ears for noise control.

My only complaint with these modes is that the sound confirmation noises are confusing — rather than a voice telling you what each mode is, it just makes a noise and expects you to decipher what it's on about. You soon learn what each means, but it is initially befuddling.

JLab Studio Pro ANC

(Image credit: Future)

We’ve touched briefly on one of my favorite parts of the headphones already — the physical controls. I, for one, am pleased to see more headphone makers using proper buttons on their headphones, and these are some solid physical controls that work very well. There’s a power/play/pause button, a volume up and down control, and then that noise canceling changing JLab button on the right earcup. They’re clicky to the touch, but not so clicky that they reverberate around your cranium when you press them. Nice.

There’s a 3.5mm headphone hack that you can use to connect them to a device when they run out of battery, and you can use that to bypass the internal DAC and listen to lossless music. That is one thing that’s otherwise missing — some form of lossless music would have been nice to have wirelessly, even if it's not that max bitrate available.

Finally is the battery life, which JLab puts at 43+ hours with ANC on. That’s a decent amount of battery life for a pair of noise-canceling headphones and means you’ll be able to use them for a good few days before you need to go running to the nearest power outlet. They charge over USB-C, and you’ll get a full battery after about an hour and three-quarters.

JLab Studio Pro ANC: Sound Quality

JLab Studio Pro ANC

(Image credit: Future)

JLab has been working on the sound that its headphones can pump out, and the Studio Pro ANC manage to encapsulate all the good bits that the company has managed to sort. All my audio testing was done using Apple Music here, and in the SIGNATURE sound mode.

One thing of note is that while the sound profile isn’t particularly refined, it manages to be dynamic, giving weight to all the most important parts of a track. The highs are clear, the mids well-rounded, and the bass deep and punchy. It’s not game-changing sound, but it perfectly rounds out an already compelling package.

Take the devilish delights of Molasses Drops of Sunlight. Its throwback occult rock sounds have all the right lashings of jangle, while the twang of the guitars creeps through and provides the perfect edge. The vocals are clear and precise, and the bass guitar is easily detectable amongst the rest of the ensemble. 

Orville Peck's acoustic country stylings on No Gory in the West are picked out in solid detail, Peck's vocals stark and emphasized over the punchy acoustic guitar. As the track builds, the warmth of the second guitar comforts and welcomes, each strum rhythmic and accurately reproduced.

1991’s Full Send brings the bass, and loads of it. The synths are smooth and clear with no distortion, and the sub-bass pumps with plenty of presence. Mid-bass is a strength, giving plenty of thickness to proceedings. It’s perhaps a little limited in soundscape, but it’s a solid, bouncy club experience.

There’s no Spatial Audio support here, but the headphones make for a convincing soundstage. It’s not the widest, but stereo imaging is solid enough, separating out each instrument reasonably well. Is it like picking up a pair of range-topping noise cancelers? No, of course not — but it gets damn close, and makes that price seem a whole better than you might expect.

JLab Studio Pro ANC: Competition

1More Sonoflow

(Image credit: Tammy Rogers/ iMore)

There are loads of other options out there at this price, but the Studio Pro ANC outperform most of them in all areas. The 1More Sonoflow are a solid effort and comes with a great case, but the Studio Pro ANC sound better than the slightly cheaper 1More.

We recently reviewed the Marshall Major V, and while the battery life is stunning, you get better sound and some ANC for a lower price with the JLabs. Really, that should be a no-brainer: The JLab are a much better option for the price. They're easily some of the best over-ear noise-canceling headphones, that's for sure.

JLab Studio Pro ANC: Should you buy them?

You should buy them if…

  • You want something well-priced and featured
  • You don’t mind a lack of hard case
  • You don’t want to spend more than $100

You shouldn’t buy it if…

  • You need a hard carrying case
  • Really, at this price, there’s no massive reason to avoid them

JLab Studio Pro ANC: Verdict

If you’ve got $100 and you want a new pair of headphones, you’re not going to do much better than the JLab Studio Pro ANC. I like the way that they sound, the way that they look, and how they feel on my head — and you probably will too.

Just be more careful with them on account of their slightly more delicate feeling build, and you’ll have a very solid-sounding pair of headphones for not a massive financial outlay.

Tammy Rogers
Senior Staff Writer

As iMore's Senior Staff writer, Tammy uses her background in audio and Masters in screenwriting to pen engaging product reviews and informative buying guides. The resident audiophile (or audio weirdo), she's got an eye for detail and a love of top-quality sound. Apple is her bread and butter, with attention on HomeKit and Apple iPhone and Mac hardware. You won't find her far away from a keyboard even outside of working at iMore – in her spare time, she spends her free time writing feature-length and TV screenplays. Also known to enjoy driving digital cars around virtual circuits, to varying degrees of success. Just don't ask her about AirPods Max - you probably won't like her answer.