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JLab Epic Lab Edition debut as inaugural Knowles Preferred Listening Response Curve-enabled TWS earbuds

The Epic Lab Editions feature new Knowles tech. (Source: JLab)
The Epic Lab Editions feature new Knowles tech. (Source: JLab)

JLab touts its latest wireless earbuds as an industry first in that they introduce Preferred Listening Response Curve tuning from Knowles to their market. The Epic Lab Edition buds also support the LC3 codec, Spatial Audio and “Smart” ANC. They are also Hi-Res Audio certified and are rated to get up to 56 hours of battery life thanks to their “dual-mode” charging case.

Knowles claims to have developed its new Preferred Listening Response Curve (PLRC) based on an analysis of “blind listening data” including “an analysis of 200 recordings from the last 20 years of Billboard Hot 100“.

This research apparently concluded that “listeners consistently preferred between 12 and 21 decibels (dB) of boost at frequencies beyond 10 kilohertz kHz, depending on age and hearing ability“.

Accordingly, the new JLab Epic Lab Edition buds are rated to deliver a signature PLRC pre-set that enhances treble in accordance with the new guidelines Knowles aims to lay down when the Curve is applied (although they also still have a Bass Boost function).

To that end, the earphones’ 10mm drivers are augmented with a balanced armature from the same audio-processing specialists for “exquisite high frequencies“. The buds also support the LC3 codec for potentially improved quality over reduced bit-rates compared to SBC, although they are also set to switch to Hi-Res Audio over either LDAC or AAC when those codices are available on Android or Apple devices respectively. 

The Epic Lab Editions are also touted as Smart ANC earbuds in that their noise-cancellation is rated to “learn” how to best exclude disruptive sounds over time, even in JLab’s Transparency-esque Be Aware mode.

However, having that ANC on might result in a hit to battery life, bringing it down to about 36 hours in total. Then again, the Editions’ case has wireless charging as well as a USB-C port. 

The new Epic Lab Editions are also Bluetooth 5.3 with many of that standard’s advantages, (multi-device pairing and Spatial Audio included) and, moreover, even have a USB-C dongle in the box for potentially negligible latency.

They are only available in black, though, with prominent JLab branding, and that single SKU currently starts at $199.99 on Amazon.

The Epic Lab Editions have both wired and wireless charging. (Source: JLab)
The Epic Lab Editions have both wired and wireless charging. (Source: JLab)

Deirdre O’Donnell, 2024-02- 7 (Update: 2024-02- 7)

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