Plantronics Backbeat Go 600 Noise-Isolating Headphones


  • Powerful audio performance with crisp highs.
  • Comfortable, secure fit.
  • Easy-to-operate on-ear controls.
  • Long battery life.
  • Includes cable for passive listening.


  • Cable lacks inline remote or mic.
  • Bass Boost mode employs DSP that impacts entire sound signature.

We’ve long been fans of Plantronics’ BackBeat line of Bluetooth headphones, and it has a strong new option in the form of the Backbeat Go 600. At $99.99, the headphones deliver solid quality across the board, with strong audio performance, a comfortable fit, and exceedingly easy controls. There’s little to complain about, other than the fact that they are slightly upstaged by another Plantronics model, the BackBeat Fit 500, which offer a moisture-resistant, gym-friendly design for the same price.


Offered in black, gray, khaki, or navy, the BackBeat Go 600’s circumaural (over-the-ear) design is quite comfortable, even over long listening sessions, thanks to generous cushioning in the large memory foam earpads and on the underside of the headband. Plantronics mixes faux-leather coverings with matte rubber materials and a cool geometric contour on the top of the headband for a modern look. An orange cloth logo tag is attached to the headband near the right earcup. Internally, each earcup houses a 40mm driver behind its cloth grilles.


The left earcup’s outer panel houses a central playback button, while the outer arrow buttons control track navigation. There’s a dedicated volume rocker switch on the side of this outer panel, as well as a micro USB port for the included charging cable and a 3.5mm jack for the included audio cable. All of these controls are easy to operate, and the lack of multifunction buttons keeps things simple.

The right earcup’s side panel houses the power/pairing switch, as well as a button that, when pressed, provides an audio battery life update, and is also the call management button for incoming phone calls, as well as the bass boost button. This side panel also houses a status LED.


The built-in mic offers above-average intelligibility. Using the Voice Memos app on an iPhone 6s, we could understand every word we recorded. The mic has a crisp, clear quality, and while there are hints of audio artifacts here and there, it’s a mostly clean sound that is far clearer than a typical Bluetooth headphone mic.

The audio cable lacks an inline remote control, which is a bit of a bummer. Plugging it in puts the headphones in passive mode, which is useful, but you’ll need to control all playback and track navigation on your mobile device itself, and there’s no mic to field calls in this mode.

Along with the two cables, you get a gray drawstring protective pouch, which is rather large (and necessary, since the headphones don’t fold into themselves for compact storage, though the earcups do swivel to a flat position).

Plantronics rates battery life to be a solid 18 hours, but your results will vary with your volume levels.


On tracks with intense sub-bass content, like The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” the headphones deliver a powerful bass response that only gets more intense with the Bass Boost mode enabled. In either mode, the low frequency presence is strong, and at top volumes levels, it doesn’t distort. At more moderate listening levels, the bass is still powerful, but it is always fairly balanced with the higher frequency content in the mix.

One note: The Bass Boost mode caused a slight clicking to occur on the attack of the deep bass drum hits on this track. It wasn’t as pronounced as what we hear when there’s typical distortion, and it only occurred on this track, and even then only intermittently. We’ll chalk it up to a quirk with the DSP (digital signal processing) that is slightly annoying, but rarely an issue—and not an issue at all when Bass Boost is not enabled.

On Bill Callahan’s “Drover,” a track with far less deep bass in the mix, we get a better sense of the general sound signature, as well as what the Bass Boost is capable of. Without it on, the drums on this track sound round, with a solid thump, but they’re not thunderous like they can often sound on bass-forward headphones. Callahan’s vocals have a pleasant low-mid richness that’s matched with some crisp treble edge, while the acoustic guitar’s attack gets a pleasant brightness. With the bass boosted, the drums suddenly get some real thunder, and Callahan’s vocals become notably deeper. The overall balance with the highs isn’t put in jeopardy, but the mix no longer sounds natural.


On Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild,” the kick drum loop receives an ideal amount of high-mid presence, keeping its attack sharp and punchy. Without the bass boosted, the loop’s attack is its strongest quality, but with it boosted, some added thump provides extra fullness. The sub-bass synth hits that punctuate the beat sound clear, but not necessarily deep; with the bass boosted, the sub-bass is dialed up significantly and the synth hits pack some rumble. The vocals on this track are delivered with solid clarity in both listening modes.

The Bass Boost mode on some tracks, particularly this one, seemingly lowers the overall volume of the track. This is almost definitely DSP limiting the volume to prevent distortion, but it’s odd to hear Jay-Z’s vocals dip in volume with it on, and then raise when it’s off, particularly because the vocals themselves have very little or no bass presence in them.

On orchestral tracks, like the opening scene from John Adams’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary, the lower register instrumentation is delivered with solid body and depth—nothing too over the top, but some subtle, pleasant bass boosting. This is true for both listening modes. The higher register brass, strings, and vocals have a bright, crisp presence to them.


The Plantronics BackBeat Go 600 headphones deliver a solid audio experience in neutral mode, and a sculpted, bass-forward experience in Bass Boost mode. Bass lovers will be happy with the results, and those seeking an accurate mix will find the neutral mode to be better than average—there’s a solid balance between lows and highs, even if there is some sculpting and boosting. In this price range, we’re also fans of the aforementioned BackBeat Fit 500, the Jabra Move Wireless, the Marshall Major III Bluetooth, and for less, the Sennheiser HD 4.40 BT. We give preference to the BackBeat Fit headphones, thanks to their more versatile, gym-friendly design, but the BackBeat Go 600 certainly won’t disappoint.

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