Thursday, 23 June 2016

Jesbod QY11 Review by mark2410

Jesbod QY11 Review by mark2410

Thanks to Jesbod UK (Jesbod US) for the sample.

First Impressions:  Okay this is just getting spooky, Jesbod, a brand I’d never heard of a few weeks ago and another wow box.  Sure I know that the box isn’t really important and anyone that really cares about the box of a product is an idiot but…… seriously, look at it.  Random Chinese companies are support to start out using cheap ‘n’ nasty boxes that look terrible and feel worse.  Oh no none of that here, it’s a change from the natural, unbleached box of the QY13 but this is just as impressive.  Its jet black, with all black innards, seriously this box looks and feels like it should house a product with an extra zero on its price tag.  It really does make for a wow, first impression.  The buds are interesting looking, their over the ear but the cable drops right down shape.  You really can’t wear these any other way.  Thing is cable straight down means that cable microphonics could travel straight up it.

In the ears, having slapped on a pair of Comply’s because, well laziness mostly.  Hmm their shape is limiting.  These need to sit pretty shallow, you just can’t push them in.  On the left I think I’m not quite getting a seal.  Hmm the bass though is good, a little abundant.  Hmm are these the exact same as the QY13?  You know I think they are, just in a different shape IEM.

Source:  Predominantly a Lumia 735 and Moto G 4G.

Lows:  I feel like I could just copy paste what I wrote for the QY13.  A bass heavy presentation but not wildly so, tbh I reasonably like a fairly bass heavy sound anyway and I find its quantity a little bit much but I’m still perfectly happy with it.  It’s really good in fact.  Skipping around through tracks and I find that pretty much everything I like works will with them.  It’s really enjoyable.  Now sure there isn’t endless depth and its not the most solid bass that ever there was but come on……Bluetooth and this cheap?  A little bloom, a little expansion takes the punch out of the bass but that makes it more easey on the ear.  Seriously every track that comes on sounds great out of them.  I know what it’s not doing technically right but I really don’t mind, it’s so pleasantly enjoyable.  A little big and billowy but it’s got that nebulous, indefinable quality that I just cannot help liking them.

Quantity wise they are overblown and expanded from where they sound be.  Still from a more mainstream perspective these aren’t all that bassy, they are probably spot on what people would go for.  A bassy but never overwhelming or unduly domineering.

Mids:  They are a little recessed.  Ahh well that’s not really a shocker is it?  Tonally they are a little off, there is a natural quality but I think that bass is sucking a touch of air out of them.  This makes them a more weighty, slightly lower vocal preference.  It’s very staid, a little warmed, a little complacent.  They are missing a dash of air, some energy, some sparkle, these just lack something in the upper mid range.  There is a certain liveliness that just is not there.  Don’t get me wrong I found them still to be highly enjoyable but there was indeed something missing.

Quantity wise they are behind the bass and maybe about the same level as the treble.  I’m happy with the balance.  It’s reasonably level with the mids and treble then a boost to the bass.

Highs:  Pretty nice.  They aren’t the worlds most detailed nor refined but then at their price that’s simply a given.  However with their warmed sound signature it isn’t particularly noticeable.  They are never pushed forward, never dominant, never exploding all over the place.  For my ears it’s great, I’m treble sensitive so I never really want them up front and in your face.  Here when they sort of come out to play they do their best to stay in the back and gently shimmer.  They want to give you a pleasantly sparkling idea of what’s going on while fudging the details a bit.  If you push them and listen out then you’ll notice that the treble will descend into a vaguely scratchy mess.  Even when it’s thusly scratchy it’s not the energy to be truly abrasive to the ear, by that point it’s in the back where it hasn’t the volume or power to actually scratch you.

Soundstaging:  Alright.  They are pretty goodly sized in all directions.  Vocals tend to be somewhat close and bang in your face, never forward but right in front of you.  The bass I can’t really locate, it’s there, it’s pretty big but it hasn’t got a particular place where it’s coming from.  The treble, that’s kinda at the back of the stage, maybe just behind and to the sides of the vocals.

Fit:  Mostly good.  They are a little bit different in their shape so you can’t wear however you like, they must be worn up, which I’m good with, however……. That means the cable comes directly out the bottom.  That means no looped over the ear to absorb vibrations.  They also very much wanted to sit shallow and that’s just that, they can’t sit deeply.  Notably my left ear only just got a seal, I kept wanting to push them in but you can’t.

Comfort:  Great.  Their shape was a strange but in use they were perfectly comfy.

Microphonics:  Sadly you do get some.  Okay so it’s not a lot but with that cable having to sit down directly meant that it could and did catch on my collars.  When it did it sent vibrations directly up.  Now it’s not like it was some massive problem but it was certainly noticeable compared to its near twin, the QY13.

Cable:  It was fine.  Honestly the cable isn’t significant enough to provoke more discussion.

Accessories:  You get a micro USB cable to charge them and 5 pairs of silicone tips.

Phone Use:  So I made a quick call, all was well.  I heard them fine, they heard me fine too.  Oh and the button all worked great.  The play/pause/skip/answer call button worked and the volume controls worked great too.

Build Quality:  Very nice.   The closer you get to them the less fancy they appear but they still feel quite solid and decently put together.  There really wasn’t anything I could count as a flaw.  They do look more fancy from a distance, up close you can tell they are just plastic.

Aesthetics:  I like them.  In pics and from a distance they look rather funky with their rather peculiar shape.  They look so different and interesting.  The weird capsule shape body then the stark and angular ear hook coming out of them.  These is something, I dunno, 80’s esq black and angular about them, I like them.

Isolation:  Hmm it was okay.  It was still a little lacking on the left, where I just always felt like I wasn’t getting the best seal.  They were fine for walking out and about and you could get away with them for a bus commute but you know. Tube and flights, na not so much.  As ever they would be more than enough to get you run over if you aren’t looking where you’re going though.

Battery Life:  The spec says 6 – 7 hours.  You know depending on volume and whatnot.  Since I wasn’t going to sit with a stopwatch for 6 or 7 hours my best guess is that that seems reasonably a fair assessment.  That should be enough to get anyone through any commute or gym session with ease.

Value:  Super good.  Actually its biggest value issue in that its sibling, the QY13 which seem to be largely the same thing but in a different body, is a tiny bit cheaper, fits me better and I think may actually sound a tiny, tiny bit better.  I don’t want to say they do sound better because I suspect it’s down to the fit.  Mind you the QY11’s do look much cooler than the 13, the 13 are not the prettiest things ever.  Anyway…….the things are 20 quid, you’re getting a bargain.

Conclusion:  Is it me or is there an explosion of Bluetooth earphones just now?  What’s more they all seem to have gotten good, seriously good, as in good even compared with wired things at the 20 quid price point.  I liked it better when there was more clear differentiation between things but so much is getting so good and the QY11’s are one of those.  At their price I really cannot pick fault with them.  I mean sure they aren’t perfect, mostly because their siblings the QY13 are better and a tiny sliver cheaper.  These sound a teeny bit more bassy and less middy than the 13 and the 13 is a better shape for going in my ears.  However the 13’s aren’t lookers and these QY11’s do look a little bit kick ass.  

Now I would never dream of picking something based on looks but…… given their target demographic I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think that many people will.  In fairness they still sound superb for their price and oh no, they a little more bassy, well their target demo is just going to hate that, lol.  They do look nice and they sound great for the price, they also come in a crazy nice box.  These just all-round feel like they have been someone’s baby.  Someone at Jesbod has put some real care and emotion into these, the little things, the attention to details.  You could be very easily forgiven for thinking these were a much more expensive product than they are.

So should you / would I buy one?  Well….. hand on heart I’d take the QY13’s as they fit me better and were a hint more middy.  However if you care about looks these are basically every bit as good but these look way cooler.  They just give you impression from the moment you see the box that these are a considerably more premium earphone than what they are priced would indicate.  It’s a really nice sounding, acoustically competent, Bluetooth earphone that costs just £20.  I mean you really cannot bash them in anyway at that price, they are so acoustically competent for something of that price, I’d be happy with their quality wired never mind being Bluetooth.  Great stuff.

Jesbod QY11 Quick Review by mark2410

Jesbod QY11 Quick Review by mark2410

Thanks to Jesbod UK (Jesbod US) for the sample.

Brief: Uhura gets some more great but dirt cheap earphones.

Price:  £20 or US$30

Specifications:  Working Time: Around 6-7 hours, Charging Voltage: DC 5V, Charging interface: MICRO USB, Charging time: Around 1-2 hours, Bluetooth Version: V4.1, Profile: APTX A2DP AVRCP HSP HFP, Communication Distance: About 10m in free field, Battery: 3.7V 90mAh Li-po battery, Size: 45 x 36 x 30mm / 1.77 x 1.42 x 1.18in, Length: 670mm / 26.38in, Weight: 18.5 g / 0.65oz

Accessories:  1x Charging Cable, 1x Cord Management Clip, 6x Eartips (S/M/L), 1x User Manual

Build Quality:  Rather nice.  Sure they are all plastic but they seem decently put together with some care.

Isolation:  A little so so.  They are okayish but given their form they want to sit shallow and you have no choice about it.  So while you could get away with them for out and about, maybe a bus commute that’s about it.  Tube or flights they just don’t really cut it.  You still need to keep an eye out for traffic though, least you get squished.

Comfort/Fit:  Pretty good I suppose.  Though I always felt the seal on the left ear wasn’t great and I wanted to push them in more but their shape precludes that.  Otherwise very comfy and very secure with that ear guide on.

Aesthetics:  The closer you get the more plasticky they look but from a distance, they look really good.  I like the capsule type design, they look funky.  So bold a design, something angular, I dunno they just look good.

Sound:  These sound just like their siblings the QY13 except these would seem to have a hint more bass.  Though that could just be to them needing to sit so shallow.  Either way their overall audio quality is really quite impressive for the price, never mind for Bluetooth at the price.  That they are also Bluetooth is a wonder of modern electronics and Chinese mass production.  That I can sit here, using these and genuinely enjoy them, actually like listening to them is crazy.  I have stuff considerably more expensive but these little babies at just £20 can hold their own and still sound pleasing is just lunacy.   Now they aren’t perfect, for starters they are rather too bassy, not massively so but you know, they are bassy.  They do slightly dominate I suppose but they never got on my nerves.  They’re well scaled and with a hint of bloom and expansion, a dash of warmth too.  Mids are good, slightly darkened, a little warmed.  They clearly have a preference for smoothly rich vocals, airy they don’t do so well but again, that price tag.  I can’t fault them for it.  The treble, it’s like the mids, warmed, not so prominent.  It is a little bit delicate too.  If you force its abundance you do start to notice that this isn’t an expensive product.  The treble tries to stay delicate and shimmery but you can tell its breaking up.

Still, the takeaway is, these sound impressively capable for the money.

Value:  Great, great sounding for the money.

Pro’s:  Look cool.  Sound great.  Dirt cheap.

Con’s:  A little fit fussy.  Slightly microphonic.  Middling isolation.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

J&L Real J&L-100 Review by mark2410

J&L Real J&L-100 Review by mark2410

Thanks to J&L Real for the sample.

First Impressions:  It’s a fairly compact box, ooh nice looking baggy thing for wrapping them up in.  Gosh, there is a fair assortment of tips and ear guides.  Oh and a micro USB cable in there too.  Hmm the buds have a flat cable between them, I so dislike flat cables but you know it’s only short so it won’t get in the way anyway.  Hmmm, they clearly are intended to be worn down, what are the odds that’ll be happening?  Still these ear guide things come off easily enough and so I’m sure I won’t have any issues wearing them up.

In the ears and so far so good, got them reversed and they fit pretty good.  It does seem to like the right ear better than the left but whatever.  They sound not bad once playing, hmm they need a bit of volume cranking, ahh there we go.  Hmm not bad, I am however just not feeling it, hmm maybe a little burning time will help

Source:  Predominantly a Lumia 735 and Moto G 4G.

Lows:  Big and hearty.  Very big and very hearty.  Very seriously big and hearty.  Hey, given their price point it’s not a shocker they were going to be bassy but these are very bassy, pushing towards Beats levels of bass.  It’s reasonably decent though, a bit expansive and a fair chunk of an air mover but while I can feel it on my sinuses its quality level is quite fine for the price.  Still my little ears a delicate little things and ooft, these are shifting a fair whack of air.  While it may not be to my tastes but these, with their bass line aggression and oomph would very much go with the likes of “Now That’s What I Call Running.”  A very assertive beat to keep you on your feet and moving forwards.  I could see it being the perfect gym companion for some, particularly those who want a highly prolific bass output.

Mids:  They are alright.  Actually if you made all that bass go away I would like them very much.  They are a bit warm for sure and a bit viscous but I like them.  Very controlled and harmonious.  There just needs to be lots more of it, these are substantially behind that bass mountain next to them.  Quality and its warmth are both very pleasing to the ear, actually maybe a bit slow and rich for the most lively of tracks but hey, I still like them.  The only thing is they aren’t the most super detailed ever, pretty decent for the price but they do gloss over a bit of a black layer.  It offers them a bit of darkness, it darkens that mid-range background. 

I just with that there was more of them, they really are most pleasing but that bass is so overshadowing.

Highs:  I similar level to the mids, though they share a tonality to the mids, that same back, darkened background is there.  Though the detail level on the highs aren’t quite so great.  You see in the mids you can do that and it’s just a styling choice, you’ve thickened them up but in the highs if you can’t nail detail and you try to put an edge to notes, well you make your failings stand out a bit.  Find something with hard edged, splashy treble and it shows.  Its shows up what exactly they can’t do.  That’s not a “bad” not really unexpected as these are really cheap.  It’s just trying to emphasise that edge to give a greater impression of clarity and it exposes where it can’t quite get everything right.

Soundstage:  The overall sizing is decent.  Like a good sized room but there is still an enclosure.  Placement and such is rather more nebulous and nothing fells very close in.  Even the bass does sound close in, it’s just gargantuanlly abundant.  Ahh so much bass, so much air moment.  Instrument placement is somewhat nebulous too.  It so all there, roughly in front of you, out of arms reach.

Fit:  Despite their inclination to want to wear down I could pull of the inner ear guide things and then get them fitting just fine.  I really struggle to wear anything down these days as it just feels so unnatural and loose.  But they should be able to do both happily if you prefer down.

Comfort:  Great.  Well after a few hours my ears were getting in need of a break from all that air movement but otherwise physically their seating in my ears was fine.

Phone Use:  They worked pretty good.  I was told I was a little distant sounding but hey, I was wearing them up so the mic was waaaaaaaaaaay up at my ear.  It worked though.  Like any one makes calls anyway.

Cable:  for some reason they put a flat cable on them to join them.  I don’t like flat cables as they don’t bend in one direction.  It wasn’t a problem but a round would have been more flexible especially round the ears.

Accessories:  You get a micro USB cable, 3 pairs of ear tips and 3 pairs of inner ear guide things.  You also get a rather nice thick and softly padded baggy for them.

Build Quality:  Pretty nice.  They are a bit plastic but then they are cheap and they are plastic, nothing bad per say but just meh.  Reasonable but I dunno I’m just not thinking ooh how nice they are.  Additionally they are IP54 certified so should be sweat and rain impervious.

Aesthetics:  Looks can be very subjective but I’m just not finding the love for the 100’s, they are alright I suppose but can’t say I’m especially fond of their visuals.

Isolation:  They isolate pretty well. They are reasonably closed and thus out and about, on a bus commute and you’d all be fine.  That goes too for a busy gym.  Maybe not Tube nor flight levels but better than nothing.

Battery Life:  Very curiously they quote “3.5 hours when providing 100% volume, 5 hours for 80% volume and 6.5 hours for 60% volume”  which makes me suddenly think, why doesn’t everyone quote these figures like this???  Still that seemed reasonably truthful to me.  Truth be told my ears got worn out long before the battery did.

Value:  Pretty great.  It’s a testament to how absurdly cheap electronics have become that you can squeeze in a Bluetooth radio, DAC, amp and earphones into one tiny package all for US$28.  That’s about £19.  All that in there plus they sound pretty reasonable too.

Conclusion:  If this had come out 10 years ago we would have all be in total awe of it, to think that the electronics inside have become so cheap is a marvel of engineering and of economics.  Taking the J&L-100 on its own merits it’s a grand little thing, great value for money and a tremendously bassy, decent quality sound.  It really is quite a marvel if you want that exceedingly bass heavy sound, to drag you round that last corner or last 15 min of the gym then bully for you.  That’s where it’s aimed at and that’s where it shines.

Now personally I would much prefer a less robust sound, these are powerful, heavy, seriously potent and I found it to be quite tiring.  It’s got a relentlessness to it, so much power, so much air movement, it’ll rattle your skull and punch you in the sinuses.  Me, well I’m a little bit delicate and it was all just a bit much for me.  It’s just too powerful and too relentless in its bass profusion.  Not bad, just not suited to me and what I would choose but I know more than one person who will love these and their bass response.

So should you/ would I buy one?  Me, no, I’m much too delicate for these.  The 100’s are monsters, wireless gym centric monsters.  It’s no accident their promotional images for them include people doing sporty type stuff.  That is where they are intended to be used, not some gentle Nora Jones, Diana Krall type listening.  It’s meant for gymtastic power beat tracks, it’s meant to fuel a workout to which my ears believe it to be highly suited to the task.