a-JAYS two Review
First Impressions: True to form Jays have stuck these in some lovely looking packaging, if there is one thing they never get wrong it’s making things look pretty. Looking at the flat cable though I’m not entirely sure if I like it, I guess I can see why someone might want it as its vaguely trendy but I’m really not seeing any good reason for a flat cable over a round. That aside it feels nice in the hand.
Sound wise my first thoughts are fairly so so, it’s a dynamic so ill assume they want a burn in.
Source 1G iPod Shuffle with a 75 ohm adapter added
Lows: In the little blurb about them on Jay’s website they talk about how they are all about the “rich, deep bass response” and that’s pretty spot on. The low end is what these are about and frankly it isn’t half bad. The bass here is very much on the rich side of things, far more about depth and smoothness than it is punch. Actually it’s not really terribly good at punch but that’s fine by me, I really don’t like big impact when it’s accompanied with great abundance to. The quantity is undoubtedly on the larger side of things but it isn’t overwhelming, what’s here is pretty well controlled never rising so much it subsumes all else before it. Lady Ga Ga’s “Speechless” sounds warm, smooth and enveloping as does everything on these. It should sound harder and faster than it does here but I can’t deny it sounds very enjoyable.
A quick compare to the Radiapaq Jazz quickly makes apparent that the a-JAYS two are much fuller and softer in the lows. Part of me wants to say the Jazz is better but I feel a little voice telling me, not better, just differently presented. I guess it matters most what you want from the low end. If it’s a thick, smooth, deep low end these do it very well at this price point. Speed, impact and tight control, not so much but I do kinda like them anyway.
Mids: Rich and lush sounding. The overall thickness is the a-JAYS two presentation is readily apparent in its vocals and personally I think that suits rather a lot of vocalists out there. Sure there are some who really do much prefer something dryer and cooler but you can’t please everyone all of the time. Jay’s have clearly picked a flavour they wanted these to have and for the money it’s a pretty damn good interpretation of that flavour. The mids are really top notch for the money we’re talking about for these. Sure these are no PL-50’s but these have a big low end that it doesn’t. The mids here, like the bass, wants to be a little on the slow side of things. Its thickness flows like warm syrup and it’s got enough sweet, warm, thickness to make almost anything sound just yummy and gooey. I like it.
Highs: You might think they would be smothered with all that warm sugary goodness but they somehow manage to remain clear and distinct. It’s got a clarity its thickness says it shouldn’t. Don’t expect the treble to ever take centre stage though, it’s not recessed but in presentation it’s never going to be in charge either. It offers a bit more spark than you would expect but it never really comes alive and shimmers like sometimes you might like it to. It reminds me a bit of the ViSang RO3/Brainwavz M2 but in direct comparison I’ve got to give the win to the a-JAYS two. The highs while thick aren’t recessed and cut though the richness far better. They may not be the most detailed in the word but they are good.
Soundstage: While they sound rich and full they don’t give much in the way of space and air. The sound it’s enveloping like pulling a warm duvet over your head.
Fit: I was a little worried by that cable but I could wear these just fine. Shoved towards ears and that was that. Good stuff.
Comfort: Likewise with the fit it was hesitant with that cable but it never got in the way and the buds sat in my ears just fine. Comfort was absolutely fine.
Cable: I still can’t decide if I like it. I can’t really come up with anything against it but I can’t help but see it as a gimmick because the Beats did it. Gimmick aside it gave me no trouble and it feels pretty sturdy.
Microphonics: Down I got plenty but wearing up I got none. The choice is yours as always.
Amped/Unamped: The usual differences but let’s face it these are never going to see anything beyond an E5 in the wild.
Isolation: Hmm fair I suppose, really pushing the lower limits of what I’d want for say on a bus or out in town use. Still it’s a dynamic so you aren’t buying it to shut out the world on a flight to New Zealand are you.
Build Quality: Lovely, I don’t want to bash any Far East makers but they don’t always give the impression of faultless build quality. These feel uber professional and swish.
Accessories: This is where Jays seem to want to offer some differentiation between the different a-JAYS models. So what you get here is 5 sets of tips, the airplane adapter and a splitter. Shame there is no case, you have to move up to the three for that.
Value: I see these available for £29 and while I’m sure we could hum and haw about whether these are really the best that one could get for the money but I don’t see anyone really arguing the case they aren’t good. While I don’t feel I can gush at how amazing value these are they are a pretty solid buy and well worth giving a try. Especially if you like the flavour it offers. Oh and they have a 2 year warranty! Its biggest problem is likely to be its sibling the a-JAYS three which are supposed to sound better and come with a case with a price that’s too close.
Conclusion: If these were a food stuff they would be a tin of Lyles Golden Syrup. They are thick, smooth, warm, gooey, rich, and oh so sugary sweet. It’s clearly not going to be a sound that appeals to all; Etymotic lovers would have a heart attack but say your coming from a warm and thick Sony you’ll love these. For all their thickness they do – like the Golden Syrup – retain a great deal of clarity that seems a little out of place. It’s hardly something that’s unwelcome, in fact it’s that clarity that makes these so worthwhile a listen. Their heaviness doesn’t overwhelm and the clean lush vocals come through with such ease these really are a pleasure to hear. I don’t know if it’s something I’d find oppressive if it’s all I ever got to hear but the time I have spent with them have been very pleasant. I cannot say I loved it; it’s not that sort of a sound. It doesn’t grab your attention and scream “Love me!” It’s like a night in with a tub of ice cream, the lights turned low, the heating turned up and you watching your second or third favourite TV show. It isn’t what you think of as the best way you could ever spend an evening but you’ll enjoy that time greatly anyway. Music on the a-JAYS two is just like that. Not what I immediately think of as being what I’d want to hear but I’ve enjoyed greatly anyway. A little Jack Johnston or Susan Wong and the a-JAYS two, I can think of far, far worse ways to spend an evening.