Saturday, 19 March 2011

t-JAYS one Review

t-JAYS one Review

Thanks to Advanced Headphones for the samples (AMP3’s sister site)

First impressions: Jays really do make a lovely box don’t they? They also make a lovely looking IEM here even if it is a bit of a weird shape, I can’t help but think the shape is asking for trouble and a stabbed ear but fingers crossed all will be well. I like that it has a modular cable too, it’s a bit long for a modular but I think all cables should be modular; it’s a pet favourite thing.

A little listen makes me wonder how different these are to the a-Jays two I just tried but hey ho. They are both dynamics so a burn in it to shall get.


Source 1G iPod Shuffle with a 75 ohm adapter added

Lows: Oh holy Mary mother of Christ! Oh god there is so much bass’ it’s been a hell of a long time since I’ve been subjected to such gargantuan quantities. I’m going to tell you right of the bat that there is too much, too much for me and too much for anyone whose ears aren’t defective. This is right up there with the M11+ in low end behaviour. Spade loads, shed loads, boat loads of bass and yet more bass. Oh god someone make it stop!

In quality its really pretty good given how much there is, it’s not too hard nor too soft and is inclined towards a thick, heavy and if I’m honest a somewhat oppressive quality. If you’re an out and out bass junkie you may find happiness here but I don’t. The quantity is vast and even if it has reasonable control for something so big it’s too bloomy and all encompassing.

Given this was all from the relatively neutral / bright 1G iPod Shuffle I thought id test the Sony NWZ-A846 since it was a good 3 inches away. Surprisingly they don’t add any thickness or heaviness to the low end here. I have no clue why but they actually give a fairly decent synergy and the bass becomes somewhat less dominant and oppressive. That said these are still bass monsters and I don’t see any source changing that.


Mids: Meh. Adequately decent, if rather thick and heavy. I can’t say I’m a wild fan nor think it has any great redeeming qualities. If you really love a warm thick midrange then maybe these would suit you but it just feels like its constantly struggling to stop itself from drowning in all that bass. The mids never stand out with any clarity. It’s like a slowly drowning swimmer; the ocean swells rise and surge over his head as he struggles valiantly to gasp for another breath. He’s slowly loosing and drowning. It’s not his swimming ability that’s at fault it’s that the sea is just so much stronger than he is. That of course doesn’t mean that ever so often he can’t get a sibilant scream out.

It’s a shame as if you find a song with nice clean vocals but little in the way of bass then you can actually hear the vocals. They are a little too thick but pleasant sounding nevertheless.


Highs: To combat the thickness and gargantuanly heavy bass someone has turned up the treble in a hard and brittle fashion. It’s aggressive and hard, yet has no air or dryness about it. It can be annoyingly sibilant at times too. Honestly I’m really surprised at how badly done it is at this price. Have JAYS deliberately made this worse than its close siblings the t-JAYS two and three? The reviews I have seen of them all are pretty good.

I realise I’m being brutally hard on the t-JAYS one here but like I’ve said a million times before, I’m pretty treble sensitive and if you’re not going to get treble right then dial it down. Nothing kills me more that hard edgy treble in abundance. I want shimmer and delicacy; here it’s sharp, sparkly and no natural decay. I guess it has to be so edgy to cut through that bass.


Soundstage: They do sound large but too heavy to have any sense of air about them.

Comfort: Surprisingly they were fine, I do stab my ear when pushing them in but once sitting they were absolutely fine.

Fit: Again their shape proved not to be a problem at all, shove in and done.

Microphonics: If worn down there was a little but not much. Up there was as you would expect, none.


Isolation: Reasonable, enough for normal use and enough to get you run over but not something for on a plane.

Cable: Well its modular which I like and the rest of its nice too. It does look a little thin but it feels nice in the hand. If there is one think JAYS have never had trouble with it’s the quality of their products, it all feels very well put together.

Amped/Unamped: Quite a bit of difference actually, they seemed to be quite changeable depending on the source. Notably they liked the Sony but it’s not mine to keep so I’m not going to pick and choose what DAP is used. Given its price point I didn’t feel it really belongs with the ipod and XM5 and since I haven’t reviewed the HM-601 yet I stayed with the shuffle. That way I feel was more consistent and fair.


Build Quality: This is something JAYS really do well, the build is just lovely. Its looks lovely and it feels lovely in the hand too, god even the packaging feels so solid and well made. Think apple but better.

Accessories: Hmm, since JAYS are using the accessories as a big differentiator between the models you don’t really get much here. When I say not much I mean you get tips and the extension cable to plug them in.

Value: If I am honest I’ve always liked JAYS and accordingly I naturally want to like their stuff and believe me some of its excellent. I dare you to find a bad review of the tiny little q-JAYS if you can. I love that JAYS doesn’t seem married to any one “house sound” that so many manufacturers are and I love that their products are just so beautiful to behold. But........this one I have to wonder at. I don’t get their let’s make 3 versions of things and lets differentiate them on the accessories they come with. Now that bit I sort of get but then for some god unknown reason someone decided to make the IEM’s all different too! Would someone care to tell me just how that got approved as an idea? Then the insanity continued as they are all price so close together with only £10 between each of them. I cannot for the life of me think of anyone thinking “Na I won’t spend the extra tenner and get the better one.” Maybe that was the intention to get people to jump to the top of the range one? I don’t know but the t-JAYS one at £60 I just can’t recommend unless you want a bass monster. A few years ago they might have been able to command such a price but today you can do better.


Conclusion: These look lovely but unfortunately they don’t sound so lovely. While they are reasonable competent they are tuned to be very bass heavy and it’s a little overwhelming. Actually scratch that it’s more than a little overwhelming, it’s oppressive. It’s like I’m slowly being drowned in bass and I don’t really care how good it is, even then it’s only reasonably good. I’m not hearing the bass and being blown away by its clarity or masterful agility. It’s somewhat slow and heavy. I know there are some who would hear it and fall in love with the sound but I didn’t.

I’m sorry JAYS, maybe your other versions of the t-JAYS are better but for their price the t-Jays fall short of the best out there for the same money. Also for £60 which is more than most people pay for earphones why wouldn’t anyone want to spend the 30% more and go for the top range three rather than the one? Still it’s a very pretty option and isn’t terrible sounding. If you don’t treat things very well then the fantastic build quality and generous two year warranty may make them great value for you.

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