My Jays s-Jays review with pics
First things first - I didn't pay for these. Jays was kind enough to send me a free pair on the condition that I would write a review for them. Terrific!
Total time listening to the s-jays
I have put in almost 21 hours roughly listening to these at work, and at the gym. I work in a large data center so this includes time in the actual data center (noisy), and at my desk. I have listened to them on my Cowon iaudio 7, my Cowon iaudio U2, and my 16GB Creative Zen. I listen to a range of music from electronic, metal, hip hop, acoustic, classic rock, and live comedy stand-up.
I also listen using the Klipsch Custom 3's as well, just FYI.
Very well put together, nicely done. There is a protective hard plastic shell around the box that I needed to cut off with industrial scissors though. It's not a big deal, the headphones were packaged well and the cord was not would so tight it came out with knots in it. I appreciate this.
What you get
Lots of different size ear plugs. XXS, XS, S, M, L, and foam tips.
Swappable protective screens for your earphones.
An extra extension to make cables longer.
The carrying case is nice, and it's something that is certainly portable, but it's just too small. It's smaller than the size of a credit card. I don't forsee myself wadding my s-jays up that tight just to fit them in there. It's a nice touch, but it's just not useful. It looks neat though. :wink:
Fit & Isolation
The s-jays are a different kind of IEM. They're not like anything I've ever seen before, as they look sorta like a "grub" or a tootsie roll or something. When I first opened them up I thought "what in the hell?!" but after a while (ie. couple days) the design grew on me. For me, the in ear part sort of "hooks" into my ears, curling inwards. I tried shoving them down as far as I could into my ear canals but the actual size of the buds themselves block them from going too deep. I am wearing them just as the directions say to, I've even tried them over the ear, but I find the best way is just the standard 'cable down the front' way.
Because they don't go up into your ear canal the way others do (Klipsch Custom, Etymotic, etc) it takes a little more getting used to. I found that the large tips made the best seal while my wife preferred the small tips. I tried the foam tips but I wasn't convinced they stayed in well enough. Maybe if I were under serious sweaty conditions and the silicone tips became slippery then the foamies would be a good idea. They did pop out from time to time at the gym while on the eliptical machine, but this is to be expected from something that doesn't go "in" your ear canal.
The large tips provided a good enough fit, and a good amount of isolation. Just as good as anything else that sits in your ear, not into your canal. I didn't notice them being SUPER noise blocking, and I didn't notice them being terrible at it either. Finding the right size tip makes a big difference.
The bud part itself is rather large, but very light weight. I never once felt fatigued wearing them, they're very easy on the ears. They are made of light weight plastic and the cord is rubber. The cords are nice thick rubber and do not kink up easily or seem flimsy. Standard straight in plug at the end (which I prefer). The length is about 60 inches with both parts attached. I would rather have a longer cable than a shorter one, personally.
Also, there is a tiny 'L' and 'R' on each bud but it is in such small, black lettering, it's almost impossible to see. It takes longer to find the correct side than it does to get them in my ears, FYI.
I made the mistake of reading a review on anythingputipod.com before I got these, and the author complained of them being too boomy and bassy so I was expecting a real mess. While these have more bass than most, I would have to respectfully disagree.
- Highs sound nice and airy, good soundstage with no real complaints. Vocals sound great on everything from Fiona Apple to David Gilmour. I am actually quite surprised at how clear they are, for such a relatively cheap IEM. I'm sure there are better, but I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the vocals especially. The highs were well seperated, with good execution.
- Mids were also pleasant. I really expected them to be a pile of overblown rubbish after reading that initial review but I think they're very decent. A hell of a lot better than the V-Moda Vibes or Skullcandy smokin buds. Mids were strong and abundant, but not at all bloated or pushed too hard. "Wicked garden" by Stone Temple Pilots is a thick, robust song with lots of mid bass and it came across fine with above average separation. I was also pleasantly happy to hear some actual guitar string reverb in songs that I never heard before. Nice and overall warm.
- Lows are not disappointing either. I turned to Pendulum and some Bone Thugs -n- Harmony to get a feel for their low end and was more than satisfied. They are a little low end heavy, but not over done to the point of it being ridiculous like the V-Moda Vibes. Pendulum sounded really good specifically 'The Tempest' which is a bangin, deep, almost theatrical ending. I can see where the heavy low end might not be for everyone, as a lot of people prefer a "flat" sound. But I don't want anyone to be turned off at these thinking they are too bassy because they're not. They ARE bassier than most, but it is not overkill.
- Volume level didn't seem to play any part in the quality of the sound either. The sound wasn't tapered off and weak at low volumes, and at high volumes it still remained good sounding although the bass did tend to become too much at really high volume levels. I had my Mach3Bass on level 3 almost always, so this may be why. On a flat EQ I dont think there is any problem.
I think for 90% of the people, this would be an EXCEPTIONAL upgrade to your stock earbuds, V-modas, skull candies, or other IEM's in this price range. For $65 or $75 it is well worth the money. I think that most people will immediately be turned off by the awkward design, I was at first, but I can only recommend that they give them a fair chance and an unbiased listen. I don't owe Jays a favorable review just because they gave me the s-jays for free, I'm just calling it like I see/hear it.
I don't think they're overall as good as my Klipsch Custom 3's, but then again the Klipsch are 5X the price. What the s-Jays do provide is an above average listening experience, at a reasonable price. While they are not for serious bassheads, or for those who prefer flat EQ balance, they are somewhere in the middle for those who want an extra punch from the low end but not sacrificing the top end clarity.
On a scale of 1 (bad) - 10 (superb), for me and my tastes, I would rate these 7.5/10.
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