I don’t want to type up a typical review for these buds, because they will probably be one of the only pairs of headphones I’ll ever review. I wanted to write about these particular sets because I really enjoy the Swedish-born JAYS aesthetic. It isn’t often that a company has that special quality — that fine attention to detail — that you see in Apple’s products. That’s why I believe JAYS are the perfect companion for any iOS device — they sound great and have wide functionality, but they also look fantastic plugged into your shiny new iPhone.
Personally, I could care less about the fine details of how headphones sound. I’m not an “audiophile”, and I want to offer my personal experience with these headphones. The details of how the “lows” or the “mids” sound are a moot point to me, and this review will not be covering those things. This review is more about the experience that you get when you purchase a pair of these JAYS. And while — spoiler alert — JAYS do have excellent sound quality, there are many other things to consider before you decide whether or not they are for you.
Upon receiving my pairs of JAYS, I was immediately taken aback by the quality of the packaging. Opening a pair of JAYS headphones is a ritual — not much different than opening a new iPhone.
The package has a small notch on the back side that you press in with a pen, allowing the inner part of the case to slide up. Upon opening the a-JAYS Four you are presented with your new headphones, a user manual, and 4 extra pairs of interchangeable buds.
The package that the t-JAYS Four come in is almost identical, but you get a few more items. Extras with the more expensive pair include a 70 cm (27.5 in) extension cord, a cable clip, and a travel case.
The first thing you notice about the a-JAYS Four is that the headphone jack is L-shaped. This design may prove to be practical or impractical depending on how you use your device. While using my phone out of pocket, the L-shape gave a streamlined experience that simply looked better. In pocket, though, I tend to prefer the traditional style which causes less tangling.
A big plus to having the cheaper a-JAYS is that the cable is ribbon-styled. As you can see in the picture above, the cable is flat and tough, giving a very nice “anti-tangle” effect. Putting the a-JAYS in my pocket has yet to tangle them.
The t-JAYS Four have a traditional plug and cable like what has been seen in earbuds for years. However, an important feature of the t-JAYS is that they come with an extendable cord. The built-in cord is 60 cm and the extension is 70 cm, a total of 130 cm at full length. This dividable cord is handy for using an iPod shuffle on your shirt or putting your iPhone in your shirt pocket.
The rocker style remote and mic that come on the Apple EarPods has been finicky for me — maybe I just have a bad unit. Sometimes when pressing the volume up the remote will actually send signal to pause or actually volume down. Whatever the case, I have not had any problems with the a-JAYS controls whatsoever.
Both the a-JAYS and the t-JAYS have an identically-functioning remote and mic along the cable. Instead of a rocker style like that on the EarPods, the remote has 3 inidividual buttons that are smooth and satisfying to press.
How Do They Sound?
Like I said, I am not an audiophile. I am not particularly picky about how my headphones sound, but I do know that both of these headsets sound better than the majority of headphones I’ve owned. The a-JAYS Four are the cheaper option, and are obviously the lower-quality sound of the two, but they hold their own — especially compared to stock Apple earphones or EarPods. That said, the a-JAYS are powerful and probably best when listening to loud Rock and Pop.
Being the premium JAYS model, you would be right to assume that the $130 t-JAYS Four sound fantastic. They have an obviously wide dynamic range that provides deep and soothing lows, as well as crisp and light highs.
Compared to the t-JAYS, the a-JAYS seem to lack the distinctive punchy bass that comes with using the premium model with Curve — more about that later. Overall, the biggest advantage of the t-JAYS headphones is that they have a very true sound, providing the listener with the music the artist intended.
How Do They Feel?
Like many pairs of earbuds, the a-JAYS Four come with 5 individual sets of buds to give you the best fit possible. While I was able to find a pair of tips that fit me, I wasn’t completely satisfied with the overall feel of the headphones.
It may just be my ears, but a small corner of the hard plastic became very annoying after about 30 minutes of use. The way that the a-JAYS are shaped can be a little bit of a nuisance, and it seems that they would fit better if the ear canal ran parallel to the side of your head — which it of course doesn’t.
The t-JAYS Four are definitely the winner in this category. Wearable in two positions, these headphones seemed to fit almost perfectly in my ears, and — like Apple’s EarPods — I tend to forget they’re even there. the t-JAYS are wearable in two orientations, allowing you to wear them while doing physical activities without worry. I tended to prefer the cable over-ear position as it seemed to provide a slightly better fit.
The headphone housing actually seemed somewhat shaped to the inside of my ear. However, I did sometimes notice a similar effect to that of the a-JAYS — the somewhat sharp corners aren’t always pleasant.
t-JAYS Curves Companion App
A big part of the overall t-JAYS Four product is that it comes with a free JAYS companion app to fully optimize the buds’ abilities.
Jays Curves is not only an easy-to-use music player, it also provides optimized sound quality through the use of the patented Dirac HD Sound® technology. The t-JAYS Four earphones have been acoustically analyzed with highresolution measurement equipment, which has allowed the scientists and sound engineers at Dirac and Jays to create a tailored software sound processor for unbeatable sound. This app makes your iPhone and t-JAYS Four perfectly calibrated for the purest possible sound reproduction.
The JAYS Curves app is well designed, and at first seems almost identical to the built-in Music.app. The interface is clean and bold, but there is one distinct difference. When playing a song you will notice a small Dirac optimization button which toggles the improved impulse response feature. The app doesn’t work unless you have t-JAYS plugged in.
I found it interesting to see the difference that this optimization made. To the untrained ear, it simply seems to make most of your music sound more clear. The optomization removes the “heavy” feeling that I typically get from listening to my iPod and seemed to provide more true-to-life sounds.
JAYS headphones are, in my opinion, perfectly compared to Apple. They provide great quality sound, an ever-so-precise attention to design detail, and a decent price tag to go with them. This premium price for buds that could be compared with cheaper models may not be worth it to you. They aren’t for everyone, but they are definitely suave, and they are absolutely worth every penny.
† All prices are in US currency.
This review was written by the iFans.com Review Team. Cumulative scores are rounded to the nearest half or full star.
This accessory, product, or app was received as a sample. Thanks Urban for the product sample.