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Jays a-JAYS Four earphones review

on October 13, 2012 11:00 am

In the past several weeks, I have been reviewing speakers and headphones, but I am back doing some earphones. I had forgotten – for a short while – how important a good seal is. Unless you have a near-perfect fit, you can kiss any bass goodbye. Such is the case with the Jays a-JAYS Four earphones. After trying all five sizes of supplied tips, I just couldn’t get a decent seal, thus little bass. Maybe it’s my ears, who knows? So I attached my go-to tips I have used in other reviews and … voilà! Instant improvement!

Jays is a Swedish headphone and earphones company known for their forward design, superb audio for the money and excellent build quality. The a-JAYS Four has all of that. They’re certainly affordable, especially considering they include a mic and three-button remote for Apple’s iPhone (Jays offers the a-JAYS One for Android users). They are offered in black or bright Apple-white.

The construction is almost all plastic with brushed-metal looking plastic accents made to mimic the look of the iPhone 4/4S. The cord is wide, flat and totally tangle-free, however the width makes the cord feel noticeable all the time. It doesn’t “disappear” like some thin cords can. So there are pros and cons to this approach. Also, microphonics – that scraping and thumping noise you hear when the cord is touched or tapped – can be loud. However, if you’ve used earphones for a while, you learn to live with it.

The remote has pause/skip/volume controls as well as the standard phone call features. The mic has what Jays calls “a digital, active surface-mounted MEMS silicon microphone that removes GSM/TDMA burst noise and provides wide-band RF noise suppression.” Got that? It basically means your voice will sound clearer with less interference. The remote buttons work with just about any later model iPod , iPhone and Mac laptop. The slightly concave and convex buttons for easier selection is a nice, functional design feature. It works better than you might think. Despite all that plastic, the build feels solid. And the wide cord is pretty strong. The right earphone has a tiny bump on the back so you can feel right from left without looking.

A big drawback to the Jays a-JAYS Four earphones is no case. I’ve reviewed earphones costing less that include fairly nice cases. Plus, these are white, as in dirt-magnet white. I don’t understand Jay’s thinking here.

As I said earlier, I am using my ear tips and not Jays included tips for this review. Remember, you will probably have no problem with any one of the five included ear tip choices. Even though my tips gave me all the bass I wanted, it was never overpowering or intrusive. Listening to bass-heavy, more current songs didn’t exhaust my ears like some earphones can. Bass is fairly tame on the a-JAYS Four, and that a real good thing. Sound isolation was also quite good. So good, that you need to be careful on public streets.

Sampling both older and more recent rock was instructive. I realized that the a-JAYS Fours give what they get. If a song is muddy or indistinct, they will sound that way. Well recorded music gives better results. That’s a little unusual for a dynamic speaker type earphone, which is what the a-JAYS Fours are. Usually, dynamic speakers are very forgiving; much more so than an armature-based design. That’s not to say the a-JAYS Fours are not forgiving; they are. It’s just that they are more accurate than most dynamic-style earphones in this price range.

Note: Dynamic speaker earphones are like tiny speakers that look and act like regular speakers. Armatures don’t look like speakers at all. They are based on hearing-aid technology.

I was able to pleasantly listen to more bass heavy music with the a-JAYS Fours. A more accurate bass lets you listen longer with less fatigue, even if the bass is overdone. However, if a song uses bass at the expense of all else, the a-JAYS Fours won’t make the audio cleaner, just more listenable.

“Breathe,” from the group Télépopmusik, is a bass monster, but on the a-JAYS Fours, I could sit through the whole song without reaching for Excedrin. The song became fun and it was hard to keep still. Another speaker buster is David Bowie’s “Heroes.” No, not the original, but a remix done by Dave Guetta on the “Club Bowie” album. This mega bass dance mix tested the a-JAYS Fours at normal volume, but distortion set in when pushed beyond the pain threshold.

Another note: my listening was done straight from an iPod Classic and also from a Mac using an external digital audio convertor (DAC). I highly recommend a DAC if you are relying on the computer’s sound card to listen to music.

The a-JAYS Fours showcased the minor-chord beauty of Boy George’s “The Crying Game” in all its haunting, hair-standing wonder. The slight echo of a retro, analog-sounding guitar contrasted with digital synth creates an edge that the a-JAYS Fours did’t try to smooth over as other dynamic speakers might do.

In a more classic rock vein, Neil Young’s “Country Girl Medley” from the iconic Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young album “Deja Vu,” is light on bass and heavy on drama. The a-JAYS Fours let you here that “fifth voice” that comes from the perfect four part harmonizing of these rock giants.

Yeah, there are better, more engaging earphones out there, if you’re willing to pay for the privilege. But consider this: Jays have successfully done what many earphone makers try to do. Just make an earphone that sounds great, is durable and looks good doing it and – oh, by the way – keep the price under a hundred bucks. Done.

 

Product Information

Price:$79.99 US
Manufacturer:Jays
Requirements:
  • iPod/iPhone
Pros:
  • Cool looking
  • Accurate bass
  • Sturdy
Cons:
  • No case included
  • White model is a dirt magnet
  • Tips did not give a good seal (for this reviewer)

Comments

  1. 1
    question says:

    what do you think about the a jays one plus ? and did you test the remote of the a jays four on a andriode device s?

    have a nice day hope to hear from you soon

  2. 2
    Bill Henderson says:

    Answer to Question:
    The One+ earphones are made to work with many brands of phones, so there is only has one button on the remote. More importantly, they are tuned for more bass, so if you like modern music (dance, hip-hop, electronica), you will probably prefer these to the aJAYS Four. The Fours are more balanced, which is what I personally prefer.
    The aJAYS Four is not made for Android. The earphones will work, but the remote buttons will not.
    Bill H.

  3. 3
    shimon says:

    Hey, you said you have some tip to improve the bass What is the tip?

  4. 4
    Bill Henderson says:

    Shimon,
    The tips I use when the supplied tips don’t seal properly in my ears are from TFT Accoustics. Unfortunately, they are no longer available.

    However, I would suggest Comply foam tips. They make tips for almost any brand (including JAYS). I have used their tips and highly recommend them.
    http://www.complyfoam.com

    Hope this helps.
    Bill H.

  5. 5
    shimon says:

    it’s helps me,
    tnx you.

  6. 6
    Trym ulriksen says:

    What is the difeffernces between a-jays four and a-jays three? I got a android device.

  7. 7

    Trym,
    The a-Jays Three will be a bit more bass oriented. Also, the a-Jays Four will not work with an Android device. So that should make your choice easier. :)
    Bill H.

  8. 8
    Pony says:

    I have to disagree with the entire review. I found them to be just awful. Hollow is the word that springs to mind. I bought them at the airport when I realised I’d forgotten my “real” headphones and regretted it almost immediately.
    Like you I found the fit awful. I listen to a lot of live music so maybe that was the main contributing factor. Studio recording weren’t that much better though.
    The “real” headphones I referred to are Shure SE535′s but that aside I didn’t fine the Jays any better than any of the pile of Apple headphones I have that have only ever been unwrapped in case of a dire emergency.
    For comparable money I spent on Jays, and if I found myself in need again, I’d go with Sennheiser CX300′s.

  9. 9
    Bill Henderson says:

    Pony,
    If all I had were Jays own tips, I would completely agree with your assessment. Unfortunately, Shure tips will not fit the Jays, so you can’t try that solution. Have you tried any tips from Comply? They make some that fit the Jays and you may be pleasantly surprised.
    Bill H.

  10. 10
    Sheree says:

    I got the product but didn’t think the bass was good enough,do you really think the bass was fine? My music turn out softer which actually disappoint me just a little cuz $85 isn’t really a cheap range :( Thanks for your help! Hope I will get certain about this product :D

  11. 11
    Bill Henderson says:

    Sheree,
    I did say in the review that the bass was not intrusive. If you prefer a lot of bass, you will be disappointed. I think the bass is spot on.
    If you aren’t getting any bass, then the tips are probably not doing their job for you. I would check out Comply foam tips. They make some that fit the Jays earphones.
    I hope this helps,
    Bill Henderson

  12. 12
    See says:

    Thanks for the review! Similarly, none of of the 5 sizes works for me unless I absolutely jam the earbuds into my ear canal. Which go-to-tips did you use instead?

  13. 13
    Bill Henderson says:

    See,
    Your best bet is here:
    http://www.complyfoam.com

    This company makes great tips, if a bit on the expensive side.

    Bill H.

  14. 14
    SV says:

    A-jays four earphones has a good voice quality and the songs and very clear, however what is disappointing is that remote in the earphone. I had to go for a replacement twice within 6 months from the date of purchase. Therefore my suggestion please don’t buy a-jays earphone. Its not value for money and you will have to run behind the service centers for servicing or replacement every now and then.

  15. 15
    Jumbabaginji says:

    Hi, I listen to a variety of genres, so which is the most well rounded earphone? Also, I’m 14, do you reckon the buds will fit? Great review btw, thanks in advance :D

  16. 16
    Jumbabaginji says:

    Also, I’d like to ask about the durability of these earphones? How long do they last? I know about the 2 year warranty but I don’t quite like going back to the store to replace them. I’ve heard from people that they don’t last very long.

  17. 17
    Bill Henderson says:

    Jumbabaginji,

    As far as durability goes, it comes down to how you treat them. If you are going to were them outside most of the time, I would suggest Klipsch S4 earphones.

    http://www.klipsch.com/image-s4i-rugged-headphones

    If not, you can’t beat Jay’s warranty.

    Trying to pick the most well-rounded earphone is more difficult because each one leans towards either bass, higher frequencies or mids. Few handle all the same, especially in the sub-$100 range. Again, I like the Klipsch S4 quite a bit for all-round comfort and sound. In fact, the Klipsch X-10 is one of my all-time favorite earphones. They are not cheap, but the less expensive S4 comes pretty close and are just as comfortable.

    Bill H.

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