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« Optoma Pico PK101 Review | Main | Metal Gear Solid 4 Watch »
Monday
Nov242008

s-JAYS SIREN Armature Earphones Review

p1030125

I picked up some new earphones at Costco the other day. 

I hadn't heard of s-JAYS but their packaging was very Apple-esque and oozed sophistication and quality. After attempting to research these earphones on the internet the only information I could find was that the Costco price was roughly half the rrp (Costco price £35.23 gbp) so  I decided to take the gamble and picked some up anyway. 

JAYS are a Swedish company however the UK is the first country to get the s-JAYS and Costco might be the first retailer here to sell them. The s-JAYS use some clever technology - according to s-JAYS themselves.. "They use the new JAYS technology Sirens. Sirens uses the same technology as the micro armature but in the same form factor as a normal dynamic driver. The Siren driver gives a much better overall sound then a dynamic driver and still it has a low price"

 Now that doesn't mean much to me - but it sounds like they are trying something new so good luck to them.

I also own the following earphones, Sennheiser CX-500, Sony MDR-EX71 and Shure E2C. 

Shure E2C 

Most expensive, uncomfortable, tickly cable down the back of the neck, probably the best sound quality - but couldn't live with them so got the Sennheisers instead.

Sennheiser CX-500

Good Value, sticky rubbery thin cables that annoyingly get twisted and curled up. Lack of bass. Upgraded to the Sonys.

Sony MDR-EX71

Comfy, light, easy to put in/take out. Strong bass. However felt that there was room for improvement and the rubber earpieces keep falling off, so I bought the s-JAYS.

p1030081

s-JAYS

The most versatile of the lot. The earpieces can be oriented one way so they can be worn over the ear or twisted the other way to wear as  standard (both options are comfortable). The cable can be routed around the back of the neck or normally down the front without any weird sticky out cable kinks. They come with a smart case, a variety of sizes of rubber ear pieces and a foam squeeze fit one. This is the same as the Shure earphones and similarly to Shure the  s-JAYS also come with protective wax barrier filters.

JAYS don't skimp on the extras, also included are a headphone splitter and an airplane adaptor. The headphones are attached to a good quality cable. A sensible length (not too long) extension cable is supplied which could be eschewed in favor of a volume box/remote wire if required. I think the plug may well be too thick for the mk1 iPhone - but adaptors can easily be obtained.

I find that the design of the earphones fit my ears perfectly whatever the orientation. With the appropriate size of rubber earpiece inserted in the ear, the opposite butt of the earpiece wedges comfortably against the inside of the other side of the ear, securing it in place. This of course might not work for everyone but given the lack of uniformity in ear shape  the fact it can be worn in two different ways means the design is very clever indeed.

p1030160p1030164

Sound quality - Definitely the most naturalistic when compared to the Sony or Sennheisers.   In comparison, the Sennheisers are thin and tinny. The Sonys have more bass - but at the expense of clarity, they actually sound rather muffled when compared to the s-JAYS. I didn't even notice the Sonys were muffled until I tried the s-JAYS. The s-JAYS sound more open and expansive,  like listening to speakers rather than headphones. The s-JAYS are louder than the Sony or Sennheiser and this is important as I know that a lot of people find these others too quiet. I can't compare the sound quality with the Shures - I haven't used them for years as I just found them to be uncomfortable and really couldn't cope with the wire having to run down the back of my neck (I'm rather ticklish). The only significant negative for me with the s-JAYS is the difficulty in differentiating the Right from the Left earpiece. See if you can spot the near invisible R&L on the close up shot.

So in summary I'm going to keep using the s-Jays in preference to my other earphones. I'd consider the s-JAYS market position to be akin to that of a bridge camera. A bridge camera is halfway between a compact and an SLR - They generally give better results than the compacts but are a lot easier to use than the SLRs whilst still giving comparable results under the right conditions. This is the same position that the s-JAYS occupy. They are infinitely better than £10 cheapo in the ear phones, but are a lot easier to get on with day to day than the Shures or other canal phones whilst giving a comparable sound quality. I think that the s-JAYS might well be the first 'bridge-earphones'.  

Recommended.

Click HERE for JAYS Audio info page on the s-JAYS

EDIT - 21 Jan 2008. Until a couple of days ago this was the only online review available. You can now find a proper indepth review online - put together by someone who actually knows what they are on about  - you can read it here

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Reader Comments (15)

[...] is out in the UK. I believe this is the first review so far. s-JAYS SIREN Armature Earphones Review « Gadgets, Tech and General Moaning __________________ Peter @ JAYS Peter Cedmer Product Manager JAYS AB [...]

Thank you very much for the review.

Never heard of Jays before.

But costco usually sells good quality products.

Have been looking to buy the cx-500's but may
get this instead.

December 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBigDom

BTW...

What's the build quality like....

Are the cables strong and connected firmly to the earpiece.

I tend to break my earphones at these places (internally though wear and tear).

December 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBigDom

I've given them a good examination for you. The only bit I could imagine being a potential weak area is the 3.5mm plug, due to it not being at a right angle and sticking out quite a distance. If you were the kind of person to who wraps your cord tightly around your iPod I suppose this might cause wear over time, or you might bang it on something - but it seems very solidly attached.

The wires going into the earphones disappear down a hole and are attached firmly inside - I think you'd have to be pretty violent to damage them, these wires are pretty chunky and a lot more substantial than the wires on my other earphones (with the exception of the Bose). I've accidentally caught the wires with an arm and ripped the earphones violently out of my ears with no damage to me or the headphones. One big improvement over my other earphones is the rubber earpieces, which really do stay firmly attached and take some careful effort to remove, unlike the Sony or Sennheiser ones which flip off and get lost at the drop of a hat.

These earphones have no obvious weak points, they don't creak and there are no visible seams. The best way I can describe the way they feel is to suggest you imagine a large sealed pistachio nut with a wire going in one end. Its hard to describe the build quality, as most words like sturdy, strong or tough give an impression of weight and these are actually very small and light - they just feel very well made.

December 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTechmoan

The bose is probably the worse quality earphone i have ever heard...they isolate no noise, and the highs are muffled. I would go for the s-jays definitely. The wire is much much much better made than most of the earphones today, the only company that i would say makes better wires are Westone and OSP audio. jays earphones all have Kevlar filled wires so don't worry about them breaking, i own the q-Jays and trust me, durable as a rock.

December 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterFelix

Sorry in my comments two above I wrote "Bose" when I meant to write "Shure". I've never owned any Bose equipment so couldn't comment on them.

December 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTechmoan

Thank you very much Techmoan for your comments on the build quality.

I've recently got a pair from costco and currently playing around them.

At the moment i'm finding them a bit too heavy
on the bass.

I have 1st gen ipod touch (v2 firmware jailbroken).

When i set the EQ to Acoustic or Treble Booster
it sound great but when set to "off" i loose midrange sound (if you know what i mean!)

I'm going to try changing earbud sizes and also
re-encode my music to higher quality.(LAME r3mix)
Hopefully this might help.

BTW What encoder do you use to get the best
sound quality?

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBigDom

Most people just seem to want more and more bass, you must have very discerning ears, a lot better than mine.

I'm afraid I'm just a vanilla iTunes user, using the standard inbuilt encoding.

I'd still be interested to see a review from a website or organisation with the technology to objectively measure the performance of these and do a full in-depth assessment. I'm just some bloke who bought himself a new set of earphones because they were discounted.

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTechmoan

[...] Hi, Our packing have looked like s-JAYS since August 2006 . This is how our packing looks anyway. s-JAYS SIREN Armature Earphones Review « TECHMOAN: Gadgets, Tech and General Moaning __________________ Peter @ JAYS Peter Cedmer Product Manager JAYS AB [...]

Hello webmaster
I would like to share with you a link to your site
write me here preonrelt@mail.ru

March 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlexwebmaster

Mine just broke today!! :'( The left channel is now quite a bit noticibly quieter than the right. Has anyone else had any issues with durability? I've only had mine for 3 months!!!

April 8, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercaveman_dick

Well the plug on the extension lead started cutting out. I mentioned my concerns about this very component in my earlier comments and it turns out I was right to be worried. I've since bought a right-angle plugged extension lead instead. The headphones themselves are still working perfectly.

April 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTechmoan

Yeah I remember you saying and that's why i've deliberatly been careful with them!! Mine almost sounds as if the driver itself has blown and I very much doubt my nano can overload it!!!

Now this is the fun part, I bought off an eBay seller...

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercaveman_dick

these headphones sound divine; and the bass gets thumping after just one month of run-in.
for those with concerns about the drivers being blown, I have experienced such issue myself with major concern; but I have figured out what had happened: water vapor fron the ear canal was condensing inside the earphone, resulting in the impression the drive was blown; this problem happens after long hours of listening, or when, soon after showering and not drying my ears with a cotton buds, I wear the earbuds; the solution is to leave the earbuds, possibly flat on their side, on top of a warm surface reaching up to 50 degrees C, like a radiator, for at least half an hour, and the water droplets will eventuaally evaporate; alternatively, if you are not in a rush, just to leave them overnight on top of a desk, and that should do it; I reckon the issue is to be expected since the earbuds are totally sealed, and humity cannot escape, and since of the tight margins for error the drives are engineered with, a few condensed water doplets interfere with the drives in such a way it makes them sound as if are blown

May 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLuigi Cirelli

I need it!!!

Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you! Thank you for your

info.And this is http://www.cleverclickonline.com" rel="nofollow">**Best DSLR** blog. It pretty

much covers ###Best DSLR## related stuff.

September 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercamo

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