Pros: - Intimate soundstage - Smooth - Brilliant mic integration
Cons: - Fit - They're not designed for human ears
I'm just going to leave a quick and dirty review for these since they never really seemed to gain any ground in sales/reviews from what I've noticed.
I quite like the look of the packaging. It is elegant, and clean in image. The experience falls apart somewhat when you try to take the product out. This is a cumbersome process made part by many small sections of cardboard, plastic, etc. getting in the way.
Pretty basic stuff. Small, medium, and large JVC tips. They feel nice and seal well (sort of...we will come to that later). The included baggy is quite nice. The material is very thick and durable. They won't protect the product from being crushed, but drops, etc. will not be an issue.
Comfort and Design:
This is where things get weird. It's clear JVC was going the stylish route with these, but they made some very questionable design choices that flat out ruin the experience. First, the positive:
- They look premium and quite attractive.
- The built in in-line mic is awesome and exceptionally convenient. Ergonomically the control button is nearly perfectly placed, and the mic does a good job of filtering out unwanted noise. I haven't used them a ton for phone calls, but on those calls I have made my caller had no issues hearing me, and visa versa. So far it's been compatible with all of my phones (Galaxy S2X, Nexus S, Moto G 1st Gen).
- The flat cable is one of the better ones I've come across. It is flexible and quite light. Most of the other iems I have with flat cables (Don Scorpio Bass Colour in particular) would be better off without it; too heavy so it tugs the iems out of my ears, stiff so the seal breaks easily as the cable bounces around, transmits noise like no other. JVC's cable runs into none of these issues.
- There is a switch to make them compatible with both iDevices and Android smartphones. I really wish more manufacturers did this (I'll give a special nod to NarMoo here)
Now, the negative:
- Why are these so damn chunky? I was expecting something sleek and sexy. JVC's marketing team did a good job of aiding in this expectation. In reality, these are about as beefy as the FX3X. The inline dongle containing the phone support switch is also unnecessarily massive. In comparison to the one on the FRD60, which also houses the mic and button hardware, it's full on pudgy. My pic doesn't really do it any justice, sorry. The Moto G has a garbage camera and my Nexus S is acting up :(
- These are really, really difficult to seat in your ears correctly. I usually take others comments on stuff like this with a grain of salt, as there are very few iems I have fitment issues with. These take the cake; they require a deep seal, but due to their odd shape, compromised by trying to make them attractive, this is really difficult to achieve. Maybe with some triple flange tips this would be easy, but I have none of those. I could get a good seal with the stock medium tips, but the amount of finagling required was silly. UE600 tips seemed to work the best for me.
- This is where I came away a bit surprised. I think JVC realized the design was compromised, and opted to toss in a decent set of drivers. I wouldn't quite call them balanced, but they didn't offer up the bright and bassy, consumer-friendly sound I was expecting. Treble is smooth and exhibits just a touch of shimmer. Mids are clear and clean, and not recessed or outclassed. Bass is punchy and can dig deep when called upon, but feels a mite sluggish. I really like these for live shows....not something I often listen to.
- I really enjoy the soundstage on these. It's not large, but it's very intimate...first couple rows kinda intimate. Clarity and stereo imaging could certainly be better, but its acceptable. They never really sound convoluted or overwhelmed which is nice.
These are a nice listen if you can get past the horrible fit. I would love to give them four stars, but they are just too confused and compromised. JVC was onto something, but they botched it by making them too chunky and ergonomically unpleasant. They sound good (not great), isolation is average for a dynamic driver, the cable is wonderful, they feel durable, and they offer up some good features like housing the mic and control hardware in the speaker housing, but it's all let down by the chunkiness and terrible fit. I hope JVC come out with revised versions that offer the same features, but a more sleek and ear-friendly design.
** I do want to toss in that I am a 28 year old male, and probably not the target market for these. To me that makes these an even weirder pick, as there is no way I could see a fashion conscious lady of any age willingly wearing these given how damn chunky and uncomfortable they can be. **