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A Review On: JVC HA-FX35-B Soft Marshmallow Stereo Headphones (Black)

JVC HA-FX35-B Soft Marshmallow Stereo Headphones (Black)

Rated # 196 in Universal Fit
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Recent Pricing:
Amazon.com
Review Details:
Audio Quality
Comfort
Design
Isolation
Value
Purchased on:
Price paid: $20.00
Formula350
Posted · 1655 Views · 5 Comments

Pros: Inexpensive, light weight, fairly comfy - no inner-ear fatigue, S-M-L expanding foam tips included.

Cons: A bit small which makes it difficult to put in the ear by pinching between tumb/index, some cable microphonics, cheap plastic construction.

I bought these a year ago while on vacation at the Cabin for a month, after finding out I left my Shure SE210's on the couch while packing! rolleyes.gif I was at Best Buy, so not exactly the ideal place to be shopping, but it's slim-pickings in Alaska lol I wasn't going to pay more than $30, and most of the stuff I actually was interested in were iSheeple's iPhones, so I wasn't going to risk trying out a 4-ring plug and have it not work. After checking out all the available specs on the various models they offered there, I came to the conclusion that these were the best (at 8Hz - 23kHz)... so I bought 'em.

Isolation on these is pretty decent, which I can't say I was expecting them to provide as much as they do. Compared to the Sennheiser PC-350 headphones that came with my Xonar Xense, they are 10x better at isolation!

Design... eh.... they're nothing snazzy, but you're listening to them, not wearing them as a fashion accessory wink.gif They are fairly discrete so there is that, for anyone who doesn't want something shiny sticking from their ears.

Comfort isn't too bad either. Their light weight and shape make for long hours of listening, and you'll definitely forget they are in if you're just listening to music. The Sennheiser PC-350 are so uncomfortable after just a short while that it's hard to forget they are being worn. They might 'break in' and fit better, but as of right now they squeeze on my head too tightly and --as odd as this will probably sound-- cause JAW fatigue and not ear fatigue! My jaw bone on both sides around the joint just starts aching and I'm constantly having to shift them around, not to mention they don't seal with my glasses on so I have to wear them all goofy redface.gif Needless to say, neither of those are a problem with IEMs like this.

Sound quality... Well this is where things certainly surprised the hell out of me, but not until now, nearly a year later... On vacation I only had a cheap, old, MP3 player and a computer that I would listen to music with. The MP3 player has nice sound, just it's AAA battery mean it lacks any oomph! The computer, well it's a RealTek chip and they aren't as impressive as VIA's EnvyHD codec IMO, so basically I wasn't able to get a solid impression of how these sounded. I had came across another old pair of earphones I got a number of years ago from Coke Rewards, V-Moda something-or-others whose name emphasized it had lots of bass, and they do... overwhelmingly so. Since I recently got a Xonar Xense (with LME49720HE OpAs) I decided to see how they sound, which I was reminded of why I didn't pay much attention to where I put them tongue.gif That got me thinking about these Marshmallows and so I dug around for them and plugged 'em in! Initially I was rather impressed that they both had some solid bass, something my SE210s lack, but also mids and highs, which the SE210s do very well. After adjusting the Foobar "Graphic EQ" a bit I came to a very solid configuration. To get those V-Modas to sound as if they had any sort of mids or highs, I really had to crank up those bands, in addition to still dropping the lows so it wasn't as washed out. These Marshmallows though didn't require too much really, and I managed to set it up so it sounds amazing in all the different types of music I listen to (not that they span too many genres, but bands like Crystal Method, NIN, Tool / Puscifer / APC, and Armin van Buuren's A State of Trance EPs). Honestly, I hate to admit it but I prefer these to my SE210s frown.gif I have some E2Cs as well, but they had a run in with a puppy and were why I got the SE210s, but I later jury rigged the cables back on and soldered them up. Not pretty, but they work, and these sound still a bit better than the E2Cs as well!!

Conclusion: For $20 or less, you really can't go wrong. If you are looking for a <$50 pair for listening that you don't care if they get damaged/lost, but still want good sound, I think these should be on your short list. However, I will add that I only was able to realize their potential once I got them plugged into a source that had the ability to drive them. A high-end PMP, good phone or a portable amp will no doubt provide these what they need to sound as good as I'm hearing, but don't expect too much from a tablet or a typical computer audio codec.

I'm now questioning whether or not I should bother with upgrading from my Shures.... redface.gif

5 Comments:

lol, with as positive comments as yours, where do you go from here? haha! I've had things that bug me about my Ad700, V-MODA Crossfade LP (overall ok but still the bass overwhelms at stock settings), and Grado gr60 I bought my dad. My fav right now are still my old Etymotic ER6i IEMs, but I they can be inconvenient at times.
In case it didn't come across, I liked your review, it seems pretty believable for such an unbelievable bang-for-buck :D
hah Thanks :P Though, I should admit that I am by no means an audiophile (so I don't know all the true audiophile speak heh). I like sound quality, and most of the time I try and make as good of due as possible with what I've got. I've been piecing together "better" stuff. It took me awhile to make sure I wanted a good sound card, which I had been planning on getting the Xense, versus something like a good PMP. I did end up going with the Xense and have been quite happy with it. So far on my computer system I have to say that these Marshmallows win lol

I actually just got one of Biosciencegeek's CMoy amps, came in the mail today, so I've been testing it out. I tried using the Xonar as the source and no matter what I do it just is too bright with any of my IEMs or OpAmps (AD823AN, JRC2114D from Xense, NE5532P, LME49720HE). However I decided before I panicked and thought I made a mistake that I better try different sources. My intent was with an MP3 or PMP, a tablet, or this laptop while using the Xonar U3 (USB). With the Xonar U3 feeding the HP Amp the sound mellowed way out, which was a relief. Anyways, the point: In this combo the Marshallows were again able to best the SE210s because of using the Graphic EQ in Foobar as I did on the Desktop.

So to then make things a bit more fair I decided to try it with something that didn't have an EQ to mess with, or at least in this case a very limited one, only 5 bands on this old MP3 player I mentioned. It's quite a different story in this instance! I concluded that the SE210s were the winner by quite a margin. They still were lacking as much bass as I'd maybe like, but the mids and highs were very clear and didn't overpower the lows. I guess you guys would call that neutral? Though while typing this is I switched to NIN - Ghosts I-IV and the Marshmallows sound pretty good for this album, not nearly as washed out as the other ones on this player... Still, the SE210s win this round. This is with the LME49720HE BTW, as it sounds the best out of my small group of OpAmps.

I got an older Samsung Galaxy S with the Wolfson WM8994 DAC that I'm going to dedicate to being a PMP, so we'll see how things stack up when that arrives next week

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The JVC Riptidz IEM at $7 seems like a much better buy than the Marshmallow. I haven't heard the Marshmallow, however I think the Riptidz IEM sounds better that the JVC HA-FX67 Air Cushions, and the Air Cushions is said to sound much better than the Marshmallows. The $20 JVC HA-FX40 doessound much better than the Riptidz though. At $7 though the Riptidz is a great value.
Comfort isn't "too bad"???
These things are extremely comfortable!