Most of you probably do not know who Jerry Harvey is, let alone know that he ever parted the scene in such a manner that he could--as this thread's title exclaims--be back. But he did, and he is. And this is headphone-audio-relevant, because, if asked who I'd want to design my ideal, no-holds-barred custom in-ear monitor, I'd say "Jerry Harvey," and I know I'm far from the only one who would. I'd answer that question with Harvey's name because, as of this moment, he's already done that--twice. You see, Jerry Harvey is the founder of Ultimate Ears; and though he's no longer with Ultimate Ears, he designed pretty much everything they released from UE's beginning all the way up to Ultimate Ears' UE-11. That means Jerry Harvey also designed the UE-10 Pro. And, yes, the Ultimate Ears UE-10 Pro and UE-11 are the best in-ear monitors I've ever heard, and I have owned and used a lot of IEMs. (Anticipating an inevitable question: No, I haven't yet heard any custom IEMs by Westone, which I know are reputed to also be among the best of the best in custom IEMs, so I can't specifically comment on how they compare to UE's top offerings.)
The strange coincidence is that I brought Harvey's name up in a conversation with another industry person recently, the gist of it being that I had no idea what he'd been up to since he parted with UE--that he sort of just vanished. Then, last Sunday, much to my surprise, Harvey contacted me, told me what he'd been up to in the last year-and-a-half or two, and told me what he's going to be up to. What he's been up to is JH Audio (which, of course, stands for Jerry Harvey Audio). Heard of it? Neither had I. For the last 18 or so months, JH Audio has been making custom aviation headsets, because, among other things, Harvey is a pilot. What he's going to be up to now is a full-on reentry into the custom in-ear monitor (IEM) business again--as in IEMs for stage performers, and, most importantly to me, also for audiophiles. He has already been shipping products to touring artists, and has some products already available for general purchase. His goal is to offer the best possible performance in custom IEMs at every price level he attacks.
JH Audio has already been working on the development of custom drivers, and those efforts will be introduced in the form of a new line of products, the flagship of which will be the JH13 (tentatively named). His goal for the new line is to advance the state of the art in custom IEMs, and his calm, humble tone took on a tinge of bravado when he told me that. No doubt about it, he very much means to (and believes he can) take custom IEMs to an even higher level.
In addition to his goal of raising the bar, JH Audio's lower overhead also gives Harvey reasonable confidence that his products will be priced very competitively. As I said earlier, JH Audio is already making and shipping custom products, those being the JH5 PRO ($599), JH7 PRO ($699), JH10 PRO ($799), JH10x3 PRO ($799), and the JH11 PRO ($999)--though those product numbers may line up to look rather familiar to some of you, Harvey told me they represent an improvement at their prices over anything else he's previously designed. When the JH13 PRO is released toward the end of May 2009, it is expected to be priced at $1099. I'll post more details about these models as I find out more about them.
Welcome back, Jerry. Fire up your custom IEM lab, man, and count me in.
NOTE: As of April 25, 2009, JH Audio's website did not yet include any information about the IEMs, only the aviation headsets.