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JH Audio JH-13 PRO impressions thread - Page 288

post #4306 of 10335
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTL View Post
So do they ship with both cases now? Or just the newer transparent ones?
Not sure, but i would think they are going to do this

JH7,JH10, JH10X3, JH11, JH13= Both
JH5-Only Transparent

As that seems to be fairly reasonable.
post #4307 of 10335
Lol I'm glad to see logical debate still reigns supreme at HF

*edit*

I think it's just going to be the clear box from now on.
post #4308 of 10335
Quote:
Originally Posted by blargman View Post
Lol I'm glad to see logical debate still reigns supreme at HF

*edit*

I think it's just going to be the clear box from now on.
Haha. I guess as long as the fit and the finish of the monitors is good, the case is inconsequential. Just a nice touch though.
post #4309 of 10335
Seems JH 13 PRO will use the Transparent one.
I just find the picture.
post #4310 of 10335
The carbon looks far classier..
post #4311 of 10335
Quote:
Originally Posted by iriverdude View Post
The carbon looks far classier..
Agreed, i think they should keep the large carbon fiber, and make a small waterproof clam-shell carbon fiber case around the size of the UE Aluminum one. That's the perfect combination. I think just grabbing the Otterbox and putting your name on it is not nearly good enough...it's a very good looking case, but it's not small enough or "JH Audio" enough.
post #4312 of 10335
Just sent in my impressions. I decided to sell off my ALO Edition 9's for these. Something tells me I won't regret it.
post #4313 of 10335

My impressions

I received my JH|13’s last week, and they are fantastic. I’m grateful to all the folks at JHA for making and marketing a great product. And I also want to thank the people who have contributed to this forum - in particular, HeadphoneAddict, Jamato, Boomana, daveDerek, Pale Rider, and several others. Your experiences were really valuable as I came around to making this major decision. Thank you for taking the time to share with us.

Sound
The sound is marvelous. Best I’ve heard. Before now I’ve owned Shure SE530 IEMs with custom Westone and Sensaphonics molds, and Sennheiser HD 650 cans. I did not think an IEM could sound as good as a can, but these do. IEMs, I imagined, are great at detail, but cans are needed to really give you an immersive “whoomp”. I figured the size of the driver and the effect of the outer ear should give a full-sized headphone some advantages over any IEM. I always thought my HD 650’s sounded great, but I now understand how they are “dark” or “veiled”. The 13’s have the clarity the 650’s lack, and remarkably, they also have a solid bass whoomp, like the 650’s. And, in comparison to the 530’s, all the details I love with my 530’s are still here with the 13’s. The echoes on a voice, the way a cymbal hit can sparkle. The 13’s can still do all that, plus they are more enveloping, immersive than the 530’s. With the 530s I am peering closely at nuances and details in the music. With the 13’s, I am surrounded by music, good clear music.

Now, I can’t say a thing about how the 13’s compare to other top products like the HD 800s, the R10s, the O2’s, since I’ve never heard those (maybe it’s time for me to go to a meet...) And, as for other custom IEMs, I am sure the ES3X, the JH-11, the UE-11, would all be absolutely wonderful, perhaps equally enjoyable as these, even perhaps indistinguishable (by me) from these. But, for me, there is some reassurance in having the “top of the line” item (just measured in terms of number of drivers, if nothing else), that is worth the additional cost.

With my 13’s I believe I can begin to understand some audiophile terms that I hear a lot, but don’t really “get”: First, neutrality. I now see how makers of earphones design them to emphasize certain frequencies over others. My 530’s are extremely detailed (mid/high frequency emphasis, not much bass whoomp, even with custom tips). My Klipsch Custom-3’s are bass-a-licious, but totally artificially so. The 13’s are neutral, uncolored: there is no noticeably designed-in emphasis on any particular frequency band. They let the music speak for itself. I can make out lyrics to songs I’ve never been able to resolve before (in songs ranging from Michael Jackson to The Knife), and at the same time, I can feel a drum hit or bass note like a wave breaking.

Another audiophile term that now makes some sense: speed. I really appreciate the way the sound just stops. The offset transients, especially with drum programming, is just stunning and beautiful. The instant of silence after a hit is so sharp and clear. I can now now tell how other phones I’ve heard have been more “muddy” than these. Another facet of speed: one of the most remarkable things about the 13’s for me is the way the music really wells up and hits you when the band kicks in. The dizzying abruptness with which they render dynamics in the music - onsets and offsets - is gorgeous. All the “dynamic compression” that’s been going on with music mastering lately is somewhat counteracted by the ability of these headphones to represent a big dynamic range.

Third: instrument separation and soundstage. Someone here once said it sounds almost like there are separate drivers for each instrument. It’s a nice metaphor - it is easier for me to mentally track multiple instruments simultaneously, as if (like for live music) each was coming from a different source. This is not to say the 13’s are “analytical” - my 530’s were definitely analytical, which I enjoyed. I could sometimes easily hear the echoes around a singer’s voice, which I’d have to really listen for with my 650’s (there, but not salient). With the 13’s, those details are definitely all there, but they are not distracting. The 13’s can give me the sensation that music is coming from below, above, in front of me. The 530’s always felt like music was spread across a horizontal line, behind my head (strangely, as if R and L channels were reversed...)

My habit when I get new gear is to revisit my favorite albums, to have new experiences with them, plumb them for even more richness and nuance, and also get as objective as I can about the merits of the new device. At first I listened closely to Radiohead’s Kid A, Feist’s Let It Die, Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Count Basie and Oscar Petersen, and the Tokyo String Quartet’s recordings of Beethoven’s Quartet Op. 59. No. 3. For each, the musicality and the resolution surpassed anything else I’ve heard. What I really appreciate is the ability to resolve new details in the background. Instruments that had been part of the “soundscape” are now clearly discernible for what they are: a bass line, a drum brush, a quietly harmonizing vocalist. Amazing. This is without any detraction from the foreground - not distracting, just more depth than I have heard before.

Are they perfect? Well, I think I allowed myself to develop unrealistic expectations. I believed everything would sound so riveting and immersive that it would be hard for me to focus on work, etc while I was listening. Though there are times that I do get drawn in to something that’s astonishing and clear, and whenever I turn my attention to them, they are marvelous. But for the most part I have no problem trucking along at whatever I’m doing with the 13’s just singing sweetly to me in the background at a low/moderate volume.

Another overblown expectation I had is that everything would sound good. That the music I love would sound different. That new music would always sound compelling. That poor-quality recordings would somehow sound just fine. Though each of these things may be true to an extent, none are overwhelmingly so. It is still the same music - I can just hear it now with greater clarity and musicality than I’ve experienced so far.

For anyone who (like me) is fairly inexperienced with high-end audio, a warning: there are lots of terms flying around on this forum that can create overblown expectations. Things like the 13’s are “infinitely” better than high-end headphone X, or the difference is “night and day”, or the 13’s “demolish” X. Those terms led me to have some unrealistic expectations. The 13’s demolish my apple earbuds. They are infinitely better than not listening to music. They are merely a dramatic improvement over other IEMs and cans I’ve tried.

Some questions about audio quality I look forward to finally being able to answer, thanks to my 13’s: Can I tell the difference between lossless encoding and 256+ kbps MP3 files? Can I tell the difference between my Hornet and Pico amps when amping my ipod? Can I hear a difference between my iPhone and my Pico DAC? Any differences I’ve thought I’ve heard in the past have been fleeting and not convincingly reproducible. It will be fun to see if all that lossless encoding I did was worth the disk space

Usability
After one iteration, my fit is excellent. They go in easy, and once in, they vanish. Even after four or more hours of continuous wearing, there is just a little soreness (less so than with my most comfortable shoes.) But, they are hard to get out. Sometimes I need to pull them out quickly, like if someone wants to get my attention - a small handle or a ridge would be helpful. I push up on my ear from the bottom outside to loosen the piece, then I pinch it between thumb and forefinger to twist it out. When I pull them out, they stretch and scrape my ears uncomfortably. I even ripped my tragus a bit by pulling them out. After a day, it was healed, and I now remove them more delicately. I have experienced the “cabin pressure” sensation that others have noted. They are snug enough that my ears can’t always equalize the air pressure. Also, though there are no microphonics from the cable, walking is so noisy that I can’t really appreciate the details in the music.

The 13’s come closer to passing the “sleep test” than any other phone I’ve tried. I can sleep (on my side) with them in with minimal discomfort. The Shure custom tips went too deep to let me lay on my side with them in. They got pushed in even further because the fit wasn’t tight enough. Of course, there is no falling asleep with your 13’s in: when the room is quiet and you are lying still, that’s when the clarity and the immersion really shine. Too riveting to fall asleep, even with tranquil music playing. Music I usually consider “mellow” (Augustus Pablo, for example) turns out to have so much going on that the 13’s can reveal, that it doesn’t just fade into the background while I try to fall asleep. Looking through the shells, I do believe the pieces could be made 2-3 mm thinner than they are (ie a lower profile outside the ear.) That would be an improvement.

The cord is my favorite IEM cord I’ve experienced. I love the lightness (no microphonics, not distracting behind my ears, doesn’t tangle. The cord length is just right for me (I’m 5’9”) and the memory wire length is ideal for me - it allows the cord itself to rest on my pinna, which I prefer. The Klipsch has too long a memory wire, and the 530 has no memory wire at all, which is a real drawback for me. Also, with the cable on my 530’s, it was long enough that it would snag (the armrest on the bus, my knee when I squatted) that I would accidentally yank it out of my player with some regularity. Not good for the phones! It’s never happened with this cord.

I ordered clear shells with black cables. I love the way they look! I’m a geek through and through, so I love being able to admire the drivers (I count them, like my baby’s toes), and the expert soldering and assembly job JHA did. The first ones I ordered had artwork, but when they came back from refit, they forgot the artwork on the new pieces. I didn’t mind at all - I wasn’t in love with my artwork. Make sure you know *exactly* what you want if you are requesting artwork. Do it over the phone, not by email.

As for gear for my 13’s, I carry them in my pocket with my Shure clamshell case. Knowing that between my iPhone 3GS and my JH-13’s I’ve got marvelous sound anywhere I go is a great feeling. With the iPhone volume just past the halfway mark, the 13’s are the loudest I’d want. My iPhone is in an Incase rubber case, and I find the plug for the 13’s fits just right into the cutout in that case for the headphone jack. I also purchased from JHA an Otter Box (not a good purchase - you can get the same thing for $10 less online.) and custom earplugs (I will find these very useful for concerts, snoring wife, etc).

Company interactions
People ask about delivery times, Here’s my experience: I sent in my molds on Aug 3rd, and received my IEMs on Aug 24th. Three weeks exactly. That is a fantastic turnaround for a custom product. My Pico took far longer... I hear they are down to two weeks now. The initial fit was poor (they went too deep - couldn’t touch the cord without pain. My audiologist really shoved in the foam blocker. I should have asked him to relent a tad) so I sent them back out the same day. I received the refits September 2nd, and so far the fit is excellent. When I push on them, sound does not change and fit does not improve. So, one month and one iteration later, and we are done. Some advice: always just call JHA. I almost always got through right away and got a quick answer to my questions. Emails sometimes took a couple days for a response.

Are they worth it?
Bottom line: I’m pleased with the purchase, and I consider them worth the money. But, there are many ways to answer the question, “are they worth it?”. First, compared to other audio gear. Are they worth 3x the cost of the Shure SE 530’s or HD 650’s? Well, considering that audiophile gear (or any purchase, really) shows diminishing returns (the sound quality-versus-cost curve flattens out), to me they are worth the extra cost for the sound improvement. But, I am not sure I would have appreciated all that the 13’s can do if I hadn’t spent years with those other phones first. If the favorable comparisons people have made between the 13’s and other phones like the HD 800 and R10 closed cans, or the UE 11’s are to be believed, then the 13’s are quite a value.

Second answer: what else could that $1000 buy me? Compared to a TV, a vacation, other ~$1000 indulgences, I would rather have my JH-13’s. I anticipate years of satisfaction with my new earphones, and because of them, a deepening love and appreciation of my music. For me, that is worth the cost.

So, am I finished with purchasing audio gear? I am not someone who’s interested (right now at least) in collecting a range high-end gear so I can appreciate the relative merits of each. I’d rather have one setup that works great. For now, it is an awesome combination to be able to keep my JH|13’s and my iphone 3GS in my pocket, for immersive, pristine listening anywhere, anytime. And, my desktop rig (mac book to Pico DAC/amp) sounds great to me. Maybe one day I will upgrade something. Though I can’t imagine what that might be, I do notice there is a lot of empty space inside my JH|13 shells... who knows, maybe Jerry will figure out some electronic thingumajig worth putting in there. Till then, I believe I have reached my audiophile destination...
post #4314 of 10335
Quote:
Originally Posted by ab_ba View Post
I received my JH|13’s last week, and they are fantastic. I’m grateful to all the folks at JHA for making and marketing a great product. And I also want to thank the people who have contributed to this forum - in particular, HeadphoneAddict, Jamato, Boomana, daveDerek, Pale Rider, and several others. Your experiences were really valuable as I came around to making this major decision. Thank you for taking the time to share with us.

<SNIP>
Great post.
post #4315 of 10335
x2


receiving tracking # today.
post #4316 of 10335
wow...unbelievable impressions,thanks for the excellent review.
post #4317 of 10335
Nice review and detailed experience ab_ba.

I too like the ultra portable but super sounding setup.

Enjoy

Sceptre
post #4318 of 10335
Got the tracking number today.
JH 13 is coming, Lalalala
post #4319 of 10335
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bring ME TO Life View Post
Got the tracking number today.
JH 13 is coming, Lalalala
jh13 brothers we are then argh, longest 2 weeks ever!
post #4320 of 10335
I'm sitting here critically comparing the Edition 8 head-to-head with the Edition 9, feeling all the while that the JH13 crushes them both in SQ and comfort.
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