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A beginner's thoughts on the JH13

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
A Beginner's Thoughts on the JH13

After a solid week and a half of listening to my new JH13’s I thought I would post my thoughts regarding these IEM’s. As a beginning audiophile, I don’t expect this thoughts to answer the nuances or specific questions of dedicated audiophiles, there are many great reviews on this site for that. But for the lurkers/novices, I thought some basic information might be of use.

Trip to an audiologist
This is probably the best place to start. Google “audiologist”, and look for one that has been in business for a while, communicate with them and make sure they know what you want, and book an appointment. The day before your appointment, I would suggest going to the doctor and getting your ears cleaned of wax. This is not a necessary step, but I would recommend it, as sometimes the audiologist will refuse to take impressions if there is a large buildup of wax, and you get a better impression if your ear is clean.
BRING the JH audio information sheet with you. It really is important that the audiologist know what she is doing. May not be an issue for some audiologists, but it really is better to be safe than sorry. This is because the tip sheet is your best bet to getting good impressions, which are key in getting a good fit.

Talk with JH Audio
I really cannot say enough good things about the customer service of this company. I have never been able to e-mail the owner of a company directly, and get him to respond, let alone respond within a day. Jerry, Jamie, Zac and all the staff at JH Audio were amazing at answering my questions regarding colour, fit, artwork, etc.

Colour selection
The one downfall of the JH Audio site is that their colour picker really isn’t that great. As such I would recommend going to the JH Audio facebook page or looking at the photos on Head-fi for a better idea of what the colours are. But please remember that the majority of these shots are macro photography shots which are very good at showing imperfections that, to the naked eye can be very minor. I chose opaque because I'm prone to picking out imperfections (comes with being a designer) and deadwood as a colour.



Wire
This is one thing I regret, I wish I got a longer wire than I did. The 48” I got is great for my iPod, but not long enough when I listen on my amp. If you are going to do a lot of amp listening, you might want to consider the longer 64” wire. The choice of black over clear seems to be common because of a greenish tinge to the clear wire that happens over time. Also, the rubber housing of the connector (the part you plug into an amp or MP3 player) is fat. So fat, in fact, that I had to dremel a larger hole on the case my iPod sits in, to get it to fit properly.

iPod impressions
Straight out of my 5.5g iPod, the JH13’s sound very good indeed. In fact, it is the first time that I can tell the difference in compression (between a track downloaded on iTunes, a track at 256kb, and a lossless track) So, if you are listening predominately on a portable, make sure to have your music ripped at a good bit rate (perhaps you can re-rip your library while waiting for the JH13’s to arrive). However, all that being said, if you are listening directly from your iPod, you really should consider a lower quality custom or a high quality universal earbud. This is because you really are not getting the best out of the JH13s until you put them through an amp.

Amp Impressions
I listen on a Rega Saturn CD player, through a HeadRoom Desktop Ultra amp. (For those that wanted to know). And when I listen to my JH13’s through that rig, with a good recording, it is VERY hard to do anything but listen to music. I mention “good recording” because I’m surprised how many CD’s in my library don’t really sound that good when compared to others. Like the compression of files for an MP3 player, the JH13 really shows the difference between a good recording, and one that was, for example just transferred without being remastered. Because of the amazing quality of sound I get via my rig, I’m now seriously considering a pico portable amp for my iPod. It makes that much of a difference.

Comfort
My JH13’s fit very well, they do take some time getting used to, and they do take some time getting in and out. Once in, however, they STAY in. Unlike universal earbuds, custom IEMs will not fall out. I’m so used to pushing earbuds back into my ears that I find myself doing this with my JH13s. A habit which is actually proving difficult to break.

Noise Isolation
Customs do a good job of making you feel like you have your ears plugged (because, well, you do!) Combine with the playing of music through the JH13’s, I find that on the bus, I can still hear the rumble of the engine, but people talking behind be are distant, and the “ring” of the bus stop vanishes. Of course it does depend on what type of music you are listening to, and how high a volume. I listen to all kinds and never go over about 1/3rd volume.

Conclusions
Before my JH13’s I listened on AKG 701s. Since getting my JH13’s I haven’t used them. My earbud of choice was Shure’s SE530, and likewise I haven’t used them since. The JH13’s are an amazing piece of audio technology, which will show you the flaws in your recordings. In my opinion, to really recognize the ability of these IEMs, you do need an amp. If you are listening straight out of an MP3 player, you are missing something, and if you only listen out of an MP3 player, you might want to consider a cheaper custom or a high end universal.

I would like to thank the members of the head-fi community, for their amazing knowledge and patience with a beginning audiophile as myself. If you have any questions, I’m happy to answer them, but please remember I wrote this for beginners, not seasoned veterans, and if you put 10 audiophiles in a room you will get 10 opinions on how something sounds.

Cheers
post #2 of 29
Very comprehensive guide/review and a pleasure to read. Kudos on taking the time to write that up - I think it can be really helpful. Just goes to show that postcount means squat .
post #3 of 29
Nice review, Stick! Thanks for taking the time out.

Have you considered going with the RSA Shadow, which is already out, instead of the Pico Slim? Or did you mean you were considering getting the Pico amp that's available right now?
post #4 of 29
Thanks Stick, really good read!
post #5 of 29
Made me want them even more!Interesting to get a straightforward impression post. thanks.
post #6 of 29
Stick,

Your wallet's loss, has been our community's gain!

Thanks for a well written, incisive review.
post #7 of 29
Glad you like them!
post #8 of 29
one day...
post #9 of 29
*sigh* thanks for reminding me that I need to save up to get a decent mp3 player before I can start saving up for these :P

but ya, good review; kind of nice to see something low on tech spec on a high end product(aka:so I can firmly under stand what you are saying/what you mean)
post #10 of 29
Another happy customer. Thanks for the review.
post #11 of 29
Great read Stick. I really like the design you chose to go with - the nicest I've seen yet. Was the "JHaudio" logo artwork free?
post #12 of 29
Awesome stuff! As ljokerl said a great comprehensive write up while still concise.

These monitors seem to be a real gem!
post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraHotel01 View Post
Stick,

Your wallet's loss, has been our community's gain!

Thanks for a well written, incisive review.
hahaha.. this is too funny. good read and i might pick one up next year..
post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by muxenle View Post
*sigh* thanks for reminding me that I need to save up to get a decent mp3 player before I can start saving up for these :P

but ya, good review; kind of nice to see something low on tech spec on a high end product(aka:so I can firmly under stand what you are saying/what you mean)
I've tried mine with a 4G IPod, my HTC Touch Pro 2, an Iphone, and off of a laptop and wouldn't say it made music sound bad at all. The noise floor of the Touch Pro 2 was evident, but overall the JH13s seem to sound good with just about everything. I use only WAV files, do note.
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by muxenle View Post
...kind of nice to see something low on tech spec on a high end product(aka:so I can firmly under stand what you are saying/what you mean)
I concur. Good effort stick! thanks for the review
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