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[REVIEW] Starkey SA-43, JH 13 Pro, JH 16 Pro

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 



This is my personal review of my JH 13 Pro, JH 16 Pro and Starkey SA-43 monitors. This review is done with my own opinions and ears.


As many of you have heard of the top models JH13 and JH16 Pro's, some of you may have heard of Starkey. Starkey is a known big company for its hearing aids products and some choices of iems. SA-43 is invented and produced in Norway, this model is the current top model from them. I myself really like my monitors from JHAudio, so I really wanted to see how this monitor from Starkey stands up to these top models from Jerry Harvey. So here we go!



Lets start with the equipment being used under these testings.


I used my Hifiman HM-801 as a source, then used my Pico Slim amp feeding from that. Under these testings I only used Flac as my primary audio format, both as 16bit and 24bit. As my Hifiman has the possibility to play 96 kHz/24 Bit files. Music genres played was all from Jazz, Blues, Rock, Metal, Latin, Electronica. And some audio test cd's like Head-fi Open your ears and Chesky's The Ultimate Demonstration Disc.  





JH 13 Pro.


These monitors where my first custom monitors, these was really a big step up for me. After I got these I just felt more love for music each day I had them.

JH 13 pro's is a beast of custom monitors, they just have everything you want in sound.

The beautiful neutrality, the wide soundstage, the crispness, the powerful and controlled deep bass and what a speed it has! You can't really get anything to sound bad with these in your ears.


I would clearly say that these suits really good for any type of music genres. Im really open minded to different music genres, so these have been with me in all my music listening and never let me down when it comes to sound quality.

So if you're unsure that these will not deliver the bass you want and maybe its to neutral, don't be afraid! These babies do deliver all of that and more and the neutrality just feels perfect every time, you won't be disappointed in a purchase of JH 13 Pro's.


As its hard to find any weakness on these, the sound is so beautiful as it can be. I can only tell that the build quality of the shell could be better. I have also done 4 refits on these, only that has taken a lot of listening time on these from me. But if you can go through the possibility of refits, then the sound is all worth it in the end.



General Info Taken From JHAudio:


Proprietary precision-balanced armatures                                          Frequency response: 10Hz to 20kHz

Dual low, dual mid, dual high                                                            Input Sensitivity: 119dB @ 1mW

Integrated 3-way crossover                                                              Impedance: 28Ohms

Noise isolation -26dB                                                                       Price: $1,099,00 + Shipping

                                                                                                      2-year warranty on parts & labor





JH 16 Pro.


These are the newest models from Jerry Harvey Audio, Jerry himself says that these are not made to be much better than the JH 13 pro. They only have a minor update, and thats two extra bass drivers. They do have the same build quality as my JH 13 pro, nothing bad. But it could be better. I just feel that if I someday drop them on the floor the drivers will come loose, as they are just attached with some glue inside the shell.


So the most important ting, how is the sound on these compared to JH 13 pro's? First thing you notice is a deeper and more powerful bass response than the JH 13 pro has. You can really feel the bass in your body with these. But they are not over bassy, they do not interfere with the other speakers. For me these sound the same as JH13, but just with more bass. But they really do bring out quality sub bass!


These just adds more energy and power to the sound, I don't have a personal favorite if I have to chose between JH16 and JH13. I use them both equally, JH13 for my classical listening and JH16 for other genres that I can feel that needs more power. But I will always go back to JH13, as I can feel that I can get tired of the extra bass sometimes.


Overall the sound is as good as it can be for our human ears, you can't really go wrong with either JH13 or JH16. They both have top quality sound! You just have to choose if you need the extra bass or not.



General Info Taken From JHAudio:


Proprietary precision-balanced armatures                                              Frequency response: 10Hz to 20kHz

Double dual low, Single dual mid, Single dual high                                 Input Sensitivity: 118dB @ 1mW

Integrated 3-way crossover                                                                  Impedance: 28Ohms

Noise isolation -26dB                                                                          Price: $1,149,00 + Shipping

                                                                                                         2-year warranty on parts & labor





Starkey SA-43.


First thing i have to say about these is that the build quality on these is fantastic, they really know how to make solid monitors. As Starkey has many years of experience by making hearing aids, they have really used their experience on making these monitors. They have also filled the inside of the shell with silicon so the drivers inside gets more protection against shock, but the silicon is also used for extra isolation from your surroundings.


The shell is also nicely build. I did get a perfect fit on the first try, as Starkey makes the custom shell with a 3D laser scanner. So the finished shell should be exactly like the molds, from detail to detail. The monitors also comes with a replaceable dust/wax protector on each canal tubes, this is really a great feature to have. As it will prevent dust and wax going deep inside the tubes. 


If you can see it in the picture, these have a on/off switch for a extra bass driver. Its almost like having JH13/JH16 in the same monitor. But do the SA-43 have the same power as JH13/16? The bass is deep and punchy, the soundstage is open, but not as airy as JH13/16. When turning off the extra bass driver, the sound gets beautiful neutral with a perfect tight and deep bass response. The vocals are just so clean and wonderful to listen to.
When turning the extra bass driver on, you can instantly feel the extra bass boost. It gets more punchy and deeper, and not boomy. It does not interfere with the highs and mids, these just sound as good as before I switched the bass boost on. Overall these does deliver a great sound quality and a outstanding build quality. If you want some good solid monitors with a great sound quality and the option for a bass boost switch, these will deliver all of that!

General Info Taken From Starkey:


Proprietary precision-balanced armatures                                               Frequency response: 30-18000 Hz

Dual low, single mid, single high                                                            Input Sensitivity: 104dB

Integrated 3-way crossover                                                                   Impedance: 50Ohms

Noise isolation -30dB                                                                           Price: $1,048,00 + Shipping

                                                                                                          2-year warranty on parts & labor







As all of these monitors do deliver great sound quality, JH 13 is so neutral it can be in a musical way. It does have the bass you want to make it all perfect. The speed on these is so perfect and detailed, its just so much fun listening with these.


Going over to JH 16 was also surprisingly good, I couldn't believe the powerful sub bass these deliver. The music became more live and open. But the step up from JH 13 was not a major step, but it was definitely worth it for that quality bass you get in these.


Starkey SA-43 glows with quality, both build quality and sound quality. But it does not deliver the same power as JH13/16 does, when it comes to the really low bass response and more airier soundstage. But with the option of the bass booster switch and the great sound quality they give. You could not be happier with these. And you also get a lot of extra accessories with these that comes in handy, compared to the plastic box and a wax remover tool that you get with your JH Audio monitors.


The big winner is the one you choose, they are all different. But none of these are worse than the other one. I hope this will help you make the right choice when buying a new custom monitor.




JH Audio : Worldwide Shipping Services

Starkey : Worldwide Shipping Services

Edited by Navea - 1/16/12 at 10:20am
post #2 of 48

Thank you very much for the review. have been looking a long time for å review on the sa-43. Considering buying myself those as they sell them here in norway. 

post #3 of 48
Thread Starter 

You will not regret that choice! 

post #4 of 48

Great review, very objective and not being biased to one custom IEM. I agree with everything you said about the JH13 Pro's. They don't lack anything and give you what you put into them.

post #5 of 48

Excellent comparison, thank you. I feel the same re: 13 vs. 16 and find myself growing tired of the 16s. The Starkey's look to be an interesting dark horse -- those switches are very, very unique.

post #6 of 48

Great review and the snapshots - awesome!

post #7 of 48
Thread Starter 

Thank you! 

post #8 of 48


post #9 of 48

How do these compare playing elecronica to the jh?

post #10 of 48

Thank you for the effort of writing this up.  I have personally not heard of Starkey, so it was very educational for me.  A few comments on the JHA monitors:


  1. I understand the JHA also uses a Mercury 3D Laser Scanner to scan in the molds
  2. The JH16s are the only triple-bore design, with both the JH13s and the Starkeys (according to your excellent photos) are dual-bore designs
  3. According to JHA, the JH16s use different proprietary BA-drivers than the ones built into the JH13s, so your statement that the JH16s are essentially a JH13s+ additional bass drivers are a bit misleading.  The specifics are not known outside of JHA, I just thought I mention this factoid.
  4. Q: in your comparison, have you used the Whiplash TWag cable for each IEM when you did the A/B switching between them?  The review doesn't state that, although it would have been logical to do so.
  5. I have a Pico Slim on order, but I won't receive it until probably sometime end of summer.  But I do agree with you that the JH13s/JH16s are both excellent IEMs in their own right, and they both shine, depending on music and source qualities.


Thanks again for your most informative review!  

post #11 of 48
Thread Starter 

1. Yeah i have heard that, but they did not do this for me. If they maybe did this the first time they made the monitors, i wouldn't need the 4 extra refits.


3. This is true, but i was only saying that going by the sound only.


4. No, i did not use my TWag. As think that many people don't care about upgrading the stock cable. So i did this review by the sound many would get, as they all start with stock cables.


Thank you for your comments! 

post #12 of 48

Is that the sound of more wallets emptying?????


Thanks so much for the comparative review.   My JH13s might need company!

post #13 of 48
Very nice review, it seems that you have confirmed my suspicions towards the jh16. Also thanks 3X0 for all your input, meaning that I wont be tempted to get new iems :D
post #14 of 48
Originally Posted by sebhuber View Post

Very nice review, it seems that you have confirmed my suspicions towards the jh16. Also thanks 3X0 for all your input, meaning that I wont be tempted to get new iems :D

What were they?

post #15 of 48

Nice review. I have heard both demo unit of JH13 and 16. The overall 'house sound' is alike no doubt, just that JH16 is the musical version of JH13, more bass and warm, slightly less space and detail. I consider both in equal quality with different signature.

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