I was looking for low priced IEMs and noticed that the RP-HJE120 was rated well on Amazon and very cheap. I tried it and was pleasantly surprised. It sounds almost as good as the Panasonic RP-HJE350 and JVC HAFX67 which are around $20 each.
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$6 Panasonic RP-HJE120. Surprisingly usable
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Don't have the HJE120 but I do have the HJE180. According to Panasonic the HJE180/255/355 are the latest ones. I also have a 355 coming since I like the HJE180 so much. Even at $10 some of the nicest mids on the 180's. Best mids I've heard in a $10 phone. Bring to mind some of my favorites for mids(AKG mids, Sony bio-cellulose mids, Shure old school mids).
You have to get the right tips on the HJE180 but they really are in the super engrossing/enjoyable category along with the likes of the DDM1 and SM3. They won't perform near on that level but I find the Panny's more enjoyable than either. Just a nice little bit of syrup over the sound in the right places makes them quite sweet sounding. Nice groovy low bass lines, aggressive guitars, syrupy sweet mids, and quick lively treble with a realistic timbre.
Not a paragon of clarity or transparency but always a toe tapper and they blossom with the right synergy when used with my iriver E300 or Rocoo P. My Sony S639 while still one of the better sounding players is not as good sounding or as good a match(less analytical/clean sounding) but the HJE180 is still a toe tapper, just not as clear or detailed or open sounding as with the other two players.
I know the Philips SHE3580 gets a lot of play on head-fi lately but after having both, the Philips would get zero ear time. The Panny's are totally ergonomically superior and I think how the HJE180 presents the sound is easily more enjoyable to me. I agree that the Philips bass is good and maybe goes a bit lower than the HJE180 but the Panny bass grabs me more. It just has a hook that is better. The 3580 mids are kinda emotion-less in comparison and the treble is not as lively and doesn't sound as real even though the Philips treble has more clarity and can show more detail on the high end. Guitars just grab you on the Panny and are only pretty good on the Philips. Just my two cents but they are my all time favorite $10 phone and one of my favorite all-time sound signatures at any price.
I have had the HEJ120 for quite a while and have finally un-mothballed them, and I have to concur that these are another home run for budget-fi. I think these have 80% the driver quality of my SHE3580 while having a more even sound signature.
Here's how I hear the two phones' frequency response after testing with sine sweeps--black is HJE120, red is SHE3580.
The advantage of the HJE120 over the SHE3580 for me lies mostly in less sharp highs in stock sound. Makes for an easier listen. I'm looking for phones for use on my phone with the KKBOX app, which has no EQ functionality whatsoever and so far these may be the best budget earphones for that purpose.
With custom EQs dialled in for the two phones I'm surprised how close the HJE120 comes to the SHE3580 but the SHE3580 sounds a bit more detailed, a bit more airy and spacious in soundstage. Now this could be down to differences in how I tuned the EQs for the two phones (even though my two EQs in series approach theoretically allows me to make two phones have the same FR) but it may also be that sound signature aside, the Philips is simply a technically superior pair of phones.
Now the JVC Riptidz ($8) is my favorite IEM under $15. It has treble that is almost as good as the RP-HJE120, but also better bass, and more detail. It is also more efficient(101 db/mw vs 96 db/mw). both are 16 ohms.
I was also very pleasantly surprised by the Panasonic RP-HJE450. It has great detail, and strong bass that sounds natural.
Imo it is much better than the JVC HAFX1X Etreme Explosive. The new JVC HAFX101 looks very interesting though. It is under $20. While its drivers are smaller than the ones in the HAFX1X, it looks like it might fit better.
The isolation on the Riptidz and the HJE120 isn't that good. I think the reason is that the tips aren't that good. So far I only have tips that came with my IEMs. I guess at some point I will get some triple flange tips. I think I am getting slightly better isolation with the HJE140 than the Riptidz.
The new Panasonic RPHJE140 sounds so much better than the HJE120. I am still unsure which I like better, the JVC Riptidz or the HJE140. The HJE140 is very efficient at 107 db/mw, while the Riptidz is 101 db/mw.
For those who want to spluge a bit(LOL! At least a splurge compared to these sub $10 IEMs) I recommend the $25 Panasonic RP-HJE450. It has much better bass impact(which sound natural) than these cheaper IEMs and also has more better detail and better highs.
Just ordered these HJE120's on Amazon for $2.59. I had a pretty large order and did not notice at the time, but ended up spending an extra $4.99 on Shipping and Handling. Whetevs..... Still coming in at $7.58. Based on the comments, I am sure they will work fine with my daughters iPad. I will try and post my thoughts as well.
Definately seeing a lot of optimism out there for the Monoprice 8320's. Thinking about ordering some. Just picked up some Koss KSC75s for portablitiy but my first impression of them is pretty poor. I may seek out the 8320 as an alternative.
After giving the KSC75s an honest listening, and comparing them against other headphones in the same price range, I am beginning to really appreciate them for their function and value. Sound quality is definitely coming through and I will be sure to report back within a week with a review. Thanks for all the info and advice on the KSC's.
- $6 Panasonic RP-HJE120. Surprisingly usable
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