Seems like the new a-jay 5s are out.... Has anyone tried them out yet?
This thread seems to be the most recent thread concerning the a-Jays Five, so I'll post my thoughts here:
I received my a-Jays Five a couple of days ago. Off the bat you get the feeling that a lot of care went into the physical design of not only the headphones themselves but also the packaging.
The earphones come in a strong, cylindrical container that unscrews to reveal the earphones themselves. That case is sitting in a moulded foam block, along with a small container for the variously sized, interchangeable rubber ear pieces and shirt clip (as well as manual), inside of the very robust primary box. That box is a two piece case with the inner portion sliding out of the sleeve-like outer box. Everything is a nice flat black with minimal lettering. The whole thing is covered with a thin outer wrap that has all of the graphics and marketing.
The a-Jays Five are exactly the look and design I was looking for. Everything is a flat, stealth black, the cable is relatively short making it easier to deal with when using portably, the cable is a flat ribbon style making it basically impossible to tangled, the earphone body is subtle and doesn't look like gaudy jewellery, and the remote is strong and integrated well in line with the right channel's cord. The jack is right angled, which is good. It's not gold plated, which I couldn't care less about, but it does have a good snap-action, preventing it from accidentally popping out of the jack. It takes a very good amount of force to plug/unplug the jack.
Now, here where I switch gears from all of the positivity.
I've never used any Jays products before, so I had no idea what kind of sound I should be expecting when I bought a pair of Fives. I bought these earphones because 1)They had full, three-button, Android functionality (which works exactly as advertised, by the way) 2)They were in the $100 class range 3)They had the look I was looking for. At home I use a set of AKG K701s for headphones, and Focal CMS 50s and sub for reference monitors, so my usual audio experience is relatively high end, if you will. I had been using the stock earphones with my Android phone for a year and hated the awful feel of them and so decided for an 'upgrade'. I'm not entirely sure I got that with the a-Jays Five.
First thing's first - the good: Right away, when listening to the a-Jays Five you notice two things 1)They have nice, punchy bass. It's not "bass oriented" as some manufacturers would call some of the headphones, but it's deep and punchy. 2)The upper mids (vocal range) is decently pronounced. Singing comes through well.
The bad: Pretty much everything else. These are not flat spectrum earphones. For one thing the overall spectrum of the earphone's sound seemed squeezed. Some of the ranges almost have a phase reversal quality to them. I mean, it's not terrible, it just doesn't "sound right". Another thing is the staging; it's hard not to notice the "in my brain" centralization of the sound. Now, this may just be me being so used to the VERY open staged sound of the AKG K701s, but I can only compare headphones to what I've experienced. Lastly, the middle and lower mids are hollow. There's nothing I dislike more than bodiless mids. The a-Jay Fives don't have the least "musicality" (warmth/body) I've ever heard but they don't satisfy my standards in that regard. Think of it this way: I have a particular EQ setting that I use as a sort of test for comparing audio sources. I take any set of speakers/headphones, play some very mastered audio tracks, and then see how far off of that original EQ I have to tweak the settings to get each unit to sound good. Most of the time there's really not that much tweaking necessary to pull mostly good sound out of a unit, but in the a-Jay's Five case I had to basically redo the EQ curve altogether.
The other 'bad' thing is something that's completely my own problem. I have abnormally large ear canals. It's funny, I don't have big ears. If anything I have a smaller sized head. Yet, my ear canals are very wide, maybe due to years of wearing earplugs for work - who knows. But, what this means is that the largest included rubber earpiece that comes with these earphones is barely large enough to fit into my ear without the unit falling out. In fact, they can fall out if I turn my head rapidly, but that can be avoided by slightly wetting the rubber before use (it's a good thing to wash new rubber items with soap and water when you get it anyway to rejuvenate its grip). Even if they did fit snugly in my ears in-ear earphones really need to be jammed in well to get the best perceived bass response. Since the earpieces aren't really big enough for me it's hard to get them to sit correctly. I did find that if I used the ole "cable over the ear" technique they fit a lot better, but that's an inconvenience.
The a-Jays Five really come down to a compromising mix of sound-quality to functionality for price. For $100 you get a great looking, well packaged, fully functional (with Android, Windows Phone, iOS), '...okay-ish' audio earphone experience The cost is going to be what it is largely because of the fact that it's rare to find 3-buttoned earphones that work with non-iOS cell phones, not because of the audio quality. Would I personally buy them again if I could go back in time? Not a chance (then again I don't think I'd buy anything again if I could go back in time - except for my Focal CMS 50s - simply because I like to always be trying new things). But, I also wouldn't discourage their purchase for someone who wanted everything they offer functionally and knew what kind of thing to expect from Jays.
The bad: Pretty much everything else. These are not flat spectrum earphones. For one thing the overall spectrum of the earphone's sound seemed squeezed. Some of the ranges almost have a phase reversal quality to them. I mean, it's not terrible, it just doesn't "sound right". Another thing is the staging; it's hard not to notice the "in my brain" centralization of the sound. Now, this may just be me being so used to the VERY open staged sound of the AKG K701s
You're coming from a headphone I find to be very pushy and forward in the mid-range, in particular above about 1KHz, and while there is some sensation of mid-range veil with the a-jays five, it's not detrimental to their quality.