Astell&Kern JH Audio Siren Series Angie

General Information

Product Features: Made from Kevlar Fiber enclosed in steel bezel 4th order drivers, 8 per channel: dual mid and high frequencies; quad for high Stainless Steel Tube Wave Guide Control the phase of each band and reproduces User adjustable bass output up to +16dB 4-pin cable connection with machined aluminum locking collar Includes the 2.5mm 4pole TRRS balanced output cable for the AK240 / AK120 II / AK100 II Comes in machined billet aluminum carrying case Product Specifications: Material: Kevlar Fiber with steel bezel Driver Type: Custom-made 4th order Balanced Armature Mini Quad Drivers (8 drivers per channel)

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Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: see body of post
Cons: see body of post
While this is review is in pro-con form only, it is still a very detailed gathering of impressions. It's also necessary to read my preamble to understand why I'm nitpicking these IEMs. I hope my impressions will be helpful for those looking to get into the high end IEM game.

Listening Conditions

This is my first expensive IEM and I'm floored by its performance. I'm not a big fan of soundstage, but am beginning to appreciate it more, as I dive deeper into the music. I'm more concerned with imaging and instrument placement in the stage, not necessarily width. I also didn't appreciate how much a warm and present midrange could add to the emotion of music. Now, I do after having the Angie. I have primarily been hooked on sub bass extension as well as the top octave shimmer above 10K. While that tended to impress technically, the extension is only one aspect of the overall experience and grading of an IEM.

For me, tonality and timbre in the form of FR comes first, followed by attack/decay/imaging (PRaT if you will), then the expansiveness of the stage. Also, everyone's ears are different and while there are objective qualities to a set of IEMs, like PRaT and stage to some extent, some are purely subjective like FR as certain frequencies will be attenuated or amplified based on one's specific ear canal resonances. This is the mission of finding the perfect set of cans/IEMs and the reason why it never really ends! One can easily cycle through thousands of dollars of gear before they find what works best for them.

Realize that I have tip rolled these things to the point I'm concerned the nozzles might break. I've tried spinfits, spiral dots, various other silicones of various sizes placed at various depths (both on the nozzle and in my ear). I am straight up tired of playing with tips. I've also run the gamut of foams - true comply tips as well as some cheaper, but less porous aftermarkets, again, various sizes and depths both on nozzle fit and insertion depth. My goal in finding the right tips was to minimize the treble spikes and provide the most natural and smooth treble.

I finally settled on the less porous (smoother/shinier foam) medium size - placed about halfway onto the nozzle which allows for a deep insertion (see pic)- though I don't force them to couple with the bony part of my canal. The get just deep enough to take up the air volume in my canals without giving me a sensation of being violated. I'd say moderately deep.


I set the bass dial to 1:30 or 2:00 - have been keeping it at 2 recently. Any more and some bleed into the mids happens.

I listen to prog - prog metal and general progressive rock. Mostly all of the albums in my collection have very respectable, if not impeccable production quality.

I’ve been using the balanced cable on a fiio x5 3rd gen - I can’t hear any hiss or noise. Though using the 3.5 single ended cable, I can hear a very low hum - this isn’t the IEM, it’s the x5iii’s amp. I also have been using this with the single ended cable on my home system: Audirvana+ > schiit modi multibit > schiit asgard 2. Again, no hiss or hum here.


Having said all of that. The Angie comes with some tradeoffs, though it is the best I've heard so far. And the tradeoffs are a subjective thing. All the other aspects, make this an excellent IEM:


-Very emotional, warm vocal timbre and overall mids. Expect a nice warm emphasis on 800 to 1000 hz warmth - makes for a very “moving” experience, engulfing the listener deeper into the music. After I switch to any other IEM, I feel I’m lacking this experience and am left wanting more of the emotion and warmth of the vocal region. This tuning is very appealing to me.

-Excellent presence of vocals/guitars etc (1K to 4K). Electric guitars take the focus in a way that isn't shrieking, but very full and present. This is almost as impressive as the lower midrange warmth.

-Attack and decay is superb - bass strikes, then gets out of the way with no bloom. cymbals do the same, but continue to decay very gently, without being destroyed by other transients - a feature of the 4 armatures dedicated to the highs. Reverb tails here decay with such sweetness - think analogue.

-Natural treble - cymbals sound real and not overly shimmery/harsh - very sweet treble. imaging and instrument placement is impeccable. They cymbals don’t overwhelm the rest of the drum kit - which I really like. You can hear them clearly, but they don’t rob the rest of the music. A bell strike sounds like a bell strike. A splash, crash, ride, hat clap all sound very real and articulate.

-Stage is wider than I'm used to from IEMs - even better than some over-head cans (despite deep insertion) - this is very puzzling to me, but a feat I'm sure others will appreciate. I rather like the change to a wider stage since the imaging doesn't seem to suffer.

-Imaging is top notch - center image is closest I’ve come to sitting in front of studio monitors in a sound treated room where the primary reflection points are controlled. You’ll swear a third IEM is plugged into your forehead. This phantom speaker is a phenomenon only achieved by perfect imaging. I suspect this has something to do with the phase control from the steel waveguides.

-Detail retrieval is the best I've heard so far. I'm hearing transients and utterances that previously went unnoticed. Technically, this is a very impressive IEM. Again, the waveguides may have something to do with this, but the separate armatures themselves, when done right, can achieve the same.

-They are aesthetically gorgeous. It’s hard to beat the kevlar fiber weave under the shiny acrylic finish. The look as good as they sound and impress the lay person who sees them and doesn’t know what they are. The magic inside is ensconced by more magic on the outside.


-There is some extra heat at 1/3/5/7 Khz that could be smoothed out by a couple dB - especially at 5.3 and 6.9k, these are the two areas that sting a little for me. I have a controllable sine-wave sweeper in my chain that allows me to evaluate spikes/nulls. This extra energy, however, it what pushes detail toward you. When I EQ these to equal loudness, the overall experience becomes a tad more relaxed and easier to listen to, but I miss out on details and the IEM begins to sound like all my other stuff. Hence TRADEOFF.

-Vocal sibilance on poorly recorded/mastered material. This really is a nitpick because I am VERY sensitive to the sibilance region and I don't see others having nearly the same concern with it that I have. The heat at 5 and 7k align perfectly with the voice's "s" and "t" consonants which spike out my ears on occasion. This very rarely happens with instrumental only music, and only sometimes happens with vocals - leading me to believe it's more of a mixing/mastering issue. Combine that with my sensitivity here and I'm inclined to forgive the 5 and 7K peaks. Also, these peaks may just be unique to my ear anatomy and not present the same for others. Still, the peaks are certainly there and at least 6 db above other areas in the upper mids/lower treble. It gives you more detail, but tends to mask the upper octave air at the same time.

-The upper octave extension is there and it's linear to my ears (down sloping from the lower treble region with a slight peak at 12-13k), but sits behind the rest of the presentation, especially the mids/upper mids/lower treble. I can clearly hear up to my limit on these (approx 17k) but they do present gently. I would have preferred the tuning to have a bit more quantity in the top octave - say 3-4 db relative to the high mids and lower treble.

-Similarly, the bass extension is there, but gently rolls down from 50 to 20 hz. This can be changed by altering the bass pot on the inline cable, but when raising the bass on the dial, it also causes a bleed into the mid bass/mids and creates a muddy mess. This is a nitpick

-The cable could be 6 inches longer, allowing for more wearing/routing options. It barely makes it to my pocket where my player lives. This gets even worse if I use a shirt clip to keep it from pulling at my ears. Great cable otherwise!

-The aluminum case is rather small for such a large IEM. It’s hard to get the IEM with the cable into the case without bending the ear hooks or squeezing your foamies.

-Comfort is hit or miss, but we audiophiles like to suffer for our hobby. I was able to get used to them after a couple weeks and can listen for hours without issue now. Because the body of this IEM is so large, it will apply pressure to the various hard cartilage areas of my outer ear. This varies based on insertion depth.

-They are a bit unruly because of their size - the occasional adjustment is necessary for me, but only if I’m on the move. Forget sleeping with them if you lay on your side.


I hope this was helpful for you and your journey. I’m open to personal PMs if you want to know more, or you can post on the Angie impressions thread and I’m likely to respond, though the thread is old now and has seemed to die down.


500+ Head-Fier
Pros: Smooth treble with little harshness, Great Positioning, Wide sound stage, warm and smooth vocals
Cons: Awkward to wear, easy to lose sealing, requires matching source

AK Angie Universal
The AK Angie is the universal fit of the JH Angie by JH Audio. Sold by Astell & Kern, it sits below the the bigger brothers Layla and Roxxane. In the upcoming refresh “Full Metal Jacket”, the younger sister Rosie will be introduced. For now I am reviewing the original version of the AK Angie.
The Angie comes in a hard box. Within it are 5 different tips, a mini screwdriver, a brush and wire for clearing the tips, a metal case and 2 cables (1 standard, 1 balanced). The metal case is really nice, bright red and screwed lock. All in all, I am quite satisfied with what is given for its price point.
The Angie is quite a big IEM. It took me some effort to get the optimal seal, settling on the M sized comply tips. Still the earphones stick out quite some bit and can easily lose its seal with enough shake. The cables are really nice though: Very little microphonic and very easy to move around even though they are quite thick. They also don’t get tangled easily. Overall, to me the comfort of Angie is quite low, luckily it had a great cable and a very nice carrying case that fits the IEM in.
In additional, the screwdriver given is to tweak the bass of the Angie on the cables. JH Audio introduced tweak-able bass with the Siren series starting with Roxxane. On general it works though I cant feel much difference in the first quarter of the turn. However once it goes beyond half way, it really made a difference with the highest point giving quite some boom to the bass. That said, I feel that the Angie even at its highest bass point is still well controlled. More in the next section.
Sound Impression
To first start off, I got my Angie after my KSE1500  which to me is quite the pinnacle of  portable audio performance. I owned a 846 for a short period and a Lyra. On general I rate the Angie above the 846 but below the KSE1500 especially if EQ is applied for the latter in the Amp.
So lets start with the basic parameters of treble, vocals, bass, and sound stage followed by the characteristic of the sound which will cover the rest.
Songs used:
Liberi Fatali: Distance World from Final Fantasy

Hello: Adele 25

Powder Snow: Suara

Sometime When we Touch: Susan Wong

Hotel California: Eagles, Hell Freezes Over

Gate:: Kisada Kyodan and The Rockets

Bass: The bass goes quite low and can have quite some impact. For the song of Gate, where it starts with a lot of mid bass, the impact can be felt with very good separation that do not affect the other spectrum. The bass can be tweaked as mentioned above with the screw driver by turning a knob on the cable. This increases the amount of bass. However even at the max, the bass never felt totally out of control. Compared to the Lyra, it has a more controlled bass but don’t have the impact or “boom” of the Lyra. Compared to the KSE1500, the KSE1500 just felt extremely well controlled, tight and quick.  However the KSE1500 also has lesser at its base setting. So by no means the Angie bass is inferior to the KSE1500, its more different.
Vocals: The vocals felt a little forward for the Angie. Everything is clear and smooth. In the tracks by Adele and Suara, the vocals are well portrayed with a little forward center.  The vocals are quite smooth but has some warmness in them. The vocals do not feel as realistic as the KSE1500, however they have a enjoyable tone similar to say a small room concert.: warmish and well spread out.
Treble: The treble is very well controlled with very little harshness. Compared to the KSE1500, it does not feel that extended and sparkle. Overall, the details in this region could be easily picked up with ease. In Powder Snow, the little bells can be heard with a nice ting to them with good amount of sparkle that so far been only surpassed by the KSE1500 in my collection. I personally felt the treble is actually very smooth and probably theres a roll off at the higher region which result it being less harsh which made it more enjoyable for modern pop songs.
Sound Stage: The sound stage is actually pretty wide. Wider then the Shures 846 and about the same as the KSE1500. The positioning is in my opinion better then the KSE1500 but it doesn’t have the absolute clarity and separation that the KSE have.  A notable part of the soundstage difference is how vocals are done, where the KSE1500 is laid back by default, the Angie had a more forward with good spread. The way to describe it is a room where you are in the middle with the singer somewhat closer to you then the wall. 
Characteristics: The sound is warm even at the minimum bass. No matter how low the dial go, it will never be of similar tone to the KSE1500 which I felt is extremely neutral. The Angie is very detailed. Technically everything but the softest details can be picked by the Angie. Due to the great positioning, clarity and separation, orchestra/band music is very good on them. I throughly enjoyed Liberi Fatali with its complex instrument and chants. The warm tone adds to the feeling of a concert hall.  Its signature is closer to the 846, except more refined especially in the bass, separation and positioning. One notable thing with my pairing with ZX2, I sometime find them too warm and smooth on some tracks. This made them a little off sounding if lots of bass and treble happen together. Maybe due to pairing or that the ZX2 do not have the absolute finesse to drive it. Weirdly it still retains the positioning and separation quite well so Im putting it as a signature mismatch. Will update the characteristic again whenI have access to my CDM.
The cheapest of the Siren line, less then half the value of Layla (which I tried and didn’t think its that great) I find the Angie extremely value for money at the price points its competing. At where I am, its pricing is quite close the 846, K3003 and many others. However the new full metal jacket is coming with a 200USD price bump. Im unsure will it be of good value after  the price increment if the sound quality remains the same.
I throughly enjoyed the Angie even though I got it after my KSE1500.  Overall the warm and smoother sound signature makes it easier to appreciate then KSE1500 neutral and flat default signature. The bass can be tweaked to personal flavour which I think its great. I will definitely recommend people to look into it especially before the metal jacket comes in. At just 100 more then the Shures and many others in the price range of around 1k price range, it stands at the top of that heap. Compared with the absolute TOTLs, it may not have the finesse of them but definitely no where inferior that you will stop listening to them.

Thanks for sharing your experience with Angie. She's been my daily driver for the last five months now. She's quite capable with every genre. In balanced she's strikingly pure.
She's worth every of her penny for the performance at her range. Though I just can't find a good way to fit still hmmm


Reviewer: The Headphone List
Pros: Faultless highs, absolutely accurate mids, complex bass. Masterful craftsmanship. Perfect cable.
Cons: Gargantuan size.

Oh sweet lord, I’ve done it now.

In nine months I’ve gone from my first $100 pair of IEMs to a set that is eleven times as expensive. A smattering of other in-ears bridged that gulf, including two personal favorites, the ATH-IM03 and the Klipsch X7i. I shall hold on to those for some time yet, for they serve two important functions: The Audio Technica delivers a sound I adore, and is therefore well suited for backup, should the worst happen. The Klipsch are the smallest, most comfortable IEM’s I’ve tried, so I keep them near at hand for listening to podcasts and audiobooks via the Galaxy S6.

I think they’ll hold those positions for quite a while. Partially, because they fit those roles so very well, but also because Angie threw me into debt, and I CANNOT buy another… anything… for a long, long time. If I can’t buy new equipment, the roster can’t change.

So this is me, near the precipice of top-tier audiophile kit. Am I an audiophile now? *******, I don’t know. I’m starting to look like one, for good or ill. Such distinctions are better left to wiser goons than me. All I care about is the music, and what I’m getting out of it.

On that front, Pinky is a blessed, blessed man.

It began with me dickering over the price of a Head-Fi’er’s new, unopened Astell & Kern AK120ii DAP. I won him over at $1040. Incredible bargain! I was beside myself with anticipatory joy. The kind of joy which clouds your mind and makes you shag your best friend. Or in my case, turn right around and put down a grand on the old credit card for a set of phones capable of taking full advantage of a player of this caliber.

Enter Angie, the newest sibling in the Siren Series by Jerry Harvey Audio and Astell & Kern. She possesses eight drivers per side: Duel low, duel mid, and a whopping four Balanced Armatures to cover the treble. While I’m not a treble-head by any stretch of the imagination, I appreciate this asymmetry, since it’s very often the high frequency spectrum where lie the greatest offense by IEMs. Sibilance. Distortion. General harshness. I support any effort for smoothing out that range without chopping off the head of your music.

Angie succeeds. It takes four drivers dedicated to nothing but those high frequencies for her to render them with the effortless purity only heard in full-size cans.

I paired Angie with the X5 Classic for a whole day and a half before the AK120ii arrived. Therefore, my first impressions are based off that combination.


Coming from the ATH-IM03, Angie strikes me as remarkably clear. Now, I always felt the IM03 delivered clear, capable sound. Compared to Angie, they are muddy and effete. Thanks to those quad highs, Angie’s upper range stretches forever. You think this would make them bright. That was my fear, going in. But the Siren Series IEMs have adjustable bass, and I found 2 o’clock on the pots to bring enough warmth into the mix that Angie never feels cold, hollow, or analytical. That clarity is accompanied by bold, agile bass, and crisp, organic mids.

On the X5 Classic, Angie is an indisputable step up from my IM03, but not much more.

Then the Astell & Kern arrived.

The 2nd Generation AK120 elevates all my headphones a notch or two, but Angie, using Balanced Out, tramples over the IM03, crushing its skull on the way to the throne. I don’t have a balanced cable for the Audio Technica, so it never competed on that field. For Angie, it was here she truly flowered.


I’ve heard it described, when upgrading to the next tier, as lifting yet another veil between you and the music. The lower down the rung, the more veils shroud the naked soul of sound and melody. There’s no telling how many veils remain at any given stage. You only know when another is removed. You can hear it. You can FEEL it.

This is how I felt when I first listened to Angie and the AK120ii together. I hadn’t felt a leap like this since January, when I purchased the Klipsch R6 to replace my Skullcandy Ink’edII. In other words, my first foray into head-fi. There have been a few veils since then, but that first pair of proper earphones blew past eight thresholds in one go.

It’s happened again. It only cost me $2000.

Plenty of folk have gone to great length describing the benefits of balanced lines. They say element separation sharpens as the soundstage widens, positioning takes on a sense of three-dimensionality, while line noise is all but eliminated. This is quite true.

Don’t feel bad if you are skeptical of such claims. If someone were to tell me the AK120ii had a noise floor, and I hadn’t yet heard its Balanced Out, I would punch him in the crotch and spit on his neck and say, “You know nothing, Jon Snow!” as I strode off.

Experiencing first-hand what Balanced is like, I must condemn that instinct. The clarity of Angie’s balanced cable is quite frankly alarming. Equipment should never sound this transparent. It has to be dangerous, getting this close to that pure, naked soul we spoke of earlier.

In this setup, Angie’s treble reminds me of the Sennheiser HD600. It has weight, contour, and richness of timbre. SO strange for an in-ear monitor. Usually earphones are described as having highs which are sharp and detailed, and if they are not attenuated, fatiguing. Not so with Angie.

I found the stock tips uncomfortable, and was happy to see my old favorites, the JVC Spiral Dots, fit Angie rather well. They are extremely wide-bore, and don’t obstruct the nozzle in any way. With these, the sound opens even further, making Angie smoother, and all the more natural-sounding. I’ve been switching between JVC and Ultimate Ears 600 tips. Both are amazing with this earphone.

The mid-range is a bit of an enigma. I find it hard to describe. Vocals are not what I could call lush, which is a little disappointing when I write it down like that. However, listening to Angie as I am right now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with them. They sound technically perfect and honest in color. You get all the grain and texture the source contains, with flawless articulation. The mids don’t stand out as Angie’s showpiece, even though they are a bit forward in the mix. They just sound RIGHT. Not special, not the sort of thing you’re going to talk about around the cantina. Just… right.

Bass is something I like to talk about. Angie will never have the most bass. In fact, I think the IM03 might have a bit more. As they say, it isn’t the quantity that counts, but the quality. Angie’s bass is controlled so well, and textured so beautifully, it stands out as something very special. Now, I haven’t heard other TOTL earphones. I’ve never been to a meet, and we just don’t have stores like that here in Kansas City. My comparison is against the equipment I own or have owned. Take the IM04, a phone I returned after about a month for being too dark. It has two BA drivers for the low range, just like Angie. And yet the ATH does not stack up. The Siren drowns the IM04 in the ocean of its perfection. Again, not in bass quantity, but in every other aspect of the sub’s character and presentation.

If it sounds like Angie is light on bass. It’s really, really not. In all honesty, it might be VERY close to the IM04 in weight, when you turn the pots all the way up. I haven’t done that since first trying them on. This was too dark for my tastes. Your mileage may vary.


At 2 o’clock on the pots, the bass is already more than the HD600. Which isn’t saying much, as those headphones are not known for a bass-heavy sound. In texture and tonality, the two phones are quite close. From me, that is a high compliment indeed.

I won’t lie. The craftsmanship of Angie’s build is a major selling point for me. I am so tired of cheap plastic shells that look as if they will chip and crack at any moment. At the time of this purchase, I was actively pursuing a used pair of Earsonics SM64. The Velvets also perked my interest. Then I read up on Angie and Layla, and these lesser options, with their famously poor construction, lost appeal. The Siren Series is a different beast altogether. The handcrafted carbon fiber and kevlar, metal bezel, and serious cable connection make my nipples hard. Nothing I’ve owned in the audio world is this fine. Even the HD600 is wrought of mostly ugly, painted plastic.

It gives Pinky great pleasure to announce the actual product is every bit as advertized. Angie is splendidly well-made, as is the AK120ii. She and the Astell & Kern DAP stand apart.



The girl is big, though. VERY big. Absurdly big. I’m more than a little afraid of her, actually. If she gets angry… I don't need to tell you what will happen.

In spite of her enormity, Angie is rather comfortable. I easily forget how large she is until I reach up and touch my ears and feel these monstrous protrusions. In moments of insanity, I’m tempted to get the customs. Of course, this mustn’t happen for a long time. My credit card cannot bare it. And since Angie is so comfortable, it’s not nearly as important as it otherwise would be.

The only aspect I haven’t yet talked about is the cable and memory wire. I’m not a staunch hater of memory wire, though it can lead to frustration. The stock cable for the IM0x series by Audio Technica can actually hurt, if you use it to its full potential. Angie’s cable is as close to perfect as I’ve known. The memory wire is just long enough to direct the cable back over your ear, and then it disappears, leaving a very soft, supple cord to drape down. I have no qualms with it, whatsoever. JH Audio does it right.

And that is my dominating sentiment towards Angie. She is simply done right. What more can I say?

It’s a point of agitation that Angie is seldom spoken of without comparing her to Layla. That is a foolish thing to do. Most folk cannot afford $2500 on a set of IEMs. I sure as hell can’t. We look at Angie as the upper-most of our price range. We want to know how she compares to other phones in that bracket. It confounds me that such comparisons are practically nonexistent in official reviews. I’ve found only one.

Well… mine’s no better in that regard. Not for lack of trying. I’ve matched her against the closest competition I could muster. Angie mops the floor with the lot of them.



DOoooo EEET!

Nah, I'm glad you liked it, though.
Epic review. Great read. Already have the JH13 but this sounds like another keeper.
I can tell you, I'll be keeping a close eye on JH Audio IEMs from now on. I like how they do things... a lot.


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