Reviews by Strayngs


Headphoneus Supremus
The most customizable headphone I know of
Pros: Options
Cons: some of the finishes could be of higher quality
Attention!!!! You must read this review with a grain of salt. Why? Because these headphones are tailored to my wants and needs. Your headphone may be different. It will be more in line with what you like.

Why dont you call Focal and tell them that you would like to order a Stellia with a little bit brighter tuning. How about emailing Audeze and ask for a LCD 5 with little bit more bass. Good luck with that.

What makes JM Audio Editions different is part of the reason that this is a special new audio brand. You can tweak pads, cables and such to change the sound of most headphones. But John Massaria is different and his headphone company JM Audio Editions is different. You will order the exact set of pads and cables that fit your listening preferences just like quite a few companies, but John requires you to tell him exactly how you want the tuning of your new headphone so he can craft your personalized headphone. What if your headphone was ordered for bass and you realize that you made a mistake and there is too much bass in your final build? Not a problem. John will retune your headphone for you. Just send it back and you will get exactly what you are wanting in tuning. What other company does that? So if you buy one of these gems second hand is the only way that you are stuck with the tune….Wait, What?! John will actually retune a second hand XTC so long as the new owner covers shipping. This is unheard of!

Who is John Massaria? You may have heard of the Kennerton Gjallarhorn. It is a very unique horn headphone made by the wonderful company Kennerton. If you do not know Kennerton that is another company you must check out. John made his name modifying headphones and he developed a modification for the Gjallarhorn. Kennerton actually took notice of the modification and tried it for themselves. They agreed that the sound change was outstanding. Kennerton decided to make a production version with the Massaria mod of the Gjallarhorn and named it the Gjallarhorn JM Edition. Today Kennerton doesnt even offer the OG Gjallarhorn and only offers this headphone in the JM edition.

Back to what we are talking about ... The JM Audio Edition XTC. This headphone is available in a open and closed back variant. I have owned many headphones over that last 5 years or so. About 1 1/2 years ago, I sold my entire headphone collection to help with purchasing a new home. I had a listening room built in my basement for a 2 channel dedicated system and I didnt believe I would be listening to headphones again. I ended up getting a Astel & Kern ACRO CA1000T for a power hungry IEM and found that my wife and I really enjoyed having the flexibility of moving around the house while listening to quality music. This new music devise also has plenty of power so naturally I wanted to see what it could do with a headphone or two.

I called John and told him that my favorite aspect of a headphone is separation and detail. I like bass but never at a compromise to any other frequency range. I also will never EQ. It is my preference because to my ears, it hurts the sound. I respect the fact that most use it though. John's tuning for my headphone is called "XTC Warm Detailed"

My headphone is the 1.5 Closed with the Beryllium driver. I ordered mine with one of the one of a kind Limited Edition cups.

The options I chose included having my headphone internal wiring done with the upgraded 7N OCC. I ordered the OCD memory foam fuzzy angled pads, the solid top grain deep cushion leather, and the perforated angled sheepskin leather pads. I ordered both the Copperhead 7n OCC cable and the OFC Litz flexible cable.


The XTC is extremely comfortable. It is very lightweight, the clamp is fairly loose (on the other hand dont go jogging with these) and the pad I used the most, the sheepskin leather, did not make my head hot. You can listen for hours without discomfort. I really like the cables. Both of them. They are not microphonic, they do not tangle, the copper is pretty firm and the Litz is very soft. Did I mention I really like the cables!

Isolation is outstanding. My wife listens across our sectional couch from me and I hear nothing.

The build quality is a mixed bag for me. I really dislike the emblem sticker on the cup. I would have much preferred engraving or something like that. it just cheapens the headphone a bit for me. The great news here is the emblem is now optional on the cup. Just ask John to leave it off! The headband is reminiscent of the Audeze style for adjusting size which isnt my favorite. neither of these are a deal breaker. Quite frankly, a different headband system would only increase the cost and this headphone is grossly underpriced as is. The headphone itself is solidly put together with tight fitting cable jacks in the cups which is very important to me.

How about the sound? Air and separation. Loads of it for a closed back. The separation of instruments is outstanding. It is different too. A lot of times when you have great separation, it means that you also get a analyzing sound. The separation is there but in a very cohesive way. What does that mean? Have you ever heard a single driver full range speaker system? I mean a GOOD single driver speaker system! The way that a single driver system can put everything together to sound so natural compared to speakers with multiple types and sizes of drivers is something you must experience. You will actually listen to the music and not the speakers in a room like this. This is the best way I can describe what John has done with his separation and air.

The bass is surprisingly strong on these. Given my request in tuning I expected a bass light pair. I have plenty of bass. Sometimes just a tad bit boomy for me depending on the music...but John has a fix for that. There is a port that you can plug with tape which decreases the bass and increases the upper mids and highs. Perfect. He also gives great pad options to do the same trick. Bass can really be exactly what you crave with these guys. A big win here.

Mid bass is outstanding. Very good. Chocolate Chip Trip just beats up my ears a great way. The pressurization of the sound here is excellent. Another very strong point.

Mids can be just a tad recessed. This is because of my requested tuning. In order for more air, separation and soundstage in a closed back, you are not going to have a forward sounding midrange. I like this sound though. I would much rather recessed mids than forward...but that is my preference. Yours may be different.

The highs are not fatiguing at all. This is not a bright headphone. It is not dark either, but it does lean on the warm side. The detail is there but you will have to listen a little harder to notice compared to a headphone like the Utopia which has highs that are much more emphasized. If you are looking for a sparklely headphone, I am not sure this is your cup of tea. But this tuning makes this headphone a lot more versatile with different music types.

John asked that I send my pair in to lighten the bass and give the set more detail. I decided to decline this request because my wife listens to music that is more geared towards the tuning of my pair. I enjoy the tuning myself very much. So this tuning is a better all around tuning for both listeners. What I do realize is that this makes my review a little unfair for the XTC as it can be made into a headphone to better suit my personal taste but I am the one who decided that this all around tuning is best.

What this tuning does do is make the headphone more enjoyable for listening to recordings that are not done very well. 2 songs I love, sound like garbage on most of my headphones that I have owned. The XTC makes Adams Song by Blink 182 and Gone Away by The Offspring sound as good as I have ever heard them. This is a huge plus for me.


I have had so many great headphones but I do not own them any longer. It is unfair for me to compare any headphone based on memory. What I can tell you is that these compare well with all of the closed backs I have owned which include the Ultrasone Edition 8, Ultrasone Signature DJ, ZMF Vibro Mk 2 and Blackwood, Beyerdynamic AKT5P, Audio Technica ATH-a2000x and AWAS, Sony MDR7520, Meze 99 Classics, Focal Stellia, both versions of the Ollo S4R, Kennerton Gjallarhorn JM and the Kennerton Rognir Planar. From memory the only one of these that I would absolutely take over the XTC is the Rognir...but that headphone is 4x as much.

What I have on hand is the newest revision of the Ollo S4R and a Hifiman HE1000SE.

Ollo S4R- The XTC beats this in every way. The Ollo is anemic. It is has no air. Separation is good but the instruments are on the same plane with zero soundstage. Detail is about equal. This is a boring and unlistenable headphone in comparison to the XTC. Comfort wise they are both outstanding, but the Ollo is a little more secure and tighter on you head.

Hifiman HE1000SE- It is very tuff to compare these two as the Hifiman is open back and a lot more expensive. It is a brighter headphone and the detail is stronger on the HEKSE. The air is comparable which is remarkable but the Hifiman has a pitch black clean background that the XTC just can match because of the nature of being closed back with a request for the openness in the tuning. The XTC can edge the HE1000SE in bass dependent of the type of music it is asked to play. Billie Eilish Everything I Wanted is better on the XTC without question. The HEKSE is the technically better headphone but the XTC is not that far behing.

Value this now because it is Wayyyy to cheap. It didnt really exceed my expectations because I knew what John is capable of. But my expectations were especially high because of what I knew John is capable of. This is as good of a closed back headphone that you will find in the $1000ish price range. I can say this because this was to me and your pair will be catered for you!

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Gracias for the nice review! Would you be able, in a few words, compare them against Argons or Night-owls?


Headphoneus Supremus
Live 1?
Pros: Crazy dynamic, detailed, decent stage, great value, very good comfort
Cons: No storage case, treble can be sharp and fatiguing.
I am not a regular reviewer but I am giving it a shot. Sorry no pictures

I was offered a discount on this product in exchange for a review. Honestly, I had no expectations that I would like this product based on the price, but I figured why not considering the cost to obtain it. A little about me, I am serious about my headphones. I have a ZMF Verite Open $2700+, Kennerton Thekk $3300+, and a Kennerton Gjallarhorn JM $1200. I also have a Rockna Wavelight Dac $4750, a Lumin Streamer $2100, a PrimaLuna EVO 300 Integrated $3999, and a Rogue RH5 $2500. Now I don’t tell you this to brag about my is to let you know how serious I am about my audio and why with a $35 iem....I had low expectations.

I have always had problems with the fit on iems. I have tried quite a few of them but never had the right one. I had a Campfire Audio Vega, A Noble Tux 5, a Rhapsodio Eden SP and finally I am using a IMR R2 Aten at the moment. My source is a LG V60 which is comparable in sound to a decent DAP. When these first arrived, I opened the box and thought....ok these look nice for their cost. They come in a nice size box. There was a set of silicone tips on the iems and 2 sets of 3 sizes of tips included in the box. The cable looks sturdy and flexible. It has a 2 pin connection. It is definitely not easy to see the L and R on the cable....but easy to see on the IEM. It also comes with a clip. I only wish it came with some sort of box for travel or storage....even a pouch is better than nothing.

I put the iem in my ears and I said out loud to my wife...Wow these have a great fit. The wrap around my ear design makes them stable in my ear and very comfortable. I have ALWAYS had trouble with fit.

Time to listen. Put in my first test track. Pneuma by Tool from the Fear Inoculum album. First thing which I noticed was the tone of the iems. Seems very dynamic and detailed. I am not missing anything that I am use to with this track. In fact when Danny taps his drum sticks together at the beginning of the song it really took my attention. I have never really noticed this. The song gets more involved and I am figuring out the chief focus of these IEMs. They are extremely dynamic .... Like Focal Utopia in your face dynamics. $35 iems? The separation of the instruments is there too. Maybe the bass can be a little loose in times. But it is not excessive and not near as flabby as a pair of Beats (sorry had to go there). Now being this dynamic means they will be fatiguing with a long listening session. In fact I have an hard time listening for more than an hour or so. Detail is there in spades when you compare the price.

I had to try my favorite soundstage track....Chocolate Trip Trip on the same album. good soundstage with this Very wide and decent height.

Do I recommend these IEMS.....These are an extreme value for the cost. I am giving a 3.5 rating based on the fact that they are fatiguing and will hurt your after a little while. But what can you expect for 35 bucks?
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Which one would you recommend? The Live 1 or the Live 3?