I only give full stars. My ranking/scoring system does not necessarily follow the norm and is about as follows:
5 stars: The product is very good and received the "highly recommended" award from me.
4 stars: The product is very good and received the "recommended" award from me.
3 stars: The product is good/very good, but not outstanding/special enough to get any of my two awards. ["Thumbs Up"]
2 stars: The product is only about average or even somewhat below that and somewhat flawed/flawed in some areas. [neither "Thumbs Up" nor "Thumbs Down"]
1 star: The product is bad/severely flawed to outright bad. ["Thumbs Down"]
JadeAudio is a new online direct selling sub-brand of FiiO.
Very nice amount of features at the low price point (aptX, touch controls, touch volume adjustment).
Only average at best unboxing experience – uninspired brown cardboard box with thin black plastic mould (that holds the ear pieces and charging/carrying case) inside.
Four pairs of silicone tips.
Bluetooth 5.0 with SBC, AAC and aptX support.
No wireless charging of the charging/carrying case.
Micro USB charging input.
The charging/carrying case’s inside (not the outside that is absolutely fine, though) and the EW1 feel fairly cheap.
The battery indicator consists of one LED that flashes in different patterns to signalise the battery status.
Fairly uninspired and generic shell design. I really like the faceplates’ very dark blue metallic colour, though.
No battery status indicator when in the shells (the only thing that indicates that the batteries inside the ear pieces are not fully charged yet is when the ear pieces’ individual LEDs are on).
Nicely stable and good Bluetooth connection without any dropouts on my smartphones (BlackBerry Classic and Apple iPhone 4).
One 6 mm dynamic driver per side.
Largest included silicone tips.
My main Bluetooth sources used for listening to music: BlackBerry Classic (aptX), Apple iPhone 4 (AAC), ZOTAC ZBOX CI547 (SBC).
Unfortunately, and it is very audible, the built-in audio architecture doesn’t have the best signal-to-noise-ratio, so the EW1 are definitely quite hissy.
Very convenient: touching the left earphone’s faceplate once lowers the volume whereas touching the right earphone’s once raises it. Well, at least in theory, as the touch gestures don’t work all the time, and by far the biggest inconvenience and design mistake is that the touch-sensitive surfaces are so large that when the EW1 ear pieces are in my ears, it happens quite frequently that random touch commands are performed by the EW1 touching my tragi, which is highly annoying and also unpleasant as the audible feedback (beep) when a command is performed is very loud.
By the way, the volume control is not independent but synced with the playback device.
As a result, which is unfortunately true for nearly all Bluetooth in-ears, the EW1 are far too loud for me even at the quietest possible volume setting above mute.
Very bad as well: extraordinarily loud status info (“power on” etc.) whose volume, as it seems, cannot be changed, and cannot be deactivated either.
Also, it’s annoying that each time a touch gesture (except for volume attenuation) is registered, there’s an absurdly loud beep, too.
Warm v-shape with very, near absurdly, strong upper treble peak.
The bass elevation starts to rise around 700 Hz, is about 10 dB north of flat-neutral (reference: my Etymotic ER-4S) around 100 Hz (upper bass), and climbs even a bit more towards the true sub-bass where it reaches an elevation of around 12 dB above flat-neutral.
Therefore, the bass is punchy and warm, but yet gentle-ish enough to not become too boomy in the fundamental range.
The lower mids are on the fuller, warmer side, perhaps comparable to those of my Shure SE215m+SPE.
The upper midrange and presence range are on the darker, more relaxed side, wherefore bright voices are reproduced in a more relaxed manner.
The treble is generally somewhat more on the relaxed side as well but not by much; it’s not what could be considered as a dark presentation but rather one that is somewhat below neutral in quantity and mostly inoffensive.
However, this only holds true for the treble frequencies up to 6 kHz, since above that, the level rises again, and forms a very strong and bright elevation around 9 kHz that is neither very narrow nor really wide. As a result, the upper highs are very bright and splashy; thankfully this very strong elevation is at a very high frequency wherefore it is not really annoying and high enough to avoid exaggerated sharpness, and it isn’t the most relevant frequency for real-world music reproduction either, nonetheless this peak is undeniably much too strong and therefore plasticky and artificial (subjectively, it is most likely placed there to create an impression of “air” and details, but due to the nature of its absurd exaggeration, it just doesn’t really fit in).
Above that, in the super treble past 10 kHz, what can be heard is a generally very bright sound, too.
For what it’s worth, to me, the best sound quality could be achieved using the aptX codec.
Nonetheless, even with aptX, the EW1 don’t reach the sound quality of cheap wired in-ears and it is fairly easily audible that they are wireless Bluetooth in-ears (audible compression, grain and a sound that appears forced – which it probably, and likely, also is (most wireless in-ears take advantage of tailoring the frequency response to a certain target curve through DSP as this technology has become fairly inexpensive over time, which is generally a thing I appreciate, but not if it sounds as if the technology were pushed above its limits), as the measured impulse response is definitely, and by quite much, inferior to other recent “true wireless” in-ears such as the Shanling MTW100 (BA version) or EarFun Free).
To keep it short, the EW1 simply don’t resolve as well when connected to an aptX source as other “true wireless” in-ears that are not capable of aptX reception.
To start with the bass, it sounds somewhat compressed and forced.
It is neither really tight and fast, nor slow and spongy – it just falls somewhere in-between, and is probably a bit closer to the latter, and nowhere close to the speed and tightness of my Shure SE215m+SPE.
Details in the lows don’t seem as separated, nonetheless bass lines are still distinguishable as such, although there’s definitely room for improvement. However, the lows and lower register details sound more compressed than when compared to cheap wired in-ears, which quite easily gives away that the EW1 are Bluetooth in-ears.
Going up towards the midrange, the details and sound appear a bit grainy and compressed, and I am sure that the EW1s’ audible hissing additionally contributes to this.
It’s clearly not a well-separated or detailed midrange.
The treble and its separation sound rather soft, which in this case is however beneficial to the sound due to the strong upper treble peak that the EW1 possess. Nonetheless, the note separation and details appear somewhat grainy as well, and are only concealed but not actually improved by the peak’s brightness.
Large and wide, which is quite typical for a v-shaped tuning like this.
Due to the subjectively perceived soundstage size, the instrument placement seems to be fairly accurate. Nonetheless, with more complex material, the soundstage starts to collapse and the spatial details begin to show some smear.
Their colour is beautiful and they offer many features for the low price point, however the JadeAudio EW1 are unfortunately clearly flawed in several areas (hissy, too loud, status info too loud and cannot be attenuated or disabled, beeps to indicate that the touch inputs were recognised too loud and cannot be attenuated or disabled, touch inputs are not recognised all the time, touch-sensitive surfaces too large wherefore touch control actions are often accidentally performed by the user’s ears’ tragi, fairly compressed sound that appears “forced” even with an aptX connection).