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JAYS a-Seven Wireless

Rating:
4.25/5,
  1. Zelda
    Jays - a-Seven Wireless
    Written by Zelda
    Published Apr 7, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Build quality
    Comfort
    Bluetooth quality
    Battery time
    Sound: Well balanced in wireless mode, good clarity and spacious
    Cons - Average isolation at best
    Fixed ear pads
    Little foam on ear pads
    (Full specifications are not stated)
    Review - Jays a-Seven Wireless

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    Website - Jays

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    Official a-Seven info

    Specifications
    • Driver: 40mm
    • Impedance: 64 Ohm @ 1 kHz
    • Frequency response: 20~20000 Hz
    Sensitivity, weight and other details are not revealed for the a-Seven.

    Wireless:
    • Bluetooth 4.1
    • Qualcomm AptX
    • Battery: 25 hrs. playback
    Originally available in all black color, and now in four color versions: black, gray, green and rose.

    Official press pictures can be found here


    Price: U$99.

    Warranty
    : 1 year.

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    The a-Seven is now the second wireless set from the Swedish company Jays. The u-Jays Wireless was the remake of the original u-Jays, which featured good battery time and touch controls on the ear cups. The a-Seven here is a new model more oriented to be an entry headphones set at a more affordable price. Nevertheless, they feature solid build quality, wireless connectivity on Bluetooth 4.1, and more importantly an enjoyable sound presentation.

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    The box on the outside is identical to the cardboard box as on the u-Jays, but more basic on the inside. The headphones are arranged in flat mode occupying most of the box dimensions. In the middle, a small paper box holding two cables, a 3.5mm to 3.5mm for wired connection and a charging USB cable (micro-USB to type-A), and brief manual. Like with the u-Jays, there is still missing a case or bag for better portability as wireless headphones for on the go.

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    Design & Build Quality

    The a-Seven is an on-ear headphones set with closed back design. The driver is a dynamic of a 40mm diameter dynamic; an usual take for daily headphones and even more for a wireless option. There are some similarities on the design and looks on the a-Seven to the u-Jays, but it's a fresh new model overall. Key features are the aluminum design and the lighter weight on them.

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    Build quality is very good with the all metal aluminum material on the headband and ear cups with a completely smooth finish and matte black color in this case. The headband is totally covered by soft synthetic leather like material, though the foam pad is located only on the upper section of the band. The band is wide and the foam should cover the necessary part for most people, with exception of those with larger heads. Anyway, it proves to be more convenient, relaxed wearing than the u-Jays silicone covered headband that used to present more pressure.

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    A nice change is on the ear cups side, now made of aluminum yet very light. While the design won't allow fold system for best portability, the ear cups can rotate to the front side for a flat setup, and for an on-ear set they are also quite compact. The right cup holds all the 3 buttons for power and playback use, a standard 3.5mm port for wired setup, a LED for status indication and built-in microphone. On the left cup there is the micro-USB port for charging with a small LED for battery status.

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    As for the cushions they are probably of the same material of the ones used on the u-Jays, or at least do look very similar, with good quality soft synthetic leather and soft foam inside. However, there is very little volume of foam so practically no depth on the ear cushions. Even more, they still follow the very proprietary design being fixed to the cups which limits the replacement and possibility of trying different or better pads on the a-Seven.

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    Combined with a lightweight design, fairly wide headband arc and very low pressure clamp force, the headphones are very comfortable to wear. Also, even though the foam pad on both band and cushions sides could be larger, the a-Seven showed no fit or comfort issues even after long listening time. Isolation, on the other side, is around average or just a bit low; though, a fair trade off for better comfort on an on-ear closed back design. For instance, the u-Jays provided higher isolation and more cushioning but also more pressure on the headband part and a tighter fit around the ears.

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    Wireless performance


    For wireless mode the a-Seven feature Bluetooth 4.1 version with up to Qualcomm AptX. Pairing is quick and easy, and maintains a solid connection with no drops unless getting of range. Works well with Fiio M6 player and Samsung Galaxy S7 phone, both having 4.2 BT versions.

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    As can be seen on the picture below all the buttons have various functions. The larger button on the right ear cup works for power on/ off, play/pause playback, call handling and BT pairing. The + and - for volume and track skip. However, all these functions are only able if used on wireless mode. While I could be missing the touch controls of the u-Jays, the more standard a-Seven controls work well too, so nothing to complain about.

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    Battery time is very good and seems to hold the ~25hrs with no problem. Standby time, too; not sure of the 35 days, but still good.

    Sound Quality

    Main gears used: Jays u-Jays Wireless, Meze 99 Classics, M&D MW60, Mee Audio Cinema ANC.
    Sources: For Bluetooth, Fiio M6, Samsung Galaxy S7. Wired mode, iBasso DX120, HiBy R6 Pro.


    For an entry model, the a-Seven has a fairly balanced sound with a very mild v-shaped presentation, with slight boost on the bass and highs regions. The sound is more even when used as wireless with no source dependence, while there are some differences when switching to wired mode.

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    The bass is well pronounced, punchy and yet controlled. It has more than enough quantity when the music allows but won't get overboard otherwise. Mid-bass is a bit more perceived, but still the sub-bass can show very good rumble; above of just north of neutral but not heavy bass either. Even on the wireless connection the extension is good, and can reach more impact and weight if used wired. Speed is also quite good, with quick attack and normal decay.

    The midrange goes a bit more distant on the whole presentation, not very unusual on a lively sound signature, but still balances very well with the lows and highs. It's rather neutral, not too full nor too thin either, and a bit cool in tonality. It is well articulated and dynamic with decent separation. It goes a bit brighter towards the upper midrange and shows good sense of air and level of detail. The texture is not best suited for vocals focused music but they still sound detailed and smooth with rare hint of sibilance. It's enjoyable with no coloration, matching different music genres unless you have a particular preference.

    Treble is a little elevated giving a good balance to the lows. It is sparkly and energetic but not really aggressive. Normal in extension too, matching the bass extension which is surprisingly good considering a Bluetooth performance of just AptX. If anything, it doesn't sound very even or linear, and timbre can be a bit off. Detail level is decent for the price.

    Soundstage is quite good, at least for on-ear headphones closed-back and wireless. There is a well pronounced channel separation that results in a wider effect and also gives a nice surrounding sound that particularly works well for watching movies and music videos.
    a-Seven VS u-Jays

    While the build quality is good on these two wireless sets and also share a similar solid Bluetooth performance, they still do differentiate in their design and even more in sound presentations. The u-Jays feature a tougher headband material that adds a bit extra weight on them, while the a-Seven with all aluminum construction feel lighter. The headband is more comfortable on the new model and provides a more relaxed fit around the ears, while the u-Jays are softer in the pads cushioning. Isolation is still higher on u-Jays. Playback control is very cool on the u-Jays with the touch pad on the right cup plate, whereas the a-Seven have a standard 3 physical buttons.

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    Regarding the sound, the a-Seven don't seem to be a retuned version of the previous model or a more affordable version either. The sound on the u-Jays is warmer and smoother, with a stronger emphasis on the low-end, fuller texture and more decay. The midrange is thicker but also more engaging with sweeter quality for vocals and more laid-back nature for instruments. Treble is smoother and laid-back with an earlier roll-off towards the upper highs area. Soundstage is more intimate.

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    The sound of the a-Seven, on the other hand, is more even between lows and highs, with less bass impact but more treble quantity. Midrange sounds thinner and colder but with a bit more separation on instruments. Soundstage does feel wider with a more apparent right and left distance. Timbre is less natural, and while resolution is close, the detail is more upfront on the a-Seven compared to the smoother and more laid-back sounding u-Jays.

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  2. jwbrent
    Great Wireless Quality In A Minimalist Design
    Written by jwbrent
    Published May 6, 2019
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Exceptional wireless connectivity, good audio performance with lossless files and aptX decoding, great battery life, nice build quality for a modestly priced design
    Cons - No AAC support for iOS devices
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    Introduction

    There is something about Swedish design that resonates with me. I regard myself as a minimalist when it comes to design, preferring the understated rather than the ostentatious. The former is timeless whereas the latter is dictated by the ongoing fashion.

    JAYS is a Swedish company that designs affordable headphones and IEMs that range in price from $39 to $299, and has been doing so since 2006, perfecting its lineup over the years. I owned its top end model, the q-JAYS, for several years entranced by the beautiful sound it produced.

    One of the newest models in its lineup is the subject of this review, the a-Seven Wireless. It sells for $99, and as you will read, there is great value in this Bluetooth aptX headphone, both in regards to performance and build quality.

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    Impressions

    I'd like to thank the folks over at JAYS for providing a free sample in exchange for my views. The a-Seven arrived about two weeks ago, and before I did any critical listening, I ran it for about 100 hours beforehand in order to ensure I heard it at its best.

    I used my iPhone SE as my source component which worked nicely with the a-Seven. The source material was primarily AAC files purchased through the iTunes Store, but I also listened to CD quality FLAC files in order to gauge whether this inexpensive headphone would resolve the difference. Apple finally added native FLAC support in recent years to its iOS devices, which was, in my view, a godsend since my favorite internet radio station is Radio Paradise, and they stream lossless FLAC if chosen in the settings.

    I want to focus on the Bluetooth quality to begin, since no matter how good a headphone sounds, if the wireless experience is hindered by dropouts, especially when out and about, this would be a non-starter for me. I've owned other Bluetooth headphones/IEMs in the past, and I have had poor results with some.

    So, at the outset, let me unequivocally state the wireless performance on the a-Seven is exceptional in regards to connectivity. I had absolutely no problems in my house, even when I was not in line of sight with my SE, e.g., in a different room. The performance was equally impressive when I went out for my hikes. I normally put my SE in my jeans' back pocket, and with some of the other wireless models I've owned, this proved to be troublesome. Not so with the a-Seven.

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    Audio Performance

    The a-Seven uses the Qualcomm Bluetooth aptX chip for improved audio performance, however, one's source component also requires aptX support, something that eludes iOS devices, at least for now: Apple and Qualcomm have been bitter adversaries in the last few years, each suing the other for billions of dollars. Just recently, they settled their disagreement, and Apple announced they would be using Qualcomm's 5G chips on its future iPhones. I presume they may also use Qualcomm's Bluetooth aptX chips as well.

    The issue for now regarding higher audio performance codecs in regards to iOS devices is Apple uses AAC decoding only, making the aptX feature on the a-Seven moot. I imagine JAYS, in order to hit the $99 price point, excluded AAC support since that would involve increased manufacturing costs. Still, it is a disappointment that the a-Seven does not support AAC.

    I began my critical listening sessions using iTunes files, and the performance was just ok. The high frequencies were splashy and edgy, not to the point of being unlistenable, for sure, but as someone who owns top-of-the-line headphones, it was quite noticeable to me. Other's mileage may vary, especially those who haven't experienced top quality headphones before.

    Next, I used Radio Paradise with lossless FLAC as my source material. Yes, the a-Seven resolves the difference between lossy AAC and FLAC. The high frequency performance I initially heard was improved, so much so that I found the sound of the a-Seven quite enjoyable. The bass performance for such a small headphone was quite good, and I didn't feel it intruded upon the lower midrange which sometimes happens when the bass is goosed up a bit.

    Finally, I wanted to experience the aptX performance, both with lossy and lossless files. For years, Apple has included aptX support on its Mac lineup, and my MacBook Air (vintage 2012), enabled me to make my comparisons. No question about it, aptX sounded better not only with lossless files, but with lossy files as well. Great news for Android phone users since aptX is standard fare.

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    Summary

    JAYS, in my view, has done a great job in bringing this level of wireless and audio performance to a $99 headphone, a model that also comes in four different color options. Added to that, with 25 hours of playtime, 840 hours(!) of standby time, one can go a long while between charges, and if one wants, the included cable allows for wired operation as well. The build quality is quite good for such a modestly priced headphone, with aluminum construction and soft pleather for the headband and pads. All in all, the a-Seven Wireless should be on anyone's list looking for good overall performance at an inexpensive price.
    1. jwbrent
      Head-Fi inserts random links when review content is viewed by a guest. Once signed in, these links disappear. Just wanted to state this verified fact for those readers whom are affected.
      jwbrent, May 6, 2019