Jays q-JAYS v2.0


Previously known as FeedMeTrance
Pros: Well built, value for money, balanced sound signature
Cons: Cable would be better if twisted, tip dependant
I received this Jays q-Jays as part of the Australian/New Zealand tour that DJScope arranged. This is my honest opinion of the Jays q-Jays, and I am in no way affiliated with or work for Jays.
In addition, this review will not focus on technical aspects of the equipment. Rather I will focus on their representation of music to me. My enjoyment or boredom, bliss or disappointment with the equipment. Think of it as an emotional review.
OK, so I told myself last year – “just get back to Head-Fi, find a suitable setup, and leave…” I’m still here, after realising that the community had matured so much since last decade, yep 2009! The ability to now take part in tours and auditions opened up a whole new world of experiences. Now I was able to test out some great equipment, without the commitment, it’s like Friends with Benefits.
So my first review was of a desktop Amp/DAC – the Aune X1S. This time round, I was given the opportunity to take some IEMs for a spin – introducing the Jays q-Jays 2.0 reference earphones.
Official product page: https://www.jaysheadphones.com/q-jays
The packaging reminds me of when I get a new Apple product. Sleek and exciting!

The contents of the box included:
  1. q-Jays earphones
  2. Earphone case
  3. Cable
  4. Tips

Any other review you read will echo my sentiment here – beautiful and solid. These things are so tiny yet as soon as you feel one in your palm you will feel its weight. The solid stainless steel body is sleek and inconspicuous. No boisterous branding or markings, just simple black units, black cable and black tips. The official product page can give you the full run-down on the build and design, but I for one am considering switching my iPhone to Space Grey just so they match!

About Me:
As with any tour or review, these are my opinions and observations with the q-Jays and my hardware. For the purpose of this audition, I used the following equipment –
Source: iPod Classic/iPhone 6S using a mixture of Apple Lossless and MP3 files
Amplifier/DAC: HeadAmp Pico Portable Amp/DAC
Headphones: 1964Ears V3 (for comparison)
My taste in music is quite peculiar and focuses heavily on heavy metal – in all forms. A majority of my listening was with bands such as Iron Maiden, Fallujah & Ne Obliviscaris. However, I still enjoy a variety of genres, so also included Jazz, Blues, Rock, and Classical.
The q-Jays for me feel like 2016’s ER4. A beautifully balanced/analytical sound signature. This is heavily dependent on the tips however!
  1. Plastic/rubber tips: this was how I heard them first, and I nearly gave up. It was a gross, blown-out high sound with little to no bass/sub-bass.
  2. Shure Olives: this is what saved the q-Jays for me. The proper seal tamed the crazy highs and brought out the bass/sub-bass. Not to mention how comfortable they are.
There is a reason the q-Jays really resonated with me, and a reason I really like them: they were not like my 1964 Ears V3 (64Audio now). The q-Jays are a different beast, offering my music in a different light. Giving focus to the subtle nuances of my music, rather than presenting it in a digestible way. Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a put-down of the V3’s, I love my V3’s, but they provide a different experience than the q-Jays do.
To truly develop an understanding of these earphones I ran my favourite artists through them (iPod Classic -> HeadAmp Pico) –
  1. Ne Obliviscaris [progressive black metal]: being such a complex band (clean vocals, harsh vocals, 2 guitars, bass, violin, and drums faster than 220bpm), my key concern was the ability for the q-Jays to keep up with the speed and attack of songs such as Blackholes and Pyrhhic, without diminishing the details of the band. As expected the low-end was not as full-on as my V3s, Dan’s drums were nicely toned, and a key factor for me is how lush the crashes are; and oh how beautiful they were. Tim’s violin was another beautiful sound to experience. The soundstage and instrument separation really set the q-Jays apart as an IEM. I’ve been used to IEMs making the music feel like it’s in such a small room, but the q-Jays pushes everything out so well.
  2. Iron Maiden [heavy metal]: listening to Maiden was a little less full-on than NeO. Classic British heavy metal – 3 guitarists, bass, drums and a 747 pilot who sings. I used The Number of the Beast to evaluate how the q-Jays performed, and again, very impressed. Being such a tight record, the q-Jays gave great instrument separation (as mentioned before), and put’s the entire band on such a spatial stage that I find the V3’s just can’t.
As a last minute test I decided to test out the q-Jays straight out of my iPhone 6S. There’s a discernible difference using this setup over the iPod/Pico setup, and that is the soundstage. Directly from the iPhone the soundstage feels much closer and tighter, not as much as the V3s, but still you can definitely feel the music a bit more cramped in. Nevertheless, still a treat to listen to, no discernible faults though – I was not hindered by any out of control highs or lows, everything felt balanced – as expected from a BA earphone.
Favourite pairings:
iPod Classic -> HeadAmp Pico -> q-Jays

Value & Conclusion:
I was blown away by the q-Jays with extended listening. They are superbly built, sound fantastic and amazingly comfortable for long sessions. These are a must for my collection, as mentioned before, they won’t replace my 1964 Ears, instead they will provide me a different avenue to enjoy my music, but also allow some genres to shine (classical etc). The soundstage is what really sets these apart, wide and spatial, giving you a true sense of stage. I really can’t wait to get my hands on a pair, without getting too hasty, but these might be my new favourite at this price-point!
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Great review! Thanks for joining the tour. :)


IEM Reviewer Extraordinaire
Pros: Build Qualit, Design, Accesories and Package
Cons: Can get bright with loud volume. Price is a bit high for dual driver.
Some might not know this, but JAYS of Sweden is actually one of the earliest audiophile IEM manufacturer around, joining the game well before the whole IEM bloom of recent years. Though their first model was released in 2006, it was really the original q-JAYS in 2007 that put them on the map, right alongside big names like Ultimate Ears (with Jerry Harvey still at the helm and Triple.Fi 10 Pro being their cream of the crop), Westone (with their best offering, the UM2) and Etymotic (always the ER4 of course). But with the 2009 financial crisis and recession hitting Europe hard, JAYS switched gear and focused their attention to mid and lower-end offering while the q-JAYS was ultimately discontinued. It was not until early 2015 that the second generation of q-JAYS was finally announced and JAYS, as it seems, is finally ready to come back to the higher end market.

Driver: Custom Dual Balanced Armature
Sensitivity: 103dB @ 1kHz
Frequency Response: 5~20000Hz (Full Range) / 8~16000Hz (+/-5dB)
Impedance: 50 ohm @ 1kHz
Isolation: -40dB @ 2kHz
Housing: Stainless Steel with PVD Matte Finishing
Cable: 120cm User Replaceable Kevlar Cable with SSMCX Connector and Gold Plated 3.5mm Plug.

Packaging, Accessories and Build Quality
As always, being simple yet elegant is how JAYS like to present their products – no difference with the new q-JAYS on this aspect as well. I guess this is what the Nordic’s charm is all about – treating simplicity as a beauty of its own while doesn’t compromise in styling or functionality. Now that’s class.
Accessories wise, you’ll get all that are needed – a round hard case that holds the earpieces can also be used for storage once the inner foam is taken out. 5 pairs of silicone single flange eartips of various size and a pair of Comply foam tip. Last but not least - the removable cable. A few things to note: first, the marking of left and right channel on the cable isn’t easy to spot, so don’t put them in the wrong order. The earpiece itself doesn’t have any marking on them, but the curvy shape itself serves as an indicator on which is which. Of course, you can put them on the wrong orientation if you like it that way. It is up to you. Secondly, there are tiny o-ring on both the cable connector and the removable filter – you don’t want to lose those when replacing the cable or cleaning up the filter as they will not be easy to find (well, technically not hard to find either, but you’ll need to order a few hundreds of them at a time from some Chinese suppler specialize in o-ring even if they are dirt cheap).


Build quality is excellent, perhaps in many ways some of the best I have seen. On the old q-JAYS, there are a couple of known problems, namely (1) the cable harden over time and eventually will develop a fault right where it goes into the earpiece and (2) earwax clogging the replaceable stick-on fabric filter, which you will need to replace once in a while. The new q-JAYS seems to tackle these problem heads on with the new replaceable cable and removable (*plus clean- and reusable) laser cut metal filter. I am particularly glad to see JAYS didn’t cut corner on just using a (usually dreadful and often fragile) MMCX connector, but instead adapted and reengineered the SSMCX connector with a thread and screw mechanism. That gives the connector the mechanical strength it needs for use as a headphone cable and won’t likely to suffer the same kind of disconnecting / pin misalignment issue that plagues all MMCX connector. The metal filter is also excellent example of JAYS engineering capability where they choose to CNC and laser cut it out instead of going with the more conventional manufacturing process. Last but not least is the rather unassuming housing that is formed by stainless steel injection molding and followed by a matte finish using a special metal vapor deposit process. All and all, the attention to detail is unparalleled to all other IEM I have seen.


The removable laser cut filter and the internal acoustic filter.

Sound Quality
Sound signature wise, the new q-JAYS is somewhere between a neutral and a warm+sweet sound, with a slightly rich tone. Bass has good quality and reaches down deep to the 20Hz, but it is qualitatively just a bit more of being neutral. Won’t be enough for any basshead, but shouldn’t feel lacking for everyone else. Mid-range has decent texture with a semi-sweet vocal that isn’t too near or too far, staying mainly in line with the bass but does turn slight bright near upper vocal / lower treble and can get *almost* sibilant if you listen to it on high volume. Treble too extends quite well upward with good clarity and spark, but not quite the level of being analytical sounding. Soundstage is pretty good, above average but not among the best. Overall, the new q-JAYS can be said to have a well-rounded sound. Besides the fact that it can get a bit bright on loud volume (though totally fine in low volume), it has a fairly spotless sound with little weakness to speak of.
If the brightness mentioned s something that worries you, here is a neat trick – you can cut just a tiny bit of foam (say, from earbuds’ foam pad) and place it inside the laser cut metal filter. It will nicely tame down the brightness and give just a bit more warmth to the presentation. While you will lose just a tiny bit of soundstage, you will also gain a bit more texture and intimacy. Given the little mod is completely reversible, it is very well worth trying. Just be sure the foam you cut should be almost equal size for both side and you can keep adjusting their size until you get the best balance for your own taste.

q-JAYS: New vs. Old
Last but not least, and perhaps the question on every original q-JAYS users’ mind – is the new and old q-JAYS sound the same? Well, they are similar, but not identical. The overall quality and quality of bass and upper treble is pretty much the same, but the old q-JAYS has a more recessed vocal and lower treble range that gives it a mild V-shaped presentation. In comparison, the new q-JAYS has a vocal and lower treble range that is more in line with bass and upper treble and thus it has somewhat flatter frequency range in listening. That being say, they do still share the same rich and warmish tone in their presentation. All and all, it is more of a gentle improvement rather than any radical change.

We have seen triple (if not more) drivers IEM offered on the same price range and we have also seen sub-$100 hybrid IEM from China these days – so does the new q-JAYS really stands a chance? If anything, I’ll say JAYS have managed to make the dual driver BA sexy again, and that’s no small feat on its own. Ignoring the driver-number game or the price war from China, I think many will agree that the new q-JAYS is perhaps one of the most refined and well-engineered IEM in a total package that $400 can buy. In other words, while q-JAYS may not be standing as one of the best IEM of its time like the original q-JAYS once did, it is still a relevant IEM of the current market. Kudos to JAYS, It is the proof that form and function can indeed be married in an uncompromised union.
Basic measurement can be found here.
A thanks to JAYS for the sample.
Great review. Thanks.
I find the sound very similar to the old DBA-02, with a few slight differences.
1) The highs of the Q are slightly less strident and metallic than the DBA.
2) The Q is slightly (VERY slightly) warmer.
3) Bass extension and emphasis is slightly greater in the Q.
Speed is similar, but I find the Q-Jays to be slightly more 'naturalistic' sounding than the DBA's.
These are great IEM's for me. Excellent form factor, build quality and sound.
The only (very minor) complaint: not the best cable for the price.
Going by your description might be similar to Zero Audio Doppio's too- ever heard those?
@Raketen No, haven't listened to it before.

d marc0

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Excellent build quality, aesthetics and packaging. Comfortable fit! That threaded SSMCX!
Cons: Treble emphasis, Needs more bass to balance/match treble.
JAYS is a Swedish earphone manufacturer known for quality craftsmanship and sleek designs. The q-JAYS was first introduced in 2007, marketed as the smallest dual balanced armature in-ear monitors. Eight years later, the 2nd generation appears with a whole lot of improvements. Let's find out what the new q-JAYS is all about.
According to JAYS' official website, the q-JAYS is their finest and most precise achievement to date: "Made with the intention of crafting the world’s finest earphones, q-JAYS is built to deliver the most authentic and detailed sound experience possible. Its perfect timbre and high-resolution details were made possible by integrating advanced audio engineering with various state-of-the-art development techniques such as Metal Injection Molding, CNC and laser cutting."
RETAIL PRICE:            US$ 400
DRIVER SPEC:            Dual Balanced Armature Driver
IMPEDANCE:               50 Ohm @ 1kHz
SENSITIVITY:              103 dB @ 1kHz
FREQ RESPONSE:     8Hz - 16KHz
TERMINATIONS:         Custom threaded SSMCX, 3.5 mm gold plated L-plug
INCLUDED CABLE:    1.2 M Exchangeable Kevlar cable
WHERE TO FIND:       https://www.jays.se/q-jays
Disclaimer: This review unit was provided as a loaner by djScope.
First and foremost, I'd like to highlight JAYS' impeccable attention to detail. From the packaging all the way to the individual contents, "premium" and "class" are consistently emphasised. Think Apple-like presentation except, it's in all-black fashion.
  1. 1 pair foam tips
  2. 5 pairs silicon tips (S,M,L)
  3. Carrying Case
  4. Cable
  5. User Guide
iPod Touch 5th Gen > OPPO HA-2
16/44 FLAC and ALAC
Sony Hybrid tips were used
Dr. Chesky’s Ultimate Headphone Demonstration Disc
Daft Punk - Giorgio by Moroder
Pantera - Domination
Michel Jonasz - Le Temps Passe
Anna Maria Jopek - Bukowina
Dire Straits - Sultans of Swing
Phil Collins - Easy Lover
Dream Theater - Lifting Shadows Off A Dream
Avicii - Heart Upon My Sleeve
Just like its predecessor, the 2nd generation q-JAYS are tiny. Certainly one of the smallest in-ear monitors I've ever tried, second only to Aurisonics' Rockets. Although small in size, these IEMs are sturdy - built from solid stainless steel coated with a scratch-resistant, anti-fingerprint, matt charcoal black finish. The physical properties of the enclosures ensure better sonic performance from the dual balanced armature drivers. The shape of the IEMs are perfect for deep insertion into the ear canal. In addition to that, secure fit and comfort are easily achieved - thanks to q-JAYS' small size. One thing worth mentioning is the lack of left-right markings on the IEMs. The user has to be familiar with the shape and understand the proper way of putting them on. Fortunately, everything is properly explained and illustrated in the included user guide.
The cables employ custom threaded SSMCX connectors and seem to function brilliantly. There is a tiny white marking on one of the connectors to indicate that it's for the right ear piece. I don't see any potential wear and tear issue as long as these connectors are handled properly. My only reservation is the fact that these connectors are unique to JAYS and as far as I know, there aren't any other manufacturer who can supply these cables. JAYS indicated that these are kevlar cables, but they are on the thin side in terms of gauge. I'm not sure if these cables can last the constant untangling and pulling although, I didn't encounter any problem in the few weeks that I had these. Cable noise is quite bothersome but can be minimised by using a shirt clip. It would've been nice if they included one in the packaging.
There's an included hard case which is a good addition if the need to travel with the q-JAYS arises. It will do the job of protecting the IEMs from harsh environments just fine; except when going underwater.

The overall sound signature of the q-JAYS is analytical-reference. Using a Sine Sweep Test, I can't hear any abrupt deviation from a flat frequency response. This should be a good indication that these IEMs are indeed tuned to be reference class. Oddly enough, listening to music presented a different result to my ears. The q-JAYS' sound signature is highly dependent on listening volume. At a low volume level, these just sound great as advertised - reference with an inclination toward analytical signature due to the emphasis in the lower treble. Listening at my usual average volume, these IEMs tend to sound brighter, thinner and sibilant. The higher the volume, the worse it gets... to the point that it's intolerable. I'm not sure why it's doing this, but it could be the bass lacking the energy to balance/match the treble emphasis. Soundstage is average in width and varies depending on the source or the track being played. Imaging is good enough to avoid congestion in the overall presentation.

Bass is articulate and clean, with a slight delay in decay times. There's a mild added warmth from the mid bass but sub bass seems to lack depth and air which is usually expected from balanced armature drivers. Michel Jonasz' Le Temps Passe is a test track I use to determine sub bass extension and timbre. Bass is slightly on the thinner side due to the lack of depth, so don't expect a visceral, fun-sounding bass. The q-JAYS is able to keep up with complex bass lines with good articulation as it played along Daft Punk's Giorgio by Moroder. Really not bad for a balanced armature driver. The overall bass response could've been more dynamic and natural. Inear's Stage Diver 2 is a tad better on this front - bass is tighter, faster, fuller and extends further.
The emphasis in the lower treble can be an "ace" or a "one" for the q-JAYS. At low listening volume, the overall balance in sound signature is kept. Treble has great energy, promoting clarity and detail comparable to the Noble PR in pure mode. As volume increases, this advantage becomes nullified. A cymbal's timbre sounds a lot thinner than normal. There's more sizzle rather than the organic bell sound. Using the track from Phil Collins - Easy Lover, the intro is a succession of cymbal crashes and the q-JAYS didn't sound quite as natural as the Stage Diver 2. I highly recommend the use of foam tips to attenuate the treble closer to what's ideal. Otherwise, sibilance is a constant issue with aggressive tracks like Pantera's Domination from the Cowboys from Hell album.
Midrange is my favourite part in the q-JAYS frequency response. Listening to Anna Maria Jopek's Bukowina reveals the competence of these IEMs especially in delivering vocals. The projected depth renders a euphoric and intimate experience especially when string instruments are involved. Tonality is perfect, it doesn't matter what instrument is playing as long as the tone resides in the midrange. Avicii's Heart Upon My Sleeve is an instrumental I use to test tonality, imaging, and depth between the various instruments. The q-JAYS passed with flying colours on this track. However, upon increasing the volume level, the exceptional clarity and detail in the upper midrange can be quite fatiguing.
The q-JAYS is not a very sensitive IEM, so it responds quite well with various amps. The iPod touch 5th Gen can drive these IEMs with no problem but I still prefer using the OPPO HA-2 DAC/AMP in the setup. The q-JAYS' treble response is more controlled and refined with the OPPO HA-2. Unfortunately, the pairing is not as silent as I'd prefer. There's still an audible hiss despite the low sensitivity, quite typical for most balanced armature IEMS.

So how is the q-JAYS as a "Reference" monitor? In my experience, it's a great pair of reference IEMs when listening at a low volume level. However, I don't think the q-JAYS sound their best when used outdoors or in noisy environments. In these environments, we tend to listen at higher volume levels and this is where the q-JAYS deviate from a well balanced tuning. These IEMS have the tendency to sound bright and harsh when volume is pushed. Choosing the right kind of music can also make a difference in the user experience. I highly recommend ballads, acoustics, vocal-centric genres and alike to fully enjoy what the q-JAYS can offer. Build quality and aesthetics are worth mentioning when describing these IEMs. They truly are the Swedish company's finest achievement so far. I'm looking forward to what JAYS can come up with in their next line. I'm confident that they'll deliver another good, if not better headphones in the years to come.
Special thanks to @DJScope for facilitating this review.
I hear you about the unflattering treble response. I noted this when I reviewed them, as well. It differed somewhat from others' impressions, so I got them back in for a second listen and tried different tips and deeper insertion. No matter what I tried, I always experienced sharp / piercing treble and lack of bass when all I really wanted was to crank them up and jam out to the music. I hope JAYS solves this issue because these IEM have so many positive attributes that it's a same for them to be let down by this fault.
d marc0
d marc0
@nmatheis thanks for confirming my findings. Totally agree that JAYS could've made a real winner here. It is unfortunate that the tuning doesn't agree to our tolerances. Like you, I really tried to make it work, but it really came out short in the end. We'll see what JAYS can come up with next time...


100+ Head-Fier
Pros: great fit and decent sound, great design
Cons: very expensive if looking through audiophile glasses
A little bit on the Q Jays 2.0 (not designed for Audiophiles)
So I got this for a week and a bit during the Q Jays 2.0 Australian tour.
Firstly, a little about me
Personally, I am a person who tends to gravitate to high end equipment, but have recently started looking at the low-mid end segments of the IEM world, since I have come to the conclusion that I have had my head stuck up in the clouds for too long. While I love trying new equipment, the equipment I end up buying tends to be little. This might be due to my lack of a decent income, or because I have very high standards, honestly I am not sure. However, one thing I am very sure of, since I have a rather limited budget, whatever I tend to buy or recommend are things I love, instead of hyping the regular item. While I believe sound quality to be extremely important, I also highly value ergonomics, and love things that look beautiful as well.
So I first heard of Jays as a brand several years back when my friend decided to “splurge” on a pair of IEMs costing around $100SGD (haha the audacity of calling that an expensive purchase am I right?). We went to the audio section of a computer store (it was probably either Harvey Norman or Challenger for those reading this from Singapore) and looked at several models on display. Despite me recommending several Audio Technica IEMs as the path to go, he settled on the Jays. From what I remember, it seemed like he was more interested in the aesthetics of the IEM than the sound of it. Several notable points included the flat cable, the beautiful carrying case and most notably the way it looked all sleek and expensive since it was black. My friend has been a huge fan of the a-Jays line of products ever since.
When I first received the Q-Jays, I was promptly reminded of what my friend felt with the beautiful sleek looking case and the way everything just had a premium look and feel to it, even the box and the manual felt premium, with good materials and a certain thickness to the paper. It can definitely be seen that I was thoroughly impressed by the effort that Jays have put into every product they release in order to give it a premium feel.
Special mention must be given to the metal housing of the q-Jays here, since it actually felt amazing and looked great; definitely appealing to people looking for something sophisticated.  
During my listening period, I personally felt the Q-Jays presented as rather bright and fairly neutral , but had enough bass when the song needed it.  Both the bass and the treble were boosted, with the treble being boosted more than the bass. This sometimes made me feel like the bass was lacking, but that feeling would sometimes disappear by the next song. What bass there was, however, was pretty well extended. The mids were present, but were nothing to brag about.
Now the highs are probably the thing that most people either loved or hated about the Q-Jays and they deserve their own mini paragraph in this case. When I used the Q-Jays, the strong and defined highs made the earphones feel detailed and quick with fast attack and decay. However, they also presented with some sibilance with cymbal crashes and certain voices.
It is sometimes said that older people tend to be more interested in earphones with a better defined high end because age deteriorates their hearing, while youths tend to like bass heavy earphones more. It kind of seems to me that the Q-Jays fit this mould to a certain extent with their design, tuning and price.
After screwing in the cables into the earphone, I spent about 2 or 3 minutes trying to figure out which one was left and which was right. After realising that I was not wrong and that there was indeed no labelling on the damn thing, I promptly just decided that this was an excuse for some FPS games. This also led me to the quick conclusion that my earphones were definitely on opposite when I turned left only to get killed from the right. As they say, once bitten twice shy, this mistake never happened again.
After a day or 2 of wear, the Q-Jays grew on me. They were comfy and fit into my mini earphone carry case along with the fantastic Cowon Plenue D (the case in question happens to be the soft bag that comes along with every fitear earphone). This potent little combination would become my combination for day to day outside usage, both satisfying and easy to carry around.
Sadly, this dream was not perfect. The cable was very thin and seemed to snag everywhere with little effort. This caused me a lot of frustration and made me miss the flat cable that the a-Jays possessed. However, there was a glimmer of hope! The cables are removable, but were terminated with a pin I have no recollection of ever seeing. This means that if the cable snapped, I would have to buy another cable from Jays, which would possess the same problems as the cable before it. However, the screw in design of the cable also meant that the connection between the cable and the earphone was very strong and the earphone would pop out of the ear instead of the cable popping out of the earphone and the earphone subsequently falling to the ground and shattering. The metal enclosure of the q-Jays also gave me confidence in its ability to take *SOME* damage, but I opted not to test this theory out since this was a loaner.
When it comes to design, audio companies have to decide what market they wish to appeal to. This dictates the way they use their budget, be it on marketing, design, audio research and even who to distribute with. In my opinion, it comes down to 2 categories: Audiophile and mass market.
Personally I feel that the Q-Jays are definitely aimed towards the mass market side of things. They have great design, sound decent, have a luxurious look and feel, are easy and fuss free to use, are low profile and, most importantly, are sold in places where normal people would go to buy their earphones. That being said, just because a product is aimed at the mass market, it won’t appeal to the audiophile. However, looking at this through audiophile eyes, I would have problems recommending it at this price to anyone who would consider sound quality at the top of their list of priorities (aka an audiophile). I would definitely be happy to point the next non-audiophile friend interested in spending a large amount of money on IEMs to the Q-Jays 2.0 since I am sure they would be very happy with this product. It offers quite the compelling set of features to non-audiophiles that most audiophiles would not care about at all. Congratulations on Jays for stepping up their game once again and sticking to their strengths. 


500+ Head-Fier
Pros: Excellent midrange, Comfort King, Excellent build quality, Slightly north of neutral bass, Excellent imaging
Cons: 6K peak can rear at times, Could do with more sub-bass rumble, Subjective value assessment.
Jays q-JAYS v2 : Passion meets Sound meets Design

  1. Specifications
  2. Enter the Matrix
  3. Packaging and Accessories
  4. Build and Comfort
  5. Sound
  6. Comparisons
  7. Conclusion and Value
  8. Some subjective drivel
  9. Useful Links

Driver type : Custom dual BA
Sensitivity: 103 dB @ 1 kHz
Impedance: 50 Ohm @ 1 kHz
Body: Stainless steel, PVD coat
Isolation : -40dB @ 2kHz
Cable : 1.2m Detachable (SMMCX) Kevlar
Microphone : Optional : iOS, Android, Windows
Price : 400USD (470USD - mic version); INR35999 from Headphonezone

Enter the Matrix
I’ve loved music for as long as I can remember. But, my fascination with how good my music-on-the-go could sound was only born a few years ago. My Sony E818 earbuds (subsequently MDR-EX35LP) and trusty Aiwa Walkman gave me musical bliss for many years before I discovered the rabbit hole that was the world of high-fidelity “personal” audio. And that is where Jays comes in. Sometime in ’08, out of curiosity, I decided to search for reviews of my MDR-35LP to see what others thought of it. One search led to another and I saw this cool tiny black IEM, and then noticed the phrase “dual armature”. Dual?? They couldn’t possibly mean two speakers per earpiece?! And even if they did, how can it be that tiny. “Must be expensive”, was my third thought. 200$!! My EX35LP only cost me 22$ and I had to save my pocket money for months to buy it and a few new cassettes. Someday…I thought….I’ll get to listen to the q-JAYS and then I’ll have heard the pinnacle. Just the thought made me tingly all over.
I subsequently discovered Head-fi and found out that “the rabbit hole” was a bottomless chasm! The q-JAYS was filed under the “maybe someday” section and I set out on my budget journey.
Almost 7 years and many IEMs later, I saw a post on Inearmatters announcing the new q-JAYS, and it all came rushing back to me. In a rush of nostalgia, I felt a sudden urge to buy it, just to honour my wish from 8 years ago. If priced similarly (~200$), it was definitely within reach. I felt tingly again and looked for more details, and then saw the price….. 400$. Well… at least I got to relive that sinking feeling too. I reluctantly re-filed it under the “maybe someday” section and went back to regular programming.
India is barren wasteland when it comes to portable gear. So, I had no hopes of wrangling an audition or finding someone who owned it. Recently however, the scene in India has been improving with stores like Hifinage, Proaudiohome and Headphonezone reaching out to the small audio-enthusiast community. Headphonezone has taken it a step further with their “Headphone Connect” meets at multiple locations across the country. Thanks to the meets, I’ve had the opportunity to meet other enthusiasts and audition all kinds of sweet gear.
Imagine my glee when I found out the new q-JAYS would be making an appearance at the Dec 2015 meet!
Raghav (CEO - Headphonezone) has very graciously allowed me to test drive the q-JAYS for two months, and fulfil one of my earliest dreams (in this hobby).
I’m glad I've had two months to listen to the q-JAYS, since I came in with a heaped helping of expectation bias and that could’ve skewed my impressions early-on.

Packaging and Accessories
I only received the hard carry case and one set of tips for my review, so I cannot comment on this section. The other reviews show an impressive array of accessories. The hard case is sleek and keeps the overall all-black tone. I would’ve preferred a clamshell design with a bit more depth. Because, unless the IEM is laid flat and the cables are well away from the rim, it may take an attempt or two to close it properly.
Build and Comfort: 
P1010524.jpg P1010516.jpg
Simply put, these are the best built and most comfortable IEMs I have ever had the pleasure of using. The tiny RE400 comes close to the level of comfort but falls short in build quality. The Titan 1 is superbly built but is not as comfortable.
The attention to detail in the build is simply astonishing. The IEM is draped in black from end to end and never breaks character. The strain reliefs at the L jack, Y split and SSMCX end are minimalistic but very sturdy. The SSMCX thread has a tiny washer at the base to ensure a tight fit once screwed on and also has a small indicator to help differentiate left from right. The Kevlar reinforced TPE coated OFC cable is on the thinner side, but feels very sturdy, retains very little memory, and keeps microphonics relatively low (compared to other Rubber/plastic cables). Isolation is very good and I’ve used it on public transport without getting distracted.
The slightly curved IEM body is incredibly tiny and is very light with just enough heft to give it that high-end feel. There is a tiny screw on (and therefore easy to clean) protection filter on the nozzle with laser cut holes that do not alter the sound signature. I spotted a tiny vent on the ventral side of the body near the cable which I did not expect to see on a BA IEM. Removable cables and the tiny chin-slider means it’s a breeze to wear over ear.
The light weight, tiny form factor and slightly curved body make for a very comfortable fit and is incredibly easy to pop in-n-out. I’ve worn it for 5 hours at a stretch and didn’t feel any strain. If I absolutely had to complain, I could say that the cable feels a little grabby/sticky which can be inconvenient if you fidget often.
The q-JAYS are my new comfort benchmark and are almost my new build benchmark (if it wasn’t for the slightly sticky cable).
The most drastic turn in my audio journey was undoubtedly the RE400. I remember U-head-me popping in the much hyped RE400 and feeling neutral (pun somewhat intended) about the sound. Over the next few weeks I slowly fell in love with the midrange, the smooth treble, fast bass (and grumbled about the lack of sub-bass attack and rumble).
So when I wasn’t wowed by the q-JAYS at first listen, I took it as a good thing. The more time I spent with this IEM (while not thinking about “reviewing” it) the more sense it made.
Music/Albums(among others): All lossless, some 24/96
  1. Friday Night in San Francisco : 1981 live album by Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucía
  2. Brave Enough: Live at the Variety Playhouse : Sara Bareilles
  3. Unplugged : Eric Clapton
  4. ​Bad Self Portraits : Lake Street Dive
  5. Classics : She and Him
  6. Ella and Louis : Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, accompanied by the Oscar Peterson Quartet
  7. I Can Do Better : Rie fu
  8. Shady XV : Eminem
  9. Another Bundle of Tantrums : Jasmine Thompson
  10. London Grammar : If You Wait
  11. C2C Tetra
  12. Fort Minor : The Rising Tied
  13. Adele : 25
  14. Glitch Mob : We can make the world stop
  15. Troyboi : Various tracks
Source variation:
  1. Geek Out 450 : The GO 450 was the best fit for the qjays. Midrange clarity and bass control was better than my other sources. I also tried using the 47ohm output. This smoothened the treble a little and brough the lower midrange forward.
  2. LG G2 + PowerAmp + DVC : Compared to the GO450, it lacked some refinement in the lower midrange and tightness in the bass. 
  3. Sansa Clip Zip + Rockbox : Similar observations as the LG G2 but not as drastic
  4. Asus Ultrabook S400CA : Some hiss and tendency for the treble to step out of line. 
  1. Bass: I’ve heard accounts on the differences between DD bass and BA bass. My first experience with BA bass was the NuForce Primo 8, which hit really hard but sounded unrealistic due to the lightning fast attack and decay. The Titan 1 could hit hard and fast out of nowhere but sounded organic at the same time. The q-JAYS really surprised me with tight bass with quick attack but with realistic decay (There’s some venting voodoo in play here). Quantity wise it is slightly north of neutral, just enough to make it sound engaging, particularly in the mid-bass (if I consider the RE272/RE400 as neutral). It does have the out of nowhere bass, but it doesn’t boom or roar out nowhere like the Titan 1. Make no mistake, the sub-bass does extend down to 30 hz(gentle roll off starting at 50Hz before rolling off sharply at 30Hz) but the good part is that the roll off doesn’t significantly cut out the “rumble”(unlike the RE400/RE272 and Havi). Kick drums and bass guitars sound more realistic compared to the Havi/RE400/RE272. Lower sub-bass is mostly seen in “Artificially generated” music like electronic/trap/dubstep etc. While the q-JAYS do not “excel” at these genres, I do not feel inclined to skip these tracks. With the RE400/RE272 I would automatically skip these tracks, but they were bearable with the q-JAYS. The bass complements the lower midrange very well, imparting the right of warmth to male vocals without any bleed.
  1. Midrange: The transition from the bass into the midrange is excellent.  Male vocals sound full and with sufficient body, as do violins and cellos. Layering and texture in the vocals rivals the RE400/RE272 and that is saying a lot. Vocals feel smooth, intimate, uncoloured, and benefits from the excellent imaging. It is very easy to pick out details in female vocals and is particularly impressive because of the effortless delivery. The midrange is really hard to fault. Some may wish it was “more engaging’ but I don’t know how that would be possible without colouring it.
  1. Treble: The treble is well behaved for the most part and doesn’t sound artificial or metallic. There definitely is a region of added presence (a sine sweep done after the review showed me a narrow peak at ~6K.). This emphasis is not apparent on every track.  Cymbal shimmer is not harsh except on poorly recorded tracks. The peak is more apparent on instruments like snares and trumpets but only at certain notes. The treble is more well behaved on either side of the peak. The treble doesn’t extend linearly and effortlessly like my RE272 but I don’t feel like I’m missing out on details or presence in the region.
Stage and Imaging:
The stage is around average width for a (mostly) closed IEM. Imaging is exceptional and contributes to the realistic soundstage. The separation and layering of instruments is also remarkable and put together, makes for a natural sonic space (Natural, not in terms of size but in terms of our position and perception of elements in that space).
Comparisons: I’ve littered parts of my review with comparisons. So, I’ll not get into too much detail below:
  1. DUNU Titan 1: The Titan 1 is a semi-open half in ear large single driver IEM, which is the opposite of the closed, fully in-ear dual BA q-JAYS. The Titan 1 has more bass quantity across the range with more rumble, the sonic space is larger, imaging is on-par, and midrange is relatively recessed (especially in lower midrange). Both are brighter than what I would consider neutral. While the Titans are bright across treble range, the q-JAYS seem bright due to certain peaks and is well behaved otherwise. The q-JAYS are predictably better at isolation and are more comfortable.
  2. HiFiMAN RE400: Tiny, metal body, easy to drive, excellent midrange, fast bass. Hmm.. could be talking about either IEM at this point. More in common here than with the Titan 1. The biggest difference lies in the treble presentation and build. The RE400 is way more laid back in the upper reaches which results in unlimited fatigue free listening. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the q-JAYS boasts more bass quantity and rumble. Midrange clarity is comparable with the RE400 taking the edge in layering but the q-JAYS sound less dry and more engaging thanks to the warmer tone and non-laid-back nature of the upper midrange.
  3. HiFiMAN RE272: Ah. My treble benchmark. The subtle clarity king. Since this is a long discontinued IEM, I’ll keep it subjective. I have heard IEMs that rival the clarity and detail levels offered by the RE272, but am yet to hear an IEM that can present it in a sublime, effortless and unforced way like the RE272. The q-JAYS may have clarity to match but it sounds sharper in comparison. The bass is more linear on the RE272 and doesn’t manage to bring out emotion in the bass. But that is made up by the beautiful midrange and treble presentation. The q-JAYS are definitely the better all-rounder but the RE272 is a unique IEM that is still the best at something(treble) while being less versatile.
Conclusion and value: 
Neutral signature with some special mojo, in the most ergonomic and well-built package. What’s not to love? ….I’ve been side stepping this throughout the review.  There’s no way to soften the blow, so I’ll come straight out with it. The q-JAYS retail for 400USD (470USD for the mic version). While the q-JAYS are probably not poor value, I can’t say it is good value (with my level of experience, which isn’t much). Yes, Jays has poured everything they have into the q-JAYS to deliver a complete package and it shows. Custom dual BAs; metal injection moulded, tiny tiny CNC machined body (2cm long & 0.8cm wide), with a physical vapour finish; detachable Kevlar SSMCX threaded cables; laser cut protective filters. I can’t name another IEM that sounds great AND can boast of such unique/consequential features around that price. Beyond the excellent sound signature, these reasons may justify the price for some. That is a personal call.
Some subjective drivel:
I wish I could afford these discreet drops of awesome audio. Not only for to the excellent sonics, but also because, they feel so very comfortable (I could wear it for hours without any strain), they feel so well built (I feel confident enough to carry it wherever I go) and my phone can drive them well too (not as well as my GO450 though). I kept getting lost in the midrange during my critical-listening sessions, which is why this review was so difficult to complete. I’m sad that I have to send them back, but am glad I have a new reference point, and was able to refine what I need in my next IEM. Is the signature perfect for my tastes? Um.. I do wish it had some more sub-bass presence and rumble. And I wish the 6K peak was present but less drastic. Everything else (including non-sonic features) is absolutely perfect for my preferences.
Goodbye for now, tiny q-JAYS. My journey started (in a way) with you, and has reached this new high thanks to you.
Useful links:
  1. Impression threads : 1; 2; 3
  1. jays Product page: Link
  2. Official reseller (India) product link : Headphonezone
  3. Other Head-fi reviews : Link
As always, a thoroughly competent and concise review. Congrats and thanks!
Good work. Lot of adjectives. How's the hiss on this one with different type of devices? 
@james444: Thank you James. I hope you get to try them soon. There are some polarizing impressions in the forums and I'm curious to see your impressions.
@xEcuToR: Thanks for reading. I tried the q-Jays with the FiiO X7(for a week), Geek Out 450, LG G2, Sansa Clip and my ASUS laptop. The only audible hiss at normal listening volume was with the ASUS and I expected that (It makes my Ostry sound like angry snakes!).
>GO450: I generated a "silence" track in Audacity and tried it with my GO450 to look for any hiss. I had to go to very very high volumes for audible hiss. At normal(and slightly-above) listening volumes I couldn't detect any hiss.
>FiiO X7(IEM module) : In high gain, I couldn't notice audible hiss. There was some slight "interference", but that was only audible when streaming over Wifi.
>Sansa Clip : No audible hiss at normal volumes but other slight variation in sound sig compared to GO450 (See "Source variation" Spoiler tag in review)
I'm guessing the 50ohm impedance and not-too-high 103 dB sensitivity (both at 1kHz) helps with keeping the hiss low.
We'll never know for sure until the hiss-lords @shigzeo and @castleofargh test it :p


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Superb ergonomics. Good design. Balanced sound. Good spacial cues. Tiny. Beautiful.
Cons: Lack bass impact. Hits my sensitive spot for treble. A bit on the spendy side.


Image courtesy of JAYS


Hi guys. I recently got a chance to listen to the new q-JAYS courtesy of @shotgunshane and thought I'd let you know what I thought of them. Prior to this, I'd heard of JAYS but had no experience with their IEM, so I started looking into them a bit and found out I've got a bit of a tangential connection. Not really a connection to JAYS but to where JAYS come from. You see, my wife's father moved to the US from Sweden after university. My wife still has family in Sweden, and I've been to Stockholm (where JAYS are headquartered) twice since we were married. We walked all over Stockholm. I probably walked past JAYS HQ and never even knew it. I can tell you with certainty that the next time I'm over there, I'm going to make it a point to visit JAYS and see what they're cooking up for us.
TL/DR: For those of you too impatient to read over the whole review, I think my pros and cons mention most of the salient points. The new q-JAYS are probably the smallest, most ergonomic IEM I've ever used. They literally disappear in your ears. On top of that, they are engineered to last with all-metal construction, removable parts for easy cleaning, and detachable cables. JAYS was targeting a reference sound, and to my ears they've mostly achieved that with a balanced sound that should appeal to a lot of Head-Fi'ers. I could personally use more bass impact and decay and a bit less prominence in the upper end. I'll expand on this more in the review, but there you have the gist of it.
Before we move on with the review, here's a bit about JAYS:
Our story begins back in 2006. We had a simple idea and a big vision — to create great music experiences that everyone could enjoy and love. 

Today, we’re based in an old brewery in central Stockholm, and the heartbeat that continues to drive us forward is a relentless focus on engineering and design innovation. We believe that by humanizing innovating technology with good design, we can create memorable music experiences with an emotional impact. 

Our promise to you is a steadfast commitment to design and engineering excellence and a rigorous attention to details. To deliver on that promise means we have to stay true to our core value of simplicity in everything we do, in order to make products that are beautiful, easy to use and are built to last. 

Of course, producing quality products requires more than just quality materials — it requires highly-skilled and passionate team members with the ability and experience to ensure that every detail on every finished product comes out precisely as intended. 

Our team here at JAYS is a dedicated group engineers and designers who believe that there’s only one way to properly build a great product — to do it one detail at a time. From the unboxing experience to your everyday comfort using our products, we assure you that every detail has been carefully considered and improved by us over the years.

It’s always gratifying to be recognized for your hard work in the form of awards. But what we love and enjoy the most is creating experiences and products you will enjoy for long. We owe a huge thank you to our community for joining us on this amazing journey, and we hope that you will continue to be a part of our story.

q-JAYS threads: LINK, LINK


There is no financial incentive from JAYS for writing this review. I am in no way affiliated with JAYS, and this is my honest opinion of the q-JAYS. I hope my feedback proves useful for my fellow Head-Fi members as well as for JAYS.


I'm a 43 year old father who loves music. While I listen mostly to electronic and metal these days, I do listen to a wide variety of music - from electronic (Autechre, Boards of Canada) to modern/minimalist composition (John Cage, Philip Glass) to alternative rock (Flaming Lips, Radiohead) to jazz (John Coltrane and Miles Davis) to metal (Behemoth, King Diamond) to classic rock (Eagles, Rush).  
I'm primarily a portable audio enthusiast. My portable music journey started with the venerable Sony Cassette Walkman and then progressed to portable CD players, minidisc recorders (still have my Sharp DR7), and finally on to DAPs like the Rio Karma, iRiver IHP-1xx, iPod 5.5, iPhones, and the newer crop of DAPs from Fiio and iBasso.
Being a portable audio enthusiast, I typically listen with IEMs but am enjoying listening with full-size headphones more and more and tend to like u-shaped sound signatures, although I break out v-shaped IEM & HP from time to time for fun.
As with a lot of people my age, I've got some hearing issues. I've got mild tinnitus and suffer from allergies, which can affect hearing in my right ear. I'll admit it, I'm not blessed with a pair of golden ears. That said, I've been listening to portable gear for a long time and feel confident in assessing audio gear - just wanted to be transparent up front.



  1. Driver unit: Custom Dual Balanced Armature
  2. Rated Impedance: 50 Ohm @ 1kHz 
  3. Sensitivity: 103 dB @ 1kHz 
  4. Frequency response: 5Hz - 20KHz (8Hz - 16kHz ± 5dB)
  5. Plug: 3.5mm gold-plated L-plug 
  6. Cable: Detachable 1.2 m Kevlar cable with custom threaded SSMCX
  7. Price: $400



As usual, I'll go over the packaging and accessories in pictorial format with a wrap at the end. 
Front of outer sleeve
Back of outer sleeve
Inner sleeve
The actual box with a thick, heavy, beautiful user manual
Lift up the user manual to reveal yet more unboxing opportunities
Looks like someone at JAYS took some LEAN coursework
Here are all the goodies
In the "About Us" information up above, JAYS mentioned paying attention to details. I think the unboxing experience proves that point quite nicely. As I was unboxing the q-JAYS, it struck me that JAYS out-Appled Apple. Very classy!
I like that JAYS included four sizes of silicone tips to ensure their customers could find just the right size, although I ended up not using the included silicone tips for reasons I'll cover later. It's nice that they include a pair of comply tips because I found these a better match for me. The included screw-top carry case is made of tough matte black plastic. What else? Hmm, not that you'll use them often but q-JAYS even includes connector covers to place over the threaded SSMCX connectors when they're detached. Again, JAYS has those small details covered.


Again, I'll attack this section in pictorial format, commenting on what I like and what I think could be improved as I go.
q-JAYS Schematic
Image courtesy of JAYS
Just for fun before we get rolling, here's a picture of the disassembled JAYS. One thing I'd like to call out in this picture is the small grey line on the right male MMSXC connector. That's the only marking JAYS provides to distinguish Left from Right with the q-JAYS. Very minimalist! I don't think that's an issue, because it's pretty apparent how they're supposed to fit in your ears.
q-JAYS with Medium Comply tip as a size reference
Wow, they're really small. I hope putting them right next to a medium Comply tip helps put just how small the q-JAYS are into perspective. This view also gives you a pretty good look at the female connector and right above that we see a vent hole. This isn't typical on BA IEM, and I'm left wondering if it's more for equalizing pressure. In any case, the vent hole is well positioned to avoid wind noise, which is highly appreciated. I also like the powder coat finish, which provides a nice textured surface to grip when inserting and removing the q-JAYS.
Removable debris / wax guard
Rather than simply use adhesive or a clip to attach a mesh debris / wax guard, JAYS includes a removable perforated end cap so you can clean it thoroughly. Just unscrew it, wash, dry, and replace. Easy-peasy. It is very small though, so make sure you don't lose them down the drain!
Close-up of connectors
Here you get a nice close-up of the connectors and strain relief. I like this implementation. It's a quick, easy, and secure. No worries about friction fit connectors degrading over time, either. And because they're detachable, you can connect the cable to either earpiece to ensure you have the correct channels when worn down or over ear. I really like that because it's pretty disconcerting when you go from wearing an IEM down to wearing them up and critical elements in your music are all of a sudden coming from the wrong ear.
Cinch, Y-Splitter, L-Plug
As with the earpieces, JAYS decided to go small with the cable. Not by making it short, but by making it thin and supple with Kevlar reinforcement to increase toughness. It isn't very susceptible to microphonics, either. The only concern I have is finding aftermarket cables with the threaded SSMCX connectors, which doesn't seem to be very common. Maybe I'm just not looking in the right places. So if you like to swap cables, take that into account. As with the earpiece strain reliefs, the remaining stain reliefs on the cable are well done. Not much to fault with the cable, but I will say that the thinness will shock you at first. You'll probably think that you'll shred the cable in no time. Just remember that it's Kevlar reinforced You'll be fine.
q-JAYS all suited up and ready for battle!!!
Again, note just how small the q-JAYS are in comparison to the Comply tips. Simply amazing!
I usually put in some pics of how IEM look worn down vs. up, but I totally forgot to do that this time. Sorry about that. But I can tell you that since these are easily one of the smallest IEM you'll run across, they simply disappear in your ears when worn either way. So if you're contemplating purchasing the q-JAYS, rest assured you'll get a good, comfortable fit either way. Just to drive the point home, I let my 21yo daughter try these out. She's got small ears and has comfort issues with most of the IEM I let her try out. Not with q-JAYS. She said these were the most comfortable IEM I'd ever forced her to try out.
To sum up, with q-JAYS you'll be getting a small, highly-ergonomic IEM that's built to last. And even though the cable may seem like a weak point at first glance, you just need to move past that because it's built to be tough with Kevlar reinforcement and good strain reliefs. But tough doesn't mean stiff and microphonic. Quite the contrary, the cable is supple and microphonics are controlled very well. If ergonomics, build quality, and looks were all that needed to be considered, then q-JAYS win. Game over. No questions asked in my mind. Going back to q-JAYS "About Us" information, they just killed it with the attention to detail put into these. BRAVO!!!
But that's not all there is, is it. Of course, you need excellent sound to match, so let's see what I think of the sound...
Those of you who know me know I listen to a lot of electronic and metal. You might even know that I've been jamming a lot of classic rock lately, as well. I typically listen to music from Autechre, Behemoth, Bjork, Candlemass, Depeche Mode, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Iron Maiden, King Diamond, New Order, Rush, and Sigur Ros during my time with new gear. I might throw in some hard bop jazz or modern minimalist composition every now and then. Just wanted to make sure you know what kind of music I listen to for context. Unlike some other reviewers, I don't keep to a strict playlist. Instead, I choose songs I know well and feel like listening to. I feel it's more organic that way. Anyways, on with the show, eh...
JAYS was targeting a balanced, reference sound for the new q-JAYS. Balanced and reference mean different things to different people. To me, a balanced sound signature is a u-shaped sound. Give me a bit of low and high end emphasis. A bit more low end emphasis than upper end emphasis because I don't want the sound to get harsh. To me, a reference sound signature is flat. This is the WYSIWYG sound signature, and I honestly I'm not too fond of it. A lot of my music lives in the low end, and reference tuning just doesn't provide me with enough bass quantity to be satisfying. So with this in mind, where do the q-JAYS come out? I'd say they come out somewhere in the middle ground between how I see balanced and reference.
Before describing the sound signature, I want to mention that q-JAYS provide very good spatial cues. Soundstage is expansive, and it's easy to pinpoint sounds as they appear in headspace. I was impressed with this aspect of the q-JAYS. 
On with describing the sound signature. q-JAYS do have a slight bass lift. They also have some added emphasis up top. To my ears, the emphasis up top outweighs the low end emphasis. Depending on your point of view, this could either be a good or bad thing. For me, I found myself wanting more bass quantity. What was there was good and well-extended, no doubt about that. I just wanted more of it. The mids are nicely present and balanced very well from top to bottom. q-JAYS won't ever give you shouty mids. The upper end. Yes, that upper end. Some will love it and feel it's well-balanced with the rest of the sound signature. Unfortunately, it hit my sensitive spot in the upper region. The q-JAYS are also a quick-sounding IEM with fast attack and decay. This attribute combined with hitting my sensitive spot in the upper region made drum hits sound overly sharp, cymbals crashes turned harsh, and I got pronounced sibilance / hiss after S and T sounds. While some would argue that these are all present in the recording and that the q-JAYS are just doing their job as a reference IEM, I have other IEM that provide plenty of detail retrieval without this issue. So this led me to seek out remedies. The obvious route was tip rolling, and I'll go over that in a bit, but before that there was one suggestion I thought I'd try first.
The first suggestion for decreasing sibilance was to use an impedance adapter. I actually happen to have a couple of those laying around and gave that a shot. I tried both my 75 Ohm and 100 Ohm impedance adapters and didn't hear a difference between those two. I did hear a definite difference between the stock sound and the sound using the impedance adapters, and it wasn't for me. Using the impedance adapters did drop down the sound in the upper end, making that more comfortable for me. However, it also decreased bass quantity. Since that was one of my nitpicks with the sound, using the impedance adapters was a double-edged sword in that it solved one nitpick at the expense of accentuating the other. It was a good suggestion that made an audible difference. It just wasn't for me, so I moved on to testing out different tips.
Speaking of tips, I didn't get on with the included silicone tips. While they were comfortable and provided a good fit, they had the lowest bass emphasis and were the worst offenders for highlighting sibilance out of all the tips I tried. Switching to the Comply tips started to balance out the sound a bit more toward my preferences. Bass was a bit more emphasized and sibilance wasn't as highlighted. I still wasn't quite there, though. Since I had a good idea of where these needed to be to fit my tastes, I broke out the Ostry tuning tips. If you haven't seen these before, there are three Ostry tuning tips which affect bass and the sibilance area to varying degrees. Ostry 100 tips simply reduce sibilance a bit. Not bad, but not quite there yet. Ostry 200 tips reduce sibilance and add a slight bass boost. Better. Ostry 300 reduce sibilance and boost the bass a bit more. Again, better. Out of all the tips I tried, I liked the Ostry 200 and 300 tips the best. But, and this is a big but, the q-JAYS nozzle has a very small diameter so the Ostry (and most other tips) simply won't fit securely on the q-JAYS nozzle. Sure, you can put them on, but they'll end up coming off in your ear. Not ideal.
My final experiment was to try out an EQ correction curve. Using a 30-band EQ, I added a bit of a low end boost (+2dB @ 20Hz -> 0dB @ 160dB). This added a bit more warmth and punch down low. I also added a bit of upper end cut (-2dB @ 6.3kHz, -4dB @ 8kHz). This reduced sibilance, and gave percussion a less sharp and more natural tone. If your tastes are similar to mine and you're not afraid of using EQ, this is a good alternative (or supplement) to tip rolling.
If you're interested in taking a look, I'm including some rough listening notes I took with the q-JAYS and a few other IEM. The main IEM I used for comparison were the 3-BA Empire Ears Cerberus and the triple-hybrid FLC8S configured with one of my favorite tunings (Red-Grey-Gunmetal). Cerberus costs a fair amount more than the q-Jays, while the FLC8S cost a little less. I also threw in the double-hybrid Trinity Delta with the Gunmetal filter and the triple-hybrid LZ-A2 for the first song, which is one of my faves. These both cost significantly less than the IEM I used for the rest of the retesting. The listening was all out of my iBasso DX90, which has very fine volume control. I set the q-JAYS to a comfortable listening level and then volume matched the other IEM as closely as possible using my Dayton IMM-06 calibrated mic with results in the table directly below. 
DX90 + 1kHz FLAC test tone
q-JAYS: 185 = 83.7dB
Cerberus: 158 = 83.6dB
FLC8S: 167 = 83.6dB
A200: 188 = 83.7dB
Delta: 188 = 83.7dB
LZ-A2: 177 = 83.7dB
Bjork - Crystalline
Q-Jays: Sibilance accentuated making a high-pitched hissy noise at the end of s and t sounds. Bass not as present as I’d like making it sound soft. Bjork’s voice isn’t as full as I’d prefer. Cymbals sound sharp. Great sense of space and spacial cues. Sounds quick.
FLC8S: Sibilance still present but not as accentuated. More bass impact and presence - more to my preference. Smoother treble. Good sense of space and spacial cues. Not as quick but more organic.
Cerberus: Sibilance is minimal to not present. Most bass presence and seems like a bit of a mid-bass bump making it the punchiest. Upper mid boost makes Bjork’s voice a bit nasal. Treble is more present than FLC8S but is still relatively smooth. Best sense of space and spacial cues of the bunch.
A200: Obviously v-shaped with more powerful bass and scooped lower mids. Lacks sub-bass extension. Upper mids more present making Bjork’s voice stand out in the mix but not overly shouty. Surprisingly the high end isn’t as sharp. Drums and cymbals are more listenable. Sibilance is still present but not as pronounced. Good sense of space and spacial cues but not as good as q-JAYS.
Delta + Gunmetal Filters: Moar bass!!! Wow, a bit much mid-bass here Bjork’s voice is a touch softer than with A200 - just about right for me. Upper end is crisp and clear without being harsh. Sibilance is minimized. Good sense of space and spacial cues but not as good as q-JAYS. 
LZ-A2: Sibilance is present but minimized. Bjork’s voice is pretty neutral in the mix and a bit dry. Percussion sounds natural. Quite a bit of bass presence here similar to Delta but more linear. Sense of space is good but again not as good as q-JAYS.
The Eagles - Take It Easy
Q-Jays: Sibilance is back on s and t. Upper register guitar and cymbals sound a bit hot / crispy. Bass is again a bit softer than I’d like. Vocals are a bit thin. Banjo at the end is very clear and present but a bit sharp.
FLC8S: Still has sibilance but again not as accentuated. Upper guitar and cymbals more laid back. Bass is more present in the mix. Vocals are richer. Banjo at the end is present in the mix but not as clear and sharp.
Cerberus: Wow, the opening guitars are much more present here. Most sibilance is gone with Cerberus. Vocals are the most present with Cerberus but get a bit shouty in the upper register. Upper register guitar and cymbals get lost behind the rhythm guitar and vocals. Bass is a bit much for this song. Banjo at the end is between FLC8S and q-JAYS for clarity but isn’t sharp.
Rush - Tom Sawyer
Q-Jays: Opening lacks power. Drums and cymbals sound sharp. Upper register guitar sounds etched. Geddy sounds a bit thin. Very quick drums. Good sense of space and spacial cues like drums panning and synth spreading down and out to the sides.
FLC8S: Good punch at the beginning. Drums and cymbals sound less sharp and more natural. Upper register guitar a still etched but a bit less so. Good sense of space and spacial cues but definitely not as open as q-JAYS. Geddy sounds less thin. Bass line is fuller.
Cerberus: Wow, the opening has the power needed as well as a great sense of space and depth to it that the other two don’t have. Guitars are a bit more forward than I’d prefer. Bass line is great. Geddy sounds right between the other two. Drums and cymbals sound very natural but cymbals tend to get lost behind the guitars. The sense of space is great here.
Nile - Unas, Slayer of the Gods
Q-Jays: Pretty good sense of space but soft and lacking the timbre found in Cerberus. There are a bunch of cymbals right after the opening that sound like my ears are being shredded - so hissy. Cymbals are way too sharp and over-emphasized. I’m getting quite a bit of sibilance in Karl’s vocals on t’s and ending s’s. Vocals are most present with these. Rapid-fire drums sound unsubstantial. The downtuned electric guitars however sound pretty damn good here. Could use more bass presence to keep the song chugging along, though.
FLC8S: Good space and timbre - better than q-JAYS but not as good as Cerberus. Cymbals are still hot but don’t stand out over everything like with q-JAYS. A bit of sibilance but not as much of an issue here. Guitars sound spot on. Bass presence is very good for this song. Rapid-fire drums sound very natural and don’t blur. Vocals could be more present.
Cerberus: Oh! My! God! The sense of space and timbre in the opening acoustic guitar is just amazing! But again, guitars are a bit more present than I’d prefer. Vocals are getting lost. Bass is nice and weighty for the chugging parts of the song. Keeps up very nicely with the rapid-fire drumming without sounding sharp and machinegun-like.
Fleetwood Mac - Dreams
Q-Jays: Good sense of space and spacial cues. Sibilance is accentuated. Drums and cymbals sound a bit sharp. Stevie’s voice is nicely present. Bassline is a bit too light for me.
FLC8S: Bassline is much more full but some might find it a bit much for this song. Sibilance is more under control. Stevie’s voice is more intimate. Cymbals and drums sound less sharp and more natural. Spacial cues are good but these aren’t as open and airy as q-JAYS.
Cerberus: Nice full baseline. As with q-JAYS, Stevie’s voice is very present but can get pretty shouty at times. Guitars can be a bit much. Drums and cymbals sound natural but cymbals tend to get lost in the mix. Great sense of space and spacial cues.
I've skimmed some of the other reviews and impressions. Some have said the q-JAYS sound warm and full. Some have said it sounds neutral. Some have said it lacks bass and sounds bright. I think it's all context. I've been listening to some IEM that sound fuller and warmer recently, so for me the q-JAYS sounded a bit thin. Add the issues I experienced with sibilance, and q-JAYS came across sounding a bit bright to me. For those of you who prefer warm, full, bassy IEM, you're going to find these lacking. For those of you who crave a reference sound, q-JAYS will sound just a bit on the warm side. And for those of you who like a bright analytical sound, these will sound a bit warmer still and might not be your cup of tea. 


As you can probably tell, I've got mixed feelings about the q-JAYS. On the one hand, they're incredibly ergonomic and amazingly well-built. They're just about the perfect size and shape for a pair of IEM, in my opinion. The attention to details is amazing, from the unboxing experience to little (yet important) things like a removable debris / wax filter. On the other hand, the sound just wasn't for me. Was it bad? No, it just wasn't quite what I was looking for. If there was a bit more bass impact and presence and the upper end didn't really tickle my sibilance sensitivity zone, I'd be giving these a higher rating. However, I have no doubt that many a Head-Fi member will really enjoy these. I'm eagerly awaiting the next iteration of the q-JAYS with great anticipation. And the next time I'm in Stockholm, I'm going to make a point to drop by JAYS and say hi.
To wrap, I'd like to @shotgunshane for loaning these to me for a listen!

Nice review, my friend.
I enjoy the brightness, and while they could use a wee bit more bass impact, their natural and very neutral sound appealed to me very much.
Thanks, guys. I'm looking forward to my next visit to Stockholm. I'm actually going to make a point to visit JAYS.
FYI: I'm going to be getting these in soonish for another quick listen to try deep insertion in the hopes that will give me a more agreeable listening experience. If so, I'll update the review accordingly.


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: resolution, clarity, build, extension, unboxing experience, better resolution and speed than the StageDiver SD-2
Cons: "stealth mode": there are no classical side markers except for the IEMs' shape, expensive for dual-drivers (but definitely worth it)

Before I proceed to my actual review, let me start by saying a huge thanks to Jays for providing me with a sample of the q-JAYS (https://www.jays.se/products/q-jays/) in exchange for my honest in-depth analysis.
I am in no way affiliated with the company and this review reflects my actual thoughts on the product - as usual.


Sweden, located in northern Europe, has got 53% forest area and a population of a little under 10 million people, but isn’t that small in terms of achievements. Besides the sympathetic royal family, Sweden’s automotive range should be familiar to most people, and so the country brought out solid, established and innovative brands like Saab and Volvo, but also Koenigsegg, a super- and hypercar manufacturer.
In my childhood, it was especially Sweden’s literature that grabbed my attention and focussed me, and besides “Petterson and Findus” or “The Wonderful Adventures of Nils” with Martin, his domestic goose, especially Astrid Lindgren’s tales of “Karlsson-on-the-Roof” or the tricks of “Emil of Lönneberga” among others of stories of hers fascinated me - and I still have got those books. Later, in my youth, I discovered a darker side of Sweden’s literature when I stumbled over Henning Mankell’s compelling thrillers.
The Nordic country’s musical achievements are quite remarkable as well and internationally known. Besides export hits like ABBA or Roxette, singers and groups like The Cardigans, Mando Diao, The Hives, Clawfinger, In Flames, Robyn, Lykke Li, Avicii or Nils Landgren are famous and internationally acting musicians (and are just a small part of Sweden’s great artists).

And with this little digression, I now come to introduce Jays, a Swedish headphone manufacturer whose story starts in the year 2006. Nowadays located in an old brewery in the centre of Stockholm, they started from the vision of creating a great musical experience for everybody, and that’s exactly how this Nordic company was founded. With the leading thought of creating products that are technically and sonically valuable and merging them with an elegant and appealing design plus providing the customer with a high-quality experience in every step as well as part from the unboxing to using the headphones, the q-JAYS from 2007, the world’s smallest dual-BA earphones which didn’t have replaceable cables back then, are probably the Swedish company’s best-known product.
After having been discontinued for some time, these in-ears with two Balanced Armature transducers per side with dedicated crossover in two-way design are now back again, with a slightly modified sound signature, replaceable cables and a total redesign.

Technical Specifications:

MSRP: $400 without remote control and microphone, $470 with (iOS, Windows or Android)
Sensitivity: 103 dB SPL @ 1 kHz
Impedance: 50 Ohms @ 1 kHz
Frequency response: 5 Hz – 20 kHz
Frequency response (-5 dB): 8 Hz – 16 kHz
Isolation: -40 dB @ 2 kHz
Connectors: custom threaded SSMCX by Jays

Delivery Content:

Jays promises a valuable experience right from the start, straight from the first encounter – and does definitely not disappoint in this regard. These in-ears are really well elaborated right down to the last details from the packaging to the cable.

The q-JAYS in-ears arrive in a black package that is surprisingly heavy and therefore already leaves a positive and high-quality impression. The front features a large picture of the in-ears and already shows one core feature of the q-JAYS’ 2nd generation, which is the replaceable cable with threaded SSMCX connectors. The rear side shows an (uncompensated) frequency response chart as well as a very nice introduction to the in-ears and an actually negligible element that isn’t taken much care and notice of usually, but the case designers at Jays took heed of it. What I am talking about is the loop that is used for hanging the package on a hook in the stores, which is made of plastic and can be pulled out as well as slid back in whereupon it is flush integrated into the back. Even this little element shows that every single element and decision was made for reason and to deliver the best possible user experience. The upper side proudly shows “Designed in Sweden”.
The “next layer” or more specifically the actual box can be slid out to the sides and features the minimalistic modern black design that is a colour and characteristic which can be found on the entire concept of the q-JAYS. Designed after the idea and principle of a drawer, the actual box that contains the valuable goods can be slid out to the bottom. What can be seen then is a multi-lingual booklet (though the better fitting term would be “book” in this case) which is no regular manual, but contains many pictures, technical specifications, technical drawings, descriptions of all parts of the in-ears, information about the design and development process as well as the classical directions for use.
Taking that book(let) out, one will find three things: one carrying case as well as two small cardboard boxes. Underneath the carrying case, a graphic that show the side markers of the in-ear bodies can be seen (as there are no classical side markers on the in-ears nor on their cable once it is screwed in – the sides are identified by the in-ears’ shape). The carrying case itself contains solely the bare in-ear bodies without attached cables or ear-tips.
The upper of the two small cardboard boxes contains the replaceable cable and can be opened like a drawer (just like the one below it as well). When that box is taken out, a graphic shows the cable with side labels beneath it, as the small grey line on the right earpiece’s cable (which is the only side marker) can’t be seen once the cables have been installed.
The last box then contains five pairs of differently sized silicone ear tips as well as one pair of Comply Foam Tips and shows a graphic of the size when it is taken out.

That minimalistic yet magical and fascinating unboxing experience is definitely among the best that I have experienced with over 80 of my in-ears and headphones and shows how precisely every single part of the q-JAYS was planned - chapeau.

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Looks, Feels, Build Quality:

Once the cables are connected with the in-ear bodies, there are no classical side markers anymore, as the small grey strip on the right side of the cable disappears in the in-ear’s thread and the correct sides have to be detected by the shape of the in-ear bodies. This may sound a bit confusing and strange, but just remember that the flat side is supposed to be backward-facing – it’s just that easy.

The in-ears are really small and the black metal bodies with their matte, rugged finish are something quite special about the in-ears whose development and design process took over two years and whose production process takes around 40 hours: in the first step, the bodies are created by metal injection moulding. In the second step, the bodies are polished and then sandblasted in the third step to create that rugged surface. In the fourth step which is the final one, the bodies are sealed by using physical vapour deposition, where the black metal particles are bind with the bodies on a molecular level, which creates one of the toughest surface coatings.
The nozzles of the in-ears feature removable, threatened aluminium filters with 55 laser-cut, honeycomb-shaped holes within a diameter of just 2 millimetres.

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The replaceable cable is quite special: instead of using common 2-pin or MMCX connectors, Jays back on small SSMCX connections with the reissue of the q-JAYS. They are even threaded, which I consider as a huge benefit over MMCX connectors which can suffer from use (as a result of the rotation) and dirt that can enter through the gap – but that is not the case with these threaded SSMCX connectors; very well done.
Despite the magnificent connectors, the cable is even the bigger highlight and honestly the best non-twisted in-ear cable I have ever seen: although it is small in profile and very lightweight, it is enormously flexible and seems pretty tough. The topic “strain relief” was also taken seriously and some nice rubber strain relief can be found on every transition as well as connector, and a chin slider is also present. As a nice little touch, a dark-grey “Designed in Sweden by JAYS” lettering can be found near the L-shaped 3.5 mm connector.

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The included silicone tips are of high quality as well, thick-walled and very soft.

The protective carrying case is commendably bolstered with rubber on the inside, lies ergonomically in one’s hand and has got a “Designed in Sweden” inscription.

What is offered here is finest, pure, high Swedish quality without any disadvantages, combined with an elegant design – aesthetic and technical as well as build quality don’t have to be a contradiction, as the sound paragraph will also show further below.

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Comfort, Isolation:

The in-ears are tiny – not small, they are tiny. As a consequence, the bodies are almost invisible in the ears when they are worn, and the q-JAYS are just wonderfully easy to position in the ear canals and could be very well also worn by people with small ears and small ear canals. As the silicone tips are very soft, the q-JAYS sit very comfortably in one’s ears and as a result of it allow for long-term wearing comfort.
Wearing the cables both straight down or guided over the ears is both possible, but keep in mind that Jays recommends switching the sides for the latter, so that the flat side of the bodies are always backward-facing.
Microphonics, also known as “cable noise”, are only moderately present with the “classical” wearing style and disappear almost entirely when wearing the in-ears the “professional” way.

Noise isolation is on a very high level, although it is just a tiny bit lower than with completely closed in-ears.

Remote Control (iOS), Microphone:

The microphone cable comes in a packaging that features the same design as the one the in-ears arrive in.
It is just as flexible as the non-mic cable and also similarly designed, but has got a small in-line remote control on the right-hand side which has got a nice strain relief, three buttons and last but not least an integrated microphone.
Wearing the in-ears with the cables straight down, the microphone is located on the same level as my mouth, but changes its position to below my earlobe when the q-JAYS are worn with the cables around the ears – a slightly lower position would have been probably better, but the designers at Jays have rather decided to get a perfect position in one wearing style instead of just an “okay” position in both.
The three buttons for volume adjustment and playback control are easily tactile and have got a nice and pleasant pressure resistance.
The microphone has got really high speech intelligibility and voices are very crisp and clear on recordings as well as in phone calls.
As the remote control is located on the right side, it is also easier to identify the correct side when inserting the q-JAYS.

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I mainly used the q-JAYS with my iBasso DX90, as it has got an extremely low output impedance, has got an inaudible level of ground-hiss and is in general an analytically and precisely sounding digital audio player with a sound quality I personally really like.
Music files were mainly stored in FLAC and WAV format, but I also used a few MP3 files (320 kBps cbr). As usual, the music I used for testing covered many genres from Jazz over Pop, Metal and others, with different levels of speed and complexity.
On the computer, the low-impedance LH Labs Geek Out IEM 100 was my main DAC/Amp, with Foobar 2000 acting as playback software; I used SineGen and Arta as well.
Although I don’t believe in burn-in with Balanced Armature transducers, the in-ears were burnt in for 50 hours with noise and sine signals before listening (just in case).

The frequency response measurement graphs further below were not made with professional, calibrated equipment, but with the Vibro Labs Veritas in-ear measurement coupler. They should not be seen as absolute values, but rather as roughly visualised comparisons.


The tonal tuning of the q-JAYS is very grown-up and tends towards being balanced but without sounding boring. Who wants rather strongly sounded in-ears will most likely not be happy with these IEMs; gourmets however will.
The tonal tuning of these in-ears is really very well done and goes like this:

The bass together with the lower ground-tone is moderately accentuated in comparison to an almost strictly flat in-ear like the Etymotic ER-4S, but just enough so that the sound is not boring or sterile, though not really bassy yet – the sound is not really bassy, but also not neutral anymore. Generally, that is audible the most in the area of the mid-bass and lower ground-tone.
The lows are very even, and there is no real roll-off in the sub-bass even below 30 Hz.
The in-ear’s mids are tonally perfect, that’s all I can say here. Voices are free of any coloration and spot-on; the tuning in this area was done with a lot of knowledge and care.
The lower treble, also known as presence area, is somewhat in the background, which makes the earphones excellent for long-term use and prevents the q-JAYS from a sometimes strenuous “in your face” character in this area which the Etymotic ER-4S has for example. With that, the in-ears can be used for many hours without getting tired. From about 4 kHz on, level starts increasing again and has even got a small peak at 8.6 kHz in my ears. Super highs above 10 kHz have yet got a good extension for a BA-based dual-driver and help for still enough subtle sparkle in that area.

The people at Jays have really given the q-JAYS a felicitous sound tuning – the lows are emphasised enough to not sound boring, yet shy enough to not sound too bassy. The midrange is tonally correct, neither over- nor under-present and not obtrusive. Treble is, regarding level, pretty much correct, though the presence area is somewhat in the background to guarantee for a good long-term usability without fatigue.
The tonality is very natural and realistic, although the treble can sometimes appear to be a very tiny bit artificial sounding – but that is criticism on a really high level (and applies even more to the Ultimate Ears Reference Monitors’ treble).


I have to admit that I was a bit sceptical before I listened to the earphones for the first time if the resolution was on-par with the price tag or whether the q-JAYS were just overpriced dual-driver in-ears – but luckily they were a pleasant surprise.
The overall resolution is on a high level and indeed does justice to the price tag. What the developers at Jays squeezed out of the Knowles TWFK in terms of details is quite remarkable and probably the most that can be got out these tiny drivers.
The mids are really detailed, natural and highly resolving, have got natural as well as vivid voices and high speech intelligibility even at low listening levels, which is a typical thing for in-ears with Balanced Armature transducers. The whole sound is highly authentic as well as natural and seems open and easy-going, which not many in-ears in that price range manage to achieve in my ears.
Treble is detailed as well and renders instruments very nicely separated from each other, with an accurate and clean differentiation.
The lows’ drivers ability of using its back-venting hole where the driver also uses the rear air in the housings as coupling volume for tonal tuning and gives also small drivers the capability of extending low and having an emphasis has been used by Jays. That method can be either made very unobtrusive and gentle, or less good and harmonic – the latter goes at the expense of precision. What I can say is that the q-JAYS’ back-venting is definitely of the better sort.
The lows are, typically for BA transducers, fast, precise, arid and in the case of the q-JAYS very detailed as well, even though the back-venting can be heard in direct comparison to a closed BA-bass driver, especially with many fast bass attacks where a closed BA-bass has a harder impact and faster decay, but the q-JAYS’ lows are still quick enough for BA in-ears and only cave in a tiny bit with fast music and handles it clearly better than the InEar SD-2 which has got a back-vented woofer as well, but seems a bit strained with fast music and quick bass strokes – the q-JAYS don’t.
At the same time, that technical tuning gives the Jays a better resolution while still maintaining a good bass speed and aridness, with a higher lows resolution than the SD-2 and audibly less strenuousness with fast music.

Spatial Presentation/Soundstage:

The felicitous soundstage of the q-JAYS does indeed contribute to the good authenticity of these in-ears.
Though it is not as spacious as the one generated by my custom-moulded Ultimate Ears Reference Monitors or the InEar StageDiver SD-2, the Jays’ soundstage is not far behind those and definitely belongs to the in-ears with better spatial presentation.
Regarding width, the q-JAYS are clearly above average and have got a nice and well-distinctive depth that has about 80% of the width. In my ears, the soundstage’s position is also a bit in front of my head, which is quite nice.
Instrument separation is very precise and single instruments as well as single sound elements or musicians and instruments are cleanly positioned and separated from each other in the imaginary room.


In Comparison with other In-Ears:

In this section, I am going to compare the q-JAYS with other in-ears with Balanced Armature transducers in two-way, two-driver configuration. I’ll sort them by price from the lowest to the highest and will briefly describe each in-ear.


Apple DualDriver:
The small Apple DualDriver in-ears (~€70) are actually not that widespread for no real reason, as they offer a good sound for the price (which can be kept that low because of the sheer amount of produced quantity and the partly moderate build quality and the meagre delivery content without a real carrying case) and are also technically good, but with some weaknesses. They are sonically still on the more balanced, yet darker side (but a good sound requires a deep insertion with them). Sound is fairly spacious, but it somehow lacks coherency, wherefore I would personally go for single-BA in-ears in the price range below €150 because of the usually better coherence, although the Apple DualDrivers are higher resolving in most cases.
The q-JAYS have got a bit less bass and audibly more treble as well as the tonally more correct mids (which are a bit too dark on the Apples’ side).
That the q-JAYS use the same driver for the upper frequency can be heard (the Apple in-ears use a modified version of the TWFK with its tweeter unit but another woofer), as the Apple IEMs have got a treble resolution that comes close to the Jays’, though not quite as differentiated and refined. What the upper half of Apple’s driver does really good lacks its lower half – the mids and lows can’t keep up with the Jays’ and that’s quite striking when comparing both IEMs directly. The q-JAYS are much better resolving in the mids as well as lows and unveil clearly more details, plus they have got the drier impact and the faster decay, thus they sound punchier and crisper. In terms of soundstage and coherence, the Swede is also the winner, with a more precise instrument separation as well as soundstage reproduction and the more cohesive sound in general.

Thomann the t.bone EP-7:
The EP-7 (~€170) is an OEM version of the JTS IE-6 (~$300) and a dual-driver BA-earphone in two-way layout. Tonally, it goes a bit into the direction of a Westone W4R, with thick mid-bass as well as ground-tone and a smooth, laid-back treble presentation. The resolution is about on the level of the Shure SE425 (if not even a bit higher) and the in-ears have got a rather small, yet surprisingly precise soundstage that is even a bit better than the Shure’s.
Sonically, the EP-7 is much closer to being an on-stage musician’s monitor than a hi-fi earphone – it is just too much sounded to be enjoyable and has got a thick ground-tone with warm and muffled mids and a clearly under-present treble with even more recessed upper highs that are more recessed than it seems on the graph. Listening to music with the t.bone without the use of an equalizer shows either that one has got a very strange taste of tonality or very low tonal standards – however, the OEM version of the JTS IE-6 is easy to correct with an EQ and is technically even a bit better than the Shure SE425.
The Jays are much better suited for listening to music, that’s for sure. The q-JAYS are higher resolving; both in-ears are about on par in terms of bass speed and precision, however the Jays unveil more details in the area of the ground-tone and the audibly better mids, treble resolution and precision. Both in-ears have got a good spatial presentation, but the Jays span the even larger room with better and more precise instrument placement and separation. Layering and especially stage control are better with the Jays when fast and complex music is being played.

Shure SE425:
The SE425 (~€280) is a fairly neutral sounding in-ear that lays a greater focus and emphasis on the midrange, wherefore it is ideal for live recordings, intimate pieces as well as singer-songwriter material. I would say “typically for Shure in-ears”, it has unfortunately got a below-average treble extension with early rolling-off highs. The soundstage is fairly small, but has got a good instrument separation (at the given circumstances).
The SE425 wins in terms of neutrality, though it is more mid-centric and has got the obviously worse treble extension without any upper treble glare at all.
For its former price of about €230, I think the Shure is a good dual-driver, but for its current price of around €280, there are some better alternatives, and so it is not much surprising that the q-JAYS outclass the SE425 in terms of resolution. In the mids, treble as well as bass, the Swedish in-ears put out just more details, which can be heard pretty well. The Shure has got a closed woofer and as a result of this a quicker bass punch, but the Jays have got the more detailed lows and are not slow by any means, wherefore they are still audibly better in the bass department.
The Shure has got a very small soundstage; the Jays a more open one with the more precise instrument separation and as a consequence of the larger size better instrument placement.

InEar StageDiver SD-2:
The SD-2 (~€380) is the UIEM version of the LivePro 2 custom in-ears and uses two BA transducers in two-way configuration and a back-vented woofer. Its tonal signature is fairly balanced with a little more warmth and thickness than neutral and a smooth treble that has got a surprising extension for a BA-based dual-driver. Due to its back-vented woofer, lows don’t have the typical clinical character BA woofers often have, but are rather what would be considered as “natural” by many, with a softer impact. The in-ears’ striking strength is definitely their widely extending, three-dimensional soundstage that reminds me of some more expensive and custom in-ears, with a superb instrument separation, -placement, precision and a huge authenticity.
This is a fairer comparison as both in-ears share similarities in terms of pricing, technical level and sound. Both in-ears share some similarities regarding tonality, though the SD-2 has got the thicker midrange and is more in the background in the treble department.
Both in-ears’ resolution doesn’t differ much, although I would say the SD-2 is slightly better resolving in the upper mids, whereas the q-JAYS are a bit better in the treble, bass and the rest of the mids. The Jays’ back-venting for the woofer is done better, as the Swedes have the more arid impact, are quicker, more precise and maintain the better control with fast music (which is one reason why I don’t like the SD-2 with fast and complex music that much – with the q-JAYS however, fast music with many quick bass punches works out much better).
The SD-2’s soundstage is very holographic and has got a stunning layering. The Jays' is a bit less airy and spacious, though not that far behind.
In terms of authenticity and soundstage, I would say that the SD-2 is ahead (though with a quite small distance), but the q-JAYS are the winners regarding precision, resolution and control.


Jays wanted to create a reference product, and I think they quite succeeded with the q-JAYS.
The consumer gets a valuable high-quality experience straight from the start, which already starts with the packaging and continues in a consistently black finish and also includes the in-ears. Every tiny thing is well considered and elaborated into the tiniest detail.
Besides their really small size, the second generation of the q-JAYS feature a valuable and sturdy build quality alongside with an appealing and elegant design. The premium bodies are PVD-coated plus sealed and not only feature threaded SSMCX connectors, but also by far the best non-twisted cable that I ever got my hands on, as it is small in diameter, but highly flexible and very durable.
Tonally, these in-ears are more on the balanced side, but without sounding sterile or boring. The whole sound is extremely transparent, coherent, highly resolving and precise. The imaginary soundstage these in-ears picture is really good as well. I think what Jays have done here is probably sonically the most that can be squeezed out of the tiny TWFK dual-driver in a tonally, visually and haptically exquisite product.

Is there also some criticism? Yes, however on a high level: desirable would be at least some small, stamped-in side-identification marks in the connectors of the cables, which would not really damage the seamless and fluent design at all. Sometimes, treble can be a tiny bit artificial, but that was it basically. Sure, one could also get some triple- as well as quad-driver in-ears for the price that would be probably sonically better in some areas, but I don’t know any >2-driver IEM in that price range that has got the same build quality and delivers that same stunning user experience which shows how well every tiny element was considered in the design and manufacturing process as the q-JAYS do.

All in all, I come to a very good concluding rating of 95 percentage points or 4.75 out of 5 stars.

Väldigt bra gjort, Jays!
(Very well done, Jays!)
Brilliant read Chris - and in total agreement with everything you wrote.  Amazing build, amazing sonics - and worth everything I paid for them (I voluntarily purchased my sample after my review was posted on Headfonia).  Really enjoyed the comparisons too - especially the SE425 which I used to own and have often thought about repurchasing.  This should stand as a benchmark / example for newcomers on what makes a very interesting and informative review.  Kudos.
@james444 and @Brooko
Appreciate your feedback, guys.
This has also been one of my most intense reviews and comes close to some of the stuff I did in the German audio community I used to be active before Head-Fi. These little "stealth 'phones" simply truly deserve to be noted more, and I am a bit surprised that they don't get more international attention - imho, Jays should consider going to headphone festivals and meetings like the CanJam and have a booth there, to get a better recognition.

Anyway, Paul, if you are ever looking for something really neutral, I suggest you to also try the Etymotic ER-4S, probably (one of) the most neutral sounding IEMs with diffuse-field target. With a proper fit and seal, those little Etys are more neutral than the (now discontinued) UERM and make about any IEMs appear sounded.
Many people on the other hand find the ER-4S' too sterile, put for me they have the perfect signature for reference listening and enjoying CDs at home (but I also admit that there is some shoutyness and "in-your-face" character due to the slightly elevated mids and presence area).
What a great and detailed review, and it's also interesting on some introduction about Sweden, thanks Chris!


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Clean, open, highly resolving, true reference and elegant design.
Cons: Might be perceived as lacking bass impact.

q-Jays - Purity and Elegance ^ 2

I received q-Jays as a loan in the tour on the Danish head-fi community forum www.hoved-fi.dk 
Courtesy of Claus. Thank you very much for that. I have not regretted for a moment that I agreed to spend a few evenings to listen to these wonderful in-ears. They have impressed me from the first moment in several ways.

1. Package

The first thing I was impressed by was the elegance that is in the product's packaging. I will not go into the details of writing about each item in the box. Only that it all presents itself very elegantly. Black and stylish. All the materials in the box are nice to the touching just feels perfect. Things feel perfectly heavy and sturdy. The monitors are placed in foam in a round box. Cables and additional tips are located in small black boxes. The boxes are black cardboard but stylish and they open in an elegant way. I love stuff like that. Every little detail is thoroughly considered. 
For me it is the first sign that the sender of the product has taken it very seriously to create this product. When I was working at Bang & Olufsen, a new CEO entered the company. I remember that he (perhaps with the help of some expensive consultants, I do not know) described a new set of values ​​in the company which all employees should memorise and use with everything we dealt with in our work. The values consisted of three key words: PASSION, PRIDE and PERSISTENCE.
When I see a product like q-Jays PASSION, PRIDE and persistence is the first that come to mind. Jays must be really proud of this product. They BELIEVE in their product and that it is PERFECT! Therefore, it is also perfectly presented. Now I will let the pictures speak and if it does not give a clear picture of what we are dealing with, then there is nothing else to do but you must buy a set of q-Jays and look for yourself. You probably will not regret that.

2. Cable

The cable on this IEM is perfect! Nothing less. 1. It is removable and can be changed. You can disconnect them using a fine thread that goes into the metal housing. 2. It is quite light and thin and the microphonics are not significant. 3. It has a perfect length. 4. It has angled jack. 5. There is no memory wire. 6. You can mount them with cable directly down like Etymotic ER-4S or over the ear if you want it. Both ways they are comfortable.
There are some amount of microphonic in the cable if I am walking around with them but it can minimized by using them as cables going over the ear. It is the curvature of the house that makes it possible to wear the cable over the ear. Microphonics is not something that have annoyed me while using the q-Jays. I am sure there will be some aftermarket cables along the way and I might prefer a thinner Linim cable or maybe a soft Whiplash cable would be nice. 

3. Construction Quality

The house itself is a cast metal housing. They have some weight. The weight is less than RHA T20 and when they sit in the ear I do not feel they are there at all. I believe that it is possible to destroy the thread in the house if you are violent towards the cables. It also being warned of in the manual. So one should be rather cautious when changing the cable.
The build quality is just TOP class. It is not often you see this sort of quality.

4. Accessories

The box contains a cable without a microphone and remote control. There is also a small box with 5 different sizes of tips and a set of Comply tips size T-100. I had a set of silicone tips lying in the drawer that I've used, so I can not say anything about the sound of the comply or the other tips.
In the box there is also a fine book with an in-depth description of the product, the genesis of the product as well as a little about the history of Jays in Sweden. I would like to have seen some more pictures in the book of the designers, owners and premises. It would be fun to get a glimpse of where the Jays come from. The company is housed in an old brewery. It would be fun to see how it looks. But the book is fun to look at and certainly contribute to a good experience of the product and the company as a serious business.

5. Comfort

When using q-Jays you do not feel they are in the ears. They weigh a little bit when they lie in the hand but feels just as any other set of in-ears when they sit in the ear. Can you find a set of Comply tips in the T-100 size then it is for sure that one can obtain perfect comfort and fit.

6. Sound

How do they sound? The first word I come to think of is elegance. Superior elegance. Everything is so controlled. There's no immediate WOW-effect. They are not rich and powerful but on the other hand they are not as cold as ER-4S. They are not crisp (grainy) as my Heir Audio Tzar 350 but not relaxed and easy-going. They do not move a lot of air in the bass as RHA T20 but Deadmau5 still sounds good on them. I do not know what they are doing that? It just sounds so elegant. They present music elegantly. They let the music flow.
With a few pieces of music I have had a tendency to listening fatigue. But it disappeared by switching to the next piece of music. So it could indicate that they simply reveal a poor recording. Some drums and snares can be a little harsh but changing to another track there is no harshness. So I blame those particular recordings rather than the q-Jays. 
Here fitted with some silicone tips I had.
q-Jays is not an IEM with artificial bass impact. They will not go down in history for this property. There is perhaps more bass than the Etymotic ER-4S but approximately the same level as my Tzar 350. Tone wise, they close up to a slightly richer and slightly warmer version of Tzar 350. Both are neutral as the first priority. Reference sound. It's not just something they write. This is the real thing. I listened to some electronic music including some dubstep to see what they could in the bass. The depth is there, the clarity is amazing, the speed is fast and the resolution is very good. There's just no impact and punch. So if you really need a good impact in the bass then you will miss it in the q-Jays. For me it's no problem because I have always preferred as little bass as possible. As long as the bass is tight and fast.
If you are used to a sound with much bass impact you will have to spend some time getting used to the sound of the q-Jays. Give your ears time to adjust from a large bass impact before you conclude on the sound from these. You will be rewarded. Some will perceive them as bright but that is probably relative and depends on where you come from.
I would definitely say they have a signature a little on the bright side of neutral. Still bass and cello come through firm and meaty and with big presence. So this might be a bit of a contradiction. But when bass is needed, they wake up and deliver precisely what it takes. So I am looking forward to hearing how others evaluate them but I would say they are right on the bright side of neutral. If you listen to orchestral music, there are plenty of deep tones and a fullness in the bass instruments. I am missing nothing at all in the bass range and to me the amount of impact is just perfect. The important thing is that the sound image really sticks together and instruments work independently. Not too much bass and not too little. Elegantly tuned.
Voices and vocals are more natural with q-Jays than with Tzar 350. There is a bit more life in vocals with the q-Jays and Tzar feels a little sterile in comparison. The midtones in Tzar 350 tend to be a bit canny when you switch directly from the q-Jays. Out of the three IEM I have vocals are clearly the most natural and vivid and SUPER well-dissolved with q-Jays and Tzar 350 is more resolving than T20. T20 feels a little as though there is a veil when you come from the q-Jays. q-Jays is a reference monitor and voices are soft and present. It really feels like looking into a very clear window into the music with them.
When, for example. listen to some guitar music with lots of little details and finger slides, there's just a fine and elegant exquisiteness of the treble. Treble never tip over the edge or stand out from the other sounds. Everything is perfectly coherent through the ful range. This is important to me. It always irritates me if there is a part for the range, that comes too much forward. 
I do not think they have the same crispy or grainy sound that I experience with Tzar but it has a softness to it. With crispness I mean a dryness and edgy highs. I do not exactly know how to describe it but what the q-Jays do is GOOD. When that grainy sound is gone, what is it that they can with their treble? I do not know. All the details are there but they are not too forward like they can be with Tzar 350 occasionally. There is a very good sense of detail and air. The background feels black and very quiet. After switching directly from the q-Jays over to the Tzar, I think suddenly something is missing in the upper midrange or lower treble. q-Jays thus provides a little more naturalness in vocals and that gives immense listening pleasure.
Again, I can only say that the way they play treble on is very elegant. Not too dry or too exaggerated treble. Not cold and clinical. Just perfectly rich in detail and air, fine and soft without being shy.
With amplifier:
If I let them play from a small amplifier as my QuickStep they do grow in the bass a little. There will be more air in the bass and it is clear that one must treat q-Jays in a good way with proper material otherwise they return with a furious treble, which can sometimes be screamy if the recording is bad. Therefore, it would be a shame not to say that they are pretty picky about what they play. They soon reveal if the recording or MP3 quality is too poor. q-Jays are too good to work with poor quality and does not deserve to be treated with anything but the best. If you give them the best, then they reward you with a truly high-end crystal clear sound that just gets better and better the more you listen.
Unfortunately, I have my Daccord DAC and Classic amplifier delivered to Jan Meier to be upgraded to the ff-versions. But it would be interesting to listen to the q-Jays from my big amplifier to see how they would do and how they scale. I'm sure that as soon nc8000 get your hands on these q-Jays, he will want to make the same Rudistor + q-Jays project as he originally did with Etymotic ER-4S. There is so much potential in the q-Jays. They play just that they are told and I have a feeling they will be able to scale with much better equipment than I have available.
When I listen to some of the artificial head recordings from Chesky Records either on CD or 24/192 AIFF, the q-Jays open up widely and expands the music out to a large room. With normal CD-rips I have not yet had those total out of the head experiences with the music of such "everyday" music. The stage is still places inside my head with most recordings. If I play a good recording from one of my reference CDs, then the q-Jays will spread the music out into a larger space to the sides and slightly in front of the head. But they do not come up on full size headphone level of soundstage.
So regarding soundstage q-Jays are no great revelation. Maybe it is just the way it is with in-ear monitors? The biggest soundstage I have heard with an IEM is the Ultimate Ears Reference Monitor but they also cost more than twice as much. I think they present a soundstage just as well as Tzar 350 and RHA T20 in this area.

7. Conclusion

The IEM is one of those in-ears that are long lasting. They do not have a typical WOW-effect when you hear them the first time. You will not be blown away by a false bloated bass but a regular tight and super fast bass. You will be blown away by how natural music can sound. There is no (or very short) decay and ringing in the sound I hear with q-Jays. Actually decay and ringing maybe something they do not have much of. This is perhaps what helps to make them sound so pure and clear - so elegant. The only decay you hear is coming from the room where the recording was taken as well as from the instruments on the recording.
That elegance is present in all parts of this product. In the design. In the wrapping and boxes. In the user manual. In the accessories. It all just hits the nail when you discover that the same elegance is present in the way they sound. Everything is just elegantly done and I love this product so much that I want to buy them on the spot.
Good luck to the next in the tour and for those who buy them. If was not caught by a speeding camera with 108 km/h on the road the other day, I would go buy a set of q-Jays immediately :frowning2:
All photos from the album can be viewed here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskhTokhg
Most of my listening consists of either directly from the iPhone, around 10% of the time using ALAC lossless files. Otherwise I listened to CDs played on my NAD CD player using analog out to my Meier Corda Quickstep as amplifier.
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Thank you for sharing. Very articulate and informed review.
Pros: Exquisitely beautiful sounding. Fantastic construction. Sound fantastic.
Cons: Wallet ouch.
JAYS q-JAYS v2.0 Quick Review
Thanks to JAYS for the sample.
Full review here http://www.head-fi.org/t/781728/jays-q-jays-v2-0-review-by-mark2410
Brief:  Just like Mary Poppins.
Price:  400 Euro’s ( £290 ) or US$400 for no mic version.
Specification:  Driver Type: Custom dual balanced armatures, Sensitivity: 103 dB @ 1 kHz,     Impedance: 50 Ohm @ 1 kHz, Frequency response: 5 – 20 000 Hz (Full) 8 – 16 000 Hz (+/- 5 dB), Earphones Material: Stainless steel, Finish: PVD matte Isolation: -40dB @ 2kHz, Cord Type: Exchangeable Kevlar cable, Length: 120 cm (47in), Plug: Gold plated L-shaped 3.5mm (1/8 in) + Custom threaded SSMCX
Accessories:  Case, 5 pairs of eartips plus a pair of Comply’s.
Build Quality:  Flawless.
Isolation:  Good.  On the lower side for a BA drivered IEM but easily enough for most uses, shot of Tube commutes and long flights.  Even then most people would probably happy use them for both.
Comfort/Fit:  Excellent.  So tiny, so light you forget your wearing them.
Aesthetics:  Super minimalist, matte black everything.  I very much like it, the absolute antithesis of bling.
Sound:  Exquisite.  The old q-Jays were excellent and these have been polished, refined into being rather better.  They are a touch lifted in the lows, still so superbly naturalistic and carved.  There is a rock solid underbelly but it’s so sweeping and well behaved.  It’s not a big air mover so don’t expect that, it’s not really one for thundering bass lines either.  Its sculpted and elegantly flowing.  However if you want to they respond extremely well to a little bass boosting.  Its never going to be a big air mover but you can boost it and it retains all of the wonderful attributes it has without.  So sculpted and clean and articulate and just effortlessly capable with such a natural feel.  Mids too have this strange natural feeling to them, I know they are a touch dry, cool but they have something that I could never put my finger on the v1’s and I still can’t with these.  They seem so real, not like the hyper realer than real of the SE530 but really real.  It’s always frustrated me that I cannot describe it, it’s so clichéd but….. that je ne sais quoi.  I don’t like being unable to articulate something.  The highs in the old were a touch brittle and gritty but they have clearly worked on them, polished and refined them.  It’s very evenly balanced in quantity so I normally prefer a touch less, so for me it’s a little bright but the quality is exemplary.  We are talking CK10 levels are delicacy and refinement.  Oh and of course there is oodles of clarity.
Value:  Well these are not cheap, not in the least bit cheap.  I can’t really say these are good “value for money” I mean these are not three plus times “better” than the R-50’s.  Diminishing returns is a bitch.  However, you want the best, the best costs.
Pro’s:   Exquisitely beautiful sounding.  Fantastic construction.  Sound fantastic.
Con’s:  Wallet ouch.

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Loved the old qjays..esp on the hisoundaudio dap, speedy, agile.
Thanks for the review!:)