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Jerry Harvey Audio Sirens Series Roxanne Universal IEM

Rating:
4.41667/5,
  • JH Audio's new Flagship CIEMs featuring FreqPhase and SoundrIVe technologies.

Recent Reviews

  1. yukitq
    Old but Gold
    Written by yukitq
    Published Jul 15, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Big Bass
    Beautiful mids
    Versatlie Signature
    Build Quality
    Fun and Musical Sound
    Huge soundstage
    Cons - Occasionally warmth hampers absolute clarity
    Slight sibilance
    Size for some
    Price
    Full Review: https://audiorambles.com/jh-audio-roxanne/

    [​IMG]
    Introduction
    When Jerry Harvey Audio released the JH Roxannes, they were revered as somewhat of a technological marvel. In 2019, while even companies like Knowledge Zenith may be releasing 8-driver IEMs, the audio landscape was vastly different back in 2013. The integration of 12 drivers in a single shell back then was virtually unheard of,combined with Jerry Harvey’s proprietary “Freqphase”, “SoundrIVe” technologies, and an adjustable bass port, the Roxannes made waves round the community.

    The Police might fervently disagree, perhaps “put(ting) on the red light” might be necessary to own one, especially with the latest editions selling at $1899 USD, and the initial retail price in 2013 set at $1299 USD. Though there have been multiple revisions since then, the following review is based on the JH Roxanne V1, my personal favourite of the line-up.

    Given it’s almost cliché to add a mini write-up about Jerry Harvey and Van Halen on any JH Audio review, we’’ll just get right down to business. While they’d definitely “Sting” your wallet, the Roxannes make it obvious that they’ve effortlessly withstood the test of time.

    Build Quality, Fit, Comfort and Isolation
    [​IMG]

    Aesthetics (8.5/10):
    The Roxannes are beautiful, with JH Audio tastefully implementing a Carbon Fibre faceplate upon a dark, translucent, smoke grey shell, proudly displaying her 12 drivers in all their beauty. Upon the CF faceplates, perch JH’s signature logo on one side, and “Roxanne” in cursive red on the other.

    Build Quality (10/10): I’d hesitate to give anything other than a perfect score to the Roxannes for their sturdiness. “Handmade in the USA” has always been a big part of JH’s marketing, and does show in the build quality of their products. Strong and tough shells, proprietary 4-pin cable design with a locking mechanism, and reinforced braided stock cables. I’d doubt it gets any better than this.

    Fit and Comfort (9/10): While the sheer size of the Roxannes (any version of them) may have elicited complaints from many in the Community, my ears have perhaps been blessed by Jerry Harvey himself, given the Roxannes fit amazingly well for me, and I often forget they’re even there. Be warned, however, given they’re still behemoths compared to most offerings on the market, and will not sit flush in your ears, and instead protrude a fair bit. The memory wire is not a significant issue as it only encompasses a small part of the braided wire. Auditions before purchase are of utmost importance.

    Isolation (9/10): Excellent isolation, blocking out almost all of the noise present on public transportation.

    [​IMG]

    Bass Tuning Port

    [​IMG]
    In short, the bass tuning port works. Using the included tuning tool, bass can be varied for both left and right earpieces respectively, with up to 5 recommended configurations, 8, 10, 12, 2 and 4 o’clock. In essence, each notch adds more bass (both sub and mid), as well as emphasising and warming the lower mids.

    At 8 o’clock, the Roxanne sounds almost slightly bass-light in nature. The Roxane still hits with good texture and impact, but quantity just isn’t sufficient for me. Lower mids are more recessed compared to the upper mids, which are perceptually more forward due to the lower treble boost being more prominent. In this configuration, you can expect clearer, cleaner sound, at the cost of a less musical presentation.

    At 4 o’clock, the Roxannes are a different beast all together. Bass quickly becomes the emphasis of the show, as it is pushed all the way in front with tremendous impact and power. The lower mids warm up significantly and become quite thick, losing some speed in the process. The upper mids are now recessed relative to the rest of the mix, with the lower treble boost dialled down slightly comparatively.

    As you can tell, the bass port does make the Roxannes extremely versatile, almost making it an IEM with two distinctive sonic signatures.

    Sound
    [​IMG]

    This review will be based on the Roxannes with the bass adjustment port set at 12 o’clock, what I consider to be the most balanced tuning.


    Bass (9.5/10): While I’ve always been a huge proponent of Dynamic Drivers over Balanced Armatures for lower frequencies, the bass on the Roxannes pokes holes at the aforementioned argument. The bass goes as low as sets like the IER-Z1R, and produces similar deep, thunderous rumble on tracks like “Royals” by Lorde.

    Midbass slam and impact is more than comparable to the best dynamic drivers out there for tracks like Muse’s “Neutron Star Collision”, which also showcases the sheer speed the Roxannes are capable of while carrying such weight. Midbass bleed into the mids is almost non-existent, it’s clean with little bloat.

    Bass never feels slow, instead managing to be resolving while still maintaining natural decay on instruments like Drums or Cellos. It’s extremely detailed, basslines are full and authoritative, while achieving refined texture like that of a Dynamic Driver. Simply fantastic bass.

    Mids (8.5/10): The Roxannes belt her lungs out in the midrange department, presenting accomplished male and female vocals alike. The midrange is resolving and detailed, though not quite “in-your-face” in the latter department, preferring to showcase them in the backdrop for listeners to pick up. Transition from bass to the midrange is flawlessly smooth. In the 12 o’clock configuration, it’s a very balanced presentation, with above average note weight.

    Deep, weighty male vocals like Andrea Bocelli’s and Michael Buble’s shine on the Roxannes, as they clearly convey their weight, power and texture. The relatively thicker presentation of the lower mids never sounds sluggish or congested. While the Roxannes have a warm tilt to the midrange, female vocals are never compromised. They’re clean and sweet with good air, and have similar presence to their male counterparts, though perhaps on occasion just ever so slightly veiled by the warmth.

    Highs (8.5/10): The transition from linear upper mids to slightly boosted lower treble might be slightly jarring initially (especially due to the mild sibilance present in the region), but becomes less of an issue on getting used to it. The trade-off, however, is the gobs of detail which becomes apparent on hi-hat and cymbal heavy tracks like Dire Straits’ “Sultans of Swing” or Air Supply, with some of the most natural decay I’ve had the pleasure of listening to.

    Upper treble extension, though perceptually reduced by the relatively darker tuning, is similarly fantastic upon closer inspection. On the bright side, fatigue in the upper treble is a complete non-issue, and the treble is otherwise smooth barring the hint of sibilance on the lower treble.

    Soundstage, Imaging, Seperation and Timbre (9/10): The Roxannes casts an amazingly wide stage which is equally matched by its depth and height, creating an out-of-head experience, a true accomplishment for any in-ear monitor. Imaging is no slouch either, with instruments getting their own pockets of space in accurate positions on stage in live recordings, though occasionally marred by the slight warm midrange tint. Complicated, messy tracks like “Little Talks” by Of Monsters and Men are also no match for the Roxannes, who breeze past them with ease. Timbre is natural from top to bottom, with instruments sounding as they should.

    [​IMG]

    In case I haven’t made it obvious enough, I am in love with the Roxannes. The twelve drivers in each shell work in perfect harmony, delivering a big, bold sound that is musical yet detailed. Their warm and slightly dark tint may not be for everyone, especially listeners who prize absolute clarity and detail. If they match your preferred signature however, and their price and size aren’t enough to deter you, they’re a definite keeper, even after all these years.
  2. HanyTheo
    HanyTheo- Outstanding yet, not so worth it
    Written by HanyTheo
    Published Oct 17, 2014
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Unreal Bass punch,
    Cons - poor fit, comfort, a little veiled treble
    Isolation is excellent with the spinfit tips, Bass response is just like no other I've ever tried, it almost literally blows you away with the punch and quick decay. prolly a little too punchy. but at $1350 i paid i expected a lot more from this iem. theres nothing special in the midrange n treble. midrange esp vocals is not rich/lush enough for my taste. treble is just a plain veiled boredom. imaging is average. I rather pay for a c6iem at half the price which offers similar sound signature n overall technicalities
      aafanatic and rulsboris like this.
  3. Danz03
    The perfect reference IEM
    Written by Danz03
    Published May 10, 2014
    5.0/5,
    Pros - The full frequency range is there, with nothing missing, according to my ears
    Cons - Bulkiness (but then there are 12 BA drivers per side), Cost (but then if they are the best)
    I have to say, when I first saw them, 12 bands per driver! Isn't that a bit over the top? But after listening to a demoed pair for just 5 mins with my iPod, I bought a pair, they are really that good! I got the AKR03 version though, not sure if they are the same as the JH Audio version.
     
    IMG_0048s.jpg
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Danz03
      Come to Hong Kong, they are on demo at DMA, can also try them with balanced cables with the AK240 too. The cable connectors are very nice but are made of plastic, not sure what would happen if they cracked, I was told one cannot buy the balanced cables as an option at the moment. The Shure SE846 connectors in comparison look much more rugged, but then the SE846 connections are much more simple, only 2 contacts per channel, whereas the AKR03 have 4 per channel.
      Danz03, May 10, 2014
    3. qveda
      looking to get my first really great pair of IEMs.  Roxannes or JF16's ( or Cardas if I can't swing the cost).   Roxannes are universal, correct?  Do they need to make a really tight seal in your ear to get the full sound?  Some (inexpensive universals) don't fit well in my ears.  Without demo'ing, I guess I'd need to find out about return policies. But the Roxanne's sure get rave reviews - even with universal fit. 
      qveda, May 10, 2014
    4. Danz03
      The Roxanne comes in 3 different versions apparently, custom, universal and as AKR03 universal. According to what I was told, the AKR03 were tuned more similar to the custom version. My only experience with custom IEMs were the UE 18Pro, which put me off customs for good. To me, the only advantages of custom made IEMs are that they fit your ears perfectly, are very comfortable and very unlikely that they would come off during a live performance, which they are primirarily designed for. They don't necessarily have better sound isolation than universals. Also with universals, you can somehow change the sound signature a little with various tips, whereas there isn't much you can do with customs physically. The Roxanne are so huge I doubt anyone would want to use them for live performance purpose, no matter how well they fit. Although they are huge, the AKR03 seem to fit in my ears quite well, and I have small to medium size ear canals. You really should demo them before making a decision in purchasing them. Another great ones to try are the Shure SE846, I think they have similar sound signatures (SE846 with the standard nozzle), except the highs are more defined with the AKR03. I wasn't able to do a comparison yet as my AKR03 have some weird phasing in the high mids and treble, more so when used with balanced out from the AK240. After about 10 hours of burning in, the phasing seems to have lessen, so I will let them burn in for another 10 hrs or so before I'd listen to them again.
      Danz03, May 11, 2014
  4. ag8908
    Jaw droppingly good for an IEM, better than the SE846 and IE800
    Written by ag8908
    Published May 1, 2014
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Everything (for an IEM)
    Cons - Nothing yet (for an IEM), except the price
    So when I got my HD800, they were so good from the first hour with every song and genre, when compared to other top tier flagship headphones, that I wrote a quick review to give them a no brainer five stars and then filled that review in slowly. Same deal here. These are getting close to the resolution, spatials and sound quality of a good full sized headphone. Not quite there yet -- for example, they're not as detailed, e.g., as my HD800 driven by a Burson Conductor ES9018, and they're similarly noticeably deficient in other respects when compared to a proper full sized -- but they're better than other high end IEMs in this respect, such as the Shure SE846 and IE800. I'll add more to this later, but basically right now every dimension of sound is better with these. Detail, spatials, treble (although these have a warmer sound signature than those other two), mids, bass (the SE846 has good sub-bass, but the Roxanne's bass is better defined; yes, there's detail in bass), balance between the frequencies, everything  . . . 
     
    On comfort, they are definitely big (maybe twice the size of the SE846 in terms of volume? and much much bigger than the IE800) but I am having no problems whatsoever fitting them and so on. They're like the SE846 in that respect (but not as good as the IE800, which are super easy to pop in and out).
     
    Edit1: They're clearly "warm" on the frequency scale, sort of like an Audeze LCD2. So if you want a bright headphone you may not like these. This is true even if you turn the bass all the way down (which you do via two screws on the line, one for the left ear and the other for the right ear). If I were designing them, I would have moved them a tad bit up on the frequency chart, but I can't criticize JH for that decision since you can't please everyone on the warm/neutral/bright debate. Note this is very slightly exacerbated if you move from the rubber/silicone type tips to the comply foam tips, which create a super air-tight seal and thus magnify the bass (and consequently cause you to perceive less treble).
     
    Edit2: If you like the fact that IEMs put the music right  in your head, and you don't like the way full-sized headphones create some imagined distance between you and the sound, then you won't like these. It occurs to me that some people might like that closed in feel of a traditional IEM. It's a little odd listening to an IEM that presents music in this way.
     
     

    1. GL1TCH3D
      Did yours come with defects?
      My cable has already started to unravel, it came with scratches on the nuts and the carbon fiber on one side was screwed up.
      Also I don't know if others are having the problem but the eartip keeps getting stuck in my ear as I take the IEMs out
      GL1TCH3D, May 2, 2014
    2. aaronbiggy
      @GL1TCH3D N , well , i had the  astell and kern edition of my sster for nearly two months . .  and i must say they did sound . . .. . . spectacular . . . and yes at first i had that eartip problem , my sister has large ears , and she used large tips which stuck once or twice because i put them in too hard , coz they seemed to give better base . . . btu they stuck . . . find good tips , and that problem will go .  as for the cable , mine is still sturdy as a tank . 
      aaronbiggy, Dec 20, 2014
    3. vnmslsrbms
      I definitely agree that AKR03>IE800>SE846
      vnmslsrbms, Oct 6, 2015
  5. GL1TCH3D
    JH Roxanne Universals - My impressions
    Written by GL1TCH3D
    Published Apr 1, 2014
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Adjustable Bass, Good balance, "Spacious" for an IEM
    Cons - Poor quality control, Very large earpieces
    At the moment, I have the original pair of roxannes with the left (what I noted as defective) earpiece replaced. Upon reopening them and listening, I heard very obvious channel imbalance. With the left earpiece being stronger, more clear and with a bit better balance. The right earpiece is from an original early set. The following review is based mostly on the original pair I owned which may not be representative of the quality of the product you would be receiving now.

    EDIT:
    Why did I give this 1/2 a star? Simply because the experience with these has been absolutely awful.
    I found out after talking to a few audiophiles about my pair that the left earpiece may be broken in some way. Basically the mids were muffled and sounded off. Very noticeable if you paid attention to it/ know what to listen for. Otherwise it would just sound like something is off overall. This coming in after all the cosmetic defects and delays is REALLY disappointing. I send emails with no response. I call and get connected to Andy who listens to me and tells me he'll send me a pair first thing Monday morning (Monday being May 19th) and that he would quality check it himself. Well here I am updating this on June 12th with no further response and no replacement after confirming by email that he would send me a replacement on May 19th. This has been an overall awful experience dealing with JH for a $1300 pair of earbuds.


    I'd like to start by reminding everyone these are my current impressions and can change depending on certain factors.


    After a whole long mess and some back and forth and other dealings I've ended up with a repaired pair of Roxannes UF. These are VERY different from the original pair I had in terms of sound and design. The new ones are larger, more bulbous, have much better treble response / clarity to my ears and are just superior in my opinion. I assume the previous ones may have just been a quick dash to get them out the doors considering the delays they were facing.


    Date received:
    March 27th, 2014
    Last updated:
    Aug 7th, 2014

    So let's start this.
    The source gear I'm using:
    Fiio X5
    Nexus 5
    Sansa clip zip

    Music I listen to:
    A bit of Jrock
    Various instrumentals
    Various types of soundtracks
    Very little pop / electronic

    Most of what I listen to is lossless with certain exceptions. However, I would not use those exceptions for reviewing purposes.

    No, these are not high end audiophile DAPs. I understand that. If you wish to stop right here and ignore the rest of my impressions that's up to you.

    What I want from headphones are something balanced/neutral. I used to be more of a treble head but lately I'm finding myself wanting a present bass-line that I can tune in on if wanted while still having my mids and treble. I don't care as much about soundstaging, this is a secondary aspect to my ears. Spaciousness is something I do appreciate though. I like some sweetness to my headphones. I dislike the more dry/electronic headphones like the HD700, Beyer T1, AKG K701. If those are headphones you enjoy then I don't think my review will be overly applicable to your situation. My outer ears are fairly small. I guess in this case head size doesn't matter.

    Table of contents
    1. Comfort
    2. Build Quality
    3. Sound


    1. Comfort
    I have small ears so often find myself using the small or medium eartips for most IEMs
    I don't know if the shape of my ears is just abnormal (I've never had molds done) but these don't fit that well.
    I've tried quite a fair amount of tips from the Sony silicone tips to complies to the stock tips and more. The ONLY tips that give me a good seal with comfort are these black double flange tips my friend gave me. Everything else has either been uncomfortable or didn't seal. Even then the newer JH Roxanne UF are very large and have trouble fitting in my smaller ears. But it's more than manageable with these tips.


    2. Build quality
    The earpieces themselves feel very sturdy. I wouldn't worry about them at all. I do however wish there maybe was a locking mechanism for the eartips to stay in place because on several occasions I've had eartips slide off while I'm taking the Roxannes out of my ears leaving me carefully grabbing at the little bit of the eartip protruding.
    I like the cable. Hopefully the new cable I received won't be as bad as the first one. Currently the cable seems fine but the first cable I had had the tendency to unravel itself.
    The proprietary connectors feel quite secure.
    I always feel like the box for the bass tuning is the weakest link but it's fairly out of the way and should fit in your pocket without a problem.

    3. Sound
    Probably the most important yet most biased section

    I've been keeping the bass adjustments fairly high, despite me saying I prefer neutral, because it seems the double flange tips severely reduce bass.

    To my ears:
    1. View previous replies...
    2. GL1TCH3D
      At the moment, I have the original pair of roxannes with the left (what I noted as defective) earpiece replaced. Upon reopening them and listening, I heard very obvious channel imbalance. With the left earpiece being stronger, more clear and with a bit better balance.
      What I'm wondering is if the earlier sets of Roxanne universals were just really poorly made (I preordered them mid Jan)
      I'm going to leave the rating up and add a huge disclaimer.
      GL1TCH3D, Jul 18, 2014
    3. GL1TCH3D
      Yet another note, if I do ever happen to get a fully functioning pair to use I'll go re-write the whole review
      GL1TCH3D, Jul 18, 2014
    4. Antonio Brozy
      I need an advice I will to buy new pair of earphones which one is the best between those. Shure SE846 vs Roxanne vs JH Angie.
      Antonio Brozy, Feb 19, 2015
  6. Currawong
    JH Audio has set a high bar with the new Roxannes.
    Written by Currawong
    Published Jan 7, 2014
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Outstandingly clear treble, realistic and clear instrument reproduction. Excellent design with bass adjustment. Takes standard tips.
    Cons - The adjustment screws can only turn the bass up, not down, from neutral.
    Here's my video review of the universal Roxanne, kindly loaned to me by Jerry Harvey.​
     
    [​IMG]
     ​
    Notes: The tips I was using were given to me and are called SpinFit. I don't know of anyone selling them at present, but Jerry Harvey has said he is going to look into making them available.​
    1. View previous replies...
    2. GL1TCH3D
      When you say they're a lot like Audeze, does that mean they're laid back as well?
      GL1TCH3D, Jan 19, 2014
    3. abbztract
      How do these compare to the JH13 FP or the ER4S? I'm looking at getting a CIEM-equivalent of the ER4S and the JH13 and UERM seem to be the most recommended. Does the Roxanne come close to being a ER4S or is it just not for role?
      abbztract, Jun 18, 2014
    4. mikemercer
      GREAT review Currawong! Man this was good reading too!  glad you dug mine  :)
      mikemercer, Jul 28, 2014

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