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JH Audio Layla Impressions Thread

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  1. Buddhahacker
    Thanks for the write up. Mine arrive from Moon Audio on Thursday.  I can't wait to experience them again. 
     
  2. Googaliser
    After my last post, spent a few of hours listening before sleep and the honeymoon may be starting to fade. One of the charcteristics I liked most about the AKG 3003 was that I was able to listen to them for hours on end - without fatigue. The only pair of EIM's or headphones where this has been the case. Am not sure I can do this with Layla. There is a particular high frequency - first noticed in women's vocals - that sounds a little harsh/piecing to me - almost like it has just a bit too much energy. It is subtle, but eventually, it started to wear me down and I found myself avoiding tracks where it may be present.
    At first I was concerned that my listening level was elevated - there is so much information on offer, that my temptation with monitors is to turn them right up - will investigate this today and try listening at lower levels. 
    I wonder whether break-in will help here ? Bit of a risk though - since this may be a deal killer for me - especially at this price-point.
    Another irritation is the ergonomics. I don't care so much that they stick-out (and they really do - so these aren't discrete - you will get looks wearing them outside) - but they were not very comfortable when lying back. I really like to listen to IEMs before sleeping - and unless the cushion or pillow is very hard, and doesn't compress towards the ear - Layla will be impacted. Now in a professional situation - this is an irrelevance - but I listen to my IEMs at home and not in a work environment.
     
    To end on a better note - I stand by my initial observation about the transparency and accuracy of Layla - they really are stunning. Listening to Ann-Sophie Mutter play Brahm's violin concerto (FLAC) - was simply unbelievable - I have never heard the violin reproduced so accurately - as a regular concert goer and husband of a violinist - this is one instrument where I am confident of my ability to discern accurate reproduction - and Layla shines.
     
    So the $2,500 question for me is - are these IEM's better off in a professional recording environment than as a recreational luxury ? I worry that they are just a bot too analytical for comfortable long listening sessions particularly with female vocals
     
    Any thoughts on whether burn-in may help would be appreciated. Am on the fence as to whether this phenomena even exists so nervous about crossing my fingers and being patient.....
     
    Please note that these observations all relate to my AK240 as the source using FLAC or DSD, and Layla has maybe 4 hours burn-in on the 3.5mm cable.
     
    audionewbi likes this.
  3. audionewbi
    I think Leyla is just too large to be a universal IEM.
     
  4. doublea71
    ^ That sounds like a tough call, but if I'm spending that kind of cake on a pair of earphones, every last box better be ticked as a positive, especially comfort; there simply aren't any reasonable excuses for even the slightest shortcoming at that price (imo). I can't imagine the levels of buyer's remorse these things are going to give some people.
     
    Googaliser likes this.
  5. jelt2359 Contributor
    The JHA house sound includes an aggressive treble that some dislike. It doesn't really bother me, and fwiw I felt the Layla was smoother up top than the Angie. As these are BA IEMs, I wouldn't count too much on burn in changing the sound too much.
     
  6. Googaliser
    I haven't mentioned the case they come in... It is a work of art - carbon fibre and aluminium - heavy - with a magnetic latch. It is really stunning - but I wish they didn't come with it. Why ?
     
    Am not sure what the Layla production volume will be - but strongly suspect we are talking hundreds rather than thousands. Plus, if the case is also made in the US - this is an expensive little number. Must be a few hundred dollars worth. I would rather see a no-case option at a lower price point and therefore greater access/affordability of IEMs like these to those that will benefit from them.
     
    In fact the case is so nice, I probably wouldn't even use it... 
     
    The case and price point also points strongly to the ultra-high net worth market. High end equipment is becoming a ridiculous price point arms race. Am not going to single out particular countries where these things really appeal - but it worries me. So I am left wondering whether these are technically the best IEM's on the planet right now - or just the most expensive. And unfortunately, the price point means that we may not get the breadth of peer group review we need to form an accurate picture. Now at the end of the day, only the listener can decide whether they are the best for them - but, value is important to me, and its a very subjective concept - as much so as the sound at this level
     
  7. Googaliser

    Thank you - this is good to know. Layla is the first JHA IEM I have listened to. The detail in the treble is amazing though. There is an 'airiness' around instruments and subtleness/3d in vocals that I haven't heard from any type of transducer before. Perhaps the bit of harshness I am detecting in the treble is the price to pay. They also really highlight any imperfections in the recording. I was hearing what sounded like mixing artefacts in some tracks (e.g. Duma soundsystem, Les Djinns - Trentemoller remix) - that I have listened to for years and had not noticed before. MP3 is simply unlistenable for me on Layla - even high bit rate recordings sound very compressed and lack the airiness that I hear only on high-res-recordings. 
     
  8. audionewbi
    Lets be honest few hundred off would make no dent on the overall price of Layla :D
     
  9. Googaliser
    So Layla was returned... Did manage to try another brand new pair though since apparently another customer also complained of the same brightness that troubled me. So we cracked open a new box. Same sound though unfortunately. Norah Jones is not my favourite artist - but do use her DSD when evaluating gear. The opening lines in 'Come Away with Me' left me wincing at the beginning of each verse - it was just uncomfortable for me and left me sensitised to that note in other recordings. So not very relaxing unfortunately. 
    I took the opportunity to listen to a pair of AKG 3003i's - my previous reference in the clarity department. The treble still sounded wonderfully clear on them - and less brightness (no wincing). What was clear though in direct comparison was that the treble sounded a lot thinner than Layla - which is thick with detail. 
    Had another listen to the Angies and they are also bright to my ears - just as much so, but seemed veiled in the treble compared to the cristaline clarity of Layla. @UELong - sorry did not get a chance to compare Angie with my 846 directly - but I do find the treble rolled-off in the 846, and bright in the Angie - so very different sound. 
    Am a bit stuck now - the Layla is definitely the best IEM I have ever listened to by quite a margin, but the brightness was too much for me. Am sure others won't find it a problem though. Not sure what I should look at instead now - maybe the K10 ? They are sold-out in my HK shop - so obviously popular....
     
  10. Googaliser

    It could perhaps bring them down to the sub 2K price point. They are a confusing product though - at least to me. From what I heard, and how they are described - they seem more suitable for professionals in the recording industry. But the packaging, price point and hype - suggests super wealthy, emerging market retail is the target audience. 
     
  11. audionewbi
    I think at that price point they are targeting very small and really dedicated audience who are willing to endure alot. A lot of people will simply turn away from them after seen the price, those who stay will do so after seen how large it is. Such products normally only make it as  CIEM format. But before that demos are made for people to try. A lot of people after hearing the demo ask for universal format of it and a lot of time the manufacturers decline to make a universal as they simply have a lot of stuff to cramp and it is very hard to design for all ears and they only way to do it is to make it as small as possible which is just not possible to get right. (After all I think that is why Noble made the UK10 as people kept asking for it and they really got the design right while still maintaining the K10 Custom sound).
     
    I think Layla is just one of those product that JH made simply because they know no matter how funny they look (or how much it is priced) it will have an audience and it will sale. I know its CIEM is going to be very popular but its universal will still have its own audience.
     
    John Culter likes this.
  12. John Culter

    Actually mine collection of headphones for work was always only CIEMs. Never thought before, that universal in-ear can be delivering sufficient quality results (moreover there was not such a product at all available). But to be honest, all I have to say - from the point I received Layla, I have not used any of my other CIEMS anymore. It is SO convenient for every day use in my daily work. When I put them on and off 100 times a day, it is the godsend to have such a professional sound in the universal package. So you are completely right, there will be an audience who will appreciate such a specific product, exactly like me :)
     
  13. audionewbi
    I am a universal enthusiastic and like my universal simply for the convenience factor you have mentioned but layla is really large andouble other require a very limited movement and a particular style of setting when listening. All these made me turn away and wait for ciem to come out.
     
  14. goodvibes
    My jh13s are a rather shallow fit but stay put until I give a pull so I don't get quite that contrast. In fact, I can break the seal before the pull so no suction like the sort you can't get away from in a universal. That said, I know this isn't usually the case and most need to be twisted in and out. I could see that getting old if you had to do it every few minutes.
     
  15. Mimouille
    I am not a JH basher unlike what people may think after the Roxanne ordeal, but I do agree that at 2.5k, a product should offer a complete package, unless it has an otaku positioning like some FAD IEMs, which is not the case of the Layla IMO. This is why I always told Gavin of Tralucent that even if his IEMs are by far the best sounding universals in the market, they should have a more high end feel.

    The Layla seem to have the SQ, on that most people agree, but the size is IMO an issue. I think IEMs should not make you look ridiculous, even if some think CIEMs do.
     
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