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[Review] Jabra Vox

  1. BillsonChang007
    Hello everyone!

    *I wrote a review on iPadClubMalaysia, this is a copy and paste version*

     

    Introduction

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    Jabra is a huge company making a huge line of headset. It was recently, that they got into making headphones and earphones. One of their most recent earphone, the Jabra Vox, that I am to review, is an impressive pair of in ear monitor. To describe this Jabra Vox IEM in short, it is a great pair of IEM for casual listening and for less than $100, the sound quality is impressive however, it does have some flaws that I am talking about it in detail later on.

    The Jabra Vox uses an 8.6mm driver at 16 Ohm [vs Apple Earpods 32Ohm]. It weights only 17 grams with a cable length of 1.2m [vsApple Earpods 10.2grams and same cable length]. In general, you can go louder with the Jabra Vox than on Apple Earpods but the louder you go, the higher the risk of hearing loss.

     

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    Apple Earpod’s in-line remote and microphone [top] vs Jabra Vox in-line remote and microphone [bottom]

     

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    Jabra Vox [top] in line remote and microphone is a little bit curved in comparison to the Apple Earpod [bottom]

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    Apple Earpods splitter [top] and Jabra Vox splitter [bottom]

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    Apple Earpod’s headphone jack
     vs Jabra Vox’s “L”-shaped headphone jack
    .​


    Packaging

    When I first received these earphones, I was surprised by how well the packaging is. Very good first impression to my eyes;

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    10/10 for the packaging! I don’t even get such nice packaging for most of my gears which cost 3-4 times more expensive than it. It reminds me of how Apple INC packages their iPods! The Yellow patten that says “Vox” is made of rubber and it feels really smooth and nice!

    Accessories

    The Jabra Vox comes with a pouch, 2 pairs of silicone eartips [small and large: the small sized is pre-installed on the Jabra Vox itself], a pair of double flanged silicone eartips for better isolation, a quick start guide, warranty card and finally, a code for their unique app designed for Jabra headphones and earphones as well as every other brands out there. The app is available on Android as well as App Store.

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    All the accessories, boxing, and the unit itself.

    The Jabra Vox’s accessories basically consist of everything you need; however, I would prefer it to come with more eartips size as I doubt any of the provided eartips may fit some users. The double flanged was too small for my ears for it to isolate better.

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    As far as the pouch, it measures around 11cm x 7.3cm. It is enough to fit in the entire Jabra Vox IEM into it and perhaps, most of the IEM ;  including the Apple Earpods. There’s a clip on the gap. To open it, you will need to push your fingers in between it and by holding both ends of the pouch, you should be able to expand it further to put your IEM into the case. It’s a very small pouch and only allows you to put in a single IEM. The good thing about the clip is that it prevents your IEM from falling off, giving it a tight seal and itsvery low profile. The bad thing about the clip is that I’m afraid; it may damage your IEM cable if it is not put into the pouch safely because the clamping force is pretty strong. Nothing much to worry if you are using the pouch only for Jabra though; the cable is extremely durable.

    5/10 for the accessories.

     

    Design and Fit

    The design of Jabra Vox is aimed to give a tight fit so that it will not fall off your ears easily. It does take some skill to insert it into your ear for the first time and it took me a few tries to insert it the right way. Overall, it fits nicely in my ears and it sits in my ears tightly without falling off when I did some running and exercises. Other than fitting, they look great while sitting in your ears. The Jabra Vox is also one of the 2013 winner of “reddot design award”

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    Jabra Vox vs MYR0.50

    9/10 for the design and fit.

    Comfort and isolation

    As far as comfort goes, I find it more comfortable than my XBA-4, my friend’s A-Jays 2 and Apple Earpods but it does takes some time to get used to the design of it. The Apple Earpod never really sit in my ear nicely, they always cause discomfort otherwise, it kept on falling off my ears. Some may not like things stuffed in their ears.

    Once you get the right fit, I find it to isolate really well! It cancels out pretty much everything and lower the volume of loud noises.

    8/10 for the comfort

    9.5/10 for isolations

    Microphonics

    [7/10]– Better than most IEMs I have tested but you can still hear some noise when the cable rubbed on your shirt and when you swing your head.

     Microphone test quality:

    Jabra, as a headset manufacturer, before I test the audio quality of the microphone, I was expecting something of high quality; better than iPhone’s built into microphone. The result is however, slightly below my expectation but the overall audio quality is clear and its on the warmer side. The position of the in-line remote control and microphone is really well placed, it is right below my cheek and I do not really have to speak up for the microphone to hear me. It does, unfortunately, pick up some wind noise but it’s not really that loud.

    6/10 for the microphone

     

    Speaker sound quality:

    The overall sound signature is very open [for an IEM] and warm. If I will have to describe it’s sound signature in a word, it would be “V-shape”. The bass is pretty powerful; it hits harder than my XBA-4. I can hear more emphasis on the mid-bass and slight roll off in the sub-bass. Probably because of the very warm sound signature, it makes the guitar sound very “thick” but sound great with drums. With certain tracks I tested it with, I find the bass to be overwhelming the mid. Additionally, I find some of the male artist’s vocal to sound so slightly chesty because of the mid-bass emphasis.

    As for the mids, I could hear certain instruments to be behind the music. Other than the slightly muddy sound at the lower mids, I find the mids to be pretty clear and female vocals sound quite energetic. I would prefer more sparkle at the highs and I find the Jabra Vox to be pretty well detailed. The imaging, depth and width are just impressive for an IEM costing less than $100 thanks to the Dolby technology. In terms of timbre, in all honesty, I find it to be in between good and bad.

    I next did some EQ and lower the bass. Although it’s less fun sounding, but it gets better controlled, less “chesty”, the drums still sound great and the mids finally gets the chance to show off a little; but not much.

    Finally, I switched on the “Dolby Digital Plus” with Jabra apps. First off, this app requires a code to get access to it, the code is included in the package and FREE to download. App’s stability wise, it’s pretty smooth but it will have to import music every single time when you launch the app; unless you didn’t close it. The Jabra Sound app does not play video but supports YouTube search. Back to the “Dolby Digital Plus”, the mid-bass got softer and upper-mids sound warmer. Vocals now stands behind the music with the instruments put forward. It does improve the soundstage further but still nothing close to a pair of full-size headphone of course. Everything just sounded clearer. However, it does not work with all tracks, I find some tracks to sound better with it switched off especially aggressive music but with it switched on, it makes one of my favorite tracks, “Almost is never enough” by Ariana Grande to sound so much richer. Her voice sounds so much sweeter and piano sound more “lively”. Nathan’s voice sound like he’s standing next to me on this track. I totally feel like as if this technology is designed for this track and Ariana Grande’s latest album “Yours truly” as most of the tracks in its benefits with it. With some of the track/album I tested it with, adds treble spike to it and more muddiness.

    The Jabra Vox does not require amplification to sound its best which is a really good “+” as there’s no need of carrying an amp for it. It’s pretty forgiving, meaning, does not sound bad with compressed file like mp3.

    7.5/10 for the speaker sound quality of Jabra Vox

     

    Comparison

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    Vs Apple Earpods [$29]

    In all honesty, the Apple Earpods is a very successful stock earbuds that come with Apple’s iPhone and iPod. They sound great but they hardly sit in my ear comfortably or without me readjusting it once in awhile. Given it is selling at $30 new on Apple Store vs the Jabra Vox at around $50 to $100 on amazon, makes it worth, the extra cost? In terms of fitting, isolation, build quality and feature the Jabra Vox, with no doubt, takes the leads. In terms of sound, the Jabra Vox sound fuller, more bass, better refined. When I switched back to the Apple Earpods after spending some time with the Jabra Vox, at times, I find the Apple Earpods to have weird peaks at the top end.

    Vs Sony XBA-4 [around $158 @ Amazon]

    Although the Sony XBA-4 lacks a in-line remote control, I would prefer XBA-4’s J-cord. It may be just something that I am used to after a year and a half. Both cables do not tangle with me much but the XBA-4’s microphone is really bad in my opinion. Straight out of my iPhone 4, the Sony XBA-4 has better depth and tighter bass. However, the Jabra Vox wins in bass quantity [for bass lovers], anti-mellows and/or metallic sound, and more musical, better upper mid detail.  When the Sony XBA-4 is paired with a low output impedance amp, it has better resolution, tighter and deeper bass, more detailed, better depth in comparison to Jabra Vox but the presence of mellowish and/or metallic sound from XBA-4 is still there when paired with an amp. The XBA-4 and Jabra Vox sound on par when it comes “musical” when both are paired with an amp. Do note that, the depth of the XBA-4 does not change much even when paired with an amp. Both isolates well but the XBA-4 isolates tad better.

     

    Verdict

    I will highly recommend this Jabra Vox for electronic, pop, rap, hip hop, RnB and a little bit of a classic. If you listen to these genresmostly and looking for something portable, isolates well and durable with a in-line remote control within $50-$100, I think the Jabra Vox is really worth considering. However, if you like listening to rocks, aggressive and Indie, the Jabra Vox may not be for you.

    As for propriety, here’s how I would rate it:

    Durability = portability > features > Fitting > Comfort > audio quality

    For around $100, I feel safe saying that the Jabra Vox is great for portable however, if you are planning to use a headphone solely in a quiet room alone, I would rather go for the Grado SR60i. It’s much more spacious sounding, more “musical” but does lack some body and bass in comparison to the Jabra Vox. I will rate Jabra Vox at 8/10 in terms of price vs performance wise.

    -BillsonChang007

     

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