The Hiss King
- Aug 9, 2006
- Reaction score
The following is a paraphrase of my full j-phonics review at TouchMyApps.
What is it?
Sensaphonics Japan have put together a winning package. I've been a fan of the Prophonics 2X-s for a year or so, but I'll be the first to admit that it could improve in one basic area: treble quality. It's not bad, but at times, it can get grainy.
The j-phonics takes the Prophonics 2X-s guts and stuffs them into a package that is overall smaller than the Westone 2. Right, other dual driver earphones are smaller. The q-Jays is Lilliputan and the Audio Technica CK10 is a tiny button. But, neither earphone is a professional stage monitor.
The j-phonics is the smallest professional stage monitor. It is slim, ergonomic, and pretty strong. For those of you who like to sleep with earphones on, it is great.
Simply put, nothing fits like the j-phonics. Comfortable in every way from the angle of the multi-flanged sound tube to the thin over-the-ear cable. it is light, smooth, and small. It should fit any ear.
The j-phonics has a smoother high end than the 2X-s. You can forget cringe-worthy cymbals and electronics. And bass, too, is cleaner. My guess is that it is because the j-phonics's plastic chassis is laminated by a very hard enamel. Even with Comply tips, it is clean and detailed.
In fact, there is a lot of detail in the low end. It is just a small step behind the Earsonics SM3 in that regard. Mids stand between the SM2 and SM3, they are neither overly warm, nor dry. For this reason, the j-phonics sounds pretty damn good with soundtracks, jazz, and other emotional musical genres.
Bass stays loud and strong just below 60Hz and drops off after that, but not too fast. Treble extends well to the stated 16,000Hz.
I am NOT a fan of thin plastic housings in professional products. That in mind, the j-phonics is stronger than the Earsonics SM3 and SM2 and probably on par with the Westone UM3x, though I get the feeling that the sound tube is stronger. It seems that Sensaphonics Japan are stuck in a polycarbonate rut. That's okay, but I thin they should take a bit more care to seal the seems around their cable and body. Sweat is too bugger of problem for stage musicians to ignore.
The cable is A+: strong, thick, and relatively resistant to crystallisation. Still, it will harden as it ages. You can choose length, termination, and - if you press hard enough - colour. I've not seen the silver version, but if it the same as that on the 2X-s, it is better at withstanding the deleterious effects of body oils and sweat than the grey/black version.
Nothing says professional like a Pelican case. The 1030 or 1010 are large, but perfect matches for a stage monitor. It won't break.
Maybe the sample I worked with was missing things, but I didn't see a wax loop, and to be honest, for the price, Sensaphonics Japan could have included a tiny tote case for those days when you don't want to haul the full Pelican to the stage, or your office.
Overall, I feel that the j-phonics is the best-realised professional earphone on the market. It fits pefectly, sounds great, and is strong for the road. There are small areas that could be improved on, but by and large, this earphone trumps its universal professional stage monitor colleagues.
I expect this earphone to take off among musicians first and audiophiles, second. I reckon that the latter group will get up in arms over the fact that the j-phonics has 'only' two drivers, but it costs nearly 400$. Well, go sit on a tack if you are upset about these things. The j-phonics isn't a mass-market item, it is catered to professionals, and Sensaphonics aren't a marketing company, so you won't see adverts about the technology, you'll see adverts about the performance. I'm sick of technology marketing and the j-phonics shows, again, that audiophile marketing is just really clever hot air.
Don't get me wrong, I love the JH13Pro and the SM3, two earphones that have more drivers than the j-phonics, but I get sick of the driver wars and their technophile explanations.
Again, the full j-phonics review is at TouchMyApps.