Fully comprehensive portable audio solution; great sound; good value
Won’t suit everyone’s listening preferences; flat cabling means cables hang awkwardly from your ears
The first thing that hit me when I unpacked the a-JAYS Three earphones was just how brilliant an overall package I held in my hands. Lets be clear: when you buy a pair of these a-JAYS Three, you’re buying a portable music solution, not just a pair of headphones. The packaging and range of included accessories are borderline premium, and at the $89.95 price point this struck a pang of doubt in my worried head. If the packaging and accessories are this comprehensive and well put together surely there must be a compensatory reduction in actual earphone/sound quality, right? Wrong. This is the most comprehensive pair of earphones I have ever seen at this price point, at 90 bucks these little babies are seriously good value.
What you get
Inside the large, matte black, industrial-designers-eat-your-heart-out pack you’ll find the following:
- One pair of a-JAYS Three in-ear headphones with tangle-free cabling
- A comprehensive instruction/specification booklet
- Five rubber ear buds in sizes from XXS to L
- One 3.5mm splitter to share tunes with a mate
- Aeroplane in-seat headphone adaptor
- Hard carry case
The packaging is so well designed you’ll want to keep it as a storage device for all the accessories that you’re not currently using. The included circular case for the earphones themselves is also particularly useful for use away from home, providing an excellent protective solution for the a-JAYS Threes.
Fit & finish
Again, the a-JAYS Threes come up trumps. For a pair of headphones at this price point they’re fantastic, if not unparalleled. The tangle free cabling takes a little getting used to as it’s flat – like fettuccine – but after a few days of use it feels natural, and actually works quite well to reduce cord tangle. As mentioned earlier, the packaging is a work of art and the rest of the accessories are on par with the excellent build quality of the headphones. The various sized rubber ear buds are free of any manufacturing dags, both the adaptors insert and receive 3.5mm headphone jacks with a satisfying resistance and resolute click, and the instruction manual is the most detailed I’ve read for a pair of earphones. It’s informative on a product level but also more generally about sound equipment – with brief educational sections on topics including noise pressure, sensitivity and impedance.
The whole package is well put together and I seriously struggled to fault one element. If I were pushed I’d mention fleetingly that the points at which the cabling meets the 3.5mm jack and the earphones feels as if after a few years service it could become frail. But I’d be drawing a seriously long bow.
How do they sound?
For some, there are going to be problems. Fundamentally, the a-JAYS Threes lack balance. There is far too much an emphasis on the high frequencies which, without equalisation, will bother some. However, if you’re of the opinion that a heavy emphasis on the high end does a beautiful headphone make, then you’ll be happy with these.
Unfortunately, I found it a bit piercing which saw me searching around my iPhone/Pad/Pod and computer settings for the Apple preset “treble reducer” on the EQ. This went a long way to enhancing my listening experience.
Over-emphasis on the high-end aside, the a-JAYS Threes are great sounding earphones. They handle most genres of music with aplomb and – it just keeps coming up – for their price point they’ve got to be some of the best sounding earbuds on the market. Bass is handled well; it’s tight, punchy and at an adequate volume. Though if you’re looking to shift the position of your eardrum inwards, you need not apply. Mids are clean and not too warm so as to dull a good tune.
You’d have to be a pretty serious audiophile to pick these apart as a great all-rounder, which is where I think the a-JAYS Threes will be best suited to your lifestyle. They won’t compete with your desktop cans but they will seriously trump your standard-issue Apple headphones and are a step up from most things I’ve heard in the $50 – $100 category.
Australian Macworld’s buying advice
These are a fantastic buy; brilliant all-rounders. They’re durable, cleverly designed, well-built, sound great and won’t break the bank. Far beyond just another pair of earbuds, the a-JAYS Threes are a portable music solution that packs a whole lot of value in to an attractive little package. If you’re in the market for affordable earphones with a great sound, grab a set. You won’t be disappointed.