At 50 ohms, the q-Jays are definitely higher impedance than a lot of IEMs out there, but with the higher sensitivity, they are not that hard to drive either. The X5ii had no issues of course – with comfortable listening levels at 35-50/120 on low gain. With my iPhone 5S this translated to around 40%, so it is not a hard load to drive. To check though, I used the q-Jays with both my E17K and also through the iDSD, and neither seemed to add any dynamic boost – other than the natural colouration of each amplifier.
I tried this in a couple of ways, and was quite happy with both results. While I was using the E17K, I set its tone controls to +2 treble and +2 bass, simply to add a little more extension at both ends. This was a really nice change for my tastes, and was a fast and easy way to apply a different colouration for those times I’d like a little more “vividness” in the overall presentation. They also responded well to EQ (applying a similar curve) with the X5ii’s built in EQ. So the q-Jays respond very well to frequency changes – and with the curves I applied, there was no sign of muddiness or artifacting. Great stuff.
I’ll make these pretty quick.
I compared the q-Jays side by side with a couple of my other favourite IEMs – the DUNU DN2000J and Trinity Delta (both triple driver hybrids). To do this, I first volume matched using an SPL meter and test tones – and used the E17K in the chain so I could very quickly change volumes when switching. Comparisons are sighted and completely subjective. No EQ was used.
q-Jays vs Trinity Delta (gun-metal filter)
Overall build quality is excellent on both, but the win would ultimately go the q-Jays because of the added comfort, and probably the style factor too. I like both cables – really well designed. The Delta’s cable ultimately looks a little classier – but the q-Jays is replaceable. Both are super flexible. Sonically, the Delta is a little sweeter in the top end and a little thinner in the vocal range, but is much boomier in the bass. It also feels quite a bit slower. The q-Jays are a lot more nimble in their presentation. Vocals are fuller – and bass is better defined but much less quantity. I like both presentations – but they are very different, and I’ve been starting to really like the bass speed of the q-Jays more as I’ve used them.
q-Jays vs DUNU DN2K
Again although both are built exceptionally well, the q-Jays get the nod on overall build, and also on comfort. Cables are very similar quality with the q-Jays having the added bonus of being replaceable. Sonically the two signatures are a little closer – with the 2000J having similar mid-bass, but more sub-bass. Impact is greater on the 2000J, but they are also slower (and I’ve never felt that before about the DUNUs). The DUNUs have a brighter upper end, and sweeter upper mid-range, and are a little thinner in the lower mid-range with vocals. Both are exceptionally clear – just a different presentation, and once again it is the speed of the q-Jays I’m really enjoying. Two exceptionally well-tuned earphones and I’d find it hard to pick a preference. Luckily I don’t have to.
One small note though – with the EQ I tried previously, the nod may have slipped slightly in favour of the q-Jays.
VALUE AND SUMMARY
The q-Jays are not a cheap earphone, and at around the USD 400-450 mark, they are going up against some heavyweights in this price bracket.
But looking at what they bring to the table in exceptional build, style and comfort, and then pairing that with a really easy to listen to and well balanced signature and I’ve found myself warming to them a little more every time I’ve used them. They have wonderful vocal clarity and an intimate but at the same time really accurate sound stage.
They are very easy to drive, and respond to EQ really well (while I’m finishing this I’m still listening to my test tracks with slight EQ applied, and thoroughly enjoying the experience).
To lovers of a smooth, clear, nimble, easy listening signature – you should definitely consider the q-Jays, and while they are pricey, I wouldn’t consider them excessively overpriced. For Jays (at this price point), my only advice would be to consider offering (as part of the package) a second cable (iPhone/Android). That would really sweeten the deal a little.
Regardless – I’m sold on the q-Jays. Jays advertise them as “reference earphones” – and it’s really nice to see someone delivering on them claims.
My thanks to Urban and the team from Jays for allowing me the opportunity of sharing some of the Jays experience.