Review: JH Audio Layla – Merlot

JH Audio Layla

Disclaimer: The JH Audio Layla was supplied directly by Jerry Harvey free of charge. Since it is a custom built unit it does not have to be returned. Many thanks for the opportunity and generosity. JH Audio is not a site advertiser. Special shout-out to Berkhan for editing the photos!

About JH Audio

As we have learned from the interview with Jerry Harvey a little while ago, JH Audio was founded 2008. Jerry also founded and owned Ultimate Ears and has designed some of their most reputable products, including the Triple.Fi. If you haven’t read the interview yet, you can do it here. JH Audio is a CIEM company seated in Orlando and mostly works with professional musicians, such as Slash, Will Smith and many more very famous groups and artists. His artist roster reads like the who is who of the music industry. They of course also offer their line-up for the regular folk around. His past creations have been very well received by many audiophiles around the globe. A few months ago we’ve reviewed JH’s Lola custom in ear monitor. You can read up on this article here.

JH Audio is one of the brands that also pushes a lot of own technologies and patents them, like FreqPhase or D.O.M.E., to further enhance their performance and give the best possible sound-reproduction to their customers.

Here’s a video of Jerry explaining his technologies and what they bring for the consumer:

About Layla

Layla has been introduced by JH Audio quite a while ago back in 2015, so this is not a new IEM we’re reviewing here today. Layla still resides as Jerry Harvey’s flagship, and I tip my hat for this. We see a lot of other manufacturers launching new flagships in short time, not always to the liking of their customers. JH Audio sticks to their TOTL and I’m very happy they do.

Twelve proprietary balanced armature drivers are packed into each earpiece. Four drivers reproduce bass, four take care of mids and another quartet is here for high notes. All of the drivers are powered by Jerry’s own SounddrIVe technology.

Like most of JH Audio’s monitors, Layla’s bass can also be altered with the bass attenuator near the cable’s end. The bass pot gives low frequencies (at 60Hz) a boost of 13 decibels when fully turned up. When it’s completely turned down its bass is said to be totally flat. The internal crossover design is of fourth order and very sophisticated. She features three sound bores with Freqphase stainless steel tube waveguides.

Layla also uses the screw-able four pin connector like Roxanne or Lola. Personally I think this connector is really good. I would love to see more manufacturers include it with their monitors, as it simply is a lot more robust than MMCX or two-pin. The cable fits very securely when screwed on and it certainly looks like it could withstand being treated a bit rougher. I assume touring artists can vouch for that. Layla is one of the few monitors of JH Audio that is not offered in a universal form factor as part of their Performance Series.

Layla’s impedance is measured at 20 ohms, sensitivity is 117 decibels per Milliwatt and her frequency response goes from 10 Hertz all the way up to 23 Kilohertz.

More about Layla on page two!

Review: JH Audio Layla – Merlot
4.5 (90%) 40 votes

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

A daytime code monkey with a passion for audio and his kids, Linus tends to look at gear with a technical approach, trying to understand why certain things sound the way they do. When there is no music around, Linus goes the extra mile and annoys the hell out of his colleagues with low level beatboxing.

    22 Comments

    • Reply February 27, 2018

      MICHAEL BROWN

      Good review I have both custom Layla and universal Encore. I currently have my Layla matched with the Effect Audio EOS and find it a very good match. Looking forward to your follow up with either Leonidas or The Horus cable.

      • Reply February 27, 2018

        Linus

        Hi Michael,
        thanks a lot for your comment.
        I’d love to try my Layla with Leonidas, but mine is a 2-pin cable that can’t be used with JH Audio IEMs. Been looking for an adapter, but haven’t found a reasonable one yet.

    • Reply February 27, 2018

      Zach

      I know of an adapter with the bassport built in

      • Reply February 27, 2018

        Linus

        Hey Zach,
        thanks for your comment.
        Would you mind pointing me to that adapter? If it’s reasonably priced I’d love a pair.

        Thanks!!

    • Reply February 27, 2018

      Zach

      This is the item page: http://e4ua.jp/?p=2870

      Its in japanese and there is no checkout. You can email him for it here: info@e4ua.jp

      he doesnt write english so you have to translate what he emails you. Dont send him japanese unless you know japanese, just send him emails in english. I have purchased this adapter from him before and it is outstanding. It allows me to use plussounds wireless iem cable with my layla. He makes it in 2 pin and mmcx. Its about 250 usd for the set. Well worth it.

      Just email him what you want.

    • Reply February 27, 2018

      Guillaume Ceccarelli

      Thank you for your detailed review.

      I’m in the market for CIEMs with music production – including mixing and perhaps later mobile mastering as well – in mind, and your review of the Layla, thanks in part to your comparison with flagships from other manufacturers, has been the most useful I’ve come across so far. I’m decidedly thankful that you offered us a review even after ~3 years of the Layla’s existence.

      If I’m interpreting your review correctly, it would seem that Layla comes out on top when it comes to both
      – range of reproduction, since it seems to reproduce deeper bass than its competitors
      – being organic sounding while still successfully aiming for neutrality: maybe coherence would be a good adjective for it?

      Would you agree that this is an accurate understanding of your experience? I’m also asking because it was hard for me to grasp what “fuller bodied” meant to you as a listener and I’m hoping to get a better sense of it.

      • Reply February 28, 2018

        Linus

        Hi Guillaume,
        thank you so much for your nice comment, I’m glad you found the review useful 🙂

        Layla indeed does reach the lowest out of all my monitors, yet when it comes to treble extension I might give the A18t the nod.

        I wouldn’t call Layla neutral, as it has an overall darker signature.

        What I mean with fuller bodied is that notes carry bigger weight and sound fuller. If that makes sense… 🙂

        Cheers!

    • Reply April 7, 2018

      Phoorich

      Thanks for the review. Did all of the comparisons are done in their stock cable?

      • Reply April 9, 2018

        Linus

        Hi Phoorich,
        thanks for your comment, appreciated.

        Yes, all were done with stock.

        Hope that helps.
        Cheers

        • Reply April 9, 2018

          Phoorich

          Just decided to get the Layla thanks to this review. I did demo the encore and its indeed has better clarity but somehow I like the Layla more.

          Keep up the good works!

          • Reply April 10, 2018

            Linus

            Glad you found your poison 😉
            Also happy that my review helped you.

            Layla is special, I fully agree.

    • Reply May 10, 2018

      Nathan

      hi Linus, can you compare with JH Angie? or maybe soon in the future you’ll get Angie also. so you can reviewed it here. thanks

      • Reply July 8, 2018

        Linus

        Hi Nathan,
        sorry for the late response. Must have missed your comment here… my bad.

        Unfortunately I have never heard Angie and there are no plans for a review of it I’m afraid. But Berkhan has had the Angie (AK universal) for a while and he loved it, maybe he can chime in on a comparison of the two…
        He has also done this awesome comparison chart, you can find both Layla and Angie in there:
        https://www.head-fi.org/threads/iem-score-chart-constantly-updated.815852/

        Hope that helps.
        Have a great Sunday.

    • Reply October 3, 2018

      Yossi

      Hi,

      Thanks for your clear and detailed review it really helped a lot.

      I will be using the IEM for mixing live shows, so I want the most accurate sound possible. Which one of them should I get?

      Thanks

      • Reply October 3, 2018

        Linus

        Hi Yossi,

        thanks a lot for your comment.

        Which IEMs have you been thinking of?
        For mixing live shows I’d recommend Layla, 64 Audio’s A18t or A12t, Empire Ears has the ESR which is supposed to be super flat. Their Phantom is also used by professionals for mixing as far as I know. Apart from these I’d also recommend Noble’s Katana.

        There’s a good number of models which you can try I guess. 🙂

        Hope that helped.
        Cheers!

    • Reply October 23, 2018

      Yossi

      Thanks for your response. I was thinking btw the Layla and the A18t which one of them should I get for mixing live shows?

      • Reply October 23, 2018

        Linus

        Hi Yossi,

        tough one, depends what you’re after in the end.
        The Layla is the more emotional one, whereas the A18t has higher resolution and micro-detailing and also throws a bigger stage. Both have great imaging, which might be very handy for live mixing.

        The A18t is the more technical advanced in my opinion.

    • Reply October 23, 2018

      Yossi

      Thank you. I very much appreciate your response.

    • Reply November 24, 2018

      J Martinez

      Hello, I currentlt play drums, guitar and sing in a church, and really love music and a great sound with base and clarity where I can feel the stage. I cant decide detween the 64audio a18t, Layla or UE. Which ones would you recomend?

      • Reply November 25, 2018

        Linus

        Hi J,

        thanks for your comment!
        It all depends on what you want.
        The A18t is better on technicalities (resolution, layering, sound stage…) and has a very exciting sound. It also offers you two different sound signatures by switching the modules (you get both M15 and M20).
        Layla has a more enjoyable sound with more body for the long run.
        I can’t say anything about UE, as Lieven has done (and is doing) the reviews for them, but I know he really likes the UE Live.

        Hope that helps.

        • Reply November 25, 2018

          rob

          I have both layla and u18 (both universal) and would recommend u18 for long term/general use. The vented design is easier on the ears, I’d say the layla is three times more fatiguing. I’m just listening to my u18 way more.

          • Reply November 25, 2018

            Linus

            Hi Rob,

            thanks for the insight.
            I didn’t mean that the A18t is producing ear fatigue, but it produces a highly technical and exciting sound which isn’t for everyone.
            Layla is more laid back and fuller, but A18t is more accurate and precise in my opinion.

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.