Published on November 1st, 2016 | by Greg0
Dual Drivers Bring the q-Jay Earphones To Life
As devices become smaller, we’re beginning to reach a point of diminishing returns for many accessories, and it’s become obvious for many products. After all, a decade or so ago, it seemed as if phones might become ever-smaller- but the trend shfited and they’ve since reversed course. Audio gear is complicated by physical restrictions on sound, which is why those giant tower speakers will never completely go away. But earbuds face other demands, and unless you’re looking to go wireless, it’s hard to get any smaller than today’s earphones- while still boasting of audiophile-quality sound.
The q-Jay Earphones from Jays are actually an upgraded to the original from several years ago. They were fairly famous, becoming known as the smallest widely-available dual-driver earphones on the market. Jays is a Swedish company, and one with a pretty wide range of offerings, though we haven’t reviewed them around these parts since the v-JAYS in 2012. So, what’s new? For starters, the q-Jays now feature a sturdy removable cable, a nice addition that ensures they will last longer- and it’s interchangeable with audio-only or iOS, Android, or even Windows-compatible versions. And speaking of which, the new q-Jays feel quite durable, thanks to the updated solid stainless steel bodies instead of plastic used in the first edition models.
The matte black finish is a nice touch, and it is scratch-resistant too. Inside each earbud, you’ll find a dedicated woofer driver and separate midrange/tweeter driver. They didn’t skimp on the packaging either, as it feels executive-quality, and Jays included five different silicone ear tips and some Comply foam tips too. The latter help with isolation, and the variety of options mean you should definitely be able to find something that fits your ears nicely. One other upside of the move to a firmer body is that the stiffness reduces unwanted vibrations and distortion. In terms of audio performance, the near-flat frequency response means the q-Jays sound pretty balanced and natural, almost like in-ear monitors, ideal for a pretty wide range of genres. A little tilted towards bright, they offer a wide soundstage, plenty of detail, and a pretty impressive amount of bass considering their tiny size.
Now, it’s not all roses- the cable is a little bit short, and it can be a bit hard to figure out the orientation (which side is left and which is right). We loved the lack of overt branding and subtle style though, plus they are lightweight enough to wear anywhere and small enough to pack away even in a pocket. We would have liked to see these in a few colors, but the basic black is classic, and the q-Jays are available now online and in stores for around $279, in line with many dual-driver options. For those with doubts, these will put to rest the idea that bigger is better- your music will sound accurate and broad even as these are among the most compact that we’ve seen.