on November 14, 2009
I purchased this item after having the JBuds J2 earphones for a few months and I can say from personal experience that these earphones are extremely improved from its predecessor, the J2s. The new sleek and slim design fits comfortably into the ear and with four different size tips, one surely has to fit. The cord is very durable even though it is slightly slimmer than the previous model. Also, the four different colors JLab Audio offers helps personalize this product towards your individual preference. After "burning-in" the new J3s, I noticed an overall clear, high quality sound. I've tested this with a variety of music and have noticed improved highs and bass as well. Some people have commented that that there is too much treble but I haven't really noticed this. After you do a "burn-in," the sound quality should significantly improve. The sound is perfect for me but I am just your average music lover, not an audiophile. When listening to music with these earphones, I notice instruments I've never heard before on my standard iPod earphones.
These earphones are great for its price and I expected no less from JLab Audio. Although I am not a sound expert, these earphones should live up to your expectations. The J3's deliver exceptionally on many attributes and are definitely superior to other earphones in its price range. The new and improved J3s are worthy of 5 stars for me. I have had no problems with this product so far and the 1 year warranty that JLab offers should hopefully suppress any worry you might have regarding its durability. The mini case these earphones come with is also a wonderful addition. It is convenient, small, and perfect for travel. Whether you are new to JLab products or a returning customer, you should be satisfied with the J3 earphones. I use them every day and just love this product! I am also impressed at the customer service JLab Audio provides. They really do care about their customer and making their products better. Thumbs up to JLab Audio and the new J3's! This is one of the best purchases I have made this year!
on November 24, 2009
First of let me say that I have recently bought a J2 about 3 weeks ago. Those were great, but I gave them to my brother since I've got the J3.
At first, I thought the reviews about the j3s sounding too trebly were correct. I was extremely disappointed, but I gave it a chance since I haven't burned it in yet.
After 3 hours, there was not much improvement. I was losing my hope in these earphones because my J2s were much better sounding.
It was only after I tried adjusting the ear foams that I discovered my mistake.
The standard size was the best fit for me, so using that ear piece, I tried twisting the earbuds into my ears instead.
To my own surprise, the sound became extremely rich. I tested it again, but this time with my normal way of placing in my earbuds, and the trebleness returned.
You've probably read a lot of reviews saying that the sound of the j3 is too trebly and weak. Discard them from your mind. I hate to say this but it's not the earbud's fault but our own. To experience the full sounds of this great bud, you HAVE to put it really into your ears. So much that it literally cuts off the sounds of a person talking.
Now, onto the review now that we clarified the trebly sound mistakes :].
Sound: These buds are amazing once you place them in your ears correctly (shove it all the way in.) The sound is rich and clear. Of course, I haven't fully burned them in yet, and I can hear the earphones get better every hour or so. But still, even without a full burn in, it sounds surprisingly good. Even better than my j2s which have been used extensively for a couple of weeks now. Now, I'm not a super major audiophile, but I do know that my ears are very good at hearing sounds. I have to say, running my music through these earphones with my computer sound cards settings at 24 bit and 192000hz is just great. The sound comes out clear, basses with enough "oofmp" and trebles with enough clarity. I repeat again, this is when the earpphones are not fully burned it yet.
Design and build: This is the sexiest and coolest looking earbuds I've seen. Much better than those of ipods and zunes, and I like it's shape better than shures. Basically, the shape just screams high end production and quality. The earbuds are quite small, and the cable seems quite thin. However, this just all adds into its appeal. The shiny aluminum, the sleek black aluminum shell, and the see through cable, (along with the laser etched logos) all look great. There's great attention to design because even the cable looks attractive.
Other than looks, the build seems extremely solid. Although the cable takes a bit to straighten out, it's very durable and stiff despite it's thinness. The wire is a little on the short side though (well it doesn't really matter because I haven't found a time where i needed to be more than 4 feet from my music player.) The connection areas are very well done too. Especially the plugin part. It's gold plated for greater quality, and the plastic covering for the area is small but strong and well made. There's a Y split adjuster too, it's a little short for my taste but that's fine.
I also like that Jbuds put a metal mesh over the earhole of the buds to keep stuff from entering. It's a great improvement from the j2s. It also looks great.
The buds come with 4 sizes, and each of these can change the perception of the sound quality. So you have to test them all if you want to find the best one for you.
Other than that, this comes with a spiffy casing. It's small and easy to use. It takes a bit of time to figure how to put the buds in, but I found it really easy if you wrap your bud around 3 of your fingers and then place it into the container.
I love this addition because not many other companies offer a case with their buds.
Now that you know my impressions, feel free to judge these buds yourself. I'm pretty sure that you'll love em.
Also, it's Jlabs offer a great website, and their burn in test there seems to be very good, so give it a try when you get these buds.
on November 2, 2000
Well the Casio CD player turned out as I expected it to be a decently good CD player. I could never decide between the Koss CD player and the Casio one but i liked what I heard about the Casio player. It has all the necessary features programmable memory, a nice power save feature (the Koss product doesnt), suprisingly nice headphones and a solid anti-skip system. It also has a very nice design. It did play the burned CDs' I had although it does say in the manuel it is'nt compatable with all CD-R's. And the Car kit was an added value. Now why did I give it 4 stars, well because there are just as good values or even better in the local stores. There are CD players that are fully CD-R compatable and with longer battery life (up to 29 hours) for almost the same price with a car kit too. Price Ranges were from 59.99 to 69.99 for CD players that were superior in Brand (like RCA, Panasonic, Aiwa). Overall though this is a well built discman with a very nice design. I only wished I wouldve shopped around because for the price of this product with shipping I could of found a slightly supperior product without the wait time.
on November 23, 2009
Before using J3's, I had no real conception of the difference between a low-end and high-end earphone. My best set of earphones was a cheap Philips pair that I bought at Best Buy. Therefore, I'll try to cater this review to others considering the transition into the high-end earphone market, who have never owned a well-built earphone.
If you're currently using a low-end earphone, I highly recommend upgrading to the J3's. When compared to low-end earphones, these have several distinguishing features:
- The rubber tips form a seal in your ear to enable high-quality low end frequencies. That is, you can actually hear really deep bass if you're wearing the earphones correctly. In order to ensure correct fit, JBuds includes four rubber tips so you can custom fit them to your ear.
- The materials are much higher-quality - the phones themselves have an aluminum body and the cord feels much stiffer than low-end earphones.
- You can't hear anything outside the earphones. This can be good or bad, depending on how you plan to use them, but for the most part, I would say this is a very positive feature. However, if you move your head around you can hear rustling as the cord rubs on your clothing. I assume this would be typical for any noise-isolating earphone, though.
- The case is very well-designed. It's compact and doesn't crush the earphones if pressure is applied. If you haven't used a round case like this, it might seem awkward trying to fit everything into it. The trick, however, is to lightly wrap the cord around your ring, middle, and index fingers and then put everything in the case.
- These require a burn-in period in order to get the best sound. When I first started using these, the high-frequencies seemed really harsh, but this problem disappeared after a week or so of listening. The change in sound quality is very noticeable after the burn-in period. After a bit of research, it looks like JBuds actually has sounds on their site specifically designed to burn in these earphones.
The frustration-free packaging is very nice. The box that these ship in is about the size of a 3x5 index card and the thickness of two iPods, so everything comes neat and well-organized.
So far, I haven't been able to find any real drawbacks to these earphones. They seem very well built, and the music quality is great. I would highly recommend these.
This is my first-ever Amazon review, so let me know if I've missed anything in the comments.
I have been putting the MetroFi 170's through their paces and I must say I'm impressed. For comparison purposes I used a similar quality set of Altec Lansing earbuds and a pair of Shure 110 earbuds. The Shure 110 earbuds are typically regarded as excellent and the Shure name is highly regarded. With that being said these Ultimate Ears actually sound better to me than the Shure set. The mids and highs seem crisper and clearer. Bass is about the same between the two. The biggest difference here is the price. The Ultimate Ears cost about half of what the Shure's cost and for that difference alone I recommend them over the more expensive Shure's. The Altec Lansings are very good earbuds as well but can't quite keep up with the Ultimate Ear's.
The MetroFi 170's are made with high quality materials and I would imagine they will take some abuse. I dropped them several times from about 5 feet onto hardwood floors and they came out unscathed. Two things I particularly like about the MetroFi's is that the right earbud has a red color which immediately identifies it to you as the right ear piece. Very convenient. Also, the included hardcase is a nice addition. Many times I throw headphones into my gymbag or laptop case and I am always a little concerned even with headphones that feature a softcase. This hardcase is nice and I don't have to worry about the earphones when I am travelling.
One thing to keep in mind. These are noise isolating headphones not noise cancelling. There is a difference. These go into your ear to help block out outside noise and isolate sound. Noise cancelling headphones require batteries and typically have a noise cancelling type of "white noise" when turned on. Just wanted to make sure everyone understood that. Overall a great set of earphones for the price.
on December 30, 2009
I would not call myself an audiophile by any stretch but as life-long musician with a music library of 15,000 eclectic tracks I feel as though I know a thing a two about music. I bought these for myself as a replacement for a pair of Sennheiser CX300-B Earbuds (Black) that unfortunately were damaged in a European backpacking trip a few months ago.
After reading the mostly favorable reviews and noticing the modest price of $30 I went ahead and purchased a pair of J3s earbuds and looked for a much needed improvement from my iPod earbuds that had been holding down the fort. After about a week of use and nearly 40+ hours of "burn-in" using manufacturers own recommended mp3 files found on their website I am sorry to say that I am writing this review while listening to my tunes using my 6 month old iPhone earphones as my J3s sit uselessly in their very attractive case.
Two huge criticisms of these earbuds. Poor sound quality and the poor design. First of all, the length of the cord reveals the height-ist nature of the R&D folks who designed it. If you are active and much over 6' feet read no further and try another pair of earbuds. You'll be sorry otherwise. I stand at 6'4'', by no means a giant, and as I keep my iPod in the pocket of my shorts at the gym the cord the cord is barely long enough for the buds to reach my ears as I run on the treadmill or lift weights while standing. There is no chance that I would ever use these if I was running through the city, jumping rope, or doing anything in the least bit active for fear they I'd spend half of my workout worrying about keeping the buds in my ears. Also, due to material from which the cord is made, the bouncing of the cord against my chest interferes with the sound quality as the it provides it's own soundtrack over my music that can be likened to an off-beat high school marching band bass drum player or the irregular heartbeat of a large mammal. I've had noise-reducing earbuds before but noise-INducing?...these are a first.
Both of these issues might be tolerable if the sound quality of the actual buds were as good as billed. However, this is far from the case. After attempting to warm-up the buds by running them through a regiment of "burning them in" for a few dozen hours over a long weekend they do not sound much better than the first day they arrived. For those of you who say that earphones should be "burned-in" for 100-200 hours to reach their maximum potential, remember, these are $30 earbuds we're talking about. They shouldn't have to receive as much attention and care as a cocker spaniel puppy to be fully appreciated. If you had to walk 100-200 miles for Nike shoes to feel comfortable they'd have been out of business before the first Air Jordans hit stores.
In regards to the actual sound quality, and I apologize for my lack of knowledge of the industry terminology ahead of time, they are incredibly tinny as if the treble setting is through the roof. I have messed with my iPod settings and the "best" (see: most tolerable) EQ setting I was able to find was either "deep" or "treble reducer." The mid-range noise is muddled as if the singers and musicians were playing inside of a potato sack, and the bass (the lesser of the three evils) feels like someone keeps lightly bumping a q-tip against my eardrum. You can even hear crackling at times. Maybe they're starting to burst into flames from all of the "burning in"?
All in all, I would not recommend these earbuds to anyone, even at half the price! I would return them if I could but instead it seems that my iPhone earbuds will have a very cool case for the time being.
on November 26, 2009
My first impression of the J-Buds J3 Micro Atomic In-Ear Earphones was that they were surprisingly lightweight, almost delicate. The cord is thinner and has a different coating than one typically sees with most earphones. According to the manufacturer it is supposed to be better in regards to durability and in the week that I tested them, I found them to be quite resilient. They fit very snugly into my ear, which was impressive, as I've often had an issue with previous earphones falling out with the slightest snag. The manufacturer provides four sizes ear cushions rather than the customary three, which is very much appreciated. As was the case with pervious J-Bud models, these required some breaking in time. I let them play for a few hours on both an iPod and iPhone before making my analysis. The J3'sprovide excellent sound isolation; something I take seriously as I primarily use these while riding the subway in New York. Good sound isolation means you can listen to your music at a lower level rather than turning the volume up to compensate for outside sources. It's something I had really enjoyed with the J2 model and is further improved upon here. Those J2s were a comfortable, dramatically inexpensive improvement over the stock headphones provided with Apple's iPod; they had a great range of volume along with that impressive sound isolation but suffered at the high end. I think that JLab Audio attempted to react to that last criticism with this model, which is notably brighter. I can certainly hear items in recordings that I previously could not. It's a pretty crisp sound. Still, while perhaps arguable by another ear, I felt it wasn't a completely balanced a sound. It needs a tab bit more bass. Perhaps that is something that will be achieved with additional breaking in of the model. Still, even with that gripe, you have to applaud JLab Audio's J3's. They are simply a great value for the overall quality they offer at this price point. I found them to be better than the popular Bose In-Ear and just about comparable with the Sennheiser cx300 and Klipsch Image S4, all available at 2-3 times the J3's price.
on October 25, 2009
I bought these headphones in June, and 2 months later, one of the earbuds stopped working. That's fine, I figured. I went on the Ultimate Ears website to get warranty support, and I saw they had a link to Logitech (which owns UE now). Again, that was fine, so I contacted Logitech. After numberous emails and weeks of no responses, I finally heard back from Logitech, and they mentioned that I would need to call Ultimate Ears in order to get warranty support.
I've spent too much time trying to get a replacement set, so I just decided to give up. It's not clear who to contact when you need warranty support, and perhaps that's why they have it set up that way (to discourage people from warranty claims). These headphones were good while they lasted, but I will never buy another Ultimate Ears or Logitech headphone set ever again.
on November 25, 2009
(Please see my update at the end of this review.)
I looked at a LOT of reviews before I made this decision, especially the one- and two-star ones. Grousing is often instructive.
I can't claim to be an audiophile, nor a purist for music; but I like it when my music isn't grating or tinny, and I like it when my earbuds aren't digging into my ears and making them ache. I'm looking at you, Apple. Why spend so much time and effort perfecting something like the iPod when you release such crappy, uncomfortable earbuds? Seems a little like making a perfect restaurant, with five-star service, superb ambiance, and extremely helpful waitstaff - then selling your patrons $20 plates filled with roadkill.
Anyway, I'm not an audiophile, but I like it when things work, and sound good. These earbuds do it. The silicone plungers seat nicely in my ears - hard to do, since I have an allergy that normally makes them itch like fire when I insert listening apparatus - and they do isolate sound, except the occasional sussurations of my own hands on the cable. I guess that's to be expected.
I'm using them before the J-Labs recommended 24- to 48-hour burn in, but I like them so far. Trebles are a bit too crisp sometimes, but bass response is excellent. I believe the trebles will smooth out with time. (Here's a question for J-Labs, though: If you know your buds need a break-in, well, why not do it in the factory before you ship them?)
Currently Bach is playing, the Brandenburg set performed by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. I like that I can hear the valves opening and closing on the woodwinds, and that I can hear the players breathing as they perform. My sold-with-the-unit iPhone earbuds were not this sensitive. And nowhere near as comfortable.
I was surprised by one thing, though. I was under the impression that these buds had an inline mic and controller for handling phone calls and iTunes playback, like the Apple buds. Apparently not.
Anyway, a good set of buds, and with the current markdown ($30 from $70 as of November 09), worth the cash, or so I think. Certainly a marked improvement over the buds you get with your iPod/iPhone.
==== UPDATE 25 January 2010: =====
As anticipated, after the break-in period, the buds are delivering sterling audio performance. Trebles have mellowed, midranges are crisp; but what I think I like most is that the bass response is still very much there. It's bizarre to describe earbuds as having "resonant" bass -- after all, they don't have the drivers to be subwoofers -- but these little guys really deliver. There are times when I can almost feel my head resonating. I'm quite pleased with this purchase.
on January 2, 2010
I've used these for about a month now and decided to come back to write a review.
I'm an avid home musician and guitarist -- I record my own tracks using Guitar Rig 3 and various ASIO input devices.
I think I understand where the "High ends are too high" people are coming from but I think I know their ignorance as well. These earbuds are more like actual audio monitors than they are like speakers or other headphones. For those of you who know what "audio monitors" are, they reproduce audio in exactly the same way it was recorded -- studio recording pros use monitors instead of speakers. Most cheaper speakers and headphones will cut off the lows and highs so people crank them up in an EQ to compensate for them. Most MP3's downloaded are pre-EQ'd to compensate the average speakers/headphones side effects too. So when you play the average music through real audio-monitors, it will sound either too loud with high's or low's most all the time.
It's hard to find a true, uncorrected audio file on the internet these days but if you can I'd ask you to test them out with a real audio file and not some MP3 file ripped from your CD or downloaded online.
When I play music through my iPod on these, I keep it on "flat" and it sounds perfect -- exactly as recorded. Just for a little proof I set these up next to my frequency counter and I could get ranges at the exact same audio level from about 50 Hz to almost 20k Hz. I then played my actual Apply iPod headphones in the same set up and at the same audio level, I only got 200 Hz to 14k Hz. I had to increase the volume almost double to get registerable levels near 20k Hz. For those who don't understand audio frequencies -- true audible sound is approx. 20 Hz to 20k Hz for most humans (20 Hz to 20,000 Hz) with perfect hearing. If you listen to high bass too much, your low end (20-200 Hz, more so closer to 20-100) is slightly deaf probably, and the same with High's (16k-20k, more so from 18k-20k).
Remember when your Mom told you not to turn your headphones up so loud? Some people will wish they listened ;-)