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A price around £129 should get you a stonking good set of earphones. We've recently seen a terrific contender from Shure, too, has an excellent offering., and
Jays, a Swedish manufacturer, has come out with the world's smallest dual-armature earphones, available from their Web site. 'Dual-armature' means there's both a sub and a tweeter in each earpiece, and the earpieces themselves are miniature to say the least!
Could the q-Jays really be the underdog of the £120-region earphone market?
A variety of silicon tips come with the q-Jays to ensure the diminutive earphones fit snugly in any ear. They also provide far above average sound isolation. The absence of any significant body means these are among the most comfortable and easy to wear 'phones we've ever worn. Only the soft silicon tip touches the inner ear -- good news for anyone who considers bulky canalphones about as comfortable as dysentery.
Sound quality is as impressive as their 'Honey, I Shrunk The Earphones' form-factor. Twin drivers in each 'phone give an exceptionally balanced and accurate sound across the audible spectrum. Stengah, the powerful opening track from Meshuggah's superb album Nothing, exploded with power and clarity. The overdriven twin guitars sawed their way into our brains, their utter disregard for time signatures making the process all the more enjoyable. Crisp and bright cymbals were undisturbed by this onslaught of complex guitar work, retaining the beautiful quality of their original sound -- the china crash was notably well reproduced.
Gold-plated connectors feature on every part of this modular cable. The cable can be separated halfway down in order to provide the perfect solution for iPod shuffle owners who clip their tiny MP3 player to their jacket's lapel. In this scenario, only a few extra centimetres of cable will hang below chin-level.