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These lightweight V-Jays on-ear headphones deliver hefty sound

The Audiophiliac lavishes praise on this affordable headphone.

The Jays v-Jay on-ear headphone weighs next to nothing, a mere 2 ounces (58 grams), but the sound has real heft, so it provided a soul-satisfying kick to the "Hamilton" Broadway cast soundtrack. The rap musical connected all the dots over the V-Jays.

True, the matte black, all-plastic design won't win kudos for solid build quality, though the folding hinges feel secure, and you get an extra set of foam covers for the ear cups. I think the V-Jay's no-frills aesthetic looks pretty snazzy.

While most on-ear headphones are closed-back designs, the V-Jay is semi-open, and I could hear the difference that made. The sound was less stuck inside my head than what I get with most on-ears. Impedance is listed at 24 ohms, and the driver size is 40mm. The non user-replaceable cable lacks a mic or phone controls.


The Jays' V-Jays on-ear headphones.


Wearing the V-Jays while listening to Ryan Adams stellar "Live at Carnegie Hall" album transported me inside the great hall, switching over to my Beyerdynamic DTX 350 p on-ears ($69, converting roughly to £50) the sound was mellower and more laid-back, and Adams' vocal and guitar tonal balance sounded more natural on the DTX 350 p, but the V-Jays did a better job putting me inside Carnegie Hall. The DTX 350 p's larger ear pads were more comfortable over long listening sessions, but the V-Jay is lighter and folds into a much more compact bundle. At the same time, the DTX 350 p was easier to listen to with harsh sounding over compressed MP3s.

The V-Jay's grip/definition in the deepest bass is definitely above par, much better than the DTX 350 p's. It's also unusually spacious sounding for an on-ear design. With great sounding recordings like jazz guitarist Marc Ribot's "Live at the Village Vanguard" CD, the V-Jay's transparency clobbered the DTX-350 p's. I did note the V-Jay's treble is bright and sometimes a tad coarse, compared with higher-end headphones.

If you're rough on headphones, go for something that can handle a beating like the (more expensive) V-Moda M-80. That said, for audiophile listeners craving maximum clarity for just $60 in the US or £30 in the UK, Jays' V-Jays are highly recommended.