The q-Jays in-ear headphones have been around overseas for a while, but only landed in Australia recently as part of the larger Jays brand. At the time of launch three years ago they were the self-described "smallest in-ears on the market", and while this is no longer true — theare smaller — the company still maintains its claim.
The q-Jays are at the top end of the Jays catalogue, and feature dual-micro armature drivers (watch this video for an excellent explanation of armature drivers) for the reproduction of bass and treble. Included along with the headphones are five different silicon sleeves, plus a pair of foam ear bungs that offer the best sound isolation. The company goes even further by offering eight replaceable protective filters in the box — think of them as speaker covers if you like — which are designed to keep your earphones free from grit.
On top of this you get a natty carry case, a headphones flight adapter and a Y-cable adapter for sharing music with a friend. Two 90cm extension cables are included in the box — one straight and one L-shaped — and enable up to 135cm of length, which means you can put your player in a bag or satchel.
Fit is very good, and isolation on par with the Ultimate Ears that also help your ear drums as you won't need the music up as loud. We received a white set of phones and didn't like the grey screen printing, but the black ones look better. We liked the extra-long cord, but found this posed its own challenges. Due to the cable's length the cables are quite heavy and as a consequence quite "microphonic" — the cables rub against your clothes which is audible in your headset. To get around this, though, you can wear the headphones "pro style" by looping them behind your ears before putting them in.
The q-Jays are probably the most balanced headphones we have ever stuck in our ears. While this means they can sound a little lacklustre coming straight off a pair ofor even the Ultimate Ears their appeal only comes with time. But compared to "pop" headphones like these, the q-Jays enable a more dynamic presentation that is also less tiring in the long run, but their slight reticence in the upper register means they are probably better suited to classic rock, jazz or orchestral. "Dead Hearts" from Stars' The Five Ghosts can sound overly brittle and breathy on the Ultimate Ears 700s, but through the q-Jays the sound is fuller and more dynamic.
If you're not looking for excitement, and prefer a warmer sound, the q-Jays are an excellent set of in-ears — no matter what genre you favour.