By Mike Wheeler
- Excellent, crisp sound
- No discernable distortion
- Nice fit
In-ear headphones have always been a problem for me, so I rarely use them. I don’t know whether it’s because I’ve sensitive ears, or whether the compound that most are made of is just too hard. I know of a few people that have the same problems, but most find these type of units no problem.
So when I was asked to review Atomic Floyd’s AriJax earphones, I was a little dubious, not least because of the discomfort I was expecting.
First the bad. They are really a pain in the butt to fit. The actual earphones themselves slot in nicely, but the earhooks - which as the name suggests, hook over your ears - are fiddly to put on. It took me an age to do so, and yet I don’t have particularly stubby fingers, or big ears (although some would probably beg to differ on the latter). Once the hook is over the ear, then you have to manoeuvre the earpiece into the aural channel.
Once getting over the rigmarole of fitting them, you are then left to digest the pros and cons of the sound. Now, this is where it gets impressive. I have tried several types of earphones over the years, and for most part, the sound quality has always left me satisfied – not overwhelmed, just happy. However, if I was to compare the AirJax with any of the previous earphones, then I would find them wanting.
Using my recently purchased iPod touch, I decided to try some classical music with the Academy of St Martins in the Field putting JS Bach’s Air on a G String through its paces. The orchestration was near perfection and I could hear each section of strings come in, with the ability to distinguish between each one as it entered the arrangement. In the past, this has sometimes come through as a mish-mash of noise, without any notable layer of sound being introduced.
Second, for a change of pace on came Green Day’s She’s A Rebel, which nearly blew my eardrums off with the intro, but with a surprising lack of distortion as it hit full tilt boogie. Of course, my ears were ringing for some time afterwards, but it was an experience I was happy to live with.
Next up was Blondie’s Sunday Girl. This was an interesting one. Every other iteration of earphone I’ve tried seems to know on instinct that this tune has not been remastered, so there is a noticeable audio dropout compared to some of the recently produced tracks. And while the sound dropout was still noticeable, it is nowhere on the same scale as other plugs I have tried.
So what makes the sound so good? Well it does have a 24k gold 3.5mm audio jack, which helps with conductivity; a bass port for distortion-free bass; high-performance, oxygen-free cable; as well as a frequency range of 5Hz to 25Hz.
Overall, I liked these earplugs a lot. I would go as far to say they would give my standard-setting Sennheiser pair a good run for their money.
Pros: Excellent sound, reasonably comfortable
Cons: Fiddly earhooks, pricey
4 Shack out of 5