Pros: U-Shaped with good bass, Fun sounding and friendly, Fit, Price
Cons: Imaging, Metallic timbre at times, Treble is unrefined and splashy, Lacks detail/technicalities
Driver Setup: 1 Dynamic Driver (Berylium Plated)
Price: 34 USD
Disclaimer: This review set is a demo set graciously lent to me by a friend from his personal collection. This review is written of my own accord and all thoughts here are my own. Should you find yourself interested in a pair, you can get it here.
Firstly, let me introduce Jade Audio here as it is a relatively younger brand which is a subsidiary of FiiO that was able to import several R&D advancements to their product offerings. In this review, we will be reviewing the Jade Audio EA1, a single beryllium plated dynamic driver which is currently their entry-level offering.
Packaging and Accessories (Score: 6.5/10)
The EA1 comes in a simple white box and in it, lies the IEM itself, a carrying case, 2 sets of ear tips that alters the sound and a 0.78mm 2 pin single-ended cable. For the price I must say that I am quite impressed as they basically covered all grounds in terms of a complete package and on top of that, tuning tips which allows you to change the sound of the EA1. Neat!
More about the tuning tips, there are 2 sets, 1 noted as “balanced” and another labelled for “bass”. So, depending on what your preferences are through testing I suppose, pick the tips that you like but for the purposes of this review, I am going to use “balanced” as the default condition of my impressions.
Fit and Build Quality (Score: 7/10)
Starting with the build quality here, the EA1’s shell seems to be made from higher quality plastic that probably can withstand several knocks and bumps without compromising in functionality. Its construction in general looks promising but it does not impress many given its relatively low asking price which I can understand.
Fit is good in general, quite ergonomic and does not have any rough edges that will cause any sort of discomfort. Again, it follows a relative standard design (robust one at least) so it should gel well with most ears.
Sound (Overall Score: 6.8/10)
I would describe the Jade Audio EA1 to have a U-Shaped sound signature, giving off a sense of warmth as well as energy
- Ibasso DX120
- iPhone XR
- Atom DAC and AMP
Music and Albums, I listened to
- Alan Walker
- Billie Eilish – When we all fall asleep, where do we go?
- Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture
- Cigarettes After Sex
- One Republic – Dreaming Out Loud
- Keane – Fears and Hopes
- Nino Rota – The Godfather OST
- Fedde Le Grand – Cinematic
- Halo 2 OST
- Halo 1 OST
- Scary Pockets
- Hans Zimmer
- Aladdin OST
Bass (Score: 7.0/10)
There are some boosts to its bass region which explains its bloomy and warm presentation however, its punches and hits in its mid-bass sounds rather blunt on top of slightly marred separation abilities. Don’t get me wrong, the bass digs deep on the EA1 but it just lacks some technical attention to them that I can’t ignore. Taking a step back, the overall bass presentation is led mainly by its sub-bass followed by its mid-bass so do expect a slightly darker character as you listen to the EA1. For example, the EA1’s bass character shines through with Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy” intro where EA1’s darker bass character gels well with the dark -twisty alternative pop genre.
To summarise with respects to the overall sound signature, the EA1’s bass sounds very prominent but does not overpower other elements greatly which creates that very full/meaty sound.
Mids (Score: 6.5/10)
The mids of the EA1 do sounds recessed and less forward as compared to its treble and bass regions, however, it does not suffer from hollowness and that infamous wonky honky midrange sounds that ruins their overall sonic character. Moving on, the EA1’s technical abilities felt somewhat lacking in terms of detail retrieval, layering and timbre of instruments which stands out whenever I run through my orchestral pieces and instrumental OSTs.
To summarise, it is a good thing that vocals do not sound wonky or hollow that ruins the experience, but it certainly didn’t score well with regards to technicalities and especially timbre which sounds metallic.
Treble (Score: 6.5/10)
The EA1 doesn’t exhibit any sibilance at all but cymbals and high hats sound splashy which sounds quite undefined and messy at times. The EA1 lacks details and it becomes obvious when listening to the percussive lines in Aladdin’s “Friend Like Me” where taps and hits aren’t controlled which explains the term “splashy treble”. On the flip side, the EA1 suits those who are sensitive to treble as it is not offensive relatively rolled off and subdued as compared to other parts of the frequency response.
I would say that the overall frequency response will suit many with its fun sound that gels well modern pop and EDM genres. Technicalities wise, the Jade EA1 does has a decent soundstage in terms of width despite its slightly metallic timbre and marred imaging.
Full review of the KBEAR KS2 here
The KS2 has a stronger bass emphasis as well as a relatively more recessed mid-range as compared to the Jade EA1. Technicalities wise, they are quite similar in terms of soundstage and shares similar flaws such as timbre issues. I do prefer the Jade EA1 over the KS2 due to the sucked out mid-range the KS2 has and a more control bass response. With regards to price differences, I find the EA1 to have similar value proposition given a higher price tag due to its better cable build and fit over the KS2.
In conclusion, the Jade EA1 is a strong contender at 34 USD with many areas done right, a basic but complete package, decent build and good fit that will fit most ears, a fun and friendly sound signature that will appeal to most budding audiophiles that wants something affordable yet competent enough to set itself apart from the likes of brand-less cheap earphones. If you are looking for a less serious and fun sounding set of earphones, the EA1 checks most of the boxes at 34 USD.
Overall Grade: C
Click HERE for our grading list for earphones