Have you ever wanted to change your earphone cable or source only to find that the components aren’t compatible? This is something that ddHiFi has thought about and why they’ve created all manner of adapters to make all your different gear work together. Well, now they make earphones too. Meet the ddHiFi Janus.
Janus is a figure from ancient Roman mythology and is the god of beginnings, time and duality, amongst other things. He’s often depicted as being two-faced; not like your ex-girlfriend/boyfriend but as literally having two faces.
Of course, duality is what the Janus IEM is all about. What makes this earphone unique is its dual connectors. Yes, it has both MMCX and standard 2-pin connector sockets. That means you can use just about any cable you want with it. Janus has some other neat features too. Let’s take a closer look.
Disclaimer: This sample was provided for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
Can use with MMCX or 2-pin cables
Innovative and imaginative
Bass lacks authority
Driver unit: composite dynamic driver
Frequency Response Range: 20 – 20000Hz
Packaging & Accessories
Like other products from ddHiFi, the Janus comes in an environmentally-friendly unbleached cardboard box. Here’s what comes in the box:
ddHiFi Janus earphones
7 pairs of silicone eartips
Genuine leather carrying case
The ddHiFi Janus has transparent acrylic shells with an aluminium cap and nozzle on one end. On the other end are the dual sockets: one MMCX and the one 2-pin. What’s really cool about the dual-socket design is that the mechanism is tiny. In fact, Janus is smaller than many current earphones on the market.
Another feature of the Janus is the use of flexible FPCB (Flexible Printed Circuit Board) instead of the traditional circuit board as an interface between the sockets and the drivers. All of the inner workings can be seen through the clear shells, highlighting the innovative and forward-thinking design of the IEM.
And as if it wasn’t versatile enough already, Janus’ design allows the earphones to be worn either over-ear or cable down. This, in addition to its small size, makes Janus a very comfortable earphone.
Noise isolation, however, is below average so a fair amount of external noise can still be heard when using the earphones. On the plus side, that lack of isolation due to the vented design gives Janus a more open and spacious sound.
By default, Janus comes with the BC120A (Forest) Air Series earphone cable. Forest is a 2-core OCC copper wire reinforced with Kevlar fibre. The outer insulation uses TPE material which has a unique teal colour. that gives it a retro feel.
Forest has MMCX connectors and unlike Sky (see below) doesn’t have pre-formed ear hooks. The plug, Y-split and connector housings are all matching teal-coloured aluminium and I think the cable looks really striking and unique. The cable handles really well too. It’s supple, drapes nicely and doesn’t suffer from microphonics.
BC120B (Sky) Cable
The Sky cable is an optional upgrade that can be purchased separately or as part of the Janus bundle. It’s a 4-core OCC silver-plated copper Litz cable with a multicoloured TPE sheath. The Sky is available with either MMCX or 0.78mm 2-pin connectors plus 2.5mm, 3.5mm and 4.4mm terminations.
Just like the Forest cable, the Sky has aluminium components and excellent build quality. The cable handles extremely well and the build quality is superb.
The ddHiFi Janus has a coherent, organic sound that is on the warmer side of neutral. Its tuning is more musical than analytical, typical of a warm-sounding IEM. The sound is quite open and spacious thanks to the vented shell design.
Bass is boosted just slightly north of neutral so is not made for bassheads. Sub-bass extension is moderate and Janus creates a rumble with middling weight. The mid-bass is a little more emphasized and forward but feels somewhat lacking in overall impact.
Speed and control are good and the dynamic driver keeps pace well with all music genres. In God Is An Astronaut’s “Vetus Memoria”, the kick drum sounds tidy and controlled without any noticeable bleeding into the midrange.
The midrange is near neutral albeit skewed slightly towards warm in the lower mids. Male and female vocals are equally represented with males gaining natural body while female voices are rendered clearly without sounding shrill.
The midrange resolution is adequate but does suffer some compression in busy passages. Instrument separation is moderate and the mids sound cohesive and organic while maintaining a good level of clarity.
The treble is fairly polite in terms of forwardness and should not be an issue for those who are treble-sensitive. Most of the emphasis is on the upper midrange/lower treble with a steady fall-off after around 6kHz.
As a result, Janus has a non-fatiguing treble but one that still packs some energy. Another consequence of the relaxed treble is a lack of micro-details which is an area where Janus disappoints. Naturally, the upside is a treble that avoids sibilance and harshness but at the same time, there’s a shortage of precision and sparkle.
The soundstage is average in dimensions but has a certain openness due to the vented shell design. Ultimately, however, the forward upper midrange and stunted treble create a stage that’s fairly intimate and creates a hazy centre image.
Naga Audio Sirius ($199)
The Naga Audio Sirius has a single 10mm dynamic driver with a very linear overall signature apart from a lower-treble boost. Yes, it does have a rather exaggerated lower treble and that may bother some listeners but at the same time, it makes vocals pop and provides abundant detail.
Sirius is really linear from the sub-bass all the way to its lower-treble peak. Bass notes feel authoritative and confident yet still controlled and tidy. Vocals and the midrange band are quite forward in the mix and take on a touch of additional thickness as a result.
Sirius’ stage position is further back, leaving more space in front of the listener. Furthermore, its centre image is denser and more tangible, giving the impression that you could reach out and touch the performer or instrument.
Sirius’ treble has a hint of sparkle and plenty of detail but it’s also smooth and non-fatiguing. There’s no sibilance or harshness but ample precision and energy.
Moondrop KXXS ($189)
The KXXS has a single dynamic driver and a frequency response based on the Harman target. It’s more v-shaped than Janus with enhanced bass, upper midrange and lower treble. Sub-bass and mid-bass have more impact than Janus while the upper-bass rolls-off fairly rapidly, leaving the lower mids closer to neutral and uncoloured.
KXXS’ core midrange is slightly recessed compared to Janus, giving it a more neutral stage position and less intimate vocal presentation. Resolution and detail is superior on the KXXS. The Moondrop’s upper treble is relaxed but still has a hint of airiness and lightness compared to Janus’ denser and thicker treble.
The ddHiFi Janus is a forward-thinking and innovative IEM. Being able to use cables with both MMCX and 2-pin connectors will especially please audiophiles with cable collections. The build quality, accessories and included cable are all that you would expect at this price point. However, based on audio quality, Janus’ price point may be a little ambitious.
Nonetheless, Janus is a solid earphone, especially considering it’s the first one from this aspiring new brand. ddHiFi continues to innovate and show imaginative flair and I can’t wait to see what they do next.