In an old brewery in central Stockholm, Sweden there is a company making headphones. That in itself is enough to gain my interest! Founded in 2006 Jays set out with a goal:
“to create great music experiences that everyone could enjoy and love”. In order to achieve this, they claim to “to stay true to our core value of simplicity in everything we do, in order to make products that are beautiful, easy to use and are built to last.”
So today I’m looking at the u-JAYS closed back on-ear headphones. These are gorgeous to look at and according to the company are durable, comfortable and sound pretty good. Could it be true? Read on to find out.
Disclaimer: This product was sent to me for the purpose of this review. I’m not affiliated with the company in any way and all opinions and observations here are my own, based on my experience with the product. I’d like to thank Jays for the opportunity to test the u-JAYS on-ear headphones.
My first thought when I picked up the u-JAYS box was “wow, heavy!” Immediately I was intrigued. The box is black with a simple image of the headphones on the front. Simple and sophisticated, just the way I like it. It looks kind of like the dark nemesis of an Apple product.
On the back of the box is another image of the headphones along with some of the features and the specifications. These come in 4 colours: black, black and gold, white, white and gold. I have the black and gold version.
Opening up the box (which folds open like a large book) is an experience in itself. Inside we find the headphones with the cups detached, the 135 cm (53 in) removable cable with remote and microphone, a fabric carrying bag and a multi-language user manual. The manual is of a high quality and includes many different languages and it’s pretty large as a result. This is partly the reason why the box felt so heavy.
The other reason is the density of the foam in which the headphones are stored. More high-quality stuff and it would take some very serious punishment before the headphones were at risk of being damaged. So far so good.
The cable is thick yet supple, is resistant to tangles and ‘sits’ well when wearing the headphones. The in-line controls have easily defined buttons and seem to work well. The microphone is also pretty decent and worked as intended.
Build and comfort
Once the headphones and ear-cups have been removed from the box you’ll need to attach the ear-cups. This is a very simple process of just putting them on and twisting to lock them on. It feels very secure and there’s no way the cups will come off unintentionally.
The headband is a stainless steel core covered in silicone. All the wires are encased within the frame. Very simple yet elegant and strong as there are less separate parts to reduce the risk of damage. On the underside is an area with some extra padding to reduce pressure on the top of your head.
The headband has good flexibility and therefore the clamping force is sufficient without being uncomfortable. The arms of the headband are covered in a solid plastic that is well-matched colour and texture wise to the silicone giving the headphones a cohesive appearance.
The ear-cups are a solid and fairly thick plastic that makes me want to use the durable word again. They can be rotated 90 degrees one way and almost as far in the other direction so they’re great for wearing around your neck while you’re not listening to them.
These headphones look fantastic in my opinion, understated and classy. The pleather ear-pads are very soft and added with the low clamping force make for a comfortable experience. Isolation is pretty ordinary and I would have liked to see the ear-pads slightly thicker to make them even more comfortable and block out a bit more external noise.
I’m happy to say that along with their build quality and pleasing aesthetics the u-JAYS also sound fantastic. They’re nicely balanced with a smooth, textured bass with enough grunt to get your feet tapping. Sub-bass has great extension but never gets overbearing and allows the mids to shine. The mid-range is clear and articulated and oozing with naturalness.
Separation is very good and vocals have good definition and realism. The highs on the u-JAYS bring a sense of air and detail, are incredibly smooth and never get splashy. In Miles Davis’ “Perfect Way” all the different sections of the song meld together but you can still hear each individual sound. High horn notes can often be an area of sensitivity to me but the u-JAYS have a smooth but energetic presentation that’s very easy to listen to for prolonged periods of time.
Soundstage and imaging are also handled very well with an openness and positional accuracy. The kick drums in “Hem” by Mathias Eick are particularly meaty and have a satisfying thump with the u-JAYS.
These are the only on-ear headphones I have at the moment because I have never been a fan of them in the past. Since testing these though, I’m now very interested to delve deeper into this type of headphone as I find the u-JAYS comfortable and very competent when it comes to sound. Hopefully, I will be able to update this section at a later time.
The u-JAYS are a great looking pair of headphones that have fantastic build quality for their asking price. They’re currently available for just $119 on Amazon which I think is a steal, especially when I think about the equivalent you get for IEMs in the same price range. They’re built really well and are more comfortable than most other on-ears that I’ve tried in the past.
With a textured, impactful but balanced bass, clear, engaging mid-range and smooth yet detailed treble, they have a mature but still lively sound signature that is better than you’d probably expect for the modest expense.
If you’re into on-ear headphones I seriously recommend you get your hands on some of these as I believe to get the same quality sound you would normally have to pay quite a bit more.