Ever wanted the functionality of a fully customized in-ear monitor but in a discreet and near-invisible format? In today’s review, I’m checking out the LXear Jupiter, a flexible and discrete in-ear monitor. Jupiter has a single Knowles balanced armature driver in each of its 3D-printed, transparent shells.
Official website: https://lx-ear.com/
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.
- Small and discreet
- Excellent seal and noise isolation
- Smooth, warm and natural tonality
- Standard cable has microphonics
Package and Accessories
Similar to the LXear Pluto, Jupiter does away with superfluous throwaway packaging in favour of a practical carrying case with a white cardboard outer sleeve. However, unlike the Pluto, Jupiter comes in a smaller, semi-rigid zipper case.
Inside the case is a plastic spool with the cable wrapped around it and a hollowed-out centre where the earphones sit. Apart from that, you just get a user manual and a cleaning tool. That’s a very minimalist and pragmatic package. It’s less about the show and all about practicality.
Due to the nature of flexible material CIEMs, they are more difficult to insert into your ears than acrylic shells due to friction. For this reason, I would like to see a small tube of water-based lubricant added to the bundle to make insertion easier. It might be worth your time to pick up some comfort cream or K-Y from your local pharmacy, although you might also need to explain the reason to your spouse!
Build Quality and Design
Jupiter’s shells are built from a flexible material ( hardness 70 SHORE ) and covered with a soft, antibacterial and biocompatible lacquer. They are 3D-printed from either physical or digital impressions of your ears, with an incredible precision of down to 1 micron.
What makes Jupiter unique is that unlike most custom monitors, it does away with the outer part of the shell that normally fills the concha. Instead, the earpieces fit in your inner ear canal. They kind of remind me of jelly beans.
Internally, the monitors are made up of a single Knowles balanced armature driver. They use a tubeless technology made possible by the 3D printing process. Externally, the only part that isn’t flexible is a rigid and colour-coded plastic ‘handle’ that is used for inserting and removing the earpieces. It gives you something to grab hold of and can be held and turned, kind of like a key to twist the shells into and out of your ears.
Additionally, the soft core is:
covered with a soft, antibacterial and biocompatible lacquer that becomes soft in the ear at body temperatureLXear
The main advantages of this flexible housing are the comfort and superior noise isolation. Because of the material’s flexibility, Jupiter can maintain a seal when opening the mouth, which is much more difficult to achieve with classic acrylic shells.
Comfort and Noise Isolation
As always, the quality of the fit you get with a custom in-ear monitor always starts with the quality of the ear impressions you send to the manufacturer. To ensure you get the best impressions, you can check out the guide on LXear’s website here: https://lx-ear.com/impressions-instructions/
For my ears, Jupiter is extremely comfortable. Just yesterday, I was on a road trip and had them in my ears for around 4-5 hours during the day. As the shells warm up to body temperature they soften slightly and so may take a few minutes to reach optimal comfort.
The noise isolation is extremely good (listed on the website as down to 35dB). This makes them good for stage use for musicians or for people who need hearing protection. For audiophiles like me, it means that there are no audible distractions while you’re enjoying your music.
The only downside is that if someone’s talking to you, you really have no choice but to remove at least one of the earpieces to be able to hear what they’re saying. For some that could be a huge advantage too!
The sample I received has the stock cable installed. It’s a dark brown colour with a hazy translucent TPU sheath. It is quite flexible but a bit springy and reminds me of the old-style KZ or similar Chi-Fi cables. There is also some pretty serious microphonics, enough to be distracting, so I’d recommend using a shirt clip.
The stock cable is permanently attached to the shells, so, unfortunately, you can’t swap it out for a higher quality one. There are premium cable upgrades available (Linum Superbax), which are detachable and more comfortable but also incur a significant extra cost.
Gear used for testing includes the Shanling M5s and Soundaware M2Pro as portable sources. On the desktop, I hooked up the FiiO K3. Although Jupiter’s impedance is above average for an IEM at 50Ω, it’s easy to drive and does not require extra amplification.
Jupiter is characterized by a linear sound signature that is balanced with a touch of warmth and a slight emphasis on bass. What stands out to me is the organic, analogue naturalness of the audio. It sounds more like a traditional single dynamic driver, rather than a BA (that’s a good thing).
I found it to be competent across pretty much all music genres and it particularly excels with live recordings, such as Gazpacho’s “Dream of Stone (Live)“, where Jupiter makes you feel as though you’re standing amongst the crowd.
This is probably my favourite feature of Jupiter’s sound (followed closely by the midrange). The bass is neither thin or excessive but positions itself nicely in line with the midrange without intruding on it. It has a natural attack and decay, with just the right amount of roundness and girth.
While it doesn’t have an overtly textured bass, Jupiter’s low end is fundamental to the overall tonality, creating warmth without muddiness. Bass extension is good and Jupiter can reach nice and low albeit with a tight and light rumble. The mid-bass features more prominently and provides ample punch and impact, working well across multiple genres.
Earthy and smooth, Jupiter’s midrange is another aspect that adds to its naturalness. Midrange notes have good body and some note thickness but with the juxtaposition of classically fast BA transients enabling it to maintain a fast pace. Despite the midrange body, Jupiters organized stage keeps space between instruments. This creates a fairly large stage and gives everything room to breathe.
Jupiter has slightly forward vocals making them large and full-bodied and imbuing them with warmth and richness. They occupy the centre of the stage and are kept separate from the surrounding instruments, giving Jupiter fairly strong imaging for a single BA driver IEM.
The treble sits just behind the midrange and bass and has a light smoothness, which makes it inoffensive but still plenty lively. It has a classic dip around 6-7kHz which avoids any sibilance and then it rises again at 9kHz, providing clarity and air.
Extension here is good too with a natural and even fall off. Jupiter’s treble doesn’t sparkle, however, it is mercifully non-fatiguing and has good timbre throughout making hi-hats and cymbals sound lifelike without introducing any artificial artefacts.
Jupiter’s stage dimensions are reasonably large, especially considering its warm tonality. Its upper midrange boost adds presence and definition, while the extended upper treble adds airiness. Despite the warmth of its notes, Jupiter still manages to create space between instruments and has impressive imaging to boot.
Custom Art FIBAE Black
The FIBAE Black is another single balanced armature IEM that, like the Jupiter showcases impressive end to end extension. These two IEMs share a similar tonality with a few subtle differences. The Black has slightly more sub-bass presence which gives it a tiny bit more rumble down low. Its mid-bass character is also comparable to Jupiter but somewhat more enhanced.
In the midrange, Black’s notes are a little leaner; notes don’t have quite as much body or roundness, although the difference is only slight. These IEMs share similar treble traits too; both have a laid back and non-fatiguing treble that shows no signs of sibilance but is still light and airy. However, the Black’s treble is a hair more forward in the mix which is balanced out by its extra bass weight. Jupiter’s tonality feels more linear and balanced in comparison.
The LXear Jupiter turned out to be a real surprise for me. It has impressive end to end extension and a warm, linear presentation. With its punchy, non-fatiguing sound and superb noise-isolation, Jupiter is well-suited not only as a versatile, professional stage monitor but also as an audiophile-grade earphone that’s perfect for enjoying your music.
- Colour: transparent
- One BA speaker per side
- Hardness 70 SHORE, soft finish
- Frequency response: 20Hz-18kHz
- 111 dB SPL @ 1kHz @ 1 mW
- Impedance: 50 Ohm @ 1 kHz
- THD @ 100 dB SPL: 0.4%
- Cable length: 120cm