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Jays a-JAYS Four - Noise Isolation, Sound Quality and Verdict

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams


Our Score


Review Price £45.86

The Jays a-JAYS Four use rubber tips to block out the sound of your environment, which they do reasonably well as long as you attain a decent fit within your ear canal. That Jays has included five pairs, all of different sizes, really helps here. Some other pairs of earphones only offer three. The tips are of excellent quality too - thick, soft and comfortable.

Jays has also gone the extra mile with the earphone cable, chucking out the standard round design in favour of the much chunkier flat ribbon type. This is meant to decrease tangling, and while it works to an extent, it certainly doesn't make them immune to turning into a matted clump of linguini should you leave them in a pocket or at the bottom of a bag. a-JAYS Four 2

This design doesn't stop microphonics, the loud banging noises heard with IEMs when the cable bumps into your clothing. It's fairly pronounced here, but if you want to go out running with the a-JAYS Four earphones, you can always run the cable over your earlobes, which cuts down this effect significantly. The extra weight of the thick cable helps to keep it in place when worn like this.

We've talked a load about the errant noises they make and avoid, but how do they actually sound?

Like the rest of the a-JAYS series, which are often tagged with the unfortunate "heavy bass" tag when sold online, they are pretty bassy. In this sense, they're similar to Sennheiser's CX-series earphones.

The low end isn't tremendously well-controlled, but it's warm and enjoyable. Like a warm blanket that's sure to be a bit too warm and fluffy for pedantic audio nuts keen on clinical accuracy.

a-JAYS Four 4

Apart from the big-booty'd bottom end, the sound is very well balanced. They're virtually immune to sibilance and harshness, and provide an excellent fatigue-free all-day listen. We'd ideally like to hear a little more brightness, a tad more sparkle in those highs, but the Jays a-JAYS Four outclass the entry-level One pair.

This sound signature is reasonably flexible, providing an engaging and easy-going listen. The inflated low-end can let instruments like bass guitars, low synths and strings dominate arrangements disproportionately, and flub intricate passages, but performance is highly competitive at this high-entry or low-mid price point.

At around £50 RRP, they are not all that much more expensive than the Sennheiser CX 500 and CX 400, although intermittent bargain pricing of those hugely popular models means they'll occasionally sell for much less. Sonically, they compare well, the Sennheisers just offering a little more energy higher-up the frequency spectrum. The Jays feel better-made to us though - the CX earphones renowned for dramatically falling apart in a number of different ways after a few months' use.

They do inhabit a tricky position, though. For just £30 more, you can take the giant leap up to the big leagues with the Phonak Audeo Perfect Bass 012 - which supply superior, high-end sound quality. It may be a big much to ask you to invest an extra 60 percent, but consider that this extra thirty quid gets you from the top of the bottom of the market, to the bottom of the top.


Although not generally thought of as one of the top reliable earphone brands - it tends not to have enough presence - it's a rep Jays deserves. The a-JAYS Four provide an attractive design and a warm and powerful sound, improving on sets lower down the range. At £50, though, it's worth considering whether your pocket can take a little more pounding in favour of something a bit fancier - as these earphones still cling onto the slightly under-controlled (if enjoyable) low-end of the top entry-level earphones.

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john g

October 14, 2011, 2:05 am

I've owned a pair of these for several months and this article seems an accurate and well-balanced review, but I think ownership and extended use inevitably lead to a deeper experience - although whether mine is typical, I don't know.

Anyway, first of all let me say that, if you get everything right, the a-JAYS Four can deliver a good sound and, regarding that, your review explains the positives and negatives of this very well. But I've also experienced quite a few problems that have left me feeling that I'd not buy another set of JAYS phones, nor recommend them to my friends.

First of all, the phones rely absolutely on a perfect aural seal. They're not alone in this, but it means that the slightest leak between the inner and outer ear will totally destroy the bass response. It is, in effect, a ported design, which extends bass by means of a small outer opening. If this can acoustically feed back into your ear, the bass disappears. Despite having five sizes to choose from - from too big to too small, none of the supplied tips worked for me. In the end I solved the problem by putting a small foam doughnut behind the silicon flanges and, suddenly, the sound was reliably good.

The second problem is the cable. Yes, it doesn't tangle, and the extra weight, whilst noticeable, isn't really an issue, but the cable slap as you walk along is a disaster if you like listening to music that has any quiet passages.

Finally, today the phones have developed an intermittent connection in one channel at the jack plug, so they have to be returned for replacement under guarantee.

It's a shame as I'd hoped I'd discover a relatively small company that could challenge the established players. Unfortunately, based on my experience at least, AJAYS aren't there yet.

I'd be really interested to learn whether other people have had broadly similar experiences, or whether I've just been unlucky? It'd be great if others posted their views.


October 14, 2011, 2:49 am

Hi John g,

Thanks for the comments. I've heard some complaints about the longevity of some Jays sets, and have had some problems myself with the (otherwise wonderful) q-JAYS. Would be interesting to hear some other people's experiences too.

Paul Haynes

November 7, 2011, 4:57 pm

I've also heard a few complaints about their build quality. I owned a pair of A-Jays Threes myself, not anymore as they broke (though the reason for such was entirely my fault), but I know exactly what John means in terms of their fitting. It was always a bit awkward for me, and the difference in sound is noticeably better when you did push them in just right. All well and good if you're sitting down but if you're walking, they often wouldn't stay there.

The sound of the cable making contact with anything was also quite pronounced.

Other than that the sound was very good (especially when optimally positioned), and with the Threes, the selection of accesories was excellent.


October 8, 2012, 5:25 pm

These are awful headphones - 1/10. I left my Ultimate Ears at home and picked these up at the airport as a cheap replacement that I could use with my iphone for my week away.
The headphones themselves have sharp edges where the cable goes in and if you use the smaller of the ear tips like me, you have to push them in so far to make a seal that the sharp edge literally cuts into your ears.
The flat cable came out of the box with kinks in it and is deformed such that it is not finding it's natural 'dangle' like normal thin cable. The mic and buttons are big and clunky and because of the twisted cable - is often facing the wrong way - which wouldnt be so bad except that the 'multi-directional' mic is facing away from my face!
...and lastly the box, so 'well thought out' that you need an instructional video on youtube to understand how to get in it. Why could they not have spent the money giving me a carry case instead?
Oh, and the sound quality isnt up to much, it's ok but I wouldnt choose these over a low end pair of sennheisers


September 8, 2013, 8:53 am

I bought these 8 months ago. I largely agree with the review and I find when sitting still, I love these headphones. Unfortunately they have two major design flaws and I could not recommend them to anyone:

1. The non-tangle cable sounds like a good idea, however the result is that the lead is far too heavy for the size of the earpieces. The result is that when you walk, run or indeed move in any way the movement echoes in your ears drowning out the music. A clip or fastener of some sort would have probably solved this problem.

2. Within 8 months the controls and inbuilt mic no longer work. This is probably related to the above, whereby the weight of the lead has caused the wires near to jack to sever, but I am only speculating. Regardless, I can no longer use them to control volume or make calls which defeats the point.

Finally, Jays couldn't make it more difficult to claim warranty. My suggestion is stay away from these.

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