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.
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.
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.