Sol Republic JAX Review
Tiny and not very expensive, they're among the best in their price range.
Dangerous to Go Alone—take This!
I've heaped just about enough praise on the JAX without showing my work, so that should probably change. Hopefully, my notes from the lab—which you'll find below—will shed some light on the situation.
Consumer-oriented sound ditches misleading marketing
Behold—a chart. From this, we see that bass notes are quite strong, as well as notes around the 6-11kHz mark, meaning drums and 808s will rattle your skull, and cymbals will come in loud and clear over vocals and other instruments.
At first glance, this looks like a very dynamic response, but that's okay. Studio sound (all sounds the same volume) is not something your average consumer is going to care much for because our ears don't work the same as a microphone does. Human ears require more emphasis on some sounds than others; a response that looks uneven on paper will be perceived with equal loudness when actually heard. Therefore, the ideal curve that headphones should shoot for if this is their goal is aptly called an equal loudness contour, and I've taken the time to compare the two:
Okay, so it doesn't line up perfectly, but from what we can see, it's not too far off. This is quite good for someone who just wants to listen to music and really does not care so much about mixing or buying a set of audiophile-grade headphones. These work famously for mobile use.
Where'd the noise go?
So honestly, I'm a bit mystified that these in-ears had such a low distortion measure. I had to retest a few times to believe it, but the JAX seems to keep added garbage noise and clipped harmonics to an absolute minimum—far less than what you'd be able to hear normally.
There's a little bit of added noise, but really none that is perceptibly loud—it's in the low end and not much over 1phon past the masking threshold, so you won't hear it (unless there's a manufacturing defect).
Should you really crank the volume, the JAX keeps its distortion under 3% up to 114.131dB, but we really don't want you testing this for yourself. Please, we have a robot; HATS' ears can't be hurt, but yours can, so trust us on this one.
In-ears are awesome for isolation
By physically blocking sound from ever entering your ear canal, you can expect the Sol Republic JAX to reduce outside noise in loudness by over 75% on average. In-ears are typically good at this, but it's not something that's obvious to everyone. If you take these in high-noise environments, you can expect low-frequency noise like car engines to be cut down to half as loud, but higher-pitched sounds like airplane engines and shrieking infants can be cut down to 1/16th their original loudness.
It's not surprising that these don't leak sound, either—if you get a good seal in your ear canal, you can listen to anything you want without other passengers or friends judging you.
Get Our Newsletter
Real advice from real experts. Sign up for our newsletter
Thanks for signing up!