These earphones are a wonderful choice at a budget price with some distinctive features. They are inexpensive but high quality and can be found for even less than listed here in shops and online. I am a former musician and producer (not the chap of the same name who worked with Oasis) so have used many more expensive earphones and have been able to compare these hidden gems to many premium models.
The sound sound quality is truly excellent, far better than you would expect for the price. It uses a 'dynamic' driver so a warm sound with plenty of bass is assured. However these also have excellent treble and reasonable mids. The sound is rich, wide in soundstage and has a sense of depth which I wouldn't expect in earphones of this price. Most importantly these produce plenty of detail across an extensive dynamic range and do not require any additional amplification to drive them. Like all dynamic driver earphones they need to run in for about 20 hours to get the best sound, so don't judge them the first time out of the box. Out of the box they are great but a touch bassy but this settles quickly with the burn-in.
Whereas many dynamic driver earphones can have strong bass at the expense of clarity or sound width, here there is a more balanced sound with plenty of bass but lots more to the sound. For those who like 'Balanced Armature' drivers but find the sound a bit hollow or lacking warmth, these are a good budget alternative for a second pair. Because they have plenty of dynamic range, detail and depth, they respond well to shaping the sound with EQ, either through presets or the more extensive capabilities available on some players (such as Cowon). So unlike many more bass dominated dynamic driver earphones, the sound here can be tweaked to emphasive bass, middle (such as vocals) or top end to suit with the earphones responding very well.
Finally on sound, it is worth emphasizing the warmth to the sound that makes them appealling. You wouldn't say it is an analytical representation of the music which some of us want in comparison or for production ( for which you would want a 'balanced armature' type earphone). Instead the sound is enjoyable and gives a welcome sense of immersion. I find myself listening to these in preference to more expensive earphones I have because I like the sound and the other features we will come to in such as fit and isolation further enhance their attractiveness.
It is worth our noting these earphones have won numerous awards in Germany for their quality. Germany has very high quality standards in their audio brands with Beyedrynamic, Onkyo and others providing high quality products at competitive prices. For this item to win in competition against such as Beyerdynamic DTX100 is praise indeed.
To get the full benefit initially until the burn-in is done, I recommend using a 'vocal' oriented pre-set (or mid- EQ emphasis) for such as pop music with lots of singing as there's more than enought bass already. This will bring up the mid level frequencies to enable vocals to cut through the strong bass and treble. Once the burn in is complete the sound is more balanced no emphasis is required. For non-vocal music, this won't be needed but is typical of many dynamic driver earphones which are strong in bass/treble but less so in mid frequency. Please don't think this is a problem, it's just the sound settling through use in the same way that hi-fi speakers also do.
Fit & Isolation
First to say that these earphones are tiny on your ear and very light, making them inobtrusive for the listener. The cable seems strong with a gold connector at the end.
The earphones have the driver on a stem that goes in the ear, this is narrow and isn't noticed when listening. Whereas some in-ears seem too wide and irritate the ear canal these are far more comfortable.
The rubber tips fit (my ear) perfectly and give excellent sound isolation. Straight out of the box the medium tips were fine for me and gave a good fit for my ears without adjustment. In continuous use they haven't dislodged once, nor is the fit so tight they are hard to remove. I have tested these on packed trains, on a bus and in noisy environments with genuinely about 90% of the external noise and rumble cut out. Behind the stem that goes in the ear is a small triangular plate which connects the lead. This further gives support to the sound isolation.
My other more expensive earphones are worn over the ear which can be fatiguing and even on premium sets can drop out. These can be worn down in the traditional way or over the ear with additional clips being provided which is welcome and not always the case. I have now worn these during a day for about seven hours in two continuous blocks and found these to be comfortable and easy to keep in. The fit gives good suction in the ear (which enables full bass response) without these being painful at all.
The earphones have carbon housing which seems to be more than a gimmick, it reduces the sound leaking into the phones and distorting the sound and channels it back straight into the ear. It's hard to know definitively what impact the carbon housing has, but like the ceramic earphones from Meelectronics, keeping sound in the ear appears to be a good thing in principe.
The earphones come with a case, s/m/l tips, overear sleeves plus filters that can be changed if the earpieces become clogged with such as wax. That's a good selection for this set and compares with those at many times the price.
Remember that fit and sound are personal to the individual listener, what worked for me, might not for you. However I've tried many earphones of different types and brands, ranging from the inexpensive to the premium models so hope I have reflected this in my assessment.
I genuinely recommend these ear phones which are hidden gems that can be easily found for £25. The design for this model particularly is very good indeed, the fit is great, the sound is excellent, sound isolation is too and the price is attractive. Mostly importantly these have an enjoyable sound and are inobtrusive to wear. I heartily recommend them at their original higher list price, at the current price they are an absolute bargain and probably have been reduced as they don't have (or need) phone call handling capabiity.
If you need a second opinion then feel free to look around the web or at the Amazon USA site where there are a range of glowing reviewes for these earphones. They might not make the radar of WhatHifi magazine, but this model is every bit as capable as some of the trendy brands getting audiophile attention. It's the design that is so perfect on this one, which neither JVC themselves nor any other company seems to replicate.
Buy one set, heck at this price buy two and put one away. For £20 or so (if you look around) you can't go wrong. Amazon and other retailers will take them back under usual terms, so there is little risk. The delight of finding an underappreciated inexpensive hidden gem of a product such as this makes your choice and discovery all the more welcome.