Jade Audio EA3 IEM Review
Jade Audio is a new subsidiary brand of company FiiO Electronic Technology Co., Ltd. that was established to service more customers, allow them to purchase products at competitive pricing and enjoy a more comprehensive service.
Jade Audio has released products like the EW1 which is a True Wireless Earphone, the XC1 which is a Portable Bluetooth Amplifier and the EA3 that I will review for you which is a In-Ear Monitor with a hybrid driver configuration that features 1 x 13.6mm diameter dynamic driver and 1 x Knowles 33518 BA drivers.
Jade Audio Official Website: http://www.jadeaudio.com/
I would like to thank Jade Audio for providing me the EA3 IEM for review purposes. I am not affiliated with Jade Audio beyond this review and these words reflect my true and unaltered opinions about the product.
The MSRP price for the Jade Audio EA3 is $39.99 USD and can be purchased under the following link.
Package and Accessories:
The Jade Audio EA3 has a minimalistic packaging and came in a rectangular white cardboard box which has the Jade Audio branding and the Hi-Res Audio logo on the top. AT the back of the box is a sticker that shows product information.
This box does include following items/accessories;
- 1 pair x Jade Audio EA3 In-Ear Monitors
- 1 piece x 2-Pin 0,78mm Detachable Cable
- 3 pairs x Black Silicone Tips
- 3 pairs x Semi Transparent Grey/Red Silicone Tips
- 1 piece x Zipper Case made of fabric material in grey color
- 1 piece x Warranty Card / User Manual
Design, Build Quality, Fit & Comfort:
The Jade Audio EA3 is an In-Ear Monitor with a pretty small size and minimalistic design language. The monitor shell is mainly made of plastic with the exception of the sound nozzle which is of metal material. The EA3 is actually available in 2 different colors which are blue and grey like my review unit.
On the front of the Jade Audio EA3 monitor shell is the so faceplate with the Jade Audio logo in sliver color. Under the Jade Audio logo are multiple layers of celluloid that is a thermoplastic resin which is superimposed on each other which results in a slightly different looking pattern for each unit.
The inner surface of the monitor shell is made of transparent plastic material that allows you to see inner part like the 13.6mm diameter dynamic driver unit. Here is also a small bass vent and the sound nozzle which is made of metal.
On the top of those nozzle is a fine woven mesh to avoid penetrates of particles such like dust or earwax etc.
O the top of the monitor shell is a second bass vent and the 0.78mm diameter 2-Pin female connector which offers a tight and secure connection.
The overall build quality of the monitor is ok and doesn’t show any imperfections like burs or opening.
The shape of the EA3 monitor shell offers a comfortable fit and an isolation which is on a sufficient level for the use in moderate noisy environments like bus, train, subway, etc.
The Jade Audio EA3 comes with a detachable cable that features 0.78mm diameter 2-Pin male connectors.
The cable has a braided design and is made of pure High Purity Monocrystalline Silver-Plated Copper cable that features a transparent PVC coating. The cable has 4 strands that are made in total of 96 cores.
Each connector housing is made of transparent plastic material surface that features left and right markings and indicators (red for right & transparent for the left earpiece).
The cable has also transparent heat-shrink ear guides that provide extra comfort.
The cable sports a metal Y-splitter with a Jade Audio branding and a metal chin slider. The Y-splitter sports a transparent plastic strain relief for extra protection.
The 3.5mm TRS (3 pole) headphone jack has a straight profiled metal housing and features also a transparent plastic strain relief. The overall build quality of the cable is pretty good for a product at this price range.
- Driver Type : 1 x 13.6mm Diameter Dynamic Driver + 1 x Knowles 33518 BA Driver
- Freq. Response : 5 Hz – 40 KHz
- Impedance : 18Ω
- Sensitivity : 108 dB @ 1mW
- Earphone interface : 2Pin 0.78mm
- Plug : 3.5mm TRS (unbalanced)
The Jade Audio EA3 is an easy to drive In-Ear Monitor with an impedance of 18 ohms and a sensitivity of 108dB. My test with several devices shows that the EA3 can be used with relative weak sources like Smartphone’s, Tablets and smaller sized DAP’s.
Equipment’s used for this review:
- IEM’s : Jade Audio EA3, Shozy Hibiki MKI, TFZ T2 Galaxy
- DAP/DAC/AMP : FiiO M5, FiiO Q5s, Cayin N5II, Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
Albums & tracks used for this review:
- Gogo Penguin – Raven (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Otto Liebert& Luna Negra – The River (DSF) – Binaural Recording
- Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Wav 24bit/88kHz)
- Michael Jackson – Billie Jean (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Elton John – Your Song (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- David Bowie – Black Star (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Dave Gahan – Kingdom (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Eric Clapton – Unplugged Album (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- B.B. King – Riding With The King (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- First Aid Kit – My Silver Lining (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- London Grammar – Interlude (Live) (Flac 24bit/88kHz)
- Aretha Franklin – I Say a Little Prayer (Wav 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Diana Krall – So Wonderful (DSF)
- Laura Pergolizzi – Lost On You “Live at Harvard and Stone” (Wav 16bit/44.1kHz)
- No Doubt – Hella Gut (Spotify)
- Rush’s – Leave That Thing Alone (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Twerl – Lishu (Spotify)
- U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Opeth – Windowpane (Wav 16bit/44kHz)
- Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Slayer – Angel of Death (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Armin Van Buuren – Vini Vici (Spotify)
- Lorde – Royal (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Photek – The Hidden Camera (Spotify)
- Tom Player – Resonace Theory (16bit/44.1kHz)
- Massive Attack – Angel (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Portishead – The Hidden Camera (MP3 320kbps)
The Jade Audio EA3 is an In-Ear Monitor with a V-shaped sound signature that shows a musical and full bodied midrange along with a pretty fast and deep bass response and controlled, soft treble presentation.
Before I start with the detailed sound analysis, I would like to point that I have burn-in the Jade Audio EA3 for about 100 hours before I have written this review. I have used the stock cable and the black silicone ear tips.
The Jade Audio EA3 has a bass presentation with a warm and soft tonality that shows a pretty strong impact and sufficient depth. The bass has a balanced quantity and intensity.
The dynamic driver of the EA3 is producing a subbass that has fairly good depth and extension, which is successful from instruments like the contrabass up to synthetic bass notes like does that we hear in genres like electronic music. The subbass region is superior to the midbass in terms of quantity and intensity, but don’t get me wrong the midbass are pretty controlled and have a sufficient intensity.
The tonality of the midbass is soft and musical, while the slam effect is quite impressive in combination with the rumble that comes from the subbass region. Instruments like cross drums are accented, while trumpets are full bodied and fast. Other instruments like bass guitars have a warmish tonality and are pretty musical.
The bass of Jade Audio EA3 is in general pretty tight, fast and controlled, without to show any unwanted type of muddiness or mixings. For example; the drum speed, intensity and tightness of the EA3 in songs like Megadeth’s “Sweating Bullets” and Opeth’s “Windowpane” is quite successful and it is impressive to hear such a coherent bass performance from a 40 USD In-Ear Monitor.
The midrange of the Jade Audio EA3 is in general close to warm, soft and shows an average level of transparency and airiness. The midrange is slightly recessed, but the level of airiness, detail and transparency can easily compete with IEM’s around the 100 USD range.
The lower midrange of the EA3 is slightly behind the subbass region and shows a close to neutral tonality. Male vocals are not too thin or too thick, they do show a balanced tonality. The male vocal presentation of the EA3 is clear and musical, but slightly recessed compared to female vocals.
The Jade Audio EA3 is more successful with female vocals than male vocals. Female vocals do have a soft, emotional and pretty transparent tonality. Female vocals do sound detailed and have a good level of extension due to a slightly boost of the upper midrange, without to show issues/situations like sibilance or over-sharpness.
The Jade Audio EA3 performs pretty well in terms separation and clarity of instruments. They do sound fairly musical and have a natural timbre, with low amount of coloration. Instruments like acoustic guitars are slightly warm, bassy and soft, while violas have a warm, slightly bold and emotional tonality.
Upper Midrange and Treble:
The Jade Audio EA3 shows a mildly boost in the upper midrange region. The upper midrange is pretty controlled and the transitions are pretty soft, without to show unwanted sharpness and over-brightness. The tonality of this region is musical and smooth. Instruments like violins are slightly bright and have a sufficient level of extension. Other instruments, for example like pianos are slightly warm and soft.
The treble range of the Jade Audio EA3 has a soft/smooth and musical tonality. Here are no issues like harshness or over brightness, while the level of extension and brightness are pretty good for an In-Ear monitor with such a price tag. Also the airiness is on a quite good level and there are no negative situations like thinness or unnaturalness. The overall detail retrieval and tonality of the treble range is good for a product in this price range.
The emphasis in the treble is generally in the low treble region, while it quantity and intensity decreases towards the upper treble region in a controlled manner. All in all, I can say that the treble performance of the Jade Audio EA3 in terms of speed, intensity and control is on a quite good level.
The Jade Audio EA3 shows a sufficient performance in terms of separation & positioning of instruments and vocals for an In-Ear Monitor below the 50 USD mark. The soundstage shows a better performance in terms of depth than its wideness, which is on an average level.
Jade Audio EA3 versus Shozy Hibiki MKI:
The Shozy Hibiki MKI has strongly V shaped sound signature compared to the Jade Audio EA3. The EA3 shows a fuller and warmer overall presentation. The Jade Audio EA3 has the upper hand in terms of subbass depth and rumble that the Shozy Hibiki is missing. The EA3 has the upper hand in terms of midbass impact/slam effect and quantity, while the Shozy Hibiki performs slightly better in terms of speed and tightness.
The midrange of both IEM’s is recessed due to the V shaped sound tuning. The midrange tonality of the Shozy Hibiki is a bit dry and neutral, while the EA3 shows a lusher, full bodied and musical tonality. The SHozy Hibiki has the upper hand in terms of female vocals due to the more pronounced upper midrange, while the Jade Audio EA3 is superior in terms of male vocals with is better tuned lower midrange.
The upper midrange of the Jade Audio EA3 is less accented and softer/smoother than those of the Shozy Hibiki, but has the upper hand in terms of upper midrange control. The Hibiki has a brighter and sharper tuning with a more detailed presentation in this area. But the bright and sharp nature of the Hibiki makes it also quite prone to sibilance.
The Jade Audio EA3 shows a more accented and vivid/lively treble presentation than the Shozy Hibiki. The EA3 has also the upper hand in terms of treble extension and intensity.
The soundstage of the Shozy Hibiki is more successful in terms of soundstage wideness, while the Jade Audio EA3 is the winner when it comes to the depth.
Jade AUdio EA3 versus TFZ T2 Galaxy:
The TFZ T2 Galaxy is an In-Ear Monitor with a V shaped sound signature with a bass that is pretty fast and soft, a midrange that sounds quite lush and full bodied and a treble range that shows a fatigue free / relaxing presentation.
The Jade Audio is more successful in terms subbass depth and quantity, while the TFZ T2 Galaxy has the upper hand in terms of midbass impact and quantity.
The midrange of both In-Ear Monitors is slightly recessed due to the V-Shaped sound signature. The main difference between those tow IEM’s is that the TFZ T2 Galaxy shows a better lower midrange depth and fullness which makes it more successful with male vocals, while the Jade Audio EA2 has a more accented/pronounced and detailed upper midrange which is a big benefit for female vocals.
The treble range of the Jade Audio EA3 is more emphasized and upfront compared to the TFZ T2 Galaxy which shows a controlled roll-off. The EA3 is superior in terms of treble extension, quantity and detail retrieval.
The soundstage performance of both IEM’s is pretty close. The Jade Audio EA3 is tad more successful in terms of soundstage width, while the wideness is nearly identical.
What me really impressed about the Jade Audio EA3 is the very high price to performance ratio, both in terms of sound quality, entertaining factor and comfort that can easily compete with In-Ear Monitors up to the 100 USD mark.
Pros and Cons:
- + Great Value for the Money
- + Nicely tuned V-Shaped Sound Signature
- + Midrange Clarity/Musicality and Subbass Depth
- + Treble Extension & Control (after 100 hours of burn-in)
- – Soundstage Width
- – Minimalist Packaging
- – All plastic design maybe not for everyone