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Headphone Sessions 5/15/2012: JH Audio JH-13 Pro; Size Doesn’t Matter!

After years of drooling over the sound of our JH Audio ‘demo’ in-ears at HeadRoom and wondering how much better a true audiologist-customized fit would be versus the clumsy generic fit -- which felt like a roll of pennies with a foam earplug forced over it -- each of the HeadRoom Sales Team now has our very own sets of 100% custom JH13 Pro in-ear monitors. We’ll admit right off the bat we have reached new, previously unimaginable levels of drool and it’s starting to become a problem; we may be ordering new computer keyboards soon! Seriously, there is no fit like custom fit, period. Most of us at HeadRoom haven’t had any issues using the generic universal-fit type of ear tips with most brands, whether foam or silicone, but for many listeners generic tips can occasionally cause irritation or discomfort. While it took a few days for us to ascertain the best technique for JH13 Pro earpiece insertion and removal, once we dialed it in, the personally customized fit made the JH13 earphones seem to almost disappear within the ear. One of our excitable HeadRoom team members actually slept through the night with the headphones in during one of the first nights he had them with no trouble -- and plenty of sweet dreams. The custom fit also isolates incredibly well, perfect for turning the drum kit volume down on stage, blocking your keyboard player’s incessant snoring when sharing hotel rooms or tuning out the rumble of transportation noise during air or road travel. [caption id="attachment_2432" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="JH Audio JH13 Pro"] JH Audio JH13 Pro[/caption] As mentioned, getting the custom earphones in and out can take some getting used to the first few times around. We found it helpful to open your mouth slightly while inserting (i’ve had dates like that. ~ed.). This seems to help the earphone reach its fully seated position since the original JH Audio ear-molding process is taken with the mouth open. Be prepared to bite down on two fingers or bring your own bite block when going to the audiologist because with the softer-style hearing aids common today, most molds are now generally taken with mouth closed. However, the ‘open mouth’ impression method is crucial for obtaining the correct fit with JH Audio products. And don’t worry, the bite marks on your fingers eventually go away. It’s difficult to describe the sound of the JH13 Pro because they’re so perfectly transparent they don’t really have a ‘sound signature’ like most headphones. Tonal textures are rich and accurate. Bass is stunningly tight and controlled yet full and dynamic. Mids are lush, smooth and cleanly defined. Highs are very extended, airy and incredibly natural while maintaining a smoothness that isn’t heard with this kind of timbral accuracy in other in-ear headphones or, frankly, most top-tier full-sized ‘phones. The JH13 Pro earphones are capable of putting forth the precise detail demanded by the most discerning critical listener, but also have enough forgiveness to be plugged directly into an iPod with lower quality mp3 files and still provide an enjoyable listening experience. Obviously, the better the source material, the better the headphones will sound and adding a dedicated headphone amp greatly improves the detailed audiophile experience by leaps and bounds. One other aspect of these tiny cans that completely blew us away and still has our minds boggled is the expansive soundstage depth and spatial imaging Jerry Harvey has achieved with an in-ear monitor headphone. The 13 Pro present a huge recording spaciousness that rivals most reference full-size headphones and gives the JH13 an ability to completely immerse the listener within the music. It’s the type of realism that may have you looking around for the musicians surrounding you or, when listening to a live jazz club recording, almost turning around to tell the couple behind you to stop talking during the quiet parts!

JH Audio 13PRO for Audio Professionals

The JH13 Pro is a tremendous tool for audio professionals as well as for deeply music-loving audiophiles. JH Audio’s custom-molded products are predominantly used on stage by touring musicians and performers for monitoring. In-ear monitoring has become a highly popular route for performers because it allows the monitor engineer to get the in-ear mix perfect without having to compete against the louder instruments on stage, both saving one’s hearing and providing better mixes tailored to each performer’s individual sonic preferences. Even in a smaller bar band scenario, many artists are moving to in-ears, and all of the JH Audio in-ears make excellent choices for pristine audio reproduction and for also tamping down that deafening lead guitarist who tends to bump up his volume 3dB per beer as the night goes on. We have also found the JH13 to be an excellent companion in the recording studio thanks to their very natural tone and accuracy. Many artists nowadays are putting their own home project studios together, and budgets don’t often allow for a control room with ideal acoustics, especially in those pesky bass frequencies that never seem to be quite right (and adding a subwoofer often seems to escalate the problem). The bass extension and tone in the JH13 is truly phenomenal, providing an excellent reference to the low end response. Overall, audio mixing done on the JH13 translates nearly perfectly to speakers, something we can’t say about too many full-size headphones. We believe the incredible fidelity of these customized miniature cans has a lot to do with the highly complex crossover settings, time alignment and multi-port designs patented by Jerry Harvey within the 13Pro -- but ultimately it’s because Jerry Harvey is simply an audio genius. We’ve known that since his days founding Ultimate Ears and originating designs for the early Shure and Westone IEM’s. It’s a little surprising he’s got the hearing left to produce such amazing sounding products after extensive touring with bands like Van Halen, but Jerry and team never fail to impress. We can’t wait to get a listen to his recent JH-3A DSP headphone amp and JH16 Pro combo! The entire JH Audio line of custom in ear headphones are an easy recommendation for anyone considering a higher-end ‘generic-fit’ IEM, and the JH 13Pro is the perfect choice for the professional, deep audiophile or serious music lover on the go. With an iPod loaded with lossless files, a portable headphone amp (like our HeadRoom Portable Micro Amp) and the JH 13 Pro in-ears, you’ve got the sound quality equivalent of a $25,000+ listening room with the huge plus of a boundless sweet spot anywhere you go. For more information on the JH 13 Pro, the rest of the JH Audio earphone series, or any other headphone, call our friendly Montana team of experts at 800-828-8184. Remember to let it ring long enough to get our custom earphones out of our ears to answer the phone! JH Audio JH13 Pro

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