Hi-Fi
April 10, 2013

JVC HA-FX30B Marshmallow headphones – good value for money

By WL Low

Priced at RM$99/pair, these JVC headphones look like pretty good value for money. They are of the in ear design, which means they audibly isolate one from the outside world (so don’t use them if one intends to cross the road!). They are also very lightweight and very comfortable when inserted inside the ear. The Marshmallow acts like an inverted suction cup as one pushes the earphones in to the ears. Once full suction is achieved, one can go jogging or hopping around, without those headphones falling off. Pulling them out from the ear results in a “pop” as the Marshmallows are released from suction.

They’re packed in a clear blister pack,  with a pair of extra Marshmallow and instruction manual of various languages included. The extra pair of Marshmallow are actually larger in size which should fit those with bigger ear canals. Yes, the Marshmallows are interchangeable to fit one’s ear canal. Like the original iPhone white ear buds, the JVC headphones also have a play/pause, track up/down remote built in to the lead. Playback volume is controlled from the iPhone.

From an audiophile angle, “now that’s more like it!” as I fired up the first track from Calvin Harris, Feels So Close. Compared to the standard issued white buds, the whole frequency spectrum is extended when heard via the JVC headphones. The bass dives lower and kicks harder. The mid range’s clarity is a step up, with the synthesizer’s timbre and electronic texture more distinct from note to note. The top end is more extended and shinier, but just tad dry (like a Martini?). However that didn’t affect my musical enjoyment one bit, especially with most of the electronica-based chart music.

The JVC played at much louder volumes before distortion set in, and there is less compression on the dynamics factor. The white buds seems to smooth out some of the musical peaks for overall musical coherence.

I like this electronic dance album. Calvin Harris works with many guest artistes on this album.

For me, the JVC absolutely ups the hi-fi ante to a level closer to standards demanded by audiophiles. However, it does lose out a bit on the coherence and musicality side of things. The JVC is a winner on most counts and gives away in some respects, but on the whole, considering its low entry price, it certainly forms a step in the direction to high fidelity. I think some may stop here, being satisfied while others want more from their iPhones and iPods. I have something in the next instalment for those who want MORE!

Another side benefit of the JVC is that you can even use it like a high-end hands free kit when driving too. I am keeping my review sample of the JVC HA-FX30B Marshmallow headphones.

JVC products are available at all authorised electronic outlets and dealers.