On-ear headphones are making a comeback. Okay maybe I just made that up. But the 80s are big again aren’t they? And no one had in-ear headphones in the 80s, they had on-ears, and they were right. On-ears are comfier and safer than in-ears, less obtrusive than cans and they can sound freaking awesome. As proved by Jay’s V-Jays.
The Short Version
Name – V-Jays
Type – On-ear open headphones
How much – £59.99
How much should they cost - £60.00
Should you buy them – If you’re self-conscious, I’d avoid them, if not, they’re well worth the money.
The Long Version
On-ear headphones don’t look cool – but isn’t cool all about perceptions; prevailing social norms? Isn’t cool transient? For the sake of these super-wicked headphones, I hope so. I’ll admit the first time I stepped out in the V-Jays I felt like a prize numpty. I might as well have had Mr Motivator on my head, that’s how ’93 I looked.
But as soon as I hit play, I forgot about my headgear, so ensconced was I in the precise and amazing sound they yielded: deep and rangy bass with taut, precise treble and a hefty enough mid to handle anything I threw at it.
The V-Jays are light on design features, which suits me – they look serious, understated and stylish. The square phones are about as flash as it gets. The extendable headband can sometimes be a tad fiddly, adjusting each side to get a vaguely symmetrical shape, but it fits very comfortably.
The cable is about a girthy as you’d expect on a pair of high-end headphones with an interesting 15mm headphone jack-split in the middle, though what purpose it is supposed to serve has, as yet, alluded me.
They feel eminently sturdy, like a Sherpa. You trust them.
The phones fold under the headband to add a modicum of portability but it is one glaring concession of the on-ear genus of headphone: they aren’t easily stuffed in a pocket.
Swathed in familiar black sponge, it seems things haven’t moved on since about 1979 in-terms of ear-phone casing technology.
But the fact is they were comfy in 1979, and they’re still comfy now, and you get a pair of spares, once the others are too encrusted with your aural discharge for you to hear through.
V-Jays come in a rather snazzy box wedged into some good thick foam, but they’re light on accessories. If Jays really wanted to give V-Jays the professional veneer a hard-case might have done the trick.
These headphones are so good I don’t mind looking a bit lame (okay pretty lame) in order to enjoy their full and glorious goodness. The first time I donned the V-Jays, it was 5.45pm, I was on a packed Northern Line train, and a large and unremmitingly odious man behind me was breathing in my ear, I put them on as much as to block his heinous violation of my ear-canal as to listen to some tunes. But hearing them was like a epiphany: “Oh remember this,” I thought, “Music! As it should be. Loud and bassy and ace.”
If you care more about your hair than your music then maybe V-Jays aren’t for you. But they’re certainly for me.
By Oli Jones | June 2nd, 2009