FiiO JT1: Delivers on all points

9.5

It seems like just yesterday that FiiO introduced its first full-size headphones, the FiiO FT3, around six months ago. Yet today, the company boasts an impressive lineup of four full-size models: the dynamic FiiO FT3, its separate 32 Ohm version, the isodynamic FiiO FT5, and the new addition from Jade Audio, a sub-brand of FiiO, called the FiiO JT1. Time indeed flies swiftly, or perhaps it’s a testament to the remarkable diligence of FiiO’s engineers, or even a combination of both.

True to the Jade Audio brand ethos, the JT1 headphones offer an enticing combination of affordability and quality, making them an attractive option for newcomers to the world of portable audio. According to the developers, the focus with the JT1 was on delivering essential aspects for listeners without compromising on HiFi sound quality at an excellent price point. While marketing slogans often raise skepticism, I’ve had the opportunity to evaluate this model firsthand.

Fiio JT1
Fiio JT1

Packaging and assembly

Paraphrased: The packaging of the FiiO JT1 headphones follows the adage that big headphones come in a big box. Encased in a voluminous black cardboard box, the package prominently features the model name, company logo, and the distinctive Hi-Res Audio certification emblem in bold red letters—a hallmark of FiiO’s audio products. Additionally, one side of the box bears the FiiO branding, while the other side showcases the Jade Audio branding.

Inside the box, the headphones are securely nestled on a cardboard base, with accompanying accessories neatly arranged below: a detachable cable for the headphones, a soft synthetic fabric carrying pouch, and a 3.5mm to 6.3mm adapter. The included cable boasts fabric insulation, premium connectors, a rubberized cable tie for convenient storage, and even features a built-in headset function. The plugs are color-coded for easy identification—red and blue—for left and right connections, respectively.

Regarding the carrying pouch, while it’s a welcome inclusion, the synthetic material feels somewhat stiff and makes a slight creaking noise when handled. Nevertheless, it adequately accommodates the headphones for storage and transport.

Considering their budget-friendly price point, the FiiO JT1 headphones come with a comprehensive accessory package that includes a replaceable cable—a feature not commonly found in headphones within this price range.

HiFi Over-Ear Headphones JT1 Review
HiFi Over-Ear Headphones JT1 Review

Design and ergonomics

The FiiO JT1 headphones feature a blend of plastic and metal components, exuding a robust and well-crafted appearance. The ear cups are adorned with small geometric elements reminiscent of flowers, adding a touch of aesthetic appeal. Mounted on metal hinges, the ear cups can swivel 180 degrees, although this feature doesn’t contribute much to their compactness during transportation.

A distinguishing feature of the FiiO JT1 is its metal headband, which is complemented by a self-adjusting headrest supported by a spring mechanism. This design allows for comfortable size adjustment without exerting pressure on the head, although sudden head movements should be avoided.

The ear pads of the JT1 are plush and velvety to the touch, likely crafted from eco-leather material. They employ the same attachment system as the higher-end FiiO FT3 headphones, utilizing protrusions on the inside of the ear pads that correspond to depressions on the ear cups. The ear pads provide complete coverage over the ears, albeit with the drawback of gradual ear heating during prolonged use.

Weighing approximately 350 grams, the JT1 headphones are not lightweight, yet their weight is thoughtfully distributed to prevent any sensation of heaviness during extended listening sessions. Overall, the design and ergonomics of the FiiO JT1 headphones warrant a positive assessment.

As mentioned earlier, the FiiO JT1 headphones are equipped with a headset function, featuring a control unit housing a single button. This button serves multiple functions, including accepting and ending phone calls, as well as starting and pausing music tracks within applications. During testing with a Samsung A24 smartphone, which boasts a 3.5mm headphone jack, both I and my conversation partner experienced clear audio during phone calls. Furthermore, when using the headset with the YouTube Music application on the smartphone, track playback was seamlessly paused and resumed.

However, when connecting the headphones to the FiiO M11Pro player or the FiiO KA13 portable amplifier, which features a “whistle” design, the track control button no longer functioned as intended. This discrepancy suggests that the compatibility of the control button’s functionality may vary depending on the device and its specific configuration.

FiiO JT1 headphones review
FiiO JT1 headphones review

Sound

By introducing the FT3 and FT5 models priced at $300 and $450, respectively, which cater more towards audiophiles, it seems that FiiO has set its sights on the mass market budget segment of full-sized headphones. Although the phrase “Focus on sound quality” on the website may suggest otherwise, my experience with the FiiO JT1 led me to believe that the sound of these headphones is likely tailored for a broader audience, without delving into intricate sound details and nuances. In my opinion, this is not a disadvantage; rather, it offers a pleasant and comfortable sound profile that should appeal to most listeners, leaving room for other models to cater to more discerning audiophiles.

FiiO JT1 delivers stunning sound
FiiO JT1 delivers stunning sound

Frequencies

The bass from the FiiO JT1 is noticeable and has a “wide” presence, although it’s not particularly fast or technical. To get the best bass performance, it’s advisable to connect the JT1 to a source that effectively controls low frequencies. For instance, when connected directly to a smartphone or laptop, there was some bloat and booming bass. However, when paired with the FiiO KA13, there was a significant improvement in bass quality – it became more controlled and well-defined. This improvement was particularly noticeable in double bass parts, where the excessive hum disappeared, and the clarity of the music increased. In summary, the JT1 headphones have the potential to deliver better sound quality when paired with a suitable source.

The midrange sounds smooth and relatively natural, providing a comfortable listening experience for most users. However, it would be inaccurate to say that the JT1 lacks detail in the midrange altogether. These headphones indeed attempt to deliver clarity and detail in the sound, but they do so in a relaxed and somewhat casual manner, prioritizing melodiousness over technical precision.

The high frequencies appear to be a compromise solution, catering more towards the preferences of the average listener. They don’t emphasize lightness, transparency, or brightness, but rather offer a balanced presentation that prioritizes smoothness and comfort. As a result, the highs sound pleasant without causing any fatigue during extended listening sessions, at least in my experience.

I won’t directly compare the JT1 with well-known models from AKG and Sennheiser in this price range. Personally, I found the FiiO JT1 to excel in terms of ergonomics and provide the most enjoyable listening experience for music consumption. It’s designed for casual music listening rather than professional sound work.

Conclusion

With the release of the JT1 model, FiiO/Jade Audio offers an affordable wired full-size headphone option that stands out in its price range due to its quality construction, thoughtful ergonomics, replaceable cable, and Hi-Res Audio certification.

The sound profile of the JT1 will appeal to many listeners, providing an enjoyable atmosphere for music enjoyment. While there are other well-known budget models designed for monitoring purposes, the JT1 excels in presenting large, detailed sound images without sacrificing analytical sound quality.

One notable aspect of the FiiO JT1 is its ability to shine when paired with higher-quality sound sources such as dedicated audio players like the FiiO KA13, rather than smartphones or laptops. If possible, I recommend experiencing the JT1 on such dedicated audio sources for the best performance.

The JT1 offers a big sound at a small price, although the interpretation of “big sound” may vary for each individual. If you’re in the market for an affordable full-size headphone with solid sound quality and you prioritize overall enjoyment over intricate sound details, the FiiO JT1 is worth considering.

FiiO JT1
9.5