I have had my eyes set on the Flare Audio in-ear monitors given the reputation of its older models, the R2A and R2Pro. While I am not exactly thrilled with the cable of the R2Pro, it did somehow compensated for the wire build with what apparently was a great sound based off the impressions given about the said IEM. As for me, having a shot to try another Flare Audio product should at least give me the spine-tingling excitement as I, as mentioned earlier, had my eyes on the said brand for quite some time.
Yes, I know that the Flares Jet 1 and 2 pale in comparison to the R2Pro, given its packaging, build and tonality perhaps, but with Flare establishing a reputation on excellent tuning based off their previous models, I would still somehow hang on to hope that somehow that quality of the Jets would at least somehow have a footprint on how Flare usually design their IEMs. So, without going any further, let’s go and see how the Flares Jet 1 does.
The Build As You Would Like It
This perhaps is the very first thing that Flare Audio kept as their legacy in spite of the significant difference in the price tag (about US$450 difference, to be exact from the R2Pro). While the Jet 1 came with a polymer shell, it does feel tough enough. Kind of gives that vibe of durability that should last for some time without breaking.
I dig the feel of the cable, as it is shielded with some sort of rubbery material that feels like it will allow additional level of resistance from wear for the wires. Also, this material allows the cable to resist some tangles, much better than a lot of IEMs I have given a try in the market. Cable’s gauge is quite decent, not to thick to be uncomfortable and not to thin to discourage users due to durability. The joint of the earpieces and the wires also sports the indicator for left and right (colored red and blue), although I felt like Flare Audio could have done a bit better job on this part as I have seen far better strain reliefs than the one in the Jet 1.
A small gripe on the mic; it kind of felt too plasticky. Yes it is made of plastic, but would have been better if it was made of tougher material. I think this might be the weakest part of the Jet 1, but not necessarily a letdown. I would even wish for a version of the Jet 1 without mic if I can help it.
The plug seems to be quite ordinary, nothing flashy or spectacular but seems to hold on to do its job quite decently. I liked how slim it is, as I don’t see it having any problems when plugged into a mobile phone with cases that has varying hole sizes for their 3.5mm jacks.
The packaging is probably the most curious thing about the Jet 1. While it seems to be too simple, I think Flare Audio did a good job on trying to minimize the use of excessive paper nor plastic by going for a simple resealable pouch for the entire thing. It might be quite simple and may lack the elegance of the packaging like the similarly priced Audio Technica IM50, but then again if you are environment friendly, then Flare Audio did a fine job at that.
Overall, I will judge the Jet 1 to be built quite well, with the only gripe on the strain relief on the earpieces. Other than that, everything seems to be in order.
The thing that stood out for me was the treble, and excuse me for my disapproval towards bright sound, but this offers a bit of bright tune out of my Aune M1S. I will have to say it is tolerable though, so perhaps for more tolerant listeners, the upper frequencies might just appear to be sparkly rather than harsh.
Mid-range for me is quite good, but not as lean as general consumers might want it. However, the mid-range does offer a decent amount of details so this I guess is something that would be a good option for listeners if they are after something quite affordable and will satisfy their requirements, although it may not exactly appeal those who are after really fat mid-ranges.
Bass is good, I liked the amount of mid-bass offered by Jet 1. It is resolving and has quite a tight kick, while the sub-bass is rumbly and consistent enough.
Sound stage is fair enough, not as expansive as anyone would want but given the amount it offers, I think it is good enough coming from an IEM.
Perhaps the biggest gripe I have, and may not necessarily have anything to do with the sound is the driver flex. Sure you won’t hear it while it is plug in to your ears, but movements that dislocate the earpieces as you are listening to it can be a bit of a distraction. I checked this out with another enthusiast if he experiences the same and sure enough, he felt the same too. I would recommend to avoid sudden movements while listening to the Jet 1 to eliminate this.
Overall, while it may not necessarily seem to sound as lovely as the R2Pro (I think it is crazy to even compare both), I find the Jet 1 a good, decent entry level IEM if you are into decent amount of details and hefty dose of highs and lows, without breaking your wallet.
6, 8, 12 – Brian McKnight, Back At One
High Hopes – Panic! At The Disco, Pray For The Wicked
Venom – Eminem, Kamikaze
If You Want Blood (You Got It) – AC-DC, Highway To Hell
Overall, I think Flare Audio seems to be on to something when they released the Jet 1. While I have some gripes, those are really more on the preferential angle. Apart from those, the Jet 1 is a great entry level IEM, and should be a great option among new enthusiasts who are out for great details off their IEM. Not bad for a US$60 piece of gem.