The Odd Ones – Flares Jet 2 IEMs Review
Flares Jet 2 look almost like any other IEM in the 80 USD Price Bracket, but in sound, they are actually quite odd and have a pretty specific tuning. I’ll also be comparing them with a few other IEMs priced at 80 USD, but either way, expect a slightly bumpy trip for those ones.
Flare is an interesting company which you may see advertising of, when browsing Facebook, especially if you’re interested in audio, but nowadays their main product seems to be Sleep and Sleep Pro, both of which are basically hearing protection, or at least this is what I’ve been seeing the most in my Facebook ads. Well, the sample of today is not provided by Flare, and I cannot talk about how responsive they are to mails, or how good they are with warranty, but the sample for today’s review is provided by Hifiheadphones.co.uk, and with them I can guarantee that they are a very responsible company which will always take care of your warranty, and support you as a customer. Hifiheadphones.co.uk is also a trusted and official seller of many big brands, including Sennheiser and many others.
It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with Flare or Hifiheadphones.co.uk, I am not receiving any incentive for this review or to sweeten things out. This review is not sponsored nor has been paid for by Flare or Hifiheadphones.co.uk or anyone else. I’d like to thank Hifiheadphones.co.uk for providing the sample for this review. This review reflects my personal experience with Flare Jet 2. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those interested in Flare Jet 2 find their next music companion.
First things first, let’s get the packaging out of the way:
The packaging of Jet 2 is a one-way trip, or at least would be, but the guys at Flare have been careful to add a little edge lip to the main plastic pouch they come in, similar to those found on nestle and cocoa drink powders.
The package includes the IEMs themselves, tips, and a leather carrying pouch thingy. Jet 2 does not have detachable cable, and comes with three selection of tips, and although in the past I may have wished that more IEMs came with detachable cables, I’m not sure if at 80 USD that is relevant, you’ll be replacing the IEMs way before you’ll be replacing the cables, or if they’ll break, you’ll be having warranty.
The package is good, they come with enough tips and a carrying pouch, all nice things for a IEM priced at 80 USD.
What to look in when purchasing an entry-level IEM
• In-line mic with a controller
• Gold-plated 3.5mm audio jack plug
• Cable Length: 1.15m
• Driver Diameter: 10mm
• Frequency Response: 20-20KHz
• Driver Sensitivity: 93dB/1mW
Starting with the build quality, Jet 2 is designed and created pretty nicely, with a full metallic, or rather aluminium body, and with a cable that’s oddly similar to the cable that can be found on Ie800 from Sennheiser. Well, the cable is not the same, but the aesthetics are, thing which I don’t mind, I liked the design and aesthetics on that one.
The cable is a bit springy, but not overly so, but the cable is quite microphonic, making me wear Jet 2 over-the-ear almost always, instead of wearing them straight-down, although they allow for both wearing styles design-wise.
The left and the right earpieces are determined by two short colored rubber stress reliefs at the back of each IEM. They are the barrel-type of IEMs, making them very easy to fit a large number of ears, and the part that goes inside the ear is rather thin, so even if you have small ear canals you won’t have an issue.
They have a microphone on the cable, which is of pretty good quality, but the cables are not detachable.
There’s no mesh to protect the IEM chamber, thing which I see as a bit of an issue, both because this means that there’s no acoustic dampening, but also because this means that debris and wax can enter the driver chamber.
There is driver flex on my paid, and I can’t see any ventilation port, and there is a bit of glue, so the assembly was not perfect.
They pick up a bit of hiss, but not a lot, but something rather shocking, they do not isolate much from the outside noise. I think this is actually good for portability, because you’ll be able to hear stuff that could hurt you before it does if you’re going on a walk, but it is something to consider if you were looking for a very good isolating IEM.
Overall, the IEM itself is a bit of a mixed bag, the metallic shell and the cables are of high quality, and so is the carrying case, but there’s a bit too much leftover glue for me to look the other way around, when similarly priced KZ doesn’t have it, and there is driver flex and cable microphonics, which means that you need to wear them over-the-ear, and you may need to use foam tips to alleviate the driver flex.
Ironically, the tips are some of the best in terms of raw silicone quality and overall sound quality, even making a bit of a competition for Spinfit.
The Sound Quality of Flares Jet 2 is quite odd as well, they have a rather specific tuning, most probably designed with the commercial music, such as pop and top 10 radio tracks in mind, with a slightly elevated bass, with a natural speed, there’s some coloring of the midrange from the bass, an enhanced upper midrange, with an increased area at 4.5 kHz to 6.5 kHz, and after 9kHz, with a roll-off.
The bass is pretty much increased above neutral, but by a bit. The Sub-bass extension is quite impressive, especially since they are not overly expensive, and the fun part is that I have a feeling that they achieve a pretty tactile and impactful sub-bass by not including a port, meaning that you’re most probably going to be using a foam tip, which will further add to the bass. The bass cannot keep up with death metal, and the speed of the bass is best suited for slower music, or for pop music.
The midrange is pretty natural and more relaxed, being focused on a pretty clean and clear overall presentation rather than on detail. They’re clearly not an analytical pair of IEMs, but they’re not quite that poor with the details either. The soundstage is wider than it is deep or tall, but there is a fair amount of instrument separation, especially for their 80 USD price range.
The treble rolls off a bit too early for my tastes, even when we consider their price point of 80 USD, as after 9kHz, there’s a strong roll-off. The area that exists is rather natural, with a natural overall texture / thickness, as most IEMs in the 100 USD area are a bit thinner when it comes to their treble presentation. This being said, the treble is also a touch dry, but it doesn’t come off as harsh nor fatiguing.
Overall, Jet 2 has a pretty relaxed yet specific kind of tuning, that works pretty well with commercial music and pop.
The portable usage of Jet 2 is also a pretty mixed bag.
On one hand, the carrying pouch is pretty nice, and it makes a nice addition to the package, but the cable is microphonic, and if you’ll be walking, it will brush against your clothes, making the experience a bit inconvenient. They also have driver flex, which means that you will most probably require to either be really careful, or use foam tips (which are not included in the package).
Jet 2 is a bit hard to drive, but does not scale with better sources, yet may not get loud enough from a smartphone either, as they have a low efficiency of 93dB/mW. This means that you may require an entry-level DAP to make them loud and to control them, but keep in mind that they won’t sound much better from a 500 USD + DAP than they would from a 100 USD DAP.
In other order of thoughts, I had a few friends test them, along multiple IEMs, and they said that those were exactly what they were looking for. They described them as relaxed, fun, and nicely designed, so clearly they have fans out there, but those people used pretty much pop and some electronic music, with very little of everything else, so Jet 2 is a good fit for those music styles.
Given their price point, I picked Shozy Hibiki (70 USD), Tin T3 (70 USD), and Final E3000 (60 USD), to compare Jet 2 to. They are pretty much at the same price all of them, all of them being a bit less expensive than Jet 2.
Flare Jet 2 vs Shozy Hibiki – Starting with the comparison with Shozy hibiki, the build quality, at least externally, feels better on Jet 2. The comfort would be better on Jet 2 in terms of size, but they are heavier physically than Hibiki, and Hibiki has less driver flex and no cables microphonics, making Hibiki a better overall choice in terms of comfort. The sound is similar between the two, but Hibiki is more forward and more clear, has a touch more detail and better overall dynamics, the areas where Jet 2 wins being in terms of soundstage overall size, and in how relaxed it is, as Hibiki is a forward little IEM and not a very relaxed one.
Flare Jet 2 vs Tin T3 – Tin T3 is a very interesting choice, because if you’re looking for a V-Shaped sound, it has everything your heart may desire, from a very clean and clear overall sound, to a deep bass, and good comfort with no driver flex and no cable microphonics, as long as you wear it over-the-ear. Tin T3 also has a good build quality, and detachable cables, things that Jet 2 does not have, and T3 has better dynamics and better overall details in terms of sonics. T3 is different, it is more forward, and more hot in the treble, but also has more depth and more impact, compared to Jet 2, which feels more relaxed and more effortless, compared to T3. Jet 2 also feels smoother in the treble, and feels like it is smoother overall, in terms of sonics.
Flare Jet 2 vs Final E3000 – Final E3000 is another interesting choice, because if you’re looking for a thick and lush IEM, E3000 is probably the most thick and lush IEM in this price range. E3000 also has better comfort, isolates better, has no driver flex, and no cable microphonics, but E3000 has issues in terms of sound leakage, as it leaks waaay more than Jet 2. Overall, Jet 2 feels more balanced, less thick, Jet 2 feels effortless compared to E3000, E3000 has better overall impact, with a deeper sound, but Jet 2 has a more smooth treble. In terms of dynamics, Jet 2 seems to have more dynamics, and also seems to have slightly more detail, although E3000 clearly has a better overall bass, if you like a more enhanced bass.
Flare Jet 2 does not scale up with a better source, so they are best driven from an affordable ultraportable, and investing in a better source will yield little to no benefit, their resolution and detail levels will not reveal the differences between sources much.
Flare Jet 2 + FiiO M6 – FiiO M6 is a great little DAP to pair with Jet 2, because it is small, it is ergonomic, it is affordable, and it has both Tidal, and also Airplay support, making it a real swiss army knife when it comes to versatility and possibilities to use it. With M6, you’ll always find a new way to enjoy your music, and you’ll always be happy you went with FiiO’s ergonomic little DAP. The sound of M6 is a bit more cold and analytical, Giving Jet 3 a bit more detail, and a slightly better overall treble extension, and also calming their bass a bit, making them a bit more textured and a bit more forward, which compliments their default signature really well.
Flare Jet 2 + Shanling M0 – Shanling designed something really beautiful with M0, a really light and smol DAP, that can go with you literally anywhere. If you add a clip case, you can clip M0 to virtually anything, making it a really good choice for portability. The sound of M0 is more on the musical and relaxed side, and since Jet 2 was not overly musical to begin with, using M0 helps, and quite a bit, as they become more mild, more musical, and go from being relaxed, to being a bit soft and musical / enjoyable.
Flare Jet 2 + HIFIMAN Megamini – Megamini is a very forward kind of DAP in every possible way, it is small, but it has corners, it has a really basic overall firmware and usage scenario, but has one of the best driving powers seen in an ultraportable, with one of the best sonic performances there is. Quite literally, Megamini is probably one of the best sounding mini-DAPs if you like a wide and forward sound, and this pairs well with Jet 2 if you want to give them more edge, and to make them more aggressive. Megamini will add more texture to Jet 2’s sound and make them easier to listen to and more versatile. Megamini will also give them a wider soundstage, and a more enthusiastic overall approach, and since megamini has a really sweet midrange, Jet 2 also gets a bit of that paint to them, making them quite enjoyable.
Value and Conclusion
The value of Flare Jet 2 is a fair one. They justify their current 80 USD price point very well, are made of metal, feel good in the hand, and fit my ears pretty well. They come with 3 pairs of tips, and with a carrying pouch, making both them, and the package fairly good.
The build quality is nice, but the comfort is a bit questionable, as they have both driver flex and cable microphonics, and they have a springy cable. You will need to wear them over-the-ear and you’ll also need to use foam tips to fully enjoy them, and you should also consider taking care for debris and wax to not enter the driver chamber, as there is no grille to protect it.
In terms of sonics, Jet 2 is quite specific, a pretty relaxed and chill IEM, with a fair amount of details for 80 USD, with a pretty clear and clean overall sound, and with a smooth and non-offensive treble, working best either for slow music, or for pop and commercial music, where I suspect most people will be using them.
Overall, if you’re looking for a pretty relaxed IEM, with a clean sound, and with a non-fatiguing treble, and if you really like their pretty beautiful design, you should consider Flare Jet 2 as your next audio friend.
Full Playlist used for this review
While we listened to considerably more songs than those named in this playlist, those are excellent for identifying certain aspects of the sound, like PRaT, Texturization, Detail, Resolution, Dynamics, Impact, and overall tonality. We recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you’re searching for new most, most of them being rather catchy.
Bats – Gamma Ray Burst: Second Date
Eskimo Callboy – Frances
Incubus – Summer Romance
Electric Six – Dager! High Voltage
Kishida Cult – High School Of The Dead
Dimmu Borgir – Dimmu Borgir
Breaking Benjamin – I Will Not Bow
Thousand Foot Krutch – The Flame In All Of Us
Gorillaz – Feel Good Inc.
Infected Mushroom – Song Pong
Attack Attack – Kissed A Girl
Doctor P – Bulletproof
Maximum The Hormone – Rock n Roll Chainsaw
Rob Zombie – Werewolf, Baby!
Escape The Fate – Gorgeous Nightmare
SOAD – Chop Suey
Ken Ashcorp – Absolute Territory
Machinae Supremacy – Need For Steve
Ozzy Osbourne – I Don’t Wanna Stop
Crow’sclaw – Loudness War
Eminem – Rap God
Stromae – Humain À L’eau
Sonata Arctica – My Selene
Justin Timberlake – Sexy Back
Metallica – Fuel
Veil Of Maya – Unbreakable
Masa Works – Golden Japang
REOL – Luvoratorrrrry
Dope – Addiction
Korn – Word Up!
Papa Roach – … To be Loved
Fever The Ghost – Source
Fall Out Boy – Immortals
Green Day – Know The Enemy
Mindless Self Indulgence – London Bridge
A static Lullaby – Toxic
Royal Republic – Addictive
Astronautalis – The River, The Woods
We Came As Romans – My Love
Skillet – What I Believe
Man With A Mission – Smells Like Teen Spirit
Yasuda Rei – Mirror
Mojo Juju – Must Be Desire
Falling Up – Falling In Love
Manafest – Retro Love
Rodrigo Y Grabriela – Paris
Zomboy – Lights Out
Muse – Resistance
T.A.T.U & Rammstein – Mosaku
Grey Daze – Anything, Anything
Katy Perry – Who Am I Living For
Maroon 5 – Lucky Strike
Machinae Supremacy – Killer Instinct
Pendulum – Propane Nightmares
Sirenia – Lithium And A Lover
Saving Abel – Addicted
Hollywood Undead – Levitate
The Offspring – Special Delivery
Escape The Fate – Smooth
Samsara Blues Experiment – One With The Universe
Dope – Rebel Yell
Crazy Town – Butterfly
Silverstein – My Heroine