Reviewed Jan 2010
Details: JVC’s follow-up to the well-received HA-FX33 ‘Marshmallows’
Current Price: N/A (discontinued) (MSRP: $29.95)
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: 16 Ω | Sens: 101 dB | Freq: 10-23k Hz | Cable: 3.3’ I-plug
Nozzle Size:5.5mm | Preferred tips: Soundmagic PL30 BiFlanges
Wear Style: Straight down
Accessories (2.5/5) – Silicone single-flange tips (3 sizes), foam tips, and soft carrying pouch
Build Quality (3.5/5) – Housings are rubber-covered plastic and feel like they will last. Cabling is similar to that found on the HA-FX34 and HA-FX300 – thick and flexible
Isolation (1.5/5) – The Air Cushion fitting system makes for a very shallow insertion. Isolation is a tradeoff for comfort with these
Microphonics (3.5/5) – Fairly low but the FX66 cannot be worn cord-up. A shirt clip would have been nice
Comfort (4.5/5) – The Air Cushion fitting system leaves a space between the earphone housing and the ear; combined with the angled nozzles and soft rubber-covered housings this results in a completely unobtrusive fit
Sound (4.5/10) – Like the Marshmallows, the overall sound of the Air Cushions is on the warm side and fairly smooth. Bass is strong and punchy, albeit lacking control. Low-end extension is still surprising for a $20 earphone. The midrange is obscured slightly by the bass at the low end and recessed overall but clarity and detail are superior to unmodded marshmallows and on-par with my Kramered set. Still nothing to brag about compared to the current crop of budget earphones. There is just a tiny bit of sibilance in the treble but it is still less sharp than that of the marshmallows. The overall sound is wider and more open than the marshmallows. It is also brighter but at the same time less tiring. From memory, I like these better than my marshmallows when they were stock but not better than my Kramered marshmallows, which have a more forward midrange and better treble detail.
Value (8/10) –The Air Cushion is still a very good buy at the current street price for someone looking for an extremely comfortable and decent-sounding set of IEMs without the need for modification. Though definitely not as suitable for critical listening as the Ai-M9, PL30, or even PL21, the FX66 is a balanced and smooth-sounding earphone with ‘user-friendly’ written all over it.
Pros: Very comfortable, low microphonics, durable, decent sound
Cons: Arguably poorer sound than (cheaper) Kramered marshmallows, cable may be too short for some, subpar isolation