Flare audio a British company that take pride in its tuning abilities and hearing protectors. They have an appropriate motto for their brand too “LONG LIVE EARS”. Anyone who has been paying attention can remember the Flare Pro IEMs and the new Flare Pro 2HD IEMs being their flag bearers and their most loved IEMs. Recently flare has come up with budget IEMs and the lineup uses patent pending JET technology. In their words:-
“Precise pressure balancing across all frequencies; jet technology allows us to match the air pressure in front of the driver, to the rear of the driver. As a result, we are able to release a build-up of pressure. Flares® JET uses this technology to maximise the front output of the earphone. This reduces distortion levels and boosts overall volume enabling the driver to perform as efficiently as possible.”
The Jet series consists of three IEMs, Jet 1, 2 and 3 which are priced at 29, 39 and 49 Euros respectively. Inside all the three IEMs resides a 10mm dynamic driver which has an inclination towards bass. They are separated be the material used on the earpieces. The Jet 3 leads the pack with Grade 5 titanium providing the best sound quality of the range.
It faces some tough competition from a lot of chi-fi IEMs equipped with a variety of drivers and designs.
PACKAGE AND ACCESSORIES:-
The Jet series comes in a plastic pouch, much more like a pack of sugar candies. The package is as simple as it can get for IEMs. I don’t have any problem as the brand has mostly taken this route to keep the price low. I do like the simplistic approach but it doesn’t have the aesthetical appeal to it.
The list of accessories is fairly short too, there are 3 pairs of ear tips in 3 sizes and a draw string pouch concludes the list.
HOW IS THE BUILD QUALITY, FIT and CABLE:-
The Flare Jet 3’s earpieces are made out of metal, the grade 5 titanium is good enough to give it ample amount of strength. I don’t have trouble is stating that this is one of the most strongly build IEMs in the market. It is literally built like a tank. The straight barrel design is very easy on the ear and the deep nozzle makes things easier, no need to struggle with the cable, or if desired it can be used over the ear without any problem. Due to the full metal housing the earpieces are on the heavier side but the deeper nozzle takes care of that. The silicone tips help in bearing the weight too. Someone like me who like a good and comfortable fit over the depth of insertion the J3 delivers without any discomfort.
Even though the cable has a good amount of rubber in it, it is on the suppler side and doesn’t have much microphonics to worry about, there is some nevertheless. Flare has tested these cables to handle stress without much problem. It has a 2 years warranty if the cable fails. There is barely any stress reliever at any end. A bit more protection will not hurt.
What really makes a difference is the quality of microphone used, dont know how but the Jet 3’s MIC has much better noise suppression and voice clarity compared to chi-fi IEMs.
TECHNICALITY and MATCHING:-
The Flare Jet series uses a single dynamic driver which has a frequency response of 5hz to 20khz. The sensitivity is give at 93db but Flare has not mentioned the impedance value. What I can make of it that the impedance value is on the lower side as the Jet 3 gets really loud without pumping the volume much.
Flares® JET Technical Specification:
- JET patent-pending sound balancing technology
- Precision turned from aerospace aluminium, high tensile polymer or grade 5 titanium
- 3.5mm gold plated, 4-pole jack connector
- Microphone and control capabilities
- Cable Length: 1.15m
- Driver diameter: 10mm
- Frequency response: 20-20KHz
- Driver sensitivity: 93dB/1mW
Now when it comes to match ability the Jet 3 is not picky at all, the DD is not demanding and plays well with all of the sources, it is made to be used with mobile phones after all. I like the way it maintains sound quality with variety of sources. Driving it with cheaper mobile phones like Lenovo P2 and dedicated DAPs like the Shnaling M6 doesn’t have much difference in sound quality. Yes, using a dedicated dap helps with better precision and technicality.
The single 10mm DD used inside the Jet lineup is bassy, the whole sound is dominated by the lower end but the jet technology retains very good amount of mid and treble details. The Jet 3 has a W shaped signature with the emphasis resting at lower region, vocals and lower treble region. The tonality and timber are good but it has a hint of metallic feel to it.
The Jet 3 has a very engaging sound, it doesn’t have the balance but has the fun and entertaining factor.
Remember when Brainwavz was making a plethora of dynamic driver earphones? All of them were bassy but lacked the sub-bass rumble and grunt. They would have done much better if they had a sub-bass like the flare Jet 3. The sub-bass extension is fantastic and has rumble and body bigger than all the KZ IEMs. The mid bass too has plenty of volume and the authoritative slam is thoroughly enjoyable. The upper bass is well controlled and has a smaller body than the mid bass with good amount of details. There is sense of ever so present bass, even with a track doesn’t have much lower end it manages to sneak in some feel to it. Now I don’t need to mention that it doesn’t have a lot of control over the notes and lacks a bit of accuracy at the same time. With the huge bass body and uncontrolled nature the decay speed is on the slower side which gives the notes a lot of weight. There is good amount of texture but the details and separation of notes is not very good.
The Jet 3 has oodles of bass prowess. It oozes with slam and thump, it hits hard and heavy. It is an IEM for those who are seeking huge bass response.
With the Jet technology Flare has managed to keep the integrity of the mid range. Even when pounding the bass notes it manages to deliver potent vocals and nice instrumental clarity. The transition from upper bass to lower mid is slightly lacking energy and details. The instruments have nice transparency, good resolution and details. Let it be pianos, guitars or Chellos all of them have nice clarity. Notes have nice body, accuracy and good amount of bite. The background is not the cleanest as the notes have wider base and they introduce some veiling. Vocals are the star of the mid range with very good transparency. Both male and female vocals are excellent with tonality and have very good texture too. It is fairly hard to find a earphone tonally more accurate than the Jet 3 for under $150. The upper mid is slightly more emphasized to give an impression of better clarity and details but is kind of robs the Jet 3 off the smoothness it had maintained till now and can introduce some fatigue upon a longer session of 6-7hrs.
The highs of the Jet 3 can be a hit or a miss depending is the listener’s expectations. It does not have the evenness of more refined IEMs. There is some spark and good amount of energy but it has an uneven feel to it. The region is unpolished with some frequencies having more energy than others, which can give a feeling of better transparency but losing points in a whole. The transition from upper mid to lower treble region has the signature dip of a W shaped sound sig. It does keep the unnecessary spikes way but robs the region of some clarity. Treble extension is good but for around $65 there are better options like DUNU DM480 and BQEYZ KC2. Layering and separation is just above average.
VS KBear KB04 ($30):-
Even though it is priced at $30 the KB04 can be considered as a good competition to the Jet 3. It houses one DD and one BA while having a more ergonomically design and removable cables.
The KB04 has a more revealing type tuning with boosted vocal and lower treble region which emulates better transparency while introducing crispier notes but can introduces discomfort over longer period of time. Tonality and timber is not comparable to the Jet 3. The basic problem with the KB04 is the lack of sub-bass rumble. The mid-bass and upper bass are a bit more controlled with faster decay and smaller body. The bigger problems are at the lower mid and frequencies beyond lower treble region. These two areas are eclipsed and don’t have much clarity. The treble extension specially is inferior. Stage size of the KB04 small, the J3 is much bigger in every direction.
Overall the Jet 3 is sounder and doesn’t have basic problems.
VS KBear Diamond ($70~80):-
The more evenly priced IEM is a more fitting competition when it comes to sound. Aesthetically or ergonomically it is far superior. The cable is much better and the build is equally good too.
Sound wise, it has slightly smaller bass body, lacks a bit of sub-bass rumble, has a bit more prominent mid-bass, the kick is harder and the overall decay speed is slightly faster. Both have similar texture but the Jet 3 has more details. The lower mid is not as good as the Jet 3. Vocals are more forward with a bit of sharpening which can cause discomfort. Instruments are more transparent but don’t have the composed feel of the Jet3. Extra energy around the lower treble region drowns the rest of the treble frequencies and the less than average extension is not helping the situation either. Jet is more even here with a more balanced tuning. Stage size of the Diamond is good but the Jet is still around 20% bigger in every direction and has even better depth.
The sound quality of the Jet 3 is praise worthy, it is bass heavy but when compared to the competition it does have fewer flaws. Surprisingly it doesn’t have a V shaped sound signature and does an excellent job of balancing the frequencies beyond the vocal region. Yes, the treble extension is not exactly praise worthy but it is not wobbly, sharp, forward or inconsistent like its competition. The mic quality is excellent, better than most Chi-fi brands and build quality is outstanding.
Flare Jet 3 has some basic shortcomings too, lack of removable cable is the biggest one as earphones priced at $10-15 have removable cables these days. And the price is slightly on the higher side of the spectrum for a basic earphone, yes they are backing it with 2 years of warranty but people might prefer something which has removable cables.
Is the Jet 3 worth it? For the sound- yes, for the value for money- your choice, for the ease of use- definitely.