Where a swift move up the headphone amplifier market generally gives increased levels of detail and dynamic range, there can be a point where you are getting a lot of information and not a lot of musical integrity. The sound is precise, but lacking coherence. The JSA restores that coherence and musical clarity, but not at the expense of the extra information a better amp provides. It sounds like the JSA is bringing out the best of the equipment it slots between. This is hard to put into words, and takes some time for you to parse, but it makes more sense of the music, whatever music is playing. As I listen to quite a lot of modern classical that accents the need to work at a piece of music in order to understand it, before you get all the surface elements of metre and rhythm, the JSA’s ability to bring some order to the chaos is welcomed. It also works to open up avenues of music normally closed to the listener, because they simply make more sense. I’m not a big blues fan, but I could understand the appeal of Howling Wolf here, because his voice was raspy and visceral, and not simply yet another music entity.
The best thing I can say about the JSA is it made me more of a headphone listener. I remain huffily old-school in my audiophile aspirations, and think of headphones as a modern necessity than a go-to place for my music. After spending some time with the JSA Type 2, I’m more into the whole headphone experience. The JSA is that good!
Dimensions: 220mm x 105mm x 45mm
Price: £330 (£350 in gunmetal)
Manufactured by: Vertex AQ
Tel: +44(0)1554 759267