REVIEW: FLARE AUDIO FLARES JET 1 AND JET 2 IEM
Flare Audio offer three ranges of In Ear Monitors (IEMs); the flagship Flares Gold, the Flares Pro and then, the Flares Jet range. Today we are taking a closer look at the Flares Jet 1 and Jet 2 earphones.
Flares Jet 1 and Flares Jet 2
In Ear Monitors
£49 / £69
The Jet 1 and Jet 2 IEMs are the entry-level of the Flare's stable and cost £49 and £69 respectively. The main difference between the two models is that the Jet 1 has a polymer body construction whereas the Jet 2 uses aluminium.
The Flare story
Flare Audio made its name in the world of professional audio, where their loudspeakers have received praise from music industry figures including Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, Rolling Stones producer Chris Kimsey, Art of Noise’s Gary Langan and Nine Inch Nails/U2/Nick Cave producer ‘Flood’.
Having filled concerts and festivals with great sound, they have even been responsible for loading the legendary Olympic Studios after it was reborn as a new two-screen Dolby Atmos cinema complex, complete with a live music room.
The company then took to Kickstarter to raise awareness of the miniaturisation of the Flare technology, with an innovative range of in-ear earphones.
All Flare products use the principle of Waveform Integrity. By that, the company means what you get to hear is precisely the signal that was put in. This uncorrupted sound retains all of its definition; it couples more efficiently, disperses evenly, enables maximum throw and is more controllable.
The three pillars of the Flare product line is a trio of patent-pending technologies: Space enclosure construction technology, Vortex pressure abatement technology and Nanoflow driver alignment technology.
Davies Roberts states:
"Natural sound has asymmetry differences; vocals and brass instruments are habitually asymmetrical, whereas most wooden instruments produce symmetrical waveforms. If a speaker is to produce accurate sound, then it must be capable of re-creating accurate waveform balance."
The clue to how these IEMs work lies in the name “Jet”; this technology balances the pressure across all frequencies in your ear by creating a jet of sound into your ears, maximising the output of the earphone.
That Jet tech removes the resonance effects created by audio chambers. Instead, they use precise jet sizes to produce mirror image sound.
Flares Jet 1 and Jet 2 review
Both Jet models come in small tear-open plastic bags with the business-end of the IEMs wrapped in bubble wrap. Additionally, there is a small lined leatherette bag to transport them safely as well as three pairs of differently sized silicone ear-pieces.
The Jet IEMs come fitted with 3.5mm gold plated jack connector and microphone and controller on the right IEM cable. The cable consists of an OFC copper internal wiring with a Kevlar weave inside to increase strength.
Plugging the Jets into the iFi Audio xDSD (review coming) which, in turn, is connected into my phone using one of iFi's USB-C connectors, I select Gary Newman's 'My Name is Ruin'. Instantly, the dirty synths and programmed percussion have me nodding my head like a Bulldog selling insurance. Soon, as Gary's unmistakable vocals start, they come through clear and precise.
'Vale' from Belfast-born, London-based Bicep was another chance for both sets of Jets to flex their muscular low-end, so to speak. I was starting to notice that the aluminium Jet 2 appeared rhythmically tighter than the polymer model 1. Bass extension on the metal-cased earphones also had more authority.
Swedish electronic next, in the form of Little Dragon and 'Mirror'. The openness and space presented by the Jets is a tonic to rush hour tube travel. 'The Dance' by The Cinematic Orchestra gave the Jet 1 a chance to show its skills, but the Jet 2 takes the edge in the lower mid-range. However, both have a pleasing accuracy that still allows for plenty of excitement. Neither have an issue with speed or dynamism, which is impressive at the relatively low asking prices.
Finally, the spirited tango fusion of Bajofondo and 'Borges Y Paraguay' is a fun way to test instrument placement. The low upright bass with acoustic accordion and violins share space with samples and loops. While layered amongst it all, is authoritative piano. I am pleased to say that everyone played nicely together. At no point did I ever feel that the violins were jostling for attention against the accordion. The piano was crisp in the higher register and sounded natural.
That sound from the Jets is punchy with excellent bass depth and so ideal for what most consumers are looking for these days.
There is a noticeable difference between the Jets thanks to their construction. The aluminium set has greater depth and extended bass to the polymer-based Jet. However, in both cases, the bass is very apparent, with the top end nicely detailed. The midrange is less recessed with the Flares Jet 2.
“Long Live Ears”, that's Flare's strap line. Well, they do produce ear defenders as well as IEMs. However, it still applies to their earphones. The more articulate and expressive your earphones are, the less likely you are to try to compensate by turning the volume up.
Yes, they might be less expensive than plenty of other IEMs we have collectively seen and tested, but do not discount the Flares Jet 1 and Jet 2 just on their fiscal accessibility.
The Flare earphones produce exciting, detailed and fun sounds. My preference leans towards the Jet 2, but I very much doubt that you would be disappointed by either. I really enjoyed the bass detail and the clarity from the high-end. Mids were a bit tighter from the aluminium IEMs in my experience. At this price, they're certainly worth trying.
For more information visit Flare Audio.
StereoNET UK's Editor and Bass playing gadget junkie. He's captained the GadgetyNews good ship for over a decade, making low jargon high tech a very handy thing. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.
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