The Flares Jet from Flare Audio is a new entry-level single dynamic driver universal monitor (IEM) priced at around $100.
Disclaimer: The Flare Audio Flares Jet sent to us is a sample in exchange for our honest opinion. We thank the team at Flare Audio for giving us this opportunity.
To read more about Flare Audio products reviewed on Headfonics click here.
Almost like clockwork, I can expect a new Flare Audio product on my desk with the changing of the seasons. I’ve reviewed every Flare Audio IEM to date and with high marks. Today, we will be taking a gander at the $109USD Flare Audio JET 2.
The Box and Accessories
Flare has dropped cardboard boxes and gone with the plastic ziplock bag approach.
Inside, you get a leatherish feeling baggie with some spare tips and the IEM itself. Nothing else was included. I’m on the side of “if it is under $100, please don’t give me a ton of extras and a fancy box”.
I don’t want it because this is supposed to be (well, at least for Audiophiles) the “beater” and portable tier. The category where I plop them into a small bag or in my pocket, to travel with, to work out in. Or, whatever the case of portability needs are. I don’t want to also care about and store an awesome box. Subjective there.
Of course. I understand general consumers want a lot more at the $100 and under tier. But, I am not one of them. I’d rather all that extra go into the product itself. Thankfully, Flare invested a good amount of quality into the Jet.
Build and Fit
The Flare Jet’s come in 3 versions with three different materials that range from polymer to grade 5 titanium. I was sent the mid-tier model in aluminum. It feels very good in the hand. Although, I am not a fan of the cable style. It has some microphonics issues for me and tends to rub on my clothing a lot. It is twisted in style, so the extra potential of grooves and raised twined cable will get caught on certain fabrics now and then.
As for fit, this is the only Flare Audio IEM that I am not able to get a proper seal with while using the stock tips. For me, subjectively, the fit is just okay. It tends to fall out of my ear and feels lopsided and unbalanced inside of my canal, at least, in a physical sense.
The back end of the IEM is large and round, the tip is narrow and for me, it doesn’t feel like it is ever stable and resting in positions that will remain as such. That worsens severely if I am in movement, or grubbing on some food.
Oh goodness, thank the audio deities for this. Finally, a sub $100 in the modern era that isn’t neutral. Thank you, Davies. In the past few years, it seems like every single budget IEM went the way of flatness and total neutrality in the bass experience. Lacking oomph and deepness, or lacking a sense of bass response to EQ if I wanted that boost.
This Jet is not neutral. But, it isn’t overly warm either. Especially not on a 0 EQ (disabled) setup. While on a flat experience and no boosting active, the Jet feels very linear and typical of a sub $100 IEM. In terms of physical quantity, there isn’t a lot to be said about it beyond that it looms on the lower end of moderate in quantity.
However, that changes a lot when you drop in a booster. The great MSEB feature on my AP80 portable player livens things up a lot down yonder! Adding in a lot of bass on the bottom end produces very nice rumble and depth, so I can safely say the Jet here responds to EQ very well on the bottom and can be used as an entry-level basshead IEM if you so choose to use EQ functions to their fullest.
Although, I cannot achieve this on my M5S from Shanling, as that EQ function inside that portable player isn’t as strong as the Hidizs AP80. So be careful with your source. You need a great EQ implementation to get great bass depth from this IEM. For a $100USD or, the quality and purity factor is excellent.
Oddly, as a contrast to most of the other Flare Audio IEM’s out there, I find this JET to be mildly relaxed and not as forward as I had expected as per the House Sound of Flare Audio. The experience is noticeably recessed, but not in a negative manner. I would call it “chill”, lacking a strong sense of engaging in your face sound type, but also, not overly distant feeling.
This is a moderate midrange placement sound type presentation. I was a bit taken by surprised upon loading up some vocalists tracks and them comparing with all my other Flare Audio IEM’s, only to find this one the most recessed and wide feeling of the lot in terms of physical placement.
For such a price, this is one of the better IEM’s I’ve heard. Similar sounding IEM’s that I can recall would be the Shozy Hibiki, which by comparisons in A/B testing, sounded more forward and less thick. The JET actually had a superior tonality, at least, in my opinion. Feeling a bit heftier and denser.
Going back to the Flare Audio R2A, I still prefer the R2A, which sounds cleaner and more spacious, more interesting and much more forward feeling. However, lacking a width sense that is strong in comparison to the JET.
In the way of raw purity, I seem maxed out and unable to tell the difference between the AP80 (a $120 portable player) and Shanling’s M5S (nearer to $500). What that means is that great budget players and lower areas of the middle tier for great sounding portable players will mesh with the JET best. You don’t have to use a super expensive source to get the best out of it.
Like all of the past Flare Audio IEM’s, this newer JET houses a similar styling in tonality, which is one of a solid density with a great physicality factor. Most, if not ALL IEM’s in this pricing tier suffer from a bad case of thinness. Flare Audio never had that issue, thankfully. The physical presence factor is very good and high hat cymbal strikes, triangle, and similar sound very good.
A funny example I would like to give is that I was sitting in my listening room and using my Shanling M5S when the Aladdin soundtrack came on shuffle. The OST is in very high quality, to begin with and starts off with some metal triangle instrument strikes that ring out and reverberate.
The experience sounded extremely visceral for such a cheap IEM. From there, I went on a bit of a treble induced trip through some other audio tracks that I know offer a great upper-frequency range of sound types. Lo’ and behold, the JET formed magnificently but, only when the track was slow to moderate. Fast pacing smears the entire experience in a bit of a washout that makes it very hard to use.
Stick to relaxing tracks and skip the speed metal, otherwise, you will be very prone to experiencing an unappealing sense of lacking details.
Again, in the way of the pricing tier, the R2A is still the best I’ve heard. The JET lags behind with a noticeable haze over the experience by comparison. I can even go as far as saying the Shozy Hibiki 2 feels cleaner by a small amount, but also that the Hibiki 2 offers more detail at a faster pace, which could to be a weakness of the JET.
For $109, I am not going to complain in the slightest. This is good stuff. There really aren’t many IEM’s in this pricing tier that offers a fantastically clean and pure sounding experience. And if they do, they are likely highly neutral and prone to harshness and significant impact. I do not find that to be the case here with the JET. Quite the opposite.
The JET is relaxing, for the most part, lacking a harsh sense of physical dynamic slam. Combined with the good purity factor, and solid brightness factor overall, I can say the upper end of the experience is tailor-made for those who want just a smidgen of musicality but with less likelihood of the dreaded ‘wince factor’.
As with the R2PRO from a few generations ago from Flare Audio, the JET shares a similar wider than tall experience, at least, to my ear. Combined with the sense of relaxed midrange placement, the experience feels well set up for live classical recordings, or anything live for the matter.
If you are looking for a solid set of YouTube/movie IEM’s, this is a great solution for you. Watching YouTube videos and podcasts is an absolute pleasure, due to the wider than tall feeling that really emphasizes the lineup on a couch or desk that is often the physical setup of a podcast being filmed.
I enjoy watching RoosterTeeth podcasts on YouTube and I can safely say that their quality mics and recording combined with the relaxed physical setup of the JET, really allows for a fantastic experience overall. Coffee in hand, wrapped in a blanket in the mornings sitting outside with my laptop is always blissful, enjoyable and comfortable.
In the way of depth of field, and due to the fact that the setup is relaxed in positioning, the image in stage forward sense is a good one. Airiness factor is also very nice, due to the very good treble response that lacks any nasalness. No, this isn’t an imaging titan, but what is there is very good and “realistic” for relaxed audio recordings. It has trouble with forward vocals, however. So, be careful with your track type.
Flare Audio has come a long way. It is very nice to see a budget IEM fair this nicely on the playing field. I am saddened that my fit needs are not met, but then again, that is wildly subjective and not the fault of the company at all. Friends I’ve let use the JET had an excellent fit, I’m just unlucky.
I have plenty of very forward midrange IEM’s, so having a nice and relaxing one, especially from Flare Audio, is a treat. What impressed me is that they’ve opted for a nice setup here instead of one that is more forward in the midrange and perhaps reserved in bass and treble.
I am also happy with the level of bass response via boosting if you need it. You do not see that so often anymore. I am able to run without a need for an amplifier and found that solid midrange portable music players are more than enough to justify themselves with the JET. You don’t need to pair with expensive gear. Grab a cheap AP80, or M0 and enjoy. Adding in my XRK UBER amplifier did nothing for quality and only changed density factor and tonality overall.
As a very efficient IEM, I can recommend them for use with media online and for wide field recordings. If you want a relaxing budget IEM, this is a great option for those who don’t want to skimp on bass quantity, all while receiving a nice, wide feel to the entire experience.
Flares Jet Technical Specifications
• Innovative jet technology for superior sound
• Precision-turned aerospace aluminum
• 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