Some of the Best in Their Price Range

Apr 20, 2008 (Updated Apr 20, 2008)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Excellent isolation, and "good" sound quality. For the price, excellent earbuds

Cons:Durability: In the tips, which can be replaced, but especially in the cord plug area

The Bottom Line: My final recommendation is to buy either these FX33's or the 34's. Great quality, sound, and especially noise isolation


These are great earbuds and for under $50; they, or the FX34’s (newer version) are some of the best on the market in their price range.

Sound Quality/Tips:

This is a tricky issue to define because the earbud tips are so related to sound quality, that its hard to separate the two. The sound quality is very nice...they’re not a pair of $400 Shures, but you can't really expect that from a $15-$30 pair of earbuds can you? They offer a clean sound, and superb bass response. Audiophiles have claimed that they lack certain “mids” or “highs” or something of that nature, and if you’re into that kind of thing see the link below this review, but for my purposes they offer a great sound.

These particular IEMs (In Ear Models) come with two sets of foam-type tips. They are very comfortable, and perfect in every way, except for the fact that after several months, they are almost always shot.

JVC doesn't expect them to last for ever, and that's why there are two pairs, but eventually you will need to invest in some new tips. I personally enjoy the Shure E2c soft-flex sleeves, which fit very well on these earbuds, and offer a nice, more durable tip...but that's another story.

The main thing these earbuds have going on is their "ambient-noise" isolation. If you haven't used a pair of isolating earbuds, imagine an open-air type bud, like the Apple iPod's, and then just tune out several decibels of noise around you. If you have them in, the living room TV would sound faint, your microwave pizza would be done, and you wouldn't hear your friend informing you that your pizza was done.

This is kind of a long way of saying the purpose of isolating buds is to block out sound, rather than get rid of it by turning up the music. So in that way, they could be considered safer; although don't quote me on that one just yet--it all depends on how you use the earbud.

The JVC's offer a very uncompromised sound quality, and paired with nice tips will give the casual listener a relaxed music environment- not free from ALL ambient noise, don't get me wrong, but a quieter listening environment, which is perfect for household chores, and casual-user listening.

Negative Aspects:

I love to run with these earbuds, since they isolate gym noises as well, but the drawback there is that the cord acts as sort of a "string and tin can" apparatus, making any brushing of the chord hearable while running. I am not picky enough to care about that kind of thing, but some people have found it annoying.

Some other negative aspects of these earbuds is that, while offering superb durability for the price range, they tend to break over time. The connection plug, which connects the cord to your mp3 player, has a less than perfect design, which, if wrapped too tightly around your mp3 player, will almost certainly break over time. I found this out the hard way, but JVC's customer service department replaced the earbuds for me, absolutely free. The customer service at JVC is yet another reason why I recommend this product.

-This is where I need to take a time-out and say that the issue I just mentioned...the only real durability problem to me besides the earbud tips, has appeared to be fixed on the JVC FX 34's, which I also own (these particular models are the FX33's). The connection plug has a better design, and also the cord is rumored to be treated for less noise when running.

Conclusion:

If you are looking for a great pair of less expensive earbuds, these are for you...and if you're looking for a close to flawless version, check out the FX34's. I would still recommend the FX33's simply because for the price; they will last you at least half a year to a year or more, depending on use. This is pretty typical with any lower end, and even some higher end earbuds.

For more information on anything related to headphones/earbuds check out: http://www.head-fi.org


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