Voltron, if i offer an opinion like the one above at any other part of this forum, DIY, Headphones, Amplifiers, Whiskey etc, i probably deserve to laughed out of the room. But in the area of “In Ear Monitors” (Universals in particular), i actually know my stuff and in this case, as im based in Malaysia / Singapore and have access to a much wider variety of IEM’S than you are, I think my opinion has some weight here. (I might be completely delusional though )
JH is a company with a good product and a better marketing team. Their wide customer base of rock stars, ability to start and win the market trends (12 drivers anybody?) and the fact that Jerry is the pioneer and founder of this industry,ensures that they will always have fans and customers in any part of the world. I can’t speak for the western markets. But in South East Asia and japan, they lose out massively at the market where Fitear competes (The 1.5k-2K level), even with the insane markup (40-50%) by dealers outside of japan. Of course, they are people who simply prefer the JH to the Fitears, but they are a minority in my part of the world.
You seem to be judging the quality of the product based on its sales. Not exactly accurate, but it has its merits. I bought my Roxannes, not from JH, but from a seller in Malaysia. It was less than a month old and was selling for USD675, roughly half the retail price. The reason being a Fitear TG334 (a 2 year old one at that) that was bought shortly after. The 6 month old TG334 i had, i paid USD1,500 for them secondhand(with an aftermarket cable) and sold it for USD1,700 two weeks after. And the guy literally drove 6 hours to pick them up.
Here is a short thread from a singapore (An IEM heaven outside of japan) based forum, it’s a relatively good gauge of the sentiment of IEM users in Singapore.
If you really want to judge an item’s quality based on commercial terms, base it on its availability and price in the second-hand market. The Headamp BHSE rarely goes up for sale and when it does, it never drops below 5.5k.
Headamp stuff always sell close to retail. Mjollnir Audio, close to retail. Schiit, pretty close to retail. JH audio, close to 50-60% value. If you check the Japanese sites, they are already secondhand layla’s and angie’s up for sale, and at 20% less than retail prices, and this is only 1-2 months in. Now, try finding a Fitear TG334.
In terms of build quality, I cant speak for JH's CIEM as I have not bought a JH CIEM before, but in terms of the universals(TG 334! to the Siren Series), the Fitears beat the JH handily. The Fitears built are essentially perfect, nothing you can complain about other than the sparse accesories. For the JH, they are very obvious gaps and bubbles in the acrylic, the stem does not seem to have any finishing whatsoever, the bores seem to be an engineering mistake (there is no way to remove wax from them), the brush I had in my set had half the plastic bristles melted and attached to each other (Not an issue in the US as you can just ask for a new one, a major issue in my end of the planet)
I want to make a subjective comparison, but I am honestly not cut out to write subjective impressions. And I doubt this is a crowd I can convince with flowery mike mercer words. You need to hear it for yourself.
I will say this of JH though, Jerry is a great guy and an innovator, he started this industry basically on his own. Before I heard the TG334, I really loved the Roxanne’s, they were the first earphones that made me dance on the train.
In a market without the Fitears (Sounds like the USA), they would be one of the best, but in my end of the world, their value lie about the USD1,000 mark, above the SE846, but below the high end Fitears, and certainly below USD2499.
I’m not saying the Layla is not good. Im just saying, before you(or at least this forum) call layla the best iem evarrrr and drop 2.5k on one, take a quick trip to japan (or a country with Jaben), eat sushi, visit e-earphone and try out the fitears, you wont regret it and from my experience, it is likely to change your mind.