Previously on Compudio, we gladly had Jerry Harvey, founder and owner of JH Audio, send us their mid-range model JH10X3 Pro monitor consisted of triple drivers with a passive three way crossover to top the cake off. Today, we have a very similar monitor, the JH11 Pro. However, rather than a single arm design in the low frequencies, the JH11 boasts a dual subwoofer. This four-driver, three-way monitor is one step up from the JH10X3 Pro, priced at $50USD more, making the JH11 Pro $850 USD.
Variation: $50 Charge-Any colour, Any artwork. (JH Audio logo/Flying Girl Logo is free of charge)
Transducers: Four Proprietary Balanced Armature Drivers
Configuration: Passive 3-Way crossover (Single High, Single Mid and Dual Low)
Frequency Range: 10 Hz-17 kHz
Impedance: 18 ohm
Sensitivity (1mW): 119 dB SPL
Accessories: Replaceable braided cable, Water-Proof Polycarbonate Case, String tighten pouch, Cleaning Tool, Manuals
Price: $850 plus shipping and ear impressions
Packaging and Accessories (7.5/10)
Last time we had the JH10X3 Pro with us, the packaging was rather disappointing. This time around, however, the JH11 arrived in a relatively neat packaging. The monitors, unlike when JH Audio first offered their Carbon Fiber box, is now packaged with a 3.6x4.8x1.6 inches water-proof Otterbox case for you to carry your monitors within. The case is made of nearly 1/8 inch thick polycarbonate, meaning it's not only water-proof, but extremely durable as well.
JH Audio also offers a soft, string tightening velvet pouch to store your monitors in, just to prevent any possibility of scratching these beautiful hand-crafted goodies. On top of the relatively neat and nice case, similar to many other monitor companies, JH Audio also provides a simple cleaning tool for when debris, dust, and wax start to build up in the bores--keep those tubes clean! Though JH Audio doesn't provide the largest accessory collection with their premium monitors, quality is without a doubt present.
Build Quality (10/10)
JH Audio made this specific pair of JH11 from a digital scanned impression from our last working with them. JH Audio reuses the clients' personal digital scanned impression from their clients' first purchase. The first purchase product will be made of the silicone impression coming straight from the clients' audiologist. JH Audio, unlike many monitor makers on the market today, use hard, hypoallergenic, colour retaining acrylic shells rather than soft silicone.
Jerry Harvey has been making monitors for over a decade. His knowledge on monitors and build quality really shows when we look at his products. The shell of the monitor is lusciously smooth, bump free, and extremely consistent throughout. There is neither a finger print nor scratch on the monitor when they arrive. We can see that each monitor is treated delicately within the lab even during the long assembly process where the shells are constantly being worked with. Moving on to the faceplate, where quality again shines through. The faceplate is casted with extreme accuracy, and sealed to the body of the shell with supreme craftsmanship. The closing of the monitor is hardly noticeable, with a beautiful shine along the seam and the surface of the monitor where it then hides the closing even further.
JH Audio takes endless pride in their work, where they go beyond and above in terms of consistency is stunning. Among the many monitors we have seen, there may be another two or three on the market that have the quality characteristics of our JH Audio monitor we have today. JH Audio has taken their time lining up and making sure each of the dual bore in each monitor is consistent, and symmetrical to the position on the opposite monitor. The high frequency bore is always on the inside of the canal, where the low frequency bore is always on the other.
Artwork wise, despite not having much on our JH11 monitors, the simple "JHAUDIO" logo laser printed onto our monitor was more than enough for us to come to a conclusion... simply the best we have seen. The width of each line making up the words is of a fraction of a millimeter. Despite the miniscule size, the resolution of the print is the smoothest we have seen! We are sure that if we requested the a map of the world to be the artwork of the monitors, JH Audio wouldn't have a problem printing the names of the continents on the map. Overall, a superb craftsmanship from JH Audio.
As JH Audio hasn't changed the design of their braided cable, we can simply refer to our JH10X3 Pro Review for our thoughts on their cable:
"JH Audio has gone for the usual twisted cable that custom monitors come with. Unlike Westone, JH Audio has gone for an OEM cable which other manufacturers use like Earsonics. Despite being a cable shared with other manufacturers, the cable is durable and flexible with near to no Microphonics. The clear cable that I have tested is very similar to Westone and Ultimate Ears clear. The clear cable is extremely soft, with a reduced friction insulation compared to the black cable offered by JH Audio and other companies. Clear cables tend to be soft, and harder to tangle due to the nature that there is an extra layer of silvery fabric like coating on the wires, making the cable slightly thicker than the usual black and having less friction. Strain reliefs are very well done and shrunk to the cable, cable management is a little tube that works as well as the little bead offered on Westone’s ES cable. The cable’s microphonics are rather well done, extremely low. Touching or the occasion of cable rubbing against clothing doesn’t surge a loud noise through the cable causing disturbance."
As we didn't have any fitting problems with our monitor from JH Audio last time, we have no complaints about the fit this time either. The extra long canal offered by JH Audio in comparison to other companies gives the most impressive isolation we have experienced yet. Despite having the sealing capabilities, the comfort of the monitors is also made extremely well. In fact, this time around, JH Audio made the monitor even more flush to the ear, which is a definite cosmetic bonus. Overall, a flawless fit from JH Audio compliments the monitor very well.
Designed to be relatively similar to its younger sibling, the 10X3, the JH11 offers an impressive sound at a relatively affordable price. The dual subwoofer enhances the speed, accuracy, and power of the low-end dramatically. Put the better, and newer technology in the JH11 along with the proprietary drivers and passive three-way crossover, we arrive at some of the most beautiful music we've heard.
High frequencies (8/10)
Like all monitors from JH Audio, the JH11 houses their own proprietary high frequency driver specially designed to match their other drivers. The JH11 offers a very similar performance in the high frequency range as its younger sibling. Offering a laid-back, soft, and mellow, yet clear and detailed presentation. The high frequencies are never too forward or too strong for any genre. The high frequency performance is extremely suitable for hip hip, pop, rock and genres that carry a slightly mellower high frequency presentation. When moving to classical or orchestral, however, the flaws of the JH11 are shown rather blatantly. Piano notes or violas just aren't as crisp and clear as they are supposed to be. Despite a few shortcomings, we think that the high frequency performance of the JH11 is relatively impressive for some of the most popular music genres of this century.
As a monitor of Jerry Harvey's Pro Audio family, the JH11 also inherits the series' famous mid-range. The mids are rich, detailed, and fairly warm. The perspective of the mid-range isn't placed extremely forward so vocals, especially, are rested back a little. This can be noticed when we compared it to the JH10X3. The JH11's mid-range seems to be set back just a tad more. Despite being presented just a hint back, like mentioned before, we were still able to get the quick, speedy characteristic, detailed, and clean mid that JH Audio has to offer. Vocals are still full bodied. In fact, between the direct comparison of the 10X3 and 11, we noticed that we can actually hear a greater amount of detail within the mid-range. The result of the mids sounding cleaner is not due to the mids being tuned better, but an impact due to the changes in the lows. Nonetheless, we'll leave that for the next part. Overall, we conclude that the mid-range of the JH11 presents one of the most fantastic tone in the industry, as it gives a clean, detailed, rich sound without having it seem bloated or artificial.
Low frequencies (9.5/10)
In the case of drivers, more really does mean better...well for the JH11 at least. Low frequencies are one of the two hardest frequencies to reproduce, the other being highs. Many manufacturers of these hand crafted monitors often use dual transducers for the low frequencies even when there's only one for the highs and one for the mid-range simply because it does take a lot to get this place right. The JH11 is one of these monitors. Unlike the JH10X3 that houses a single driver in the low end, the JH11 houses two. Jerry Harvey, designer of all the JH Audio monitors, believes that an extra driver enhances the lows as each driver will handle less while getting more in result. If you read our review of the JH10X3, you notice that we mention on occasions it overwhelms the mid-range a little, and on occasion the lows of the 10X3 are just a little too boomy where it covers the frequency a little. The JH11 took care of that problem. The lows of the JH11 are much quicker, more refined, and controlled. Every hit that the dual low drivers give is a quick punch to the face, or hard an straight to the heart, whenever it needs to be. The JH11's extension to the low end is simply incredible. We found that playing a 17Hz sound through the JH11 I could still hear the sound loud and clear. 17Hz in fact is below the average human hearing range, and non-existent in any genre of music. So there's no worry that JH11 won't be picking up those deep low bass notes . As we mentioned earlier in the mid-range section, because the lows of the JH11 are so controlled, and not overwhelming even when they hit hard, the mid-range sounds more present. Overall, the JH11 offers one of the most impressive low-end response that any monitor has to give in any price range.
Overall, the JH11 houses a very similar soundstage to the JH10X3, but what you get is an even more impressive experience. The biggest enhancement actually comes from the Lows being more controlled. As the lows are more controlled and refined, we can distinctively hear where every note is coming from as the perspective of distance and direction is more accurate. Because the mid-range also improved, we get the vocals from where we want it, and we can clearly hear where the notes come and fade away, giving a sense of three dimension rather then a flatter, two dimensional sound. The JH11 offers a fairly wide soundstage in general, giving it a perfect character for listening to music.
Detailed Score Breakdown:
Conclusion ( 9 /10)
The JH11, being the third in line of the JH Audio family, has lots to offer at a fairly affordable price of $850 to most prosumers. The JH11 gives the crisp highs, clear mid-range vocals, and a heart throbbing low-end that many crave for. Also coming from one of the longest-running monitor manufacturers and respected engineers in the industry today, the JH11 comes not just with sound quality but also an incredible build quality and fantastic customer service. As we had the JH10X3 last time, we mentioned the lows were a little boomy and a little overpowering and uncontrolled at times. The JH11 was the simple solution from JH Audio. At just $50 more, we would agree that it's well worth the step up for a more refined low-end and a more engaging mid-range and overall music experience. Things that may be holding back buyers from the JH11 is perhaps, like last time, the lack of accessories. Overall, we thought that the JH11 was as impressive as it gets in this price range. We would recommend this monitor to anyone who's looking for an engaging music experience in any genre of music along with wanting to monitor on stage for drums or a bass guitar. In the end, we had to grant our Editor's Award to the JH Audio JH11 simply because by a mere $50 more, the JH11 proves to be a significant upgrade in terms of build and sound quality to the already impressive JH10X3 we had with us last time -- we just couldn't hold back!
This article was written by Felix Yau.
Special thanks to Jerry and Brittany from JH Audio for making this review possible!
Article edited on July 12, 2010.