Jerry Harvey is the original mastermind behind creating the custom molded in ear monitor. In 1995 as he was touring with Van Halen when he developed the first custom in ear monitor and started Ultimate Ears. In 2007, after 12 years building and expanding Ultimate Ears, he sold it to Logitech International. Later, in 2007, he decided to start a new company JH Audio that began manufacturing aviation headsets for pilots. In 2009 JH Audio expanded by creating their pro music line.
The JH Audio 16 Pro is a handmade marvel. Fitting 8 drivers, a three-way crossover and a cable connector plus all the needed wiring in each custom shell would seem impossible. JH Audio pulls this off! Mind you, all of which sit completely flush in your ears.
I was left with a big grin on my face after reading through the witty owners manual. My first impressions after finding the monitors inside the included personalized OtterBox was awe of the quality and workmanship of the monitors. The shells are spot on with a perfect fit in my ears. Of the monitors that I have reviewed, the JH16 build quality has been the best, with the Sleek Audio CT7 being a somewhat close second. The JH16 shell has a triple bore setup, three independent channels that run from the drivers all the way out to the exterior of the shell. On the opposite side of the first bore sit two high drivers. The second bore sits two mids. The third bore sits a bass lovers dream of 4 deep lows. *A side note when I reviewed the Ultimate Ears 18 Pro earlier this year which claimed it had three sound channels but only two of which were routed all the way to the exterior of the monitor.
The cable that is included has a very elegant look, well all except for the ugly 3.5 mm jack connector. Oddly the jack connector from UE 18 Pro would be a perfect visual fit for this cable. I have yet to find a cable that I love 100%. This one being my favorite, I would still make one small adjustment. I would like the memory wire that connects to the monitor to be slightly longer. I enjoy a hugging feel but unfortunately, the memory portion ends just before I can bend it around the backside of my ear. After two months of use the first three inches of the cable on each side began to oxidize and turn green. This is common for silver cables such as this one. A lot of companies including JH Audio offer black cables in lieu of the silver if the oxidation bothers you.
I burned in and tested the JH16 Pro using a HiFiMAN HM-602 from Head-Direct.com. The burn in consisted of 48 hours with a random play list including long and short breaks at variable volumes. After the burn in I quickly fell in love with the JH16. I have listened to over 400 hours of music through these and still am amazed every time I power them up. The soundstage is absolutely astonishing and the instrument placement can all but be seen. The sound quality and range separation is spectacular. The highs are somewhat bright with very crisp warm mids and smooth deep lows. I must say, these hit spot on with the bass! Listening to heavy orchestra instruments, the 4 powerful bass drivers bring in enough bass that you feel as if you were the maestro. They have a great overall balance to conquer any genre that you’re in the mood for. Overall, these have spot on tone, clarity and a sound signature that is unparalleled to the competition. The JH16 offers a -26db ambient noise isolation to take a audiophile away to a personal Rob Thomas concert. On the flip side, for Rob this removes unwanted stage noise while performing his concert. With the JH16 you hear what the artist hears. JH Audio is the monitor of choice for performers such as Linkin Park, T-Pain, Hinder, Josh Groban, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi and many more.
I must say I have found my custom monitor of choice. When there is audio involved I lately find myself reaching for the JH16 Pro. They will set you back $1,149, but in my opinion they are worth every penny! If you are interested in picking them up go to JH Audio.com.