Cre­ative Sound Blaster JAM

Tech Advisor - - REVIEWS - Si­mon Jary

A pair of wire­less head­phones will lib­er­ate you from trail­ing head­phones and get­ting yanked back when they catch a door han­dle or any other pro­trud­ing ob­ject. If you’ve ever pulled the ca­bles too hard and bro­ken your pre­cious head­phones you’ll ap­pre­ci­ate the free­dom of Blue­tooth au­dio. There are com­pro­mises on sound qual­ity, so it’s im­por­tant to se­lect the right head­phones if you value your au­dio.

Of­ten price is an in­di­ca­tor, and at less than £40, the Sound Blaster JAMs sug­gest that sound qual­ity won’t be great. Our ini­tial con­cerns were un­founded though, be­cause au­dio qual­ity was very good. In­deed, it wasn’t a mil­lion miles from our favourite Blue­tooth head­phones, the £125 Sennheiser MM 400-X.

The Cre­atives of­fer good over­all tonal bal­ance, with enough weight in the bass to give a com­fort­able full sound. There is a slight rough­ness in the tre­ble, but with­out overly ex­ag­ger­ated tre­ble that would oth­er­wise make them too wear­ing.

We hardly ex­pected these head­phones to be the last word in de­tail, but at this price, it’s ex­cel­lent. Its neodymium driv­ers can han­dle fre­quency re­sponse of 20Hz to 20kHz. The level midrange means vo­cals are nei­ther re­cessed nor pushed up too loud, and these fast and dy­namic head­phones have an ex­cel­lent wide stereo with nat­u­ral spread be­tween the ears.

Over­all, these are very im­pres­sive as bud­get head­phones, let alone as wire­less mod­els us­ing the most ba­sic lossy au­dio codec.

We are fans of the er­gonomics, too. Weigh­ing just 109g, the JAMs are light­weight, and don’t clamp too tightly yet feel se­cure in place – sit­ting well on the ears. We pre­fer head­phones that will fold up to as small a size as pos­si­ble, and these don’t do that – although they’re small enough to fit in a coat pocket or take up lit­tle space in a bag.

Built into the right earcup are the main con­trols for the head­set power, vol­ume, Blue­tooth con­nec­tion, au­dio play/pause and calls. You can also boost the bass by tap­ping the Bass but­ton on the earcup.

You can also at­tach the head­phones to a PC/Mac via USB for en­hanced sound qual­ity – handy when watch­ing a movie or TV pro­gramme on your lap­top. When paired to a phone via Blue­tooth, the built-in mi­cro­phone blocks out some of the am­bi­ent noise and echo.

The Sound Blaster JAM fea­tures Near Field Com­mu­ni­ca­tion (NFC) wire­less con­nec­tiv­ity for easy one­touch pair­ing – although this isn’t yet sup­ported on iPods or iPhones.

Bat­tery life is another fac­tor to con­sider when buy­ing Blue­tooth head­phones, and the Sound Blasters lasted a de­cent length of time be­fore re­quir­ing recharg­ing, which is done us­ing the in­cluded Mi­cro-USB ca­ble.

Ver­dict

The Cre­ative Sound Blaster JAM Blue­tooth head­phones of­fer fan­tas­tic value for money as they out­per­form ex­pec­ta­tions on both au­dio qual­ity and com­fort. In­cred­i­bly light­weight, you’ll hardly no­tice you’re wear­ing them, and while they don’t fold for ul­tra porta­bil­ity they are small enough to fit in a coat pocket.

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