Flare have long been known for their super powerful ear plugs. Made from metal, these plugs block a wider variety of frequencies than traditional foam or silicone plugs and also tend to block a great deal more sound. These plugs are great for sleep, but also for sound sensitive individuals — audiophiles and the like — allowing them to live comfortably and quietly. So when Flare decided to take this expertise and re-apply it in the form of an audiophile-grade wired earphone, we were very curious.
Flare’s series of branded wired earphones — the Jet 1, 2 and 3 — take the best of their ear plug technology and pair it with top-tier audio engineering, resulting in a set of musician’s ear phones that provide high quality sound and build quality at a reasonable price point. For this review we’re looking at the highest-end model, the Flare Jet 3 (Titanium).
- The body of each earphone is made of precision turned titanium.
- Includes a single-button control panel for controlling music and phone calls.
- 10mm drivers.
- Stress tested, anti-tangle cable.
- Gold plated connectors.
Unboxing and First Impressions
The Jet 3 comes in a hygienic, sealed plastic package. Enclosed inside are the Jets themselves, multiple sized silicone tips (more on that later) and a leather carry bag. The bag’s a nice touch, and feels very nice in hand, though for a more expensive set like the titanium model I’d always prefer a rigid case just to protect it in my backpack between wears.
That said, the earphones themselves feel very hardy. Made of Grade 5 titanium, they feel very strong in the hand. They look designed to stand up to a lot more wear than your ordinary pair of headphones (though full disclosure: we didn’t try breaking ours!) The cable is strong, made with an anti-tangle material, and a standard 3.5mm jack for plugging into your preferred audio device. We found that the anti-tangle material wasn’t as good as it claimed, there was still some untangling to do, but it wasn’t a dealbreaker by any regard. I was very quickly able to get everything straightened out and ready to plug in.
Left and right are distinguished by red and blue bands on the base of the ear phone. Though we would have preferred an L and an R — just for when you forget which colour means which. Just so we’re clear: the right side is the RED one.
The Jet 3 is made of a Grade 5 Titanium, designed to minimise any distortion in sound due to the limited enclosure resonance inherent to the material. In our sound tests, we were mostly playing pop and dance music: we found good separation, and while there was a slight prominence to the bass this was not so noticeable as to disturb our listening. The soundstage on these are where they really shine, however. I found they created a really authentic listening experience, punchy and tactile. While there was a mild amount of muddling when listening to particularly densely constructed tracks, it still made for an enjoyable listen.
Overall, as a listening experience, the Jet 3 give a rich sound, with a slight preference towards the bottom-end. If you’re listening to bass-driven music particularly, they would be a strong and punchy option. Similarly, for someone dipping their toe into the audiophile world and looking for an affordable and robust in-ear solution, the Jet 3 is going to have a far richer clarity and soundstage than the entry-level devices made by competitors.
While the silicone tips are not rated with the same sound protection as you might see on other Flare products, I found really superior passive noise isolation provided by these. On first insertion, I felt quite clearly separated from the outside world – great for a set that aren’t even using active noise cancellation technology! Partially it’s the form of the tips. They’re very comfortable, but also create a really airtight seal with the ear. They’re great for suppressing external noise if you’re commuting, working in a noisy office environment, or otherwise just trying to mitigate disruption to what you’re listening to. As with all Flare ear plugs and phones, multiple sized tips are included with each set, meaning you can find your right authentic fit.
Bonus Features (In-Line Microphone and Remote Control)
On the cable attached to the right ear phone is a single-button control switch as well as a microphone. The microphone’s really handy for calls — we found that voices came through cleanly and crisply on the other end. The position of the microphone, on the control panel, may seem distant, but we found that it registered sounds nicely. As such, the Jet 3 are an excellent solution for anyone working in a context that requires them to make calls or communicate across the work day, without switching to a peripheral device or handheld.
The control switch is a single, context-sensitive button. One push pauses what you’re listening to, two presses skips tracks, and a long press is meant to call your phone’s voice-activated assistant. Of course, with less and less phones actually catering for a 3.5mm jack, it’s less likely you’ll use this function. During calls, however, a long press mutes your voice — good for when you need to multitask while also listening to someone on Zoom or Skype.
While wired ear phones may appear to be going the way of the Dodo, they still have their place for providing the highest degrees of clarity and audio performance, particularly in a professional setting. The Jet 3s are an excellent listen, with robust materials, clear soundstage, and a particularly punchy sound on the bass end.
They’re available here: https://www.earjobs.co.nz/products/flares-jet-in-ear-earphones