Astell&Kern - Billie Jean: Reviewed by Avinash N M G

by Avinash N M G July 04, 2020 3 min read

Astell&Kern - Billie Jean: Reviewed by Avinash N M G

Thanks to Headphonezone for providing the review unit of JH Audio Billie Jean. I am providing my subjective thoughts about the IEM in this write up.

Price at the time of review ₹14999/-.

Before going into the details of the IEM, a few words about my preferred sound as it'll help the reader to get a better idea and provide a benchmark to compare. I have been an audio enthusiast for long and past couple of years had the opportunity to try some excellent gears through friends and fellow Audiophiles. I am mostly a Headphone guy and l love the Sennheiser HD650, I like a bit warm sound with good mids. My music is mostly Tamil and Bollywood film songs. I also like Rock and Instrumental music. This makes me want Vocals to stand at the forefront and intimate, Guitars and drums to be realistic. I'm not a big fan of electronic music though sometimes just will go with the flow. Usually I prefer IEMs for casual listening during commute or for background listening during work. During my time with the Billie Jean, I used the ibasso DC01, Samsung Galaxy M30s and Tempotec Sonata idsd plus as sources.

Pros

  • Good fit and comfort
  • Fun sound which doesn't lack details

Cons

  • Less bite/attack
  • Bass overpowers Mids sometimes

Aesthetics and Sundries

Astell & Kern and JH Audio partnered IEM the Billie Jean is their entry level offering. Both the brands are big established names in Audio and have a good reputation among Audiophiles. The Billie Jean comes with two Balanced Armature drivers. One driver for lows, mids and another for highs. The IEMs are made of plastic shells and comes with the brand logo on a shimmery faceplate that's a definite looker. It's light weight and fit is very comfortable for long listening sessions. They come with a 2 pin removable cable and the stock cable is also very sturdy and easily manageable. A small carry case is also provided. The stock tips provided good seal for me personally but if you prefer aftermarket tips be aware the bore size is pretty big and there's no lip at the end to hold the tips securely. Overall a pretty good package for the price though I would have preferred a metallic build for added sturdiness.

Sound

In short I'd say the Billie Jean is a V-shaped IEM with a fun sound signature. The vocals are bit recessed in the stage for my personal taste. 

Sub bass extension is okay and Mid Bass is enhanced and can overshadow the mids sometimes. Mids are recessed so Vocals and Strings take a backseat. Treble is smooth without any weird peaks, comes out when called for and doesn't sound harsh. Stage width extends beyond ears and depth is also pretty good for an IEM at this price. Instrument Separation is decent and feel it takes a hit due to the enhanced bass in congested tracks. Resolution wise it's pretty decent and bit smoothened without enough texture. Dynamics was a little compressed, it didn't have enough bite and maybe its because of this sound is mellow and musical. Pairing wise I felt the ESS Sabre sound of Tempotec Sonata was better than the ibasso DC01, maybe the leaner sounding Sabre complements the warmer Billie Jean. The Samsung Galaxy M30s was also a decent pairing for convenience but a bit of fidelity went missing.

Final Thoughts

If you're after a musical sounding IEM with an emphasis on bass then the Billie Jean is a good choice at it's price. My major concern with the Billie Jean though is the limited technical performance like lack of resolution and bit of compressed sound. At this price there are Chifi offerings which provide better technicalities and pack in more drivers but Chifi has more QC issues and after sales support remain a major con.

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Avinash N M G
Avinash N M G



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