The Best Wired Headphones Under $300

by Brant David •

In a Nutshell

The u-Jays over-ear headphones are gorgeously minimalist and durable, and provide astonishingly good sound for under-$300 headphones.

The Details

Swedish headphone designer and maker Jays spent two years developing its u-Jays over-ear headphones. They’re sleekly minimalist in form, and come in your choice of black on black, black on gold, white on silver, or white on gold. Jays’ stated objective was to design durable headphones that can be used for hours of pleasurable listening at a time, and the company has succeeded.

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The viscoelastic earcups of the u-Jays, which are made to allow the them to become form-fitting to your ears (this helps with comfort and with the prevention of sound leakage), are detached out of the box and require you to put them on yourself. Also, the u-Jays come with a separate plug-in audio/remote cable, not an integrated cord. Both of these features are intended to enable you, the user, to repair or upgrade the u-Jays yourself instead of needing to shell out more money for a replacement. However, these are durable headphones. They’re made with a spring-steel (stainless) and wire core with integrated screws (the headband has a comfortable silicone-skin covering). They won’t fold up, but you can fold them 90 degrees so that they can fit into the included carrying bag.

The audio cord is compatible with Android, iOS, and Windows, and equipped with a MEMS technology microphone. A three-button remote operates it.

The most important thing, needless to say, is the question of sound quality. It is articulate and well-balanced. With their 40mm Japanese-silk diaphragm dynamic speakers surrounded by evenly distributed vent holes and acoustic tuning filters, the u-Jays bring a bass end which has strength and depth without becoming distorted. There’s abundant detail in the mid-range. The highs soar.

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With the headphones’ speakers having a frequency response of 10 to 20,000 Hz, a 32-ohm nominal impedance, and a sensitivity of 100 dB SPL @ 1 kHz, music sounds organic, as if you’re hearing something quite close to what the musicians heard and intended. Your eardrums are washed with excellent low-end and high-end detail, instrument separation, and clarity, no matter what genre of music you’re listening to.

There are those audiophiles who won’t be overjoyed with the u-Jays. But they’ll have to shell out more than $300 to get superior sound quality to what these headphones deliver. The u-Jays retail for around $230.

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