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Review - Jialai Carat

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TLDR version on YouTube: TDLR - Jialai Carat

The Jialai Carat have been sent to me by the brand, which is part of NiceHCK, in exchange for my impressions. I have received no requests or comments and, as always, I will do my very best to be as unbiased as possible.

You can find the Jialai Carat here: https://es.aliexpress.com/item/1005006660245454.html?gatewayAdapt=glo2esp

This is a non-affiliate link, as usual.

To avoid being repetitive in my reviews, you can find all the info about how I create the reviews, equipment used, how I receive the products and how to interpret my reviews by visiting: About my reviews


Intro…

Jialai is a new brand in the world of IEMs and is a sister brand of NiceHCK, a brand that has been around for quite some time. The Carat is the first model and opts for a single 10mmm titanium coated DLC driver, coming in at around 65€, depending on where you purchase from. 

They are stated as being tuned to the IE2019 frequency curve, something that they say will ensure enhanced clarity for vocals and a smooth overall presentation.

So, how does the Carat perform amongst the masses of budget focused IEMs that are available on the market?


Presentation…

I have to say that the presentation is pretty impressive for a set that is slightly over what I would consider ultra-budget.

Arriving in a silver coloured flip top box, the front simply shows the brand and model, while the back shares some basic specs about the model.

Flipping open the top reveals the very shiny IEMs sitting in their foam cutouts, underneath which we find a storage/transport case along with the cable, a basic user manual and 9 sets of silicone tips in 3 different styles.

It is not that we are receiving out of the ordinary but it is nice to see the inclusion of a selection of tips along with a case that is of decent quality.

There really is nothing to complain about in regards to packaging or amount of accessories.


Build and aesthetics…

The shells are made from CNC machined aluminium and have a mirror like finish to them. While this makes them look shiny and impressive when opening the box, the finish will collect more fingerprints than CSI Miami. The positive side is that they clean very easily with a microfiber cloth but, unless you are going to wear gloves, it is almost impossible to keep them looking as shiny as they do out of the box.

The build is good and they are nice and light for a full metal build, however, due to the short nozzles, the fit is not very deep, meaning I needed to opt for a larger size of tips that I would usually. I ended up opting for the yellow core tips from the included sets, which is a large size, and once I placed them in my ears with these tips, the result is very comfortable.

While the IEMs are well built and have nice aesthetics, I can’t say the same for the included cable. The cable has a very plastic feel to it and is rather rigid, keeping the folds and kinks that it came with (from being wrapped in the box) even after using it for almost a week. The cable does function and does it’s job but, knowing that NiceHCK make some decent cables, it would have been nice to include something a little better than what we get with the Carat.


Sound…

All tracks mentioned are clickable links that allow you to open the reference track in the streaming service of your choice (YouTube, Tidal, Qobuz, Spotify, etc.)

Before starting with my subjective impressions, here is the graph of the Carat in relation to my usual preference curve:

As always, the preference curve is just as a guide, it is not a rule that means I will like or dislike a product.

Starting off with the subbass and my obligatory “Chameleon” test, there is presence but the quality is not the best nor is it the cleanest. This is mainly due to a large presence of midbass that seems to fusion with the subbass and create a low end that is not very defined.

While there is too much midbass for my personal preference, using “Crazy” as my usual fatigue test, the quality of the midbass is actually not too bad. I don’t find the midbass overly fatiguing but I think that the driver seems to struggle a little with subbass, which, when added to the midbass boost, creates a rather unfocused low end.

This is again noticeable with “No Sanctuary Here”, where the low end just seems to struggle for clarity, something that seems to clean up as soon as we remove subbass from the equation.

As we move into the midrange, there is quite a noticeable dip in the mids which makes certain vocals and instruments get a little lost in their midrange when the track has a decent amount of low end (especially subbass). With simpler tracks, this doesn’t become an issue but with bassy and busy tracks, this does not help.

Moving into the upper ranges, the tuning is decent but can come across a little hot on occasions. I wouldn’t have thought this based on the graph but to my ears, certain songs do suddenly become a little spicy.

This is less apparent when the low end is busy but then that accentuates the V shaped tuning, making the dip in the midrange more apparent. So it solves one but creates another.


Conclusion…

It is great to see new contenders in the budget focused IEM world, yet the Jialai Carat doesn’t quite do it for me. While the build is great, except for the cable, and the tuning is something that I can see a lot of people liking, I just find that the performance doesn’t really stand out as being brilliant.

That low end can suffer quite a bit when there is a presence of both subbass and midbass, making things come across as poorly defined, but even when there isn’t a lot of low end in the mix, they still don’t come across as overly detailed.

I am not really saying these are a bad set of IEMs, it wasn’t long ago that they would have been pretty impressive, I just don’t think that they are great at anything in particular and really don’t have much going on that would make me pick them over quite a few other options in this price bracket.



All FR measurements of IEMs can be viewed and compared on achoreviews.squig.link
 
All isolation measurements of IEMs can be found on achoreviews.squig.link/isolation

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