The Q-Jays 2nd Generation have changed my life. I wake up earlier, I feel happier, and I break out into random bouts of song. My coworkers aren't exactly happy about the random bouts of song; once in a while I'll catch one of them trying to garrote me with a headphone cable. But that's okay, because they Q-Jays are in my life, and you should have them in your life, too.

I probably used to be like you. I probably woke up in a bed like you. Probably drank some coffee in the morning like you. Hell, I probably even listened to music like you.

But then one day my boss threw a hulking black box on my desk. I still remember his words as though he uttered them just last week:

"These are new headphones from Sweden. Try them out and tell me what you think."

Little did I know, these fateful words would open up a veritable Pandora's Headphone Case of eargasmic joy.

I opened the box, its jewel-like packaging giving way to finely-crafted innards that screamed minimalist luxury. There was a simple audio cable, and six pairs of ear tips. Five silicon pairs and a pair of Comply memory foam tips. The earpieces screwed onto the supplied cable with ease, and then I put the thing in my ear.

I cued up some hip-hop. At first, I was not so impressed. Where's the bass? I wondered. Then I listened to some classical stuff. Then some vocal stuff. Then back to some hip-hop. Finally, some Gish-era Smashing Pumpkins. The impression grew gradually at first, gaining momentum with each track. Were my ears playing tricks on me? Was this headphone better than the in-ear models I've tried from Shure, Panasonic, Sennheiser, and Audio Technica? Oh Hell Yes.

The Q-Jays Second Generation sound amazing. They aren't as harsh-sounding as other earphones in this price range. The mids are pleasantly evident. The highs are accurate, detailed, and I never heard clipping. Not even once, people. The bass is a little different. I'm thinking there's something a little different about the mid-bass in particular, but as I continue to listen, searching for what that "something" is, my ears grow too comfortable to the sound engulfing them.

It's an amazing earphone well-suited for just about everything, though if you're strictly looking for a bass-heavy earphone, there may be cheaper alternatives. Instead, this is the earphone for the critical listener who wants to hear everything in every track. It's very revealing, to the point of at once being a blessing and a curse. For instance, the headphones were so revealing that I could easily pick out the best-sampled recordings from my favorite composer on iTunes. They were also so revealing that I could distinctly pick up a cough and a snuffle halfway through the same recording.

The build quality is another high point. They're steel earpieces with cables that screw in. So unless the threading goes (and I have a hard time believing that will ever happen), you're pretty much set for years and years of sonic awesomeness. While the pair I played around with came with a standard audio-only cable, there are versions that come boxed with cables for iPhone, Android, and Windows devices.

The wealth of tips are nice, too. Truth be told, I was kind of bummed about not getting double-flange silicon tips until I tried the Comply tips, and then I stopped caring.

So, is there any reason not to get this earphone? At $400 it isn't going to be for everyone. If you're the type to prefer lots of bass, you can also skip this earphone. There may be better on- or over-ear models out there for around the same price. At this point, I prefer the portability of in-ear headphones, and I don't feel cheated when I get home and plug them into my laptop. Even though I could opt for an open-back headphone at home, the fact that these little Q-Jays can go anywhere and handle everything makes them a no-brainer.



Carroll writes for Audio46.com. He ís a huge fan of Grado, Audio Technica and other audiophile brands. When he isn't writing about headphones, he likes to listen to bluegrass covers of rock songs and roll on the floor with dogs.