JCally MA Earphones Review – A Good Monitor For Under $5

JCally MA Earphones

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Current testing methodology is v1.2

JCally is a Chinese brand known for providing audiophiles with high-quality and affordable upgrade cables for in-ear monitors, portable DAC, and amplifiers

When I learned that they also have IEMs, I got curious. Since this brand is popular in the audio community for its upgrade cables, I wanted to know how well they did when it comes to IEMs.

I ended up getting the JCally MA, which is a budget-friendly pair of earphones, and for less than $5, it was such a steal. So how did it perform? I’ll share my findings in this detailed review.

Budget Pick

Jcally MA

A budget set with a sleek look and great sound.

4.5/5
Price Range: $
Brand: Jcally
JCally MA inside the Casing

TL:DR;

The JCally MA is a single dynamic driver in-ear monitor from JCally.

Coming from a brand that’s known for manufacturing upgrade cables, the MA didn’t disappoint because of its great tuning.

The bass has a good texture and a more linear approach, the midrange has a good presence and a pleasing tonality, and the treble is splashy and has good detail retrieval. You’ll find that these attributes check a lot of boxes on my criteria for good earphones if you check my other reviews.

If you want a monitor sound that has just the right amount of bass influence, good midrange presence, and treble sparkle, the JCally MA will be right up your alley.

The Specs

  • Driver:  15.4mm Single Dynamic Driver
  • Frequency response:  20Hz – 20,000Hz
  • Impedance:  32Ω
  • Sensitivity:  108db/mw

What’s in the Box?

  • JCally MA earphones
  • 3 x stock tips
  • User guide

Stuff I like

  • Monitor sound
  • Good mid-bass focus
  • Midrange presence
  • Treble splash
  • Good detail retrieval

Stuff I like less

  • Upper mids can get a little hot

Comparable products to consider

TRN MT4
TRN MT4

With impressive build quality and warm and balanced sound, the TRN MT4 is a great option for anyone in the market for a budget-friendly set.

First Impressions

The JCally MA came in standard packaging, which is a simple white cardboard box with a photo of the IEMs on the front and some details on the back.

The unboxing experience was unremarkable other than the fact that the IEMs were neatly presented in the packaging.

Despite their price, these IEMs don’t look cheap. They have a shiny shell that looks sleek and has a premium feel to them. Meanwhile, the included accessories are basic but they seem to be of good quality.

While testing the JCally MA, I also tried two other earphones that have more or less the same kind of midrange presence. 

I initially thought that these IEMs would disappoint me given their price but there’s nothing inherently more surprising than being caught off guard by gear that you thought was trash. 

To be fair, IEMs at this price point tend to fluctuate in terms of sonic quality and this doesn’t apply to the MA. As far as initial listening went, the final verdict on my mind was that these IEMs are worth recommending.

JCally MA - Design
Shiny metal finish faceplate with black-colored shell | Make Life Click

Build Quality

The build on the JCally MA is good. 

The shell itself is plastic but is electroplated. It’s nowhere near the quality of electroplating that you’d find on the HZSound Heart Mirror but it’s still fairly good. It also has an L-type 3.5mm jack termination which is perfect for phones. 

Overall, the build of the MA is nice and has no driver flex whatsoever.

Fit and Comfort

This department seems to be well-received by other people and I’m happy to say that I share that sentiment. 

The first time I ever put on the JCally MA, they fit nicely in my ears as if they’d been made from a cast. I think this is because of the IEMs’ general size and shape profile but it’s amazing how this is a shared experience by quite a few other people I saw on audiophile forums. 

The included silicone tips also gave me a good seal. I didn’t need to push them down to get a vacuum seal, which is great considering finicking with the seal after putting on earphones kind of irks me.

Sound Quality

Let’s talk business. You’re here for the sound and I’m here to tell you about it. 

The JCally MA is a neutral-sounding IEM with an emphasis on the treble. The bass is fairly light on rumble but it still possesses a hefty punch to it. EMD listeners won’t be disappointed.

The midrange is good. It has a good presence and natural tonality. I think this is often an overlooked aspect of ascertaining a nicely tuned midrange.

Having good timbre lets vocals be more life-like and contributes to the expressiveness of the delivery.

JCally MA without silicone tips
Featuring a powerful-sounding diaphragm | Make Life Click

Treble-wise, it’s well-extended and does well in retrieving some of the more minute details in songs. 

On songs that have a reliance on the sub-bass region to add more body to the midrange, the playback is going to sound a little thinner than what it originally was. However, in genres like rock, J-Pop, and K-Pop, it provides more clarity. 

Overall, I can see a niche where the MA will be appreciated. Casual listeners will often want to opt for something that has a heftier low end while more experienced listeners will veer towards balance and clarity.

Bass 

The bass of the JCally MA is a linear response. It doesn’t get too deep and doesn’t go deep at all.

The sub-bass can be heard as a low humming texture that attaches itself to the base of tracks. I find that it still delivers the auditory effect needed to satisfy the needs of mixes. 

Focus is driven more toward the mid-bass. 

You can expect the mid-bass to have decent dynamics but will be picky on where it usually jumps out and performs at a hundred, which is a little miss in terms of consistency. It’ll sound present on some tracks but not on others. 

It’s a mixed bag with the bass response. 

In most cases, a lot of songs will have the absence of bass impact, propelling the midrange and treble to be heard more. I’m not sure if this is intentional but it’s the primary reason why the JCally MA is considered a more neutral set. 

Midrange

The midrange, as I’ve said on multiple accounts, has a good presence. It has more of a lighter note weight but doesn’t affect the quality of male voices for that matter. 

The lower mids have good energy and make playback engaging. The same can be said about the upper mids, which on some occasions, can sound a little spicy. 

JCally MA - Cables
Soft OFC Cable for lossless listening | Make Life Click

Listening to higher volumes on the JCally MA may be a coin toss and may feel like Russian roulette with how some parts may tend to sound hot naturally due to how they’re mixed. 

Volume moderation is advised especially if you want long and comfortable listening sessions. 

All in all, the best part of the midrange is that it works so well with its treble response. Teamwork makes the dream work, I guess.

Treble

The treble of the JCally MA is great. 

It’s well-extended and surreal on some occasions where it suddenly sounds holographic. It’s a rather perplexing sensation for details to just swoop in smoothly, instilling all the micro nuances on you and then fading out as if following a swift trajectory. 

The transient response is excellent, and percussion instruments come off clear and snappy. 

The treble is not sibilant at all and gives you all the time to listen to your music without fatigue for hours on end. This is a clear win in my books. 

Test Tracks

These tracks should serve as a small insight into how everything sounds on my end. My perception and my opinions may be subjective, so take everything with a grain of salt.

  • You Cranken by Suisoh (J-Pop) – The vocal performance with articulation and decay proved to be good. The instrumental timbre was good and the bass sounded light on this track, even on the mid-bass. Towards the end though, the kick drums started to pick up energy and slam. A lot of spins to the song also happened towards the end, playing with the soundstage with increased delay, coupled with a good amount of layering.
  • Fake Out by Fall Out Boy (Alternative/Indie) – The instrumental timbre is always checked during the first electric guitar segment, and the JCally MA passed. The vocals sounded good and had a good separation. A lot of the upper midrange spiciness began to present itself as the transients played out, which volume control solved pretty quickly for me. The bell attached to the vocals was very audible and had life-like tonality. Overall, tonality and separation seemed to be the best things the MA does for this track, which left me satisfied.
JCally MA - Silicone tips
Comes with soft silicone tips | Make Life Click

Conclusion

The JCally MA for me has a mature tuning that will be appreciated by more experienced audiophiles.

The bass participation still exists and manages to add some sauce to tracks but it won’t satisfy bass heads. The mid-bass is still going to be a peek-a-boo experience and may not prove to be the most consistent but on tracks where it does show its true form, it’s regarded as a treat. 

The midrange and treble performance is great and sells the monitor sound.

The clarity and the details are enough to put a smile on someone coming from warmer-tuned sets with mediocre detail retrieval. 

If you ask me, it’s quite rare to find a good monitor in this price range. If you want to mix songs or listen to music with more clarity in mind, I think the JCally MA is a pretty good performer that’ll suit your needs.

JCally MA - Design
JCally MA
Sound Quality
Build Quality
Comfort and fit
Value for money
4.5

Gavin is a college student who has a lot going on. From collecting IEMs and modding mechanical keyboards, to different hobbies like digital drawing, music mastering and cooking. It is safe to say he is a complete multi-faceted geek (and he's kinda cool too)

This post was last updated on 2024-04-14 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.


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