I have very limited experience with Astell & Kern and Jerry Harvey Audio earphones, but I’ve been hearing about them for quite a while. Their two best known products, the Layla and the Roxanne are above many audiophiles’ price ranges. However, I was recently able to get my hands on a pair of Astell & Kern and Jerry Harvey Audio Michelle Limited earphones! And man! I’m excited to share my experience. So here it is This is the Astell & Kern + Jerry Harvey Audio Michelle Limited earphones review.
Astell & Kern + Jerry Harvey Audio Michelle Limited Earphones Review
In the Box
-Michelle Limited earphones
-Detachable 3.5mm cable
-Balanced 2.5mm cable
-Hard shell carrying case
-Three pairs of silicone eartips
The drivers housings of the Astell & Kern + Jerry Harvey Audio Michelle Limited earphones are quite large. As a result, I worried they might not fit well in my ears. However, I was pleasantly surprised, because even though they are large, the eartips fit snugly in my ears and they felt pretty secure. I imagine this perfect fit was a happy accident, and so others might not have the same experience. The housings are 3D printed, so they’ll be exact with one another. Overall, I recommend trying to get a hold of them before purchasing them to make sure they fit your ears.
The woven cable of the Astell & Kern + Jerry Harvey Audio Michelle Limited earphones reminded me a lot of the Westone W Series cable. I wish it was an MMCX like the Westones so I could have the option to switch it with other types of cables. However, it is a two-pin proprietary cable. Its wires weave to create a thin and manageable cable, although there is a part of me wondering how the cable would perform under stress and long term use. I could imagine a scenario where the cable was the weakest link durability-wise, but I can’t say so for sure. So far, the cable works well! I only mention it to encourage potential buyers to take good care of their products.
Inside the driver housings of the Astell & Kern + Jerry Harvey Audio Michelle earphones, there are three balanced armature drivers: one for the lows, one for the mids, and one for the highs. The drivers also include Jerry Harvey Audio’s Freqphase Time | Phase Waveguide technology. Basically, Jerry Harvey Audio designed the tube lengths for each driver so that all frequencies reach the ears within .01 milliseconds of each other. As a result, the stereo width is more accurate. Additionally the frequency response is truer and more even.
The low frequencies of the Astell & Kern + Jerry Harvey Audio Michelle Limited earphones are accented and punchy! This comes as the result from a boost at both 30 Hz and 60 Hz. While not all folks will like this, I thought it was fun, and energetic. It didn’t subtract from the clearness of the overall sound. I particularly think this boost works well because of how fast reacting the earphones handle low end transients like kick drums. Drums in general sound freakin’ awesome!
There is a low-mid boost at 200 Hz, which for some mixes gives maybe too much energy to bass guitars. However, somehow this boost didn’t create cloudiness. Instead it just adds energy. Therefore, I found myself really enjoying classical music with these earphones because there is enough room for everything, while still maintaining thickness. There are few other frequency cuts: at 700 Hz, 1.5 kHz, and 4kHz. This might make you think vocals would sit lower in the mix but a boost at 5 kHz prevents that from happening. However, vocals definitely feel on the brighter side and as a result have a more intimate quality than they would otherwise. This is particularly nice for genres like soul, hip-hop, folk, and indie, but less enticing for heavier music where the vocal needs to have more body and less detail.
The Astell & Kern + Jerry Harvey Audio Michelle Limited earphones are bright. However, they are not harsh. They have wonderful extension which breathes life into drums, strings, vocals, and guitars. The intimacy of the high-mids travels up through the high end with its delicate dynamic details. There are frequency boosts at 7 kHz, 10 kHz and 12 kHz. The boost at 7 kHz makes some voices sibilant, but many sound smooth and airy.
The Michelle has a very accurate sense of width which makes classical music especially fun to listen to. It also has a good sense of height although sometimes I wondered whether the low-mid boost at 200 Hz stunted the height a little bit. The depth was actually pretty good so much space in the mids and highs really lets the instruments breath and sit comfortably in space depth-wise.
Overall the Astell & Kern + Jerry Harvey Audio Michelle Limited earphones are great! The extended frequency response and the fast, reactive dynamics are the most standout features. They might be a bit bright for some folks’ preferences, but I think that the brightness was one of their positive qualities.
The Astell & Kern + Jerry Harvey Michelle Limited earphones are available for the best price here: