ddHiFi is a relatively small brand owned by Linsoul, but it has caught the ears of many audiophiles looking for quality IEM cable accessories and adapters. So, I was surprised to find that they also make a pretty good IEM. The Janus 3 seems to be a perfect example of what ddHiFi can achieve for a little over 100 bucks. What can you expect in terms of sound signature and performance?
What’s in the Box?
ddHiFi Janus 3 IEMs
Hard shell case
3 Sizes silicone tips
3.5mm + 4.4mm termination plugs
Crystal Copper Core Shielded Cable with MMCX plugs
Look and Feel
The Janus 3 sports a fun and futuristic design with its transparent blue shell and unique shape. In fact, I was a little confused by the build at first because the Janus 3 is advertised as an IEM. But it seems to support being worn as a simple “pop-in” earbud. Still, you could wear it as a classic IEM with the wire over the ear (though sound impressions would probably vary). The build quality is about what you’d expect from an IEM at this price point; that is, the Janus 3 looks solid enough, but it still has somewhat of a plastic-like appearance. While the fit didn’t feel incredibly snug – these IEMs don’t sit too deep in the ear – I was never concerned about them falling out. And the natural sound isolation didn’t seem particularly affected by the shallow fit either.
The Janus 3 employs a 10mm dynamic driver with lithium magnesium alloy dome composite. With a relatively low impedance and high sensitivity, the Janus 3 is easy to drive, and your phone should be able to give it enough juice. (There will be USB-C and Lighting versions available). To get the optimal performance however, I would suggest pairing the IEM with a player or DAC and using the included balanced 4.4mm termination. Finally, you’ll also be able to switch around cables thanks to the MMCX connectors.
Effective Frequency Response Range
For the price, the Janus 3 delivers a pretty decent holographic experience. Although I didn’t sense vast distancing between instruments, the depth imaging, for example, gave a clear contrast between forward and rear sitting elements. The stereo field is less than expansive, and instruments may not reach great heights, but again, the solid precision in instrument placement offers enough color to the stage to create an engaging listening experience.
For sure, there is some visceral sub-bass presence here, but it’s not too heavy in tone. And in general, the low-end avoids any contrived darkness. But while the Janus 3 may not be a bass-head’s IEM, I still got the punch and warmth I needed when listening to modern tracks. At the same time, I appreciate the clean and unadulterated feel of the low-end; string instruments in this range sounded natural, uncolored in tone, but still warm in their timbre. And certainly, the low-end seems to skillfully tackle any genre you throw at it.
Although this is a somewhat top-heavy balance, there is some presence in the low-mids, which brings body and weight to the mix. Especially noteworthy, is how cleanly layered elements sound in the mids. This becomes particularly apparent on folk and other acoustic tracks, where intricate instruments and arrangements are at play. There’s also quite a bit of energy in the upper mids, bringing snares and vocals forward. And when combined with the tight presentation, the resulting sound is quite vibrant.
The highs show a good deal of crispness, though perhaps less sparkle than I would had expected. Still there’s enough liveliness in the highs to bring funk and energy to modern tracks. But overall, the sound is more fluid than poppy, while the highest peaks are slightly smoothed over. So, I never ran into any piercing frequencies. And it should be noted that, at least till we reach the highest highs, transparency is top notch in the treble, revealing the all the subtleties in breath, string modulations and bow movements.
ddHiFi offers a commendable IEM for 130 bucks. With a reasonably multidimensional soundstage, versatile tuning and a level of clarity that overdelivers for the price, there is little to complain about. Does the Janus 3 offer the most memorable sound signature I’ve ever heard? Probably not; there are a lot of earbuds out there that sound similar. But if you’re looking for an overachieving, entry-level IEM with detachable cables (and 4.4mm plug) that can skillfully handle every genre with grace, the Janus 3 is a solid choice.
Pros & Cons
|Versatile tuning||Treble lacks sparkle|
|Great separation and layering|
|Multidimensional soundstage for the price|