I’ve been using the previous generation HA-FXT90 ever since it first came out. I was really amazed by JVC when they put together 2 dynamic drivers in a compact chassis. I love the 90 for its deep bass and otherwise balanced sound.
The 208SE came out months ago but I only get to read more about it yesterday. To me, it’s not just minor improvements. JVC has put in some serious thoughts in many area trying to improve SQ. The driver coating, the magnet ring, the cable, the spiral dot earpiece, the chassis with bass ports. These are all improved from the previous version.
I went to the shop knowing I’ll like the 208SE. Too bad they don’t have a demo unit so I just need to buy them hoping they inherit the sound signature of the 90 and improve upon it.
I pair it with a iBasso DX90, fire up JEM’s Finally Woken. Immediately, I noticed slightly more bass. It goes deeper and it has more texture compared to the 90. That’s something I really enjoy listening to. The mids are not so much different except the sound is easier to the ears. Perhaps the drivers are still getting warmed up. The highs is a little bit crispier but it might just be my subjective feeling. The twin driver still do their job well. They can deliver all the details even when I started to play Linkin Park. Who’s looking for details in rock songs, well I do.
From my experience with the 90, the 208SE will take 80-100 hours or burn-in to fully show its potential. So far, the 208SE is >= the 90 in every aspect. The sound signature is the same. I also like that they use twisted pair cables considering the cables are not upgradable. The dark golden shield also makes it a little bit sexier.
The things I don’t like about the 208SE are – the exact same carrying case as the 90 which is too small. The cable still carry a lot of microphonics. I wish they had done something about the skin of the cables to reduce that. I also wish they had manufactured them in Japan. As a fan, I don’t mind paying extra. But overall the build quality is as good as the FXT90.
I’ll try to update this post in a couple weeks.