(mtebaldi | Posted 2011-03-05)

Not long ago, a quote from music producer Ross Robinson on an interview he did for Tape Op magazine deeply struck my musician spirit. “When everybody forgets they’re actually on an instrument, if it hits that mark, there are chills as it’s going, and something else happens – the body disappears.” This is one of those quotes that captures the exact meaning of something -- in this case, the meaning of being a musician, the meaning of how great music is created, the meaning behind why so many of us once picked up an instrument and can never let go.

Being a musician certainly is a transcendental experience. I can easily remember numerous times when I felt completely immersed in the music, when my worldly thoughts disappeared while feeling so connected with the experience. I wasn’t playing the music anymore, I was being the music. For a non-musician, such ideas might not be quite understandable, he or she might think you’ve just being smoking or drinking something, although some substances can help one more easily relax and lose himself, the magic of total musical immersion is 100% attributed to the music itself, as long as one lets himself loose into the music, the music itself will take control and take off to diverse heavens of pleasure and enjoyment.

The invention of the headphones brought a new level to how immersed one can be in music. Headphones allowed people to free themselves from unpleasant sounds, the “other” noise, and sometimes from the boredom of silence. Headphones bring the “experiencing” of music much closer to the listener (quite literally), making them feel their own presence within a song. Jerry Harvey was one of the first to push the concept of headphones to a new level, to a place where unwanted audio signal could be eliminated and where the quality of wanted signals could be heard with clear perfection. While working as a monitor engineer for Van Halen, Jerry was approached by drummer Alex Van Halen who asked him to develop a headset that could better serve (or should I say “preserve”) his hearing and enhance his stage performance. What Jerry came out with was the first custom fit dual driver earpieces. Alex was hooked, and the rest is history. In Ear Monitors are now used by almost 100 percent of professional musicians during performances and recordings. What musician wouldn’t want a much improved and cleaner hearing of his performance while being able to rock out free of concern for headphones falling off his head?

Jerry Harvey’s company, JHAudio, has expanded their catalogue quite a lot since the introduction of his first earpiece model. Today they offer a collection of six different pro music in-ear monitors that fit all costumers’ budgets as well as earpieces customized for airplane pilots. Their client list has expanded as well, serving many of the greatest and the most successful music artist of our time. I consider myself lucky to now being part of this list. Playing with JHAudio’s top of the line in-ear monitor, the JH16 Pro, not only improved my performance but my enjoyment of music listening.

The JH16 Pro is quite a machine: Double dual low-frequency drivers for greater low-end performance, able to reproduce it without any distortion; single dual mid and single dual high that increases headroom providing greater detail and accuracy; integrated 3-way crossover; noise isolation of -26dB and frequency response from the inaudible 10Hz to 20Khz. You can also customize the earpieces with your own graphic/logo. Forty plus colors available to best fit your personal aesthetic. Cords offered in three different lengths. As usual, great technology comes with great price tag. The JH16 Pro might scare some of you looking for your first in-ear monitors, ($1,149.00, you will need to visit an audiologist so you can have your ears molded, obviously, which will cost you from $50 to $150 depending where you live) but it will be money well spent. It becomes an investment toward the immersion in music as well as the preservation of your ears. First off, the noise isolation is ideal, I play my drum kit for hours wearing them, my ears don’t fatigue and I still have great sound awareness. Secondly, its sound reproduction is superb. It’s funny how I started to hear textures and tones I’ve never heard before in familiar songs I’ve listened to using other headphones or loud speakers. The freedom that the custom fit earpieces gives is another big plus, I can head bang, move around, and more intensely perform while hearing a perfect sounding mix.

The JH16 Pro, as with the other in-ear monitors made by JHaudio, comes in a small, strong and clear personalized otter box that provides protection for transportation and the owner’s name engraved. The earpieces themselves come with the proprietary’s initials so you and your band mates won’t get confused and have to guess whose earpieces is whose after a night of gigging, drinking and partying. Props to JHaudio on this one. The case also comes with a cleaning brush so you can make sure your ears’ wax is not obstructing the passage of sound waves. It’s good to remark, as your mom probably told you a million times when you were growing up, to keep your ears clean. You probably don’t want to dirty the most expensive pair of headphones you’ve ever had either way. The only “problem” about the JH16 Pro is that you will start to hear too much too well. You might start to be pickier and more meticulous with details, qualities that surely help you improve your own musicianship skills, which will probably turn out to be not a bad thing after all.

Overall the JH16 Pro improves ones performance while improving ones enjoyment. The combination of both creates a perfect environment for musicians to truly immerse themselves into the music. While the object, JH16 Pro, can’t make your body literally disappear, its result certainly can help one achieve just that. The JH16 are not made to one listen to music, they are made to one be the music.

For more information please visit www.jhaudio.com

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