Jomo Audio Flamenco

Rating:
5/5,
  1. ezekiel77
    Jomo Audio Flamenco - The Benevolent King
    Written by ezekiel77
    Published Dec 21, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - The final word in clarity, detail and resolution; class-leading imaging and separation capabilities; plays nice with bad recordings despite the level of detail, musically engaging and fun signature, flexibility in sound signature via switches.
    Cons - Bass lacks genuine impact and slam, slightly inadequate emotional resonance in the mids, smaller soundstage compared to others in the same tier.
    Introduction

    Sometimes life hands you roses, other times it hands you figurative gut punches. Beneath the façade of the free-wheelin’, cheeseburger-eating audio bulls#itter/reviewer, beats the aching heart of a broken man. In September I went through bitter personal and family turmoil that made me reflect on the fragility of life, and the preciousness of the human touch. Between trips to the hospital, quick meals at dingy fast-food joints, abject loneliness, auto-piloting at work and the uncertainty of the future, I wished for one thing, and one thing only.

    No, not waffles.

    Clarity.

    Thankfully, we turned a corner, life got more optimistic. And like a seasoned Head-fier, what better way to mark the occasion than having a new CIEM made. What logic?! Having a vast collection of warm-tinged IEMs at my disposal, I yearn for a clear window to the music, an icy blade to cut through the murky haze of life, and other appropriate metaphors. I’ve heard a great deal about Jomo Audio’s Samba being an out-and-out resolution monster, and resident IEM guru Flinkenick agrees as well. But just out of the doldrums, I realised there was another thing I wanted just as much as clarity.

    No, not fried chicken (though that’d be great too).

    Control.

    The concept of a tunable IEM is not new. My first dip in the pool was the renowned FLC8, which I still regard as the king of mid-fi. The tunable filters are so flexible yet so jarringly irritating to change, FLC gave extra filters knowing full well people will lose them, and find them again after painfully stepping on them like Legos ow ow ow. You curse your eyesight, sausage-shaped fingers and limited digital dexterity. FLC8 made you feel inadequate. Many people (me included) just stuck with their favourite filter combination and threw the rest back in the box. Same went for my A12, I chose my favourite module and threw the rest back in the box. Now switches! You can’t throw away switches, says Jomo.

    The ability to tweak an IEM’s sound signature via switches is novel, and has been adopted by a few flagships (Zeus XR, Gemini, Prophile 8). The Flamenco joins that group, an 11BA IEM billed by Jomo Audio as “The Ultimate Flagship”. It features a customisable sound by way of bass and treble switches, totaling four unique signatures. The growth of this upstart Singaporean company is staggering to say the least. It was only a year ago when their flagship was the 6-driver Jomo 6R. In a year of rapid development and self-assuredness (balls, lots of ‘em), the Samba and Flamenco were introduced, nearly doubling the driver count of the flagship along the way. I’ve heard them both in a lengthy audition session at a local audio show, and fell in love with Flamenco, hard. When the dust had settled on my end, I clicked on “buy”, plunging my family further into financial chaos.

    Warmest regards to Mr Joseph Mou for providing a discount in exchange for this review. The Flamenco, available in both custom and universal versions, can be bought here (https://www.jomoaudio.com/collections/custom-in-ear-monitors/products/flamenco) from S$2999 (approximately USD$2200) onwards.


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    Equipment Used:

    DAPs

    -Questyle QP1R (FW 1.0.9)
    -Sony NW-WM1A (Music Sanctuary-modded, FW 2.0)

    IEMs
    -Jomo Audio Flamenco
    -Advanced Acousticwerkes W900
    -64 Audio A12
    -Rhapsodio Galaxy V2

    Cables
    -Effect Audio Ares II (4.4mm balanced)
    -Norne Audio Therium (3.5mm SE)

    Albums Listened:
    Adele – 25
    Amber Rubarth – Scribbled Folk Symphonies
    Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
    Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
    John Mayer – Continuum
    Liam Gallagher – As You Were
    Linkin Park – A Thousand Suns
    Macy Gray – Stripped
    Oasis – (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?
    Pet Shop Boys – PopArt
    Taylor Swift – 1989
    Taylor Swift – Reputation
    The Eagles – Hell Freezes Over



    Packaging and Accessories

    The last time I bought a watch was during the BHF (before Head-Fi) era. The conscious switching of hobbies was simply because, at the time, the top IEMs were a kilobuck (IE800, SE846, K3003, JH13), while a random watch from Patek Philippe would probably put my future grandchildren in debt. HeadFi was a more economical hobby. WAS. I bring up watches because the packaging of Flamenco reminds me of just that, a luxury watch. A luxurious, grandiose exercise in er, luxuriousness, you get a splendid leather box opening to reveal a one-of-a-kind metal IEM case, in a lovely rich blue. The sort of packaging that reminds you that you paid top dollar. The most valuable accessory is the cable bundled with Flamenco, Effect Audio’s proven wunderkind, the all-copper Ares II which is priced at USD150 on its own. I’ll talk more about this later. The other accessories included are an airline adapter (don’t even remember the last time I flew, but ok), a 3.5mm to 6.3mm adapter, bore-cleaning tool, and a metal warranty card, which while functionless does look hella boss.


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    Design and Build Quality

    Design-wise, a custom IEM looks only as good as the customer intends it. Which is to say, if you’re a utilitarian who’s all-in on sound alone, you can choose all-black shells, I won’t stop you. You must be fun at parties though. Jomo is good in the sense that you have three tiers of design to choose from. Standard (up to two shell colours, no faceplate), Custom (one faceplate and one shell colour), and Deluxe (sky’s the limit!) Design Package; at different price points. You can really go crazy with the design. A downloadable catalog illustrates all the choices made available, a dizzying, dazzling array of shell colours and faceplates of exotic materials. The website doesn’t have a real-time IEM designer tool like CustomArt or JH Audio, but the Jomo Team are responsive and helpful via Facebook Messenger, including giving help in design cues. For mine, I went the whole hog. Faceplates, watch parts, gold and silver flakes. It was an acute episode of manic hedonism. Do I regret it? Never. I think it’s one of the most beautiful CIEMs ever, EVER made. I’m being manic again. But seriously, with all that choice, you really want to go for all-black shells? Build quality is first-rate. The acrylic shells are smooth, with no bubbling inside. The drivers are neatly-arranged with a certain amount of OCD involved, the metal sound tubes scream (sound) quality, and most vital of all, the junction where the faceplate meets the shell is seamless. I go mental for little touches like that.



    Fit, Comfort and Isolation

    Much to the chagrin of my wife, sister, wallet, credit card company, bank relationship manager, and maybe even the kids; I’ve tried CIEMs from many companies. And those who get the fit right the first time, reserve a very special place in my heart, next to bacon. I am sure many companies have great after-sales customer service in case of refits, but I would rather not put myself through the hassle. After reading Lieven’s Headfonia review (reviewers reading other reviews? Egad!) about the potentially short nozzles, I sent Jomo a request that my nozzles be longer. They worked their magic and the Flamenco fits like a glove, perfectly. Dead easy to put on and slide into place, with just the right amount of seal for acoustic enjoyment. The seal is better than what my stethoscope gives, which is to say I’m more efficient in a hobby than in my day job, the one that actually pays the bills. Comfort is ideal, but I have to remind you, due to the nature of my profession, I DO like having things stuck in my ear. It’s almost a requirement. The good part about the custom version is the switches are nestled within the helix area, and doesn’t irritate my ear like the switches in the universal version. Big up. As for isolation, continuing the theme of irritating the very people I love, it’s top notch. I can barely hear anything or anyone (sorry, wife!) once the music’s on. An easy 90% estimated blockage of outside noise.


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    Cables

    Flamenco comes with an able side-kick. Robin to your Batman, with pants. Where most CIEMs are shipped with the regular Plastics One cable, Flamenco (and Samba, just so you know) comes with Effect Audio’s Ares II cable. Ares II is made up of four 26AWG Litz copper wires, and looks as good (some say even better) as it sounds. Jomo lets you customise the Y-split and jack. I’ve settled on the mini carbon fibre Y-split and Sony 4.4mm balanced jack. In terms of ergonomics, the Ares II behaves classily. The cable is light, soft and easy to handle, marvelous to photograph, and coils with no memory effect. The pre-formed earguides do wonders for comfort too. Build quality screams class. From the connectors to the chin slider, Y-split and jack, all nicely done. The paint coming off the connectors of previous generation EA cables is a non-issue now, I’m glad they addressed it. No signs of oxidation since receiving it three months ago, but I’ll update if there is any. In short, if Ares II doesn’t pull in the ladies nothing will! It might also pull in some dudes, like in the subway. “Hey nice cables.” “Thanks, they’re 4 strands of 26AWG UPOCC Litz copper.” That’s music to any man’s ears.

    Any man in the subway will also tell you that copper cables give a warm sound. It’s not scientific fact, but if you repeat hearsay enough it’s as good as proven. Copper is supposedly the warmifier, smoothifier, and thickifier. But not really with the Ares II. Compared to a Plastics One cable, Ares II seems to take on an airier, more resolute sound, while preserving note thickness and tonal accuracy. Treble texture is more easily heard, maintaining neutrality and avoiding over-brightness. Mids are, once again, airy and well-differentiated. This is likened to the soft, gentle touch of natural mids compared to say, the graininess some silver cables can produce. “Ah, there! There’s the copper at work!” Man in the subway says, and I can’t disagree with him. It’s never dry, and impresses in balancing detail and tonal accuracy. Continuing the similar sound signature, the bass lends a tinge of warmth, but stays accurate nonetheless, never swaying towards boominess. Across the spectrum, separation and layering is superb, aided by an abundance of black space. While I can’t discern any increase in soundstage size, the better imaging capability and overall tonality makes this cable a winner.

    For single-ended listening with QP1R, I used the Norne Therium silver cable. I’ll tell you, even I was afraid of trying the combo out at first. I have a detail-oriented DAP, IEM and cable in the same room. Can you say treble city? But remarkably, I really like the flavour the combo brings. Obviously, most of the sound characteristics will come from the transducer itself, with the DAP and cable tweaking the sound a few percentage points. So, compared to the Sony WM1A > Ares II chain, QP1R > Therium has thinner notation, and an even airier and resolute signature. It’s one of the most pleasingly detailed sounds I’ve heard in a portable setup (as opposed to QP1R > Galaxy V2 which can be painfully detailed lol). And yet the treble is disciplined as a whole, sounding harsh only once or twice in many hours of listening. Bass, mids and treble are more resolved across the spectrum, with outstanding texture. There was only one hindrance in mind. The mids are drier and colder than I would have liked. The combo is the ultimate for detail and resolution, but robs a bit of note richness and euphony. I hesitate to say “clinical” because it still is a very musical setup, but it’s certainly more technical when compared to WM1A > Ares II.


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    Overall Signature

    Critical listening was done after 200 hours of burning in Flamenco along with Ares II, since both arrived brand new. The balanced setup used was the Music Sanctuary-modded Sony WM1A (low gain) > EA Ares II (balanced). The single-ended setup was Questyle QP1R (low gain) > Norne Therium. I prefer the Sony combo, but depends on the sort of mood I’m in too. The Sony chain is more tonally accurate, and provides a relaxed, spacious and fuller sound; whereas the QP1R combo is more technical, and sounds airy, immediate, fun and dynamic. One for the heart, the other for the feet.

    Imagine a chameleon. Able to adapt to any environment and circumst... actually, scrap that. No one’s ever seen one before. I’ve been to five zoos and nothing! So imagine Mystique from X-Men, the Rebecca Romijn version from the movies. Now she hawt! Blue and naked and shapeshifty... well, I was pretty sure there was a point to be made, but now it’s gone.

    Jomo Audio’s reputation precedes itself. Known for putting emphasis on technical brilliance in their monitors, had 64 Audio not taken the catchphrase “hear everything” it would easily have belonged to Jomo. Samba set the tone, a precision and resolution clinic dedicated to revealing every single drop of detail intended (and not intended) in a recording. Flamenco has similar characteristics, akin to a righteous spear of unrelenting detail retrieval, but with additional bass and treble switches to fine-tune the sound to suit your preference of the day. The shapeshifter (ah, my point!). And believe me, I used the switches more often than I thought. Does wonders for specific genres and varying recording quality.

    You have control over four signatures; neutral, neutral-bright, neutral-warm, and U-shaped. All this neutral-talk might put off those looking for a musical signature (or the right-wing, ah ha!), but I assure you the neutral I speak of is a balanced, non-sterile sort. It’s a pleasure to listen to whichever the setting, with a few niggles I’ll touch upon later.

    Thanks to the switch, the bass alternates between fast, nimble and superbly layered to fun and full with the right amount of midbass boost. The mids are neutral, with emphasis on texture and articulation, balanced with some note weight so as not to sound cold or overly wispy. The treble is unexpectedly my favourite part of the spectrum. It reveals oodles of detail, with top-tier resolution, and with the switch down, is curiously forgiving to even bad recordings, never once sibilant. The tail-end of the notes are smoothed out, like anti-aliasing so to speak. I took them out of my ears once for a pep talk, “thou art the detail monster that they speaketh of?” With the switch up, yes, the upper regions are emphasised with more air, and only here do I detect the harsh reality of poor recordings. In terms of spatial characteristics, the Flamenco stage is more or less equal in width, depth and height, like putting your head inside a cube. While the stage size is quite good in its class, the imaging capabilities are exemplary, perhaps even class-leading. The imaging cues are lifelike, and because of its more intimate soundstage compared to other TOTLs, can be eerily realistic. I wouldn’t want to watch a horror movie with these on, no sir. Scare the next guy, Sadako. Let’s go on to individual sound characteristics.


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    Bass

    You already know I’m a fan of that big fat dynamic driver bass, so Flamenco has its work cut out for it. Fortunately, being the chosen one, the “Ultimate Flagship”, it has a few tricks up its sleeves. The bass is best described as the Smashing Pumpkins hit “Bullet with Butterfly Wings”. It’s blazing fast, with breathtaking speed that will knock the wind out of you. And like a bullet, the hits are clean, accurate, and well-defined, with barely any margin of error. It reveals all textures and layers, like someone well-prepared for a game of strip poker. But with its stone-cold precision comes too the agility and grace of butterfly wings. The bass decays swiftly and airily, leaving a hint of warmth and still maintaining note cleanness. A delicate touch contrasted by the speedy impact of the note attack. What the bass lacks though, is the slam and gloriously satisfying thump I’m accustomed to in DDs. Extension down low is very good, but there’s a difference between touching the pole, and grabbing it and swinging it at will. Despite all its rage the bass is still just a rat in a cage.

    But the final bullet in Flamenco’s chamber, so to speak, is the bass switch. Flick it up, and you get a midbass boost, an injection of warmth and note richness that extends to the lower mids. A fuller, more impactful, and tonally accurate bass, while dialing down some bass detail, speed and air. The bass switch is beautifully implemented, a good compromise with more “feet on the ground” bass and natural timbre. This is my favourite setting, my fun switch, but it’s not to say I have it on all the time. There’s a bonus feature I’d like to talk about.

    With the switch off, the flatter, tighter bass is incredibly useful for grunge/modern rock/alternative rock recordings from the mid-1990’s to the early 2000’s. The music I grew up with, all victims of the loudness wars, where complex passages become recorded mush, a brick wall of undecipherable sound and noise when critical listening ears are used. The cleanness of the stage, quick notation and black background of the Flamenco in neutral (both switches off) mode means I can eke out a bit of enjoyment amidst the mayhem. It’s not limited to the genres I mentioned, you should try it out with previously unlistenable tracks, Flamenco might surprise you.



    Mids

    How should perfect mids sound? It should sound as natural as can be, realistic and lifelike, with accurate timbre and tone, and the ability to move, to evoke strong emotions. A tall order, and if those were the only gauges of good mids, Flamenco would have lost the battle. Before I continue, let me first allude to the fast food fried chicken wars in Malaysia earlier this year. As unpopular as KFC is in the west, they are the undisputed king daddy of fried chicken in this region. The seasoning, freshness, juiciness and crunchiness of fried chicken are traditional barometers of good quality, and KFC fares exceptionally in these departments. Then in comes McDonald’s fried chicken, and their entire marketing spin centers on how LOUD the crunch can get when you bite into it. DECIBEL COUNT, I kid you not, a hitherto ignored criterion. And unimaginably, sales shot up. They didn’t even change the recipe, it was the same ol’ untasty FC from McDonald’s, given a fresh perspective. And people bought it!

    I say this not because I’m hungry, but because Flamenco lacks the traditional measures of perfect mids at TOTL level. Remember at this level, all the marbles are at stake. The mids do have a semblance of realism and naturalness, but up to a point. The instrument timbre is slightly brighter than natural, and notes are a little thinner than what I think would conjure an emotive response. That’s my only beef with them. What Flamenco offers instead, is utmost clarity and resolution in the purest sense. The highest order. The image conjured is so transparent there is no veil at all between the listener and the elements of the music. The mids are positioned slightly forward, with a scintillating amount of air in between the instruments and vocals. Taylor Swift (or anyone else you fancy) sings right in front of you, so close you can almost touch her face. Almost, if not for her bodyguard named Greg and a restraining order. You are free to roam anywhere in the soundscape and zoom into a specific instrument or vocal. This amount of clarity and black space means the pacing, rhythm and timing (PRaT) is exceptionally good, and on point. The forward, energetic, snappy nature of the mids mean Flamenco is proficient for fast tracks, even a specialist, and certainly puts you in the mood to dance. While the perfect mids would ask for more note body and richness, doing so here would destroy the signature. They might not be so resonant emotionally, but do show you how to have unadulterated fun.



    Treble

    Surely, you have to be a bit afraid by now. Surely, with all this talk of clarity, transparency and resolution, would treble-sensitive people be quaking their boots at the ultimate treble assault their ears have (n)ever heard. But that would not be true. In Gladiator, Russell Crowe as Maximus fought his way up the ranks with mesmerising swordplay and fighting skills, until his next opponent was equally ferocious and undefeated. After finally claiming victory, instead of inflicting the cruel blow of death, Maximus spared his rival’s life. He was christened “Maximus the Merciful” and beloved by the crowd. That is the essence of the Flamenco treble. No doubt the extension and resolution is among the best I’ve ever heard, but when the sibilance zone arrives, we emerge remarkably unscathed. It stays right within the boundaries of harshness, like the Road Runner ending his run and stopping just before falling over the edge. This is true even when playing the poorly-mastered records in my collection. It shows you detail, but dusts off the imperfections, and displays the charming side of it. Similar to bass switch off, with the treble switch off, I can basically throw anything at it and it sounds competent, even satisfactory.

    And like the mids, the treble is an airy fairy, leaning towards a wee bit of brightness. We derive our enjoyment not from euphony or tonal accuracy, but from the sheer technical brilliance it attains. The swift, precise notes indicate that not one iota of detail is lost, and you hear all the wonders of treble texture from attack to release. There’s quite an amount of playful sparkle in the treble too, continuing the energy and liveliness of the mids.

    Treble switch on is where the wheat is separated from the chaff, or in non-farmer terms, where the great are selected from the good. This is where you can tell your recordings are top-notch stuff. Well-mastered recordings benefit from a boost of extra detail and air, for a truly ethereal experience of magnificent sounds swirling around your head. Lesser recordings sound a bit hot, and while they won’t be shredded mercilessly, they will be shown the kiddie pool instead. Treble switch on has one caveat, in that the timbre is further brightened and veers even more distant from natural. For that reason I tend to keep the switch off, only occasionally indulging in some addictive treble air.



    Soundstage and Imaging

    So, you have the shiniest and sharpest tools in the shed, but how big is your toolbox? My answer would be, just enough. Flamenco will not dazzle you with wide-open spaciousness, its presentation is too focused and disciplined for that. Instead the soundstage presentation serves the signature as a whole. Like an eager puppy with a bucket on a day at the beach, ready to unearth some uh, earthly delights, there’s tons of detail to be uncovered in your collection. So the stage size is average as far as TOTLs go, and the dimensions are somewhat equal in width, depth and height. As mentioned earlier it’s like putting your head in a box, like that dude in the Party Rock Anthem video. As a result of the stage properties though, the imaging capabilities are off the charts. Even when limited by the stage width, there’s ample height and depth for very effective layering and separation. Onions, like Shrek would say. You can focus on any particular instrument, aided by the stellar black space and tight notes, or sit back and marvel at the forwarded vocals. It’s a pleasure either way. I’m not familiar with the word holographic and what it implies, but the imaging is pin-point accurate. It places you in the centre of the stage, listening to the performance come alive around you. Although the musicians onstage would be baffled as to why you’re just standing there blubbering.


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    Comparisons

    Advanced AcousticWerkes W900 (with Whiplash TWau cable)

    Singapore is a tiny nation advancing the state of CIEMs forever, mainly because everyone spends so much time commuting they figured it’s better to look their best with jewels bedecking their ears. The W900 was the previous darling in my collection, an endgame hybrid with killer detail that could do no wrong, until I compared it with Flamenco one fine day.

    The first question that came to mind was, why did Flamenco make W900 seem like listening to music underwater? The brain adjustment going back to W900 is real. The mids and treble seem muted, and only the bass was worthy of mention. But after the adjustment period, it’s clear that their tuning philosophies are completely different. AAW monitors showcase their awesome dynamic drivers and their adroitness in bass tuning. The BA drivers in the upper regions serve the DD so as not to sound incoherent. As such, W900’s signature veers on the warmer, smoother side of neutral, as opposed to the all-out resolution and transparency assault that is Flamenco. Predictably, W900 wins all things bass, in extension, slam, impact, air moved, and roundness of note. Flamenco excels in speed, detail and clarity, but even with bass switch up, this is not the soul-satisfying bass I so crave. Mids are more even. W900 sounds more natural and organic, as notes are thicker, decay longer and better rounded-off in the end. It’s more capable of emotion than Flamenco, especially in male vocals. But not to be outdone, Flamenco shows off its prowess in articulating detail and maximizing its use of air. Nothing gets lost in the mix for Flamenco, and it can handle any and all comers with great aplomb. Where W900 struggles and dabbles in muddiness in fast tracks, Flamenco treats it like a walk in the park. For treble, extension-wise I have to call it a draw. Both extract ridiculous amounts of detail, but W900 handles it with such evenness and smoothness people have called it boring. Flamenco handles treble crispily, with better timbre, and more discipline and sparkle to spare, it’s easily the crowd-pleaser, with a bigger wow effect. W900’s well-renowned soundstage shows off its finesse. It’s much, much wider and more spacious than Flamenco, while giving up a bit in depth and height. Separation and imaging though, I’d say Flamenco edges ahead because of its superb handling of layers and air. But W900 follows very closely behind, aided by its ginormous stage size, but hampered by its thicker, smoothed-off notes.

    I’m hard-pressed to declare a winner, they both have their standout traits, but do take this into consideration. When switching from W900 to Flamenco, it’s almost like breathing clean air for the first time. The effect won’t last long once your brain normalizes, but Flamenco easily makes any competition seem dull in comparison.



    Rhapsodio Galaxy V2 (with Dark Knight cable)

    Multi-BA resolution monster, please meet… dynamic resolution monster. Pleasure’s all mine. Galaxy V2, the pride of Hong Kong, breathes studio monitor through and through, and if listening pleasure is a byproduct of that, so be it. Sammy’s dynamic treasure pushes one driver to near-breaking point and revels in its uncoloured signature. It also happens to have the best bass in the universe. So I won’t have to revisit the bass beating the Flamenco is about to receive, it’s nearly identical to W900, except Galaxy has EVEN BETTER BASS than W900. More air more extension more authority… run Flamenco! Speed is all you got!

    The real battle starts in the mids and treble, and can both be compared in tandem. Galaxy V2 is unapologetically resolute, and would sacrifice smoothness, naturalness, and euphony to achieve this end. Flamenco seems to follow the same philosophy, but the difference lies in the note structure. Galaxy is determined to showcase each individual note in the music, so much so that, when one note segues to the next, the decay or note edge can be grainy, or even a sharp freefall. Flamenco avoids that trap even though detail levels are essentially a draw here. The notes have harmony, and play nice together. In an effort to dumb down my text further, music sounds like music. The best analogy I can think of is talking in one word sentences as opposed to talking in coherent sentences. Both can’t be faulted for their willingness to extract nuances in the music, but Flamenco does so with much more flair and an ear for what constitutes a clear yet harmonious, even soothing sound. In the treble, Flamenco’s superb extension sounds more even and assured, compared to the 5KHz spike of the Rhapsodio. Extension and sparkle are equal, but again, Flamenco is more enjoyable compared to Galaxy’s tendency to harshness in poor recordings. For soundstage, both have equal width, which is not saying much since both have smallish stage sizes to begin with. However, Flamenco is clearly deeper and taller, so you can guess how they’ll compare for imaging. Galaxy’s warm bass does put a damper on the imaging, while Flamenco’s razor-sharp precision is intact throughout the signature. I do prefer Flamenco for overall enjoyment and musicality, but nothing is able to replace Galaxy V2’s jawdropping bass.



    64 Audio A12 (with M15 module and ALO Reference 8 cable)

    The first time I declared endgame and wished to retire (what a joke that was) was when I heard A12, and painstakingly saved up to get it. I still get much pleasure from it, although its status as top dog has been called to question time and again. Its unique matching with DAPs with high output impedance is one, and if the source doesn’t match all you are left with is dark, dark darkness personified in an IEM. A pity, really. When paired right, with the correct module and cable, A12 shines verily; but what an effort it takes, when everything in stock form in Flamenco is already endgame-worthy.

    Bass is, uh well, you get the picture. You already know A12 has some of the best bass served in BA form. The subbass extension, rumble, and satisfying thump… remember the pole analogy? In all the comparisons here, W900, Galaxy V2 and A12, they are all capable of grabbing the pole and having their way with it. Bass isn’t Flamenco’s department to shine. A12 edges out the Flamenco in mids too, capable of delivering a very accurate timbre while not sacrificing much detail. Its slightly forwarded mids mimics Flamenco’s too, but sounds more organic and lifelike.

    Every dog has its day, and from upper mids onwards, it’s Flamenco’s. It absolutely trounces the A12, obliterating it in clarity, speed, timbre, resolution, extension, sparkle, fun factor… you name it. Flamenco’s forte is the A12’s worst nightmare. Very, very few IEMs can touch Flamenco in this department. In spatial characteristics, A12 is narrower and deeper than Flamenco, but both are equal in height. Flamenco again shines in imaging and separation. I previously lauded A12’s ability in handling a warm signature with good imaging, but without the bass weight and gush of warm air in the mix, Flamenco just sounds so much cleaner and precise. It’s not a contest per se, more like choosing what attributes you’d like in your dream IEM. Remember Flamenco gives up a lot in bass and mids to achieve this. Having said that, the clarity is addictive enough in Flamenco to make me choose it more often versus A12.


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    Final Words

    Remember when Dr Dre started peddling Beats and his catchphrase was “experience music the way the artist intended” and you thought all artists were raging lunatic bassheads? The Flamenco at full steam, retrieves every nuance, facet and aspect of the music recorded, and properly so. It’s so good at it, it might even retrieve details from the adjoining studio. The way the artist intended, and more.

    In case I haven’t driven home the point yet, the Flamenco is the clearest IEM I’ve ever heard. Clear as day. Clear as the first spark of light meeting the darkness at the break of dawn. The deluge, the barrage, the torrent of clarity is so great it straightened my life out, and told me what to do in concise steps. I am in love with every light Flamenco shines onto the music, giving it highlight, a day in the sun, whence previously I have heard nothing. Best still, the light is forgiving, not the cold, unbearable harshness of fluorescent white; rather the sun-tinged glow of amber, allowing music of all kinds to flourish, to not be afraid of revealing what they are. Flamenco delves into the very construct of song, its foundation and building blocks, telling us that every cog, sprocket, gear and wheel has its place. Their movement and interaction is vital so that the machine operates smoothly, or as we step out of metaphor, so that every element of song gives life to music. The switches magnify, enrich or dull the experience, and you are given the power to control it. All in all, Flamenco gave me everything I wanted with the criteria I sought, and that is clarity and control. As far as I know they are second to none in those qualities. I hope you might be moved to give them a listen as well.
    1. KopaneDePooj
      Excellent read! Really a great review and also a piece of very good literature. Hope you overcame your personal problems... Thanks for this great and inspiring review!
      KopaneDePooj, Apr 24, 2018
      SeeSax and davidmolliere like this.
  2. flinkenick
    Jomo Audio Flamenco
    Written by flinkenick
    Published Jun 16, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Technical performance: transparency, resolution, imaging; balanced signature
    Cons - Soundstage is on the intimate side
    I would like to thank Joseph from Jomo Audio for providing the Flamenco in return for my honest opinion. Pics were provided by Jomo.

    Introduction

    The customised earphone industry is increasingly expanding - a few years back there were only a handful of TOTL ciems to choose from that grazed passed the $1K mark. The market has changed in many ways. Not only is the competition growing fiercer with the rise of new boutique manufacturers, even the options in the summit fi level passing $2K are numerous. Multi-BA iems as Layla and Zeus were initially pioneers in this segment, but in Singapore alone AAW currently offers the W900, Dita recently unveiled the Dream, and Jomo now follows with its new flagship, the Flamenco.

    Jomo has been steadily working on its ascension, starting with models as the Jomo 6R, which was swiftly followed by Samba and Flamenco. Safe to say, a line has begun to emerge throughout the lineup: Jomo is differentiating themselves with their pursuit for precision. The Jomo Samba defined itself by its highly technical sound – I can only think of a few iems that come close to it when it comes to aspects as transparency, resolution and imaging. So if Samba is already topping the charts in those aspects, can Flamenco improve upon them even further? Well, no, not really at least. But it can offer a more balanced signature, as well as the option of tweaking the sound with its two built-in switches for bass or treble.

    Jomo Audio Flamenco
    -Drivers: 11 BA drivers: 1 sub, 2 low, 4 mid, 2 high, 2 super high
    -Design: 5-way passive crossover, 3 sound bores, 2 switches
    -Frequency range: 20 Hz – 40 KHz
    -Impedance: 106 dB
    -Sensitivity: 35 Ohm

    -MRSP: SGD $2999 (US $2140)

    J1.jpg

    Accessories

    Jomo has stepped up their unboxing experience and accessories since the last time I checked, for the Samba review. The Flamenco is delivered in seriously stylish cube-sized matte black box. Where the Samba was shipped in an anonymous Peli case with a few basic accessories, Flamenco comes in a shiny blue hockey-puck style case, which sits tightly in a hollowed out enclosure in the box. The brand name ‘Jomo’ reflects in silver letters on the top, contrasting the metallic blue. Similar as with Samba, Jomo includes a 6.3 mm and airline adapter as extra accessories. The dark metal warranty card is a nice finish that adds to the luxurious feel of the package.

    The cable

    When ordered from Jomo's local distributor Music Sanctuary, the Flamenco is offered with three different cable options. The three choices are all pure copper cables priced at $150, but offer slight variations in sound. The HanSound Audio Zen has a lightly enhanced mid- and upper-bass, resulting in a pleasantly warm and smooth tonality. It creates slightly thicker notes than both the Ares II and No. 5. PW Audio's No. 5 in turn sounds a bit cleaner, as a result of a relatively attenuated upper bass. It's not overly warm, but it has the best timbre, as well as a nicely balanced vocal presentation.

    However, as Flamenco is the official stock cable for Flamenco, sound impressions will be based on that pairing. The Ares II cable is the same stock cable option provided with Samba; a quality copper cable in looks and sound. The copper strands are visually pleasing, while the silver-plated jack with black and gray carbon finish and silver-colored 2-pin connectors provide a qualitative look and feel. The silver and black carbon splitter is slightly on the heavier side, but it provides a nice finishing touch and matches the carbon jack in design.

    The Ares II provides a clean and controlled bass response, with good balance between sub- and mid-bass, while not being overly warm. The controlled mid-bass response further results in an airy stage structure. The midrange is relatively uncolored, but also slightly dry, as it doesn’t provide an overly warm or forward sound. The focus is more on providing a relatively neutral and clear sound, with good articulation and definition of individual instruments; the result of a well-extended treble in comparison to a stock OFC cable. Accordingly, the Ares II provides good resolution and transparency, especially when taking its price into consideration.

    J2.jpg

    Sound impressions

    Impressions were done with both switches down, unless mentioned.

    Presentation
    Flamenco shares a somewhat similar reference-oriented signature as Samba, with a slightly brighter than neutral tonality due to an upper midrange peak. Similarly, Flamenco’s bass is enjoyable in its quantity and impact, even in its neutral setting. They differ in their midrange tuning: Flamenco boosts the center midrange frequencies, a 2-3 KHz bump reminiscent of flagships as Zeus and W900. While Samba already has a highly focused vocal presentation, Flamenco adds more density and body, forming a more solidified center vocal. Generally speaking, Flamenco’s vocal and instrument presentation carries more weight and size. Samba is a bit brighter by comparison, although their tone is similar with Flamenco’s treble switch up.

    The stage has fairly even proportions in depth, width, and height, resulting in a cube-sized stage. In overall size, the stage borders on intimate. While this might be associated with a less separated presentation, many iems with similar dimensions as EarSonics’ S-EM9, Jomo’s own Samba, or the Warbler Prelude tend to outperform the TOTL average in this regard. Size doesn’t matter – it’s what you do with it. By means of their precision of imaging, stability of the background blackness, and layering ability, these iems are able to convey a highly focused image – relying on the quality of the separation, rather than the absolute size. In addition, smaller stage dimensions have the advantage of being more readily able to follow the presentation as a whole; maintaining oversight of all the elements combined.

    Jomo is setting a high standard for technical ability – even for itself. Jomo’s 8-driver Samba is a paragon of performance, excelling in transparency, resolution and imaging. Flamenco continues the tradition, exceeding the flagship average. Its resolution translates to high definition of midrange notes, while its level transparency uncovers the more subtle detail. Accordingly, its detail retrieval relies on separation, resolution and transparency, rather than its stage dimensions; the result however, is Flamenco being one of the most detailed ciems.

    J3.jpg

    Bass
    Flamenco’s low end is tight and moderately impactful, with an overall quantity slightly north of neutral. Similar to Samba, this results in an engaging and dynamic low end, which adds a bit of rhythmicity and power to the presentation. The low-end extension is roughly average, as is its mid-bass resolution. The virtues of Flamenco’s bass lie in the speed and airiness of its presentation. Flamenco delivers its bass hits in a fast and controlled manner, allowing the bass to keep up with the pace of the music, yet with sufficient quantity to be considered engaging. In addition, the stage maintains its airiness despite the quantity of the bass impact, contributing to the cleanliness of the separation.

    Enhancing the bass switch adds more quantity, increasing the body of the bass, although the bass itself is not necessarily more impactful in the lowest registers. While the bass maintains a relatively airy structure, the added weight and prominence of the mid-bass affects the cleanliness of the separation in bass-heavy-music – an inevitable tradeoff. Bass enthusiasts will undoubtedly prefer the bass switch on, while purists might prefer the off setting. It’s good to have the choice, to vary between listeners or music styles.

    Midrange
    While Jomo boosted the center midrange frequencies, Flamenco’s lower midrange is relatively laidback. Accordingly, the vocal range is centered on pronunciation, rather than warmth or depth. The overall body of vocals is fairly neutral in size. This results in a dense, focused center image. Although vocals aren’t necessarily very warm in tone, the slight forwardness and solidity of the image adds to a sense of realism in their portrayal. More importantly, the outstanding transparency of the midrange results in a clear and pure image – a lack of veil between you and the singer. In addition, the clean space surrounding the vocal is impressive.

    Flamenco’s signature is further characterized by an upper midrange peak, which enhances the overall clarity of the presentation. Boosting the upper midrange results in a more natural form of clarity, without resorting to sounding overly bright. While the upper midrange could have been a bit warmer to sound completely accurate, the midrange tone is fairly neutral, and seems to work especially well with classical music – a sweeping violin, or the full range of a piano. This can partially be attributed to its outstanding transparency, as well as the full-bodied size of instruments.

    Treble
    The Flamenco’s treble is lightly enhanced, contributing to the clarity of the presentation, as well as its precision in imaging and transparency. In addition, its excellent top end extension results in its high resolution and airiness within the stage. It’s an essential treble tuning in construing its technical presentation, and successful in what it seeks to achieve.

    The treble itself is slightly brighter in tone, while refraining from sounding bright or harsh altogether. This is very much an articulate treble: well-defined, moderately fast, and with sufficient quantity, altogether resulting in a highly detailed treble presentation. It’s a lively treble, that isn’t too shy to capture your attention. Importantly, the treble stays on the safe end of sibilance, even when specifically tested.

    Turning the treble switch on makes the treble more prominent, boosting the clarity throughout the presentation. Accordingly, the detail retrieval is more upfront, while the image is slightly more holographic. As Flamenco relies on its extension rather than brightness for resolution, it doesn’t necessarily need the added brightness for detail - but it adds a bit of liveliness and stimulation, which may or may not be appreciated based on personal preference. I was surprised to find myself very much liking the versatility of the treble switch; more so than that of the bass, which I found sufficient in its neutral position. Guess there might be a casual treblehead lurking in me somewhere.

    Comparisons

    Unique Melody Maestro V2
    UM’s retuned Maestro has a fairly neutral tonality, balancing between warmth and clarity. Though it can’t be classified as warm altogether, it is relatively warmer than Flamenco. Flamenco bests the Maestro in top end extension, and has greater resolution as well as transparency, while being slightly drier in its tone. Accordingly, the Maestro has the upper hand in tonal accuracy, while Flamenco is more precise.

    Maestro’s stage is both wide and deep, resulting in an evenly proportioned and large stage. Its imaging is sufficiently precise to result in a holographic presentation. Flamenco equally has precise imaging, but its stage is more intimate by comparison. In terms of separation, both are top performers, with the Maestro relying on its stage dimensions and precision of imaging, and Flamenco on the focus of the image – its imaging and resolution.

    Both monitors share a moderately enhanced bass impact, which adds a sense of dynamism to the music. In both cases, the control and pace of the bass results in an airy bass room, benefitting the stage and separation. Maestro’s midrange is slightly warmer, with a different vocal presentation. Vocals are greater in size, offering a nice balance throughout the vocal range. Flamenco’s vocals might be slightly more compact, they are greater in density, and create a more solid image. Maestro has a full-bodied instrument size, accurate in tone. Flamenco on the other hand offers higher definition of its instruments, due to its further extension treble and more prominent treble tuning. Finally, as Flamenco’s treble is a bit brighter it offers more sparkle and detail, while Maestro’s treble is smoother and more accurate in tone.

    Advanced AcousticWerkes W900
    Flamenco faces off with its first local competitor: Singapore’s AAW recently released flagship 8+1 hybrid. The W900 is slightly warmer than neutral; Flamenco’s more prominent upper midrange results in an overall slightly brighter tuning. Both monitors share some faint similarities, though ultimately differing in their presentation. They share an impressive treble extension, with the W900 offering one of the furthest extensions on the market. In terms of transparency and resolution, the two cut it close, as well as in their precision of imaging.

    The W900 impresses with its vastly wide stage, impressive for iem standards. Although it is significantly wider than deep, it combines a good bit of height with width to create an overall large screen. Accordingly, the W900 primarily relies on its width for separation, while Flamenco falls back on its depth and layering. Due to the smaller space, the image is more concentrated and focused.

    Similar to Flamenco, the W900 has an enjoyable bass, north of neutral in terms of overall quantity and body of the bass. It’s a rounded bass, with a sub-bass that extends slightly further than Flamenco. Despite the bass being produced by a dynamic driver, the bass is particularly airy and quick, somewhat out of character. While they differ in their texture and decay, they aren’t vastly different in terms of sheer enjoyability. The W900 has a forward center midrange, with a slightly more prominent lower midrange than Flamenco. Accordingly, vocals have similar density, although the W900 has slightly more body. However, due to the W900’s upper midrange dip, its vocal presentation smoothens over the top end of vocals, with Flamenco displaying more balance in the top end of the vocal range. Finally, the W900’s treble is fairly neutral in quantity and slightly thicker in its definition, although its tone is not completely natural. As Flamenco’s treble tone is brighter, it isn’t completely accurate either – it is however more articulate.

    J4.jpg

    Dita Audio Dream
    Local competitor #2, the Dita Audio Dream, strives for a reference tuning, but does things its own way. Using a full range single dynamic driver, the Dream combines a powerful bass response with a relatively neutral tuning. Although both monitors share an upper midrange peak, the midrange tone of the Dream is warmer, due to its significantly enhanced bass response. As a result, Flamenco bests the Dream in terms of transparency. In addition the Flamenco’s treble extends further, giving it the advantage in midrange resolution.

    The Dream creates a vast, 3D stage, with even proportions in width and depth, similar to the Maestro V2. Accordingly, its stage dimensions are larger than Flamenco, while its imaging is precise enough to create a holographic image. However, the enhanced bass response affects the airiness of the stage. Due to Flamenco’s airier stage and greater transparency, it is more upfront in its detail retrieval, while the effectiveness of their separation relies on different means. Flamenco sounds cleaner, while the Dream’s stage is simply larger.

    Dream’s low end is monumental – it reaches low, and hits hard. It’s a deep, rounded bass, with beautiful texture and impressive weight. Unfiltered dynamic power. Flamenco’s bass is faster, but can’t match the sheer power of the Dream’s quality bass. The Dream’s enhanced bass produces more warmth to the stage and the midrange, resulting in a warmer tone. The midrange itself however is laidback, with a relatively distant vocal presentation. Flamenco’s vocal is not only more forward, it creates a denser, more focused center image. The Dream primarily creates its clarity based on an upper midrange peak, while its treble is relatively linear. Flamenco’s treble in turn is more articulate, while it adds a bit more sparkle on top.

    Empire Ears Zeus-XIV
    Zeus-XIV combines technical proficiency, with an outspoken forward and midcentric signature. At the time, its forwardness and flavour seemed counterintuitive for the general expectancy of a summit-fi flagship, eventually resulting in its later revision. Even later, Empire Ears included the option of ADEL technology. The original, unaltered Zeus-XIV however boasts a full and forward midrange, with a relatively neutral bass and treble. With similar treble extension, Zeus’ performs at the highest level in terms of transparency and resolution – similar to Flamenco.

    With a stage that is wide, deep and tall, Zeus’ stage is larger in all directions. Flamenco’s stage is similarly proportioned, but more intimate by comparison. In both cases, the imaging is precise, with excellent layering ability. As neither iem outperforms each other in individual aspects, Zeus has a natural advantage in separation, based on its larger stage dimensions.

    Zeus’ sub-bass is lightly enhanced, but overall still relatively close to neutral. Flamenco adds a bit more quantity and body to the bass, although the overall impact is fairly similar, at least without the added bass setting. Flamenco and Zeus share a similar forwardness in the center midrange, but due to a more prominent lower midrange as well as less treble emphasis, Zeus’ vocal presentation has more body and balance throughout the vocal range – truly Zeus’ specialty. Flamenco’s vocals are dense and slightly forward, but more compact in size. In addition, Flamenco's midrage is less warm in tone. Finally, while both iems share an articulate and detailed treble, Flamenco offers more sparkle up top, and increasingly more clarity with the treble switch on.

    J5.jpg

    Concluding thoughts

    Back in the day when there were only a handful of flagship ciems to choose from, Hidition made its name as the ‘king of clarity’ – leader of the pack when it came to technical performance, a role that Jomo seems comfortable in taking on. Following its latest flagship releases, Jomo’s house sound has started to emerge – a philosophy with as starting point that technical excellence should be expected at this price, and variations in signature depending on the models. Preference for signature might be subjective; technical performance isn’t. When it comes to aspects as transparency, resolution, imaging and separation, very few iems can come close to the Flamenco’s performance.

    Flamenco and Samba share several commonalities: high resolution and transparency, and precise imaging as well as layering. In addition, their overall stage dimensions are fairly similar. I for one tend to be very appreciative of such a solid technical foundation. Jomo had already set a high standard for performance with Samba – one of the most technically proficient iems, with a signature in service of performance: a racecar, not a saloon. Due to the added body and more forward vocal presentation, Flamenco’s space is a bit tighter compared to Samba; Samba’s vocal presentation is relatively more laidback by comparison, taking a more central role on the stage. Accordingly, the leaner note structure results in a more effortless separation, especially since Samba’s background is just a bit blacker. I mentioned resolution, transparency, and imaging; but when it comes to separation, hardly any monitor can outperform Samba – not even Flamenco.

    However, by boosting the center midrange frequencies, Flamenco’s midrange is more in line with summit-fi competitors as Zeus, 5-Way and the W900, to name a few. The midrange carries more weight, while there’s more tonal balance throughout the signature. The Flamenco successfully marries Jomo’s signature technical performance, with a mature and competitive flagship tuning. Best of both worlds?



    Manufacturer website:
    www.jomoaudio.com

    Local distributor:
    music-sanctuary.com
      proedros, Ulysstor and EagleWings like this.
  3. crinacle
    Combining energy, clarity and grace: Viva la Flamenco!
    Written by crinacle
    Published Apr 18, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Extremely detailed, fast transients, transparency to the highest degree
    Cons - Somewhat thinner notes, relative lack of sub-bass rumble
    Disclaimer: I approached Jomo Audio myself for a loaner demo of the Flamenco to be returned in two weeks in exchange for my honest opinion. As with my usual review style, I will jump into sonic impressions immediately.
     
    Low scoring for comfort is due to my uniquely large ear structures not being compatible with the universal Flamenco's switch placement, as seen here. Your own experience may vary but Jomo has assured that this design was intentional and should be comfortable for most other ears.
     
    Joe0zOH.jpg
    The demo unit I received
     ​
    Both switches up

     
    Bass switch up

     
    Treble switch up

     
    No switches up

     
    Switch comparisons

     

    Bass

    The Flamenco's switches allow its bass to swap between neutral to slightly boosted (roughly 5dB across the bass spectrum). Hits are tight, fast and extremely quick, revealing minute nuances in the bass notes that most other IEMs would gloss over. While the bass is very punchy, sub-bass articulation falls short compared to its dynamic and hybrid competitors.
     
    It's important to distinguish between personal preference and technicalities when it comes to reviewing headphones. In the Flamenco's case, while my personal preferences leans towards the wetter, more rounded nature of dynamic bass, it's also hard to not recognize the Flamenco's bass for what it is: a highly precise rapier than delivers hits with lightning-quick accuracy. The name of the Flamenco's game is clarity and detail and this philosophy extends into its bass presentation, with every detail bathed in the white light of its stunningly quick woofers.
     

    Mids

    Leans towards the colder side of tonality. Very well textured and sharp with a slight emphasis on vocals (especially female). Clear, transparent and detailed, and quite honestly the top in those three metrics out of all the IEMs I've ever heard.
     
    There's that word again: clarity. That really is the first thing that pops in your mind when you hear the Flamenco; everything is right there in your face, begging for your attention. There is absolutely no "veil" to speak of and nothing sounds out of place at first listen.  
    Note weight could be a potential weakness in the Flamenco, but that can also be chalked up to personal preference as well. I'd prefer denser hits that give more body and weight to things like male vocals or bassy strings like cello myself.
     

    Treble

    The switches boost the 2k-8k regions slightly which improves clarity and perceived detail slightly. As with the rest of the frequencies, the Flamenco's treble is of course extremely detailed and clear. It's absolutely bursting with energy and highly articulate, with crashes and zings ringing true to my ears.
     
    I'm sensitive to treble myself so the Flamenco tends to be a little too much for me, even with the switches down. However, the speed and note density is absolutely on point and I'd love to have it on every IEM I have. Apart from the emphasis, I'd say this is the perfect treble right here.
     

    Soundstage

    More intimate than spacious. There's less outward diffusal going on but the Flamenco still maintains a decently proportioned stage. Positional ability is outstanding and staging goes pretty deep, making sacrifices in width more than anything.
     
     

    Choice comparisons

    Advanced AcousticWerkes W900​

    As expected, Jomo's shining flagship should be up against its own local competitor's, AAW. As with the W900 vs the Samba, both excel in different things and are less rivals than complements.
     
    Bass on the W900 is rounded, rumbly and decays in a way that brings wider staging to the sound, as compared to the Flamenco's speedy, quick notes. I'd liken the W900 to a large, dampened sledgehammer to the Flamenco's ornately decorated rapier, each having their own strengths. I'd prefer the W900's authority and articulation but you might prefer the Flamenco's clarity and punchiness.
     
    In terms of tonality, they sound to be on the far side of either side of the spectrum relative to the average TOTL signatures. The W900 has a warmer, denser tilt to its notes while the Flamenco is brighter, colder and clearer. I prefer the more bodied sound of the W900 myself, but you know it's all down to preferences.
     
    Into the treble, it's all about their showcase of different strengths. Flamenco has the edge on energy, clarity and airiness while the W900 is superior in control and note density. Perfection would be combining the two but as far as this goes, it's all about picking your poison.
     
     

    Ultimate Ears Reference Monitors​

    I received the UERM about the same time as the Flamenco and it has replaced my ER4PT as my go-to reference for neutrality, both in frequency response and tonality.
     
    With the bass switch down, both have similar bass emphasis with the Flamenco slightly edging out on both transient speeds and articulation. With the bass switch on, articulation is improved slightly whilst maintaining clarity.
     
    The Flamenco is definitely slightly colder than the UERM (with the W900 being warmer), but at the same time allowing for greater transparency and clarity. Perceived detail is also much higher on the Flamenco and actually makes for a decent reference monitor with all the switches down, with the colder tonality and all that.
     
    Treble is more uncontrolled on the UERM (with a spike or two here and there) and the Flamenco manages to maintain relative flatness in comparison with similar levels of sparkle and energy.
     

    Custom Art Harmony 8.2​

    The 8.2 has been with me for a while and is my go-to "lounging" IEM. Relaxing signature that doesn't have a hint of fatigue to it. The two are definitely different in terms of sound signature and fulfill entirely different needs, even moreso than versus the W900.
     
    The bass on the 8.2 is denser and has more rumble, but also has a certain "muffle" and veil to it compared to the Flamenco. At the same time, the Flamenco's quick and punchy notes can be a little intense and fatiguing compared to the 8.2's soft and pillowy ones. In terms of technicalities though, I don't think anyone would deny the Flamenco is superior.
     
    The 8.2 and smooth and warm, a stark contrast to the Flamenco. Vocals are smoother and much more relaxing, albeit with a slightly lower levels of relative detail. The Flamenco throws every last detail and texture in your face, which is enjoyable for some but can be quite taxing to listen to for longer periods of time. Detail vs non-fatigue, pick your poison.
     
    Flamenco is energetic, and that extends to the treble as well. The 8.2 is quite a bit darker and more veiled, but (as I've repeated many times before) is a lot less fatiguing to less to as a result.
     
     

    Final words

    The Flamenco is easily one of (if not the) most detailed IEM I've had the pleasure of listening to, and its colder, to-the-point personality is one that complements the smooth-warm nature of my collection ever so nicely. Jomo outdid themselves even with the high standards set by the Samba, allowing for a myriad of listening styles with the implementation of its switch system
     
    A proud addition to the realms of summit-fi, it sets itself as number 2 on my top 10 list. I wait eagerly for Joseph's next venture, the Flamenco only increasing my hunger.
      Ulysstor, ranfan and tangents like this.
    1. twister6
      I assume the sound impression was done using EA Ares II cable you received with Flamenco demo? Just curious since you mentioned a cold thin tonality so I'm trying to put it into perspective with a cable.

      Also, what is the difference between Measurements? I assume the graphs with a black background (where sub and mid bass are flat and lower, while mids are higher) are your measurements, and the other set of graphs with sub- and mid-bass higher than mids is from somewhere else? A little confusing.
      twister6, Apr 19, 2017
    2. crinacle
      @twister6 Aye, Jomo provided the Ares II with the Flamenco.
       
      The "black background" measurements are compensated, which mean they reflect flat as a horizontal line. That software doesn't support A/B comparisons however, so for easier reading for the differences between switches I used a different software without any compensation (which will reflect flat as a slight downslope instead).
       
      Basically, the measurements with multiple lines in one graph are for comparative purposes only; the black background ones can be taken at face value.
      crinacle, Apr 19, 2017
    3. twocentsear
      In terms of just sheer imaging, how does it compare to the W900?
      twocentsear, May 23, 2018