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Jomo Audio Samba Pro CIEM

Rating:
4.75/5,
  • We are excited to introduce the brand new custom IEM, SAMBA, to our new Pro-Audio in-ear monitors lineup!

Recent Reviews

  1. flinkenick
    Jomo Samba - True Reference
    Written by flinkenick
    Published Nov 29, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Highly technical monitor, reference signature
    Cons - Can be considered dry with certain pairings, expensive
    I would like to thank Joseph from Jomo Audio for providing me with a review sample in exchange for my honest opinion.

    Introduction

    Jomo Audio has swiftly started to depart from the label ‘startup’, to established manufacturer. Following the worldwide success of the Jomo 6R as a viable alternative for a reference monitor, it’s time for the next step: a flagship competing with iems at the highest level. The story of Jomo is becoming common knowledge: Joseph Mou is another hobbyist gone pro, next in the line in a tradition of manufacturers as Custom Art or Lime Ears. Jomo is located in Singapore, one of the Mecca’s for high-end audio. The competition might be fierce, there seems to be enough to go around there for everyone, making it a fruitful birthing place for young companies.

    The link with Effect Audio, a cable manufacturer from Singapore, is easily made – two upcoming companies form Singapore, swiftly making their mark. After having previously collaborated on making a limited edition ‘Genesis’ ciem, the two partner up again for a more permanent agreement. Jomo’s new flagship Samba is not only delivered with a quality upgrade cable from Effect Audio, the Ares II, the internal wiring also consists of the same wire.

    [​IMG]


    Jomo Audio Samba
    -Drivers:                      8 BA drivers; 2 low, 2 mid, 4 high
    -Design:                      3-way passive crossover, 3 sound bores
    -Frequency range:      20 Hz – 20 KHz
    -Impedance:               19 Ohm
    -Sensitivity:                 116 dB
    -MRSP:                       SGD $2399 (ca. US $1725)


    Accessories

    Samba is delivered in a standard Peli case. Besides the mandatory cleaning tool, Jomo goes the extra mile with a 6.3mm and airline adaptor, as well as a clip to attach the peli case to a bag or jacket. It further comes with a very nice dark metal warranty card with ‘Jomo’ cut out diagonally; a classy touch of personalization. All in all, the Samba comes with a nice set of accessories that gets some bonus points for the extra effort.

    The Effect Audio Ares II cable

    But the highlight of the accessory pack is undoubtedly the Ares II cable. More companies are starting to include a quality cables as stock, a development I can only applaud and encourage. Recent examples are the Westone W80, Campfire’s Andromeda or the Rhapsodio Galaxy. The Samba’s stock cable is a quality upgrade cable from Effect Audio, a 26 AWG copper Litz cable which sells separately for $150. The cable is beautifully built; copper cables often have an orange-pinkish color that I just can’t grow fond of, but the Ares has a more rustic brown that gives it a more classic look. The fine plastic shielding displays the Litz wires, where you can see how every wire consists of multiple individual strands. The cable is finished with nice components that give it a qualitative feel: a silver-plated jack with black and gray carbon finish, silver 2-pin connectors with the Effect logo, and a silver and black carbon splitter that is slightly on the heavier side. Personally, I wouldn’t have minded if it was a bit smaller to spare some weight, but it looks good. You can feel a slight pull, but it’s not overly bothersome.

    To get an impression of the Ares II, I tested it separately with some other iems such as Zeus-XIV, S-EM9 and Aether. Copper cables are usually characterizes as warm, primarily due to an enhanced mid-bass that gives warmth to the presentation, but can also reduce the airiness or cleanliness of the stage due to the warm air. The Ares II departs from that, sharing more characteristics with a classic SPC signature (though this is a generalization). It provides a clean and controlled bass response, with good balance between sub- and mid-bass, while not being overly warm. The midrange is relatively uncolored, but also slightly dry, as it doesn’t provide an overly warm or lush sound. The cable leans towards an open tone. The focus is more on providing a relatively neutral and clear sound, with good articulation and definition of individual instruments. Compared to a stock 3-wire OFC cable, it provides a cleaner stage with better treble extension. Taken together, the sound is primarily flat and uncolored, and offers a clean stage with good precision.

    [​IMG]


    Build and Design

    With its 8 drivers, Jomo manages to keep the Samba quite compact. In overall size, it falls somewhere around the average, being neither or large. Insertion depth is also around average, and the fit is snug. The craftsmanship is above average; the shells are smooth, and lack any noticeable bubbles. Jomo offers a wide variety of shell options and faceplates, including some unique materials and designs that I haven’t seen before with other companies. It’s worth taking a look through, there’s undoubtedly something nice for everyone. I gave Joseph a few pointers for the design, but let him do his thing. The result is a gray shell, matched with a stylish swirl of grey and brown tones as faceplate, with ‘Samba’ printed in gold letters along the side. The finish not only looks beautiful, but feels nice and smooth.

    [​IMG]


    Sound impressions

    Presentation
    The Samba is reference tuned – a linear and relatively uncolored sound. It’s clear to hear the tuning philosophy is focused on an accurate delivery of the original intending of the recording. The midrange isn't warm or bright; notes aren't colored by and additional thickness to make the sound more impressive than it should. With high resolution as well as clear articulation of individual notes, the Samba can be considered technically highly proficient. This is further demonstrated by a clean and airy stage. Although the Samba has slightly leaner average note thickness, the combination with excellent stage dimensions provides a high level of instrument separation. The combination of both a wide and deep stage with pinpoint precise imaging creates an almost holographic presentation – a term I don’t easily use. As such, the Samba effortlessly presents every detail in the music. This sense of precision is further pronounced by a quick decay; traces of notes are cut off somewhat quick. This gives the midrange and treble a sense of urgency, and Samba truly excels with fast-paced electronic or rock music, as well as string quartets. The quick pace of notes in a clean stage adds to the total sense of accuracy in a faithful reproduction of the music; there's a sense of control and calmness in the production of complex passages.


    Bass
    Samba’s low end packs a powerful punch – tight, controlled, but deliciously impactful. For my personal taste, this is pretty much as good as it gets when it comes to BA driven bass. Overall, the sub- and mid-bass are very well balanced. The sub-bass is by no means shy; it powerfully dictates the sense of rhythm. The sub-bass hits deep, providing good depth to the stage. The mid-bass is detailed, clearly defined, and mostly controlled. The excellent control of the mid-bass aids in a clean and spacious stage: it doesn’t provide warm air to the stage, or to the midrange for that matter. While it’s sub-bass rumble might be considered a dissonant for a truly reference signature, it’s a more than welcome one. It adds that extra bit of power and dynamics to the presentation - this is a bass you can feel, while it retains a clean and technical presentation.


    Midrange
    The midrange is very close to neutral in its positioning. It can be predominantly characterized as uncolored; this isn’t a particularly warm or lush midrange, but it isn’t bright or harsh either, nor is it recessed by any means. Due to the lack of coloration, it’s clear Jomo is aiming for a truly neutral presentation, rather than coloring the midrange for additional, but artificial, excitement. Instead, the Samba delivers an accurate portrayal of the music, with a high level of precision and separation in the delivery of individual instruments. As the lower midrange is slightly laid back, the vocal presentation isn’t focused on power or density; but both male and female vocals have good size, are clearly articulated, and detailed. The same story applies to the upper midrange; the trait that stands out most is a lack of coloration. Adding warmth or thickness to a midrange disrupts the purity of a chord of an acoustic guitar or violin, or the key of a piano; it might sound thicker, but it isn’t true to the tone. The Samba’s upper midrange is neither warm nor bright, but tonally accurate - you can get a clear sense of the original recording. While it isn’t overly sparkly, it isn’t laidback either. As it isn’t brightened to emphasize detail, it remains fairly smooth.


    Treble
    The treble is articulate, detailed, with a quick decay. Similar to the rest of the signature the treble isn’t thicker or particularly colored, but retains a focus on accuracy in its tone, rendering of detail, and pace. In line with Samba’s reference oriented tuning, the treble is very slightly forward, boosting its note articulation, and the overall sense of precision. In addition, it’s a rare case of an iem that manages to extend significantly further than the 10 KHz mark before rolling off. I wouldn’t classify the treble as either laidback or prominent. With brighter than neutral sources as the Lotoo Paw Gold or QPR1 however, the treble will not be completely smooth or non-fatuiging for sensitive listeners, due to a slight 7 KHz peak. In addition, the Samba doesn’t remain completely free of sibilance if it’s in the recording. The Samba is somewhat source dependent in this regard, and will sound more natural and smoother with a warmer or reference dap like the AK; especially its treble presentation.


    [​IMG]


    Comparisons

    Campfire Andromeda ($1099)
    Campfire’s Andromeda is easy to listen to, and easy to like. It’s more of a ‘fun’ tuning, compared to the precision-oriented Samba. The exception is in sub-bass rumble, where the Samba delivers more power. It has tighter and more impactfull sub-bass. Andromeda has a more forward, warmer, and thicker midrange. Especially male vocals benefit from the additional lower midrange fill, although vocals sound slightly clearer with Samba. Samba’s notes are slightly leaner, though more neutral and uncolored in tonality. Andromeda has just a little bit more sparkle in the upper midrange, compared to the more neutral Samba.


    Andromeda’s treble is thicker, while Samba’s has better definition. Both are enjoyable in a different way, with Andromeda’s being more engaging, but the Samba’s offering more precision and detail. They share a similar treble tonality, being slightly more prominent than completely neutral, although Andromeda’s is a bit more forgiving of bad recordings with brighter sources. Both share a high quality stage, large in all dimensions. However, the Samba offers a cleaner instrument separation in accordance to the leaner notes and airier stage, while its imaging is more precise.

    Lime Ears Aether (€1100)
    While both the Aether and Samba can be considered a variation of neutral, their tuning philosophy results in a different focus. The Aether’s focus is naturalness, with a warmer and more colored midrange, and smoother treble. With its variable bass switch, it has similar sub-bass impact as Samba in its upper position, but with a greater emphasis on mid-bass. This creates a warmer and smoother sound, and vocals are reproduced with more emotion. On the other hand, the Samba’s stage is consequently cleaner due to the tighter bass. Even in the Aether’s low bass position, the Samba’s bass is tighter and more controlled.


    The Samba is a reference-oriented version of neutral, characterized by a tighter yet impactful bass, and an uncolored midrange. While the Aether has a beautiful tonality, the Samba has a more accurate reproduction of instruments due to the lack of coloration, and greater transparency. Piano and string instruments are purer, more true, compared to the thicker and warmer notes of the Aether. In addition, the Samba’s treble is more precise and articulate, although it is less smooth. This also results in more precise imaging. Both have a nice stage with good separation, although the Samba’s stage is larger and cleaner in comparison. Taken together, the Aether sounds more natural for easy-going band oriented or rock music, while the Samba offers a more accurate recreation of instruments for classical and jazz, while its precision makes it more suitable for electronic music.

    [​IMG]


    Earsonics S-EM9 ($1490)
    EarSonics offers its own variation of a neutral signature, albeit with a more pronounced U-shape. Both share a nice bass presentation, although the Samba’s sub-bass is more impactful. The S-EM9 in turn has slightly more mid-bass emphasis, though both have a controlled and quick bass response in common. Both share a relatively neutral midrange, although the S-EM9’s is slightly more colored in comparison. While Samba’s upper midrange remains neutral and uncolored, the S-EM9 has EarSonics’ trademark dip, making it smoother, but also sacrificing a bit of sparkle and clarity. In addition, this makes the Samba’s midrange more full and slightly closer in comparison. While both have a good technical presentation of the treble and a similar tone, the Samba’s decay is quicker.


    The Samba has a larger stage, especially in width. Both offer good depth to the presentation, but due to the stage dimensions, the Samba offers a more effortless separation. Both perform very well when it comes to precision of imaging. With their stock cables, the Samba offers a cleaner stage, with an advantage in instrument definition. With a similar cable, the two come closer in price as well as technical performance.

    Rhapsodio Solar ($1550)
    Both the Samba and Solar have a powerful sub-bass rumble, that really knocks at the door when called upon. The Solar adds a hefty mid-bass, that adds warmth and fullness to the presentation. Accordingly, the Solar creates thicker notes; the Samba on the other hand is more neutral and cleaner, with an airier stage and greater transparency. The Solar’s upper midrange is also more laidback compared to the Samba, and the combination with the warmer sound makes it smoother overall, while the Samba offers more clarity and definition. This continues in the treble, where the Samba’s treble is slightly more prominent. The Solar in turn has a more natural treble tone. Both offer a great deal of precision in the treble tuning.


    Both iems have a nice open stage, with well-proportioned width, height, and depth. Additionally, the instrument positioning and imaging is both excellent. Their main difference is the result of the Solar’s warmer mid-bass response; the Samba has a noticeably cleaner stage, with greater emphasis of subtle details. Overall, the Solar is warmer, thicker, and smoother, though less accurate in its tonality and precision. The Samba has greater resolution, transparency, as well as stage airiness.

    Concluding thoughts

    Jomo’s previous former flagship, the 6R, was tuned with a reference signature in mind; aiming to be a viable alternative to iems as the UERM. With the Samba, Joseph is continuing in the same direction. A neutral signature, with a focus on technical abilities as clarity, resolution and separation. If I’d had to describe the Jomo in two words, it would be clean and organized; an accurate, high fidelity reproduction of music. Often, manufacturers might add a bit of warmth or size to make a midrange more impressive, or make it brighter to enhance detail. While this works for some genres like pop or rock, it affects the purity of an instrumental presentation, the tones of a piano or string instruments.

    It is somewhat sensitive and source dependent though; with a brighter dap, such a signature can come across as dry and analytical, while it will present itself as more musical and natural with a neutral to warmer dap, though retaining its reference precision. As is, the Samba might not have the most emotional or lush midrange, it's not a signature that shouts for attention; but its reference tuning offers a benchmark for flat and uncolored sound – a level of accuracy I’ve seldom come across.

    [​IMG]




      Raketen, omastic, proedros and 8 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Kerouac
      Excellent review and looking forward to your 16 flagship (incl. Jomo Samba) shootout next year!
      Kerouac, Nov 30, 2016
    3. jmills8
      A great review and now I am interested in this iem.
      jmills8, Nov 30, 2016
    4. proedros
      Great review , Nic
      proedros, Dec 10, 2016
  2. sonickarma
    Jomo Audio – Samba Custom Earphone – Rich, Vibrant and Laden with Energetic Verve
    Written by sonickarma
    Published Oct 25, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Expert Tuning with Rich Vivid Signature, Natural Emotional Vocals, Fantastic build and design, Great cable included
    Cons - May be out of some peoples price range - but then again this is a flagship product
    This is my review originally posted on http://www.earphonia.com/earphones-iems-ciems/jomo-samba-pro-audio-ciem-review/
     
    Jomo Audio is a Singapore local company that crafts in ear earphones that sound and look wonderful. They are well known and highly respected in Singapore but have little exposure in Europe.
     
    So it was a privilege to be contacted by them to review their flagship release – The Samba Pro Audio 8 Driver custom in ear earphone.
     
    [​IMG]

     

    Manufacturer Description

    We are excited to introduce the brand new custom IEM, SAMBA, to our new Pro-Audio in-ear monitors lineup!
     
    Samba was the result of our extensive R&D in custom IEM. Packed with 8 carefully tuned balanced armature drivers, provide you the most excited and vivid sound you’ve ever wanted.
     
    Seamless connection between tri-bands crossover produce the most coherent sound. From deepest bass, through the richest vocal and to the clearest instrument, you will not miss a single note.
     
    Effect Audio’s latest Ares II cable were built inside the Samba and it is the stock cable by default.
     

    Specification:

    Eight Precision Balanced Armature Drivers Dual Low, Dual Mid and Quad High configuration
    Three ways crossover
    Effect Audio Ares II Inter-drivers wiring
    FR: 20Hz – 20kHz
    Sensitivity: 116dB
    Impedance: 19 ohms
    Noise Isolation: 26dB +/- 3dB(Custom Version)
    Price Range: SGD2399-2699 – approximately USD1700-1900 (range due to different options)
    Official Product Page: http://www.jomoaudio.com/collections/featured-product/products/samba-pro-audio-iem
     
    [​IMG]

    Review/Impressions

    Packaging/Presentation:

    I was very pleased to see that my case of preference was included with these earphones. Pelican Cases are fantastic for storing and protecting earphones.This one has a nice branding label with black on brushed silver backing.

     
    [​IMG]

     

    Accessories

    It comes with 3.5 jack adaptor, airplane adaptor, cleaning tool, case clip and a very useful velcro strip.

    This is very handy for keeping the cables together nicely. No eartips are needed as these are custom in-ear earphones.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

     

    Cable

     
    As a lot of you know, I am a big fan of ‘Effect Audio’ for their well engineered and beautiful cable range.

    So the addition of the Ares II cable was an excellent choice to compliment the Samba CIEM.

    Also the exact same cabling is used inside the Samba as well, so the signal flow should be extremely compatible.

    I selected the single ended cable but you can choose balanced also if you prefer.

     
    [​IMG]
     

    Earphone Fit

    My history with Custom IEMs has been very poor in the past, with many fit issues due to either poor cast/scans of ears taken, inaccurate precision of shell creations  or both.

    This was not the case with the Jomo shells, these are the best fit of any CIEM, in fact of any earphone I have ever owned.

    I am extremely impressed with their precision of build and exact replication of the casts sent to them.

     
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     

    Build Quality

    The shells are smooth and solid with no air bubble imperfections. The bores look cleanly machined to let the signature flow unimpeded and the 2 pin socket is smooth and tight fitting.
    [​IMG]
     
    As it is clear from these shells and many others Jomo has produced, his attention to detail and professionalism really is impressive and shows in the end result of his work.

    His artistry and design compositions are bold yet contemporary, there are a number of options he provides but he is also able to incorporate your own unique designs.

    [​IMG]

     

    Digital Audio Player Parings:

    Using the Lotoo Paw Gold the Samba signature was very precise and detailed but didn’t feel as musical as with the AK380CU.[​IMG]
     
    Using the Cowon Plenue S the Samba pairing worked well. The signature is a little more spacious and treble presence seems somewhat softened.

    The signature feels refined, however the weighty richness felt more reduced when compared to the AK380CU signature.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Pairing with the striking looking Astell & Kern AK380 Copper DAP everything was fuller and more engaging.

    Treble detail was very precise but in no way clinical or harsh.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    The rest of my review is based on this AK380CU pairing using the Ares II supplied cable.

    If you want more information about this cable there is a review of the plus series cable in the Ares II series which is very similar in the cables section of my site.

    Sound Signature:

     
    Due to the excellent build precision I was able to get a nice deep fit and perfect seal on both ears, ensuring that there is no frequency leak due to fit issues.

    As I always do with all my earphone reviews I burned these in for 150 hours before starting to listen to them.

    From the get go I am very impressed, it sort of reminds me of the first time I listened to the FitEar 334 famous Japanese earphones.

    The signature fullness hits you first but it does not feel coloured at all, it is kind of neutral but has a very energetic feel and dynamic engaging presence to it.

    [​IMG]
     
    The bass is full but in no way dominating. It is expertly controlled with great recovery on fast paced and dynamic tracks.

    It stays rich and deep without any clouding of resolution. The focus spans primarily low to mid range but glides higher when needed.

    The layering is very smooth and even though you can clearly identify the separation distinctly, it expertly weaves the layers together to create a detailed tapestry of sound, with all the instruments clear and well placed.

    Pianos sound real with a natural weight very difficult to capture, key notes are sustained accurately and decay perfectly.

    Soundstage is wide but not hugely so,  just enough to create an engaging rounded signature without feeling too thick.

    Mids are solid but not overly warm, just covering the ranges beautifully and adding to the coherent signature.

    Vocals are natural sounding and clear, relaying an emotional richness. Every shift of air movement is captured effortlessly making you feel like it is being sung just for you on well mastered tracks.

    [​IMG]
     
    As the name Samba is inspired from the lively energetic Brazilian created dance which can be seen in the Rio carnival, this earphone certainly lives up to it’s name and shares many synergies with the Brazilians.

    Much like the Brazilians the Samba Pro is:

    1. An eclectic, beautifully tuned earphone that takes a myriad of diverse qualities and consistently rises upward with its spirit to produce an amazingly coherent solid and resilient sound signature.
    2. It shines with lively vitality and energy , there is no treble harshness, just well balanced precise rendering and richness.
    3. It has a fun, open and welcoming musicality which radiates joy to those who wish to join this private party.
    4. It’s well toned, with a firm weighty character yet agile and dynamic.
     
    For me the Samba earphones deliver a carnival of audio pleasures, the signature blended and energetic with a unified feel of the crowd grooving as one, each and every participant uniquely contributing their own detail and expression to build something larger than their solo.

    It creates a coherent wave of soulful joy, bringing light and vibrancy, thoroughly immersive, keeping you deep in that musical moment with its expert tuning and vivid inspiring signature.

     

    Here are a couple of brilliant Samba inspired tracks I like:

     

    Airto Moreira – Samba De Flora

     
    [​IMG]
     
    This track starts with well paced precise raw percussion and deep drums pushing, rising into a crescendo of energetic grooves – designed to release the dancer in you.

    The piano now takes over the focus and is then complimented by beautiful vibrant Portuguese vocals, laden with spirit and verve.

    These energetic, passionate vocals trade the lead with the piano sometimes joining strengths equally to perfect effect.

    A number of complex percussion breaks get your head moving with their infectious sounds.

    The piano solos control all now with passion and strength, slamming hard with emotion.

    The pace builds with energy and the familiar vivid vocals rise and fill the track to the end.

    Elza Soares – Mas Que Nada

     
    [​IMG]
     
    The start of this track doesn’t hold back and it’s straight to the point.

    It firmly punches in with classic Samba percussion and Elza’s unique soulful voice hits every note in time with great pitch and rhythm.

    As her voice takes the lead with raw emotion you can’t help but feel the groove. The track builds into a crescendo and leaves you wanting for more as it fades out.

    The Jomo Samba Pro handles both tracks expertly, the detail and complexity between the instruments is clearly resolved but still extremely musical. The piano notes sound real with a natural feel, each note is rendered with dynamism, managing to portray the passion of the pianist with great accuracy. The vocals energy and pace are captured by this earphone giving you a live feel, nothing sounds clinical or overly technical. Musicality is abundantly present at all twists and turns as the tracks build to climax. Bass punches and extends with a well balanced presence adding to the depth. The Samba Pro earphones navigate the rhythm and electrifying energy of the tracks effortlessly.
     
    I’m so in love with the energetic passion of the Jomo Samba Earphones all that’s left for me now is to get on a plane to Brazil!
    [​IMG]
    When ordering the Samba please mention this sonickarma headfi and the earphonia.com review, Jomo can be contacted on  info@jomoaudio.com.
     
    This is my review originally posted on http://www.earphonia.com/earphones-iems-ciems/jomo-samba-pro-audio-ciem-review/ and also posted here on headfi to share
      omastic and hqssui like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. earfonia
      Nice review with great pictures!
      earfonia, Oct 26, 2016
    3. sonickarma
      Thanks glad you liked it - nice username BTW ^^
      sonickarma, Oct 26, 2016
    4. sonickarma
      omastic I have a number of other reviews on the stack currently but in future will try to add more comparisons/updates
      sonickarma, Oct 26, 2016

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