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ROCK JAW ALFA GENUS

Rating:
4.26923/5,
  1. suman134
    Can be a Bass Head's delight and a Less bassy, detailed one too!!
    Written by suman134
    Published Jun 26, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Bass!! Tuning filters that can bring you some control over bass!! Solid build quality.
    Cons - Bassy signature overall. Could have been a bit more detailed.
    My review of Alfa genus V2 can be found here.
     
    http://www.head-fi.org/products/rock-jaw-alfa-genus-v2-earphones-with-in-line-mic-3x-tuning-filters/reviews/16322
     
    Sorry for the wrong post.
    1. Cinder
      Couple of notes:
       
      1) You incorrectly listed this product as the Alfa Genus V1: Scroll down further when adding the product and you will find the listing for the V2 version.
       
      2) When reviewing I find it's easier to read when you use all capital letters sparingly.
       
      3) I'm sorry about your cousin, but I think that personal issues such as that are more appropriately placed in a different kind of forum. 
      Cinder, Jun 26, 2016
    2. suman134
      Yup.. You are right!! Wrong one!!
      suman134, Jun 26, 2016
    3. suman134
      Let me get one on the one you added.
      suman134, Jun 26, 2016
  2. Ishcabible
    A Fantastic Entry Into the IEM Scene
    Written by Ishcabible
    Published Jul 30, 2014
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Customizable sound, great bass timbre with the bassy filter, great value
    Cons - Treble-heavy filter can be a bit too bright
    RockJaw is an up and coming headphone company from Great Britain starting strong with a huge lineup. The Alfa Genus is one of their midrange offerings and offers a certain special something that is rarely seen in the IEM world other than a few OEM’s. …yeah so this is really late. Sorry to RockJaw for the delays! I’ve been busy with work and other projects (like a collab for a wooden T50RP mod [not ZMF] and trying to make a measurement system) and have another five or so reviews to write up which hasn’t given me much free time for these things.
     
    Anyway, the Alfa Genus came in this really nice packaging, but I’m not sure whether or not it will be part of the retail packaging so I’ll just include a pretty picture of it rather than describe it much.
    The IEM’s themselves are quite dashing with their ebony housing, flexible twisted cable coated with rubber, and silver accents. I do have a couple niggles with its build though. The main issue is that the filters tend to come slightly unscrewed after a few insertions since I tend to lightly twist the earpieces to get a good seal. A minor concern is that RockJaw didn’t really do much in terms of differentiating between left and right. There’s a light silkscreening on each side, but it’s basically the same color as the metal strain relief it’s printed on, so it’s almost impossible to read in direct sunlight. Something as simple as a dot on the left side would suffice though! Oh, I’m not the biggest fan of the tips. They take a little bit of effort to actually seal in my ears.
     
    Their most interesting feature is their sound filters, which produce radically different sound signatures. Basically, the silver filter tunes the sound in a downward slope, with pretty big bass and rolled off treble. The black filter, however, does mostly the opposite. (Side note, the configuration definitely should have been switched; the black filter would totally make sense being the “darker” sound and the silver filter would make sense with the “brighter” tuning, but I digress)
     
    But I guess that doesn’t really tell all too much, so I’ll go in a bit more detail.
     
    The Alfa Genus was shipped to me with the silver filters installed. Since I’m lazy, I plugged them into my Audio-GD SA-31, which was   most definitely overkill. They don’t have any discernable hiss (though I’ve yet to try a dynamic that did). To be frank, I was pretty disappointed. They were dark, kind of muffled, and the mids were just pretty unimpressive. Granted, I was using my AD2000 right before plugging them in, but it was more of a difference than expected. Per RockJaw’s suggestion, I let them run in and gave my ears time to readjust to a different sound signature. The second time around, they were definitely less unappealing, but there was a certain attribute to the midrange that was still a little off to me—the AD2000 was still probably the culprit; the thing has such a strange midrange that once you get used to it, everything else sounds weird. So after leaving them alone for a week to burn in and not using the AD2000 to skew my ears, they actually sound relatively “normal.” Of course, such a bassy sound signature (And trust me, they slam. I have no idea how the heck RockJaw did this as unlike the other cheaper tunable options, these don’t have a simple low pass filter to create more bass. Looking at both filters now, they seem to have similarly wide openings, so I have no idea how they sound so different) will never have glorious mids at this price range. However one thing this tuning does insanely well for its price range is its bass drum decay. It has fantastic texture and air. I honestly am really disappointed the bass is too much for my tastes because the magic is gone with the black filters. Seriously, it has better decay than my daily use IEM, the Hifiman RE600. It’s a shame it’s rather underwhelming with vocals, because this tuning is great fun with pop music (Skylar Grey’s Don’t Look Down is a great album to show what I mean). The treble is a bit subdued, but there are a few odd peaks that keep them from being a snoozefest in case the bass wasn’t enough to keep you up.
     
    Now, time to move on to the black filters, which most of the other reviewers in the RockJaw testing program seemed to prefer to the silver ones. Oddly enough, I didn’t really like it. It sounded a bit too frigid for me, about as bright as the very trebly Sony SA5000 is from memory. There really is a lot of treble, and it colors the midrange to the point where they sound nasal. The bass naturally is significantly decreased compared to the silver filters, but as I said in the previous paragraph, it loses its character. The once great decay is gone, exchanged for upper end and the detail low level information that comes with increased treble. I was tempted to put a little bit of felt in front of the driver to act as a low pass filter, but since RockJaw is working on a third filter, I’ll just wait for them to finish that.
     
    With both tunings, they sounded rather wide, but they both had a bit of a cupped sound that always made them sound an IEM.
    Overall, for a new company, RockJaw is pretty dang impressive, coming out with an IEM hoping to disrupt the $50 market with an IEM that essentially gives the user two IEM’s for the price of one. While neither of them are perfect (Please, RockJaw, for your third filter, try to keep that bass decay; it’s actually what keeps me drawn to them and using them occasionally over not only my other IEM’s, but the beautiful Audio Technica W10VTG and Allnic HPA-3000 combo sitting on my desk) the combination of all its merits make them a very interesting product indeed. And there’s much more where this came from.
      ustinj likes this.
    1. ustinj
      Thanks!! 
      ustinj, Aug 30, 2016
  3. lin0003
    Sub $100 Tunable IEM
    Written by lin0003
    Published Jul 12, 2014
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Filters, Overall Sound, Build
    Cons - No Cable Cinch
    First I’d like to thank Rock Jaw for sending me the Alfa Genus for review. If you haven’t heard of Rock Jaw before, I don’t blame you. They are a rather new company that recently came out with a wide range of IEMs and headphones. The Alfa Genus is one of their mid-range IEMs, which is priced at £50, which is quite budget minded for people who don’t wish to spend so much on audio.
     
    ALFA-GENUS-1-1024x768.jpg
     
     
    Those who know me will know that I have always loved IEMs, especially IEMs that punch above their price point and IMO the Alfa Genus is definitely one of them. Obviously, the sub $100 IEM market is filled with some excellent offerings from many companies and making an IEM that really shines in that price bracket is really quite hard but Rock Jaw have done it1 Let’s get on with the rest of the review.
     
    **Disclaimer** These were given to me by Rock Jaw in return for an unbiased, fair review.
     
     
    Design
    The Alfa Genus is definitely quite different from other IEMs that I have seen. It is actually made mostly out of wood, rather than plastic or metal. I am not really sure what effect this has on the sound quality, but it does look very interesting and quite nice. The cable feels like it can withstand some mistreatment, but it is a little rigid. The plug is right angled, which is a plus for me and there is sufficient strain relief on both the IEM housing and the plug. The shape of the IEM makes it quite hard for me to get a seal and I found that the Sony Hybrid tips were the best for me. I usually use a medium, but on the Alfa Genus I preferred the large ones. I do wish that there was a cable cinch to make over the ear wear a little easier though. Oh, and of course there are interchangeable filters, which changes the sound signature. The isolation is about average.

     
    On to build quality. As a whole package, the Alfa Genus is quite premium feeling, mostly due to the wood housing, and the interchangeable filter which I don’t think are available in anything that is under $100. The packaging and accessories that I received are not going to be the production ones, so I’m not going to talk about them. I do hope that Rock Jaw include some more tips though.
     
    IMG_20140711_094422.jpg
     
     
    Testing Gear
    Usually IEMs of this price range don’t scale up much when used with different sources, and the Alfa Genus doesn’t change dramatically, but I feel like it did change a bit, but obviously not enough to spend $250 on a DAP just for it. I actually really like the Sansa Clip+ and Clip Zip with the Alfa Genus, they match really well. With the DX50 and 90 they further improved, but not by much. I highly doubt people will be using the Alfa Genus with a $450 source though. Adding an amp did produce some good results, which means that it reacts positively to amping, which is always a good sign. Personally I would recommend a Sansa Clip to pair with the Alfa Genus, they really do sound very good together.

     
    IMG_20140711_095335.jpg
     
     
    Sound Quality
    With the RE-400 dominating the sub $100 market, it is very hard for companies to make an IEM and price it around it. I will go out and say it now – the Alfa Genus sound very good, and with two separate filters and costing $20 or so less, mat be a very good choice for some people. Most my impressions are made with the “normal” filter, which is a lot less bassy than the bass heavy filter. Below, you will find comparisons between the silver and black filters.

     
    IMG_20140711_095443.jpg
     
     
    Bass
    When I first heard the Alfa Genus out of the box I was really quite shocked. It was bass heavy – very bass heavy. Luckily, the filter on the Alfa Genus was the bass heavy one and the black filters were not nearly as bass heavy. What I am hearing from the black filters is very clean, fast bass. It is definitely not for the bassheads (that would be the bass filter), I think it is actually slightly on the bass light side. I found myself just wanting some extra punch in the mid-bass at times. The bass is quite detailed, which is impressive at this price range. What I love most about the Alfa Genus’ bass with the black filter is the fact that bass lines never get muddy at all and are up there with some of the cleanest sounding IEMs I have ever heard regardless of price. Now we should probably talk more about the silver bass filters. Man, these guys punch hard! The bass is a slower that I would have liked, but it will appeal to a lot of bassheads out there for sure. The bass does bleed a tiny bit into the midrange and because of this, I prefer the black filters personally.

     
    IMG_20140711_094131.jpg
     
    Midrange
    Here, the Alfa Genus is very crisp sounding and has great clarity that far exceeded my expectations. Vocals sound excellent and very clear. One little “issue” that I found with these is that the upper midrange could sound a little bit on the colder side at times, but that can be both a good and bad thing depending on your preference. The midrange reminded me somewhat of the TWFK drivers which also have great clarity and have a similar tone. The decay of instruments is a little on the fast side and sounds quite realistic, which is quite a feat at this price range. I would say that the midrange is not recessed nor forward, it is rather neutral. Luckily, there was not really any vocal sibilance here even at higher volumes. The silver filters did change the midrange a bit, making it sound warmer and a more like a RE-400. The clarity is not quite as good as the black filters, but that was expected but it is still quite impressive in that department. Overall the midrange performance of the Alfa Genus is one of the best, if not the best that I have heard in this price bracket.

     
    IMG_20140711_094214.jpg
     
    Treble
    Too many times have I heard a great sounding IEM only to be let down by its treble. One example of this is the Brainwavz B2, its treble was far too bright. The Alfa Genus is not one of them. The treble is quite well extended and a little on the bright side, but not exceedingly so. There was a little bit of sibilance creeping in at higher volumes, but it was definitely not getting in the way of the music and this was only on certain tracks where the treble was a bit hot to begin with. Details in the treble were quite good, but cymbals were a little bit too emphasized and as a result, some of the treble details were masked by the cymbals, but it wasn’t too bad. I might be a little less sensitive to treble compared to some people because others report a much more emphasized treble to what I am hearing. The silver filters were much more forgiving in the treble region, being less bright but still equally detailed. To my ears, the silver filter are much better here.

     
    IMG_20140711_094715.jpg
     
     
    Soundstage & Imaging
    No budget IEM I have heard has really impressed me with their soundstage and the Alfa Genus is no different. Now that I have heard more full sized headphones, I’ve come to the conclusion that all IEMs I’ve heard just do not do soundstage and imaging quite right. For an IEM, the Alfa Genus is not bad, but not really special either. The RE-400 and AX35 do a bit better in this regard. The stage is quite limited and is quite in your head, but at this price range I don’t expect any IEM to have a good soundstage.

     
    Imaging is actually quite accurate and it fares very well for its price point. On sightly congested tracks it doesn’t do too badly, but on passages with a lot going on, the Alfa Genus does struggle a bit. This section may have come off a little bit harsh because I’ve been listening to a full on HD800 setup a lot lately and it excels in this area. The Alfa Genus really isn’t bad for its price in this regard, but it is not the best I have heard. 
     
    IMG_20140711_094329.jpg
     
     
    Details & Clarity
    The Alfa Genus with the black filters was tuned to have great clarity and detail and it does. The entire spectrum is almost as detailed as the RE-400 and up there with the AX35, which are my favourite sub $100 IEMs. As Brooko mentioned in his review, these sound a little like Grado or AKG cans and I feel the same. Their brightness makes them overall sound seem clear and whether this is a positive or negative ting depends very much on what your preference is.

     
    IMG_20140711_094616.jpg
     
    Rock Jaw
    I don’t usually do a section like this in my reviews, but I feel compelled to do one over here. Rock Jaw’s customer service is simply incredible and every time someone posts on the Rock Jaw thread, Rockbob responds in a few hours or even just a few minutes. They are the first company I have come across that treat customers like this and I really wish that more companies would learn from them and pay more attention to what people want and answering people’s question on forums as well as via email. Rock Jaw also listens to what people say and they have made some changes to their models from our feedback already. Well done, Rock Jaw, keep it up!

     
    Bronze Filter Update
    I recently just got the bronze filter that Rock Jaw sent me and man, I am even more impressed by these now. The bronze or champagne filters were made from the Head-Fiers' feedback and I am so impressed that Rock Jaw is willing to listen to everyone's feedback and make an addition to an existing product to improve it. ell done guys. So onto the sound, it is really quite a transformation. The black and silver filters were not really all that great for me as terms of tuning went. Well, the bronze filter keeps all the traits of the silver filter, but it makes the sound fuller. It keeps the awesome clarity and detail, but it really solves the bass issue and adds a lot more impact and the result is a much fuller overall sound. The midrange is also a touch warmer, removing that cold tint that it had previously. Vocals sound much more realistic and less "screechy?". The treble is also toned down a little and is a bit less sibilant. Overall the sound is much more pleasant while keeping all the positive traits of the silver filter. 
     
     
    Conclusion
     
    IMG_20140711_094554.jpg
     
    The Alfa Genus is a great product, but it does has its flaws. With the 3rd filter that they are planning to add, the Alfa Genus could really turn out to be a true winner and a new baseline of what a budget IEM should sound like. If I’m not wrong the Alfa Genus is still in beta testing stages so I would expect Rock Jaw to make some minor tweaks to the sound and the Alfa Genus will be a great IEM. 
      TrollDragon likes this.
  4. BillsonChang007
    RockJaw Rocks!
    Written by BillsonChang007
    Published Jul 2, 2014
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Changeable filter, woods, pretty comfortable, price ratio to performance
    Cons - Overwhelming bass on silver filter, Edgy highs on black filter
    A very big thank you to Bob at RockJaw for sending in theAlfa Genus for review! It is also worth mentioning that, what I am getting may be different from what you are getting. Here’s a little background information about RockJaw. It is a brand new company straight from the UK whose goal is to design something that almost everyone can afford, and something that punches well beyond its own price bracket. While they have partially achieved the goal, I personally like how they are accepting the suggestions of others whilst applying it. In all honesty, I do think that RockJaw will see a bright future ahead if they carry on what they are doing, that is, improving.

    At £49.99, there are literally no plastics in Alfa Genus’s housing. There is only aluminum and woodies. We all love woodies, don’t we? RockJaw uses some high quality ebony wood as well-though from which region was not specified. I did some research on the ebony wood and was pleasantly surprised! According to the source, ebony wood is among the most expensive wood in the world. It is finely-textured and has a very smooth finish when polished, making it valuable as an ornamental wood. TheRockJaw Acero also uses the same wood as the Alfa Genus, but RockJaw should be more than proud of their beautiful wood and shouldn’t be covered with black paint which sort of spoils the design. It is nice, but I would still prefer to just leave it as it is.

    The cable is on the thinner side, and feels pretty light unlike the JAYS A-Jays Five’s which’s cable feels as if it is weighting the earphone down. The low profile 90 degree 3.5mm headphone jack makes it fit into almost every smartphone case, including the thick ones. Microphonic wise, it is not the quietest but it definitely isn’t the worst either. It’s not loud enough to ruin your music but it is loud enough to be heard. RockJaw has been said to include foam eartips in the near future as part of the accessories of the Alfa Genus as well as every other IEM of RockJaw. There are only three eartips included in the box butthe M-size fits my ears extremely well. As far as quality goes, these are of really good quality. The only thing lacking in Alfa Genus’s accessories is a carrying pouch which RockJaw will be including as well in the future.

    The RockJaw sits in my ears, no doubt perfectly. It has a very comfy IEM and does not fall off easily and even has a tight seal as well. It is one of the few earphones that I can stand wearing for over an hour without adjusting it in between.

    The RockJaw Alfa Genus features changeable filters which make it very flexible to suit a variety of people by switching between the black filter and silver filter. The “changeable filters” are not just for show, both really do sound like day and night, especially in the bass department-though I personally like the black filter best. Some have suggested that it would have been better if RockJaw designed another filter which would suit the best of both worlds. Gladly, according to Bob, they are already working on it.

    The RockJaw Alfa Genus, as suggested, has been given roughly a hundred hours or more of burn-in time. Using the black filter, there is an obvious major bass roll off and things seem to leans on the dry side. Some may hate this filter with nearly no bass presence and the more mid-centric sound signature. It is however, very clean sounding, very detailed and the bass is small enough to not overlap the mids and the highs. The slightly edgy highs and upper-midrange can be a tad piercing with certain female vocals and inappropriate for bad recordings and that is where I find myself crafting for the silver filter. Other than that, it’s cleaner, slightly more spacious sound and brighter sound signature.

    Switching to the silver filter, everything just feels slightly congested and the bass thought goes way deeper in with far better body. It does bleed into the midrange and put the midrange behind a little bit. The upper frequency spikes have disappeared though the bass can be slightly “boomy” at times. Vocals can sound a little chesty as well. Detail retrieval is similar to the black filter. The soundstage depth andwides are certainly lacking. I happen to enjoy the silver filter with James Blake’s Overgrown.

     
    For £49.99, with a changeable being hard to find, it is certainly worth a try if you are unsure on what sound signature suits you the best. To sum it up, the silver filter offers some very over powerful bass and the black filter has brighter highs. If RockJaw were to develop their 3rd filter for the Alfa Genus, I would prefer it to be slightly punchy at the bass region, with deep but not overpowering, less edgy highs and a smooth midrange. Otherwise, they should redesign the silver housing for a better bass response. 
     
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

     

    [​IMG]
     

      TrollDragon likes this.
    1. thatBeatsguy
      Great review as always, Billson! These look really good, and I might consider buying them when they come out. Then again, I'm not much of a fan of IEMs anymore (scared of the cable), but hey, great review!
      thatBeatsguy, Jul 2, 2014
    2. BillsonChang007
      Many thanks ThatBeatsguy! your support is very much appreciated! xD
      BillsonChang007, Jul 18, 2014
  5. ApplesRevenge
    Novel tuneable dynamic driver budget IEMs
    Written by ApplesRevenge
    Published Jun 2, 2014
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Woody sound signature; smooth, rich with great clarity and balance. Novel tunable filter design for enhanced bass or flat response. Fantastic value.
    Cons - Cable is not significantly robust. Little extras.
    Rock Jaw Alfa Genus IEMs
     
    Rock Jaw offers a variety of IEMs and headphones, aiming to provide great value, reliable and robust devices, with self proclaimed minimal packaging overhead to help minimise cost.
    The Alfa Genus IEMs from Rock Jaw are novel user tunable single dynamic driver IEMs with ebony wooden and aluminium housing.
    I have so far racked up well over 100 hours of use with the Alfa Genus IEMs from various sources; Rockbox’d Clip+, FiiO X3 and ODAC.
     
    I have attempted to be as objective as possible, however as we all know perceived audio has a significant subjective variable and comments are often relative to the price range.
     
     
    Specification
     
    Drivers: 8mm dynamic

    Impedance: 16Ω

    Sensitivity: 108+/-3db

    Frequency response: 20 – 20000Hz

    Cord Length: 1.2M

    Jack type: Gold plated 3.5mm

     
    Packaging, Accessories and Build Quality
     
     
     
     
    Rock Jaw managed to provide an excellent value for money, with little extras including no travel case, although I really do like the inner packaging that houses the IEMs and filters. I would more than happily use that as a mini travel case if I could fit a Clip+ in there too.
     

     
    The Alfa Genus IEMs are lightweight and comfortable, with a twisted non-tangle resistant wire. The cable is strong, but it is not anywhere near as robust as the Rock Jaw Arcana cable.
    I discovered the clear plastic tubing support at the IEM housing popped off, much to my surprise as I use a hard carry case and take extreme care of IEMs when listening. I have been in contact with Rock Jaw and they are aware of the tubing and will most likely take action as required, since they are actively listening to constructive feedback, which is a sign of a great company with fantastic devices to come. Another sign of Rock Jaw listening to the customer is the IEM tips have been upgraded to significantly better silicon tips from previous revisions - as noted in my Arcana review.  The interchangeable filters are small and can be easily lost, I carry mine around in a mini see through plastic bag tucked inside my IEM case.
     

     
    Sound Quality
     
    To me the Alfa Genus provides a warm and smooth sound signature, with intense lush and richness. The bass enhanced filters provide deep bass, without the boomy rumbling effect caused by lower level bass roll-off, while the interchangeable flat filter provides a much more flatter bass response to obtain a more neutral and a relatively even sound. I found the mids to be very clear with excellent detail, while highs appeared to be brightly detailed and extended. In particular I found the smoothness to be impressive at this price range.
    I really enjoyed my use of the Alfa Genus for various types of music ranging from Reggae to Rock and in particular I found female vocals to really shine.

    To recap:
    Advantages:
    Woody signature.
    Very smooth and rich sound.
    Great clarity and balance.
    Novel interchangeable filters for enhanced bass and more neutral responses.
    Fantastic value.
     
    Disadvantages:
    Cable doesn’t appear to be significantly robust.
    Clear plastic tube support at IEM casing pop off - Rock Jaw are currently working on this.
    Little extras.
     
    Verdict
     
    Rock Jaw Alfa Genus provides a fantastic wooden single dynamic driver IEM with a novel interchangeable filter to provide user configurable tuning for bass enhanced or more flat sound signatures at an extremely competitive price range. I have said it before and I will say it again; Rock Jaw has my attention. Rock Jaw is an impressive company, not just with their products, but how they actively listen to the community and add their feedback to the development cycle.
      TrollDragon likes this.
  6. anoobis
    Alpha Alfa
    Written by anoobis
    Published Nov 25, 2014
    4.0/5,
    Pros - soundstage, clarity, filter options, dynamics
    Cons - cable microphonics, filters can be a bit fiddly
    Introduction
     
    So here's my contribution to the growing collection of reviews on Rock Jaw's Alfa Genus. For those of you interested in purchasing a pair, hopefully this is a useful addition; for the rest of you, another post on Head-Fi with which to while away the time!
     
    Before we get underway, it would be remiss of me not to thank Rock Jaw for sending a pair to review, the opportunity is appreciated.
     
    I'm going to take the slightly indolent approach of skipping a detailed description and comments on aesthetics, accessories &c. as these have been well covered in other reviews and the discussion thread, and because I don't have the retail package.
     
    My listening sessions have been conducted using the ODAC/O2 separates, mostly with the champagne filters. I tend to listen to jazz, classical and pop/rock and those have been used here. I stick to well-recorded pieces where I can and all tracks were CD quality or better. No mp3s were used in the making of this review [​IMG]
     
     
    Short Version
     
    I think it's fair to say that overall it's a win for Rock Jaw on build. The cable seems sturdy and flexible enough, and the insertion point is protected with metal. I must admit, I haven't used the Alfa Genus on the move, so I can't comment on whether microphonics would become annoying in that case.
     
    As intended, the filters differ predominantly in bass quantity. In practice, I think most people will pick one and stick to it but the key is you get to make a selection and the alternatives are always available.
     
    I found myself using the black and champagne filters the most. With both, the Alfa Genus produces a slightly forward sound but nontheless has a spacious soundstage with some depth to it. Instrument separation is good, balance is neutral-ish, altered slightly by the filters. (For me the silver filters are bass heavy; I probably wouldn't buy a pair of IEMs with this signature but that doesn't mean I would never use these filters.) My only real complaint sound-wise is a slight grainiess or harshness to upper registers, especially with strings but I may have to revisit this.
     
    I focussed on the Alfa Genus whilst reviewing but have made some quick comparisons and found the Alfa Genus fared more than favourably.
     
     
    Sonic Evaluation
    I generally listen to a genre at a time when evaluating gear, to get 'into' that sound and see how well it's conveyed, so that's how I'll present the comments. The switchable filters are a major selling point of the Alfa Genus, so inevitably a large element of the reviews will concern them.
     
    Jazz
    Starting with the black filters, I found the Alfa Genus to present a clean, clear sound, with individual instruments in ensembles distinct, yet the music was coherent. I like to use HoneyDripper from Jools Holland's Beatroute to assess how well larger groups are portrayed. This piece gets busy and has elements of fast percussion too. The Alfa Genus (black filters) did well here, maintaining instrument separation and keeping up with the pace, never sounding muddy. The black filters bring out cymbals and the like, and have a somewhat detailed, forward presentation. That said, I did note depth to soundstage on some of Diana Krall's tracks. Overall, lower registers do take a back seat with the black filters but the music still hangs together well.
     
    Moving on to the champagne filters, bass is stronger with more reverb. The sparkly cymbals are more subdued and less 'in your face', the bass solo in King For A Day has more prominence. The champagne filters add overall weight to the sound, at the expense of obvious detail and some clarity but the trade-off is minor. If you're sensitive to treble you may find the champagne filters a better option for longer listening sessions.
     
    I'm still exploring my personal filter preference for jazz. Initially I thought the black filters had better balance but now I'm not so sure. Occassionally the treble is a (tiny) bit much and the bass not quite enough, so there is a slight treble emphasis. That said, the bass is cleaner and 'faster' than with the champagne filters and still present. Ultimately, I could happily take either; the differences are worthwhile but not massive. Even better, you get both and don't have to choose! With both filters, the Alfa Genus presents good, strong dynamics, especially noticeable with percussion hits. Along with the soundstage, this results in a lively performance of faster/swing style tracks. As an aside, if you can check out the Doc Anello Disneyland binaural recordings (posted on Head-Fi many moons ago) with these, you're in for a treat.
     
    Classical
    I listened a range of scales, including string quartets, full orchestras, choral, piano, expecting the richness of champagne filter to play well here, and it did.
     
    Instrument balance and tone sounded good, regardless of the ensemble size. I found it easy to follow individual instruments, yet the sound was still appropriately full with the other instruments. Listening to the likes of the Hebrides Overture and Canon In D with the champagne filters, the bass strings have decent extension. I would like the upper strings to be more liquid smooth but maybe that will happen over time. I should listen to Brahms' Hungarian Dances, there are plenty of strings there to sort out what's what!
     
    Admittedly I have listened less extensively with the black filters but the upper registers are less smooth, maybe a bit grainy; however, they are by no means thin/brittle. At times the lower strings could do with being richer. Listening to O Fortuna, it was very vocal led and I felt that there should be more weight with the orchestra, especially the timpani. The champagne filters addressed this.
     
    Other
    In this case, 'other' consisted mostly of pop and rock. When I say rock, I'm talking about the likes of Bon Jovi.
     
    I perhaps wasn't listening as critically as with jazz and classical pieces, and that perhaps reflects that those genres are generally more intricate, but nontheless I found the Alfa Genus (with champagne filters) to offer an easy listening experience, where you can just get lost in the music. I noted good layering of instruments, clarity and nothing overly emphasised or amiss. I heard good detail and ancillary parts of the music. For the most part, the vocals stand out and female voices manage to acquire an airy quality whilst other components retain a good comparative weight. The soundstage is enveloping, having width but not pushing the sound purely to either side.
     
    What I wasn't expecting, coming from the other genres, was to find the champagne filters initially a bit light. Whereas before I was debating between black and champagne filters, here I would debate between champagne and silver. If you like a prominent driving beat, the champagne filters may not cut it. I would characterise the lower registers and drums with the champagne filters as 'polite'. Everything's there, it's fast, tight, clean but not dominant. That's a presentation you may or may not prefer. As an example, I tend to find Meatloaf's Dead Ringer to either be on the heavy/slow side, or bright/fast. With the Alfa Genus it seemed pretty neutral.
     
    I wonder whether the difference in apparent weight is down to the different mix of electric/acoustic instruments and relative importance of bass in different musical styles. Perhaps the soundstage also affects things? So I'm afraid that got a bit woolly and vague but I definitely enjoyed listening to the Alfa Genus here.
     
    Overall, here I would describe the Alfa Genus (champagne) as natural, if not neutral. I certainly appreciated not being assaulted with treble, as can happen!
     
    As an aside, I have a recollection of similar music out of a Rockbox Sansa Zip being too bass driven and heavy. It could be due to a lack of amping, or I could be completely mistaken! Unfortunately I have misplaced the Sansa, so I can't check [​IMG] Maybe someone else could.
     
     
    Endnotes
     
    In general, I have been impressed by the way in which the Alfa Genus presents sound across the styles I tested. The soundstage, instrument separation and dynamics are always good, levels of clarity and detail are more than decent. The filters largely enable you to control the level of bass you prefer. It's not possible to rapidly switch between filters, which makes it a bit more difficult to directly compare them, however, the more I listened to the (black and champagne) filters the more I noticed the differences, but they are not extreme. The champagne filter both ups the bass/weight and slightly subdues the treble, to good effect in my opinion.
     
    I should note that I have found the filters can unscrew when fitting the earphones, which is a little bit annoying. I would also comment that, personally, I wouldn't be switching the filters while on the go, as they are small, easy to lose parts. These are minor quibbles and I applaud Rock Jaw for the inclusion of filter options. I think the Alfa Genus are an inherently good set of IEMs and having the different filters means not only do you get to tailor the sound but alternatives are always available to you, while retaining the underlying qualities. This last point is worth emphasising. Supplying filters makes the product an attractive proposition but they would simply be a gimmick if the earphones weren't up to par. As it is, I'm happy to recommend them.
     
    A final note on Rock Jaw themselves. They (well Bob) have been very active on the forum, engaging the community and reacting to comments and suggestions. At the same time, they have followed their own path and not tried to promise everything. I think this is a sensible approach. There can be a clamour for the latest and greatest here but from a business point of view, endless revisions and tweaks can alienate customers or cause them to indefinitely delay a purchase. Thankfully Rock Jaw seem to be refraining from this.
     
    So the final verdict is 4/5 stars (80% - 90%, including half stars), reflecting the overall package, flexibility, qualities and price point.
     
    Well done to Rock Jaw [​IMG]
      Brooko and TrollDragon like this.
  7. HK_sends
    Headed in the Right Direction!
    Written by HK_sends
    Published Jul 12, 2014
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Light-Weight; Changeable Filters; Great Frequency Response; Sturdy Cable; Tuneable (see text); New Balanced Filter (W00T!)
    Cons - Filters Loosen Easily; Slightly Microphonic Cable; Needs More Tips; New Balanced Filter Slightly Bass Lean
    Preamble:  Break out the Champagne, the silly putty has left the building!  23 Nov 14...Since this review was originally written, Rockjaw did exactly what they said they would do...go out and create a new filter combining the best aspects of the black and silver filters.  In other words they created a balanced filter for those that wanted...well...a more balanced sound (what did you really expect me to say here? [​IMG]).  Did they succeed?  Let's find out...
     
    (Updated info is highlighted in red)
     
    “First in last out!”
    While the above makes for an excellent military motto, it really sucks for an audio component reviewer.  I must sincerely apologize to Rock Jaw, Rockbob, and the folks waiting on reviews for my tardiness.  Unfortunately, while being one of the first of the review teams to receive the Alfa Genus IEMs; work, health, and family issues prevented me from setting aside adequate time to sit down and record my thoughts for the forums.  Unfortunately, I was no less tardy with the update...my apologies again...[​IMG]
     
    While I didn't have much chance to sit and type, I tried to listen to the Alfas at every opportunity, making observations and suggestions to Rockbob.  The good news for readers is all my observations or suggestions were also being made by other forum members and is being/will be addressed by Rock Jaw.  I deliberately did not read any other Alfa Genus reviews so I would not be biased in any way.  The views and opinion expressed here are strictly my own, so if I sound like a broken record compared to the other reviewers, it's all on me.[​IMG]
     
    When I received the Alfa Genus IEMs (AGs), they were in their prototype packaging which, it has been announced on the forum, is being changed so the pictures you see below will not match the “Retail” packaging.
    AlfaGenusIEMs006.jpg AlfaGenusIEMs007.jpg
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    The IEMs, tips, cable, and info came in a box made up partially of a slide out tray with foam cutouts for the earphones, two extra filters and a plastic tray for the extra ear tips.
    AlfaGenusIEMs009.jpg AlfaGenusIEMs010.jpg AlfaGenusIEMs011.jpg
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    There was also a cable clip included but no ¼” adapter (included in the final release).  One item of note was the lack of a carrying case for the AGs.  It would be very difficult to put them back in this kind of packaging.  I’m not sure about the final packaging, but I believe Rock Jaw intends to address a carrying case or bag of some sort (I believe this was also addressed).
     
    Pulling them out of the box, I found the AGs a little more delicate feeling than I anticipated.  For I good while I wondered if I wasn’t going to break the things since they felt so light in my hand.  The wood and lightweight metal make them seem like there’s no weight at all compared to some all-metal IEMs I have that feel like boat anchors (I swear they are made of iron or steel).  My biggest concerns were the metal cable strain reliefs and if they were going to come loose from the housings.  So far I have not had any issues with them and I have not been overly gentle, using them to twist and adjust the housings in my ears.  One problem I did have was telling which side was left and which was right.  The lettering needs much better contrast or color for low-light conditions (or folks like me with poor eye sight). (Fixed as well from what I hear...)
     
    I really like the sleeved, braided cable.  While slightly microphonic, I really didn’t find it much of a distraction.  The one thing missing was a sliding adjuster at the splitter.  That would probably reduce the microphonics.
    AlfaGenusIEMs013.jpg AlfaGenusIEMs014.jpg
     [​IMG][​IMG]
    The Alfa Genus comes with two sets of “filters” which are really the heart and soul of its sound.  This can be both a blessing and a curse and can lead to some interesting discoveries in how you can affect the sound by something as simple as your fingertips…or silly putty... (and now there are three...[​IMG])
     
    But first I must digress…When Rockbob (RB) first announced the opportunity to review Rock Jaw products, the only real experience I had with IEMs were two sets of hybrids with a dynamic driver and two balance armatures.  Mentioning this to RB, I figured I’d get a chance to try out their hybrid and compare it to the ones I already have.  But RB had a rock-solid idea (sorry, Bob[​IMG])…he felt the best way to evaluate a product was to try it on a person who didn’t have a lot of experience to get a fresh perspective, so imagine my surprise when I got the Alfa Genus with a dynamic driver and sound filters! (Digression over)
     
    Being new to sound filters, I never realized how drastically you can change the sound of a driver just by changing a stem on an IEM.  The stems are threaded and screw on but can loosen easily (a little rubber o-ring might provide just enough resistance to prevent the stems from loosening).  So be careful when removing the AGs from your ears to ensure the filters don’t come loose and fall off.
     
    For the filters themselves; there are two now three colors, each representing different sound preferences.  My personal labels for them are thus:
     
    Silver: BASS!!!
    Black: NOT BASS!!!
    ***UPDATE*** Champagne: Balanced!!!
     
    AlfaGenusIEMs018.jpg
    [​IMG]
    A bit extreme?  Actually yes, but not an entirely inaccurate description.  Let’s break it down:
     
    The silver filters offer a bass that is prominent to the point of being a bit bloated and overwhelming.  Sit in the trunk of your buddy’s 1994 Ford Mustang while he's got his 500-watt sub-woofer going at “11” and you’ll know what I mean.  While never owning a pair, I imagine this is what you would hear if you owned “Beats” headphones, so if you like that sound (and there are many that do), you’ll enjoy the silver filters.  Even with the overwhelming bass, I could hear beautiful mids and smooth treble struggling to break free (which I will address in a following section).
     
    You know, I almost named the black filters “Grado”.  If the “NOT BASS!!! issue hadn’t gotten in the way, they would have been my favorite filters.  They have smooth, forward mids and solid treble that reminded me of the several Grado cans that I owned over the years.  I didn’t notice any sibilance even though I was half-expecting it.  What I did notice was the smooth extension in the upper range and going down to the lower-mids and almost to the upper bass but stopping there.  I kept hoping the next notes would go lower in the spectrum but it just never happened.  This is a great filter for listening to acoustic stringed instruments but even guitars hit some lower harmonic frequencies that the black filters can’t support.  Put a little bass extension on the black filters while keeping everything else intact and these would be some beautiful sounding filters!
     
    So, you’re saying you didn’t care for them…?  Actually, no.  Surprisingly, I came to enjoy one of them due to the oddest circumstance…ill-fitting ear tips.  (Don't give up, keep reading!)
     
    I tried almost 30 sets of ear tips on each filter of the AGs.  It wasn’t so much for the fit but to see if I could alter the sound with a tip in a way so I could live with the filters.  I used different tip sizes and lengths and different opening sizes but nothing seems to tailor the sound in a way that I liked. 
     
    One night, I had the silver filters installed and a particularly difficult set of ear tips that just didn’t want to seat themselves in my ears.  I just wanted to see what they sounded like so I pushed the AGs in to seat the tips and…WHOA!!...what just happened…??  Why is the bass tight and punchy?  Why are the mids and treble prominent?  Why does the music sound so balanced?  I pulled the AGs out and looked at them, checked the tips, tried it again without pushing in the earpieces too far…bloated bass…pushing the earpieces in with my fingertips...tight bass.  Is it the ear tips?  Then I noticed the sound ports on the back of the earpieces.  I put on a set of tips that I knew would seal, covered the ports, and proceeded to enjoy an overall balanced sound with tight punchy bass that wasn’t overwhelming, smooth mids, and nice treble.  This was a sound I could listen to anytime…but my fingers were getting tired.  Fortunately, the children had Silly Putty lying around so I made use of a little of it to cover the ports and experiment with the sound some more.  I found the stock tips worked best (although some additional tip options would be nice).  The putty mod did not work with the black filters because it reduced the level of what little low frequency presence was already there. (Almost there...!)
     
    The infamous "Silly Putty mod"...
    2014-07-12SillyPutty_00001.jpg
     
    I figured people probably wouldn't want putty stuck to back of their IEMs so I PM’d Rockbob telling him of my results and suggesting a third filter be made for the AGs (and it looks as if that’s going to happen) so I guess my work here is done!
     
    NOT OVER YET...
     
    There are times when you just have to admire the drive and dedication of folks who strive to make the the finest product they possibly can to satisfy a very small (but demanding) clientele.  I've seen that demonstrated in the many products made by small companies I've found through Head-Fi.  I guess that's why I have Audeze headphones, and a Schiit amp and DAC and have owned and listened to many many more from other companies/builders.  I have seen their creators pour their heart and soul into a product for the benefit of others and I have the greatest respect for those folks that put their products before a critical eye looking for a way to make things even better.  Rockbob and Rock Jaw have done just that, going so far as to significantly revise their product before wide release on the market.  They looked to the folks on Head-Fi for comments, critiques, and suggestions; from the most intricate testing conducted to the silliest suggestions of blocking (tuning) the rear port with silly putty to add balance and reign in the bass on the silver filter.  From the cacophony of feedback arose a third filter that is to be included with the Alfa Genus; a "Balanced" Champagne-colored (or coloured) filter.
     
    Having received a pair of the new filters, I immediately set them in place with my favorite ear tip and played my favorite test track "Red Wine," from Mannheim Steamroller's Fresh Aire IV.  The first thing I noticed was there was an organic quality to the strumming of the (I believe it's a) Lute.  The mid and treble elements were there in spades and the the bass elements started to show through when called for (It's not a bass-heavy piece).  It's a very natural sounding filter but I was wondering how it would handle heavier bass elements so I threw on Alan Parson's "A Recurring Dream Within A Dream" (from "A Valid Path") which has a prominent bass riff throughout the song.  I find the bass is present but a little light, lacking in punch and with almost no sub bass frequencies present.  Don't look at this necessarily as a bad thing because two issues may be affecting my opinion of the sound this time around; I was having a devil of a time trying to get a proper seal with my ear tips and I was just finishing up with listening to several bass-prominent IEMs and my LCD-3s so Your Mileage May (indeed) Vary.  The more I listened to the Balanced filters, the more I became accustomed to the sound.   The bass didn't seem quite so absent (although sub-bass frequencies still were, but that's almost to be expected of a driver that's supposed to cover the whole dynamic range).
     
    (Update to the update): I finally got a good seal and am getting hints of bass punch which just adds to the overall utility of the filter.  I'm listening to rock, classical, modern folk, electronic, and a soundtrack or two.  These Champagne Filters just refuse to come out...they remain versatile enough to handle my everyday needs for music listening with IEMs.
     
    As you may have noticed, there is (more than) a little tongue in cheek in the review above.  All of the impressions and observations are sincere but the review is maybe not as "analytical" as it would have been if I'd have had a chance to write it earlier (on the other hand, it may have turned out just as cheeky[​IMG]).  For those looking for an overall assessment, let me say the following in all seriousness.  My primary headphones are Audeze LCD-3s that until recently, were driven by some good Schiit components, so I do appreciate a balance sound with good bass, mids, and treble.  Of late, I have been delving into portable high-fi with two DAPs (iBasso DX90 and FiiO X5), a FiiO E12 DIY OpAmp Rollable Amp, and Two Hybrid IEMs from a Chinese company called Dunu (DN-1000 and DN-2000).  With all of that, you would think I would be quite satisfied with the sound I have.  However, I find the IEMs I reach for the most to listen to all those excellent portable components are...
     
    Rock Jaw Alfa Genus IEMs with silver filters and a spot of silly putty on the ends the Champagne Filters.  That's where I get the most musical enjoyment from. 'Nuff said.
     
    ...I could naught but at least raise the grade half a star for the excellent work by the fine folk at Rock Jaw.
     
    I must say it is amazing to watch a company that is so responsive to their customer’s suggestions and recommendations.  If Rock Jaw continues on this course, I see them being highly regarded in the Head-Fi and Audio community.  I truly believe they are headed in the right direction! ...A most apt statement which continues to be true to this day...Rock On, Rock Jaw!
     
     
    My sincere appreciation to Rockbob and Rock Jaw for giving me the opportunity to review the Alfa Genus and offer my impressions and recommendations.  Again, I must apologize for the delay in releasing this review while continuing to maintain my faint glimmer of hope that we can all just get along…
      TrollDragon and Rockbob like this.
  8. dweaver
    Adept IEM with the ability to change its tune... LITERALLY!
    Written by dweaver
    Published Jul 12, 2014
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Multiple filters to change the sound, wood body, great price to perfomance ratio
    Cons - Case is a bit bulky, changes between current filters may be to drastic (3rd filter in the works may resolve this issue)
    I am going to just stick with a written review for this little gem as others have already done an admirable job of photographing this IEM and all of it's accessories in all their glory.
     
    When my reviewer package arrived I liked how they had made it appear crooked in the box and was even fooled initially thinking it had slipped in transit [​IMG]. Upon opening the box I was treated to a snappy but over engineered case that kind of reminded me of the IE8 case from Sennheiser. While I find this type of case to big for practical daily use I do have to admit it really works well for holding everything securely from a packaging perspective.
     
    Upon inspection of the IEM I liked the quality of the cable and the strain reliefs and like the fact it is an L jack. I missed it not having a neck cinch but this is only a minor miss in my opinion. Rockjaw has downplayed the fact that these are wooden but I personally am glad to be hearing a wooden IEM. My only area of concern is the filters do come loose easily necessitating the need to tighten them occasionally.
     
    Upon initial listen I will be honest and say I more than a bit dismayed. The bass was over cooked and so was the treble which came across as hot and flashy. But I thought I could hear potential in this little IEM so I through them on the burning station and left them for a week. During that time I would occasionally have a peak listen and could hear that these were changing for the better. But the bass was still a bit over cooked while the treble was settling down. It was at this point I started to read more about the filters (I was still using just the silver ones that came pre-installed). So I let the IEM continue to cook until I started to write up the review today.
     
    So what's in a filter?
     
    A lot apparently! [​IMG] The best way to describe the silver filter is the word DIVA! Shouty, loud, and wayyyyyyy to confident for it's own good [​IMG]. The black filter on the other hand is a bit of a stuffed shirt, so concerned about form that it forgets to let the music breath. So before you decide to write off this IEM because of these to statements please realize that both of these filters are great when used in the right circumstance because let's face it we have all heard some damn fine Divas in our day and I don't know about anyone else but I also can appreciate a singer who eschews control over just letting it all hang out. Which brings up the fact that Rockjaw is working on a 3rd filter that will land somewhere in the middle. This will allow people to have a nice well seasoned meal and then occasionally enjoy a spicy dish or a savoury dish for a change of pace.
     
    OK, so when do I like the silver filter?
     
    I have found this filter works great for albums like 2 Cello's, and live performances like Neil Diamond Hot August Night. The filter allows the raw nature of a cello to come though with excellent timber and vibrancy giving the music an extra level of aliveness. Likewise it makes Hot August Night sound fuller and more spacious. It also makes Celtic music like Loreena McKennit sound larger and more immersive.
     
    Where this filter does not work is songs with lots of complexity and songs with lots of cymbals and delicacy as the bass and treble simply become to loose and splashy overwhelming the music turning it into a noisy mess.
     
    When do I like the Black Filter?
     
    The black filter reigns in the bass and treble allowing the mids to be more present especially the upper mids. So for some they will appreciate Loreena McKennit more with the black filters even though they stifle the sound stage and immersion a bit, personally I like both presentations. Harder Rock like ACDC, Led Zeppelin, and Heart all work better with this filter as it allows their complexity to come through, it also works better for Jazz from artists like Patricia Barber and classical music that is complex.
     
    The black filter does expose music to sibilance though so artists like Patricia Barber who enunciate their S's strongly might be a bit harsh for some. It also may be to tightly controlled for some listeners. But out of the 2 filters I found it suited more music.
     
    **NEW BALANCED FILTER** - The final filter from Rockjaw offers an excellent balanced sound that completes the chameleon abilities of this IEM. It tames the sibilance of the black filter and keeps the bass and treble in check as well.
     
    So where do I stand on this IEM?
     
    I find this to be an excellent mid-entry level IEM that allows you to change up the sound signature through filters in a unique way that works very well. While some like to do this with software EQ this is a good option for those that hate that option or own a device that has only fixed presets that don't match their listening preferences. For the price you won't find a more configurable IEM on the market.
      nick n and TrollDragon like this.
  9. TrollDragon
    A Musical Union of Ebony and Aluminium
    Written by TrollDragon
    Published Jul 8, 2014
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Build Quality, 3 Tunable Filters, Comfortable
    Cons - Very minor picky things that will be addressed in the future.

    RockJaw ALFA GENUS IEM​

    Review by TrollDragon​
     ​
    AG_Logo.png
     
    Way back in April a new Sponsor on Head-Fi called RockJaw created a post looking for members to test and review a new product line consisting of multiple IEM’s and headphones. I applied at once and was accepted by RockJaw’s representative Rockbob.  This is going to be a great experience for myself as well as quite a few others, since we get to evaluate the new products and our opinions will be factored into the final retail products.
     
    With all the formalities and details looked after, a large box of RockJaw products appeared on my doorstep, multiple IEM’s and a pair of headphones. I have spent several weeks with the ALFA GENUS IEM’s out of various sources and will now present my review.

    *Champagne Filter Update September 10 2014*

     

    Packaging

    I usually do an overview but the product we have is with beta packaging. The complete product line will have a totally revamped, nicer looking packaging in the near future.

     
    Contents

    Case.jpg CaseOpen.jpg
     
    The slide out storage case is a great way to store your IEM’s or pack them for travel. Too thick to be used as a daily carry case, i believe RockJaw are going to provide a soft pouch with future versions.
     
     
    Contents.jpg
     
    Accessories consist of nice silicone tips in S/M/L and two pairs of tuning filters in Silver (Enhanced Bass) and Black (Monitor Class). I understand that with the final product there will be a third filter tuned between the Silver and Black. These filters and IEM body are nicely threaded allowing an easy way to switch filters without fumbling to get the thread started. I can see that once you have found your desired sound signature by experimenting with the filters at the beginning, most people will stick with the one they like best and store the other two sets back in the case.
     
    Filters.jpg
     
    The build quality of the ALFA GENUS is exceptional and looks very solid with it’s aluminum strain reliefs and ebony wood body. I feel these will hold up to a fair bit of rough usage, the cable is a flexible shiny black PTFE material I do believe. There is a little bit of mechanical noise in the cable which can be alleviated by using the provided shirt clip or by wearing them up.

     
    Fit & Sound

    AG_C3_MiuAudio.jpg AG_X3.jpg
     
    The ALFA GENUS are one of the easiest IEM’s to get a good fit on that I have used so far and the large tips provide an excellent seal.
    I have run these out of a Colorfly C3 amplified with a Miu Audio MRA DIY amplifier and a FiiO X3 on low gain, switching between the two for my review. In my opinion the ALFA GENUS are very source dependent and will not have a great synergy with all devices.


    Silver Filters

    I started with the silver filters installed and found the sound to have an amount of bass that was just about unlistenable to my ears. The bass is overwhelming and very boomy, it bleeds up into the lower midrange and will muffle voices quite easily. I tried the silver filters with a 3rd generation iPod nano and they seem to be a little more tolerable from that device. I do like a nice solid punchy bass that digs deep where you can feel the impact on EDM tracks, but  somehow I doubt that bass heads would even like the silver filters. I never even bothered with testing the treble on the silver filters since the bass was so overwhelming.


    Black Filters

    Now the black filters are at the other end of the spectrum, some will find them a little too far at the end. The bass on the black filters is acceptable to my ears, not boomy and doesn’t bleed into the mids. Some might find it a little anemic, which is why RockJaw has created a filter in between the two provided. This new filter should fill the gap perfectly regarding bass. The treble on the black filters can be a little sharp to my ears depending on the source and the genre of music played. I found Paul Simon’s Graceland 25th Anniversary Edition very sibilant at points and actually starting to get annoying, with the FiiO X3 I was able to bring the treble setting down to -5 and take some of the edge off. This could not be done on the Colorfly C3 since it’s EQ was programmed by simians and is basically unusable.
     
    Now Jazz at the Pawnshop was a little sharp in spots but not unlistenable by any means. Some of the users in the RockJaw test group do not find these sharp or sibilant except with overly bright tracks. It is highly possible that I just may be a little too treble sensitive.

    Champagne Filters

    Well, well, well let me tell you that when the package arrived from the RockJaw in the UK with two little champagne coloured filters in it I was ecstatic! I was off work that day and talking to a friend in the post office parking lot who inquired about said package, "any new toys?" he asked, so I showed him... Sorry dude but I have to get home NOW and hear these.
     
    AGChampagneFilters.png
     
     
    I installed them into the ALFA GENUS and prepared a set albums to check out, favorites that were either way too sharp with the Black filters or totally unlistenable to me with the Silver filters.
     
    The first album is one of my absolute favorite Hard Bop standards by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. The track Moanin' has some of Lee Morgans great trumpet work which can get really piercing on bright headphones and IEM's. I prepared a wince for the first blast at 1:00 minute in and it was not required, the Champagne filters presented Morgan's improvisation with that perfection I am used to. So I ended up actually listening to Moanin' twice, I was really that impressed.
    ArtBlakey.jpg
     
    Up next was another standard by Charles Mingus called Tijuana Moods, the track Ysabel's Table Dance is an amazing track for the mixture of instruments from Ysabel Morel's vocals and castanets, Hadi's saxophone work and of course Mingus's bass. Again the Champane Filters presented this track with no congestion whatsoever.
    CharlieMingus.jpg
     
    Switching away from Jazz, not that I wanted to but I have a lot of Jazz... I fired up the Dropkick Murphys album Signed and Sealed in Blood. The track Rose Tattoo is a classic Celtic Punk ballad with great vocals from Ken Casey and traditional instruments picking up a great driving pace at the 3:20 minute mark. This is really not the greatest test track for the AG's even though they did a good job, it is a song that needs to be played on speakers, LOUD!
    DropkickMurphys.jpg
     
    Switching again, this time to Metallica and the album ...And Justice For All, we find out how the AG's do with the track One. Which starts out slow and clean building in speed and intensity as the song progresses to the dual guitar solo at near the end. This track is a great test for the AG's to see how well their bass responds when Ulrich's double bass kit kicks in. The AG's have the speed to keep up it is just the Champagne filters are not as bassy enough for this track as I would like, but that is where the Silver filters might come in for some.
    Metallica.jpg

    Finally we move into something a little more recent and that would be Avenged Sevenfold's Hail to the King and the title track Hail to the King, A7X has hit the motherlode with some classic riff based heavy metal. The guitars of Syn and Vengeance provide a great driving sound that works perfectly with M. Shadows vocals on this track. The Champagne filters are not sharp or too bright like they were with the Black filters, Shadows sounds amazing again instead of painful to my ears.
    A7X.jpg
     
     
     
     
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    Conclusion

    I would like to give some very high praise to Rockbob and his team for all the hard work they have put into modifying the ALFA GENUS filters that those of us in the test group have suggested, a job well done on the Champagne Filters! I would like to personally thank him for creating this filter so that picky/treble sensitive people like me can now use with the AG's and get great enjoyment.
     
    These IEM’s are a serious contender in the sub $100 bracket that will please the vast majority of listeners with a sound that can be custom tailored exactly to your liking now.
     
    I would like to thank RockJaw and Rockbob for the samples used in this review, RockJaw is a definitely a company to you should keep in your radar when considering your next IEM purchase.
     
    AG_X3_Tip.png
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    1. View previous replies...
    2. TrollDragon
      Thanks Brooko!
      Hopefully they make these perfect!
      TrollDragon, Jul 9, 2014
    3. H20Fidelity
      Very nice work!
      H20Fidelity, Jul 9, 2014
    4. TrollDragon
      Thanks H20!
      TrollDragon, Jul 9, 2014
  10. dgcrane
    A top notch IEM at a truly affordable price....
    Written by dgcrane
    Published Jun 16, 2014
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Price vs Performace, High quality build, Sound Signature I absolutely enjoy
    Cons - Currently using a tupperware container for a pouch
    Price – Approx $73 Canadian
     
    Preface : I am just a typical guy / father of three young children who loves music and has been a member of the head-fi for approximately 4 years. I have no background in music and work in IT for my career.
     
    I have been fortunate enough to own some TOTL headphones / IEMS over the years (HD800, LCD2.2, T1, Heir Audio 8A Customs, etc…) and the words I type are my own personal opinion of a product that was given to me for the intent of evaluation.
     
    Rock Jaw has sent me two set of head/ear phones to evaluate: The Alfa Genus and the Acero.
     
    This review will only reflect my honest thoughts on the Alfa Genus since they are the only pair I have concentrated on to this point in time. I have used the Alfa Genus for one week on a daily basis in my office with no prior burn-in for 3-5 hours per day.
     
    Let’s begin….
     
    The thing I thought immediately from the moment I opened the cardboard box and viewed the Alfa Genus was simplicity. I am not saying that simplicity is a bad thing at all, just the opposite actually. I literally had these earphones stuck in my head one minute after I had the shipping box opened. 
     
    -The cable is not removable, but in this price range I certainly wouldn’t expect it to be. The actual cable is thin, but a coating on the cable gives it a solid feeling and makes me feel that it will withstand some abuse if that’s how you tend to treat your equipment. I am happy that the cable is terminated with a 90 degree jack, but I guess that comes down to personal preference.
     
    -The Alfa Genus came with two sets of filters which can be used to customize the sound to your own personal preference (pretty cool feature IMO). I tried both initially and knew right away that the ebony filters were NOT for me. This entire review will be based on my using the silver metal filters.
     
    -The casing on the earphones seems extremely well put together and solid. They are quite light however and they seem to disappear in my ears in a very short period of time. One thing I would prefer is that the L and R were printed in black opposed to white on the metal since it takes me a little bit of effort to differentiate between the two.
     
    -I can honestly say that I tend to stay away from IEMs due to what I thought was a personal problem of having monster large ear canals which has caused me grief for years on getting a good / solid seal with earphones. As we all know, no seal…. No bass. When I received the Alfa Genus, I immediately pulled of the medium tips provided and replaced with the large tips (3 pairs of tips come with the AG - sm, med, lg) I was happy to see that seal was not going to be a problem with these earphones. The tips that come with the earphones (although not a wide selection) are what I consider to be high quality.
     
    Sound evaluation:
     
    I have used the following setup to evaluate the sound of the Alfa Genus over the past week.
     
    Samsung Note III  > OTG cable > Dragonfly 1.2 > Alfa Genus
     
    I have used USB audio player for the first half of my evaluation week playing a selection of lossless flac playing directly from my phone. For the second half of the week I used Spotify (extreme quality streaming) and also used Gizmo which has the ability to access my home library and transcodes to 320kbps over an LTE connection.
     
    I only evaluated with music that I actually like and listen to a daily basis. Typical music includes Anne Akiko Meyers, Christina Perri, Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Foo Fighters, Of Monsters And Men, Brandi Carlile, Jack Johnson, The Civil Wars, Mumford & Sons.
     
    I have no desire or interest to describe the minutest details for a list of songs which I probably couldn’t do accurately anyways. I don’t believe I have the golden ear skill and accurately give a detailed written representation of what I am actually listening to.
     
    If I had to sum this sound evaluation up in three words: Detail, Bass, and Fun.
     
    I am still surprised when I put these little bullets in my head, how good they sound to me. I have spent double / triple the price on earphones in the past and have not had that enjoyment feeling that I am getting from the Alfa Genus IEMS. I am listening to Guns & Roses - “Patience” as I type and there is a feeling of soundstage that I get that is wider than I am used to for IEMs.  Instrument separation is impressive to me and everything just sounds right to my mind.
     
    Sound is very detailed to me without sounding shrill or sharp, I have noticed zero sibilance during my time with these.
     
    Bass, man the bass is wonderful in my opinion….. It seems to hit low without being sloppy or over-exaggerated. It also does not seem to kill any of the yummy detail these earphones can produce.
     
    Would I actually buy these for MSRP ?
     
    I would buy these without a doubt. These are absolutely impressive to me for less than $100. I will say that I am now a fan of at least one rock jaw product and would recommend the Alfa Genus to anyone looking for top notch sound quality at a totally reasonable investment. I literally can’t wait to try some of the additional products (Kontrol in particular) in the Rock Jaw IEM lineup.
     
    Thanks for the opportunity and sincerely,
    Darren Crane
    dgcrane

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