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ROCK JAW KOMMAND BA + Dynamic hybrid

Rating:
4.25/5,
  1. penmarker
    An exceptional hybrid IEM encased in a sexy ebony wood enclosure.
    Written by penmarker
    Published Dec 8, 2014
    4.0/5,
    Pros - three tuning filters to suit your needs, beautiful build quality, detailed presentation, dynamic range
    Cons - large nozzle and eartips size, some issues with TRRS jack, doesn't come with a hard case, below average isolation
    **Edit: Added pictures of the filter nozzles.
     
    When Rockbob posted the “Name our latest soon to be released product from ROCK JAW” thread for the Kontrol replacement, I took the first chance I get to enter. Several agonising days of waiting until the closing date, and finally the announcement, I was greeted by a PM from Rockbob himself advising me that I had won the contest. Honestly it was glorious and I had never really won anything big before so this is a big deal for me. We emailed back and forth regarding the prize and a few more agonising months of production plus shipping, I received it in the mail. And thus, the Rock Jaw Kommand was born.
     
    Disclaimer
    I was provided with the Kommand as a prize for the contest and I am in no way affiliated with the company. This impression is posted as my honest opinion about the product. Thank you very much to Rock Jaw and Rockbob for this opportunity.
     
    First off
    I don’t consider myself as an audiophile, but rather an avid music listener instead. Owning one of the first production run Rock Jaw Kommand, I felt like it’s my responsibility to give my impression of this pair of IEMs. My history with audio gears is listed in my signature/profile, and currently my main listening rig consists of a laptop, Aune T1 with MK2 DAC board, Lovely Cube Premium amp, Goldring DR150, and JVC HA-S500. I believe music should be listened how you want it to be, because when it comes to head-fi, it’s about personal music. I myself don’t have the goal to pursue the most accurate and neutral sound (like studio grade monitor speakers with neutral DACs and amps), but rather pair my gears to suit the music to my tastes. I also probably won’t be using audiophile lingos or vocabularies because I’m pretty much a layman, so I’ll be using layman’s terms. This impression is a personal opinion and shouldn’t be taken as fact or guidelines. Also English isn’t my first language, so, meh.
     
    Packaging
    The IEM comes in a beautiful black box with a magnetically fastened lid. On the front, the plastic window shows the contents of the package with the IEMs spread eagle as if it’s a framed work of art. There is only the Rock Jaw logo printed on the right, left, and bottom sides of the box, while the top has a retail hook. On the back you can see the literature for the IEM such as the frequency range, sensitivity, impedance, etc.  Personally I think that the printing on the back is aligned too close to the top, if it was centred vertically it would probably look better.
           ​
     
     
     
    The package inside the box consists of:
    1. 3 tip sizes: S, M, L
    2. 3 tuning filter nozzles: Bassy (silver), Neutral (champagne/gold), and Treble (black)
    3. 1 carrying pouch
    4. 1 shirt clip
    5. Rock Jaw Kommand IEM
     
    Of course, mine was a prize so it comes with a printed plaque of my name and serial number. I’m not sure whether other Kommands will come with a serial number plaque like mine, though an engraving on the IEM itself would be really nice. There is also a literature sheet listing out the care instructions, filter instructions, and a warning about loud music volumes. Another piece of paper was a thank you and congratulations note by Rock Jaw and the whole team, complete with signatures and a small doodle of Rockbob’s face worthy of being placed on the fridge for all eternity.
     
     
     
    I think the Kommand requires a hard case instead of a soft pouch as it has those ear hooks that look pretty fragile. They are however aren’t fragile but pretty tough and flexible. The ear hooks provide extra tangle opportunities for the little leprechaun inside our pockets that like to tangle IEMs/earbuds cables up, so usually when I carry them I’d roll the cable up into my pants pocket and hook the IEMs onto my belt loop.
     
     
    On my way to steal yo girl
     
    And when I find my pockets filled with other stuff and can’t fit the Kommands in there anymore, I fashioned myself a hard case made of broken hopes and dreams.

    Pika you heartless woman
     
    Kidding. I got these 4 per pack containers for about 5 bucks and it provides good protection from moisture and impact. I really think Rock Jaw should bundle up a hard case to go along with the Kommands because of the fragile-looking thin ear hooks protruding from the housing.
     
     
     ​

     
    IEM
    Specifications
    • Drivers: Balanced armature + 8mm dynamic
    • 3x Interchangeable tuning filters
    • Impedance: 16Ω
    • Sensitivity: 110+/-3db
    • Frequency response: 20 – 20000Hz
    • Cord Length: 1.2M
    • MIC with pause/play button – (iOS & Android compatible)
    • Jack type: Gold plated 3.5mm
     
    Opening up the box and taking the IEMs out from the foam impression, the IEM feels really premium in the hand. The housing is made of a mix between ebony wood and metal, with an exception of a little bit of plastic for the ear hook hinge. The wood grain is beautiful, and it runs lengthwise along the IEM. The strain relief, cable, mic, Y-splitter, and jack seem to be the same quality as the other Rock Jaw IEMs. There’s however some glue residue transferred onto the housing from the foam impression. Nothing major and wipes off easily
     
       
     
     
     
    The cable has a nice texture to it and is really soft. It has little memory so you can roll them up tight and unroll them without the cables fighting back to their original bendy state. Strain relief on the earpieces were done really well. The cable is sleeved inside a rubber wrap and fed through a metallic tube, rendering the microphonics minimal. I would say the microphonic level is a notch or two below over the ear IEMs. The ear hooks however doesn’t permit you from wearing them over the ears, I don’t find this as a drawback because of the low microphonics.
     
    Moving along to the microphone - I’ve never tried listening to my own voice using them, but I have good experience using it for Skyping my friends in a group chat while playing Payday. They claimed my voice was clear and the mic can still pick up background noises. The button functions as a Pause/Play, answering call, and voice command for my BlackBerry Z10, and it works fairly well.Y-splitter is made of hard rubber and does its job well.
     ​
     
     
    The jack is a TRRS jack that provides connection for both the mic and earpieces. Using it with my phone and laptop is fine as both devices support TRRS style jacks. Ipod and Sansa Fuze works well too even though they don’t support the extra microphone connection (I think). One problem for me is when it’s used with a mini to quarter inch jack converters. The Kommand’s jack doesn’t work as well with both of the connectors I own, on both the Lovely Cube Premium amp and the Aune T1 amp. If it’s plugged in fully into the converter, the centre channel (mainly vocals) will disappear into an echo, so I have to pull it out by around 2mm until it isn’t secured fully into the converter jack. I’m not technologically inclined, but I think it has something to do with the grounding of the converter jacks and the extra connector on the IEM jack. This is my only experience using a TRRS jack, and I have no such problems with other headphones or IEMs with TRS jacks.
     
     
     
     
     
    Build quality for the jack is a little shoddy as well. The connector isn’t straight. When plugged in, it looks bent out of shape so my itchy hands tried to straighten it. Now one of the mini to quarter inch converter is loose and has a glitchy connection.
     ​

     
    Eartips, Fit, and Isolation
     
    First row: bass filter, treble filter, neutral filter is being used.
    Second row: S, M, L ear tips
    Third row: VSD3S tips S, L, Foam, Bi-flange
     
    I have small ear canals with medium sized outer ears, so I had never had any problems finding a pair of comfortable headphones. The Kommand however has large nozzles to begin with, resulting slightly larger tips. Comparing it with my VSonic VSD3S, the medium sized tips are as big as the large sized tips, and the small sized tips are around the same size as the medium sized tips. When I first got them I tried to wear the small tips, but the clearance between the nozzle and the flanges were too small so I can feel the metal nozzle through the tips. After a while of accustoming myself with the small tips, I find that they don’t provide the right fit for me, so I moved onto the medium tips.
     
    The medium tips provided ample fit, and I find that I have to press the IEM all the way inside my ear canals to secure it or else it’ll feel like they’re gonna fall out. I’ve tried bi-flange tips from my VSD3S but there was no discernible improvements, and it hurts my ears. Foam tips can’t fit over the nozzle as the nozzle is too big.
     
    The isolation is below average as the IEM housing and nozzles aren’t fully sealed. There is one small hole on each nozzle, and one small hole on each housing. They provide good isolation for home or office use where noise is kept at low levels, while in the outdoors you might need to crank the volume up a bit. The ear hooks also secure the IEM to your ears, but I wouldn’t advise you to use them for sweaty activities like jogging or going to the gym since they’re not sealed. Also, you wouldn’t want to stain the gorgeous wood housing now, would you?
     

     
    Sound quality
     
    Out of the box, I loved how good it sounded. The mids were sweet and reminded me of my first love back when I was in school. She was a cute girl with jet black hair and round eyes, she has the cutest laugh and her voice sounded like a choir of angels. I find myself using it exclusively outdoors while only listening to them at home occasionally. After the new toy syndrome had passed I compared it with my other cans – Goldring DR150, JVC HA-S500, Sennheiser HD650 (sold since), my friend’s Hippo Pro One, and I started to notice the congestion in the treble section. The highs were in a mush and the lows were boomy, the only thing nice is the partly clouded/veiled sweet mids. Even then, female vocals has a sort of raspy quality to it, as if the singer is exhaling too much air and you can hear the air rubbing against the back of her throat. Imagine playing the same song through two speakers, where one is good while the other is tinny. The soundstage was also small, and it’s a little hard to pinpoint specific instrument placements.
     
    I brought the Kommand to a local head-fi meet for some second opinions. The feedback were almost similar but there was a glimmer of hope. I was advised to burn the IEMs in for a little bit more to open up the sound and soundstage. I would like to not that the literature that comes with the Kommand also suggests that all Rock Jaw in ear headphones require upwards of 100 hours of usage time before they are at their best sound. After the meet, I placed the Rock Jaw Kommand on burn in almost non stop - almost being that it goes on and only interrupted for a few hours every several days and 2-3 cumulative days of listening on the go outside. I started it off with only a mix of the more aggressive music I've been listening to maximize drivers' movement. For the final 5 days of burning in it was been burned in with pink noise. If I were to estimate it would have been burned in for an average of 18 hours a day, about 234 hours in total. The suggestion to burn them in for a lot longer than how much I've burned them in prior to the meet up (about 30 hours~) so in total it has 260+ hours of usage, plus minus actual listening to them, maybe 270 hours of total play.
     
    The soundstage opened up magnificently following the burn in, it expanded wider although the depth feels pretty shallow. It’s almost like theres a flat wall of sound coming towards you where the sides are further away but the center is closer to your face, compared to other parabolic shaped soundstages. Previously the instruments sounded like they're blended together and compressed, perhaps compressed isn't the right word, maybe congested describes it better. After burning in, the instruments are now at their rightful places on the stage, I can pick out the instruments' locations very easily. Close your eyes and you can feel as if there’s a holographic projection of the stage going on in front of you. On The Run from Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the moon sounded amazing, and you can feel the footsteps of the running person go from your left into your head and to your right, and come back again.
     
    The mids is sweet and but it reminded me of my high school sweetheart instead of my first love. It sounded mature, controlled, and detailed. Mids is very intimate and close, as if the singer is singing in the foreground while the other instruments are beside them to accompany the vocals. Rainy Night in Georgia by Randy Crawford sounds intimate and romantic, as if she’s singing it personally for you. There’s something about this particular pair of IEM that makes old recorded songs sound sweet and lovely like Julie London’s Cry Me a River and Dionne Warwick’s Walk On By. Not to forget The Beatles as well, their voices sound pure and real like they exist and singing inside your head.
     
    Highs extend far and there is a hint of sparkle on top. The detailed BA driver does its job very well and I have zero complaints at all. You can hear and feel every high note and high hat crash through the sweet mids, and on some tracks you can hear the sound of the singer’s lips opening and closing. I’ve listened to Zee Avi’s Ghostbird album and I know it like the back of my hand, but with the Kommand I started to discover other smaller details in the background – sound of rushing wave, a musician picking up his instrument, accidentally plucking their guitar, someone’s breath while the singer is singing. It’s phenomenal.
     
    One 8mm dynamic driver is placed in conjunction with the BA driver to further round up the lows. For the bass test I put on Bassnectar’s Time Stretch. At the 26 second mark of the song there is a drop to the lowest bass frequency, and with the proper pair of IEM it will sound like there’s literally an earthquake going off. Sadly for me the only time I had gone through that experience was when I had my $6 Cliptec Metallica IEM. The Kommand has proper bass texture, where bass guitar plucks sound detailed. The amount of bass can be controlled by changing the nozzles – which will be covered in a bit, so you can tune it to your liking.
     
    Since it is made for portable use, I used it a lot with my BlackBerry Z10 on the go. Although the sensitivity is rated at 110dB, I still have to turn the volume up between maximum to two notches below max. This is largely because of the below average isolation it provides. In the bus or on the sidewalk, the low frequency engine rumble will cancel out the lows of the Kommand, a similar effect can be heard if you wear an on ear headphone with average isolation.
     
    Amping benefits it by filling the bottom end and increasing the overall dynamic range. Straight from my phone, loud passages in Don't Know Why sounds as if clipped, especially her vocals. From the laptop however, it sounds good enough without amplification.
     

     
    Nozzles
     
    IMG_20141208_152441.jpg
    All filters has this mesh to protect the IEM from any foreign objects entering, eg: earwax.​
     
    The nozzles do their job fairly well and they’re easy to change. Simply take off the tips and twist the nozzle counter clockwise to take them off. Screw them back in clockwise and put the tips back on and you’re good to go. Just make sure not to over tighten them as the threads are fine and can be damaged from over tightening.
     
    IMG_20141208_151012.jpg
    The membrane in the bass filter.​
     
     
    My favourite filter is the bassy filter. I find it strange how I prefer this over to the others as I’m not a basshead. The bass filter seems to be made with a passive membrane that vibrates along with the sound vibration thus amplifying the lower frequencies while allowing higher frequencies to pass through. It does not seem to add any texture to the bass or increase the bass extension. The bass bleeds a little into the lower midrange but just a little making it sound warm-ish. This is the only acceptable filter to be used outdoors as the neutral and treble filters doesn’t have enough bass to counter the external ambient noises. This is a great filter for Daft Punk, I enjoyed Give Life Back To Music and Get Lucky so much with them. It sounds like there’s an actual concert going off in my head. The lower mids bleed causes Pharrel’s vocals to sound a little veiled but this isn’t much of an issue as the Neutral filter is available. Norah Jones’s Don’t Know Why sounded thick and lush, like stirring a bottle of honey.
     
    IMG_20141208_152346.jpg
    The foam/sponge in the neutral filter.​
     
    The neutral filter gives you sweeter and more accurate mids while allowing the treble some room to breathe. The bass for me is anaemic and little too light. It does turn the Kommand into a more aggressive IEM. The filter seem to be built by stuffing the nozzle with sponge. I didn’t try to disassemble it for fear of there might be other elements to it and ending up breaking them. I find the neutral filter sounds excellent with Eagles. The highs became more prominent and the depth in the soundstage increased a little. The center channel no longer sounds inside your head but instead in front of you. Vocals however took a step behind from the bass filter and the treble steps forward.
     
    IMG_20141208_152601.jpg
    The hollow treble filter.​
     
    Treble filter is just a hollow nozzle with the metal mesh, and it sounds very thin. They’re my least favourite filters because it increases the treble a lot. I am particularly sensitive to treble and sharp highs. They do however sound good with Electric Light Orchestra, Telephone Line sounds natural and realistic. I can see how this will appeal to trebleheads and progressive rock bands like Alan Parsons Project. They do sound very bright and probably aren’t good for long listening sessions. I’ve just went through 3 songs and I have to take a break because of ear fatigue. Bass impact is weaker and there is still bass, but now it’s just more of a background filler kind of thing. Soundstage does open up one level above the neutral filter, but I don’t really want to trade a better soundstage with a fatiguing sound.
     
     
    Comfort
     
    Like I said before, the nozzles and tips are large, but after a while they will start to feel a lot more comfortable and you can forget that you’re wearing them pretty easily especially when you’re outdoors. The big soundstage also helps you forget that you’re wearing them.
     
     
    Value
     
    At the time of writing the Kommand sells for £119.99 (US$187) and only available as pre-order from the Rock Jaw Audio website. To me the Kommand is worth the money and I happily recommend them to anyone looking for a pair of hybrid IEMs. They are dynamic and engaging, and with the user replaceable filters it’ll be as if you have bought three IEMs. Just remember to burn them in.
    1. Sweden
      Would be interesting if you could do a side by side comparison to a pair without any burn-in to confirm these findings of opened up soundstage.
      It's a rather hot potato in the headphone world.
      Sweden, Dec 9, 2014
    2. krtong
      You have issues.
      krtong, Dec 11, 2014
    3. Rock Jaw Audio
      Hi, penmarker, the Kommand takes me back, but I love your review! Thanks so much for reviewing these and I'd love for you to review our new Resonate, too! We're currently running a tour for them! 
       
      Joe. 
      Rock Jaw Audio, Feb 6, 2017
  2. Brooko
    RockJaw Kommand – Organic sound, stunning looks
    Written by Brooko
    Published Jan 24, 2015
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Build quality, easy fit (albeit shallow), mobile enabled cable, stunning looks, tuneable sound via filter system, good clarity, 3 year warranty
    Cons - Ear-hooks may not be liked by everyone, accessory pack is sparse for price range, needs hard carry case.
    kommand26.jpg
    For larger views of any of the photos (1200 x 800) - please click on the individual images

    INTRODUCTION

    I’ve been working with RockJaw UK for the last 12 months giving feedback on their IEM line, and providing reviews as they get to release point. So it was with great pleasure that I received a courier pack from Bob containing the Arcana V2, Hydra V2, and also their flagship Kommand IEM.  I’ve posted a review on both the Hydra and Arcana earlier – and for the past week and a bit I’ve been able to now concentrate on the Kommand.
     
    RockJaw’s original flagship was actually called the Kontrol – and was supposed to be a dual driver IEM. Unfortunately, when I received them around a year ago, they looked stunning, were really well built, but they sounded pretty average. After a bit of discussion with Bob, he informed me that they were going back to the drawing board with a lot of their range, and would keep in touch with progress along the way.  Fast forward to late 2014, and the Kontrol had been replaced by the Kommand, the dual driver had become a single driver with tuneable filters, and RockJaw was once again ready to see what we thought.
     
    I won’t say too much until the body of the review – but yes, they’ve achieved most of what they set out to do.  The Kommand (IMO) does have a sound signature worthy of its status in their product range.
    For those who aren’t aware, RockJaw is an English based audio company which although relatively new to the Head-Fi scene, has already released four IEMs and a full sized headphone. RockJaw’s service and communication in that time has been exemplary, and I really like how they have been interacting with this community to develop their product range.
     
    RockJaw’s philosophy (http://www.RockJawaudio.com/our-story/) is that really good sound shouldn’t be unaffordable, and build quality can be obtained even at budget friendly pricing. A fantastic example of this is their Alfa Genus (http://www.head-fi.org/products/rock-jaw-alfa-genus/reviews/11243), and Arcana V2 (http://www.head-fi.org/products/rock-jaw-arcana-v2/reviews/12330) IEMs – both of which I believe are very good at their price points.
     
    The Kommand arrived almost 2 weeks ago, and especially in the last week, I’ve spent a lot of time with these in my ears – simply because they are a lovely sounding IEM. I’d estimate I have around 30 hours listening time with them so far.
     
    Read on to find out my personal thoughts on the Kommand and who might find them to their tastes.
     
    DISCLAIMER
     
    I was provided the Kommand as a review unit from RockJaw. I am in no way affiliated with RockJaw - and this review is my honest opinion of the Kommand. I do want to take this opportunity to thank Bob – he exemplifies RockJaw’s excellence in customer care in every communication we have.
     
    PREAMBLE - 'ABOUT ME'.   (or a base-line for interpreting my thoughts and bias)
     
    I'm a 47 year old music lover.  I don't say audiophile – I just love my music.  Over the last couple of years, I have slowly changed from cheaper listening set-ups to my current set-up.  I vary my listening from portable (Fiio X5, X1 and iPhone 5S) to my desk-top's set-up (PC > coax > NFB-12 > LD MKIV > HP).  I also use a portable set-up at work – either X5/X1 > HP, or PC > Beyer A200p > HP.  My main full sized headphones at the time of writing are the Beyer T1 and Sennheiser HD600.  Most of my portable listening is done with IEMs - and up till now it has mainly been with the Fidue A83, Dunu DN Titan and Altone200. A full list of the gear I have owned (past and present is listed in my Head-Fi profile).
     
    I have very eclectic music tastes listening to a variety from classical/opera and jazz, to grunge and general rock.   I listen to a lot of blues, jazz, folk music, classic rock, indie and alternative rock.  I am particularly fond of female vocals.  I generally tend toward cans that are relatively neutral/balanced, but I do have a fondness for clarity, and suspect I might have slight ‘treble-head’ preferences.  I am not treble sensitive (at all), and in the past have really enjoyed headphones like the K701, SR325i, and of course the T1 and DT880.
     
    I have extensively tested myself (abx) and I find aac256 or higher completely transparent.  I do use exclusively redbook 16/44.1 if space is not an issue.  All of my music is legally purchased (mostly CD – the rest FLAC purchased on-line).
     
    I tend to be sceptical about audiophile ‘claims’, don’t generally believe in burn-in, have never heard a difference with different cables, and would rather test myself blind on perceived differences.  I am not a ‘golden eared listener’.  I suffer from mild tinnitus, and at 47, my hearing is less than perfect.
     
    For the purposes of this review - I used the RockJaw Kommand straight from the headphone-out socket of my iPhone 5S, X5, and X1.  I also used my Beyer A200p and also the E11K amplifier, but IMO they do not benefit from additional amplification.  In the time I have spent with the Kommand, I have noticed no change to the overall sonic presentation (break-in), but am aware that my impression of their sonic footprint may have changed over time with use (brain burn-in).
     
    This is a purely subjective review - my gear, my ears, and my experience.  Please take it all with a grain of salt - especially if it does not match your own experience.
     

    THE REVIEW

    PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES          
     
    The Kommand arrived in RockJaw's new retail packaging, which has the same colour combination as the Hydra and Arcana, but a different design. The retail box (140 x 115 x 50mm) consists of a retail outer with a large window at the front, and an inner compartment. A quick note about the outer box – it arrived with a protective screen over the window, to keep it in pristine condition. RockJaw keeps surprising me with little touches like this. They understand about presentation.
     
    kommand01.jpg
    kommand02.jpg
    Front of retail box
    Rear of retail box

     
    It’s nice to see. The front of box shows (through the window) the Kommand nestled safely in its fitted foam inner, and the front print just simply states its name, and the fact that it is a hybrid IEM.  The rear of the box has information on the specifications, and sound characteristics.
     
    kommand03.jpg kommand04.jpg
    Box design - hinged lid with magnetic clasp
    Foam top inset with Kommand, hooks and tips

     

    Lifting the hinged lid on the outer box reveals a fitted foam insert holding the Kommand, tips and filters. Lifting the foam insert out, reveals a lower compartment which has a large felt RockJaw bag, shirt clip and instruction manual.
     
    kommand05.jpg kommand06.jpg
    Lower compartment
    Full package - Kommand + accessories

     

    The included carry pouch is essentially a draw string felt type bag – but it appears well made and I’ve found a use for it – being around the right size for my X1 and E11K when they’re not in use. Sadly – it isn’t an ideal case for the Kommand – simply due to the ear-hooks. Whilst they are very sturdy and well made, they aren’t removable, and really need more protection than a soft case can provide IMO. Fortunately a standard Brainwavz case is a perfect size, so I’ve been using one since I received them.
     
     
    kommand07.jpg kommand08.jpg
    Accessories included bag, filters, tips, clip and manual
    Silicone tips

     

    The accessory pack includes 3 pairs (S, M, and L) single flange silicone tips, a shirt clip, and of course the 3 filters (which I’ll go into more detail on later). The tip selection is very frugal – especially considering the price point (120 GBP or 180 USD). An opportunity missed.
     
    TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
     
    (From RockJaw)
    Type
    Single BA and single 8mm dynamic driver hybrid inner ear monitor
    Frequency Range
    20 Hz – 20 Khz
    Impedance
    16 ohm
    Sensitivity
    110 dB +/- 3dB
    Plug
    3.5mm gold plated, right angled
    Cables
    1.2m twisted and PVC sheathed, and includes inline mic + button control
    Weight
    18g
    IEM Shell
    Cartridge shape, tone wood and metal cap (for filters)
    Other
    3 tuning filters included – bass, reference, neutral

     
    FREQUENCY GRAPHS
     
    silver.png grey.png gold.png
    Silver (bassy) filter
    Black/grey (balanced) filter
    Champagne/gold (treble) filter

     
    I have included 3 graphs provided by Bob from RockJaw which detail the different tuning of the filters. I’ve combined the 3 into a single graph below so that you can see how they differ. Probably the biggest difference between the Kommand and Alfa Genus (which also has a filter system) is the targeted tuning of the Kommand.
     
    filtercomparison.png
     
    I’ve preferred to call the 3 filters “bass”, “reference” (or if you like ‘balanced’), and treble – because that is how they appear to me. Rather than discussing signature in this section, I’ll do so in detail under the sound section below.
     
    BUILD QUALITY
     
    When I first saw the Kommand in person, what immediately struck me was an impression of quality and craftsmanship.
     
    The Kommand has a tone wood body with a metal cap (at the nozzle end) and a rotating ear rest/clip at the back. The wood body is stunning – really beautiful finish, with a nice finish which accentuates the grain in the wood.  It is very smooth. There is a single port/vent in the wood body adjacent to the cable exit.
     
    kommand25.jpg kommand24.jpg
    Wood colour and texture is gorgeous
    Looking down on top of filter/nozzle

     

    The metal cap at the front has an internal thread, and this is where you screw in the adjustable filters. The metal is nicely polished, smooth, and melds well with the wooden body. The filters screw into the metal cap, and essentially become the nozzle of the IEM.
     
     
    kommand23.jpg kommand22.jpg
    Cable exit and another view of the wood grain
    Ear-hook mechanics are precision engineered

     

    At the rear of the Kommand is RockJaw’s “ear-hook” assembly. This consists of a single arm from the back of the IEM, joined to another arm with an ear shaped hook (much like a pair of glasses). This is fully adjustable, very sturdy, and incredibly well machined.  It screams quality.
     
    kommand21.jpg kommand20.jpg
    Kommand body vent
    Print (white on gun-metal) is easy to see

     

    The actual body of the Kommand is approximately 12mm in diameter, and 20mm long from cap to base (without the nozzle/filter – which adds another 5-6mm).
     
    There is a very sturdy metal exit for the cable, and this in term has good strain relief protection – however, I do wish RockJaw would affix the strain relief better to the metal (my right side has already pulled clear once, and will need to be glued - *side note* - I raised this with Bob and they are already looking into it). This is the only blemish I’ve seen so far with build quality.
     
    The L/R markings are in white type on the gun metal cable exits and easy to read. The left ear piece is the only one to have the mic/button control which makes it even easier to locate the correct earpiece.
     
    kommand19.jpg kommand18.jpg
    Side view of Kommand body sans filter
    Filter removed exposing internals

     

    The nozzles/filters have a generous lip, and are also meshed to protect the drivers. One of the things I love about RockJaw’s nozzles is that they are slightly tapered at the front – which means it is a little easier to get tips in place.
     
    kommand09.jpg kommand10.jpg
    Included filters
    Filter internals - only "balanced" filter has damping

     
    The cable is brilliant, and again I wish more manufacturers would adopt something similar. It is a twisted pair encased in a smooth flexible PVC sheath which is very pliable, very non-microphonic, and appears to be very strong.
    From the left earpiece there is a combined mic and single button control device (1 click pause/play, 2 fast clicks track +1, 3 fast clicks, track -1). This hangs (when worn over ear) about half-way between my jaw and shirt collar.  The microphone is a good for audio and in my testing voice came through loud and clear. For those preferring a chin slider/cinch, the mic unit is the reason it is missing – but a shirt clip is included instead. Small note here – the button control works well with my iP5S, and (surprisingly) also with my Fiio X1 (although it was occasionally flaky with the X1).
     

    kommand14.jpg kommand16.jpg
    Very good quality cable
    Microphone and remote button

     

    The Y-split is very generic / no frills, but has reasonable strain relief at the single exit.
     
    The jack is right angled, 4 pole, very slim (ideal for smartphones with cases) and at my preferred 90 degree angle.
     
    kommand15.jpg kommand17.jpg
    Jack and Y-split
    Combination of modern style, and industrial precision

     

    Overall the build quality is an extremely good standard.  Apart from the strain relief issue, I can’t really fault them at all.
     
     FIT / COMFORT / ISOLATION
     
    I have one ear canal slightly different to the other one (my right is very slightly smaller) - so I tend to find that usually single silicon flanges don't fit overly well.  I initially tried the included large silicone tips, and couldn’t get a seal (at all). Because there are no other tips included by RockJaw, I immediately reverted to my large tip collection, and tried some large bore silicones, large dual flange, large Sony Isolation tips, and also some large Comply tips.  The reason I was using large rather than medium was simple – the ear-hooks don’t allow (for me anyway) a deep seal. Anyway – the best seal (and sound) for me was a pair of Comply tips or the Sony Isolation tips – so I used these for the remainder of the review.
     
    Comfort is actually very good and they are light weight, and easy to fit (once you have the right tips, and master the ear hooks). Surprisingly, I can wear these lying down, but they aren’t as comfortable as my A83 or Altones when lying on my side.  Although I have slept with them in, a lot will depend on your ear shape and how well these fit.
     
    Cable down and ear hooks engaged
    Cable up and ear hooks engaged

     
    The ear hooks for many are going to be a love ‘em or hate ‘em relationship.  For a start, I found them cumbersome, unwieldy and frustrating.  However, once I got my tip selection right and mastered the knack of correctly twisting the hooks over my ears, fitting became rapid, consistent and comfortable. It takes a little adjusting first to get the angles of the arms correct, but once you do, the set-up stays nicely and firmly in place.
     
    The Kommand can be worn cable over ear or cable down – simply by rotating the nozzle to point the cable exit up or down. This is shown by my daughter Emma in the photos above. If you look closely at the right exit, you can see where the relief has come out of the exit tube – and it’s this that I need to fix with a little glue.
     
    Isolation with a good insertion and correct seal is average for an IEM, mainly due to the dynamic driver port and shallow fit. With music playing, most ambient noise is filtered out, and there is not a great deal of noticeable leakage at normal listening volumes. These would not be my choice for a long haul flight though.
     
    REMOVAL OF THE EARHOOKS
     
    I asked Bob if it was possible to remove the ear hooks, and he showed me how (see photos).  Effectively you’re breaking the screw into the rear cap – which then allows the arms to be removed. Because the screw is attached from the inside, the remainder is left exposed through the rear of the IEM.  A small drop of hot-glue seals the hole, and effectively holds the remaining screw piece in place.
     
    kommand29.jpg kommand30.jpg kommand31.jpg
    Tool required
    Engage at the base of the Kommand 
    Screw broken, hooks removed

     
    The Kommand (for me at least) was then very easy to fit, very easy to get a deeper seal, and still sounded as good. Now please note – my Kommand (despite the photos) is still in one piece.  I had a faulty earlier model which I removed the cap from to take these photos. I wouldn’t dream of doing it to the sample I have now because IMO the ear hook assembly (now that I am used to it) actually works pretty well.  But the option is there if needed.  Just remember though, it probably kills your warranty – and it is definitely non-reversible.
     
    kommand32.jpg kommand33.jpg kommand34.jpg
    Dab of hot glue to secure remainder of screw
    Komamnd minus hook assembly
    Hooked vs non-hooked

     

    I have spoken to Bob about researching a design where the ear-hooks could be removed or reattached easily – and hopefully this might be a change coming for the future. To me it would definitely add value.
     
    THE FILTER SYSTEM
     
    Like RockJaw’s Alfa Genus, the Kommand comes with 3 different user-fitted filters. Just a small note here – RockJaw lists (on the plate inside the packaging) the black/grey as reference and the gold as neutral. The 3 filters are actually what I would call:
    1. Silver = bassy, and most V shaped
    2. Gold = very bass light, treble oriented – clearly the “treble” filter (I wouldn’t call it reference)
    3. Black/grey = most balanced filter – still a little bassier than neutral, but not over-done.
     
    kommand12.jpg
    kommand13.jpg kommand11.jpg
    Silver bassy filter - no vent
    Black/grey "balanced" filter - with damping
    Champagne/gold treble filter - no damping but vented

     

    On all 3 filters, the mid-range is very similar (this shows in the graphs too) with the biggest changes coming in the bass (mainly in sub-bass, but some effect in mid-bass as well), and also in the upper mid-range. On all 3 I have noticed a comparative dip in the lower mids (compared to other frequencies) and this has the effect of making vocals sound a little more relaxed or further back in the mix. This dip is least apparent with the gold filter, and occurs more with male vocals than female.
     
    The bassy silver filter is actually one of the first bass filter systems I would have no problems living with. It just has a clear nozzle with no internal acoustic damping, and no vent. It effectively adds a lift in both bass (mainly sub, but some mid) and also upper mid-range. This gives a subtle nudge to bass impact, but also maintains a lot of clarity through the vocal area, and makes quite a V shaped sound, but one which sounds both smooth, and clear at the same time.
     
    The bass-light gold filter is the one filter (this time) that definitely wasn’t to my taste. Like the silver filter, it has a clear nozzle with no internal acoustic damping – but this time has a small vent. It has very clear vocals, and sounds very fast. But the bass is just AWOL.  I mean it’s still there, but it has no real impact, and kind of reminds me of the old ATH A700.  You can get used to it – but it always sounds as if something is missing. For me (as a borderline treble-head) to not really like this filter is a telling sign. It just needs a little lift in the bass (a small adjustment).
     
    The grey/black (sort of gun-metal) filter is the only one with a filling inside it. This looks like a convex membrane of some sort. It also has a small port/vent. It is a nice balance between the two other filters having a good bass presence, but also a little less peakiness in the upper mid-range. The sound is still mildly V shaped – but impressively clear.

    SOUND QUALITY

    The following is what I hear from the Kommand.  YMMV – and probably will – as my tastes are likely different to yours (read the preamble I gave earlier for a baseline).  Most of the testing at this point was done with my Fiio X5 as source, no EQ, and Comply tips. From this point on, all testing was done with the grey/black balanced filter.
     
    kommand35.jpg
     
    Tracks used were across a variety of genres – and can be viewed in this list http://www.head-fi.org/a/brookos-test-tracks.
     
    Thoughts on General Signature
     
    I already covered a little of the signature descriptions above in my filter summary – but if I was to describe the default signature with the black/grey in a few words – I’d choose the words “clear”, “smooth”, and “organic”.
    The Kommand has a signature which mixes clarity in the mid-range with nicely balanced but impactful bass and a smooth top end. The resultant combination is a nicely balanced overall presentation which has plenty of detail and clarity, but is also quite smooth.
     
    Overall Detail / Clarity
     
    For this I always use both Steely Dan’s “Gaucho” and Dire Strait’s “Sultans of Swing” as there is a lot of micro detail in both tracks, and the recording quality for both is excellent.
     
    First up was Gaucho, and what a lovely presentation. The sax intro is nicely detailed, and all the normal detail of the track is there, and more importantly separated nicely. Bass is very good on this track – perfectly balanced.
    Moving onto “Sultans of Swing”, and once more the separation of instruments, clarity, and overall presentation of the Kommand is brilliant.  The bass is quick, sounds natural and compliments rather than overpowering. Bass guitar is perfect.  Vocals are clear – just slightly back a little – but easy to follow. Knopfler’s guitar sits out in front, and has good edge and crunch. Cymbals are there but not overdone. There is no evidence of smearing on any track I’ve listened to so far.
     
    What I am noticing (after listening to Lofgren’s “Keith Don’t Go”) is how well the Kommand portrays guitar – especially acoustic. It’s certainly an organic sound.
     
    Sound-stage & Imaging
     
    For this I use Amber Rubarth’s binaural recording “Tundra”.  I use this because it’s a pretty simple way to get comparative data on sound-stage.
     
    It’s usually difficult to get a reasonable stage size from an inner ear monitor.  The stage is often quite small / close – with an average impression of space.  The Kommand has an average stage for an IEM, and with this track extends just out of head (not by a large margin though).  There are good directional cues and both width and depth are represented well – just a little closer and more intimate.
     
    Next up was Loreena McKennitt’s “Dante’s Prayer” and the Kommand shone once again here. Not so much the impression of stage/space – because that was merely average / intimate. But the portrayal of piano, cello, and Loreena’s vocals together was captivating. Imaging in this track is OK, nothing stunning, but clarity and separation (without losing that sense of smoothness or refinement) remains very good. A beautiful and natural rendition of tone and timbre. In this track, the applause at the end can be so well presented that with some headphones (HD600) I can actually close my eyes and imagine myself in the crowd.  With the Kommand, I’m definitely in the crowd (the applause is around me). It is close, but it feels real, and it’s pretty impressive.
     
    Bass Quality and Quantity
     
    The Kommand has bass that is slightly north of neutral in quantity but quite agile and generally clean. It’s definitely not overdone, and hasn’t overpowered any tracks I’ve listened to so far. It does seem to present a quite natural sounding decay – especially in the very low bass, and this just gives it an added sense of realism – although it can make really bassy tracks a little boomy (this is pretty infrequent though). When the bass is present in a track though, the Kommand can go impressively low, and it has good impact (even better with the silver filters).
     
    Amongst my test tracks is “Muddy Waters” by Mark Lanegan.  This blues rock track is quite dark and brooding anyway – and is often a good test of bass bleed. The Kommand had impressive thump with a little bloom, but didn’t impact on Mark’s vocals (which had great timbre and plenty of the “gravel” he’s well known for). The bass delivery is controlled, and enjoyable.
     
    Switching to Lindsay Stirling, and the Kommand is really good with this electronic/dub mix. This time the bass is tight and punchy with very good depth. And it really contrasts nicely with the clarity of the violin.
     
    Female Vocals – A Special Note
     
    I have added this section simply because around 60-65% of my music revolves around female vocals – be it jazz, pop, rock, electronic, or even opera.  I’m an unabashed fan.  For me the sign of a successful IEM is how successfully it conveys emotion and timbre with my female vocalists. Other IEMs I’ve owned in the past had sometimes struggled with some of the artists I like – and this includes IEM’s like Shure’s SE535 LE (upper-mids on the SE535 LE are quite forward).
     
    This was always going to be an interesting test for the Kommand because whilst they have an upper mid-range bump, it also seems to have a bit of treble roll-off (perhaps this is why they are quite smooth), and I wasn’t sure how the recession in the lower mids would translate to some artists I have. Artists like Agnes Obel can become quite strident or shouty if the mids aren’t presented quite right. With Aventine, her vocals were very good – but some of the opening background music (centered mainly on the lower mids) was a little hollow sounding. It is forgivable though as it is such a hard track to get perfect. Obel’s vocals weren’t quite as euphonic as my A83 or Altone200, but no problem to listen to overall with the Kommand.
     
    I then proceeded to play my normal medley of other tracks from artists including Christina Perri, Julia Stone, Gabriella Cilmi, Florence and the Machine, Feist, and Norah Jones. In each case, the Kommand was a joy to listen to, though if I was comparing side-by-side with my big 2 for female vocals (A83 and Altone200), the Kommand would not beat either for my tastes. It is still a hugely enjoyable listening experience with female vocals though – and both Feist’s and FATM’s tracks were hugely enjoyable (mix of great vocal presentation and almost perfect bass contrast). Cilmi’s “Safer” was a standout though – great tonality, and so smooth.
     
    Male Vocals
     
    At the other end of the scale sits a lot of my rock tracks. 
     
    The Kommand was very good with pretty much everything I queued. Vocals were clean and clear, guitar had good edge, and the bass was fast and had some nice impact. With acoustic rock, the Kommand seemed to go into another gear, and once again with Seether’s “Immortality” I was struck by how natural and organic it sounded.
     
    I went through my usual track list and even the faster paced Diary of Jane couldn’t upset RockJaw’s Kommand performance (excuse the pun). Smearing was nowhere to be heard, and that is quite an accomplishment with this often congested track.
     
    Time for what has become my litmus test with male vocals – Pearl Jam. The Kommand aces it – great tonality, and the ability to convey emotion.  Detail contrast is very good.  Bass is there and in perfect proportion. This is definitely my kind of sound.
     
    Genre Specific Notes
     
    Again for tracks, albums, artists – please refer to this list:  http://www.head-fi.org/a/brookos-test-tracks
     
    My reviews have tended to get a bit long winded recently so I’m going to try and condense this section to very short summaries.
     
    Rock – already covered with the Male Vocal section above.  The Kommand does rock well. Especially anything acoustic.
     
    Alt Rock – Very good with Porcupine Tree’s “Trains”. Great impact. Nice tone. Very smooth, but not lacking any detail. Bass was tight and quick – the way it should be. Floyd’s “Money” was good – but slightly hollow. Easily fixed by bumping the low treble a bit. Sax presentation was brilliant though.
     
    Jazz / Blues – Both Portico Quartet and Miles Davis were very easy to listen to. Very good contrast and nice presentation of micro detail. Davis was exceptional, although when comparing the filters, Jazz was one of the genres I preferred the silver filter. With Blues, Beth Hart’s “Lift You Up” was raw, emotional and powerful – the way it should be. Really nice backbeat with this track too – and once again guitar was presented beautifully. Likewise Bonamassa’s guitar and vocals shone with the Kommand – enough for me to queue his entire “Acoustic Evening at the Vienna Opera House” double album, and listen to it twice!
     
    Rap / EDM – Absolutely shines with these genres – but again the silver filter was my preference. There is something about a V shaped frequency response and EDM. Little Dragon was magic – as was the Flashbulb.
     
    Pop / Indie – Pretty good with mainstream artists like Coldplay and Adele. Norah Jones “The Fall” album was pure liquid joy for the ears. Yesper’s “Cannibal King” was equally as enjoyable, proving to me once again that the Kommand really does guitar stunningly well. The Kommand (like the Arcana before it) does Indie incredibly well.  There is something about its mid-range which is captivating with this genre.
     
    Classical / Opera – Not really surprising, but the Kommand aced this as well. Standout for me was Kempff’s piano solos and Zoe Keating’s cello. Both had amazing timbre, and very easy to lose yourself.
     
    AMPLIFICATION REQUIREMENTS
     
    I covered this in the introduction – but to me the Kommand definitely don’t need any extra amplification. They were easily powered out of all my portable devices, and with the X5 I rarely go above 30/120 in terms of volume for mainstream music. With classical I had to bump the volume a little – but nothing onerous (around 45/120 for Fischer), and even the iPhone was nowhere near maxed in all the time I used it. I also performed my standard test and volume matched, and then compared the X1 and X1+E11K. Apart from a slight change in tonality (minimal) there was no real change in dynamics to these ears.
     
    WHAT ABOUT EQ
     
    The Kommand don’t really need it, and most people will simply change the signature by changing the filters. But I did try EQ with the treble filter (lifting the 30-150 Hz range a little – more sub, a little less mid), and it responded well.  Likewise, little adjustments when I thought it was needed (bumping the low treble for a little more contrast with “Money”) gave great response.  In Kommand, RockJaw has a driver that copes really well with tweaking.
     

    KOMMAND - SUMMARY & THOUGHTS ON IMPROVEMENT

    Sonically, the RockJaw Kommand is a well-tuned and versatile IEM. It portrays most genres very well, and IMO excels with both acoustic and also EDM or other electronic based genres (especially with the silver filters).
    It has a reasonably solid build and is stunning aesthetically (love that wood and metal combo with the ear-guides).  It has a very good cable, fits nicely (once you master the ear guides), and is both light weight and looks to be reasonably durable in the long term.
     
    The ear-guides are going to be a question mark for many – I hope people do give them a decent go though, because once you get the hang of the fit, it actually is pretty easy to maintain.
     
    The “not so goods” are pretty minor, and exist more around what is missing rather than something implemented badly. First up – a hard case is needed – especially to protect those ear hooks. Next, at $180 USD I personally would expect a better tip selection – especially if you consider what RHA offers with their T10i for similar money. Of course I much prefer the Kommand’s tuning – but even with its superior sound, the accessory pack should be better. Lastly – please – glue those strain reliefs properly. I had the same issue with my Alfa Genus. It’s not something I should have to fix myself.
     
    As far as future improvements go – it would be great to have the ear guides as both easily removable and re-attachable. This would add a measure of versatility that would definitely be ahead of the competition. Secondly – I’d look at slightly retuning the gold filter. I just can’t see anyone using it in its present form. It doesn’t need much – just a touch more bass.
     
    Otherwise the Kommand is very good.  Fix the accessory package and the strain relief and you definitely have an IEM that is worth the asking price, and is comparable to the competition.
     
    Thanks once again to Bob and the RockJaw team for giving me this opportunity.
     
    kommand37.jpg
  3. BillsonChang007
    RockJaw Kommand Review: The Very Hybrid IEM... Very.
    Written by BillsonChang007
    Published Feb 12, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - flexibibility, comfort, build, value, ear hook, exchangeable filter price to performance ratio
    Cons - ear hook for some, the reference clas/black filter is kinda weird
    IMG_6643.jpg

     
    In my last review, I reviewed the RockJaw Arcana V2 and the Hydra V2 they are both pretty amazing for the asking price but in this review, moving onto the flagship of RockJaw, Kommand. It is a pretty clear step up from the Alfa Genus sharing the same feature while adding some extras both physically and “mentally”. I can’t remember exactly why they choose that name for their flagship, but it was given by a user on Head-Fi, penmarker when Bob, of RockJaw open a threat for name suggestion. Thanks again to Bob of RockJaw for sending in the Kommand all the way from the UK for this review!

    [​IMG]

    The Kommand finishes in a very luxury design and even the packaging looks special. RockJaw definitely does not want to make a flagship because they needed one but instead, they put in real effort into this. The Kommand clearly shown what the RockJaw is really up to and it does everything right with the help of the three filters. As for level of impressiveness, I am just going to describe it from soup to nuts now.

    Starting from the design, the Kommand looks sleek. It stays away from typical plastics, or full metal design but instead, some beautiful wood finishes. The fact that, it uses natural wood, the contrast on both the earpiece may not be the same and that is why I love the design. Uniqueness! This time, RockJaw got the “L” and “R” labeling right as it is much much easier to see than the current Arcana V2 and Alfa Genus.  At the end of the earphone, the metal finish was nice and keep in mind, there’s no plastic on this wood. They just don’t match! And RockJaw knew it so they avoided plastic.

    Another features that the Kommand adopts besides the in-line mic and control is, an ear hook. Like it or not, I do not think it’s removable but RockJaw got my hook upside down so I uses a screw to do the work but the metal that extends out from the earphone is not removable without damaging the wood [I think?] nor would I like to risk it by trying to remove it. To maximize comfort, which is the entire aim of the hook, it is coated with thin, black silicone and to be honest, it does took me some time to get used to it. Surprisingly, my friend who happened to try it loves it and got used to it immediately at first trial. Once I did, I start to realize the goodness of this hook! I can wear them and run around jump, skip whatsoever without having to worry that the earphone will fall off or anything.

    [​IMG]

    Other than its secure fits, the Kommand is bigger than typical earphones but thanks to its airplane’s engine-like design, it does not hurt my ears for long term listening nor did it cause any discomfort. I think this could be da beast earphone for sports audiophiles! The cables contributed to this too. It’s free of microphonics so you can jump and skip but the ears won’t hear a thing rubbing but if you are afraid that the cable may start skipping with you, RockJaw included a shirt clip to avoid that, when you’re done, there’s a pouch which is of twice the size of Arcana V2, Hydra V2, and Alfa Genus’s pouch size [length wise]. It’s about the size of an iPhone 6… not Plus.

    When it comes to isolation, RockJaw leaves most outside sound behind. It perfectly isolates you from the outside world and allows you to totally focus in the music and that, ladies and gentlemen, is how good the isolation with the right eartips provided. There are of 3 pairs, S, M, and L respectively. Really good quality eartips and comfortable. I tried on some ComplyFoams on these babies and I melted so I asked Bob why not include it, the answer surprised me! RockJaw is silently working at the backstage for their very, very own foam eartips. Ya heard that! Their own foam eartips! #WhyILoveRockJaw

    Moving on to the sound impression…

    So as mentioned, the RockJaw Kommand comes with 3 filters and they are great but you want to make sure that, you don’t lost any of them, otherwise, you will either have to suffer the imperfection of the Kommand or purchase it again for the fast delivering service of RockJaw replacement part to arrive. The RockJaw Kommand filters are actually larger than the Alfa Genus so I have less worries about losing them. The filters are very shiny, and coloured in a very beautiful matching color with the Kommand itself. The colors are, champagne, silver and grey [although RockJaw call it black]. Depending on what music I am listening to, I would choose a different filters. The champagne is "neutral", the grey/black is "reference" and the silver being "bassy" but I do find it not true to a certain extend.

    [​IMG]

    Interestingly, unlike the RockJaw Alfa Genus’s filters, I find that, the Kommand’s filters are more dependent on the album that you are listening to instead of genre. I find all the three filters to be able to compensate each other well and I like… sorry, LOVE. The whole idea of exchangeable filters but, that is not all about the Kommand. The Kommand is a hybrid IEM using 8mm dynamic driver and a single balanced armature. I personally love hybrid IEMs. While balanced armature delivers great sound, I often find myself missing the punches that most dynamic drivers offer and I must say, the Kommand represents a great example on how good this hybrid fusion could be bundled up with exchangeable filters.

    Like the Alfa Genus, there is the bass, midrange and treble filter respectively although RockJaw names it differently as mentioned earlier. However, I find the Kommand are more refined, better soundstage, instrumental separation than the Alfa Genus. It’s an immediate upgrade over every aspect with sound that is more towards the audiophile. The Alfa Genus’s filters while great but for example, when using the treble filter, it focus too much on treble that some other frequency are ignored, midrange was well balanced while the bass filter has too much focus on bass that sometimes, the other frequency are put to the background as well! This definitely does not happen to RockJaw’s flagship, the Kommand.

    When using the bass filter [silver], the Kommand still manges to give spot for the mids and the treble instead of focusing all the glory at the bass region. The bass was evenly boosted, and it goes deep down. It does not feel like its bleeding into anywhere else either. I could hear every single beat drop even in the fastest phase therefore, good handling over there. And no, no awkward v-shaped sound, maybe the midrange is a ted small tiny bit behind the bass in comparison to other filters but its still nice and clear there. While the bass is not as loud as the Alfa Genus, control, stability, depth is the key over here. The treble is dark but is not nightmare dark. Details are there and biting silently behind the music when heard well. My only concern with this filter is that, the vocal is chesty and the music sounds too thick with certain tracks but not all and there are sometimes, a little bloated but nothing massive. Otherwise, it’s a very creamy smooth filter. I tend to like this for most top hit tracks.

    The neutral filter[champagne] did it right this time on the Kommand! It doesn’t feel like as if it is cutting my hair off. The bass doesn’t have absolutely no existence and midrange does not sound crinkly. In fact, this filter on the Kommand focus the right amount of treble and I think that, many treble head will like this. It’s detailed, and there are no awkward spikes anywhere to be found. Bass still has its presence but definitely not strong [it has the least bass of all the filters]. Like the Alfa Genus, due to the less amount of bass punching, the soundstage seems to be the widest with this filter. So again, if you are a detail / treblehead, definitely look into these but warn you thought, female vocals can still sound bright if you are not used to it. The midrange as mentioned, is not crinkly, its there and sits nicely between the bass and the treble.

    Lastly, the reference/grey/black filter. I find slight disappointment in this filter as everything seem to sound a tiny bit veiled. I am guessing it to be due to the filter in the chamber of the filter itself as it is blocking some frequencies from passing through and I am sorry to say, it does not do its job as good as the other two filters. However, though, if you prefer a more veiled sound, this filter could be for you but definitely not for me. The bass quantity sits nicely between the two filters with the treble being put way behind existence with some tracks. Everything sounds a little closed up than it should with this filter. Sort of like listening to music in the pub.

    Soundstage overall, is great with all the filters. It has a large hall room but why make all the instruments congested together at one point in the middle? The instrumental separation on the Kommand is not what I would have preferred but nevertheless, I enjoy listening to music with the Kommand. The details are great and shows great presence. My only grid is the grey filter, I hope RockJaw can somehow fix it in the coming future, otherwise, a 10/10 recommended product given its price!

      Uberclocked likes this.
    1. Dickymint
      Nice, I am glad someone has now done a review, either that or I have missed it!
      On the subject of bass, a lot of people seem to find bass a bit naughty but to me, bass is the main substance and the building block for all music, no bass, no depth to the music, IMHO! Do these headphones produce bass? Not, it's in there somewhere, I am asking do they rock?
      Dickymint, Feb 17, 2015
  4. mark2410
    ROCKJAW KOMMAND Quick Review by mark2410
    Written by mark2410
    Published Jan 24, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Adorably sumptuous. Look impressively premium.
    Cons - The stupid ear guides.

    ROCKJAW KOMMAND Quick Review
     
    Thanks to ROCK JAW for the sample.
     
    Full review can be found here http://www.head-fi.org/t/752136/rockjaw-kommand-review-by-mark2410
     
    Brief:  Effortlessly grand with ear guides.
     
    Price:  £120 or about US$180   N.B. currently going for just £99 somewhere
     
    Specification:  Drivers: Balanced armature + 8mm dynamic, 3x Interchangeable tuning filters, Impedance: 16Ω, Sensitivity: 110+/-3db, Frequency response: 20 – 20000Hz, Cord Length: 1.2M, MIC with pause/play button – (iOS & Android compatible), Jack type: Gold plated 3.5mm
     
    Accessories:  3 pairs of tips, 3 pairs of sound tuning filters, a shirt clip and a little baggy for keeping it together.  Pretty disappointed with the baggy.
     
    Build Quality:  Very nice.  A combination of ebony surrounding the IEM and the rest being metal it feels premium and it looks premium too.
     
    Isolation:  Meh. They sit shallow, the have a dynamic in them and 2 of the 3 filters have additional venting.  You’ll get by for normal out and about or on a bus use but you’ll be steering away from quiet classical pieces.  Not one you’ll want for Tube commutes or flights.  With music on though, still enough to obscure that car that’s about to hit you.
    Comfort/Fit:  Err, well the ear guide just got in my way but with some fiddling I got it positioned so I could wear them up and fitting me well.  Once done comfort was great.  A bit awkward getting on and off but fine once set.  I’d have greatly preferred no ear guide.
     
    Aesthetics:  They look pretty great.  Wood and metal scream fancy yet reserved. Tre posh.
     
    Sound:  Adorable.  Yes you can alter the sound signature with the filters.  The silver is the closed and no high filter so its bass is more hard and punchily aggressive.  The gold is open and no high filter so, its bass is just like the blacks and its highs like the silver.  Both their treble is light and sprightly, being a BA it’s a hint over crisp and its extension trails off quite sharply once you get very high.  Still for a BA it’s got a good level of delicate refinement.  Mids tend to be a little over shadowed on the golds and by highs and bass on the silvers.  On the black though, they are more prominent and are lovely.  The bass is a hint soft and sumptuous, the highs are gently tamed and the mids become more noticeably creamy and flowing.  It’s not an attention grabber but I found it grew on me without me barely noticing and finding that I actually love it.  It’s just so effortlessly easy on the ear I was happily spending the whole day with it and finding myself reluctant to remove them.  It’s a beautifully organic and warmly natural feeling IEM and you could absolutely forget there is a crossover in them.  It’s all so beautifully and smoothly integrated.  I know on paper it’s not “better” than its competitors but I find I am enjoying this much more than its on paper attributes would suggest.  Tonally it pushes all of my buttons, I just love it.
     
    Value:  Well it’s a bit costly, I’m sure you’re paying for its fancy construction, the filters and that ear guide.  So on paper others are “better” value.  However you do get a more probably sound sig match with the filters of your not 100% sure what sound is you.
    N.B. I’ve just found them going for £100 to which I say, oh hell yes!
     
    Pro’s:   Adorably sumptuous.  Look impressively premium.
     
    Con’s:  The stupid ear guides. 
     

    1. rgwrjs
      Nice review. Thank you
      rgwrjs, Jan 24, 2015