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Rock Jaw Review: One Size Fits All

  1. BillsonChang007
    The worse thing that could possibly happen and also the hardest part when choosing a brand new pair of earphone is the sound signature. This can be applied to headphones, amplifiers, DAC or even DAP, although audiophile DAP are still quite narrow in the market as compared to earphones or headphones. When choosing an earphone, we are often bundled up with different kinds of earphones varying from bassy, to bright and whatever it may be. Even if you know the exact sound signature that you are looking for, it may not be best for the genre of musics that you listen to because after all, no one ever listen to one genre of music only or at least, those people that I have encountered. Some choose to carry 2 or more earphones to complement one another for different genres and blah blah blah… [I although I have more than 1 headphones for that reason at some point].

    Personally, I am not the kind of person who rather would carry “double stacks” rig while I am on-the-go as I definitely do not find it “portable” to carry “double stacks” although I do connect my iPhone and Micro iDSD while walking around… my house. That being said, I will usually carry just my phone and a pair of headphone or earphone while I am outside of my house to maximize portability and hardly do I carry anything else outdoor. Interestingly, I do a lot of “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe” sometimes on choosing between the BrainWavz R3 or Sony XBA. There are times where I prefer some bass, times where I wanted something natural to my ears but I can’t just carry both due to certain circumstances.

    I like to thank Bob at Rock Jaw for sending me the Alfa Genus and I think that it could possibly be a perfect solution for those who listen to very wide genre of music, have different mood swings for sound signature or wish to cut down the need of carrying tons of earphones while on the go. Previously, there are only two sets of filters; the bassy filter and the less bass filter, but after going through some feedbacks, Rock Jaw designed the third filter which sits nicely between the two filters. Of course, the difference between the three are not just the bass, but also the colors and other part of the sound.

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    I do not wish to take a time travel machine and skip all the way to the sound part of the Alfa Genus because there is a lot more to talk about the Rock Jaw Alfa Genus other than the sound itself so let’s start with the design and build quality.

    The Alfa Genus’s housing is made of mostly Ebony woods and metal with absent of plastics. This kind of build quality at less than $100 is near impossible, but if it does ever happen, the sound quality suffers most of the time. It reminds me a lot of the bass monster, Tekfusion TwinWoofer’s build quality. The difference is, the TwinWoofer uses all aluminium housing and the cable is kind of mediocre in comparison to the Alfa Genus’s cable. Do keep in mind, though, the TwinWoofer can be found for less than $50 and the Alfa Genus is about twice the price. The Alfa Genus’s cable is thin, but it feels durable and lightweight. The microphonics is not bad at all either. The cable ends with a 90 degree angled 3.5mm jack and it is small enough to fit into the big cases of any DAP or smartphones.

    [​IMG]

    I compared Alfa Genus’s build quality to BrainWavz R3 and in direct comparison, the R3 definitely feels much, much more bulky than the AG. To top it up, the R3 is also kind of huge to fit into the ears and it take practice. The splitter of the R3 is awkwardly huge in comparison too. The current AG’s “Left” and “Right” indication is kind of hard to be seen on my unit because of the color contrasts and reflections, but Rock Jaw said that, they will be fixing that issue with new production run with black marking for the “L” and “R” respectively on both sides of the earpieces.

    On the bright side, the R3 sits in the ear more securely if you can get the fit right, but the AG, as a rocket-like design, is very easy to fit into the ear; no twisting of the cable around the ear etc. Isolation wise, using silicone stock eartips individually, I find the R3 to isolate ted better [again]with the right fit, but for daily commuting use, the AF’s isolations are still pretty reliable.

    Aside from the three filters and the earphone itself, the AF comes with three eartips of typical size; S, M, L and a cable clip. Rock Jaw has also included a carrying pouch for the new packaging of the AG. The new packaging [which is already out], look much more awesome than the previous one I have because of the more luxury look and sick fonts at the cover. I do hope maybe Rock Jaw can include some sort of case to carry the tiny lil filters thought. For comparison sake, the R3 comes with a hard carrying case, 6 sets of silicone eartips, 1 set of silicone bi-flange eartips, 1 set of silicone tri-flange eartips and a pair ofComplyFoam T-500 eartips for better isolations.

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    The picture above is Rock Jaw’s new packaging for Alfa Genus [picture courtesy of Rock Jaw].

    All earphones has a filter or otherwise, known as chamber or nozzle where sound travels through before reaches our ears although I do prefer to call it filters. What is special about the AG that differs itself from most other earphones in the market is the changeable filters. The AG’s champagne filter is not just an empty lumen and the black filter has a tiny hole. Changeable filters are floating in the market for quite some time now and it is definitely not a new thing but finding it at less than £49.99, is kind of rare. As mentioned earlier, the AG comes with three pair of changeable filters of different colors; black, silver and champagne. Other than that, the AG houses a single dynamic driver of 8mm in diameter for each earpiece, impedance rating of 16 Ohm and sensitivity of 103+/-3dB.

    The low impedance and high sensitivity makes it easy to “drive” with any source nor are they picky with matching. My unit has been given more than 200 hours of burn-in but with only the first 100 hours mostlydone by me and the rest by my friends. For the record, I lent it to them for a week each and most of them find the silver filter very impressive to their ears however, they have yet to try the new champagne filter thought. Consider them a bass head thought.

    What I believe RockJaw is trying to do with the Alfa Genus is to have “one size that fits all” and I think that Rock Jaw have nailed it with the three filters. All three of them sound completely different from each other and thanks to this flexibility change of sound signature, it makes this earphone very versatile for any genres of music or from person to person. They have nothing in common in terms of frequency curve, but my favorite of all would be the champagne filter followed by the silver filter and finally the ebony/black filter.

    [​IMG]

    The black filter is very Grado-like but minus the bass. The lower bass on the black filter is lacking by a huge margin to me, but it has great control in the bass. The absence of bass gives a feeling as if “something” is missing or can’t be erased from the treble. If anything, this may be the worst filter for pop, EDM, Hip-Hop genre of music, but if you are a treble-head, you will enjoy the massive amount of treble produced by this filter. It is also the most detailed sounding filter of the three. Alternatively, you might dislike the treble because they really feel like they are trying to cut off your head with certain tracks and its really that* sharp to my ears. Don’t get me wrong though, they are not entirely anti of bass; there is some mid bass but I do not find it enough to cover the sparkling highs. When I first received the Alfa Genus, I preferred the black filter over the silver filter, but after a long listening section, I can’t see myself being able to bare with the treble, but I am not used to the treble specially for most of what I listen to.

    [​IMG]

    Going to the silver filter is like a complete opposite of black filter. It’s very bass centric and the treble issouth of neutral. Midrange is slightly behind the powerful bass as well. With bassy tracks, I find the extra boosted bass very fun to listen to but there are some other tracks that I find the bass to be thick and at times overwhelming the details and bleeding into the midrange. While the bass is deepest of all the included filters, some basshead who craves for seismic feeling will be disappointed, but I definitely do not expect it to be experienced with an IEM, it’s more possible with full-size closed back headphones thought. Vocals can sound chesty with this filter but I do find it very enjoyable with dubsteps and some of the modern pop music recordings.

    [​IMG]

    A filter for treble head, a filter for bass head and now we have a filter midrange head. The champagne filter has a good amount of boost in the midrange without having neither side of the frequency suffering. Its bass amount sits nicely between the two filters mentioned before and so is the treble. Quantity aside, the champagne filter offers the cleanest sound of all without the overpowering treble and the bass is solid bonded. It has the detail of the black filter. However, because of the boost in the midrange, it can sound slightly colored something what Grado has too. It definitely has the right amount of body that I personally would like.

    Of all the three filters, I find the black filter to have widest soundstage with the champagne being a notch down. The silver filter sound most intimate of the three. Same ranking can be applied to the precision. For some reason, the champagne filter gives me a very little feeling as if I am listening to an on-ear pair of headphone more than an in-ear. Comparing the AG to the bang for buck BrainWavz R3, the R3 is more refined and more natural in timbres, but that is of course more or less, thanks to the twin drivers housed in the R3. The AG still offers a more flexible change in sound signature.



    Switching the filters does not require any engineering qualification, but you might want to keep those three tiny filters safe thought as they are super tiny. For £49.99, I do not have anything else to ask for; the cable is nice, the IEM is comfortable, isolation is great, and changeable sound. Why not? Oh, and there is the nice Ebony WOOD for the housing!
     
  2. thatBeatsguy
    Wow. Amazing read, Billson! Oh, and the pictures are absolutely stunning! Probably your best review yet!
    Great job!
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  3. BillsonChang007

    Thanks! (Hurray for the improvement :beerchug: )

    Edit: added verdict to the first post
     
  4. TrollDragon
    Congrats Billson on a great review and making the Feature Page!
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  5. Rockbob
    Congrats also Billson for making the front page. WELL DONE!
     
  6. 0MoUsE0
    Three earphones in one box ! Cool !

    With this filter changing function, i think the earphone well worth the price !
     
  7. BillsonChang007


    Thank you guys! :beerchug:


    Indeed very cool! And yes, they are definitely worth the price :)
     
  8. jerryzm
    Excellent review. I was planning on buying the Alfa Genus before but kept holding back and waiting for more reviews. Thanks
     
  9. ApplesRevenge
    Great review (I'm taking notes) and congratulations on making the main page. [​IMG]
     
    The flexibility of the Alfa Genus is a very attractive characteristic, especially at this price point.
     
  10. Brooko Contributor
    Nice review BC - love the photos.
     
  11. BillsonChang007





    Thank you very much guys! :D
     

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