Hello and welcome to another installment of the Bus Ride Impression. As we find ourselves time to contemplate, I found this to be an opportunity to get myself to enjoy some really good music and gear and I happen to receive the Rock Jaw Audio Alfa Genus V2. This isn’t exactly a new IEM and has been out for about a year now, but this has sparked interest for some given the tuning options it comes along in the package. I suspected this to fit a lot of new audio enthusiasts in the market given it price and its capability so I am giving it a go in today’s review.
To give a brief background, Rock Jaw was established in 2012 by a music fanatic and has been in a quest for great sound, at least from what the website said. It is now based in Leicestershire and has been marketing their products since. They have had a share of products in the past, but the current ones are the Clarito, the second iteration of Alfa Genus and their current flagship, the Resonate.
Fortunately, I chanced upon receiving the Clarito and Alfa Genus V2 sample units so I have a great opportunity to put these two babies in a test and see how well it does on its own and how I think it will fare against the current market’s standards in the same price range. Will this be able to put up a good fight as an entry level IEM for less than $60? Let’s find out then!
One thing I noticed with the Rock Jaw Audio IEMs that I received is that the brand seems to have affinity to aluminum shells (fact is, I also noticed this with Trinity Audio and RHA, kind of gives me a feeling that the Brits have attachment to aluminum shells). This is a good thing, as this means a much more durable shell in most cases. Holds true for Alfa Genus V2, as the shells felt it is designed to withstand some pressure. The stress relief attached to the shell is also made of shiny aluminum which should pretty much hold the cable to the shell quite nicely but may seem to damage a cable of lesser quality. Good thing is Rock Jaw Audio is ahead of this, making sure that they used a thicker yet supple wires. You will also find the ports at the rear part of the shell as necessary for any dynamic driver IEM.
The interesting part for the Alfa Genus V2 is the inclusion of 3 pairs of tuning filters:
- Black – Treble
- Gold – Natural
- Silver – Bass
For me each filter does the job they were designated for, but thankfully Rock Jaw Audio did away from exaggeration, giving the sound a much more fluid feel.
As for the cable, Rock Jaw Audio decided to use thicker cables compared to the conventional ones in the market. One would worry that such thickness may affect how stiff the cable will turn out, but good thing it turned out the other way around. As much as there are more supple ones in the market, the one used in Alfa Genus V2 is supple enough not to affect mobility while using is. The thicker cable also guarantees the user a longer lasting cable provided it is given the care it needs.
Rock Jaw Audio also decided to go for an angled plug which should favor a lot of users especially those who are using their mobile phones who are fond of putting it in their pockets. This should allow longer life on the cable. Cable stress relief on the plug is sufficient.
Overall, the build quality of the Alfa Genus V2 is decent. The box comes with a pouch to store your IEMs, but Rock Jaw Audio could have come up with a more durable storing case like the ones that usually come in the market. Still, this is a very small letdown so I will have to give the build an average rating considering the price.
I decided to go for a stack when I tested the Alfa Genus V2 for sound: Aune M1S paired with an Auglar GR-1. Not that the Alfa Genus V2 demands power, I simply just want to add a bit of warmth on the sound. The Alfa Genus V2 generally has a v-shaped sound with a subtle dip on the mids, but since I loved enjoying the experience of testing the sound of a gear I went for a warmer set up.
Elm (Clever Girl – No Drum And Bass In The Jazz Room)
From time to time I make it a point to use tracks from this album as I find the track transparent to imaging. This allows me to properly discern the separation of instruments in the track should the gear I am testing it with is quite responsive to the separation. Thankfully, Alfa Genus V2 responded quite well. I used the gold filters and the opening track will already tell you how well the guitars are separated and layered, with the drums, bass guitar and trumpets kicking in with such gap. It still sounds very cohesive, but harmonizes quite well allowing such aural bliss one would get from a decent pair of earpieces. The cymbal crashes are pronounced but is not harsh.
Sunday Morning (No Doubt – Tragic Kingdom)
The silver filters did add punch to the bass and even extended the sub bass a bit, but one thing I noticed is how the highs were trimmed a bit. I kind of missed the clarity from what I heard with the gold filters, so I will have to say that I will prefer the natural ones. Mids also seemed to take a step back with the track. In case you are into bass, this filter is very ideal, otherwise you might miss some sparkles on the higher frequencies.
Alive (Pearl Jam – Ten)
Ahh, the black filters hit the spot! Forgive me for this, being a treblehead and all, but for me this has to be the best one among the three. Guitars by McCready is very raunchy and crisp. The bass quantity seemed right for me too, the pounds on the toms and the kick drums are pronounced and tight, lingers just very lightly yet should be powerful enough to complement the other instruments well. Even Vedder’s voice sounded well executed. Gossard’s solos are also crisp, very well pronounced and has so much musicality that I can’t help but headbang. He stood out quite well, which I enjoyed immensely.
So, is the Alfa Genus V2 a practical buy for $56? I will say definitely. While there may be a trove of IEMs in the market for that price or even less, I will have to say that this IEM is just one of the few that are actually worth paying for such. Sure, you get to see a lot of IEMs worth $40 or even less, but truth be told, there are just a handful that will give you such immersion as the Alfa Genus V2 can provide. I will say there are a few more, but this one should be part of your list in case you are scouting for something that is indeed worth. I will even be bold enough to say that this is one of those very few that you can call bang for the buck.