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Rock Jaw Alfa Genus review

Richard Easton
12 Mar 2015
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Rock Jaw Alfa Genus
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
43
inc VAT

The Rock Jaw Alfa Genus punches well above its weight and delivers a silky sound at a reasonable price

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Specifications

Headphones subtype: In-ear headset, Plug type: 3.5mm headset jack plug, Weight: 30g, Cable length: 1.2m

Rock Jaw might not carry the same brand cache as more recognisable names like Sennheiser and Shure when it comes to audio, but it has managed to deliver a pair of headphones those veteran manufacturers would be proud of with the Alfa Genus. The in-ear set is one of the first we've seen to come with interchangeable filters that have a direct effect on the sound signature produced.

This isn’t the sort of snake oil claim associated with certain audiophile products, either. Each screw-in tuning filter made a perceptible difference to the sound from the 8mm neodymium dynamic drivers, although some were better than others. Three are included: Black Reference Class, Gold Neutral and Enhanced Bass.

The Black Reference Class tuning filter was by far our favourite, and will likely appeal to anyone who appreciates a critical-level of listening. We were able to hear intricate detail in the mids and treble we wouldn’t expect to be perceptible from headphones at this price. There is definitely an emphasis towards the higher frequencies compared to the other tuning filters, but the bass still had enough presence.

The Gold Neutral filters sounded significantly warmer. You also get a bit more bass, but this was at the expense of some of the crispness in the highs. The Enhanced Bass filters were the least preferable set; here the sound signature was overwhelmed by muddy bass. The lower frequencies dominated the sound and fast became overbearing and uncomfortable. 

The Bass filters were quickly relegated back into the box, whereas we swapped between the other two, favouring the Reference filters. We considered the Reference filters the ‘flattest’ sound, with the Gold Neutral as the option for when more bass was required - despite Rock Jaw's naming conventions. The filters work by altering the pressure and the manner in which the sound waves react in the filter chamber. The Bass Enhanced filter actually alters the sound the least, producing the Alfa's 'default' sound, while the Neutral and Reference use foam inserts and porting to heighten the detail while reducing the bass. 

Each earbud is made from a combination of ebony and aluminium and look reasonably smart. The inside tube of each silicone sleeve is red and can be seen through the translucent silicone. We didn’t have any problems with comfort with the earbuds inserted.

The 1.2m black cable has a rubbery snakeskin texture that felt suitably robust, and terminates in an L-shaped 3.5mm jack. There is also an integrated microphone with a play/pause button, which is compatible with iOS and Android devices. Three sizes of silicone tips are included, as well as a felt pouch for storage, but we would have liked a better way of storing and transporting the tuning filters.

Overall the Rock Jaw Alfa Genus was a genuinely pleasant surprise. It’s difficult to know what to expect from a newcomer but RockJaw has staked a claim as an audio company to watch. The Alfa Genus is almost like three different pairs of headphones due to the tuning filters. Two of which sound considerably better than the price would lead you to expect. However, if these don't suit your listening needs, or your style, then check out our Best headphones to buy.

Buy Now: Rock Jaw Alfa Genus

Hardware
Headphones subtypeIn-ear headset
Headphones driverClosed
Active noise-cancellingNo
Power sourceNone
Headphones sensitivity108dB
Frequency response20-20,000Hz
Headphones impedence16 ohms
Plug type3.5mm headset jack plug
Inline volumeNo
Weight30g
Cable length1.2m
AccessoriesSilicone tips, soft carry pouch
Buying information
WarrantyOne year RTB
Supplierwww.amazon.co.uk
Detailswww.rockjawaudio.com
Part codeAlfa Genus

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