Picking a Winner
S. It brings me great relief to finally be able to say a CIEM justifies its reference tag after the Harsch/Rhines saga. It comes complete with a sound signature that I easily think best suits the word reference, one that is more on the analytical side. It has a light fast bass, dry mids and obvious treble, packed with speed it is very clear and something that you can quickly classify as a reference along with the UERM and Hidition Viento-R. Naming is spot on and it is a great way to start a new reference line for a company. But this is apparently not the Jomo house sound, in fact it is supposedly quite a departure, Josh what have to you say about the 6 you have, which apparently the best sounding of the standard line up?
J. Yes, very different indeed. As Joseph suggested, the 6 is a much smoother and warmer sound, big mid bass and a relaxed treble. It’s actually a rather strange sounding earphone, as if they went for a ‘crazy paving’ sound signature. Upon first listen I wasn’t convinced the Jomo 6 was going to be my cup of tea.
S.That certainly seems like there are some obvious differences between the two models, which seems like a good thing considering they are two completely different priced and marketed models. Starting with the bass that seems like quite a clear cut difference between these models and if you are thinking about picking between the two, if you like lots of bass it seems like the 6 is certainly more appealing than the 6R. I will happily state again that this is bass light with no bump in the mid bass and rolled off sub bass. It has less bass than perhaps all my other CIEMs, including the UERM and Viento-R. There is not a lot of texture if I am honest and the bass can feel weak when matched with some music. With other genres its pace matches well and if it is vocal or acoustic tracks you are likely in for a treat. The little decay it does possess keeps it from sounding anaemic and extension just under 100Hz wont rumble or move air but will playback enough of the lower register to not sound missing. The bass is shy and it is not what these earphone are about, it’s about the detail and clarity that come much later in the frequency spectrum and not colouring the sound in anyway, and that’s what a boosted bass will do. I like neutral tunings and bass light tunings like the bass of the 6R but that doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes enjoy listening to some Dr. Dre on my JH Roxannes.
J. The opposite can be said for the standard 6, the low end is big, bloomy and powerful, it’s bouncy and squishy too. From what Sonny says they really are aimed at polar opposite ends of the market, with this clearly being more of a commercial sound signature. In terms of quantity there is less than there is with the Heir 8.a for example but there isn’t as much texture or feeling. With the Jomo 6 the bass is very much there, but also too vague and nondescript for it to be a well-executed bassy earphone like the Harsche or Heir. There isn’t fantastic bass extension right down low either! There are one or two positives though, firstly there isn’t too much decay so it doesn’t sound out of control or massively bloated and it is more agile than you might imagine.
S. Without a lot of variance throughout the frequency response of this earphone the coherency is top notch and the bass travels smoothly into the midrange without any speed bumps. That being said without any meat in the bass, the midrange follows a similar suit and is on the thinner side with little body or thickness. It has a more glassy presentation and is very dry due to great balance. Due to some great neutrality I don’t find the midrange to come across forward but instead just seems perfectly placed in-between the bass and treble. The upper midrange is especially clear with heaps of clarity but I don’t feel like it distracts from the tonality, as I have already said everything here is very much dry. Honestly the 6R does very little here other than detail, these being reference are a rather plain and bland earphone, they aren’t funky or fun, they just present the music without any influence. They are fast and do lack decay through bass and mids but if you want that analytical sound you shouldn’t expect a whole lot more. Thankfully enough though for a earphone of this tuning they have no sibilance which comes as a great relief!
J. I wish I could have the same air of positivity. Where the 6R’s are coherent the 6 really isn’t, that’s where the ‘crazy paving’ sound comes from. There is a huge drop off in the upper mids especially on one channel which really upsets any sort of balance and consistency in the music. There is no smooth transition between mids and treble, it is very abrupt and this isn’t good for anyone. The mids themselves aren’t particularly full of joy either; they are very 2d and not overly natural in sound or presentation. It is very much a commercially tuned custom in the sense that it sounds more like an earphone for the masses as opposed to the product for someone that really appreciates high quality audio. At £550 this isn’t good enough. I am fully appreciative of a good quality warm earphone or a good quality bright earphone or even a good U shaped signature. I don’t appreciate putting more drivers in an earphone because that makes it better because it doesn’t necessarily; we’ve seen it before with the Apollo Viper 8 and the ACS Encore.
S. The treble is by large maybe the most boosted range in this earphone (6R) with a lot of presence all the way through the treble region but I wouldn’t ever go towards saying these are bright. It is not spiky but there are no fall outs, not even at 7kHz. There is a lot of energy in the treble and decay seems a little more than with the rest of the earphone giving a bit more of a zip and zing to the sound. That being said it is bodied enough and coherent with the rest of the earphone to not detract towards being harsh or over powering, balance really is good with this earphone. Though only think I might say is these aren’t the most extended nor airy. In fact overall I find the soundstage of these really quite small, both in width and depth even though the instrument separation is pretty great due to the intense speed these earphones possess.
J. The treble comes in to play after that huge drop off and it could well be the better area of these earphones, the extension isn’t bad, it is more in tune with a warmer sounding earphone. There is smoothness in tone without detracting from detail or timbre. It is still a little ‘peaky’ but it isn’t as disappointing as you might have been expecting.
While the 6 looks great and is very comfortable, its failings are too common for me to be able to recommend it at 550 pounds. Its a shame but I have never found myself wanting to listen to them on a spur of the moment occasion which is really strange, and that is a phenomena I find with other models quite often. The tuning this had was clearly on purpose but at the price range I just don’t think this is the CIEM that goes and does it best. On top of that while to the eyes they may be stunning, whatever has happened inside certainly seems off as the imbalance seems a bit too much for me to take. Jomo have given me stuff to like about this product but right now I can’t see how I can recommend it.
S. Fortunately I can be a bit more positive than Josh as while I have the same compliments as Josh, the sound was actually really good with this one, quite literally pulling off what it says on the tin very well. That being said if you are after that neutral/analytical/reference earphone I would be cautious that is what you actually want and not what you think you want. Bass is weaker, decay short and the overall body isn’t huge. But if you want no colouration, strong transparency and great detail this is delivering in all them areas. Comparing to other references such as the ever so popular Ultimate Ears that has recently been discontinued, this does have less bass, and decay for that matter but also follows frequency response targets for flatness a bit less, it looks flat but truthfully with how ears work, not be perfectly flat. People love the UERM but I think that is because it has a touch more bass than this and it satisfies, maybe that little bit less would start to become off putting to some, I don’t know, but it is something to consider. That being said the entire package here, sound, design and build for what will be roughly £675 seems like a solid deal to me and I am glad to see that Jomo are not wrong with their idea of reference like many companies out there!
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