The Entry Level – Clarito
So what do you get nowadays for just a hair over £20? Well, if we are talking earphones the Clarito is certainly a good example. The packaging was pretty simple and included accessories just about went over the basics. Four different sizes of silicone tips isn’t going to let you fine tune the earphone with tip rolling and a little velvet pouch won’t keep the earphones from harm, but at the price range I am more happy to see a case than not. In honesty this is everything I have come to expect at this price range but out of China some insane levels of presentation are coming just a touch more expensive than this with the likes of the TFZ Series 1. Seeing as I have just reviewed that model, obviously comparisons will be made!
The earphone is simple in its design but in a positive way. Positive because the build quality is obviously good. The attached rubber cable is nothing fancy but it just looks a bit thicker than your standard cable, that feels comforting. It is however a microphonic cable.
Even more comforting is the metal housings. The sleek little barrel shapes look standard enough but the clean steely construction leaves me with the feeling my twenty four quid earphones will probably be lasting quite some time, ideal because even though there is a 1 year warranty on all RockJaw products, having some entry level IEM breaking over and over is no fun. I don’t think that is a possibility here, unless you are really rough as would be the case with any earphone!
One thing I have noticed that is really odd about both RockJaw products is that the housings are magnetic! I have seen some gimmicky IEMs along the way advertise it but never come across it myself. I am not calling RockJaw gimmicky either because I can’t see a mention of this phenomenon at all on their website!
Being a bit thinner and straight shooting, you can get the earphone in at a comfortable depth that gives decent isolation and a reasonable seal. They are also fairly pleasant to wear, not really giving me anything good or bad to say in that department. One thing I have found though is that they are easily pulled out my ear if I knock the cable and seal is quite susceptible to being lost.
Clarito Has Clarity
From my first listen to these I was really quite impressed. The composure and tuning of the sound seemed way to mature for the price range and I was able to comfortably listen to these out by the pools for hours on end, something normally a bit hard with IEMs from this price range.
The sound seems to focus on two main areas, those being sub bass and upper mids. Both of these areas are emphasised and it really does set the tone for the entire signature of these. The bass for the most part is pretty humble, but down from 1kHz it is in an upward spiral so by the time you get to 100Hz and under it is a very boosted range and one that can really give you a thump. I think this is actually a safer way to do things, not to say I see it all that much. In actual fact it is the opposite of how TFZ did things with their Series 1. This is faster and punchier throughout most of the bass and the ability in the depths just gives this a very satisfying timbre. The decay is not too overdone either so unlike with the Earsonics Velvet this won’t always have some pick up of deep frequencies even when it just interrupts the rest of spectrum. Because by the end of the bass it is quite a enhanced range, these would still be classified a bassier earphone, but not quite in the classic sense.
Moving on and this is where we hit the most strained area of the earphones, the lower midrange. It sounds a bit suppressed and overall comes across thin and overworked. It does move us on to the next part of the frequency response which on the contrary is right at the forefront, giving of a great sense of clarity and energy to the earphone, of course I am talking about the upper midrange. This is the product of some rather obvious boosts at around 3 & 5kHz and does give me the slightest hints of sibilance from time to time. While not the most bodied or impressive with timbre, this is an airy midrange that by the time you get into female vocal territory is detailed and impressive, even if a bit unbalanced with the lower midrange, which is consequently a bit veiled.
Beyond 5kHz things are once again pulled back and chilled out, making treble one of the more polite areas of this earphone. I once again find it a bit of a brittle sounding area of the IEM and also one that lacks thorough extension upwards and onwards.
Throughout the earphone a few smaller cues tip me off that this is still an entry level IEM from timbre, honest detail and the less prominent areas but probably the biggest is the soundstage. Take imaging for example… that is a concept that doesn’t actually exist with this earphone. At times I feel like I am almost listening in mono because instead of a centre image with vocals in the middle, I have the vocals split into two and coming either side of my head. On top of that there is no depth and even less height to the sound, giving a very basic soundstage.
Obviously you can’t have it all and I am very impressed with choice of tuning for this earphone and mostly the amazing bass and great sense of clarity provided, truly living up to its name in that regard.
Channels Not Aligning
Checking the measurements I have made with Vibros Veritas and the overall trend of the frequency curve pretty much confirms what I am hearing spot on. What is a bit more interesting to see revealed is horrendous channel matching, with 5dB differences in bass and obvious variation in the midrange as well. Maybe this is what killed the imaging! Quality control sure could be tightened.
They Achieve Their Goal
If the goal was to achieve sound outside their price range then I think they have done a good job of that but more importantly they have tuned it so it doesn’t just sound like another cheap, bassy earphone. It sounds like something a bit more expensive and exquisitely made and they have obviously done good stuff with the 8mm driver. On top of that there is no complaints to be had with the solid build quality. It could be a bit more secure when worn and they could update the packaging to make it a little more impressive but other than that, when looking at the price, I think this compliments the recommendation I made for the TFZ Series 1 very nicely. The S1 offers your lots of mid bass and this will give you a punchier, faster and more clarity orientated sound.
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