The Flagship – Alfa Genus V2
At only £43.90 or an additional £1.05 if you want a remote and mic functionality, it is weird to go and call this the flagship. Previously it has not been, with more expensive models being discontinued and perhaps soon to be replaced. That’s not a hint by the way, I really have no clue but one would expect it.
While packaging is largely the same as the Clarito, as is the included carry pouch, we do get a slightly more in depth selection of tips, adding two sizes of foam and some dual flanges to the standard selection of silicone tips. Much better!
We also have a similar build, with the only difference on the cable being the addition of a microphone. The housing is also once again a magnetic metal but is a little thicker with vents on the back of the housings. Being thicker, especially as the housing moves towards the sound bore has meant that I can’t insert as deep and leaves them not as secure in the ear. The additional venting also reduces isolation a fraction.
The big focus on this model is the filters, not exactly something new or special but perhaps a little rarer at this price range to be fair. They include 3, with each filter representing a different signature, enhanced bass (silver), natural (gold) and treble (black). I think the reason for filters with RockJaw could well be because the team there all have such a diverse taste in music!
Looking at the different measurements I have made if they are all plotted together it is harder to see what is going on due to poor channel imbalances once again, something RockJaw need to work on. Blue is silver, red is gold and green black.
Separating the measurements does make things easier and we can see that it is the bass largely effected. Starting at roughly 300Hz the gaps between folders gets more obvious the deeper we get. We also get more at 6kHz as we go through the filters from bass to treble. (L to R) Treble, Natural, Bass.
Which Sounds Best?
The real answer will probably lie within your music taste and which filter suits that best but I will run through how each monitor sounds… starting with the black treble filter. The signature we have here is similar to that of Clarito, but it has clearly seen a step up in refinement. We still have that sub bass emphasis and another boost up in the upper mids. This is however a little emptier in the bass region. The upper mids have a lot of bite, sometimes causing sibilance but are airy and energetic. Even though these are the treble filter they are still not a bright earphone. This filter has a little sparkle but nothing crazy or overbearing. Treble is a bit more bodied than Clarito giving a better timbre but at times I do pick up grain. It is also a bit rolled off. I think this range has a reduced bass compared to the other two in an attempt to make it has more focus on the treble, instead of boosting the treble and to a degree it does the job. For that reason this is thinnest configuration for the Alfa!
Moving on to the natural gold filter and the most obvious change would be in the bass. More precisely the mid bass. It has blossomed a little and we have lost a tad of control, impacting the level of presence in the mids, which consequently feel a little bit pulled back, mainly in the lower mids. They don’t feel recessed yet, just more laid back. The difference in upper mids and treble is of the most minuscule amount and the biggest impact is what we perceive due to a small addition in mid bass which makes this now a warm earphone. I will however say I feel a touch less bit to the upper mids while there is still a little zip to treble. There is also a bit more weight to the sound as whole.
Lastly we have the silver bass filters and once again that is the area the filters have focused on changing. We now have what is clearly an enhanced range and not just a warm one like it was previously. The sub bass seems to over extend with certain music and interfere with the music, lacking control and hanging around too long on decay. It is however now a completely explosive frequency range, with power and impact and this will be able to really deliver satisfaction to those that crave bass. The midrange really does feel both hollow and recessed now but we still have a snappy and crisp treble.
Which one you prefer is really depending on how much bass you desire, do you want a tight punchy response with a small emphasis under a 100Hz (black)? Maybe it is a warm and comfy response you get off on (gold)? Or are you full blown into big, bold bass (silver)? There is technically no wrong answer and this can handle all 3 of them. Paired with a strong upper midrange this is a pleasant earphone. I personally like to keep things as neutral as possible and would never choose to listen to the bassy filter, but thats just me!
Speed was sometimes an issue with my listening. I did feel like the earphones struggled to keep up with more complex tracks and while they dealt easily with your simple arrangements, when the instruments piled on and the tempo picked up, you really heard a hit in the sound quality. This also has an impact on the concept of detail retrieval which seemed about right for the price.
Throughout all 3 filters I have noticed a much better soundstage, giving more focus throughout and a clear centre image. While still not being huge nor a three dimensional soundscape, it doesn’t truly lack in any regard. I would say it is also quite an upfront and intimate presentation.
More Value Offered
Making it two for two I have once again been impressed by what I have heard by a RockJaw model. It is also nice to see with the price doubling and technology seemingly staying the same with Alfa Genus being equipped with an 8mm dynamic driver, sound is obviously of a better quality. I would like to see channels balanced much better, with RockJaw getting away with it at £23 but it starting to be unacceptable now.
Not only is this offering once again a great build quality and a sound quality that performs admirably in the price, we have the new found versatility in the bass response. After trying two of RockJaws current three offering I think I can confidently give them my great value award!