Rock Jaw Audio is a Leicester-based firm that has made a foray into the busy headphones market with a string of well-received in-ear monitors. The Alfa Genus V2 sits somewhere in the middle of their range of products and is a nicely built and reasonably priced product.
The first thing that strikes you about the V2 is its cable – I have rarely come across such a thick cable with headphones in this price range. The thickness also makes it one of the most tangle-resistant cables I have encountered.
Then there are the three interchangeable tuning filters that allow the user to alter the V2’s sound signature for a natural sound, extra bass or extra treble. That’s a feature I’ve only seen with RHA’s T20, which retails for almost four times the price of the V2. (Think of it this way: You’re getting three IEMs for the price of one.)
The V2, provided for this review by Rock Jaw Audio, uses 8mm dynamic drivers housed in lightweight aluminium housings that look very nice and will easily fit into most ears. Strain relief is above par and the cable terminates in a right-angled plug 3.5mm plug.
The cable includes a mic so you can take calls while listening to music on your smartphone and there’s a play/pause control that works fine with Android devices or iPhones. Included accessories in the box include three pairs of silicone ear tips, a pair of double flange tips, two pairs of memory foam tips, a shirt clip and a soft carrying pouch.
But how does the V2 sound? Even with the natural tuning filters, the V2 is probably one of the most forward sounding IEMs I’ve heard – and I don’t mean that in a bad way. These earphones have a very lively sound but that doesn’t mean in any way that the sound is out of control.
I usually cue up my usual set of test tracks and rapidly cycle through them to check how good a pair of headphones is, but in the case of the V2, I found myself listening to the full tracks because the sound was so much fun.
The V2 didn’t miss a beat as I cycled from classical (Anne Akiko Meyers playing the “Spring” section of “Four Seasons”), glossy 1960s pop (“You’ve Lost That Loving Feelin’” by The Righteous Brothers), 1990s hard rock (“Painless” by Baby Animals) or the latest album by Santana.
The V2’s handling of vocals truly stands out, the highs have no hint of sibilance and the bass goes very, very deep.
Using the black tuning filters for extra treble, the focus of the sound shifted ever so slightly to the highs. With the silver tuning filters for extra bass, the lows were much more pronounced. But I was more than satisfied with the gold natural tuning filters, which was what I did most of my listening with.
The V2 is also very easily driven and sounded good with all the smartphones I tried it with. Of course, the sound was much better with a headphone amp or my home rig.
Cons? Very few. It’s a little difficult to get the tuning filters out of the foam package that the V2 comes in. And the soft carrying pouch will probably not be able to take too much rough handling.
At a price of about £45 from Rock Jaw Audio’s website (the headphones retail for about Rs. 4,999 in India), the V2 is perfect for someone who wants a fun, lively set of IEMs. Thanks to Rock Jaw Audio CEO Joe Watts, Hindustan Times readers who want to order the V2 can get a 10% discount by using the code ROCKJAW65 on their store. Watts says the code also gives free worldwide shipping.
Drivers: 8mm dynamic
Impedance: 16 ohms
Frequency response: 20 – 20,000 Hz
Cord length: 1.2 metres