The boom in personal audio has led to some manufacturers coming up with premium products made with expensive components, such as headphones costing more than one lakh rupees that are beyond the reach of most folks.
Other manufacturers have focussed on R&D to come up with better products, farmed out production to China and adopted a model of selling directly through their websites to keep costs low.
Falling squarely in the second camp is Britain’s Rock Jaw Audio, and the Clarito is its entry level in-ear monitors, aimed at people looking for a low cost alternative to the (usually bad sounding) headphones that come with smartphones.
The Clarito is, like most other Rock Jaw products I’ve encountered, very well designed and engineered. It also shares the thick cable found in other Rock Jaw headphones such as the Alfa Genus V2 that is one of the most tangle-resistant cables I’ve come across.
The ear pieces are small, light and made of aluminium and felt comfortable even after hours of use. Isolation was above average and the Clarito kept out most ambient sounds even in noisy environments. The cable terminates in an L-shaped jack which is great if your smartphone is usually in your pocket when your headphones are plugged in.
Accessories included in the simple box that the Clarito comes in include three pairs of silicone ear tips in small, medium and large sizes, a shirt clip and a soft carrying pouch.
The Clarito’s sound certainly lives up to its name – this IEM is all about clarity. Though it has a largely V-shaped sound signature, the music always came through very clear without any distortion. It was also a treat to watch movies and TV shows on Netflix with the Clarito – I never missed out on any of the dialogue.
For this review, I mostly used the Clarito with several Android smartphones loaded with the Poweramp music player and MP3s ripped at 320 kbps.
I have heard few headphones at this price point with better bass – the lows were deep, full bodied and full of impact. Vocals and the mid-range were the Clarito’s strong point though the highs sometimes seemed a little untamed and a little harsh. The soundstage too was more than adequate at this price point.
For an IEM aimed at people who want to replace the headphones that come bundled with their smartphones, the Clarito has one unusual failing: It comes without a mic to make calls or an in-line remote to control the music.
The Clarito is available on Rock Jaw’s website for almost £24 (about Rs 2,100), and despite the lack of a mic and in-line remote, it’s a good choice if you’re looking for a good and reasonably priced IEM for use with your smartphone.
Drivers: 8mm dynamic
Impedance: 16 ohms
Frequency response: 20 – 20,000 Hz
Cord length: 1.2 metres