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article imageReview: Rock Jaw Resonate — Quality over-ear IEMs with customisable sound

By James Walker     Feb 4, 2017 in Technology
Rock Jaw Audio, known for making high-end budget earphones, has returned in 2017 with a new headset that's aimed at more discerning customers. The Resonate is a pair of premium, customisable in-ear monitors (IEMs) designed for over-ear wearing.
Having established its name around low-cost high-quality audio, the Resonate is a step up for Rock Jaw. At well over double the price of its popular Alfa Genus V2, the Resonate marks Rock Jaw's departure from strictly budget products into the premium sound markets, introducing new features aimed at audiophiles.
Design and construction
The headset comes with a detachable Micro-Miniature Coaxial cable that lessens tangling during storage and opens the door to replacements in the event of damage. Rock Jaw has finally abandoned the thick cable of its previous products too, replacing it with a flexible braided one that's more comfortable to wear. It terminates in a spring-loaded 3.5mm connector with an aluminium housing, adding durability and maintaining the premium feel.
Rock Jaw Audio Resonate
Rock Jaw Audio Resonate
Rock Jaw Audio
The inline controller features buttons for play/pause and volume. There's an integrated microphone so you can take voice calls without removing the earphones. Finally, the cable takes in a length adjuster to let you match the split position to your preference.
Design-wise, the Resonate is clearly sculpted to be worn as an IEM. The large earpieces are shaped to be worn over the ears, eliminating cable noise and keeping the headset snug while in use. They're made of aluminium, lending the Resonate a premium feel. A range of ear-tip options are offered in the box, covering seven different styles including silicone, double flange and memory foam designs.
Dynamic tuning filters
Internally, the Resonate is based on Rock Jaw's 8mm dynamic driver. Frequency response is rated at a fairly typical 20-20,000Hz with an impedance of 16 Ohms. The setup is similar to that of the Alfa Genus V2 but the components have been optimised for improved audio.
As with the Alfa Genus, the Resonate comes with three tuning filter options that let you change its sound signature to suit different styles of music. The green and blue filters optimise bass and treble output respectively while the yellow ones are for balanced, measured audio.
My experience with the filters is largely unchanged from the Alfa Genus V2. While they seem gimmicky, they do noticeably adjust the timbre of the sound, shifting it towards the bass or treble range depending on the filter fitted.
Rock Jaw Audio Resonate
Rock Jaw Audio Resonate
Rock Jaw Audio
Which you'll end up using will depend on your listening style and personal preference. In general, the yellow-coloured "Fusion" filters will be the most balanced over a wide variety of music but your experiences may vary.
Conclusion and sound quality
On the balanced filters, the Resonate delivers punchy, clear audio that's a significant cut above the Alfa Genus. Treble is clear and defined, giving way to a detailed mid-range and noticeable, if occasionally lacking, bass. It's not a major problem though, generally appearing only in songs with thicker textures.
The bass-centric "Energy" filters expand on the low-range without noticeably limiting the higher notes, making them a good alternative to the balanced set for varied listening. By contrast, the treble-focused Emotion set adds clarity to the highest frequencies at the expense of the already-limited low-range offered by the Fusions.
Rock Jaw Audio Resonate
Rock Jaw Audio Resonate
Rock Jaw Audio
At £124.95 (around $150 in the U.S.), the Resonate isn't an especially cheap pair of earphones. However, it does deliver detailed, tuneable audio from a comfortable design that comes with several additional features to add to its appeal. The detachable cable, included ear-tip options and soft carry pouch help to justify the Resonate's high-end intentions. You can get the full technical specifications and place an order on Rock Jaw's website.
Pros
- Clear, punchy sound signature
- Tuneable audio with three different filter types
- Detachable Micro-Miniature Coaxial cable
Cons
- Balanced filters can lack bass
- More expensive than other Rock Jaw products
Verdict
Rock Jaw Audio Resonate
Rock Jaw Audio Resonate
Rock Jaw Audio
The Rock Jaw Resonate blends a stylish over-ear design with a refined sound signature that can be customised using the included tuning filters. The detachable cable allows for future replacements while the sprung connector helps to lessen the risk of damage during use. At £125, the Resonate is more expensive than Rock Jaw's other offerings but's worth a look if it's within your budget.
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