British company Rock Jaw might have a slightly odd name, but they make some really interesting headphones. The Alfa Genus V2 – sounding for all the world like a high-end car – are in-ear phones that come with an impressive array of accessories for just £45. But are they any good? Here’s our Rock Jaw Alfa Genus V2 review.
Drivers: 8mm dynamic
3x interchangeable tuning filters
Frequency response: 20–20,000Hz
Cord Length: 1.2m
Jack type: gold-plated 3.5mm right angle jack
Mic with pause/play button
Eartips included: (S/M/L) silicone | (M/L) memory foam | (S) double flange.
These budget ‘phones come with no fewer than six different-sized earbuds: small, medium and large silicone ones, medium and large memory foam and small double flange (designed to improve sound isolation). However, I still struggled to find a set that perfectly fitted my ears – the headphone enclosure is made from aluminium and is quite long and weighty, so I found them falling out of my ears a lot, which broke the audio seal. It was quite frustrating – although the included lapel clip diminishes the problem somewhat.
It’s also basically impossible to lay on your side while wearing these because the enclosure is so long. Not a dealbreaker, just worth knowing.
The cable is lovely and thick and doesn’t tangle at all – what a breath of fresh air. I often just about choke myself with headphone cables that are so tangled, there’s no slack left. The Alfa Genus V2 gets it just right here.
Packaging is also well-thought-out, with the headphones arriving in a quality box that lays out all the different components in a thoughtful, presentable way that’d make them perfect for gifting. They have a little carry pouch, too.
The headphone jack is your standard 3.5mm, although it’s bent at a right angle which might cause issues depending on your phone case. It worked fine for mine, however.
Looks-wise, they’re not overly exciting but look more expensive than they are, and are nicely neutral for wearing in public.
Hands-down my favourite thing about these headphones is the swappable filters. They’re a meddler’s dream. Alfa Genus V2 comes with three colour-coded sets of filters that you can install and remove from each earbud. Basically, you take the earbud cover off, then unscrew the filter and screw in the new one. It’s a bit fiddly and it’d be ridiculously easy to lose a filter, but it’s so much fun seeing how they change the sound.
The silver filters are the bassiest, while gold is more ‘natural’ and black gives you more treble with less bass. I highly recommend messing about with these for as long as your curiosity holds out, because I found it immensely interesting how they changed different types of music. Most fun of all is putting one filter in one ‘phone and a different one in the other to see how the sound varies.
Personally, I preferred the silver filters – and those are installed by default, so I’m guessing most people feel the same way. The gold sounds a little dull to me in comparison, probably because it’s designed to give an equal sound signature and I’m all about that bass. The black gives you lots more detail in the top levels, with noticeably decreased bass. I’m sure there are types of music where this would be perfect (Rock Jaw products are designed by enthusiasts), but it wasn’t any of the terrible emo stuff I listen to.
The included microphone is handy for voice calls, and works with Android, iOS and Windows Phone.
These sound superb for the price. I noticed brand new details in tracks I’ve listened to a billion times, and for once I actually felt like the higher-quality music tracks I pay extra for were done justice. On some songs I could hear things going on in the studio background, and loading up a Christina Aguilera ballad actually sounded like she was crooning in my ear. The quality on vocals is outstanding, with every breath and trill perfectly transmitted.
The sound quality is impressive irrespective of the price – I think Rock Jaw could easily charge twice as much and no one would complain.
Price and availability
The Rock Jaw Alfa Genus V2 in-ear headphones are available now from Amazon UK at £45, or you can get them directly from Rock Jaw (where they’re currently even less). They’re designed and manufactured here in the UK, which is a nice bonus.
If you don’t mind a slightly bigger, slightly heavier enclosure and you’ve got less awkward earholes than mine, these are phenomenal for the money and the filters give them a real edge over the competition. They’d make an excellent present for music lovers and tinkerers, too. Recommended.