(Pocket-lint) - In the world of popular brands like Beats, Bose and Sony, it can be hard to make a name for yourself as a headphone manufacturer. The best way to do so is to release headphones that offer fantastic versatility, audio and build quality, for as little outlay as possible. That's Rockjaw's aim with the Resonate.
The earphones may be standard wired in-ear monitors, but what they lack in technological advancement they more than make up for in pure old fashioned sound and, of course, value for money.
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Rockjaw Resonate review: Design
- Gold plated 3.5mm jack
- Solid aluminium earbuds
- Detachable Pro MMCX cables
One of the most noticeable elements of the design is that the Rockjaw earbuds themselves are detachable from the audio cable. They ship unattached, placed in the thick spongey foam shelf along with all of the varied ear tips and custom tuning filters. We were worried at first that this could pose a problem, or compromise the fit of the earphone, but it hasn't during our use.
You clip the earbud onto the cable using the micro-miniature coaxial connector (MMCX) and - once the earbud is secured to the cable - it's a secure fit that won't come detached easily.
On the plus side, this design choice does mean that if your cable were to break in the future, you could get a replacement without having to buy a whole new pair of headphones.
The earbuds themselves are of a solid metal design, with the drivers encased inside a cylindrical aluminium chassis. Likewise, the swappable tuning filter right at the tip of the earbud is also made from metal, giving the earphones a premium feel.
To ensure they're as comfortable as possible, for as many different people as possible, the Resonate ship with six extra pairs of tips.
In addition to the pair attached to the earphones already, there are three different sized silicone tips, plus two pairs of memory foam tips and the dual-flange tips for those who like an air-tight seal.
Rockjaw Audio calles these earphones "over-ear IEMs" or, translated, over-ear in-ear monitors. A puzzling choice of words, perhaps, but it describes the earphones' ability to have a thin canvas weave-coated cable wrapped over the top of your ears.
This explains why the cable is so long, but the lack of any rigidity or mould-ability mean that it doesn't feel a very secure fit this way. You don't get the reassuring grip you might get with a IEMs that have a mouldable cable covering.
Still, in testing, the canvas sheathed cable rarely came loose, but it wasn't entirely enjoyable having the canvas cable rub against our ears whenever we moved our head. It was impossible to ignore. What's more, the cable very easily got tangled when the earphones were stowed in their included cloth bag.
Since these are a pretty old-school affair in the world of earphones, there aren't too many other features to highlight. There's no active noise-cancellation, Bluetooth, ambient noise pass-through or anything fancy like that, but you do get an inline microphone and built-in remote control for playing and pausing music built into a cable that's 1.25 metres long. These worked reliably on mobile, and gave a nice click.
Rockjaw Resonate review: Sound
- 3x interchangeable tuning filters
- 8mm dynamic driver + balanced armature
- 20-20,000Hz frequency response
One of the best features of the Rockjaw Resonate IEMs is the ability to swap the tuning filters that screw into the ends of the earbuds. These manually change the audio profile.
For instance, the green tuners are designed to boost bass, the yellow/gold tuners are the reference/neutral tuners, while the blue ones are designed to enhance the high-end frequencies. This means is that these earphones can sound the way you want them to.
The bass tuners are fantastic, offering a full breadth of low frequency tones, while maintaining the clarity and detail at the upper end of the frequency spectrum. It really helps immerse you into songs when the bass fills out the landscape.
Likewise, the treble tuners maintained enough bass, but enhanced the mid and high-end frequencies to give those details a little more prominence. They were just as lively and enjoyable to listen through as the bass tuners, so it's a case of preference.
As for the reference tuners, those are generally very flat - which is exactly their point. The kind of profile enjoyed by the audiophile, but sometimes they felt a little lifeless to us. It is the exact kind of profile you want then you need to ensure the balance of audio is correct when playing or recording music.
Rockjaw is trying to build a name for itself, attempting to bring great audio to your ears at a lower cost than the larger mainstream companies. With the Resonate it feels like the company is getting close to building a brilliant all-round experience at a low cost.
There's something for everyone here, thanks to the trio of colour-coded tuning filters to suit your listening preferences. There are enough different sized and shaped tips to fit any ears, too, although we found the feel of the rough canvas-coated cord rubbing on the backs of the ears wasn't pleasant.