Rock Jaw Kommand Review: The Hybrid Sound

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4.5 out of 5 stars
Rock Jaw Kommand Review: The Hybrid Sound
We've been slowly falling in love with British earphones specialist Rock Jaw. Its small product range is elegant, refined, and immensely underrated, in our opinion. From the Alfa Genus to the Arcana and Hydra, we've seen nothing but pure quality in design and performance from this Derbyshire-based outfit.

When Rock Jaw told us that it would be sending the flagship Kommand hybrid in-ears over for review, we were naturally ecstatic. This headset combines the fantastic concept of tuning filters that we saw on the Alfa Genus with the sheer entertainment and refinement that hybrid driver technology provides. We previously tested the Fidue A73 hybrid in-ears and were completely floored by their performance, so we naturally wanted to see what Rock Jaw could do with the idea. We got our chance to find out; read on and you will too.

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Specifications, Design and Comfort
The Rock Jaw Kommand features hybrid driver technology, with a single balanced armature driver and an 8mm dynamic driver in each casing. Frequency response ranges from 20-20,000Hz, sensitivity measures at 110dB, and impedance registers at 16Ohms. The Kommand has a standard-length 1.2m twisted cable, with an in-line remote and microphone. Like the Alfa Genus, the Kommand also has interchangeable tuning filters; silver for enhanced bass, black for reference-class sound and gold for neutral. The three sounds are distinct, each with its own qualities.

The Kommand is quite possibly one of the most interesting-looking pairs of in-ears we've seen. Like the Alfa Genus and Arcana, the Kommand's casings are also made of wood, with a decent helping of metal. The cable stalks, casing tips and backs are all aluminium, as are the ear hook mechanisms and the tuning filters. The ear hooks also have plastic sheaths to keep them comfortable at the points of contact with your ears.

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The only disappointment is the lack of ear tip options. The box includes only three silicon ear tips, none of which fit us snugly enough. We had to break out our aftermarket Comply tips to solve that problem, so you might have to factor the cost of additional ear tips into the equation if you intend to buy the Kommand. Rock Jaw also continues to use the twisted cable that we don't really like the look of, but it's an effective way to keep the cord tangle-resistant. The plastic in-line remote and plug are durable and light.

Normally we're averse to ear hooks of any kind because of the usual discomfort, but the Rock Jaw Kommand has incredibly well-designed and comfortable ones. The hooks are adjustable at two points; at the back of the casing and at the points where the actual hooks attach to the aluminium bands. This allows for two levels of adjustment when wearing the earphones, which is incredibly helpful in achieving the right fit. Figuring out the best way to get the earphones to fit properly was tricky at first, but once we got the hang of it, it became a breeze. The fit is primarily dependent on the ear tips you choose, with the hooks acting only as supports to keep the fit secure. This keeps things comfortable for continuous wear, and the flexibility in the ear hooks helps achieve that.

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Performance
The Rock Jaw Kommand's three tuning filters offer less variation than those on the Alfa Genus. There is an audible distinction in the sound on switching the filters, but it's much more subtle. This can be attributed to the fact that the hybrid drivers on the Kommand are much more defined and capable than those on the Alfa Genus, punching much stronger than the 8mm dynamic drivers on the latter.

Nonetheless, we tested the Kommand with our reference Fiio X1, an Android smartphone and a Windows laptop. Focus tracks for the review were Canned Heat by Jamiroquai (neutral filter), Great Divide by Velvetine (reference filter) and Rock With You by Michael Jackson (bass filter).

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We started with the gold neutral filter, with Canned Heat playing. As is the case with hybrid earphones, the different frequencies can distinctly be heard originating from either the dynamic or armature driver. Low frequencies are defined and strong, while mids and highs are sharp and clean. The filters themselves tend to affect responses, with bass thump and treble sparkle being noticeably different. Jamiroquai's soulful voice is clean and comfortable, but the gold filters tend to sharpen the treble. There's also an incredible amount of detail audible in the highs and mids. The lows are subdued, but present nonetheless.

Moving on to the black reference filter with Great Divide, the wide sound stage becomes immediately noticeable in the opening beat of the track. There is an impressive feeling of separation in the individual elements, especially when the vocals kick in, and a clear sense of where each individual sonic element is coming from. Individual nuances in the frequencies are also particularly distinct, and it's evident that the black filter is absolutely fantastic at bringing out the detail in the music.

Finally, we played Rock With You with the silver bass-enhancing filter, which is by far our favourite of the three. This filter ups the excitement and drive, while softening the sparkle a fair bit. It's a comfortable, warm sound that we can listen to for hours on end. The dynamic driver comes into its own in this setup, proving just how much thump and attack it is capable of when its only job is to handle the lows. All through this, the balanced armature driver continues to belt out quality highs and mids, retaining the impressive level of detail.

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Verdict
At the end of our listening sessions, it became clear that the Rock Jaw Kommand is a detailed, exciting, accurate pair of earphones with no evident sonic flaws. The addition of tuning filters makes it possible to tweak the sound to enhance particular aspects of the sonics without really losing any of the others. It's a surprisingly elegant way to do things, and the result is a versatile pair of headphones that have the basics set up so well that they can be adjusted and tweaked to handle anything you throw at them in a matter of seconds.

Furthermore, the Kommand looks great and is comfortable too. It's well built, and wearing it will make you look and feel futuristic in our opinion. The only flaws are a cable we don't particularly like the look of and a lack of decent ear tips; the former is inoffensive as such, while the latter can easily be fixed with an aftermarket solution. If you're serious about your music, the Rock Jaw Kommand is well worth the price.

Price (online): £120 (approximately Rs. 12,000, not including import duties and taxes)

Pros
  • Well built and designed, futuristic looks
  • Comfortable fit
  • Interchangeable tuning filters
  • Incredibly detailed, full of excitement and attack
  • Fantastic handling of frequencies across the range

Cons

  • Twisted cable does not look good
  • In-line remote and microphone are plasticky
  • Not enough good ear tips included in the box

Ratings (Out of 5)

  • Design: 4.5
  • Performance: 5
  • Value for money: 4
  • Overall: 4.5
product Look like a cyborg with this futuristic pair of hybrid in-ears from Rock Jaw.
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Ali Pardiwala

Ali has over eight years of experience in the technology space, specialising in writing about all kinds of audio gear and TVs. He’s reviewed all kinds of headphones, speakers, audio gear, and televisions over the years, and is the in-house expert on all gadgets with screens and audio drivers. He is of the firm belief that truly wireless earphones are the future, and will always recommend a 4K TV, but not necessarily a smart TV. In his spare time, Ali likes to watch TV shows and movies ...More

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