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SG PRIDE! Battle of the local CIEMs: Jomo vs AAW

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Old 17-11-2016, 08:13 PM   #1
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SG PRIDE! Battle of the local CIEMs: Jomo vs AAW

If you don't already know, we have two locally grown CIEM companies Jomo Audio and Advanced AcousticWerkes, both providing insanely competitive prices to us locals. I've spent a lot of time auditioning CIEMs (before buying the AAW W500 AHMorph myself), so here's a short writeup of my general impressions of (most of) their lineup.

***

Budget Boys

AAW A1D: adequately detailed and warm sounding, almost like a refined SE215. Slight V with greater emphasis on the low end. Not amazing but not bad either, though you'll be paying more for the shell mould than the actual sound itself.

AAW A2H-Pro: dynamic driver + Knowles ED driver. Tonally similar to the A1D with slightly cleaner midrange, though treble rolls off extremely early. Very dark with little to no sparkle. Can't say that I'll recommend this, even at $300.

AAW A3H-Pro: dynamic driver + Knowles TWFK. Same great bass in the A1D and A2H, but matched with a far smoother and rich midrange. Extremely suited for male vocals and heavy strings. Treble can be considered rather laid back as well but still manages to sparkle a little before rolling off. Relaxed and non-fatiguing sound.

Jomo JM3: 2x Knowles CI + ED(?). Somewhat balanced, warm signature with a slight boost in the low end. Non-fatiguing, laid back treble and a sound that is smooth from bottom to top. Bass is surprisingly quick and paces well with fast genres like rock and metal despite its warmth.

Midrange Misters

AAW W300AR: dynamic driver + 2x Knowles ED. Surprisingly neutral and balanced despite its hybrid setup, with perhaps a very, very slight V-shaped tilt. Somewhat dry and analytical in tonality, with excellent (and I really do mean excellent) sub-bass resolution. Very detailed though definitely detracts from the warm house sound of the A-series.

Jomo JM4v2: Knowles CI + DTEC + ED. Slight V-shaped tilt. Rather neutral in tonality being neither warm nor cold. Extremely resolving and detailed, perhaps one of the most detailed I've heard in its price range.

Jomo JM5v2: Knowles CI + 2x TWFK(?). Performance-wise is more-or-less the same as the JM4, though is slightly bassier. Adds a little more warmth which makes it a more fun-sounding monitor compared to the JM4.

Summit-fi Senseis

AAW W500 AHMorph: dynamic driver + Knowles DTEC(?) + 2x ED(?). Slight L-shaped response (neutral with a bass boost). Top-class bass response that outperforms almost every other CIEM out there. FitEar 334, 335, Lime Ears Aether, CA Harmony 8.2, JH13, JH16... all of which do not come up to the standards of the W500's bass. Neutral tonality in the mids with slightly laid-back treble.

Jomo 6R: Knowles HODVTEC + 2x ED + SWFK(?). Neutral and flat sound that can easily rival industry standards like the UERM, though slightly lacking in the treble extension department. Neutral tonality throughout with a highly resolving sound.

Jomo Samba: 2x Knowles CI + 2x ED + 2x SWFK. More-or-less neutral with a slight treble boost. Insane treble extension, the best that I've heard by a longshot. Also very very detailed, easily up there with the Hidition NT6. Slightly sweet midrange tonality with rather impressive sub-bass response for a supposedly neutral monitor.

Select comparisons

AAW A3H-Pro vs AAW W300AR: They are both from AAW, are triple hybrids, yet have quite a gap in cost. Why? For one, they use completely different BA drivers and have a different crossover system, with the W300 being a little more complex. The A3H excels in being lush and smooth, while the W300 has a more "reference" sound to it. The W300 has tighter mid-bass (the A3H can be a little smoothed over in this), is cleaner overall and slightly more detailed by a small margin. If you're one who prefers a laid-back, non-fatiguing sound, the A3H is definitely a good buy. If you're willing to spend more for a colder but more resolving and clean sound, the W300 is a solid choice.

AAW W300AR vs Jomo JM4 vs Jomo JM5: Between the JM4 and JM5, there are pretty much on par with one another in technical performances, with the differences going to tonality and emphasis. Going into technicalities, there all have roughly the same amount of detail, with the slight edge going to the JM4/JM5. In the bass there is no contest; the W300's dynamic driver translate rumble and texture far, far better than the CI drivers in the JM4/JM5. On the flipside, the W300 tends to sound a little lifeless and analytical in the mids, a polar opposite to the warmer and smoother JM5.

AAW W500 vs Jomo Samba: It's pretty Ying-Yang on this one. The W500 has world class bass that soundly demolishes the Samba's farty and one-dimensial low end in almost all metrics, like rumble, authority and articulation just to name a few. But (and this is a very big but) the Samba has treble that reaches so far up the spectrum with such confidence and detail that it makes the W500 sound dull and lacklustre in comparison. In the mids it's pretty much a toss-up on whether you'd prefer a smoother, more neutral tonality (W500) or a more intense but intimate one (Samba). Also there's the issue on price; even with the AHMorph edition the W500 only costs S$1500, a steal for a summit-fi standard CIEM, but the Samba starts at S$2100. Pick your poison.

***

Not mentioned (due to low popularity and/or irrelevance): AAW M-series, AAW W100, Jomo JM1, JM2, JM6v2

I put my money where my mouth is and, after months and months of auditioning virtually every CIEM in existence, have finally settled on the AAW W500 AHMorph. Would've gotten the Samba too if it wasn't so expensive...

My short review on the W500

My review (with multiple comparisons) of the A3H
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Old 18-11-2016, 12:01 AM   #2
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I was at Jaben yesterday to audition a1d, a2h pro and also a3h pro. I do find a3h sound better than the rest unfortunately it wasn't in my budget. I was my first CIEM so I thought I should take it slow. Eventually, I settled with a2h pro.

While I was deciding between a1d and a2h pro, I find a2h pro's bass hits hard and "nicer" than a1d, the clarity was also in some sense better. I however did not notice the tremble thou :/

I used a se215 previously and thought of getting an "upgrade" and also try out a CIEM.

Anyway I am still totally new to these stuff and just chose the one which I feel "better". Nice write up you got there thou.
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Old 18-11-2016, 09:05 AM   #3
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i have a M10 from AAW, single BA but has surprising good full range.

next 2 that i like a lot is W300 and W500, and i stand by hybrids becoz of the bass that they can produce by the DD and the BA for the higher range.

didnt try Jomo becoz they dont hv hybrids
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Old 18-11-2016, 04:28 PM   #4
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Have the Samba, had the W500, both IEMs in custom form. I think the Samba is technically on a totally different level altogether.

W500's bass is good and I agree, the Samba's BA can't a recreate dynamic driver's bass texture and air pressure sensation (can any BA really achieve this?), but detail and extension wise Samba is right up there with the very best. The W500 isn't much better IMHO.

The mids and highs are no contest. I found the W500 wanting severely in clarity and resolution. It's a strange combination of peaky upper mids coupled with an overly sharp roll off in the treble. The Samba presents a much linear, clearer, higher fidelity sound.
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Old 18-11-2016, 05:22 PM   #5
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W500's bass is good and I agree, the Samba's BA can't a recreate dynamic driver's bass texture and air pressure sensation (can any BA really achieve this?), but detail and extension wise Samba is right up there with the very best. The W500 isn't much better IMHO.
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Old 18-11-2016, 05:48 PM   #6
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Have the Samba, had the W500, both IEMs in custom form. I think the Samba is technically on a totally different level altogether.

W500's bass is good and I agree, the Samba's BA can't a recreate dynamic driver's bass texture and air pressure sensation (can any BA really achieve this?), but detail and extension wise Samba is right up there with the very best. The W500 isn't much better IMHO.

The mids and highs are no contest. I found the W500 wanting severely in clarity and resolution. It's a strange combination of peaky upper mids coupled with an overly sharp roll off in the treble. The Samba presents a much linear, clearer, higher fidelity sound.
Honestly in terms of overall performance, they're so give-and-take that I can't outright say either is superior. And this is not me talking as a W500 owner; I tried out the Samba in Japan of all places and was instantly floored. The Samba has the technicalities down for sure; micro-detail and treble extensions are one of if not the best I've ever heard, so of course if you're comparing on a detail standpoint the Samba would win handily.

The W500 presents its strengths in the low end and is by far the best at bass note articulation. I'm talking about a bass that comes out top even against top-tier hybrids like the Lear BD-4.2, Oriolus and Translucent 1plus2. The Samba doesn't quite reproduce darkness and rumble the same way that the W500's dynamic can.

Same in the mids; the Samba has airy, sweet and detailed mids, while the W500 has a energetic warmth and smoothness that is hard to find in TOTL CIEMs. They are polar opposites in strengths and weaknesses that they are a perfect foil for one another.
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Old 18-11-2016, 06:17 PM   #7
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I own the A1DS, yes the A1ds gave me aids.

Honestly, there is a imbalance between the channels and the fit of the ciem was quite poor.
Fit broke when i opened my mouth. Having owned other ciems in the past. I wouldn't recommend AAW.

A1ds is cheap but i was expecting it to be a little better in terms of sonic matching and fit (especially so for a custom, if not why bother making a custom, right?)
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Old 18-11-2016, 06:52 PM   #8
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I own the A1DS, yes the A1ds gave me aids.

Honestly, there is a imbalance between the channels and the fit of the ciem was quite poor.
Fit broke when i opened my mouth. Having owned other ciems in the past. I wouldn't recommend AAW.

A1ds is cheap but i was expecting it to be a little better in terms of sonic matching and fit (especially so for a custom, if not why bother making a custom, right?)
You seem to be a niche case since most reviews out there compliment AAW's build quality and finish, mine included. No air bubbles at all and consistent translucency.

Fit issues are all on the impressions side though. As for channel matching, yeah, that's inexcusable. Haven't got any issues both my CIEMs though.
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Old 19-11-2016, 08:17 AM   #9
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Impressions were made by them.

When a custom is made there is more to just an impression, there is also the process where by they trim the impressions better suit insertion of the custom.

Apprently mine was shaved excessively and that because of that broke seal too easily.

Build quality too was just so-so. They could have cured it longer to ensure a thicker acrylic shell.

I had it for almost a year now and guess how often do I use the A1ds.
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Old 22-11-2016, 02:31 PM   #10
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Honestly in terms of overall performance, they're so give-and-take that I can't outright say either is superior. And this is not me talking as a W500 owner; I tried out the Samba in Japan of all places and was instantly floored. The Samba has the technicalities down for sure; micro-detail and treble extensions are one of if not the best I've ever heard, so of course if you're comparing on a detail standpoint the Samba would win handily.

The W500 presents its strengths in the low end and is by far the best at bass note articulation. I'm talking about a bass that comes out top even against top-tier hybrids like the Lear BD-4.2, Oriolus and Translucent 1plus2. The Samba doesn't quite reproduce darkness and rumble the same way that the W500's dynamic can.

Same in the mids; the Samba has airy, sweet and detailed mids, while the W500 has a energetic warmth and smoothness that is hard to find in TOTL CIEMs. They are polar opposites in strengths and weaknesses that they are a perfect foil for one another.

I agree with what you've mentioned regarding the bass in the above post. Dynamic driver bass will always be different and bring its own flavor that just can't be matched by BA drivers. In your original post you mentioned the Samba's bass as being farty and one noted compared to the W500, which is totally untrue and misleading. W500's bass is great for sure, but it doesn't demolish the Samba in any way, not even close. I really wanted to like the W500 but at the end it's performance just didn't sing TOTL to my ears; I ended up selling them as fast as I could.


Campfire Andromeda can (YMMV)

I'm going away from customs becoz i already have one
Oh yes, the Andromeda is godly. I won't say it can match a dynamic driver's speaker like bass presentation, but it definitely rivals.

FWIW, the Samba can actually provide even more rumbling power than the Andromeda.
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Old 22-11-2016, 03:59 PM   #11
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W500 owner here.

But yes, Andromeda is godly, end game sound for sure.
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Old 22-11-2016, 10:18 PM   #12
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I agree with what you've mentioned regarding the bass in the above post. Dynamic driver bass will always be different and bring its own flavor that just can't be matched by BA drivers. In your original post you mentioned the Samba's bass as being farty and one noted compared to the W500, which is totally untrue and misleading. W500's bass is great for sure, but it doesn't demolish the Samba in any way, not even close. I really wanted to like the W500 but at the end it's performance just didn't sing TOTL to my ears; I ended up selling them as fast as I could.
Apples to oranges. I agree, the Samba had great bass per se, and definitely produces better rumble than stuff like the K10, Zeus, 334 etc. but still not up to the level of the A12. The W500 is the best of the lot to my ears, and only the Lear BD4.2 and maybe, maybe the A12/335 can be grouped within the same league.

Of course, purely talking about low-end response here. The W500 isn't the best at mids or treble but IMO is very much still within TOTL standards.
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