Note: About three months ago, we were contacted by Joseph from Jomo Audio regarding a review of his newest reference flagship, the 6R. The unit in this review was provided free of charge.
The CIEM business, at least to the general public, is much more of a niche circle compared to universal IEMs or headphones. That might explain why CIEM makers are more rare compared to IEM makers. Yet, every year, more and more companies dive into the business. As a consumer, it’s a welcoming phenomenon, as it means the market gets more diverse and competitive with the addition of new companies.
Jomo Audio is a fairly new company based in Singapore. They’ve been around for over a year, but they haven’t really received much attention outside of Singapore. In Singapore, they’re known for great value CIEMs, and their prices do tend to be typically less than the more costly UE or JH Audio products that their products can compete sonically.
The 6R is their “reference” model, aimed at flat and neutral response and clarity. But before I dive into the sound aspect, I want to cover the aesthetics and the build of the CIEM first.
Of course, CIEM designs vary from IEM to IEM. That’s the whole concept of custom art, although you can choose to have generic clear or monotone colors as your design. Jomo audio offers standard clear or uni-color color shells for no extra charge, while they also offer fancier designer package for additional $100 SGD. This option includes some rare wood designs, as well as the watch part design, offered by Noble as well. While I haven’t owned a Wizard IEM, the few that I’ve seen do seem to be superior in overall finish compared to the 6R, but it’s also much more pricey. Other patterns like carbon fiber and metal plates are offered as well by Jomo Audio. I personally think Joseph really did pull of a very elegant design on my 6R, and he certain proved that he’s capable of crafting beautiful face plates.
The unit I received was a timepiece design with solid rosewood from Nepal as the background. The right wood plate got damaged while shipping, but Joseph gladly offered to repair it once the review is done. This should be a rare occurrence, as the CIEM ships in a crush-proof, water-tight case. Joseph has been very communicative, and I have no doubts that he will stand by his work if you have any issues with your CIEMs. The turn around time for me was about a week, quite short compared to other companies’ turn around time.
The build of the CIEM itself is more than acceptable, though not impeccable like that of Fitear. It’s comparable to Hidition’s build, which isn’t bad at all. The CIEMs don’t insert as deep as other CIEMs, though they do insert deeper than “shallow” insert CIEMs offered by few companies. The isolation is fairly typical (better than most UIEMs), and the fit is overall good. The cable is graphite, which I actually like. Black cables can be a bit dull, while clear cables tend to oxidize fairly quickly and turn green or yellow. The pins are typical 2 pins, and the cable connector fits solidly, and the cable itself feels nothing but solid. The neck clinch is the same as UE neck clinch, a piece of heat shrink. As crude as that sounds, it’s very effective and simple.
The 6R has the most drivers among all the IEMs I’ve owned. SE846 has four, the UERM has three, and the Z5 has three as well. I’ve never been quite a fan of the driver count war that’s happening between few companies, but I don’t think 6 is an overkill in this case.
The signature of the 6R, as the Reference title suggests, is overall flat and a tad bit bright. This may be mistaken as boring, but it surely has more energy than the UERM.
The bass on the 6R is flat, and is perhaps weak for those expecting boosted bass, like the bass of most JH Audio IEMs. I have nothing against bassy IEMs, and enjoy them a lot, but for reference use, the flatness of bass is certainly welcomed. The bass extends at least as deep as the UERM’s does, although the 6R’s bass does sound quicker and punchier compared to the UERM. I do think that having two bass drivers helps with speed, as the 6R perhaps have the fastest bass I’ve heard. The actual amount of bass is slightly less than that of the UERM (I speculate about 2-3dB less), although the bass does feel slightly more punchy and tight compared to the UERM. SE846 or Z5 does extremely well with extension and impact, but it’s still slow compared to the 6R. Generally, BAs are known for speed and clarity, and the 6R displays these traits excellently.
The mids, as it should be on a reference monitor, is dry and flat. I personally prefer slight dryness in the mids, as long as it’s not recessed. This dryness allows clarity to shine through, and you will most likely be awed by the clarity the 6R provides. Though if you prefer boosted mids, the 6R might not be the most suitable choice. After all, the 6R is meant to be “reference.” There is no depression or dips in the mids or upper mids, so if you have a harsh recording, the 6R won’t be shy punishing you. The 6R is more sensitive to poor recording than the UERM. On the other hand, it’s also more rewarding than the UERM if you have a collection of well mastered music.
In fact, the 6R is so far the clearest CIEM I’ve heard up to date. This clarity will be welcomed by those with reference level source and well mastered music, but not so much by those running them off of a smartphone or a noisy source. The 6R is quite sensitive, even more so than the UERM, and you probably will notice hissing and noise from most non audiophile gears. For example, the UERM paired with a LG G3 has barely noticeable hissing, while the 6R paired with a G3 has more noticeable hissing, despite the fact that G3 provides fairly low noise, compared to most smartphones. With that in mind, the 6R scales well with better gear, at least as much as UERM scales with better gear.
There have been complaints about the 6R being harsh, but I personally find them not too harsh. For example, switching to the Sony XBA-Z5 after listening to the 6R is almost painful, because of the Z5’s accentuated 10k peak. In fact, it’s really not much peakier than the UERM, which should be bearable for most people. On the other hand, there is a bit more treble presence, and the peak may be noticeable on certain songs in the form of sibilance. For example, the song “Piano Man” has quite a bit of shrill that’s not so present even on the HD800.
The treble, just like the UERM, remains very well extended and sparkly. It certainly provides treble that’s not found in most IEMs(*cough cough Shure). Expect a steady extension at least up to 16k. The treble remains quite fancy through out, and if you’re a treble head, the 6R is obviously going to satisfy you. Fan of flat sound of ER4 series should feel comfortable with the 6R’s sound as well. The treble feels forward and showy, so keep that in mind. If you’re a fan of warmer sound, the 6R is definitely not for you.
Details are presented in a different manner though (compared to the UERM). The UERM remains laid back when it comes to detail presentation, but the 6R is more upfront about its detail presentation. Both produce micro details exceptionally well, though UERM remains a bit more polite in doing so. This forwardness actually contributes to a better instrument separation, and the 6R is the best CIEM I’ve heard when it comes to instrument separation.
I personally have only one complaint when it comes to sound: the sound stage. While the stereo separation is good, the sound stage itself is no where as wide as the UERM. The UERM is known for exceptional sound stage, and I wish that the 6R had as wide of a sound stage. Keep in mind that I’m used to ultra wide sounds of the HD800, UERM, and Z5. If you’re coming from a decent sounding $300 IEM, you won’t find the sound stage lacking. But if you’re coming from a summit-fi gear, you’ll notice the smaller sound stage. This small sound stage creates a more intimate feel, which some people like, but I personally feel as though the 6R lacks in this aspect.
Compared to the UERM, the 6R is tad bit brighter and faster. Think of the UERM as an orchestra and the 6R as a contemporary band. UERM is wider and laid back, while the 6R is more forward and quick, making them more exciting. For those that are fond of classical music, you’ll find that UERM suits you better. The UERM and the 6R, although measuring similarly in a frequency chart, have very different presentations. The 6R is a bit harsher and more sensitive to sibilance, while the UERM is a more relaxed. I personally think that UERM is a bit closer to the neutral sound, and the 6R is a bit closer to a treble heavy sound. UERM’s vocals, at least to me, sounds more natural, while the 6R has drier and clearer vocals. I love both signatures and probably will keep both of them for a while.
Compared to the Z5, the 6R is more neutral and less peaky at 10k. The Z5 has a big peak at 10k to create an “airy” feel. The 6R is capable of this airy feel without the peak, and Joseph made the right call not going with a massive peak as it almost hurts to listen to the Z5 after listening to the UERM or the 6R. The Z5 is more V shaped and exciting. The bass thumps and overall signature is nothing but exciting. The Z5 is no slouch when it comes to details or clarity, but the 6R’s sound is just executed in a more accurate way. I would rank the 6R at least a class above the Z5.
To conclude, I absolutely love the 6R. Exceptional speed, unparalleled clarity and separation, and outstanding details make the 6R a easy recommendation for fans of treble heavy/flat signature. Though if you’re a fan of laid back and warm sound, the 6R might not suit you too well.
- UE Reference Monitors
- Sony XBA-Z5
- Sennheiser HD800
- A&K Jr.
- LG G3
- *All photos with Jomo Audio Logo were provided by Jomo Audio.
- *And yes. The hands in the face plates do glow in the dark.