Impressions were done with both switches down, unless mentioned.
Flamenco shares a somewhat similar reference-oriented signature as Samba, with a slightly brighter than neutral tonality due to an upper midrange peak. Similarly, Flamenco’s bass is enjoyable in its quantity and impact, even in its neutral setting. They differ in their midrange tuning: Flamenco boosts the center midrange frequencies, a 2-3 KHz bump reminiscent of flagships as Zeus and W900. While Samba already has a highly focused vocal presentation, Flamenco adds more density and body, forming a more solidified center vocal. Flamenco’s vocal and instrument presentation carries more weight and size. Samba is a bit brighter by comparison, although their tone is similar with Flamenco’s treble switch up.
The stage has fairly even proportions in depth, width, and height, resulting in a cube-sized stage. In overall size, the stage borders on intimate. While this might be associated with a less separated presentation, many iems with similar dimensions as EarSonics’ S-EM9, Jomo’s own Samba, or the Warbler Prelude tend to outperform the TOTL average in this regard. Size doesn’t matter – it’s what you do with it. By means of their precision of imaging, stability of the background blackness, and layering ability, these iems are able to convey a highly focused image – relying on the quality of the separation, rather than the absolute size. In addition, smaller stage dimensions have the advantage of being more readily able to follow the presentation as a whole; maintaining oversight of all the elements combined.
Jomo is setting a high standard for technical ability – even for itself. Jomo’s 8-driver Samba is a paragon of performance, excelling in transparency, resolution and imaging. Flamenco continues the tradition, exceeding the flagship average. Its resolution translates to high definition of midrange notes, while its level transparency uncovers the more subtle detail. Accordingly, its detail retrieval relies on separation, resolution and transparency, rather than its stage dimensions; the result however, is Flamenco being one of the most detailed ciems.
Flamenco’s low end is tight and moderately impactful, with an overall quantity slightly north of neutral. Similar to Samba, this results in an engaging and dynamic low end, which adds a bit of rhythmicity and power to the presentation. The low-end extension is roughly average, as is its mid-bass resolution. The virtues of Flamenco’s bass lie in the speed and airiness of its presentation. Flamenco delivers its bass hits in a fast and controlled manner, allowing the bass to keep up with the pace of the music, yet with sufficient quantity to be considered engaging. In addition, the stage maintains its airiness despite the quantity of the bass impact, contributing to the cleanliness of the separation.
Enhancing the bass switch adds more quantity, increasing the body of the bass, although the bass itself is not necessarily more impactful in the lowest registers. While the bass maintains a relatively airy structure, the added weight and prominence of the mid-bass affects the cleanliness of the separation in bass-heavy-music – an inevitable tradeoff. Bass enthusiasts will undoubtedly prefer the bass switch on, while purists might prefer the off setting. It’s good to have the choice, to vary between listeners or music styles.
While Jomo boosted the center midrange frequencies, Flamenco’s lower midrange is relatively laidback. Accordingly, the vocal range is centered on pronunciation, rather than warmth or depth. The overall body of vocals is fairly neutral in size. This results in a dense, focused center image. Although vocals aren’t necessarily very warm in tone, the slight forwardness and solidity of the image adds to a sense of realism in their portrayal. More importantly, the outstanding transparency of the midrange results in a clear and pure image – a lack of veil between you and the singer. In addition, the clean space surrounding the vocal is impressive.
Flamenco’s signature is further characterized by an upper midrange peak, which enhances the overall clarity of the presentation. Boosting the upper midrange results in a more natural form of clarity, without resorting to sounding overly bright. While the upper midrange could have been a bit warmer to sound completely accurate, the midrange tone is fairly neutral, and seems to work especially well with classical music – a sweeping violin, or the full range of a piano. This can partially be attributed to its outstanding transparency, as well as the full-bodied size of instruments.
The Flamenco’s treble is lightly enhanced, contributing to the clarity of the presentation, as well as its precision in imaging and transparency. In addition, its excellent top end extension results in its high resolution and airiness within the stage. It’s an essential treble tuning in construing its technical presentation, and successful in what it seeks to achieve.
The treble itself is slightly brighter in tone, while refraining from sounding bright or harsh altogether. This is very much an articulate treble: well-defined, moderately fast, and with sufficient quantity, altogether resulting in a highly detailed treble presentation. It’s a lively treble, that isn’t too shy to capture your attention. Importantly, the treble stays on the safe end of sibilance, even when specifically tested.
Turning the treble switch on makes the treble more prominent, boosting the clarity throughout the presentation. Accordingly, the detail retrieval is more upfront, while the image is slightly more holographic. As Flamenco relies on its extension rather than brightness for resolution, it doesn’t necessarily need the added brightness for detail – but it adds a bit of liveliness and stimulation, which may or may not be appreciated based on personal preference. I was surprised to find myself very much liking the versatility of the treble switch; more so than that of the bass, which I found sufficient in its neutral position. Guess there might be a casual treblehead lurking in me somewhere.