Before listening, I always let the iem burn for at least 100 hours to ensure the cable and crossover components are run in properly. Impressions were done with a Lotoo Paw Gold and RWAK380cu.
The Samba is reference tuned – a linear and relatively uncolored sound. It’s clear to hear the tuning philosophy is focused on an accurate delivery of the original intending of the recording. The midrange isn’t warm or bright; notes aren’t colored by and additional thickness to make the sound more impressive than it should. With high resolution as well as clear articulation of individual notes, the Samba can be considered technically highly proficient. This is further demonstrated by a clean and airy stage. Although the Samba has slightly leaner average note thickness, the combination with excellent stage dimensions provides a high level of instrument separation. The combination of both a wide and deep stage with pinpoint precise imaging creates an almost holographic presentation – a term I don’t easily use. As such, the Samba effortlessly presents every detail in the music. This sense of precision is further pronounced by a quick decay; traces of notes are cut off somewhat quick. This gives the midrange and treble a sense of urgency, and Samba truly excels with fast-paced electronic or rock music, as well as string quartets. The quick pace of notes in a clean stage adds to the total sense of accuracy in a faithful reproduction of the music; there’s a sense of control and calmness in the production of complex passages.
Samba’s low end packs a powerful punch – tight, controlled, but deliciously impactful. For my personal taste, this is pretty much as good as it gets when it comes to BA driven bass. Overall, the sub- and mid-bass are very well balanced. The sub-bass is by no means shy; it powerfully dictates the sense of rhythm. The sub-bass hits deep, providing good depth to the stage. The mid-bass is detailed, clearly defined, and mostly controlled. The excellent control of the mid-bass aids in a clean and spacious stage: it doesn’t provide warm air to the stage, or to the midrange for that matter. While it’s sub-bass rumble might be considered a dissonant for a truly reference signature, it’s a more than welcome one. It adds that extra bit of power and dynamics to the presentation – this is a bass you can feel, while it retains a clean and technical presentation.
The midrange is very close to neutral in its positioning. It can be predominantly characterized as uncolored; this isn’t a particularly warm or lush midrange, but it isn’t bright or harsh either, nor is it recessed by any means. Due to the lack of coloration, it’s clear Jomo is aiming for a truly neutral presentation, rather than coloring the midrange for additional, but artificial, excitement. Instead, the Samba delivers an accurate portrayal of the music, with a high level of precision and separation in the delivery of individual instruments. As the lower midrange is slightly laid back, the vocal presentation isn’t focused on power or density; but both male and female vocals have good size, are clearly articulated, and detailed. The same story applies to the upper midrange; the trait that stands out most is a lack of coloration. Adding warmth or thickness to a midrange disrupts the purity of a chord of an acoustic guitar or violin, or the key of a piano; it might sound thicker, but it isn’t true to the tone. The Samba’s upper midrange is neither warm nor bright, but tonally accurate – you can get a clear sense of the original recording. While it isn’t overly sparkly, it isn’t laidback either. As it isn’t brightened to emphasize detail, it remains fairly smooth.
The treble is articulate, detailed, with a quick decay. Similar to the rest of the signature the treble isn’t thicker or particularly colored, but retains a focus on accuracy in its tone, rendering of detail, and pace. In line with Samba’s reference oriented tuning, the treble is very slightly forward, boosting its note articulation, and the overall sense of precision. In addition, it’s a rare case of an iem that manages to extend further than the 10 Khz mark before rolling off. I wouldn’t classify the treble as either laidback or prominent. With brighter than neutral sources as the Lotoo Paw Gold or QPR1 however, the treble will not be completely smooth or non-fatuiging for sensitive listeners, due to a slight 7 KHz peak. In addition, the Samba doesn’t remain completely free of sibilance if it’s in the recording. The Samba is somewhat source dependent in this regard, and will sound more natural and smoother with a warmer or reference dap like the AK; especially its treble presentation.