Pros: Great cable, excellent isolation, attractive shell color, good extension, bass shaping, lots of eartips, lots of detail
Cons: Can sound thin, nozzle is not made from a hard material
Rose Mini2 Review: So Small You Might Loose It
Rose is one of my favorite IEM makers. This small Chinese company has continually released IEMs that I found comfortable, stylish, and fun to listen to. This is their first attempt at a truly tiny IEM. However, is the Mini2 worth your time and consideration?
You can find the Rose Mini2 for sale here, on Penon Audio, for $99 (fixed cable version) or $110 (MMCX version).
Disclaimer: This unit was purchased by me with my hard-earned cash. I am not affiliated with Rose or Penon Audio beyond this review. These words reflect my true, unaltered, opinion about the product.
Preference and Bias: Before reading a review, it is worth mentioning that there is no way for a reviewer to objectively pass judgment on the enjoy-ability of a product: such a thing is inherently subjective. Therefore, I find it necessary for you to read and understand what I take a natural liking to and how that might affect my rating of a product.
My ideal sound signature would be an extended sub-bass with a leveled, but textured, mid-bass. The mids should be slightly less pronounced than the treble, but still ahead of the bass. I prefer a more bright upper range.
Source: The Rose Mini2 was powered like so:
Nexus 6P -> earphones
Hidizs AP100 3.5mm out -> FiiO A5 3.5mm out -> earphones
HiFiMAN SuperMini -> earphones
PC optical out -> HiFiMe SPDIF 9018 Sabre DAC 3.5mm out -> earphones
All music was served as MP3 @320Kbps or as FLAC. Penon Audio and Rose both recommend that you use the Mini2 with a Hi-Fi DAP, and for a good reason. There is a noticeable difference between the Mini2’s performance on my Nexus 6P and on my SuperMini.
The Mini2 makes use of two BAs, so I assumed it was going to have almost nonexistent bass (sort of like the 4Ai S). However, I was wrong. The Mini2 has a V-shaped sound signature with reserved, but still noticeable, bass response.
The Mini2 has great extension. This is especially noticeable on tracks with high-hats and cymbals. The upper treble is granular (not smooth) but has a lot of detail and is well-toned.
Electronic synths sound very good on the Mini2 and are quite cohesive. The treble and upper-treble are slightly boosted, meaning they can make their way to the front of the sound stage with very little effort, never getting lost in the crowd.
The Mini2, to my delight, is never sibilant. Even my worst behaved tracks fared well. White Flag by Delta Heavy and Satisfy by Nero posed no problems.
The upper-mids are well-fleshed-out and have a great sense of air and detail about them, but the lower-mids sound a tab bit hollow and scooped. Strangely, this doesn’t remove any detail from that range. In fact, quite the opposite; though the mids need weight, they certainly sound very detailed.
Electric guitars sound good, but in certain instances, can feel thin. Acoustic guitars sound very good as well, but rarely ever suffer the way electric ones do. Timbre is excellent, though I’d like more emphasis on the mids as a whole.
Vocals sound sweet and articulate. In fact, I’m quite impressed with the way that both male and female vocalists resolve on the Mini2. Even though they aren’t too far in front, they never get lost in the mix. It’s good to find a V-shaped IEM that doesn’t have to boost the 2Khz range just to make the vocals intelligible.
Bass guitars resolve well and are weighted nicely. They aren’t too emphasized, but they are shaped well. This lends songs a cohesive and full feeling. Acoustic bass lines aren’t too heavy, nor are they too gentle.
Bass wetness is pretty good, though I’d like a slightly more wet sub-bass. However, in spite of my nit-picking I find the Mini2 to be reasonably capable of playing-back the more agressive and bass-heavy kinds of electronic music. DJ Fresh’s Gold Dust sounded great, as did Leave Me by Taska Black.
Packaging / Unboxing
All the contents of the Mini2 are sealed inside the carrying case, and the carrying case is enclosed in a simply cardboard box. No frills, just the necessities.
The Mini2 is a little odd. It’s housing is made from Rose’s standard hard plastic, though the nozzles are made from a softer, bendier, material that is quite thin. While it doesn’t exactly inspire a ton of confidence in me, I don’t think that the nozzle is especially prone to damage. However, if I could choose I would definitely have liked to see the nozzle be made from a harder material.
The Mini2 comes in both a fixed-cable version and a detachable MMCX cable version. I have the detachable cable version. The cable that the Mini2 comes with is quite nice, and is made from silver. It is braided and has a great texture to it that feels premium. The cable has 45-degree MMCX connectors and terminates as a 3.5mm jack.
The Mini2 is very comfortable. It is meant to be worn over-ear, though it is so light you won’t ever even notice it. The diameter of the core of the eartips included is so small that, once you get a good fit, the Mini2 almost “disappears”.
The Mini2, despite it’s humble packaging, comes with a good number of accessories. Inside the box you will find:
- 5x pairs of silicone eartips
- 1x pair of memory foam eartips
- 1x carrying case
The eartips are diverse and are all high quality. I really like the selection here, and they fit quite well onto the Mini2. My only concern is the memory foam. They slide around a little bit on the nozzle, but have yet to actually come off the nozzle, so it’s not actively been an issue.
The Mini2, though not without its flaws, is a pretty solid IEM. It’s insanely small, yet features two balanced armature drivers in each housing. On top of that, Rose managed to fit a good implementation of MMCX into it making these some fairly unique earphones. While the sound signature isn’t for everyone, I think that there’s a place for the Mini2 in a lot of people’s collections. It's a great value for someone looking for something small. However, if you aren’t a tiny-IEM enthusiast, try to look around at some other options in this price range such as the Rose 3D-7 or Simgot EN700 Bass.