Pros: Great voice reproduction, works well with IPhone, good soundstage overall. Good comfort and fit. Cable does not tangle. Easy to just pick up and use.
Cons: Not analytical (this is also a plus), highs slightly recessed.
First off the disclaimer, the Realvoice IEM’S were given to me a month or two back for reviewing. I would like to thank Spider Cable for the review sample and my apologies for taking so long in writing this review.
Since I have had these I have used them about 75% of the time when I am using earphones, which probably averages about two hours per day. So I have put quite a few hours into them and they are as burned in as one would expect. I own quite a few earphones as well as many full size headphones. I have used this on both my 3rd generation IPhone and on my cowon J3. This reviewer’s ears are on the midlife side of age, so take general observations with a grain of salt. Hearing, especially at the high end of the spectrum, does degrade over time.
What I like:
Sound signature: Fun sound with bass that is non-intrusive but still gives a kick, excellent mids, and smooth highs, sound is non-fatiguing. Mids are warm and clear, voice presentation is especially good. Tremble is there but not overly sparkly, perhaps a bit recessed; this is not an earphone for those who like overly sparkly trembles. The non-fatiguing signature does not over emphasize detail in the music, these really are a fun earphone and not analytical. On the J3, when bass boost is used, the bass sound becomes really punchy and quite good without being muddy. They respond very well to EQ on the J3, really shining across the spectrum. Still, without EQ, the earphones really shine with vocal presentation, a point also made by other reviewers. However, I should stress that the sound signature without EQ is equal or slightly better than the best in the same price range, including the RE0 as well as many earphones going up to the $175 price range.
Fit and comfort:
So why have I used these so much in the last couple of months when there are obviously more expensive and better sounding earphones in my collection? The Realvoice earphones fit well, are comfortable, and are relatively easy to just dig out of your bag and use. The lines do not tangle as easily as many of my earphones. The earphones do not go over ear so it’s a basic insert into your ear and you are set to roll. The fit is almost always the correct fit, I use double flange tips, and they do a great job with both the sound and the seal. These fit and are more comfortable than many of the earphones I own that are twice as expensive.
The Realvoice earphones are built well with solid medal earpieces that look to withstand being thrown loosely into a bag on a regular basis, as mine have been. The packaging has been described before, see for example: http://www.inearmatters.net/2011/08/review-spider-realvoice.html , so I will not go into that description.
Spider Cable requested, when giving out samples of the Realvoice IEM’S, that the reviewer have an iPhone and one of several earphones within the $50-$100, including a pair of Head-Direct RE-0, to compare them to. I found these earphones to work really well with the iPhone. I’m actually not a big fan of the sound of the iPhone, the sound just didn’t compare to the sound of my Zune or the J3. These earphones actually made the iPhone sound better than with some of the other sub-hundred earphones I’ve used with it. The volume/mute control on the earphone line is quite handy as well. If you use an iPhone to listen to your music, than I would recommend this earphone. The sound reproduction is good, and the controls are useful. That said, the music still sounds much better on the J3 playing through these earphones.
As for the comparison with the Head Direct RE0, I would rate them very close in sound signature. After a week of going back and forth with the two, I finally just left the RE0 at home. It was easier to use the Realvoice earphones, they fit better, did not tangle as much, and the soundstage was as good or better to my ears.
The Realvoice IEM’S are recommended at their current price, they do a great job within the cost/performance ratio. They are built very well, are very comfortable and easy to just pick up and use with a great sound that is mid-centric with a slight bass boost. They are easy to EQ for those music players that have that capability; they work well with the iPhone, and sell at a very reasonable price for the IEM one gets.
What else do I own or have owned:
Ultimate Ears Super.fi 4, Shure 530, Westone 3, HiFiMAN RE262, Shure SE535, Westone 4, Phonak Audeo PFE-112, Shure SE215, Phiaton PS 200, EarSonics SM3, Victor/JVC HA-FX700, Brainwavz M3, Fischer Audio DBA-02, Monster Golds, Monster Copper, Monster Miles Davis - 176.46, MEElectronics A151-BK , Ultimate Ears TripleFi 10, and the ATH-CK10.
For the purpose of this review, I also borrowed my daughter’s pair of Head-Direct RE-0, this year’s model.