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RedGiant: A Supernova in the Making? - Page 29

post #421 of 436
If I had to sum up my experience with the A00 with one word, it'd have to be “surprise”. Not always in the positive sense, but (to cut to the chase) for their price bracket, they'd garner a solid recommendation from me. 
 
Fit and Finish 
The first surprise came in the form of their build quality; you'd never know they were playing second fiddle to the A03 in the product line as the A00s smoothly machined, metal chassis, robust cables and L plug exude a sense of quality that harkens back to when “Made in Japan” actually meant something. So kudos to Red Giant for knocking it out of the park where build comes to the fore. Now, the fact that these can take a thrashing aside, their oblong shape and the entry point of the cable into the driver housing confuses me. You can understand why they went with a seemingly ergonomic shape, it allows for the phones to lay more flush against the  ear, but if you've got a strangely shaped ear like myself, the fit can be trying on your patience. To exacerbate this issue, the entry point of the cables lie on the underside of the driver housing (like your average pair of phones), rather than the more sensible option of having them project from the top where one can easily loop the cable around the ear. I mention this because if you  can't manage a good seal, the sheer weight of the earpieces along with the tugging motion of the wires can cause the whole shebang to come dislodged from your ears. Other than these two annoying quirks, Red Giant have summarily delivered a product that feels far more premium than its price might suggest. 
 
Sound 
I will confess that I didn't exactly come into this with an open mind as I was prepared to audition the much more expensive A03, only to have to settle for its more budget minded little bro due to the A03's woeful fit. That coupled with the fact that I'd been listening exclusively to the ES5 for the past couple of months set the stage for this forthcoming auditory bigotry. What could it sound like other than a murky mishmash of bloated, tubby bass and recessed mids and treble? But you know what? Surprise, surprise, I didn't exactly hate the A00, in fact, I was pleasantly surprised by how inoffensive, and hell, nice they sounded. Make no mistake, the A00s aren't going to sound spectacular with everything, but they're actually more well rounded than I was prepared to give them credit for, and from Led Zeppelin to Ratatat to The XX to Tron Reconfigured, they handled the material I threw their way reasonably well. 
 
From track to track, the bass definitely takes center stage here, but it's surprisingly capable. The bass isn't quite fast enough to lend the staccato synths in Adagio for Tron (Tron Reconfigured) that stuttering texture, but it's more than happy to blithely pound your eardrums. Bass light, these phones are not, but what's on hand is fairly well controlled and quite fun to take in. And while the A00's midbass is quite good, the sub bass does lack the impact of a truly great bassy phone like the FX500. The mids are similarly good, vocals being clear and intelligible with good body to them, but an ever present veil never allows for the vocalist to truly be “there” as you'd find on Modest Mouse's “Styrofoam Boots” or Beach House's “Other People” while listening on better phones.
 
Guitars and drums came across with good energy and believable timbre on rock albums such as Muse's Origin of Symmetry, Number Girl's Num Heavy Metallic and Led Zeppelin's Mothership, and despite a veil hanging over it all, all the appropriate details were clearly audible, with separation between instruments being quite a bit better than I would have expected. It wasn't until I tossed the mutli-layered orchestral recordings on the Evangelion 2.0 OST and the Final Fantasy Distant Worlds concert at it, that the A00's fared more poorly and became congested. The treble, while recessed, will present sibilant recordings as such (Billie Jean off of the Thriller 25th anniversary pressing for instance), and while it doesn't lend snare drums that satisfying crack or crash and ride cymbals that shimmer and sparkle, it does allow for a smooth and fatigue free listen. The soundstage seemed to vary in size depending upon the recording, a trait that I found was similar to the SM3 in a way. This initially led me to believe that they only projected an average sized stage, but listening to Derezzed by Avicii (Tron Reloaded) proved me wrong on that count; they can indeed sound quite large when the recording calls for it. Width aside, they sounded quite flat and lacking in depth, and their imaging isn't exactly good. 
 
Yes, the A00 isn't exactly a technical juggernaut nor the most euphonic set of phones, but they do present a well balanced sound that while not ostentatious, is well judged and should serve the varied tastes of the music lover on a budget. 
post #422 of 436
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Idsynchrono_24 View Post

If I had to sum up my experience with the A00 with one word, it'd have to be “surprise”. Not always in the positive sense, but (to cut to the chase) for their price bracket, they'd garner a solid recommendation from me. 
 
Yes, the A00 isn't exactly a technical juggernaut nor the most euphonic set of phones, but they do present a well balanced sound that while not ostentatious, is well judged and should serve the varied tastes of the music lover on a budget. 

 

Thanks for your thoughts! The A03, as mentioned before is always going to be a huge point of contention when it comes to fit; I really hope they're working on a better option. The A00 on the other hand, is a nice choice for novice listeners on a budget to get good build quality/design and a capable sound. It's good to hear thoughts from various people, both good and bad. I've added your entry to the front page.

post #423 of 436

No, thank you for the opportunity to audition them! And I agree, its finicky fit aside (which likely affects only a small percentage of people), the A00's provide a tremendous value for the budding audiophile. I can see many people being perfectly happy with their excellent build quality and consumer friendly sound signature. I can't say the same for even some higher end enthusiast offerings such as the Radius DDM or the Earsonic SM3; people'd look at me like I was crazy and wonder where the heck those several hundred dollars went with such a plasticized quality. Red Giant would be eating Monster/Beats Audio's lunch if only they had the proper branding and consumer awareness. 


Edited by Idsynchrono_24 - 8/15/12 at 10:59pm
post #424 of 436

So am I really the only one who has managed to get a perfect fit with the A03? :P

post #425 of 436
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaBomb77766 View Post

So am I really the only one who has managed to get a perfect fit with the A03? :P

Well, you just have an alien set of ears man, proof's in the pudding Kyuubey ;)

post #426 of 436
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaBomb77766 View Post   So am I really the only one who has managed to get a perfect fit with the A03? :P

 

I think MF also got a perfect fit, so I think the fit is just really variable amongst different people. I think the idea for making a full-on fit was a good idea, but it obviously doesn't work for everyone.

 

RedGiant seems to come up with good design concepts (like a good design studio should), but I think they've yet to grasp a good hold of real-world practicality.

post #427 of 436

Tomorrow the Red Giants will be going to vwinter.

 

The A03 and I never really got along.  I was able to get a good seal, however due to the size of the housings and short nozzle, I don't think the shallow fit was doing them any favors.  I was getting some echoey upper mids that made the presentation slightly fatiguing and just plain odd sounding at times.  Meelec biflanges helped somewhat but the tubby and sharp edged housings would eventually irritate my ears.

 

I can say they have a very spacious presentation and seem to project sound way out in front of you.  Vocals were somewhat near, while instruments seemed way off in the distance, making for a very surreal and holographic soundstage.  While the bass sounded pretty pleasing, the treble was a weak point for me, sounding a little tinny. I hear potential in the dual dynamics and they are obviously getting some very interesting and impressive layering but overall, as currently configured, it is a product that just doesn't suit me.

 

Thanks Tomscy2000 for the opportunity to hear them!


Edited by shotgunshane - 8/24/12 at 5:45pm
post #428 of 436

Love my A03.  Great fit with the Monster foam supertips.  Tried a lot of tips and found those were the best for my ears.
 

post #429 of 436

I didn't think to try the monster tips.  Oh well, too late now.

post #430 of 436
These impressions have been a long time coming and long delayed. I'd like to thank Tom once again for being just about the most gracious person I've never and ever met.

I had the great opportunity to audition the RedGiant A00 Malleus and the A03 Ossicle. Both were very unique IEMs in just about every aspect and below are the impressions I developed during my audition. I've not read any previous impressions of significant length as to not influence mine. This was both for the reason of purity and so that I could see how I hear things compared to others.

A lot of details about construction and accessories have been said before so I will focus here on tactile and sonic impressions.

RedGiant A00 Malleus
I'll be going into this one first. It's a lower end model, current market price around here at $60 US.

Build & Comfort
The construction is very good. The housings are made of zinc alloy and are well put together. They feel solid and substantial, and quite heavy. If you don't like the sound you can always use them for self defense. The cable is very thick and supple. It doesn't really tangle.

As far as my ears were concerned, they were pretty comfortable. They are not exactly small with a 12mm dynamic driver inside, but very rounded like a dark metal bean so they didn't really poke or prod anywhere. They do take up just about the whole inner ear space though and I could see them being uncomfortable if you plan to wear them for hours on end like at work or on a plane because of size and weight.

They are worn down which took a second to figure out due to their unique shape and the spot where the cord exits the housing.

For what it's worth to anyone, they are also a fingerprint magnet.

Sound
For this section I will describe them based on the notes I took in general critical listening and in comparison with a cheaper but solid dynamic driver based IEM, the Brainwavz M1, and a more expensive, at MSRP, balanced armature IEM, the Sony XBA-1.

All listening was done on a laptop through a Fiio E10 with music files mostly in high bitrate lossless and 320kbps mp3 formats with a very wide range or music from studio drum sessions and full orchestral works to jpop, top 40's and heavy metal and more. I also threw in some lower bits rate files to see how they handles poorly encoded files.

General sound notes
Bass is the name of the game with the A00. Bass presence is strong from the sub-bass frequencies all the way through the mid-bass. They will hit 20hz without breaking a sweat, moving plenty of air with that rumble everyone loves from a dynamic driver. For not being very quick (though I'm used to faster drivers), the bass is relatively clean for it's price point. This combination creates great tactility, allowing you to feel percussion such as hands clapping and taiko drums. The strong bass presence throughout the mid-bass unfortunately, and fortunately, bleeds into the midrange, muddying it up and creating more warmth in the sound.

I say fortunately in regard to the bleeding mid-bass because I feel the midrange is the weakest part of the A00. It's grainy in the vocals and in general. And if not for the prominent bass, it would be somewhat shouty. This causes them be relatively recessed and somewhat tiny. They oddly have good texture, but transient response feels a bit slow, and this holds true across the spectrum, with the driver generally sounding a bit slow. Electric guitars particularly sound good due to the grain and texture, which is an interesting tradeoff on smoothness. The mids, unlike the bass, feel less tactile for natural instruments. The upper mids, without testing the frequency response are a little peaky and this continues into the lower treble. This makes higher female vocals a point of interest in the signature. After this, the highs fade quickly with extension and are in general pretty laid back.

This brings me to presentation which was the best part of these for me. They have a very well rounded soundstage with good depth and reverb. This creates a very nice ambiance which feels like a very large indoor cavernous space, moreso a forward projection than what is generally called "3D" on head-fi where it surround you. They have a good ability to center, but imaging is a bit vague in the center and they have 3 section imaging for the most part, left, right and center, but it's oddly convincing.

I wanted to note that timbre was reasonably good out of the A00 (though other impressions seem to disagree) except for the lower midrange where it's more off. They sound excellent with many organic instruments to me and also not too bad at low volume listening. They actually made a good impression on me for all their flaws and if they were a bit cheaper, I'd have a much easier time recommending them. If an ambient presentation and timbre are your bread and butter and you don't want to break the bank, these are something to look at. They hit a good emotional point with me.

The Sony XBA-1 is:
Is much more linear with less peaks with better consistency in its signature.
It has better timbre in the upper mids which are also a tad peaky but worse timbre in general. It's more technical; not as emotional and definitely not as tactile. It is also much quicker and cleaner with less distortion. It has a less realistic presentation and smaller soundstage, in all directions, with lesser reverb and ambiance but has less forward projection allowing cues to extend more toward 180 degree limits than the A00. The highs are also more present. They have less tactility and less texturing. Electric guitars as a result are not its strong suit for example. It also offers slightly better isolation but much less bass.

The Brainwavz M1 is:
Faster than the A00 but not as quick as the XBA-1. It has a very non-reverby ambiance but a relatively cleaner soundstage. Though it has much less bass, maybe even less quantity than the XBA-1, it's not bad in tonality for drums. Vocals sound a little more off to my ears on the M1 but brass instruments sound good. It is a rather neutral signature in comparison to the A00 and XBA-1. Texture levels are not very high throughout and it is less tactile than the A00 with bass not reaching as low. The lower mids are less hearty. Separation is worse than the A00 but imaging is in the same ballpark.


RedGiant A03 Ossicle
Due to life, I didn't get to take specific comparison notes for the dual dynamic based A03, but it was tested against the single dynamic driver based Aurisonics ASG-1.1 and the quad balanced armature Sony XBA-4. These impressions are based on notes from general and comparative listening using the same setup as for the A00.

Built quality and comfort
Given its gigantic size, it's no surprise that the A03, while much more expensive than the A00 at a market price of around $150, is made of plastics. They are pretty good quality plastics though and the housing is pretty solidly put together and surprisingly light. The cable is once again very solid, thick, and not very prone to tangling. The 3 button iPhone remote is consistently styled and works.

Comfort on the other hand is another story. I assume comfort would be an issue for many. They are pretty hard to position into a solid comfortable seal and they press against different parts of the ear which becomes increasingly uncomfortable as time goes by. Surprisingly given how much of the ear they cover, they don't isolate very well as it doesn't really fill the inner ear (concha?).

Sound
The bass is solid and present. It goes very low but stays out of the way when not needed, unlike the A00. This results in a cleaner sound, but not up to the black background of the GR07, with not too much bleed into the midrange. It's a reasonably well controlled bass but not as quick as some of the faster IEM's. The ASG-1.1 has much more weight and authority behind its bass notes, though they are of a softer quality.

From the bass throughout the midrange, it presents sound rather smoothly, with the upper midrange lacking a bit of energy for my tastes to make it interesting, not lending itself to engaging higher female vocals. This also makes them appear to not present texture that well, which doesn't bode well for gritty instruments such the crunch of electric guitars. The lower midrange has more presence. They are also not very "fleshy" or "hearty" like a thin soup, with notes not having too much weight or tactility behind them which doesn't play nice with percussion instruments either.

The treble had a liquidity to the way notes were presented, which cut down on air, but it was a pleasant with good detail and extension. It did feel like there was a slight coherency issue but nothing to really get bent out of shape over.

Presentation is yet again where things get interesting. Close and wide is generally the name of the game. I think it was Tom that had said it was like sitting very close to a movie screen and that is pretty accurate. I will say that with some tracks that have well recorded depth, they can depict it decently as if you were wearing 3D glasses and the background of the movie dropped back. Soundstage width was quite good and extended to about 180 degrees. While imaging suffered due to the lack of depth, it was able to position cues realistically albeit with separation and layering that I expected to be better for this price range. In that way the presentation was both convincing and unrealistic at the same time, which was a little bit confusing for my mind. I'll also note that the presentation had a more open air feel like the FX700 as opposed to the indoor feel of the GR07.


Overall, I found the A00 to be the more enjoyable product to listen to, but the A03 was more interesting and unique, sound quality notwithstanding.


THANKS AGAIN TOM AND EVERYONE ELSE!
Edited by vwinter - 12/8/12 at 1:15pm
post #431 of 436

From the impressions in the OP, the A03 seems to be rather similar to the TF10 (with a decent seal). Anyone care to compare the two?

post #432 of 436

I just got the Ossicle today and I've listened to it for only about an hour, but, for me and the music I listen to, "Epic Trailer Music", I love how these are sounding etysmile.gif!

Luckily, the giant earpieces fit but just barely.  

I can totally see how someone else might not like these, just depends on what sound you're looking for.

 

btw, I've found that Muppetface's posts are very, very well thought out and articulate, and I think it would be prudent to read them if one is wondering about a pair of earphones or headphones, or headphone gear...

post #433 of 436
Quote:
Originally Posted by fusionramjet View Post

...I've found that Muppetface's posts are very, very well thought out and articulate...

They really are, aren't they.
post #434 of 436

I'm really interested in opinions of people who have heard both, which headphones do you find better? These or the GR07? Im considering both for my next purchase, but i'm still kind of undecided.

post #435 of 436

Hi there! Obviously you are not the only one ) Bought mine a day before.Fit is OK.Given a price tag of 150$,RedGiant A03 Ossicle should have blown out of the water my favourite Sony MH1C(35$)And yet it didn't happen!!!.Wonder now where is this  sound beauty hidden in A03?Will it reveal itself with longer burn-in?Sony MH1C sound more hi-def to me and seem to have more sparkle in the highs.That said, I do preffer v sound signature,so mids to me are not  impressive in A03. 

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