Rika is a brand new Seattle-based audio company offering affordable wooden headphones. The company is in the start-up phase right now and is hopeful to reach their funding goal through Kickstarter, a community-based project funding website. They hope to go into full production in October. They will be offering three different models: the Olympia (an IEM made of Walnut), the Shasta (a mid-sized supra-aural made of Cherry), and the one I will be reviewing here – the Teton (a slightly larger supra-aural made of Bamboo). Please visit both of these links to learn more about Rika headphones:
Rika Teton Bamboo Headphones
Driver Unit: 40mm
Impedance: 32 ohm
Sensitivity: 113 db
Frequency Range: 18-22000 Hz
Cord Length: approx. 1m
The Teton is stylish and understated. The bamboo shells are definitely eye-catching and the black plastic headband is fully adjustable. The rounded rectangular earpads cover almost all of the ear. Isolation is only fair for a mid-sized headphone, but on par with most competitors. One unique feature is the detachable split-cable design. Not only can the cable be replaced if damaged but this also allows for custom cable modifications for the DIY types. Production models will feature a mic and pause/play button. Overall the Teton is very unique looking and it’s refreshing to see new choices of materials.
Fit and finish are very good. The bamboo earcups are well-crafted and coated in a glossy finish and adorned with the Rika logo. The pleather earpads are of a decent thickness and the material is above average. The cable is a good quality OFC rubber-coated split cable that is not overly thick but has very little memory character and is tangle-free. The three plugs are gold-plated as are the jacks in each of the earcups. The plugs are also unique in that they are covered with real wood instead of plastic.
The Tetons are very comfortable to wear for long periods with no discomfort. Clamping pressure is quite light, which is a factor in the comfort level but the only downside to this is that they are prone to move around a little bit if used outdoors or for exercising. The earpads are soft and the design of the headband allows them to pivot in all directions, ensuring a good fit for many different head sizes.
The Teton is an admirably neutral sounding headphone and does a nice job of presenting detail and imaging.
The soundstage is quite good for the price point. There is very good instrument separation and the width is good but it is somewhat lacking in depth and height.
The highs are smooth and pleasant sounding. There is a slight roll-off at the very top but it balances well with the rest of the sound signature.
Upper mids are quite lush and satisfying.
The lower midrange is also very well presented although it is very slightly recessed. Vocals and instruments such as guitars and keyboards sound very nice.
Many listeners will love the fact the Rika chose not to over-extend the bass as is so common these days in portable headphones. The 40mm drivers are well-tuned to deliver tight and punchy bass without any boominess or bloating. For those who can live without that, these are more than adequate for many kinds of music.
Rika really has no direct competition offering wooden headphones at these prices, so it easy to say that these offer plenty of enjoyment for the money. The only similar model I’ve seen on the market is the Fischer Audio Oldskool 33 1/3, which had had very good reviews but is twice the cost.
The Rika Teton is very strong offering for a brand new company. All of their headphones are very appealing and unique and have very good sound quality to back up the nice looks. There is always room in the market for a unique products and I hope they are successful in their venture. If this headphone were included in my recent roundup of 16 different portables it would have ranked near the top.
- Engaging, polished sound while still fairly neutral
- Detachable cable
- Very comfortable
- Fit can be a bit loose for activity-oriented listening
Edited by postrock - 8/11/12 at 10:08pm