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First Look - Rika Bamboo Headphones

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Introduction

 

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:

 

http://www.rikaheadphones.com/

 

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rikaheadphones/rika-headphones-wood-and-bamboo-headphones

 

1000

 

 

Rika Teton Bamboo Headphones

 

Manufacturers Specifications

MSRP: $55.00

Type: Closed

Driver Unit: 40mm

Impedance: 32 ohm

Sensitivity: 113 db

Frequency Range: 18-22000 Hz

Cord Length: approx.  1m

Weight: n/a

 

Design

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. 

 

Build Quality

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.

 

Comfort

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.

 

Sound Quality

 

Detail

The Teton is an admirably neutral sounding headphone and does a nice job of presenting detail and imaging.  

Soundstage

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.

High Frequency

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 Midrange

Upper mids are quite lush and satisfying.

Lower Midrange

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.

Low Frequency

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.

 

Value

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.

 

Summary

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.

 

Pros

  • Engaging, polished sound while still fairly neutral
  • Detachable cable
  • Very comfortable

 

Cons

  • Fit can be a bit loose for activity-oriented listening

Edited by postrock - 8/11/12 at 10:08pm
post #2 of 16

I absolutely love these headphones. The sound is so crisp due to the wood. love it

post #3 of 16

Oh my god, want!

post #4 of 16

Nice casing for DIY'ers biggrin.gif

Just replace the drivers with that of Fostex T50RP and you are good to go.

post #5 of 16

They look like these: http://www.woodheadphones.com/product/es-830bb-bamboo-wood-on-ear-headphones

 

I'm loving the pricing on these! 

post #6 of 16
Or try the headphone first before writing off it's drivers wink.gif
post #7 of 16

Thanks for reviewing these! I just saw these on kickstarter the other day.

 

What would you say the sound quality is comparable to, for example the AKG K450's?

 

When you mention the isolation being fair is there any other headphone you could compare it being similar to as well?

 

Again great writeup!

post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by dweaver View Post

Or try the headphone first before writing off it's drivers wink.gif

 

This. If these are eSmooth OEM's, they'll probably be able to punch above their weight.

post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dukespecial View Post

Thanks for reviewing these! I just saw these on kickstarter the other day.

 

What would you say the sound quality is comparable to, for example the AKG K450's?

 

When you mention the isolation being fair is there any other headphone you could compare it being similar to as well?

 

Again great writeup!

Thanks, I can only compare it to the K430 since I have never heard the K450. They are quite similar in many aspects but I would say the Rika is a bit smoother and more relaxed sounding. My only complaint about the K430 is that it is not very comfortable. I reviewed it in my last roundup review:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/614729/compact-portable-headphone-roundup-16-phones-including-portapro-px-100-ii-v-jays-tracks-k430-and-more

 

I probably would have ranked the Rika Teton slightly ahead of the AKG. As far as isolation, it is similar to something like the A-T FC700A or Pioneer SE MJ-21 or Denon AH-P372. It doesn't exactly leak out a lot of sound but you can hear a lot of what's going on around you.

post #10 of 16

Thank you for the reply. I think I might just back these then : )

 

I do wish there was a review of the IEMS too however and the other model.

post #11 of 16

I might have to try the headphones and the IEM's look really nice but I doubt the sound as good as any of my others though.

post #12 of 16

I'm a little surprised anyone gets so excited about wood.  Seems like more of a novelty than an important factor.

post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deviltooth View Post

I'm a little surprised anyone gets so excited about wood.  Seems like more of a novelty than an important factor.

 

Depending on the type of wood, it can have excellent damping properties compared to low-quality plastic commonly used on cheap headphones.

post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ishcabible View Post

 

Depending on the type of wood, it can have excellent damping properties compared to low-quality plastic commonly used on cheap headphones.

 

 

True but with the bamboo headphones I think its more form over function and its a really nice form:)

post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Techno Kid View Post

 

 

True but with the bamboo headphones I think its more form over function and its a really nice form:)

 

It depends, I mean, the one version of the LCD2 uses bamboo. It's of much nicer quality and properly damped, but discounting bamboo altogether isn't giving it enough credit. I'd assume the porousness of it isn't the best thing for the backwaves though. But the main issue concerning bamboo is the bass, and if the bass isn't non-existent, I guess bamboo isn't the worst choice of materials. It's more interesting than plastic.

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