Just got the R1 myself about 1 hour ago, and although it's never a good idea to get an opinion this fast I will post my first impressions. Please pardon the non-audiophile terms :)
Edited by C0rnholio - 4/28/13 at 4:04am
First off the package is impressive, the case is superb and OMG - soooo many earbuds. The build quality on the IEMs is not bad at all.
Ok quickly moving to the sound impressions.
Overall they sound a bit too dark to be honest. Not much though but dark. As everybody noticed, the mids are recessed ... very recessed but also I have a problem with the highs. Although they are there, the sound is a bid muddy, is not crisp/sharp. Is not something drastic but they require quite a bit of highs adjustment in the EQ in Foobar. The bass is there, and quite obvious. I like bass, I am not a bass-head but on my Fiio E10 I keep the BASS ON all the time. The R1 are the first headphones/IEMs that forced me to take it off :) However the BASS is their main thing. Whoever says they don't have enough, should get their ears checked.
I tried them on the Fiio E10 and also my iPhone 4. Same impression, a bit dark, pretty big on BASS but lack on the mids and also the highs don't feel clear and crisp. Sure if I pump up a bit on the 10-20Khz in the EQ - they start to come to life. As I said I have only used them for about 1 hour, but I doubt the sound will change very much with the burn-in.
I compared them to my old Brainwavz ProAlphas - and although just by looking at the specs, the R1 would have to be a much higher-end IEM - but the price is pretty much the same on them, around $45 - although the ProAlphas are not available anymore . First off ... the fit is just perfect ( for my ears ) with the stock buds. I haven't played a lot with the rest, just tried the ceramic ones ... couldn't get a decent isolation and returned to stock which are perfect for me. Sound wise, the ProAlphas sound a bit sharper and crispy on the high end, have a much more present voice but they lack the bass and also separation and stage. The R1 is visibly better in these regards.
Although I am not all that crazy about the mids, and also the highs are just not where I'd want them, giving the Bass quality, build quality, package and overall sound airness, soundstage and separation - I consider them to be better than the ProAlphas. And I can always use a EQ to get some more highs in there... so no biggie. You can't get airness, and separation with an EQ - so the R1 is a better IEM although far from being perfect.
Then again, I have them for about 1 hour - usually takes a lot more for me to make a fair head2head between 2 headphones. I really hope, with burn-in - the highs would rise up a bit but I strongly doubt there will be a noticeable difference.
Later Edit - also a very annoying problem - when I press on the IEMs I get a cracking noise from the driver on the left one. I know it's a issue a lot of you noticed. The ProAlphas have it but I have to press really hard to become noticeable, the R1 just take a bit of pressing and its there. Any idea if this would do any damage in time ? Are there any R1 out there without this problem ?