I decided it was worth having a dedicated thread for these (apparently) wonderful custom monitor brands. There are a few impressions here and there on HF but no dedicated thread for all there models.
Compact Monitors was a very reputed German audio brand who has been operating for years (first impressions on Headfi are from 2009 but the company was apparently 12 years old). The company was recently divided between the two owners Felix Reinsch, who started Rhines Custom Monitors) and Marcel Schoenen (who launched Vision Ears).
The build quality is reputedly very high and comparable to Fitear.
So far, it seems both companies have more or less the same custom line they inherited from Compact Monitors namely:
- Stage 1.2 (619€)
- Technology: Dual-driver two-way-system
- Sensitivity: 112 dB SPL bei 1 mW
- Frequency: 28 Hz - 16 kHz
- Impedance: 36 Ohm ( at 1 kHz )
- Stage 2 (769€)
- Technology: dual-driver (one for the low/mid frequencies and one for the high frequencies) two-way-system
- Sensitivity: 122dB SPL at 1 mW
- Frequency: 20 Hz - 17 kHz
- Impedance: 28 Ohm ( at 1 kHz )
- Stage 3 (999€)
- Three drivers in a two-way-system
- Sensitivity: 118dB SPL at 1 mW
- Frequency: 20 Hz - 18 kHz
- Impedance: 18 Ohm ( at 1 kHz )
- Stage 4:
- Four driver three-way-system
- Sensitivity: 120dB SPL at 1mW
- Frequency: 10 Hz - 19 kHz
- Impedance: 20 Ohm
As there are some resellers with demos in Germany, Singapore, Hong-Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, Finland, etc. I hope to add some impressions from the people who own them or tried the demos.
Here are the links:
The former company: http://www.compact-monitors.de/index2.html
Vision Ears: http://www.vision-ears.de/english/
Rhines Custom: http://www.rhines-customs.de/rhines_e/
And here is some eye candy. As you can see the art work is gorgeous:
EDIT: The artwork below is from the Vision Ear Gallery:
AND HERE IS SOME ARTWORK FROM THE RHINES CUSTOMS GALLERY:
Here is an exchange that I had with Marcel Schoenen, founder of Vision Ears, which gives more background on both companies:
ME: How do you differentiate from Rhine Ears. Do you both offer the same quality and products?How do you differentiate from Rhine Ears. Do you both offer the same quality and products?
this is indeed a tricky question. The split is very new (beginning of this year) and at the moment there are not much differences in terms of our products. Both brands will come up with new models at sometime and also the optional features and the whole presentation of the brand will divide us more and more in the future. For example: we just launched 17 different types of wood that can be chosen for faceplates. This huge and beautiful variety is very unique and gives our brand the high class attitude we´re about to define. Our target market are musicians and audiophiles. At the moment we´re mainly doing customs for musicians, but when we started business with Caesar Palace (Hong Kong) three years ago, the audiophile market became more and more important for us. We want to continue this direction and we´re are planning a very innovative and new program that will mainly be interesting for audiophiles. I cannot tell too much, but let me tell you that this new program is something no other brand is offering in such a way. We will come up with this in the beginning of next year.
I know that there are some rumors that say we splitted because we we´re not same opinion with the production or the development of the company, but this is not true. Especially Caesar Palace is telling such things to justify their decision. But thats absolutely not true. Right after the split we were in discussions with Louis from Caesar Palace because he wanted to continue business with us, but they were not willing to accept our decision not giving them the exclusive rights for the whole Asian market. The reasons for the split are personal and I don´t want to be indiscrete and talk bad about my former partner. To make it short, we had a lot of trouble for the last two years and I didn´t see any changes after this two years, so I made the decision to split. I continued business with our former employee and now we´re building up this new brand VISION EARS. You asked for differences. I think this one: we´re mainly the old team of compact monitors. Rhines is more or less a "one-man-show". I don´t know if you heard from other people who ordered from compact monitors, that they had to wait approx. 4-5 month to get their ordered In-Ears. This was a huge problem for the reputation of compact monitors and one of the many things we want to do better with VISION EARS. Our production lead time is 2-3 weeks. We have the capacity to grant this.
To be honest I cannot tell you how the quality at Rhines is, but our philosophy is to provide our customers with perfect quality in terms of sound and fitting just as we did with compact monitors. The In-Ears we offer are exactly the same as with compact monitors and I assume that also Rhines didn´t do any changes.
Hope this helps you.
All the best
And here are the quotes from Vision Ears on the Stage 3 and Stage 4:
You asked for the sound signature of Stage 3 vs Stage 4. Our Stage 3 is very natural in sound. Very balanced without being boring at all. It has a wide frequency respond and is very detailed. If you compare it to Stage 4 you will notice that the 4 is giving you a good punch in the very low frequencies. To notice this difference, it is useful to listen to music that gives you these very low bass frequencies, such as electronical music or Dubstep stuff. It´s absolutely amazing how powerful it sounds without covering the upper frequencies and it gives you even more details then the Stage 3. The Stage 4 sounds a little bit more "open" due to the wider frequency response. And it has also more upper high frequencies. To sum it up: The Stage 4 is very balanced, but pushes the very low and the very high frequencies. We found many audiophile people who love this model.
Here is the same exchange I had with Felix Reinsch:
Thanks for your fairness and interest.
I am a little short with my time at the moment so I will try to say what's important in a few sentences:
All in all i can say that i am pretty amazed about what marcel schoenen tells about the situation so far and i do not understand why he does.
These are the facts:
- Rhines is not a "one-man-show". i am pretty sure the team here is as big (or bigger) as/than the vision-ears-team
- Everyone here at rhines-customs is a performing-musician, skilled acoustician and long-time-in-ear-user
- Compact-monitors was founded in 2006 and built up on my technical know-how and the experience of my background as a musician and audiophile since the early 90's
- I founded my first in-ear-company in 1998, which was years before anyone else in germany ever did multi-driver-custom-in-ears and also years before the first two-way-universal appeared (um2/shure e5)
- At vision-ears there are two people from the old compact-monitors-team. Marcel schoenen and one ex-employee.
but "not to be indiscrete or talk bad about my old partner" is also something that i would prefer...
- Our lead-times are usually also not more than 2-3 weeks and we also hahttp://www.head-fi.org/u/163422/mimouilleve the capacity to grant this….
- We also offer about 20 different beautiful wooden faceplate-designs and many more options like photorealistic multi-colour designs, laser-engravements, carbon-fibre and so on
- After the split we more or less immediately came up with one new model and there are more to come in the near future
- I also can not tell anything about the quality at vision-ears. I can only say that here at rhines we continue the standards of compact-monitors and this i can absolutely promise because it all was built up on the way i handcrafted it many years before when i started the whole thing in the late 90's
We are located in the former compact-monitors-headquarter and from here we will carry the whole thing to the next level which will be based on both tradition and innovation.
About Stage3 vs. Stage4:
I absolutely agree to the description of Marcel about the difference between Stage 3 and Stage 4. That's what we told the people about the products at compact-monitors and why should we say something different about these now?
I myself love the Stage 3 more than the stage 4 but I am more into jazz, classics, zappa and things like that. Always when iIm listening to music like Massive Attack, Slipknot or others like that with a big bottom end and glittering highs I absolutely prefer the Stage 4.
I hope that helps to make a decision if necessary….
All the best to you and everyone out there who reads these lines,
let's stay in contact for everything to come...
VISION EARS DEMO TOUR:
As you may well know, Vision Ears has agreed to lend me Stage 2 / 3 / 4 demos for a very reasonable deposit and I organized a tour with the following participants:
First impressions from Mimouille:
Edited by Mimouille - 10/1/13 at 12:06am