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Vision Ears and Rhines Custom Monitors (formerly Compact Monitors) - Page 2

post #16 of 485
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultrazino View Post  Compact Monitors was owned and built up by two guys (I believe over 15 years ago). However, as I understand it, they have different aims. One (Rhines Customs) wants to conquer the hifi market whereas the other (Vision Ears) wants to rely on musicians only. That's why they broke up this year. The Stage series of Compact Monitors is exactly the same as with Rhines Customs and Vision Ears. I was told both will gladly handle any support issues from past purchases. I am not sure if either company is working on new products, but as of right now, they are still the same with the exception that Rhines Customs started targeting the international market and hifi enthusiasts.

 

This is what I read from an announcement from a major distributor of CIEMs in the Asia Pacific region, the HK-based Caesar Palace:

 Official announcement: Why "Rhines Custom Monitors"

Dear valued customers,

We are here to justify our decision of choosing "Rhines custom monitors" instead of "Vision ears" after serious consideration.

Recently, our previous prestige CM brand "Compact Monitors" separated into "Rhines" and "Vision Ears". The original two founders parted ways because they held opposing visions and ideas regarding the company's future.

"Compact Monitors" was always a role model in the custom monitors industry and a company which matched Caesar Palace's aim and philosophy - to give the best portable Hi-Fi to our customers. From the guaranteed sound to the master quality handcrafted shell and artwork, Compact Monitors fulfilled our requirements in every aspects imaginable. This is precisely the reason we selected "Rhines custom monitors" as the products of "Rhines" exceeds our expectations when compared to our previous "Compact" standard.

Hope this serves as the answer of our decision. Please feel free to reach us anytime if you have any further enquiries.

Caesar Palace

 

So, they're saying that Rhine's build quality and QC are better?

post #17 of 485
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultrazino View Post

From what I can tell, Compact Monitors was the single go-to custom in-ears manufacturer in Germany for years. Many big musicians are customers.
But even with a huge CIEM boom in the past years, Rhines Customs is still preferred by many users on the hifi-forum over all that other brands have to offer. The Stage CIEMs are definitely known to be extremely polished and the staff has very high standards! Build quality must be amazing.

Personally, I demoed all of UE's lineup and the Stage 3 and 4 on an event earlier this year. I was immediately hooked by the Stage 3, which is so far the best performer I have yet experienced. The Stage 4 was too v-shaped, IMO, and even though experts say the S3 is warm, I did not perceive it as such. It simply sounded precise to my ears.
In comparison, all of UE (except the Reference Monitor) sounded like very colored fun phones, portraying a disco setting with neon lights in my imagination.
As for S3 vs UERM, I felt like the S3 has noticeably more subbass and could portray intimacy better, giving soundstage more depth whereas the UERM is wider.

The reason I did not purchase the Stage 3 immediately was because I was in-between two jobs at that time and some universals caught my attention shortly after.

Rhines Customs will exhibit on a huge European headphone event this weekend and I will be present on both days. I am not sure which other custom manufacturers will be there, but I know InEar (from the acclaimed StageDiver series) will present their customs as well.
I can add some further impressions and pictures after the weekend.
Please do provide some impressions for both the Stage 3 and Stage 4 and maybe some comparisons with other top tier customs ? smily_headphones1.gif would really love to hear you compare them smily_headphones1.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultrazino View Post

Compact Monitors was owned and built up by two guys (I believe over 15 years ago). However, as I understand it, they have different aims. One (Rhines Customs) wants to conquer the hifi market whereas the other (Vision Ears) wants to rely on musicians only. That's why they broke up this year.

The Stage series of Compact Monitors is exactly the same as with Rhines Customs and Vision Ears. I was told both will gladly handle any support issues from past purchases.
I am not sure if either company is working on new products, but as of right now, they are still the same with the exception that Rhines Customs started targeting the international market and hifi enthusiasts.
But apparently the way they're doing it's just opposite from what you said , VE apparently has more distributor around the world and they're actively on the social networks . RC on the other hand isn't really promoting their products internationally . I only found out about compact monitors a couple of weeks ago , and seeing their 3 and 4 drivers comparing with the TOTL ciems , it's just simply amazing .
Edited by hilosxdd - 9/19/13 at 8:06am
post #18 of 485
Thread Starter 
Here is what Vision Ears told me about the Stage 3 and 4 sound signature:

"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."
post #19 of 485
So Stage 3 is like the Jerry Harvey JH13's and Stage 4 is the JH16's ? tongue.gif
post #20 of 485
Quote:
Originally Posted by hilosxdd View Post

So Stage 3 is like the Jerry Harvey JH13's and Stage 4 is the JH16's ? tongue.gif

Um..I found stage 3 is bassier than jh16
post #21 of 485
Quote:
Originally Posted by spriest View Post

Um..I found stage 3 is bassier than jh13

Typo.
post #22 of 485
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by spriest View Post

Typo.
What about Stage 4?
post #23 of 485
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mimouille View Post

What about Stage 4?

Stage 4 is really good but the soundstage is a bit unrealistic for me.
post #24 of 485

So there were 3 models available for auditioning on that day, the Stage 2, 3 and 4. I only tried the 3 and 4 since there were so many things to listen to on that day and my memo was already cramped by the time I checked out VE's booth. Anyway please note that the impressions below were written based solely on the demo units and we all hear things differently. I listen to female vocal most of the time so upper mids and highs are the 2 regions I pay most attention to when trying something new. To simply put it, a FitEar iem with less bass and more treble extension is perfect for me. 

 

Opps got carried away a bit, sorry for the lengthy rant. 

 

Stage 3: ED29689 + 2xCI(?)

 

The first thing came to mind was its clear, expansive soundstage and quite 3D, lifelike imaging. The Stage 3 kinda leans more toward upper mids and treble, with more emphasis on being sparkling than having good extension, something you would expect from a ED29689 based model. Though that doesn't mean its soundstage suffers from the lack of extension. In fact I found its treble very fun to listen to, with enough amount of extension and the lower treble region didn't get harsh on my ears at all, even with the Ipod Touch 4 as the source. Of course sibilance is expected with this kind of sound signature but it was tolerable. The midrange is somewhat laidback, which goes along with the expansive treble very well, making the whole presentation very airy and relaxing to listen to. 

 

Now comes the downside, the Stage 3 doesn't have very punchy bass with weight that makes you think this iem has 2(?) woofer units. There was quite an amount of upper bass quantity, though it didn't get bloated. However due to the lack of mid and sub bass, kick drums don't have enough 'snap' and speed. Thus low frequencies' detail level is just so so, nothing in comparison with mids and highs. 

 

Overall the Stage 3 will be good for long listening sessions without becoming tiring. Not a very fun sounding model I would say but its technicality, expansive soundstage, 3D imaging (well it's more about the width than height) are its strengths. 

 

Stage 4: ED29689 + CI(?) + 3300

 

Personally I don't like the 4 compared to the 3. The Stage 4 resembles the 3 in almost all aspects, except for its mid bass and midrange. With a dual woofer added, its mid bass is bumped up significantly (or was it because of my Ipod?), overlapping the upper bass and sub bass. Well there was more sub bass for sure but it didn't catch my attention right away. That and the overly-emphasized lower mids makes the midrange kinda skewed and unrefined (at some points I thought the mids was somewhat recessed but that was so long ago and my fuzzy memories don't go along very well with the note I had from that time so you can skip this part). 

 

The treble is more tamed compared to the Stage 3 but it still retains all the quality that its brother has. All in all I found the Stage 4 quite fun to listen to, but if I were to choose between the 2 based solely on the demos being displayed the Stage 3 would be picked in  a heartbeat. 

 

*Note about the ? driver: it looked very similar to the popular woofer CI but the marking read something-029 which didn't ring any bell so I left a question mark there if anyone wants to verify.


Edited by tranhieu - 9/19/13 at 10:46am
post #25 of 485
Thread Starter 
Thanks a lot for these impressions ! They are very helpful. It is true that they could change with different sources but who knows. Any thoughts on how these models compare to 435 and 335 since I know you listened to them?
post #26 of 485
Thread Starter 

Here is an exchange that I had with Marcel Schoenen, founder of Vision Ears, which gives more background on both companies (I will add it to the first post):

 

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?

 

Marcel Schoenen:

 

Hi Michael,

 

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 

 

Marcel

post #27 of 485
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomscy2000 View Post
 

 

This is what I read from an announcement from a major distributor of CIEMs in the Asia Pacific region, the HK-based Caesar Palace:

 

So, they're saying that Rhine's build quality and QC are better?

My latest post addresses this. In all fairness, I will also contact Rhines Customs so that they may also give us some information.

 

I also added some Rhines Customs illustrations to the first post.


Edited by Mimouille - 9/20/13 at 2:22am
post #28 of 485
I don't understand this part

"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."

4-5 months time for Rhines Customs to have the monitor built , or when last time before they split, it was 4-5 months turnaround time ? The way Marcel says things , seems like he meant by he doesn't belong to Compact Monitors last time ? Or he wanted to change something about the long turnaround time and decided to split into 2 companies ?

Oh and as for the Asian market rights, for Rhines Customs so far I've only seen one distributor in Asia which is Caesar Palace .
Edited by hilosxdd - 9/20/13 at 3:34am
post #29 of 485
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mimouille View Post

Thanks a lot for these impressions ! They are very helpful. It is true that they could change with different sources but who knows. Any thoughts on how these models compare to 435 and 335 since I know you listened to them?

 

You're welcome. I was actually very surprised to see VE turn up on that day since I heard that they were very local in the past, a reflection of  FitEar in some aspects. Those in Singapore are really lucky to have all the renowned brands gather in one place.

 

About how they are up against the 335 (no haven't heard the 435 unfortunately), I reckon among the Stage 3 and 4 only the 4 MIGHT be considered as 335's rival. The Stage 3 has a totally different way to approach sound reproduction with it focusing mainly on rendering a record's sense of space. In terms of being relaxing only the Parterre from FitEar's lineup can compete with the Stage 3 (and perhaps the F111 as well but I haven't got an opportunity to try them yet). However the Parterre wins hands down when it comes to musicality and fun factors. While the Stage 3 possesses better imaging and soundstage I still have the feeling the Parterre has better transition from lows to mids to highs compared to the 3.

 

If I were to compare, Stage 4 vs TG334 would be a much better match. No seriously the 335 wins almost in any way you look at now that I think about it, the only downside of the 335 I can think of is its overwhelming sub bass but then again the Stage 4's sub bass isn't very good (for its price) to begin with. However for the most part the Stage 4 and TG334 both have very similar driver config (I might say identical but there's not enough evidence as of yet) thus sound signatures of the 2 do share some similarities. I can't recall much at this point but the TG334 possesses better sub bass as well as its notorious musical mids while the Stage 4 wins in terms of treble rendering (not by a fair margin though). They both are fun sounding IEMs but I suppose the Stage 4 will be a keeper to those who cannot stand TG334's bass.

post #30 of 485
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mimouille View Post  My latest post addresses this.

 

Not an amicable divorce, I presume? Well, at least they have joint custody of the kids...

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