This post is getting very interesting - svyr, allow me to break down your reply into several quotes, so that I can respond to your points more systematically.
Originally Posted by svyr
......I don't necessarily have a problem with RT1 since i don't know the details.
the 'research' done was getting a $30 driver and putting it into a ready housing for $50, without any extra tuning (since dampening dynamic drivers is hard work) or maybe throwing in an acoustic filter from a set of 10 standard ones, then branding it as flagship, getting a prettier shell and selling it for $1000+ =). Then I think we should question it.
This part no-one clarified.
I am just the end-user of a product - before/after buying a product, I would not do research to find out how much the individual parts in that product cost, no matter if I am buying an earphone, a vacuum cleaner, a TV or just a loaf of bread. What I would do before buying something is, I would first determine how much I can spend, and then look at the products in the price range that I can afford (including the cheapest ones, of course). Then I would buy the one that suits my needs the most, or offers the best cost-performance ratio, or a brand that I can trust, or something that I am familiar with ... there can be a variety of reasons, and what I buy would be based on my preference. I don't know how you do your shopping; but I would not use a ruler or a scale to measure my loaf of bread. I would just put it in my mouth to see if I like the taste of it. And for earphones, I use my ears.
I am not so sure if by you "don't know the details", you really mean what you are saying. It appears that you can clearly point out, or at least have put forward a hypothesis that suggests, Rhapsodio is (or at least seems to be) selling an IEM that is asking for too much based on its cost price. What I can infer is:
(1) if you really "don't know the details", how can you be so sure that your hypothesis is correct? I think it is amazing that you can find out how much the housing is, and you deserve credit for that. But I do not buy an earphone for its housing. How would you know if the driver inside is only $30 (or as in post #13, that you indicated that had very "significant doubts that the said titanium drivers are any more expensive than $40")? Did you buy a Ti-One and break it down to analyze it? And how would you know there is no tuning work involved? As you stated that "dampening dynamic drivers is hard work", does that mean this cannot be done?
If you don't know the answers to the above questions, then how can you make an accusation, or to a certain extent encourage the readers to think that "Rhapsodio is selling an IEM that is asking for too much based on its cost price"? That would be unfair to Rhapsodio.
(2) Assuming that you actually know "the details" or some "details" - which implies that you are being deceptive to say the least - then I would actually push your hypothesis even further: how about other IEM makers? What is the cost price of their IEMs? Are they also asking for too much when compared with the cost price? I guess we would be very surprised if we were able to find out the cost price of major IEM manufacturers - they can all be earning a lot more than we could imagine. We would then need to find out which company is making the most profit out of "selling IEMs made very cheap but priced very high", before we can actually accuse that Rhapsodio was reaping too much profit out of its IEMs. I am not interested to find out about this (because I don't think I would be able to), and I would just compare the IEMs available in a shop and buy the one I like.
Knowing that you should question something is nice; but this practice should be applied universally - across all brands, but not a particular brand.
As I mentioned in my previous posts, I don't know how Rhapsodio came up with Ti-One - I don't know how much time and money they spent on research (but I say there would be some work involved - you can't really pack a driver into a housing and then make it available for sale); I don't know about the parts involved and the cost of these parts (I was so ignorant that I didn't even know about the housing in Taobao); I don't know the other costs involved in making an IEM (I can think of transportation, accessories, staff cost, warranty, rent of office, etc., but I am not doing business, so there could be other costs that I, as a consumer, do not know about). And I don't think it makes any sense if Rhapsodio just discloses everything about the costs involved in making a product - in fact, why would they? Would JH, UE or Noble, for example, disclose the cost price of making an IEM? Would they tell you that they are making a profit / loss when they are selling an IEM? I am not a shareholder or a CEO of any of these companies. As a customer, I just need to buy what I like, and that's all I know.
Excuse me if I am being too direct or if you feel a bit offended - I just feel very interested about how you come up with your "if" hypothesis. The whole point of my post is just to draw the attention of Head-Fiers to a brand / a earphone that I like - you may not like what you hear / see, but I like what I hear. And the rest is up to other Head-Fiers to find out.
Don't get me wrong - I am not trying to defend Rhapsodio. I am just typing out my personal views, and like I said, I give credit where credit is due. Rhapsodio is a developing brand, as I said in my first post, and there are still plenty of shortcomings - the accessories that come with the IEMs are not very appealing to say the least; the finished product is not very polished; the time it may take to fully burn-in a product is too long (and it is still up in the air if it can be burnt in). These are things that Rhapsodio should work on to improve; but for now, when I am listening to music through my Ti-One, I think it is an enjoyable experience - and that's what really matters to me.
Originally Posted by svyr
and in the best traditions of audio - trying to sell you somewhere between $100-500 of cables 'since it will definitely fix the lack of tuning' or telling you to wait for months until you adapt to the sound and it doesn't sound too bad and there's no refund
you may be comfortable with 'paying for the sound'
I don't think people should be... I don't know how different it is to the FR chart shown to me, but that looked to have such severe bass roll-off and a peak in the bass in such a place that I wouldn't pay $100 for it. I'd buy a Noble or UM or JH or whatever IEM with a proper tuning since for that price you don't have to trade sub-bass in. or not at all and get Dunu D1000 as a great example of what can be done with what I imagine was an involved engineering effort.
I guess you know about the O2 amp - it's an amp that has exceptional measurements when compared with a way more expensive benchmark amplifier. Is it a good amp? If you ask me, I think it is. But I sold it a few months after the purchase. The reason? I personally don't find the sound signature enjoyable. No offense to the maker and supporters of this amp - it's an amp that can be priced even higher in my view (I am referring to the O2 sold by JDS Labs and Epiphany Acoustics; I am aware that the parts of O2 are cheaper). But it's simply not an amp for me. What I have learnt from the example of O2 is, good measurements do not equal to the sound I like.
Whether you like a sound signature is a very subjective thing. Plus, when you are listening to a pair of IEMs, whether you like it it would depend on not just your sound preference, but also your setup, the music you listen to, etc. If you enjoy music by looking at the measurements and feeling good about the charts, that's your freedom of choice. But if I can put together a setup that can make me enjoy my music, that fulfilling experience is priceless. I don't have a problem with changing the cable until I get the sound signature I like; and I don't mind to wait for the IEM to burn in if it can really be burnt in.
Another example: I don't enjoy listening to the music of Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga (again, no offense to their supporters, just my preference). But that doesn't mean I can accuse them for selling concert tickets which are priced too high. For me personally, the price is unreasonable and I definitely wouldn't buy the ticket, as the experience would not be enjoyable for me at all; but for their respective supporters, it's definitely worth the price; it may worth even more than the asking price. The supporters of Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga might not enjoy, say, "The Ring without Words" conducted by Lorin Maazel, which I enjoy very much. Non-supporters would not even bother to buy the cheapest concert ticket. So listening to music is, in my view, very a subjective thing.
As for the refund you mentioned, I don't really think you can get a refund after buying an IEM, even if it is different from what the sound you pictured. After you have read about an IEM in a magazine / review, and made the purchase, you cannot ask for a refund because you don't like the sound - no matter if you are buying a common universal IEM manufactured by Westone, Shure or Audio-Technica, or a CIEM manufactured by JH, UE or Spiral Ears. Even if an article / a review claims that "this is the most balanced earphone I have ever heard", but you might not find the earphone balanced at all. You cannot ask the author / seller for a refund. Therefore, what can you do? Try out the earphones yourself before deciding if you should buy them if possible; if not, then it would depend on reviews from other people. It takes a leap of faith - in fact, buying IEMs is often like an adventure.
You may argue that this is different - as you may think that Sammy promised improvements in bass in MONTHS (notice that I only said "improvements"; I didn't say that Sammy claimed that "the lack of bass can be rectified in full", as you might have inferred. How much improvement can be made? That remains to be seen.). Yes, I agree that this is something that is hard to prove until after you have made the purchase; and the improvements (if any) could be minimal or non-existent after months of meaningless wait. But as I have explained, I can actually hear the changes in this IEM - it is a very different experience from many other IEMs I tried. So this gives me a little bit of confidence to wait. And if in the end, the improvements in bass are actually not much? Then I will post further comments here. But I would say that I don't have a big problem with the bass - I certainly hope that there would be more, but from what I have heard right now, I would not say I would no longer like my Ti-One if there are no further improvements from this point onwards.
It is not the first time I see that a company is exaggerating the positives of its products - here in Hong Kong, we already have seen a local brand (not Rhapsodio) doing just that. And I am sure some may feel the same for certain other brands. It is only normal for a brand to tell you about what is so good about its products - but the claims and the product description found in their websites may not match with the consumers' expectations. That might not mean the company is lying - perhaps the maker of the product really thinks so. Therefore, whether these claims / exaggeration made by the companies are true can only be tested by their customers. If the expectations of the customers cannot be met, then the customers would not buy from the untruthful company again - it's that simple.
But as I wrote in my first post, the products of Rhapsodio are performing at something that is worth more than their asking price, at least for those that I tried out. This is only my personal view, and you are welcome to test it.
Speaking of other CIEM companies, here are my short views: I haven't tried out the IEMs of Noble yet, but I will have a chance soon, so I won't comment right now. As for UE, I tried out UERM and UE18PRO, and I would not consider buying any of them, as I feel that there are better choices at their respective prices. JH13 is too neutral for my taste, and if I am looking for a relatively balanced CIEM, I would go for Compact Monitors (now Rhines / Vision Ears) Stage 3, which is more musical and engaging. The bass of JH16 is nice, but it cannot lure me away from Stage 4, which I bought, given its euphonic sound and also very solid bass. Again, there's nothing wrong if you prefer going for UE or JH; but if you ask me, I would rather go for Stage 3/4, or Fitear TG334. And that's a matter of personal preference.
Originally Posted by svyr
In fact, you can probably get a cheaper iem based on the same DD with the exact same sound.
the 'paying for the sound' mentality encourages two things - driving up profit margins for IEM makers and resellers. AND substantiates the mentality that you can't get a good iem without paying $$$$
No, I can't find "a cheaper iem based on the same DD with the exact same sound" - if you can, please share with me. I have also tried out a range of DD IEMs - IE8, IE80, IE800, CKM99, to name just a few. I don't really think I can find an IEM at the price of USD$20 or USD$200 that can reproduce what I have heard from Ti-One. (Again, if you can, kindly enlighten me.) And yes, I admit that to me, Ti-One sounds better than IE800 on the whole - so it is reasonable for Ti-One to be priced higher than IE800, at least from my view.
And if you believe that you can create the same IEM as Ti-One by putting together the housing you found in Taobao, whatever Dynamic Driver you can find priced below USD$50, and a cable of your choice, and most importantly, without further tuning - then please do the Head-Fi community a favor and create this IEM. It would only be reasonable if the retail price is less than USD$500. I would actually be very thankful if you could accomplish this feat (but I admit I also have significant doubts if this could be done), and I promise I would be your first customer.
I do not buy into the theory of "you can't get a good iem without paying $$$$" - there are good IEMs asking for a very low price, and everyone can find one that they can really enjoy. There are cheaper IEMs which I enjoy very much as well, for example, Audio-Technica CK90Pro MK2. But that doesn't mean I cannot look for a better performer if I can afford the price - and as you may be aware, the law of diminishing returns applies in the world of Head-Fi. You do not get two times the performance by paying twice the price. For instance, JH13 / 16 is not nearly two times better than V6-Stage (and on another note, I actually prefer the V6-Stage, using my current setup). I would only advise buyers to purchase what they like based on what they can afford and what is the most suitable for them.
This is a really long reply - svyr, I might have sounded a bit harsh and I hope there are no hard feelings left behind, as I can see that we are both simply trying to get our points across, and we may have different schools of thought in terms of Head-Fi. I hope our discussion can actually be beneficial for the Head-Fi community, helping readers to be more informed in making a purchase. I am nothing but a simple enthusiast, and I am only trying to tell other people about my personal, subjective thoughts based on what I have heard.