General Information

  • Studio reference tuned acoustics
  • Proprietary tuned Balanced Armature Dual drivers by Knowles®
  • Detachable cable with gold plated MMCX (Micro Miniature Coaxial) connectors
  • Lightweight aluminum-alloy & polycarbonate IEM housing
  • Multi-Braided Monocrystalline grade oxygen-free copper cable
  • 3-Button in-line mic (works with IOS & Android)
  • Patented fitting customization kit with EarLock® retention-interface
  • Non-allergic in-ear gels (Small, Medium, Large & 2-Flap)
  • Comply™ T-100 premium earphone memory foam tips
  • Neoprene padded storage/carry case

Latest reviews

SHOOTINGTECHIE

100+ Head-Fier
AKOUSTYX R-220- A Reference sound for sure!!!
Pros: Great head-stage in all directions.
Excellent transparency
Microdetails are excellent
Good bass and sub-bass
Well extended and sparkling treble
Great female vocals
No sibilance at all
Cons: Slight metallic timbre.
Subbass has roll off
Male vocals need a bit more thickness
Stage depth and air around instruments could be improved.
Treble might be too sparkly for some (depends)
Leaner notes
ACOUSTYX R-220
ACOUSTYX
are a Californian Iem company with much presence in the in the recording world. I will be honest, I never heard of them before at all, I just came to know them this year when my friend asked me whether I wanna review some iems like ETYMOTIC and I was like, why not!!! So here we are with ACOUSTYX R-220.

DISCLAIMER- THIS IS A REVIEW UNIT SENT BY ACOUSTYX AS A PART OF REVIEW TOUR IN INDIA, IN EXCHANGE FOR MY HONEST OPINIONS. ALL POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE OPINIONS ARE MINE ENTIRELY AND NOT INFLUENCED AT ALL BY ANYONE NOT EVEN BY MY PARENTS LOL (P.S THEY LOVED THE R220)!!!

UNBOXING-

A simple cardboard box with everything about the iems written on the sides. Then on the inside is a big blue box with a wonderful blue Acoustyx logo which looks epic. Inside we see the iems in the a foam pocket and underneath this is a thick, soft cloth wallet type thing and inside this are all the accessories and they are quite a good amount of them.
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BUILD AND FIT-
R220- The shape of this iem like a barrel iem similar to Etymotic. These are sturdily built out of plastic with having mmcx as a connector. The fit well, it penetrates your ears :p and you would need to have one size larger to get a proper seal. No problem whatsoever just don’t sleep on it, since it will go into your brain haha!!!
There's L and R written on the iem so no mixing up at all haha!!!
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CABLE-
The cable is 4N monocrystalline OCC cable and it comes with a mic. The cable is really decent with no cable noise at all coming through. The mic is decent catches a lot of air but the buttons are clicky and works with both android and IOS (tested on Android and iphone Xs Max). The cable sounds really good too while being slick hehe!!!

The cable has no colour indicators for R and L but you can look for them on the MMCX connectors where there’s a written indicator for it. They need to work on that art.
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ACCESSORIES-
  • A neoprene padded pouch with 2 different compartments.
  • 3 pairs of silicone gels of sizes S, M & L.
  • 1 pair of double flap tips.
  • 1 pair of M comply T-100.
  • 3 pairs of ear hooks- aka Freebit ear interface of sizes S, M & L.
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SPECIFICATIONS-
  • DRIVER- 2 Knowles BA.
  • IMPEDANCE- 29 ohm.
  • SENSITIVITY- 109 dB.
NOTE- MY SOURCE IS-
  • PORTABLE -N6II WITH T01 MODULE, BTR5 AND LG G8X
  • DESKTOP- DAC- N6II WITH T01 LINEOUT
  • AMP- TOPPING A30 MODDED WITH BURSON V5I D OR TOPPING L30 OR XDUOO MT602(NOT USED HERE FOR REVIEW BUT HEY IT DOES HELP TO ADD A BIT OF TUBE TOUCH)
  • Would like to add that my DAP N6ii ran it on high gain at 40-50 on volume.
  • The tips used are the included tips
SOUND SIGNATURE (P.S-This is subjective and may not match with yours)

BASS AND SUB-BASS


Now this is a different experience all together from R-110. Subbass has good presence, it’s thick, rumbly and enough to satisfy my ears. Accuracy and texture are maintained along with the ability to go deep. But it still a BA bass, as the body is not that thick. The timbre is okayish given the fast decay of the iem.

Bass is decent. It’s a BA bass with not too much punch but it's there when needed. The energy is awesome in the bass. Tonality is natural, lean but a slightly metallic timbre in the snare drums. The texture and inter notes separation are excellent. It's could have done with a slightly more punch. The mid-bass has a good coherency with sub bass with neither over powering each other. The upper bass is slightly leaner compared to the mid-bass but it’s so doable. The notes have great body and beginning but the endings feel like they are opening to form an umbrella.
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MIDS-
The mids let’s say are excellent. It has slightly leaner tonality but really felt more in the lower mids. The mids are presented in a balanced way beside the treble and bass. The transparency and inter-notes separation are excellent, something that I haven’t even found in 400$ iems too. The notes ending could require some better finishing. The decay is good giving a slight timbre feel but not too much. The timbre has a slightly metallic feel. The texture in string instruments is excellent too and given this does leave an atmospheric feel makes it a wonderful listening experience. The notes have a great dynamic nature to them with each being separated in reaching different heights. There’s a slight sonic headroom too which is great to feel but the notes rarely reach that. This could do a bit more with a little more thicker notes in the lower mids but given this is made for musicians hence accuracy and tonal distinction is more prioritized. This does miss air a bit in the instruments and I would have loved a little more instrumental separation but given the price, I might be asking too much. It does not lack micro details at all but unlike other reference tuned iems, it’s more nicely presented in a musical way.

Vocals are really good for this price. It's more of a balanced body with great extension. The emotions of the singers do come through and they yes, the endings of the notes are pretty good. The slightest reverberation comes through easily. The female vocals are more beautifully presented than the male vocals, which lack the required thickness. Multiple male vocalists are though easily separated from each other in a single listen which is great. Given it’s a balanced iem, vocals with the instruments in mids makes this an enjoyable experience. Forgot nearly sibilance is missing entirely something that I only found in VE8.

TREBLE-
Now this is interesting here. I haven’t heard something like this in the 220$ price range ever. There is a great amount of sparkle and energy in the upper treble which makes them more pronounced. This has obviously more energy than the lower treble and mid treble not by too much but it's felt, hence upper treble is more felt (EQ a bit 😎). The tonality is excellent on the leaner side and has great inter notes separation. Transperancy is something I haven't seen at this price range, let alone in 500$ range 😮 (that was my face). The notes have excellent body and great distinct beginning, the endings might need more clarity, feels like it opens up rather than just slowly vanishing 🤔 that's how I can describe it as best as I can. The treble extension is excellent. The only thing it lacks is a bit more timbre, while it does have some but it’s slightly metallic and air around the instruments, feels like they are too near to each other more than what I like.

HEADSTAGE-
This is a fairly wide iem with great stage depth too. It does have good height but rarely fills up the sonic headroom. The notes are greatly dynamic and really reach great heights. Centre staging is excellent too rarely seen at this range. Great Z axis presentation and in some songs like Beyond the sea – Bobby Darin, I could hear the instruments on the right behind my ears, a wow experience 🤩. It’s greatly improved on the heights and dynamics than the R-110.
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IMAGING, RESOLUTION AND SEPARATION
This blows out anything in this regard. The resolution aka transperancy makes some higher tier iems like ER4XR, ER4P etc., a run for their money. Imaging is really a grade above their own R-110 and it’s much better than anything else I have heard around the 200$ mark. Inter-notes separation is excellent but inter instrumental separation could require some work altogether. It’s great for the price but I want more 🤣

COMPARISON-

PROS R-220

Great micro-details (class leading in my experience)
Great transparency
Good vocals
Good midbass and sub-bass
Great vocals
Better notes height contrast among them
Treble extension is really good

PROS IKKO OH10
Sub-bass is better
Thicker tonality
Treble is smoother and less bright
Wider soundstage

PROS ETYMOTIC ER4XR
More organic tonally
Better notes body uniformity
Midbass punch is more
Slightly better timbre
More colored compared to R220 and pleasing
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SUMMARY
R-220 is class leading at this price range. Its neutral tuned but it does so many things better that I wouldn’t call it bad at all. Musicality can be improved but given it’s made for onstage musicians; the tonality difference of different instruments and their presentation is more kept in mind. Even with these, I haven’t heard anything with such details and transparency and staging as this ever, highly recommended if you can handle a little bright nature(uhmm comply tips work here hehe) and highly detailed yet enough musical iem.
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NymPHONOmaniac

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Flat reference sound, nuanced layering, no sibilance or harshness, Good resolution, fast transient response and attack, Generous Accessories
Cons: Average soundstage and imaging, not the highest definition, rolled off bass extension, lack some snap, average cable with useless mic
AKOUSTYX R-220 REVIEW

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SOUND: 8/10
CONSTUCTION&DESIGN: 8/10
PACKAGING&ACCESSORIES: 9/10
VALUE: 8/10
AKOUSTYX is an American start-up manufacturer based in San Jose, California with their assembly line in Nashville, Tennessee NOT in China….which is something I truly admire nowadays where even big brands do not tend to care to assemble their product in their own country mostly to higher their benefit, not to lower the price of their final products. This fact tends to make the final product less rushed in production, which at the end can result in more trustable craftsmanship and quality check.

Behind their company, they have a team of musicians and audiophiles, which serve them to achieve acoustic qualities that will please as much musician searching for reference monitor sound than audiophile searching for musical reference sound. But the very RE-220 model I will review today is specifically tuned for monitoring and on-stage musician.

At 200$, the R-220 is relatively accessible monitor earphones, unlike the RE-210 that is a single BA, this model have 2 Knowles balanced armature to cover whole sound range with a neutral approach. These aren’t mean to enjoy music, but to ”understand” it.

Let’s see in this review if the R-220 sound is enough maturely tuned to do well it’s monitoring tasks as much fro a drummer, bassist, than a singer or harpist.

You can buy the Akoustyx R-220 directly from the official company HERE.


SPECS


Specification
DriverDual Reference Balanced Armature
Impedance29 Ω @ 1KHz
Sensitivity109dB
Freq. Response15-22.000Hz
Cable Length1.2M (4.0 ft)
Microphone4mm Omni Directional



PACKAGING&ACCESSORRIES

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UNBOXING experience is a very rewarding one. The presentation is minimalist, but you are spoil by lot of accessories in the box. I’m often underwhelmed by the protective case included with earphones, not this time because we have a superb neoprene padded carrying case that has 2 pouch with a zip so you can bring an extra cable with the R-220. It’s really a well-crafted carrying case that I will use daily.

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As well, you have good amount of ear tips including their own-designed customization kit ear tips, silicone ear tips and a pair of memory foams ear tips. The cable include have a mic and is multi braided OFC cable that looks of good quality too.


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CONSTRUCTION is simple yet well made. R-220 is the exact same IEM housing than the R-210 with black color instead of blue. It’s supremely small, and a unique look that looks like a mix of Etymotic and Final Audio F iem. Material of housing is a mix of aluminum alloy and polycarbonate plastic. Sturdy and classy looking iem that promises long durability.


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DESIGN is nice and comfy, it’s so small that it will fit any size of ears. As well, you can both wear it over-ear or cable down. It must be noted that if you wear it cable down, cable will create microphonic. As well, with ear hook, over-ear design is less comfortable than with a soft flexible cable without ear hook. But, and this is an important BUT, if you use the earlock tips, the ear hook problem is partly solved as the fit will be very secure. Earlocks tips cancel any unwanted movement, but I don’t think it is very comfortable. In fact, I prefer using another cable and wear the R-220 cable down.


ISOLATION is impressive and it really acts like noise ears plug when used with memory foam tips. As well, sound leakage is inexistant, which is a big plus.


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DRIVEABILITY at 50ohm of impedance do benefit from good amping, should it be with a powerfull DAP or with the help of portable amp. If not properly amped, the sound will be more congested and lack in dynamic impact.

SOUND

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These dual BA are tuned for on-stage musician and studio producer, the goal is to sound as neutral and realist as possible, not to be musical or colored to fit specific music style. It would be lying if I see the first listen put big smile on my face, no, it put a serious face that make me suddenly go in critical listener mode, putting me ‘’outside’’ the music, like a severe observer. I was suddenly judging mastering and producing quality of the music, not enjoying it. Still, some well-recorded bass light music was very enjoyable, but in a intimate, slightly cold way. Level of nuance is high with the RE-220 as well as level of details, but as it’s flatly tuned, it mean it’s very balanced and not meant to throw at you boosted treble. Flat with rich brightish timbre and well done tonal balance, the R-220 is very fast in transient response and offer a clear resolution with smooth definition.

SOUNDSTAGE is limited in space and very intimate, kinda stock in your head, BUT if you push the IEM deep in ears the headroom will expend making it quite good in both wideness and great deepness as well as gaining is instrument separation space. Still, it’s among average for the price.

IMAGING is great, very precise and balanced. Every instrument have good level of clear positioning and never encouter problematic over-layering or mixing congestion. I’m very impress by what 2 balanced armature drivers can deliver in term of macro and micro resolution.

TONALITY is well balanced, flat, slightly dry and bright but in a well-polished manner. It’s natural without the warmth we can expect from this word.

TIMBRE is very appealing and follows the Knowles drivers ‘’house sound’’ which are among thickest sound BA, these don’t sound thin or too bright but have a wooly dryness to it, which means it keeps transparency even if it got nuanced texture and good body.

BASS is lean and near dead flat, and as we can expect from dual BA, it roll off in sub region, so no rumble, no slam, no air moving or natural extension. But, it has a very fast transient response that delivers fast attack and thigh decay so it keeps mid-range completely clear of any lows intrusion. I was surprise by the level of nuance and ultimate speed while listening to Antwood ‘’Overlay Network’’, sure, the rumble was tamed, but bass body and impact is so well defined and energic, keeping rest of imaging clean, and different range attacks as fastly accurate, the R-220 sure confirm that this track is perfectly produced as well as the fact it does not distort or became uncontrolled in the low end at high volume even with busy music. With bassier iem, this track was overly veiled in mids and sometime to forwards in highs, which isn’t the case at all with the R-220.

MIDS are very linear too, until slow gradual boost in 3KHZ region, this tends to extract vocal easily by adding a hint of extra presence but avoid any sibilance too. Still, lower and mid mids are rather dry and soft in the attack, lacking definition edge, but keeping rather natural tonality. Some instruments like cello or saxophone will lack some bodies, making them a little boxy sounding, but never in an overly displeased manner because of nuanced texture and good transparency they keep. Violin sound okay too, slightly bright and very fast in the attack, again they aren’t lush or have wide airy presence. I would say R-220 mids are specifically tuned for imaging clarity as well as extra vocal definition. Again, I was surprised by high clarity that feel natural and highly nuanced in layers with a not so well recorded TRACK from sweet ‘’Cornelia Murr’’, unlike most other IEM that make quite recessed her vocal, here it have well define presence and good space of separation from rest of instrument, and honnestly, I discover for the first time that she has 2 layers of her voice recording (a technique often used with singer).

TREBLE is mostly smooth, natural and richly textured. It isn’t vivid or sparkly and lacks a bit of natural decay, but resonance would affect overall sound separation so I think for the Studio purpose it’s a wise choice to keep the highs crisp and thigh. The attack is again very fast and well controled, balance is realist, the lower and mid highs add gentle texture and richness to overall sound without any grain or harsh brightness. I do encounter some rare upper treble aggressive spike in above 10khz region, it was high pitched metallic percussion that was already overly loud with all other iem I listen it to, so I don’t think it’s really R-220 fault, but this is to be noted we have extra upper highs presence that adds some brilliance and clarity to treble as well as add spatiality to the imaging. Anyway, I’m still unsure if I like this kind of treble, as it tend to make acoustic guitar lack edge and decay, but at the same time, it avoids any metallic timbre we can be scare off with balanced armature.

COMPARISONS

VS AKOUSTYX R-210 (120$)

The R-210 are very nice single BA iem, and I find them even more balanced in musicality than it's bigger R-220 brother. In fact, in my review I say they sound more like a single micro dynamic driver than a typical balanced armature. The biggest difference with these 2 is imaging, bass, and treble. SOUNDSTAGE is similar in wideness but have slightly more deepness with the R-220. Imaging is more accurate and informative with R-220, which is evident in how sound is more layered precisely. BASS is warmer, rounder and more boosted with R-210, it's less well controlled and fast in attack than R-220. MIDS are thicker, warmer and lusher with the R-210, while they are clearer and colder with R-220. TREBLE is notably more forward with the R-220, making the R-210 feel rolled off after 8khz while the R-210 continues to offer vivid highs in this region.
All in all, for audio enthusiast the R-210 offer a more natural musicality with smooth thick timbre and gentle treble but it does not have high technicalities of the more neutral and detailed sounding of R-220.


VS FINAL AUDIO F4100 (240$)


Single BA against Dual BA. Soundstage is more airy and out of your head with the F4100, confirming that R-220 is lower than average in this department. Tonal balance is better and more natural with the R-220 and timbre is thinner with F4100. BASS is more roll off with weak sub-bass control for the F4100 and make the R-220 sound more articulate and bodied and less muffled too. Mid-range is brighter with the F4100 and more prompt to sibilance, but it sounds more forward too, still, I prefer the fuller smoother mids of R-220. Now, TREBLE is way sharper, crispier, sparklier and energic with the F4100, it’s less balanced than R-220 but snappier and more lively with beautiful decay to it, it’s slightly more metallic and thinner in timbre than R-220 too.
All in all, the F4100 sounds extremely unbalanced and spiky compared to the more nuanced and smoother R-220.


VS BRAINWAVZ B200 (100$)


Dual BA against Dual BA. The Brainwavz B200 is 2 times cheaper and tuned very differently with more mids emphasis, warmer timbre, and darker treble. SOUNDSTAGE is again a more spacious and deep with B200, IMAGING is less accurate especially after upperr mids where the instrument can feel distant. BASS is boomier and more boosted and can create distortion, lacking tightness as well as texture and control of R-220. MIDS are less nuanced and thinner but female vocal have more presence and better extracted of other instruments with the B200, as well, the definition has better edge and attack have more decay in upper mids. Lower and mid mids are fuller with R-220, flatter and better balanced. TREBLE is more sparkly with the B200 but with a metallic timbre that makes some instrument sound artificial, which never happens with smoother R-220.
All in all, B200 feels more mid centric and airy, but with weaker boomier bass and awkward tonal imbalance compared to flatter, more mature and technically superior R-220.

CONCLUSION

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The AKOUSTYX R-220 does his job well and will certainly please musician searching to monitor their instrument in a neutral manner. I think it’s sure better tuned for tracking a singer, saxophonist or violinist than a drummer, bassist, pianist or harpist, but still, all instruments from any range are easy to target, just not as nuanced.

I don’t think the R-220 should be bought for audiophile need, because musicality isn’t there, it’s a highly technical earphone with revealing yet inoffensive sound for long listening work. The fast transient response, as well as clear resolution, are the highlight, and the fact you do not have any sibilance or harshness in the treble is another big plus.

For 200$, you have a very capable Studio reference earphones monitor at an affordable price, and I think Akoustyx done their tuning job well.


( For more honest reviews, go to my official website HERE )
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Otto Motor

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: High-quality neutral “audiophile” tuning; excellent resolution; great comfort; bundle is extremely light and small.
Cons: “Studio reference” tuning not universal, mainly appealing to musicians, producers, and purists.
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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY


The Akoustyx R-220 is a strictly neutrally tuned, very well resolving 2-BA earphone that will appeal to musicians and purist audiophiles. It is excellent for what it is designed for and a great earphone for re-calibrating one’s ears.


INTRODUCTION

I got interested in Akoustyx after reading the reviews of some of the R-220’s brothers and sisters. After so much Chi-Fi on our blog, I wanted to test some “Made in USA” in comparison. I decided on the reference-tuned 2-BA R-220 out of the company’s offerings that retails at $199. You find the tech specs on the product page: https://akoustyx.com/products/r-220


PHYSICAL THINGS AND USABILITY

What is remarkable is that cable and earpieces, when rolled up, yield a very small package that fits easily in the smallest pocket. Handy. The nifty included neoprene case with side pocket (for eartips) is roomy so that no squeezing is required. Build is high-density polycarbonate for the body casing (known from prescription glasses) and aircraft-grade 7075 aluminum for the cylinder section. An advantage of the polycarbonate shells and the 16-core cable is weight optimization: nothing pulls. The light and thin cylindrical earpieces fit so well that I don’t feel them. For users with fit issues or for a stronger hold, there is a fitting kit included….useful for use in the gym or on stage. The cable is over ear so that they stay in well on the go (even without the fit kit)…and it features an ergonomically well designed 3-button remote (all 3 buttons worked on my iPhone..and, according to the manufacturer, they also function on Android devices). Isolation is good, too, as insertion depth into the ear canal is relatively deep.


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Box content…

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...with neoprene pouch.

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Akoustyx R-220 with ear interface installed.

The largest of the included tips fit very well. SpinFits CP-800 fit, too, but I could not hear a sonic or comfort/fit difference between the two. The Akoustyx R-220 are easily driven with my iPhone SE and Shanling M0 dap.


TONALITY AND TECHNICALITIES


This earphone is forward at the upper end and dead flat at the low end. Bass impact and extension are limited by the tuning. Bass is obviously fast and textured, but it leaves very much room for the midrange. Vocals are forward, intimate and on the brighter side, energized by the upper midrange. But, in contrast to many Chi-Fi earphones, these Knowles drivers are so good that the upper midrange does not cause any fatigue to my ears (I am sensitive to the 2-6 kHz area). Quality all around.

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This tuning, not surprisingly, results in a shallow soundstage (see all Etymotics). Timbre is “precise”, every note is meticulously well defined. Any dynamic driver in my collection sounds “sloppy” in comparison. Resolution, instrument separation, and layering are outstanding and so is speech intelligibility. Great quality in the $200 segment.

This earphone obviously serves the purpose of creating an “accurate” sound for musicians and studio engineers, and it does it very well. Casual listeners or commuters exposed to street noise may look into a bassier direction.

Design and tuning of the Akoustyx R-220 ask for a comparison with a similarly priced Etymotic Research model. I can only offer the discontinued hf5 (former MSRP $159, $89 on drop.com). The simpler built hf5 sports a single BA, a similar tuning, but the Akoustyx R-220 resolves better. One thing I hold against all Etymotic models is the necessity to replace earwax filters from time to time, which are highly priced…and more so when you are not located in the US. This can add substantially to the purchase price over time.


CONCLUDING REMARKS

I am rather surprised and delighted by the sonic quality of the Akoustyx R-220, which is filling the niche of strictly neutral tuning for the analytical listener, and it does it very well. I cannot see any flaws: it is small, comfortable, and sounds as intended. The quality of the drivers is so good that the forward upper end is not fatiguing to my sensitive ears. As co-blogger KopiOkaya says: “Although not for bassheads or funsters, the R-220 is great for resetting and recalibrating our hearing after every earphones review”. It is as important as a glass of water between two wines at a tasting. Cheers!

The Akoustyx R-220 “is what it is”, and it does it very very well. I have to admit I had initially very modest expectations after seeing the frequency response graph published by the manufacturer: too “bright” looking! My verdict: the R-220’s sound is very good for people who expect this tuning.

As always, keep on listening!


You find an INDEX of all our earphone reviews HERE.


DISCLAIMER


The Akoustyx R-220 was supplied by Akoustyx upon my request and I thank them for that. We wanted to brighten up our blog with a few non Chi-Fi iems.

My generic standard disclaimer.

About my measurements.

This review was originally posted at https://audioreviews.org on 4th January 2020.
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