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Custom item created by jacksonchansf, Nov 2, 2012
Pros - Comfort, sound, and price
Cons - Comes with an OK cable.
About me: i'm a student currently learning audio engineering and production. I also love headphones and music. I bought these for the purpose of both listening to and producing music.
About : The RSM Quads were Alcair's front-line monitors for studio and production use up until the Studio4's released. They cost about $649 USD depending on how much livery you choose to put on it and are made of acrylic. Mine cost around the $700~ mark with custom prints on each side. There is also an option for rushing your order.
Link : https://alclair.com/monitorshop/rsm/
Process : I live in Canada, so i had to go to a local audiologist to get my impressions made. In terms of how smoothly things went, it was just like running a hot knife through butter. The staff and customer support at Alclair were incredibly insightful and helped me pick the RSM over the others. I think the whole process took just over a month from the day i got my impressions made. And shipping to Canada was very easy (will become apparent later).
I ordered mine at the end of January and it arrived mid March.
DISCLAIMER : I ordered these at the worst possible time. When i first ordered them, i had made the resolution to lose weight over the coming year. Within the past 6 months I've sent these back for a refitting 3 times constantly having them built up on each side. That said, this is not Alclair's poor ability of getting a good fit, it was just me making the fit issues. That being said, Alclair were always helpful and quick to adjust the fit. Really awesome customer support.
Fit and Comfort: I will judge the fit based on the times when i did manage to get a good seal. For those new to CIEMs, much like myself, it takes a little bit of time to getting used to the new feeling. I can only describe how mine fits, but they don't go as deep as most IEM's out there. But when they sit right, they block out close to all sound coming from the outside. They also don't get as uncomfortable as foam tips. I have worn these for hours on end without any discomfort.
In one word : Natural
Bass : The bass is the highlight of these monitors. They don't get boomy UNLESS the recording is boomy. The bass extends really deep giving life to a lot of the sub bass in songs. You can really feel the bass, in a non-Beats-bass sort of way. It also separates itself very well from the mids and low mids. They can feel accentuated at times, but at the same time they can tone down for softer songs. The best way to describe it is the bass is very naturally presented the way the recording wants to. So if a track has literal bass cannons in it, the RSM's will shake you head.
On some tracks (ex. Sombrero by Solar Fields) there are entire bass lines that I've never heard before until putting these on. They also never distort even on dangerously high volumes.
Kick drums are always presented beautifully on these. The bass extension allows the full spectrum of the kick to be heard. It sounds natural. You'll be seeing natural come up a lot in this review.
Mids : Lush, thick, and smooth. If there's one word that describes the mids best, it's smooth. Yes, it has to be italicized because that's how smooth it is.
Vocals are never aggressive, they're always lush and have the sweetness of honey. That being said, they can also have a touch of airiness to it when the recording allows it. The high-mids are never sibilant and they never peak. Those female s' aren't going to kill you here. Again, it goes back to how the recording presents itself. They sound very natural.
You'll be hearing that a lot in this review. Natural.
Listening to Rick Astley's 50 album, his vocals sounded very natural, very smooth.
Instruments like an electric guitar have that nice hefty presence to it, without sounding aggressive. Also with acoustic guitars. They sound real. You can sort of feel the acoustic presence. Horns and violins, all instruments are given a touch of life and overall have a very natural sound.
Highs : The high's on the RSM's are what adds the final sparkle on the sound. Unlike certain headphones, such as the Senn HD25, the high's here are laid back and chill. Alclair didn't tune the highs super high to give the illusion of clarity. Instead, they let clarity speak for itself (?). The highs again much like the rest of the sound signature, are natural. Where some phone's can be very harsh, other's sparkly, the RSM's highs are very flat across the spectrum. It's very evened and balanced giving it a very pleasant tone.
Cymbals don't sound like they're leaning towards a certain frequency, they sound exactly like a cymbal would. They accurately reproduce the highs the way the recording does.
There's also a certain airiness to it as well.
Imaging : Yosi Hirakawa is the one artist that i use as the benchmark for judging imaging and sound-stage. One of his songs (Letter) has a recording of him taking a pen and paper and writing stuff. It pans from left to right, and you can pin point the exact position of where the pen is.
The RSM's are very accurate when it comes to instrument location. They separate each instrument very well and you can tell where it came from.
Even the echos and reverb from voices can be heard as they expand outwards from the voice.
Sound-stage : They're good for what they are. They're closed IEM's and there's only a certain amount of space they can recreate. That being said, though not as wide as open back cans, they do a pretty good job. The sound doesn't entirely sound like they're coming from you ears. They sound like they're coming a little further than that. Which is not bad.
Small room recordings sound absolutely phenomenal.
Who Will Comfort Me - Melody Gardot
Because the recording isn't meant to sound super wide, tracks such as this absolutely shine. It really feels like you're listening to the real deal. Alclair didn't try to add artificial width to it, and instead it can represent width nicely. Just don't go expecting open can level of spaciousness.
Efficiency : These are very easy to drive. I've plugged them straight into my phone, MP3, computer, and these sound good from all of them. I used them on my S8+ and am currently using them with my V20. No discernible difference. I also use Spotify as my primary music player, downloading all my songs on max quality. So you won't even need to break bank on sources.
Value : The reason why i chose Alclair over UE or Noble is because of how much value you're getting. For my personal use, ie studio production, Alclair was the only one that offered a good pair that doesn't completely break the bank. It's relatively affordable, especially for a student, and the sheer performance that these things pump out is impressive. For an entry level CIEM, look no further. And that's not to mention the excellent variety of customizing options you can have for free.
Overall : A serious option that you should consider. Sure it's a giant leap from universal IEM's, but if you so choose to take it, you can't go wrong with these. Awesome company, awesome customer care, and most importantly, awesome monitors.