Eminent Ears Ruby

General Information

From Eminent Ears website :-

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The RUBY features a 10mm dynamic driver responsible for handling low frequencies. This new generation 10mm full-range driver, combined with our unique tuning techniques, delivers distinctive bass performance, making the low frequencies more dynamic and impactful. The vocals are natural and warm, with rich and delicate details. The 10mm dynamic driver’s larger diaphragm also effectively reduces distortion, and enhances the stability of the sound chamber, resulting in higher audio accuracy overall.

The mid and high frequencies are handled by four balanced armature drivers. Two Knowles balanced armature drivers are dedicated to the midrange, delivering excellent performance for vocals and some musical elements. Through meticulous tuning, they seamlessly integrate with the smooth, natural sound of the dynamic driver. Two custom-made balanced armature drivers are responsible for the high frequencies, providing a wider soundstage and better musical perception. This ensures coherent sound across the entire frequency spectrum, without leaving gaps between the mid and high frequencies.

Lastly, four electrostatic drivers are installed to handle the ultra-high frequencies. These custom-made electrostatic drivers offer quick transient response as well as excellent ultra-high frequency extension, adding a hint of brightness to the overall tone of the sound.

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IEM SPECIFICATIONS​

Plug: 4.4 mm
Drivers: 1 DD + 4 BA + 4 EST
Interface: 2 Pin ( 0.78 mm )
Sensitivity: 103 dB
Frequency Response Range: 20 Hz-20 kHz
Impedance: 60 Ω
5-Way Crossover Design
Cable Designed by Vortex Cables

CABLE SPECIFICATIONS​

Material: Silver Plated Copper Alloy
Braiding: Cross Braiding
Diameter: 1.6 mm / Core
Interface: 2 Pin (0.78 mm)
Plug: 4.4 mm Balanced
Plug material: Gold-Plated Copper
Metal parts: Oxidized Aluminum Alloy
Cable length: 123 cm (±2 cm)
Cable structure: Independent Winding LITZ Structure
Protective cover: PVC

Latest reviews

Eminent Ears Ruby - a new gem in the audiophile personal audio market
Pros: Very precise instrument positioning
Distinctive instrument(s) & vocal(s) separation yet maintains cohesion
Spacious soundstage in width, depth, & height
Competitive pricing
Cons: Could sound a little dark to some ears
I don't have sufficient current (2022-2024) mid/top tier as a comparison
Eminent Ears Ruby

Disclaimer: Eminent Ears has generously offered to send these pair of review Rubys to me. I have had them in my possession for the past month and have put them through a 100 hr burn-in despite Eminent Ears having burnt in this pair of unit themselves. Except for the specs and the exploded diagram which are from Eminent Ears, the rest of the words are mine.

I would like to thank them for this opportunity to have this extended listen in period within an environment that I can control in.

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Introduction

Eminent Ears started by a group of four close friends less than a year ago. Despite being a new company, the idea was conceived by them about 5 years ago where the group dabbled mixing, matching drivers and tuning until they settled on a signature that they were happy with resulting in the Ruby, which is their first product.

Specs

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The main engine components of the Ruby are :-
  • 
1x Beryllium-Plated Dynamic Driver 10mm in size

  • 2x Knowles Balanced Armature Drivers

  • 2x Custom-Made Balanced Armature Drivers
  • 
4x Electrostatic Drivers

  • 2-pin 0.78mm socket
  • 60 ohm impedance
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(image courtesy of Eminent Ears)



The above are in a 5-way crossover all housed in a Medical-Grade Resin as the shell.

As for the cables, they are provided by Vortex and are of a silver player copper alloy that’s been cross braided. Aside from the 2-pin 0.78mm plug, the DAP/Amp end is terminated by a 4.4mm balanced plug.

The earphones go for USD$2300.

What’s Included in the Package?

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The packaging comes in a simple but elegant box that includes (aside from the IEMs naturally!) a cleaning cloth, travel case that contains the Vortex cable, and 2x sets of tips where 1 set with the red stem are for balanced signature, whilst the other grey has a wide bore are for vocals.

The travel case is quite practical and I use it to store the Ruby's rather than my usual Vannuys case.

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The Vortex cable is even appropriately etched with the Eminent Ears logo on one end and Vortex on the other at the Y-split.

Ergonomics and Fit

Compared to the IEMs of the yesteryear IEMs I’m used to, this is quite a big IEM. However, that seems to be the usual trend of the modern top tier IEMs these days that squeeze in quite a bit of technology and drivers into a small package. Along with the other modern IEMs the Ruby’s do stick out. However, coupled together with the right size tips and the flexible Vortex cable that wraps around ear, the IEM has pretty much stayed put maintaining a good seal with my ear canal despite moving my head around. Using it with a different cable (e.g. Brise Audio Ref which is quite a stiff/thick cable), moving my head with such a cable could break the isolation seal.

The accompanying Vortex cable is also very flexible with no detectable microphonic vibrations. The two are paired rather well.


How Do They Sound?

I’ve already given a very brief preview of the sound signature as I was burning the IEMs in for a period of over 100 hrs. I don’t think it’s really changed that much from the start till the end of the burn in - if anything, the bass response and decay is more controlled and the treble range has a smoother shimmer to it.

The overall signature is very well balanced. To my ears, comparing to a highly regarded Tralucent 1Plus2 of 2012/2013 and to the FitEar Titans (which has been my reference for the past 7 years), the Ruby has a very wide and expansive soundstage. In fact, to my ears, when listening to the Ruby’s, it occasionally feels like I’m listening to headphones. It’s showed to me how technology has changed in the past few years especially in the taming of EST drivers which were pioneered in the mid 2015’s era. Back then it was a hit and miss, but the Ruby’s crossovers have been tuned to have a smooth transition across the entire frequency range. There’s no range that’s out of place.

This tuning of the crossovers including the design of what Eminent Ears call their Individual Chamber Resonance System results in a huge soundstage yet with uncanny ability to virtually position instruments in a 3D space that simulates instrument separation to one’s ears - this isn’t just in breath or depth but also in height. Combine that with the tight control across the frequency range, not only instrument placement is precise, so is its presentation. The piano, violin, drums, guitars, vocals, harmonica, etc. are all independently and individually distinctively clear. As a listener, I feel Im placed right in the middle of the orchestra or band with each performing member/ radiating outward from me. If I choose to focus on a particular instrument, I can focus on it and can distinctively pick it up without distraction or interference of other instruments - I don’t hear any smearing. But when I (virtually) take step back and listen to the whole musical piece, all the instruments combine together cohesively and coherently making the whole presentation musical. I don’t hear any particular instrument, or frequency that’s offensive or out of place.

Compared to the FitEar Titans & Tralucent 1Plus2

1) Nikki Parrot Cherry Pink & Apple Blossom White (FLAC)


The Ruby is spacious whilst the Titans are noticeably more intimate in soundstage. The Titans have a bit more warmth & weight in the lower mids giving the piano key hits a bit more heft, but the Ruby’s on the other hand seems to have more clarity to the piano key hits.

That clarity extends to the vocals too whilst with the Titans the vocals blend more into the background with the rest of the instruments.

It’s primarily where the Ruby can distinctly separate each component - vocals, piano, percussions, guiro, etc but yet still sound cohesive.

In terms of speed and attack, the Ruby seems a tad little quicker compared to the Titans and has an overall upper mids lower treble forward too giving the Ruby a crisper/fresher overall signature whilst the Titans are a little more laidback and warmer. However, that’s not to say that the Ruby is bass light - there’s deep bass impact however its decay is quicker in recovery. I don’t hear any bleeding of the bass to lower midrange region too.

Comparing to the 2012/2013 Tralucent 1Plus2, the FR signatures are more comparable - the Tralucent 1Plus2 has that similar crispier/fresher sound signature of the Ruby’s over the Titans. However, the soundstage and 3D imaging is just shy smaller than the Ruby’s. IMHO, this seems to be the 1Plus2 having a little more midrange pronunciation in comparison to the Ruby’s.

2) Alison Moyet Live for Burberry’s Only You (FLAC)

The trend continue that the FitEar Titans just sounds a little more closed compared to the Ruby’s. With the Titans, it’s listening to a recording of a live presentation but with the Ruby, it just feels “closer” toward listening live instead of a recording of it. Also, when the cello kicks, the Ruby demonstrates its ability to go deep in the bass region. It’s more pronounced with greater impact than the Titans.

Some other listeners have briefly mentioned that the Ruby could be a little dark. Whilst I don’t necessarily subscribe to that opinion, I can understand why. At some point toward the mid trebles to my ears, dip a little, however comes back in the upper treble region. However, the depth of in the bass impact, it’s rendering and recovery, a very strong but not pronounced mids with impeccable instrument positioning and overall spacious soundstage with plenty depth/headroom seem to be the main strong points of the Ruby.

As for the Ruby’s compared to the 1Plus2, the similarity in terms of the clarity and impact continues. However, the cello in the introduction of the song is still more impactful and deeper in the Ruby’s. The vocals on the other hand, the 1Plus2 seems more pronounced. But, again, I believe this is also what makes the 1Plus2 to have a slightly smaller soundstage than the Ruby’s.

3) Journey’s Open Arms (DSD)

Moving away from vocal jazz and live recordings to 80s soft rock and to me somewhat more flat-like soundstage, such musical pieces don’t take advantage of Ruby’s 3D presentation capabilities. However still within the 2D presentation, the Ruby’s continue to exhibit a wider soundstage compared to the Titans. Overall, the Ruby’s give the whole song more space to breathe.

Against the 1Plus2, again the vocals are more pronounced. For this track, I have to say I’m somewhat more 50/50 of the Ruby vs the 1Plus2. If my listening mood is to listen to the vocals and have the instruments secondary to support the vocals, I’d pick the 1Plus2. However, if I want to hear everything together where vocals and instruments supporting each other, I’d pick up the Ruby’s instead.


4) Michael Sembello Maniac from Flashdance (FLAC)

Carrying on with the trend of 80s music, in the introduction Maniac, the percussions and drums exhibit a fast and hard impact with snare, and quickly recovers before the next beat. It’s very toe tapping and very engaging to me as the listener. Comparatively the Titans sound somewhat smaller and slower. On occasion though the “S”es in the vocals can be quite noticeable on the Ruby’s although I won’t call it sibilant but I can see one listens to lower bitrate recordings, may pick it up as such.

As for comparing the Ruby and the 1Plus2, my thought echo with the Open Arms soundtrack however, I two to be even more similar than different. Vocals on both IEMs are, whilst not equal, but more similar. As such I’d take the Ruby’s wider soundstage win over the 1Plus2 with very little sacrifice of the 1Plus2 vocals in this track.

Summary
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As most may know, I’ve been out of the Head-Fi game for about 5 years - during that time my top IEMs have been the FitEar Titans and the Tralucent 1Plus2. As such, I don’t have any current top, nor mid-tier which I can compare the Ruby’s. At this particular moment, the Ruby trumps over my yesteryears top tier collection from 2012-2019, however shockingly the more simplistic and obsolete Tralucent 1Plus2 of 2012/2013 isn’t far behind (for a “back then, expensive” USD$1200 IEM).

This kind of comparison is probably not so useful for most of the current Head-Fier’s when my baseline IEMs are old, however last month I had a recent meet with some local folks in my town and had a chance to compare with some of the more current IEMs (spread across multiple tiers). I did briefly listen to some IEMs that are in the similar, or even toward the Summit-Fi range and I feel the Ruby’s are priced very well especially in terms of its ROI.

Why do I rate these as 4.5 instead of a full 5? I tend to err on the side of being a little bit more conservative especially when I haven't been able to make a comparison against other current mid/top tier IEMs. But for now, though, when listening to other IEMs, the Ruby would be my new baseline in comparison.
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FreeWheelinAudioLuv2
FreeWheelinAudioLuv2
Excellent review. Placed my ears in the moment, and this is exactly how I would describe the ISN H60. Very similar headphone-y presentation, with technical qualities.

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