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Building on the last generation R1's spectacular abilities and reworking and perfecting all areas of the R1, the R1 Zenith has been engineered to offer the most emotional and breathtaking sound.

IMR Acoustics R1 Zenith

Rating:
4.625/5,
  • The R1 Zenith's bass has been controlled even further along with an elevated midrange and more precision in the upper registers. All these improvements have lifted the R1 Zenith's abilities to another level.

    Tuned to perfection using IMR's Gen II custom 13mm Ceramic hybrid driver unit. Utilising a hi-res piezo ceramic driver combined with a beryllium 13mm dynamic driver with uprated neodymium motors for a huge soundstage and precise instrument placement and with a FR from 14-40000Hz to cover the whole audible range of audio.

    Fully customisable via the porting system and 5 interchangeable acoustics filters to give you 10 settings for your perfect sound signature. These audio filters allow you to alter bass levels, treble levels and increase midrange as required.

    FILTER SOUNDS:

    • Black - Powerful impactful bass, rich mids and controlled highs
    • Pink - Slightly decreased bass from the black filter with the same mids and highs
    • Copper - Maximum bass, lush mids and slightly recessed highs
    • Orange - Balanced bass and mids with rolled off highs
    • Blue - Beautifully balanced across the range, natural and airy sound with perfect mid and sub bass
    SPECIFICATION:

    • Gen II 13mm driver featuring uprated Neodymium motors with beryllium diaphragm + Piezo Ceramic driver
    • Gen II IMR adjustable porting system
    • 5 Audio filters
    • 2 Pin detachable cable (3.5mm and 2.5mm balanced)
    • Impedance: 32 Ohm
    • Sensitivity: 108 +/- 3DB
    • Frequency response: 14 - 40000Hz
    • 24ct Gold plated 3.5mm Jack
    • 1.4M length OFC cable
    • Hard Case
    • 6.5mm Adapter
    • Huge selection of ear tips for the perfect fit.
    IMR-R1-Zenith-001_900x676.jpg IMR-R1-Zenith-002_600x600.jpg IMR-R1-Zenith-003_600x600.jpg
    Image courtesy: IMR Acoustics
ezekiel77 likes this.

Recent Reviews

  1. Dobrescu George
    Liquid Ceramic Flow - IMR R1 Zenith IEMs Review
    Written by Dobrescu George
    Published Jun 4, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - + Really good comfort and aesthetic design
    + Package is great for the price, comes with two cables, comes with a large number of tips
    + Customisable sound that varies widely between signatures
    + Smooth, liquid, and warm signature that works well for a lot of music styles
    + Easy to drive from most portables, easy to control and to get the best ouf of them while staying within a reasonable budget
    Cons - - The cables are a touch springy
    - The signature is not the latest word in detail and resolution, the musicality and smoothness come at the price of the sound not being the most detailed
    - The price is a bit high, even if they come with everything you could desire
    Liquid Ceramic Flow - IMR R1 Zenith IEMs Review

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    IMR is a company from UK, who already had a very successful IEM on the market, the IMR R1, but the R1 Zenith now comes to construct on what the original delivered, to offer an even better, more refined experience of IMR's works. With a lot of competitors to stand against, this review will surely be fun, R1 Zenith has to beat bots its predecessor and other IEMs at about 500 GBP / 500 USD.




    Introduction


    IMR Acoustics is a growing company from UK, with quite a history of releasing IEMs already, as I have reviewed the original R1 and liked it quite a lot. The new R1 Zenith has even more features to it, and relies on a very unique piece of tech, a ceramic driver, but as a very knowledgeable friend told me before, the higher you go in the high-end speakers, there is always a ceramic driver, seems that ceramic drivers have a magic to them, although they are really hard to master and implement well. IMR stands firmly by their products and will solve your warranty, at this point they are one of the trustworthy companies and you can safely order and purchase from them.

    It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with IMR, I am not receiving any incentive for this review or to sweeten things out. This review is not sponsored nor has been paid for by IMR or anyone else. I'd like to thank IMR for providing the sample for this review. This review reflects my personal experience with IMR R1 Zenith. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those interested in IMR R1 Zenith find their next music companion.




    About me


    https://www.audiophile-heaven.com/p/about.html



    Packaging


    First things first, let's get the packaging out of the way:

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    Now, with the original R1 I wasn't quite that happy with the package, but it looks like IMR changed quite a lot and now their package is not only beautiful but also very all-inclusive.

    This time around, the package includes two cables, one single ended and one balanced, both cables are Copper, which means a sweet and musical sound, without hard edges.

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    There are tips, filters, adapters and everything you could desire, and even a carrying case. It is hard not to give IMR R1 Zenith a golden rate for their package, because, let's be honest, they really included everything, and everything is of a pretty darn good quality.



    What to look in when purchasing an upper midrange In-Ear Monitor


    https://www.audiophile-heaven.com/p/what-to-lookl.html



    Technical Specifications

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    Build Quality/Aesthetics/Fit/Comfort

    Starting with the build quality, you can tell right away that IMR were not joking when they released a new version of their product. While the original R1 looked a bit rough, like it just came out of the machining process, R1 Zenith, the piece of today's review looks like a properly polished product, like what you'd expect from 500 USD, and more.

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    The design is liquid, it is beautiful, everything is smooth and the shapes of R1 Zenith flows into each other. They are more elegant than they are edgy, but the two screws on the back add a bit of an industrial accent to IMR R1 Zenith

    Now, that screw on the back can affect the way the inner sonic chamber acts, IMR R1 Zenith is both a closed, and an open IEM, you can get a more airy, or a more focused sound. Although the soundstage is larger with the sonic chamber open, I tend to prefer it with the sonic chamber closed, better detail, precision and definition.

    You can change the sonic filters in the front as well, and you get a multitude of possible sonic performances from IMR R1 Zenith, from a very warm and bassy one, to a more balanced presentation.

    On the other hand, the comfort is actually quite good, the large selection of tips works well, and the overall IEM shape is ergonomic and well designed, IMR R1 Zenith sits quite nicely in your ears, you won't be able to sleep while wearing them, but you're surely not going to feel them while using them normally, this is how comfortable they are.

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    The isolation varies a bit, and so does the leakage because opening the sonic chamber will change how open or closed they are physically, and how much they leak and isolate, but the isolation is on the higher side in most scenarios, you aren't going to be able to hear much from the outside while wearing the IMR R1 Zenith.

    If I'd have any negative comment to make, the cables, although there are two of them, and both sound incredibly good, and both are practical, are just a bit springy. The cable is not microphonic, and there are no other issues with it, but it is like a mini cable from Sundara, a bit springy.


    The connectors on IMR R1 Zenith are 2-Pin connectors, which are known to be better than MMCX, and overall I feel like IMR R1 Zenith is quite an excellent overall IEM from the build quality, Fit and comfort points of view. Aesthetically, it will be a choice for everyone, but IMR made sure that they left very little space to complain with R1 Zenith.



    Sound Quality


    As I noted earlier, ceramic drivers are usually found in very expensive products, but are also the hardest to control, hardest to tame, and hardest to sound good. From this point of view, a company is often safer just using BA or Dynamic drivers, as Ceramic drivers, although they hold a magic of their own, they will sound a touch different.

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    IMR R1 Zenith is like a chameleon. Usually, you'd laugh when thinking that a IEM comes with a number of sonic filters, as usually, the differences between the filters are not that great, but with IMR R1 Zenith, the filters can quickly turn this IEM from one extreme to another, from really smooth, full, lush and bassy, to quite balanced, sparkly and airy.

    The port on the back can change the sound from being very airy and wide, albeit a touch vague, to much more precise and detailed, although a bit more intimate. I found that the best equilibrium for me is with the port fully closed, I prefer the better details over the wider and more airy sound with it open.

    Each filter provides a very different tuning from the others, and IMR does an excellent job at explaining what every filter does, in a few words, things happen exactly as they describe them. Most of my listening impressions have been done with the black filter, which is the default one, and which seems to be a smoother, more musical one, but which still has quite a bit of sparkle to its treble.

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    Starting with the bass, you're going to be quite amazed by how liquid and smooth the bass of IMR R1 Zenith is, this kind of bass surely reminds me of a high-end planar magnetic headphone rather than an IEM, you get all the impact, depth and low end reach you could desire, and even if you're a basshead, you're going to have a hard time saying no to this one magical IEM. The resolution of the bass is also outstanding, every single detail being rendered, although the speed of the bass is generally natural, complimenting musicality above ultimate speed.

    The midrange, is quite magical, and here the effects of the ceramic driver are starting to be evident. There is a certain smoothness that some people will surely fall in love with. Now that I'm also playing guitar, I think that the best way to describe the sound of IMR R1 Zenith is as liquid as you can imagine, they really compliment smooth guitar solos, rather than being crunchy or having the ultimate resolution. This is actually something to keep in mind, the resolution of IMR R1 Zenith is actually quite good, but they aren't the last word in terms of how much resolving ability they have, instead, focusing on being smooth, musical, lean, liquid and flowing from each musical note to the next. I recommend them with pretty much any musical style, maybe except for large orchestral compositions, where you'd probably prefer having a more resolute and dry sound.

    The treble is pretty sweet, although it ends a touch quick, leading to a very smooth, and fatigue-free treble. Despite this, and despite the fact that the texture of the treble is uber smooth, you're still getting a bit of sparkle, making IMR R1 Zenith truly outstanding for long hours of listening, and making them quite ideal when it comes to relaxing and letting your mind experience a truly fluid signature.


    I have noted in my video review that I generally would probably not recommend IMR R1 Zenith with metal and rock, because they didn't have enough treble energy, and because they lacked crunch, but this isn't something set in stone, as some people really appreciate a smoother rock and metal experience, so overall besides orchestral music, where I'm quite sure most people are looking for a slightly more analytical signature, IMR R1 Zenith can be described as a very versatile and universal-sounding IEM, especially if you like a more V / U shaped sound, or a W shaped one, depending on the filter that's installed on them.



    Portable Usage


    When it comes to the portability of IMR R1 Zenith, it is quite excellent, those are IEMs you want to take with you while you're on-the-go, they are easy to drive, they are comfortable, they come with a carrying case, and they isolate well enough from the outside noise to be practical even if you're in a very noisy environment.

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    Furthermore, they come with two cables, both balanced in 2.5mm and Single Ended in 3.5mm with an adapter to 6.3mm included in the package, meaning that you can connect IMR R1 Zenith to pretty much anything portable, even an iFi iDSD Micro Black Label, if you wanted to.

    IMR R1 Zenith is slightly sensitive to hiss, so a smartphone can drive them, but if your smartphone has a bit of hiss, or if your source has it, you may be able to hear it, although, as I always note, hiss is an issue only at very low listening volumes, or if you're not playing music at all, as otherwise, you shouldn't be able to hear the hiss.

    Overall, they are very numble, accessible, comfortable and make excellent portable IEMs.



    Comparisons


    For the comparisons part of this review, I have selected iBasso IT-04, IMR R1 and Acoustune HS 1650CU, all of those being in similar price ranges. Of course, there are many more competitors, but those are the most principal ones, at least at the moment of writing this review, most requests having been for comparisons between these ones. R1 Zenith will also be named R1Z for simplicity during this part of the review.

    IMR R1 Zenith vs iBasso IT-04 - The iBasso IT-04 is still quite a magical IEM, but also similar to the Zenith in some ways. Starting with the comfort, both are really comfortable, and both have an ergonomic shape, but R1 Zenith is slightly more comfy than IT04. On the other hand, the cables or rather the cable that comes with IT-04 is better than the one that comes with R1Z, especially in terms of design and how flexible it is. The sound of the two cables should be fairly similar, although I haven't been able to compare them directly, as IT-04 uses an MMCX connector, and R1Z uses a 2-Pin connector. Both IEMs pick hiss similarly. Both IEMs are really easy to drive. Now, the sonic tuning is really different, IT-04 is extremely neutral, bright, much much faster and has a much more detailed bass than R1Z, but R1Z has better impact, a deeper, more natural bass, with more warmth and more rumble. The midrange is fairly similar between the two, although IT-04 has slightly more details, where R1Z is slightly more liquid and more smooth in the midrange. The treble is extremely different, IT-04 has considerably better extension, and more sparkle in the treble, is considerably brighter, and I'm saying this as a compliment, not as an insult, because R1Z feels like the treble ends considerably faster, and is considerably smoother, although if you're looking for a smooth treble, it is clear that R1Z is the choice for you. At the end of the day, if you're looking for extreme depth and warmth, for a really liquid and smooth IEM, R1Z should be your choice, while if you prefer a more neutral, faster, more bright and more extended at the top end sound, IT-04 should be your choice.

    IMR R1 Zenith vs IMR R1 - Compared to the original, it is quite evident that the build quality has improved a lot with the new generation. Everything feels better defined, there is more attention to the details, and overall it seems like IMR have redefined their production line when going from the original R1 to the Zenith. The sound is quite similar, although R1Z feels considerably more liquid and smoother overall, and also has a larger bass, and more warmth, where the original R1 feels more balanced and more crunchy, and may have a touch more detail, although it doesn't have the musicality and fluidity of the R1Z.

    IMR R1 Zenith vs Acoustune HS 1650CU - Acoustune HS 1650CU is quite the magical IEM, and slightly more expensive than IMR R1Z, but not by a lot, since R1Z's price of 500 GBP is above 630 USD, so almost the price of HS 1650CU new. Now, starting with the build quality, the two actually even look similar, at least a bit, but the comfort is pretty much the same, both are outstandingly comfortable. I never felt the need to take either out of my ears, although the isolation provided by R1Z is slightly higher than the isolation provided by HS 1650 CU. The default cable is better on HS 1650 CU, although the package of both is impressive. When it comes to the overall sound, HS1650CU feels more refined, and has more detail than R1Z, but R1Z has a more smooth and liquid overall sound, a more fluid nature, where HS1650CU has more detail, better extension in the treble, and more emphasis on resolution and detail revealing abilities. Overall, if you're looking for the IEM that has the most liquid, smooth and fluid overall sound, but with a lot of impact, and a really amazing bass, R1Z should be your top choice, while if you love a warm and lush signature, but you'd want it to be more balanced and more crunchy, with more revealing abilities, you should consider the work of Japanese, HS1650CU.




    Recommended Pairings

    For the recommended pairings part of this review, I have selected FiiO M9, iBasso DX220 + AMP7, and QLS QA361 DAPs. All of those are portables, but I'm getting a strong feeling that this is how most of users are going to be using R1 Zenith. You can check out my video review of R1 Zenith, where I talk a bit about pairings with other desktop DAC/AMPs, like the Mytek Brooklyn DAC+.


    IMR R1 Zenith + FiiO M9 - FiiO M9 is always really easy to recommend, it is a DAP that does everything, has a fair price and has FiiO's stellar support behind, so regardless what IEMs you're driving, as long as they're IEMs, you can always consider M9. Now that M11 is almost to me, I think I'll also start recommending that one, but for now M9 makes a really easy pairing with R1 Zenith, with a very transparent and resolute sound, for its price being one of the best there are.

    IMR R1 Zenith + iBasso DX220 (AMP7) - DX220 with AMP7 is what happens when you consider getting a real flagship from every point of view, much better dynamics, much better resolution, an incredibly versatile and feature-rich DAP, but with the little thing to keep in mind, that a true flagship bears a flagship price as well. If you're curious what's one of the best sonic performances you can get out of R1Z, you should totally give this pairing a listen and I'm sure you won't regret (although your pockets / wallet may).

    IMR R1 Zenith + QLS QA361 - QLS QA361 is what happens when you engineer an extremely potent Player with one of the best sounds ever heard, that's almost perfect from every point of view, but keep things more simple, without Streaming, Android, and without much fluff. In this situation, you're given a DAP with a really beautiful musical sound, that's slightly softer than DX220, but which hides a true beauty within. If there's any issue to keep in mind, QA361 only plays music from a microSD card, so only go for it and its magic if you don't need Streaming services and the such.



    Value and Conclusion

    This has been one fun review, and I'm sure that if you decide to go with IMR R1 Zenith, you're going to be having quite the fun as well. Priced at 500 GBP, they are on a pretty steep price, but they surely come with everything to justify their price point, including cables, tips, filters, and pretty much everything else.


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    The build quality is quite outstanding, IMR R1 Zenith is a fully metallic IEM, with its shapes flowing into one another, the bore is angled at just the right angle that it sits naturally in your ear, and everything else has been thought pretty well, in such a way that comfort and design go hand in hand with this one.

    The isolation is good enough for your to take them on a walk, and they are easily enough driven from portables that you won't be needing much power, and even a smartphone could drive IMR R1 Zenith, although a better source will surely be giving them a better sound.

    Speaking of the sound, the magic of the ceramic sure is there, and the sonic signature changes heavily, depending on what filter you're using and on whether the acoustic chamber is open or closed, making R1 Zenith quite a versatile IEM. With musicality, and a liquid bass placed above the ultimate detail, the musical signature of IMR R1 Zenith is sure to leave you speechless if you're a fan of more fluid and smooth signatures, as even with the brightest combination of filters, they are still quite smooth, in both textures, bass, and in the overall signature.

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    While for the original IMR R1, the build quality didn't convince me quite as much, the R1 Zenith, as an overall IEM, will be included in Audiophile-Heaven's Hall Of Fame for being a really interesting implementation of the Ceramic Driver, for having a ton of possible customizations, and for being a pretty well made IEM, with a strong warranty offered by the company selling it.

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    At the end of the day, if you're looking for a high-quality IEM at 500 GBP, that is fully made of metal, which has a truly outstanding design and ergonomic, and which has a smooth, fluid, liquid overall signature, which emphasizes musicality above everything else, then IMR R1 Zenith should be quite high in your list, being one of the best there are at this point on the market, at this price point.



    Full Playlist used for this review

    While we listened to considerably more songs than those named in this playlist, those are excellent for identifying certain aspects of the sound, like PRaT, Texturization, Detail, Resolution, Dynamics, Impact, and overall tonality. We recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you're searching for new most, most of them being rather catchy.

    Tidal Playlist

    https://tidal.com/playlist/64555551-ec3c-4279-ae44-248fdfcf6c4b

    Song List

    Bats - Gamma Ray Burst: Second Date

    Eskimo Callboy - Frances
    Incubus - Summer Romance
    Electric Six - Dager! High Voltage
    Kishida Cult - High School Of The Dead
    Dimmu Borgir - Dimmu Borgir
    Breaking Benjamin - I Will Not Bow
    Thousand Foot Krutch - The Flame In All Of Us
    Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc.
    Infected Mushroom - Song Pong
    Attack Attack - Kissed A Girl
    Doctor P - Bulletproof
    Maximum The Hormone - Rock n Roll Chainsaw
    Rob Zombie - Werewolf, Baby!
    Escape The Fate - Gorgeous Nightmare
    SOAD - Chop Suey
    Ken Ashcorp - Absolute Territory
    Machinae Supremacy - Need For Steve
    Ozzy Osbourne - I Don't Wanna Stop
    Crow'sclaw - Loudness War
    Eminem - Rap God
    Stromae - Humain À L'eau
    Sonata Arctica - My Selene
    Justin Timberlake - Sexy Back
    Metallica - Fuel
    Veil Of Maya - Unbreakable
    Masa Works - Golden Japang
    REOL - Luvoratorrrrry
    Dope - Addiction
    Korn - Word Up!
    Papa Roach - ... To be Loved
    Fever The Ghost - Source
    Fall Out Boy - Immortals
    Green Day - Know The Enemy
    Mindless Self Indulgence - London Bridge
    A static Lullaby - Toxic
    Royal Republic - Addictive
    Astronautalis - The River, The Woods
    We Came As Romans - My Love
    Skillet - What I Believe
    Man With A Mission - Smells Like Teen Spirit
    Yasuda Rei - Mirror
    Mojo Juju - Must Be Desire
    Falling Up - Falling In Love
    Manafest - Retro Love
    Rodrigo Y Grabriela - Paris
    Zomboy - Lights Out
    Muse - Resistance
    T.A.T.U & Rammstein - Mosaku
    Grey Daze - Anything, Anything
    Katy Perry - Who Am I Living For
    Maroon 5 - Lucky Strike
    Machinae Supremacy - Killer Instinct
    Pendulum - Propane Nightmares
    Sirenia - Lithium And A Lover
    Saving Abel - Addicted
    Hollywood Undead - Levitate
    The Offspring - Special Delivery
    Escape The Fate - Smooth
    Samsara Blues Experiment - One With The Universe
    Dope - Rebel Yell
    Crazy Town - Butterfly
    Silverstein - My Heroine


    I hope my review is helpful to you!


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    Contact me!

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      volly and drbluenewmexico like this.
    1. volly
      Great review my friend, these looks stunning! I love the H1's (Planar Headphone) and these would be a great addition as I'm currently looking for a IEM for desk and portable duty! Is the original R1 still worth it, say...at a discounted price?
      volly, Jun 4, 2019
      Dobrescu George likes this.
    2. Dobrescu George
      @volly - Even the original R1 is still very interesting, if the price is discounted enough :) But the original is not quite as good-looking as the Zenith, they really refined the building process with the latest releases :)
      Dobrescu George, Jun 5, 2019
      volly likes this.
  2. Soham Sengupta
    IMR R1 Zenith Review - The Chameleonic Beast
    Written by Soham Sengupta
    Published Jun 3, 2019
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Excellent build quality, astounding sound quality, filters makes a drastic difference to the overall sound signature
    Cons - Cables included are very generic for such a high-priced pair of IEMs, Gold filter makes the bass very loose and boomy
    READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE

    Introduction

    If you haven’t heard of IMR Acoustics, you can still be forgiven. IMR Acoustics is relatively new to the audiophile market. The company’s owner Bob James or the “Filter Master” as I like to call him was previously employed at Trinity Audio which was quite a well-known brand. After the company went bankrupt, Bob started IMR Acoustics in 2018 and released his first pair of IEMs, i.e., the R1. Those IEMs were highly regarded in the audiophile industry as one of the best IEMs using filters at that time. Then later by the end of 2018, they have released the R1 v1.1 which is the R1 Zenith. It uses a newer version of the driver used in the original R1 and the vent port system (which is used to make its soundstage wider or intimate depending if the port is open or closed respectively) and this is the pair of IEMs that I will be reviewing today.

    I’ve had the IMR Acoustics R1 Zenith for just over 2 weeks now and have listened to them for a total time of at least 60 hours and have burned them continuously for 50 hours. I’ve used them mostly daily during this time period to listen to all genres of songs (rock, EDM, pop, movie soundtracks, Western classics, etc.).

    Don’t want to read the full review? Here’s your TL;DR :

    The IMR Acoustics R1 Zenith is an excellent pair of IEMs that can be used by both bass heads and audio purists alike due to its excellent implementation of the tuning filters and I highly recommend buying these IEMs if you have the dosh to spare for them.

    But wait! Before you dive into the review, I have a quick disclaimer for you: I have received the R1 Zenith from IMR Acoustics directly for reviewing purposes. The IEMs are not meant to be returned to them but this doesn’t mean that I have been incentivised or pressurized by IMR Acoustics to write this review for them. All the words used in this review are my own and this review is written in the most unbiased way that I could have done.

    Now, on to the unboxing of this IEMs.

    Unboxing the IMR R1 Zenith

    For a $650 pair of IEMs, they are not cheap and that shows during the unboxing of this product. The unboxing experience rivals that of even much more expensive IEMs than themselves. The R1 Zenith comes in a large book-like case which flips out from the top, exposing the IEMs themselves and a small card which show what the IEMs sound like when different filters are installed.

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    The box of the IMR Acoustics R1 Zenith
    Upon removing the protective foam partition that the R1 Zenith is placed in, we will find a case and 3 stacks of foam partitions and an IMR branded hard carrying case. Underneath the case is a small product quick start guide.

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    The packaging of the R1 Zenith
    Two of the partitions contain 6 pair of eartips including 1 dual-flange eartip, 3 single flange eartips (xl, l, s) and 2 foam eartips. There is already a single flange eartip (m) installed in the IEMs for a total of 7 pair of eartips included inside the box. The third partition contains the filter holder with a total of five filters (4 of them in the holder and the fifth is already preinstalled on the IEMs) and 3.5mm to 6.35mm adapter for amp uses.

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    Underneath the foam partition of the IEMs
    Now, upon opening the case we find there is not one but two cables included inside the box. One is a standard 3.5mm TRS cable for smartphone or DAPs (Digital Audio Players) with single-ended connections. The other one included is a 2.5mm TRRS balanced cable which can be used in DAPs or DAC/Amps with balanced connections.

    So, to summarize, when you receive the IMR R1 Zenith you’ll get:

    • The IEMs themselves.
    • 7 pairs of ear tips (3 pairs of large-bore single flange tips, 1 pairs of double flange tips and 2 pairs of foam tips)
    • 2 0.78mm cables (3.5mm and 2.5mm terminations)
    • Hard carrying case
    • 3.5mm to 6.35mm adapter
    • 5 Filters
    • Filter holder
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    All the accessories that comes with the R1 Zenith
    So as far as accessories goes, the R1 Zenith comes with a ton of it and I really doubt that you need anything more for these pair of IEMs (except for probably a set of custom-built cable as the cables included in the box are a bit generic).

    Design and Build Quality

    Now I will be honest with you. When I initially saw the R1 Zenith, I thought that it was actually a new variant of the Acoustune HS1551Cu because of its venting screw (more on that later) jutting out from the body just like the latter IEM. Anyways, the overall build quality of the IEMs is top-notch. Since it is made of metal (probably aluminium), it feels substantial on the hands but is still lighter than quite a few IEMs I have tried (RHA I am looking at you). The body is made using two separate pieces and then the pieces are screwed together. Also, the R1 Zenith has a 2-pin detachable cable system with gold plated connectors. In the previous model, i.e. the R1, there was an issue where the polarity of the 2-pin connection was reversed which rendered it unusable with other third-party aftermarket cables. But it was finally fixed with this iteration of the R1 Zenith. I have personally tested them and they seemed to work just fine with other 2-pin cables.

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    The IMR R1 Zenith themselves
    Now coming to the cable, IMR Acoustics has used a basic 2-pin connector rubber-coated OFC cable. This cable looks very generic for a $650 pair of IEMs but that doesn’t mean it is bad. The cable is quite thick and feels soft and solid in the hands. Also, the cable is resistant to tangle so that is a plus if you keep your expensive IEMs in your pockets (like me).

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    The cable used in the IMR R1 Zenith
    But overall the cable is perfectly fine and for the price, the overall build quality of both the IEMs and the cables is simply excellent.

    Ergonomics and Fit

    Now this a place where your mileage may vary a lot. The R1 Zenith like most other IEMs at this price uses an over-the-ear fit. Now my ear canals are small so I used the small tips included in the box. Now, there is something to note here. The cable also doesn’t help with the fit. I have the tendency to listen to my IEMs when I go to sleep, but whenever I lie down, the cable often moves out of my ear and dangles beside it. This is really annoying for me at least and I hope that IMR Acoustics implement some kind of an ear guide in the next iteration of its IEMs. I have also noticed that when using two of the included filters, i.e., the black and the gold filter, they introduce driver flex into these IEMs. This is because there is no venting on the side of those filters to remove the air which is present in the other filters. So that is something to keep in mind. But overall, the fit was fine although it a tad bit on the looser side.

    Driver flex is an issue where you will hear a sound like crushing paper whenever you put the IEMs inside your ears.

    As far as ergonomics go, even though they are made of metal, they weigh only 6g and thus, it feels really comfortable and light on the ears. I have worn them continuously for 3 hours without feeling the need to remove them from my ears. Sometimes I have literally forgotten that they were in my ears. So, ergonomics is also great in these IEMs and there is honestly nothing to complain about in here.

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    The fit of the IEMs in my ear is just right, nothing to complain about here
    Noise Isolation

    Now coming to noise isolation, since the seal was quite good on these IEMs (at least for me), basically most of the ambient noise was cut out. Only the horns of the vehicles and the rumbling of my bus (I usually test noise isolation inside public transportation as it gives a very nice idea of what to expect). So, although it won’t be able to cancel out high frequency and/or loud noises like the metro or an airplane (at low volumes at least), you can expect a decent amount of noise isolation with the R1 Zenith. But enough about this, let’s start with the main factor which is the make-or-break property of any audio gear, i.e., its sound.

    Sound Quality

    Now, on to the most subjective part of the review: sound quality. Also, I won’t be posting any graphs in this review (or any review for that matter), as I don’t believe in graphs as much as I believe in my ears!

    This time, I’ll be listening to the earbuds via 3 sources:

    1. PC -> Fiio Q1 (Mark-1) -> R1 Zenith
    2. Asus Zenfone 5Z -> Fiio Q1 (Mk.1) -> R1 Zenith
    3. Hiby R3 -> R1 Zenith
    If you plan on purchasing these headphones or any other high-end headphones for that matter, I suggest you get a good DAC/Amp to go with it. It will go a long way to make your listening experience much better and enjoyable.

    I will also list the soundtracks that I’ve used for each section of my sound test. (Note:All my tracks are either 44 kHz / 24-bits – 192 kHz / 24-bit FLAC or DSD64/DSD128.) Also, the filter I have used for this test is the Blue Filter as it is the most balanced out of them all and the port was also set to open. I will also elaborate on each of the other filters provided inside the box below.

    [​IMG]

    Bass


    Now if you are opting for the blue filter as your daily driver like me, do not expect heart-thumping bass here. If you want that, then I would suggest you to switch to the black or gold filters. Anyways, although the bass is somewhat light in here, it is well textured and very detailed and surprisingly airy. But the sub bass rumble is a bit on the thinner side here. But as I said, the blue filter was not meant for bass and more for a balanced and airy sound signature.

    The bass in these IEMs with the blue filter is enough to satisfy most, if not all, audiophiles but those who want more bass just needs to change the filter to a black or gold one.

    The separation between the lows and the mids is simply extraordinary. They are really nicely separated from each other. The mid-bass of these IEMs with the blue filter is surprisingly good. It has a nice body and has a bit of impact unlike the sub bass in the track Indica Badu by Logic. And there is a surprising amount of micro detail even in the bass region. Bass guitars have a nice texture and airiness to them and you can literally feel every plucking of the strings on the guitar.

    So overall, for a pair of IEMs targeted for audio purist at this price, I would say that the bass response is simply excellent and as I said, changing the filters from blue to black or gold increases the bass dramatically (will elaborate more on this in the Filter section).

    Tracks used:
    • Axel Thesleff – “Reincarnation”
    • Martin Garrix – “Animals”
    • Martin Garrix, Tiesto – “The Only Way is Up”
    • Alessia Cara – “Here”
    • Zara Larsson – So Good (album)
    • Jordan Comolli – “Alone”
    • Marshmello – “Alone”
    • Axel Thesleff – “Done”
    • J Balvin, Willy William – “Mi Gente”
    • Logic – Indica Badu (ft. Wiz Khalifa)
    Mids

    The mids is the strongest suit in its versatile armoury. The vocals are more forward than the other frequencies but as the soundstage is wide on these IEMs (more on that later), the vocals tend to sound a bit laid back and relaxed in here. Vocals sound airy, wide and extremely detailed. Male vocals have a really nice warmth in them and female vocals sound energetic and feels really airy without sounding overly tinny. There isn’t a hint of sibilance even in the most sibilant which is a great thing as well. And the separation between the vocals and the other instruments is simply phenomenal. Even in low volumes, it reveals so much detail and clarity in each and every song that I listen to that it really doesn’t surprise me anymore that these IEMs cost $650.

    These IEMs bring out an extraordinary amount of micro details in vocal tracks which is simply not present in other cheaper IEMs.

    Drums also sound really detailed and clear in these IEMs. In tracks like “Back in Black” or “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC, the drums sounded nicely layered and the separation between them and the vocals were simply astounding with excellent amount of soundstage. It felt as if AC/DC was literally giving you a personal live performance to you for free! In the song “The Reason” by Hoobastank, Doug Robb’s voice (the lead singer of Hoobastank) sounded really airy and the drums had a nice impact, detail and energy to them.

    So, IMR R1 Zenith really killed it in the mids department and believe me when I say this, the mids of the R1 Zenith make them worth the asking price of these IEMs.

    Tracks used:
    • Adele – 25 (album)
    • Charlie Puth – Nine Track Mind (album)
    • Ed Sheeran – X / Divide (album)
    • Amber Rubarth – Sessions from the 17th Ward (album)
    • AC/DC – Razor’s Edge
    • John Newman – “Love Me Again”
    • Elvis Presley – “Can’t Help Falling in Love with You”
    • Sigrid – “Everybody Knows”
    • Hoobastank – The Reason
    [​IMG]

    Treble


    Now onto treble. Let’s start with those cymbals and hi-hats. They sound really crisp and energetic with a huge dollop of detail in them. Especially its rendition of guitar is extremely good. They sound clear, well textured and detailed, the guitar takes its time to decay and it decays with a certain smoothness which I really like here and has excellent separation as well from the other instruments in any given soundtrack. In tracks like “Numb” by Linkin Park, even though they are not the best recorded amongst tracks, the R1 Zenith does a splendid job separating the electric guitar from the piano that is played at the part “I’ve become so numb…” which simply cannot be heard properly in other cheap IEMs.

    Now coming to pianos, their rendition is simply superb and is quite detailed and have really nice extension in them. In the track “Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin, the piano is handled really delicately and has a lot of detail in it. Church organs in this track never sounded harsh in the R1 Zenith which is really good as I had found it harsh in some other IEMs at exactly the same volume. Now, bells sound controlled and energetic in the R1 Zenith without a hint of boominess in them. Trumpets also sounded clear and natural and is full of detail in here.

    So overall, I am really impressed with the treble that the R1 Zenith has offered me.

    Tracks used:
    • Led Zeppelin – IV (album)
    • Ed Sheeran – X / Divide (album)
    • Linkin Park – Meteora
    • Amber Rubarth – Sessions from the 17th Ward (album)
    • Pink Floyd – Dark of The Moon (album)
    • John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola, and Paco De Lucía – Friday Night In San Francisco(album)
    • Ludovico Einaudi – Islands: Essential Einaudi (album)
    • Axel Thesleff – “Reincarnation”
    • George Gershwin – “Rhapsody in Blue”
    Soundstage, Positioning and Separation

    (a) Soundstage and Positioning


    Now, there are 2 ways to accurately measure a IEMs’ soundstage and positioning. First, is to use well-recorded binaural tracks (see track list below for more info). The second method (which I personally prefer more) is gaming. I have used two games specifically for this purpose. One is the well-known CS:GO and the other is Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (the latter is a much more immersive experience).

    Now, soundstage. For a pair of IEMs, they have a soundstage that rivals even that of my own Sennheiser HD58X which is an open-back pair of headphones. The soundstage in the R1 Zenith is really wide and expansive here and this is all due to the venting system implemented by IMR Acoustics on these IEMs. This venting system is basically a small plate over the driver which can be opened or closed by turning the screw on the back of the IEMs. When the back-plate is open, the soundstage is really wide (just like my HD58X like I said previously and I am not making this up) and when the back-plate is closed, the overall soundstage gets just a bit more intimate, but it is still very wide and I would say that it is about as wide as my Moonbuds Crescent in its closed state which is simply spectacular for a pair of IEMs. But at this price, I simply did not expect anything less than this to be honest.

    Now coming to its positioning, I felt that it is really accurate in here. To test it out, I fired up CS:GO and I could easily pinpoint the source of the gunshot. Furthermore, in Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, I could feel the voices whispering in my ears. Even in orchestral soundtracks like in Symphony No.5 by Beethoven, the overall layering and positioning of the instruments is really striking to say the least. So overall, I am pretty impressed with the soundstage and positioning that the R1 Zenith provides, even with respect to its price.

    (b) Separation

    The separation of the instruments should be, to be honest, one of the highlights of these IEMs. Again, coming back to orchestral music, the separation between the different instruments in, say “Symphony No. 5 in C minor” by Beethoven, is honestly remarkable. You can literally distinguish all the instruments that are being played in the track. Also, the layering of the different instrument in different spaces is also something that I have noticed it doing remarkably well in. So overall, I was really impressed with the separation of instruments it provides.

    Tracks used:
    • Amber Rubarth – Sessions from the 17th Ward (album)
    • Yosi Horikawa – Vapor (album)
    • Led Zeppelin – IV (album)
    • John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola, and Paco De Lucía – Friday Night In San Francisco(album)
    • Beethoven – Symphony No.5 (album)
    Filters

    Since this is a very essential part of the functioning of the R1 Zenith, I thought that I would make a separate segment where I would describe each of the Filter’s functions. I will be comparing all the other filters with the blue filter as it was the main filter which I have used here. So, let’s get started!

    [​IMG]

    All the filters included with the R1 Zenith​

    (a) Black Filter


    First, let’s start with the black filter. Before starting with the song aspect, I would like to say that this filter introduces driver flex in the R1 Zenith as the filter is not vented to produce more bass. Anyways, upon putting on the IEMs with the black filter and playing an EDM, the first thought that came to my mind was that the bass is humongous with these filters! It felt as if there was an 8-9dB increase in the low-end frequency. But the major downfall of this filter is that it makes the bass a bit loose and boomy which will put off most audio purists away from this filter (and the gold filter as well). But even though the bass is increased in such an exponential rate, it really didn’t affect the mids much although it did push it back a little. Male vocal sounds a bit deeper and female vocal gain a bit of warmth as well. Even the soundstage of the IEMs surprisingly was not compromised with the black filter. Treble is also controlled and sounded a bit laid back with the black filter. But I would say that the separation between the instruments suffer a bit. Overall, it sounds really good with EDMs and pop songs in general but I wouldn’t listen to anything else with these filters on.

    (b) Pink Filter

    Now with the pink filters on these IEMs, there is no issue of driver flex as the filter is properly vented. Anyways, the bass on these filters is quite a bit less than that in the black filter but comparatively more than the blue filter. Its bass is much more controlled than that of the black filter and is as airy as the blue filter. The amount of sub bass is also increased in the pink filter without sounding boomy like the black filter. The vocals sound a bit thicker in the pink filters which I really like about this filter. The instruments sounded a bit relaxed and laid back with this filter. But the sound stage is as wide as the blue filter as well as the separation between the instruments. Audiophiles who are not satisfied with the bass of the blue filter and wants a relaxed presentation will really like this filter. So overall, this filter sounds really good with any kind of music thrown at it.

    (c) Gold Filter

    Now coming to the gold filter, the driver flex is back again with this filter. The only thing going for this filter is its bass and nothing else to be honest. The bass here is even bigger than the already huge bass of the black filter. Due to this, the mids suffer as the bass often mixes with the low-mid frequencies and thereby reducing detail and clarity, making it sound somewhat congested. Soundstage also takes a hit with this filter as it becomes more intimate. The vocals sound really lush, thick and intimate with this filter and the treble is somewhat rolled off and pushed back than the other frequencies. This filter is for hardcore bass heads who listen to nothing except for EDMs. So overall, this filter is meant only for listening to EDMs and nothing else will sound very good on it.

    (c) Orange Filter

    Now finally coming to the last filter in this stack, that is the orange filter, there is no driver flex with this filter as well. This filter provides an overall laid-back presentation of the sound. The bass is light with this filter just like the blue filter but the vocals and instruments sound really relaxed and bit distant here. But there is no reduction in detail at all and the soundstage is just as wide as the blue filter. Also, I felt that the instruments tend to roll off with this filter just like the gold filter to really take out the harshness of edgy instruments. This filter goes really well with jazz music. So overall, this filter will be appreciated by people who wants a laid-back presentation of his music without the bass of pink filter.

    Drivability

    You should be able to easily drive them out of a smartphone but to really get the full out of this beast, you should definitely get a nice set of DAP or DAC/Amp. They have an impedance rating of 32Ω and a sensitivity of 108 dB +/- 3dB so you shouldn’t face any difficulty while driving them out of your smartphones even though I wouldn’t recommend doing such injustice to a high end TOTL pair of IEMs like this one.

    Technical Specifications
    • Brand: IMR Acoustics
    • Model: R1 Zenith
    • Type: In-Ear Monitors
    • Driver: Hybrid Driver (Piezoelectric Ceramic Driver with a Beryllium diaphragm)
    • Impedance: 32 Ω
    • Headphone sensitivity: 108 dB +/- 3dB (1 kHz/1 Vrms)
    • Frequency range: 14–40000 Hz
    • Plug: 3.5 mm/2.5mm
    • Interface: 2-pin (0.78mm)
    • Cable: Two 1m OFC Cable (One balanced and other unbalanced)
    • Weight: 26 g (including cable) / 6g (for each earpiece)
    Conclusion

    In conclusion, you are getting a well-built pair of IEMs which looks, feels and sounds simply astounding to say the least. It comes with a ton of accessories to get you started and to top it all off, the filter implementation is the best I have seen in all the filter style IEMs that I have tested in my reviewing period. Like such a drastic change in the overall sound signature of a pair of IEMs is rarely seen, even at this price. But the biggest caveat of these IEMs is its price. At $650, you have far left the budget IEMs and have reached the hi-fi category of IEMs where there is a lot of competition and you simply cannot make an impulse buy as it IS quite an amount to pay and invest for a pair of IEMs. But even at that high price, I can say that the IMR R1 Zenith is worth paying for. The sound quality, soundstage and the separation that it delivers is simply remarkable for a pair of IEMs. Plus, not everybody’s sound signature preference is the same. One person might like a balanced sound signature, another person might like a laid-back presentation and another person might like a lot of bass and that is R1 Zenith’s biggest strength. It is suitable for every kind of listener due to its well implemented filter system and I will easily recommend these IEMs to anyone who have the budget of over $500.
      drbluenewmexico likes this.
  3. audioblog18
    IMR R1 Zenith Review - Precision and Finesse
    Written by audioblog18
    Published Apr 30, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Wide and deep soundstage, excellent separation, rich and engaging mids, highly customizable sound, attractive and well-built design, value
    Cons - Highs can get metallic
    About the Company

    BCDD4305-D923-4B69-B38F-4DD7865BE431.png
    IMR Acoustics is a boutique audio company based in the UK. It is founded by Bob James who is also responsible for designing the IEMs. IMR Acoustics is known for its highly user-customizable products which have won accolades.

    Prelude

    I would like to thank Bob of IMR Acoustics for sending me the IMR R1 Zenith for review. Rest assured that this review is written in all honesty and integrity.

    Sources

    Chord Hugo

    Burson Swing with V6 Vivid + JDS Labs O2

    Samsung Galaxy S9

    Recordings

    Nobuo Uematsu – Final Fantasy: Distant Worlds

    Dave Matthews Band – Under the Table and Dreaming (Expanded Version)

    The Beatles – Love

    Maroon 5 – 1.22.03 Acoustic

    Reese Lansangan – Arigato Internet

    Hale – This is Hale

    Apartel – Full Flood

    Packaging

    75493519-0011-4CEF-9986-ACE00223E8F2.jpeg

    In unboxing the R1 Zenith you get a well designed package that is loaded with accessories. You get two 2-pin cables; a 2.5mm TRRS and a 3.5mm TRS, which is thick, supple, durable and free from microphonics. A storage case, manuals and guides, a 6.5mm adapter. Tips that comes in good variety, foam and double flange are also included, with huge selection of sizes. To top if off, it comes with 5 interchangeable filters for customizing the sound that are nicely enshrined in a slab of metal. Reassuring you that you are getting what you paid for.

    CABD6FBE-015D-4C34-A211-FF355B6C0D7F.jpeg

    81F59A31-EDCD-4B54-9DC6-359BD01C2F00.jpeg

    60AE4DF7-7FDD-4B82-B4A0-653255D43FA5.jpeg

    Specification and features


    Gen II 14mm driver featuring uprated Neodymium motors with beryllium diaphragm + Piezo Ceramic driver

    Gen II IMR adjustable porting system

    5 Audio filters

    2 Pin detachable cable (3.5mm and 2.5mm balanced)

    Impedance: 32 Ohm

    Sensitivity: 108 +/- 3DB

    Frequency response: 14 – 40000Hz

    24ct Gold plated 3.5mm Jack

    1.4M length OFC cable

    Hard Case

    6.5mm Adapter

    Huge selection of ear tips for the perfect fit

    Build Quality and Design

    ED742001-D6D5-4AEF-9FCC-241B6798BCBD.jpeg

    The R1 Zenith is built like a tank, yet it has the finesse of a jewelry. It has a metallic body with a ceramic-like shine. The blue-ish silver gray finish coupled with the gold porting system and the silver plugs on the cables is really sleek and fancy. It’s a very refreshing design to look at. Though, I wish that the gold port could be a bit flatter as it protrudes a bit too much especially when it is unloosened.

    486138B5-F008-460F-B375-4834D4B4F98E.jpeg

    Comfort

    The problem that I have with metal designs is that it tends to have rough edges that brushes uncomfortably with the ear. Thankfully, there isn’t any with the R1 Zenith. Everything is smooth and polished, and once inserted it doesn’t fall off from my ears. Fitting is very easy too. The IEM themselves are not particularly heavy despite the metallic construction. I also didn’t feel any discomfort after long hours of using it. However, the cable can be springy and it takes a little bit of time to tame.

    Sound

    0C72BB08-DE84-4206-8D0F-2FD4C4127BFA.jpeg


    The R1 Zenith is one of the trickiest IEM that I have reviewed. Since you could easily “retune” the sound when it goes off from your preference, and it really does work. The whole tuning system is very effective and you could legitimately “tune” a bunch of IEM out of it that would cater to various tastes.

    And there is an added fun along the process; since you will be discovering a new sound signature for the R1 Zenith. I’ve been experimenting with the filters, the porting system, and tips for awhile, trying to bring out a sound profile that I’m craving for at a moment, I thought that the inherent tuning of the drivers would be restrictive but I’m surprised at how adaptable it was.

    The 5 Filters and corresponding effects

    • Black – Powerful impactful bass, rich mids and powerful highs
    • Pink – Slightly decreased bass from the black filter with the same mids and highs, very neutral sound
    • Copper – Maximum bass, lush mids and slightly recessed highs
    • Orange – Balanced bass and mids with rolled off highs compared to black
    • Blue – Flat across the range. Light and airy sound
    Lastly, the R1 Zenith features IMR’s Gen II custom 14mm Ceramic hybrid driver unit combined with a beryllium 14mm dynamic driver with neodymium motors. Now, let’s see how all of this works.

    Bass

    Bass is clean and accurate using the black and blue filters, with slightly more quantity on the former. It is complementary, not distracting, and well controlled. It never gets in the way of the presentation. Decay is snappy and precise. Bassheads however might find the low end to be a bit too cautious, as the tuning is aimed for “accuracy” over “fun”. Switching to the copper filter addresses this, adding more impact to the bass. Sub bass extends deeper and the mid bass has more body without being boomy.

    Mids

    The midrange is rich and well-textured. It doesn’t have any hint of grain, listening to orchestral tracks can make you feel the grit and the body of the stringed arrangements. Vocal are upfront, complimented by the upper midrange which has a shine to it that effectively extracts the intricate details from the midrange. Females vocals has a nice luster to them with added heft, while male vocals comes out powerful. The blue filter gives it more air, while the copper filter provides a lusher midrange, executing it with more warmth and body.

    Treble and Microdetails

    Treble has good extension, it is bright and energetic. Switching from black to the blue filter pushes it to an even airier signature. Both filters has a metallic shine, but it is still well-controlled with hardly any sibilance. The copper and the orange filters smoothens the highs for longer listening, and is suitable for those looking for a more laid back sound.

    Detail-wise, the R1 Zenith is a very detailed IEM. Using the black filter, it easily picks up subtleties from every track, and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration for me to say that in terms of details presented, it isn’t far from my detail-retrieval, par-excellence which is the Sennheiser HD 800 S and that is quite a feat.

    Soundstage and Imaging

    The R1 Zenith has a unique porting system which is carried over from its predecessor, opening or closing the vent has a significant impact on the sound, which can be customized based on the user’s preference.

    Port Closed- The soundstage is a bit condensed, but imaging is very precise, instruments are well defined and cleanly separated, the bass also becomes tighter.

    Port Open – The sound is airy and well extended, opening the port expands the soundstage and makes it more immersive, but imaging is very slightly less precise.

    I find the tradeoffs of the Open design to be forgivable, because the benefit outweighs the consequences. Overall, soundstage has good width, providing each instruments with ample space while height is just about decent for an IEM.

    What’s noteworthy here is the depth and imaging. Depth has a lot of room to it, while the imaging is well defined, coupled with it’s competitive detail-retrieval the R1 Zenith delivers a picturesque presentation.

    10CE898E-C369-4471-9A51-A9E0A35B1855.jpeg

    Comparison

    Campfire Audio Polaris

    Both delivers fast and accurate bass, though I find the R1 Zenith with the black filter to be a little bit faster. Midrange-wise, the R1 Zenith wins it for me, it has better texture and body than the Polaris’ mids which can sound dry and scooped. Treble is well extended and airy on both IEMs, but I’d give detail retrieval to the R1 Zenith. In terms of staging, the R1 Zenith has more room. Imaging between the two is quite similar.

    Earsonics ES3

    Right off the bat, the R1 Zenith delivers noticeably tighter bass with better sub bass extension, while ES3 has faster decay, mids is forward and more bodied than the ES3’s which is laidback and smoother in comparison, the upper mids on R1 Zenith has more shine and liveliness in contrast to the ES3 which sounds relaxed. Treble is airier and clearer on the R1 Zenith while the ES3 sounded mellower. Detail-retrieval is better on the R1 Zenith, it also wins in soundstage height and depth, while the ES3 takes the edge for separation.

    Conclusion

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    The R1 Zenith offers an insane value; it is built extremely well, it sounds spacious, detailed and rich. IMR Acoustics offers a unique system of customization to ensure that you are satisfied with the R1 Zenith while keeping the process fun and rewarding.

    Get the R1 Zenith here:https://imracoustics.com/products/5c079fb65b9de11300ecf85c
    1. drbluenewmexico
      great review, thank you! my Zv2 really upgraded with an effect audio ares 11 cable,
      drbluenewmexico, Jun 4, 2019
  4. Watermelon Boi
    IMR R1 Zenith Review: A proper upgrade
    Written by Watermelon Boi
    Published Apr 10, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Reference tuning
    -Wide soundstage
    -Wide frequency response
    -Switchable open-close vent
    -Exchangeable filters
    Cons - Reversed 2pin
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    IMR Acoustics R1 Zenith: A proper upgrade

    IMR Acoustics is a UK based manufacturer and founded by Bob, both the owner and the engineer. Their first model was the R1 which was quite successful for its cost-effective performance, as well as featuring a world-first 'open and close' vent system with changeable filters. Now IMR announced their second product, the R1 Zenith. It's meant to be the most ideal version of the R1, achieving the peak performance as well as supplementing the flaws from the original one. Here I'll mainly be focusing on compare and contrasting between these two IEMs, the R1 and the R1 Zenith.



    DSC_0637.jpg DSC_0629.jpg
    Packaging

    The packaging and the logo now has a better, more neat looking appearance. Other than the earpiece, it comes in with a 3.5mm cable, a 2.5mm cable, 5 pairs of filters, AV adapter, 4 pairs of silicone tips, a pair of double flanged tips, 2 pairs of foam tips, a shirt clip, and some paperwork.



    DSC_0618.jpg
    Earpieces

    The earpieces are fully made out of metal and overall have a similar looking as the R1, except with some major changes. First, the color has been changed from glossy gunmetal to matte grey. The previous R1 had a problem where the inner part of the shell would discolor after some time, though this seems to be resolved from the R1 Zenith. Another change is from the drivers. It still uses the 2-Way 2DD system, but now installed with 2nd gen 13mm uprated neodymium motors with beryllium diaphragm + Piezoelectric ceramic drivers.



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    The port system

    The 'open and close' vent feature has been changed too. R1 Zenith now uses a screw type system, achieving wider vent area. Compared with the original R1, this type of port system definitely makes the sound difference more drastic and effective.



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    Cable

    The stock cable looks almost identical to the original ones yet softer and less resilient. The 2pin sockets are now installed vertically to the earpieces, but there's a twist - a reversed polarity.

    R1 Zenith still uses standard 0.78mm 2pin termination, though one side has an opposite polarity than the other, just as QDC or Hidition does. The stock cables are made to be matched with Zenith's polarity, though you'll need to reform the earguides if you're trying to use custom cables with these.



    DSC_0615.jpg
    Eartips / filter / cable matching

    As previously stated, the new port system shows a bigger difference in sound and the same goes for the filters too. The black filter maximizes all frequencies, providing an aggressive, rich, W-shaped sound signature. The pink filter has the same signature as black but with reduced bass. The copper filter recesses highs and maximizes bass, the orange filter features balanced bass/mids with smooth highs, and the blue filter keeps the sound flat and very airy.

    The Zenith is more cable-sensitive than the previous one but works out pretty well with various cables. The performance isn't bad even with the stock cable, so no need to change it unless you know you've got a better one. I recommend to pair it up with pure copper cables.



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    Sound impressions: Bass

    The Zenith does an awesome job presenting weight and depth of the bass without getting muddy or loosened up. It is impressive how clear and prominent the bass sounds without overwhelming the upper frequencies. There’s a bit more bass amount than typical slightly-V shaped but less than Shure SE846 or Campfire Vega. The edges of the bass are polished, giving a smooth, analog taste. Now, most flagship IEMs that are well known for its bass performance and are usually equipped with a large amount of bass. The Zenith manages to keep up with such IEMs, picking up all the details to the very low notes, however with just the right amount of bass.

    Don’t get me wrong, the amount is plentiful and has a strong and manly rumble to the lows; it just doesn’t get the point where it feels stuffy. I’m quite positive bassheads could also find R1 to be satisfying. What I also love from the bass is its wideness. It spreads out wide without the border (or the edge) of the bass getting vague, making the bass more prominent and full-bodied. It also got great density with that DD-style punch at the lows.



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    Sound impressions: Mids

    The sweet, creamy mids are slightly stepped ahead with a natural thickness. The vocal sounds lively and airy, providing a very spatial presentation which I found to be quite unique. The Zenith does well on both male & female vocals, and I’d say it has that “Multi driver-like” richness but with better coherency. The overall brightness is just about neutral, however the ceramic driver adds a brighter tone to the upper mids, making the female vocals more refreshing. The sibilance section from the frequency is briefly polished, making it non-fatiguing.



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    Sound impressions: Treble, etc.

    It’s easy to think dynamic drivers sound dull on the trebles, but thanks to the ceramic driver Zenith manage to pick up the details with good precision. Highs feel clear, crispy, and does well on expressing the dense texture from treble instruments. It’s visibly brighter than lows or mids, however it won’t be a problem as it doesn’t get spiky. The highs tend to stay transparent without any coloring added to it. The treble spreads wide sideways as the bass did. And with the spatial mids added to that, the R1 Zenith generates one of the finest, largest headroom for an in-ear.



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    Compared to R1

    First off, let's keep in mind that R1 and R1 Zenith share the same root while the Zenith is just an ultimate form of the original R1 (just like its name). These two IEMs share the same sound factors and characteristics, though the Zenith is improved in every possible way.

    Starting from the overall clarity, the Zenith shows wider staging and depth, improved background details and reverbs, separation, and airy upper frequencies. For me, the most impressive difference was the ultra lows. The bass from the Zenith was a lot darker and denser, providing better imaging which strikes right in the middle of the head.



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    Verdicts

    There are a good amount of cases where manufacturers release an upgrade version of the original IEM. However, at least in my case, most of these upgrade models had a different sound factor and signature. It just made me question if it's really considered a perfect upgrade if the sound has changed while improving the performance.

    With the R1 Zenith, IMR managed to boost the performance while keeping the sound characteristics almost identical with the original R1, making it more than enough to call it a perfect upgrade. It's glad to see them fixing the weak spots from the previous works while they continue to evolve. The R1 Zenith would be a perfect choice for previous R1 owners as well as those who are into rich W-shaped sound signature.





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    Thanks to IMR Acoustics for providing the R1 Zenith for an honest impression/feedback.
    I am not affiliated with IMR and none of my words were modded or asked to be changed.
      drbluenewmexico likes this.

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