IMR Acoustics R2 Aten


Headphoneus Supremus
IMR Aten, Fun V-shaped sound
Pros: Extensive kit, quality build, tuning options, new lower price
Cons: V-shaped regardless of filter combo, some overlap of filters, unforgiving of poor source.

disclaimer: I borrowed the IMR Aten from another head-fi member to review in trade while he tried out my LZ A7 beta. I have no financial interest in IMR or any of its affiliates and having lived through some of the Trinity fiasco personally understand those who are leary of wanting to deal with IMR as a result. I’ll admit to mixed feelings myself in that respect but this is a product review and as such lets leave the politics in this section and move forward with the product. If you have an interest in IMR, check their website. Also a lot of IMR products have found their way to Drop so it is probably wise to check there before spending more elsewhere.

Unboxing / Packaging:

I received the carrying case with all elements packed neatly in it so cannot speak to the original packaging, but the case is well thought out with plenty of room for the accessories and even a spare cable. The one caveat is with all three cable options, that compartment is a bit cramped so you may want to limit it to a single cable at a time. The kit contains the earpieces, cable, tips, shirt clip, tubes, filters, leather cable ties, 6.3 to 3.5 adapter, and carrying case. Filtering the Aten is a 2 stage proposition with tubes screwed into the earpieces and then a filter screwed into the top of the tube to complete the ensemble. The filters have striped edges to also operate as the lip for tip retention. The Unit ships with 5 sets of tubes and 6 sets of filters. As a side note, the filters from my older Trinity Icarus III also fit the Aten so this expands the filter options for those that have Trinity in-ears still in their collections.


Defining the shape of the Aten is a bit difficult as it doesn’t follow any of the typical shapes we normally see. With a 14mm driver, the bulk of the shell is round with a vertical tube at the rear edge for the connectors. Shells are 3 pieces with a gold face plate held on with screws, and outer shell and inner of gunmetal colored aluminum with a large threaded stub for the tubes and filters that form the nozzles. Nozzles have a distinct upward rake when installed and the combination of fairly shallow insertion and open back lead to limited isolation. I found the Aten comfortable for extended wear once a proper tip size was found.


The Aten utilizes a 14mm dynamic driver with a beryllium composite diaphragm for its lows and mids. The driver uses updated Neodymium motors for faster response compared to older IMR models. The top end is handled by a piezo ceramic driver giving the Aten a listed range of 10Hz-50kHz. Nominal impedance is listed as 32Ω with a sensitivity of 106 dB/mW. This puts the Aten in a class that can be driven by a phone or tablet, but make no mistake, these like a bit more power than those are likely to provide and they do scale considerably both qualitatively and quantitatively with better sources. I found the bass tightened up and became cleaner and better separated with moving from phone to Tr-amp for example.


The cables that came with the Aten are all exactly alike except for the differences in terminations at the south end. The 3.5 Single ended and 2.5 balanced cables have 90º jacks in translucent plastic and brushed aluminum housings while the 4.4 uses a straight jack in a similar housing. All are gold plated for corrosion resistance. All cables have short strain reliefs before exiting the jack. Cables are oxygen free copper in a clear casing that shows the strands clearly in each twist. The cables are 2 strands in a twisted pair up to the splitters which are brushed aluminum barrels of the same color as the jack. A clear rubber chin slider sits above the splitter and then 2 single strands exit headed north to pre-formed ear-hooks and knurled gun-metal housings containing the 0.78mm bi-pin connectors. Admittedly the switch from brushed silver to the matte gun-metal seems a bit odd at first but the pin housings do match the body of the Aten well and it makes a bit more sense in that context. All three cables are well made, didn’t show a propensity to kink or tangle, and microphonics are kept to a minimum by the ear-hooks.


Filters can be a good tool to help the user shape the sound to their liking or they can be largely a gimmick to entice those that like gadgets. I’ve had both in my collection as some like the FLC8s made great use of the filters to allow tuning while others were more for show as they offered very little in the way of appreciable difference. The filters on the Aten fall somewhere between the two. Starting with the tubes, the black and red tubes are inside each others margin of error on my measurements so realistically pick the one you think looks better of the two. The purple offered the best compromise in my opinion with the green removing too much low end (remember the filter cannot put back what the tube removes so once gone, its gone). The Gold I have trouble figuring out the use for as the mids are so scooped. I guess if you wanted to remove all vocals it might be a starting point but for me realistically the choice is between the black/red for bass boosted or purple for a more linear signature.

When we get to filters we have a bit of the same with the red/green overlapping nearly entirely and changes made by all of them fairly minimal. If you look at the stacked graph below you quickly realize that changes due to the filter are all above about 2kHz and are fairly small incremental changes. The 2nd graphs has curves separated for easier reading. Here again we have some that overlap entirely and other that the changes are so small many will be hard pressed to hear them.

Overall, I like the idea of tunable iems, but the design here is a bit clunky as the tubes and filters are difficult to remove from the aluminum storage blocks without using a needle nose plier or some other tool (Something I didn’t feel comfortable with using a borrowed IEM). Once you do have them removed they are tiny parts that are easily lost and I wouldn’t dream of attempting to change these while traveling or outside the home for fear of losing them. I would have preferred fewer options with more distance between them rather than a lot of overlapping options. Good idea, less than great execution.


My sound notes are with my preferred combination of purple tube and gold nozzle. This provided the closest to neutral signature in my measurements.


Bass is emphasized on the Aten as expected with a 14mm driver, but it is fairly linear throughout its range without a pronounced lift of drop between sub-bass and mid-bass. Roll-off at the low end is evident below the mid-40Hz range (purple tube) but still provides enough rumble to satisfying. Speed is fairly good with slightly slower decay than attack giving a bit of warmth to the overall, but also contributing a bit of thickening. That thickening seems to be inherent to the purple tube as does the roll-off. The Black offers less thickening to the mid-bass and a roll-off in the 20s but pushes the bass considerably further forward which was a trade I wasn’t happy with. Mid-bass shares those same qualities with good definition and texture if a bit slower decay than absolutely realistic. Mid-bass steps back as you reach the lower-mids and their is some minor mid-bass bleed, but not so much as to obstruct lower vocals or cello details. Know that even with the most neutral tuning option, the Aten cannot be made linear and your options are to change the depth of the V in the signature at most. Bass will always be a star in the Aten’s show.


Lower mids do have some bleed from the mid-bass that adds a bit of warmth. Lower vocals have good weight and texture and guitar growl is satisfying. Strings are well rendered as well but lack just a touch of texture needed to sound completely natural. I found the mids lacking the level of detail of some of the better hybrids in its class, but still detailed enough to be an enjoyable listen. Upper-mids are pushed forward and female vocals step forward in the mix as a result. This is the first place that one of the issues with the Aten rears its head. The issue being that the Aten is not forgiving at all and any flaw in source is at very least displayed and at times seems accentuated. Sibilant, strident tracks will be sibilant and strident and this is especially so with some filter combinations.


Lower treble starts out a bit forward as it follows the upper-mid lift, but drops back a bit fairly quickly above that initial peak. The Aten delivers good clarity and detail throughout the treble but does little to attenuate any harsh or rough edges. I found the treble very source dependent as poorly recorded tracks are on full display and get strident, sibilant, and downright peaky and ugly at times. Likewise, well recorded tracks have great detail level, textures, and good sparkle and air at the top end. I can see how opinions of the treble on the Aten could vary quite wildly depending on which filter was in use, what source, and what source material was used during testing. With good source material, snare rattle is quite good with enough edge to sound natural. Cymbals are also quite good if the other factors are accounted for. Final roll-off is above the limits of my hearing.

Soundstage / Imaging:

I expected a good stage out of an open-back iem and the Aten did not disappoint. Stage has good depth, width, and height with width only mildly larger than depth but it maintains a good sense of proportion. Seating the orchestra is straight forward with instrument separation being above average as well. Layering is good as well with minimal thickening as the tracks get overly complex. For this I tried the Black tube as the purple seems to introduce a bit of distortion of its own and may not be a good example of what the driver is capable of. Imaging is good with movements easy to track and positions fairly tightly defined in space.

Thoughts / Conclusion:

The Aten is well made, good looking, sports a 14mm dynamic and a piezo driver, and comes with 30 possible tuning options. That seems like a lot of pluses to chalk up, but it is not with out it down-side. A few of the filters (Gold tube) are basically unusable and others are so closely related that any difference is likely beyond the range of human hearing (Red/Black tube). Even what I felt was the best option to try and tame the V a bit (the purple tube) introduced a higher than normal roll-off at the low end and some mid-bass distortion. Those looking at the Aten should know going in that it is at its best as a fairly deep V using the black tube (lack of any low-end filter) and either the blue or green filter for top-end. Those looking for a more reference tuning will find it is not possible with the Aten. Another thing to keep in mind is the Aten is unforgiving of poor source so if you have a lot of questionable material in your collections like many of us do, you may want to consider other options. For those with predominantly well recorded material of genres that a big V suits are rewarded with a revealing fun in-ear that is comfortable enough to wear for extended listening sessions. It is a niche player, but at the price of the current drop offering, it deserves a look if you fit the niche. Special thanks to Pod who loaned me the Aten for this review.
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Any other alternative in this price range that exceeds the R2 Aten?
LZ A7 would be my first pick and FLC8s is still a very viable option at this price point.

Dobrescu George

Reviewer: AudiophileHeaven
Pros: + Good Build Quality
+ 30 Signatures
+ Great soundstage
+ Good dynamics and imaging
+ Clarity / Detail is also great
Cons: - Leaks a lot, does not isolate well, due to their open design
- Treble is a touch hot on all filters that also keep clarity
- Bass is a touch thick and overwhelming on the setting with the highest bass
IMR R2 Aten IEMs Review - The Customisable Joy Of 30 Signatures

IMR R2 Aten is the next best thing from IMR, a company from UK, focused on designing their polished, and now good value IEMs, all with configurable sound, and unique tech. R2 Aten is priced at 500 USD at the moment of writing this review, which makes it a direct competitor to IMR R1 Zenith, which is priced at 630 USD, HIFIMAN RE2000 Silver, which is priced at 800 USD, and TheCustomArt Fibae Black, which is priced at 500 USD as well. Pairings with top class DAPs, as well as more budget options, like FiiO M11, iBasso DX150 (AMP 9), and QLS QA 361 are also included in the review.


IMR is a very interesting company, with actually quite a bit of intrigue and controversy around, but I want to take some time to clarify the issues around them, before proceeding with the review.

There once was a company named Trinity, which ran a Kickstarter Campaign, which failed, and didn't manage to produce the earphones they promised, and to deliver them to their customers. IMR is not the same company, and the only connection between the two is that Mr Bob, from IMR acoustics has been an employee of Trinity, and was taking care of Public Relations for them.

This being said, he left Trinity considerably before things went bad. To be more precise, Mr. Bob of IMR stopped being connected with Trinity about 6 months before things started going bad for Trinity, so there's no real connection between the two, and I am pretty sure that the past failure of Trinity has nothing to do with IMR. I mean, imagine being at fault for your previous employer doing something bad, after you left a company, it doesn't make sense to persecute Mr. Bob for what happened at Trinity, and since my personal investigation revealed no issues with IMR at all since they started, I am going to just tell things as they have been from the start of IMR Acoustics and forward. In terms of customer support, IMR has been stellar, they had no products going bad, and even when there were any minor issues with their products, they have been swift to solve those and provided adequate support for their customers. For all I can tell, IMR Acoustics is one of the best companies in terms of customer support and really easy to recommend purchasing from as a trusted source.

It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with IMR Acoustics. I'd like to thank Mr. Bob of IMR Acoustics for providing the sample for this review. This review reflects my personal experience with IMR R2 Aten. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those interested in IMR R2 Aten find their next music companion.

About me


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

If you've been following Audiophile-Heaven for a while, you know I enjoy a good package, and IMR Acoustics always delivered on that. R2 Aten is not only one of the IEMs that come with a more rich package, but they also come with a very practical solution. Although the large case isn't practical for carrying the IEMs around, if you're only carrying the IEMs, it has enough space for R2 Aten, and a DAP, or a digital audio player.

Furthermore, inside the package, you can find one of the most rich offers out there, with two selections of audio filters, each changing the sound of R2 Aten a bit, and with a good selection of tips as well. There are two cables inside the package, one that is balanced, and one that is single ended.

The carrying case is a medium-sized nylon case that you'd normally use to carry misc. Accessories, and the extra space is actually useful to me, since I would normally carry at least one DAP with my earphones.

Overall, for 500 USD, this is one of the best packages for an IEM out there, and very easily to recommend.

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

Technical Specifications

5 acoustic audio nozzles + 6 acoustic dampers
2 Pin detachable cable (3.5mm and 2.5mm balanced)
Impedance: 32 Ohm
Sensitivity: 106 +/- 3DB
Frequency response: 10 – 50000Hz
24ct Gold plated 3.5mm Jack
1.4M length OFC cable
Hard Case
6.5mm Adapter
Huge selection of ear tips

Build Quality/Aesthetics/Fit/Comfort

I have been having an excellent time reviewing the products IMR Acoustics has been puttin on the market, because with time, I could see them improving. With every step, every IEM became better and better, the build quality refined more and more, and at this point I could say that they designed something that looks even better than the previous release, the IMR R1 Zenith, which I reviewed in the past.

The build quality of R2 Aten is different though, as it doesn't have an adjusting mechanism on the back, and instead the IEM faceplate is a little grille, as the IEM is more of an open-back design, although the drivers inside are not planar, like Audeze iSine has, rather R2 Aten relying on a combination of Dynamic Drivers paired with a Piezoceramic Driver for the treble. Those sound like big words, but don't worry, they all are used to produce music, and that will be explored in the Sound Quality part of this review.

The IEMs have a very smooth design on the inner part, although they still manage to look somewhat industrial and edgy. The design does not affect the comfort though, and the angling, size and length of the bore, the part that supports the ear tip, is just perfect for R2 Aten to fit in my ears. In fact, they fit so well, they manage to be one of the most comfortable IEMs out there, despite their slightly larger physical size.

The cables are connected to the IEMs via a 2-Pin connector, and there are two cables included in the package, both being of very good quality. One is a single-ended 3.5mm cable, while the other is a 2.5mm balanced cable, so when purchasing R2 Aten, you won't need to think about cable upgrades for a while.

Passive noise isolation is poor, and given the large grilles on the face of the IEMs. and the open design, there is quite a bit of music leaking out, and you can still hear what is going on outside. This being said, even listening at medium volumes is enough for this to not matter, and you won't have any issue using R2 Aten for daily commute, despite the lower amount of passive noise isolation. The highlight though, is that there is no driver flex, and no cable microphonics, which make R2 Aten really good for portable wearing.

There are two screw-on parts that can be configured, and from those, you can make up a total number of 30 total combinations possible, which is just insane. Imagine having 30 actual IEMs in just one. Of course, that would be a little bit of an overstatement, but you do get 30 variations of R2 Aten, and all of them are different enough from each other to make sense. The two types of filters are acoustic dampers, and Acoustic Audio Nozzles. The filters are made of metal, and although I've been playing with them a lot, I haven't managed to break the filters or thread the screw part, so they should last a lot of filter rolling, until you satisfy your curiosity about R2 Aten.

Sound Quality

As the sonic performance of R2 Aten is highly dependent on what filter you have on, I took the time to study what each of them does to the sound, and which I would recommend the most.

The bass is mainly dictated by the filters, with the Black Filter having the most, and the Green Filter having the least bass. The order looks like Black > Gold > Red > Pink > Green.

For the 6 acoustic dampers, they are all used to fine tune the treble response, and although the changes are not quite as big as between the nozzle acoustic filters, they still make some changes, and especially those sensitive to treble fine tuning will love them. The Blue Filter has the most treble, while the Gold Filter has the least treble. The order goes like Blue > Black > Pink > Red > Green > Gold.

Overall, regardless of the filters used, R2 Aten has a bit of a 6kHz spike, and that results in a good ability to resolve detail, but may also be a bit strong if you don't like a V-Shaped signature in general. There's the part that everyone has noticed when they tried to review IEMs with Piezo components before, they all have an excellent amount of detail and clarity, but it comes at the cost of the upper midrange and the lower treble being quite strong. I say cost, because from my general interaction with everyone, at least half of people are a bit afraid of a stronger treble, while the other half longs for more treble in every IEM they hear. Now, R2 Aten is for those treble lovers, regardless of the filter, it can really punch you with some extra spice.

The bass goes from an overwhelming amount with deep impactful bass using the Black filter, to being a pretty moderately warm IEM with the Red filter, to having a strong bass roll-off, with the Green filter. For all purposes, I would avoid the Green filter, but every other filter tends to sound awesome for a certain music style. For example, for EDM, and Hip-Hop, the black filter is simply the best, it has a lot of depth, impact and extension. The Red filter works best, at least for me, for rock, metal, and most music styles. I think that the Gold filter was made for Orchestral and Classical, if you like it warmer, while the Pink filter would work awesome with acoustic music. Overall, the bass can be as deep, and as rich as you want. The black filter, the extreme, will make any basshead jump around in glee and joy, while the Red filter would make a fairly clean V-shaped signature that should work for most people looking for a V-Shaped sig. The pride of R2 could be said to be its bass, and with the Red filter, as well as with the Pink filter, I think you would have a really good time with it. The black bleeds a bit much and makes everything a bit too dark and too thick for my liking, but then again, if you're a basshead, you'll have it as an option. I personally did not like the Gold filter as much, it tends to increase the spike in the upper midrange a bit much, although if you love an aggressive V-Shaped sound, like Sennheiser Ie800 had, you may enjoy the Gold one the most.

The midrange has a slight dip in the lower mids, so it can sound a bit thin for male voices, but it sounds really clean, and crisp for all instruments, and with the black filter, which makes the entire sound a bit thicker, it works really nicely for male voices as well. The other filters also have some impact on the midrange, but regardless of the filter, the lower mid dip tends to be present, and it takes care of the bass not bleeding in the mids. Guitars, in particular, are sweet and textured, and thanks to the upper midrange spike, they have an excellent texture and resolution as well. Overall, I imagine that the V-shaped signature that would combine the Red Filter with the Pink or the Black Damper would suit most casual listeners.

There's also the treble, which is influenced by the acoustic dampers, but that is actually not that strong, and it varies from the Blue damper, which is basically a free damper that lets you hear the most the driver has to offer, all the way to the Gold damper, which offers a smoother and more easy sound. I stayed with Black and Pink the most, although for certain songs, especially acoustic music, and some metal, I loved the clarity and overall sparkle of the Blue. This being said, if you're really sensitive to treble, and don't want it harsh, the green damper helps a lot.

After playing with the pairings, I came to the conclusion that the color coding is not necessarily random, and although you're free to combine them any way you want, I think that the best experience has been for me with full colors. This means that Gold Filter with Gold Damper provided an actually good sound, despite the gold filter alone sounding odd. Same for black, the high amounts of bass of the black filter are balanced a bit by the black damper, and the final sound is actually enjoyable, although aggressively V-Shaped with a strong bass, kinda like Rhapsodio Zombie was. Then, if you want to have a sound with no bass, there's also the Green filter that opens the bore entirely, and which reminds me a bit of other IEMs with an open design.

The soundstage, thanks to the open-back design, is really large, and you get excellent separation and imaging from the piezoceramic driver. Although R2 Aten isolates less than most of its direct competitors and most other options, the holographic stage makes me grab it so often, and explore my music in a whole new way. The detail and clarity is also top-notch, and you have an IEM that's not only a unique piece, but also really fit for its price category. Not to mention, there are B-Stock and sales going on sometimes, so you can grab one for less than the market price.

Portable Usage

R2 Aten is not particularly hard to drive, but it has a 32 OHM impedance, which means that it is less sensitive to hiss than IEMs with a 10 OHM impedance, paired with an 106 dB sensitivity, which makes it fairly sensitive. There are options like IE800 from Senniesher, which are 16 OHM in impedance and 125 in sensitivity, but they are really hard to drive in practice, so the subjective impression of how hard something is to drive when tested is more relevant than the theoretical values.

In terms of passive noise isolation, you could use Final Audio IEMs, like B1 if you wanted more isolation, but even final has models that have a lot of leaking, and isolate less, like Final E5000, which was a pretty happy-trigger IEM in terms of how much it leaked. Of course, for better isolation, you could use custom IEMS, or CIEMs, like FIBAE Black, or CIEMs from Lime Ears, if you wanted absolute silence while listening to music.

I'm one who's more happy to share and I sometimes even use full sized open-back planar headphones, like Rosson RAD-0 portably, so an IEM like IMR R2 Aten is simply perfect for me. When taking a walk, having some input of what is going on is better, so make sure you don't fully isolate from the outside noise, otherwise you could get in an accident or in trouble.

As for portability itself, the cables are a bit springy, so not absolutely ideal, but it is within normal, you can drive R2 Aten from most medium sources, because, as I said, it is not particularly hard to drive, but it is not easy to drive either. As it comes with two cables, and one of them is balanced, you could enjoy sources that have a balanced output as well, like FiiO M9, or iBasso DX160. R2 works well at both high and low volumes, and you don't have to worry about it sounding bad if you're listening more quietly. There are certain IEMs that sound best when they are either at high volumes, like Dita Fealty, or FiiO FA7, and there are those who sound best at more quiet volumes, like Dita Fidelity, Clear Tune Monitors CTM Da Vinci X, and especially those which are more bright and analytical. IMR R2 Aten is right in between, and will sound interesting at both high and low volumes, especially as there is a good selection of filters, and you can spice the sound to suit your listening volume as well.

Youtube Video Review

IMR R2 Aten Youtube Video


The comparison list includes IMR R1 Zenith, HIFIMAN RE2000 Silver, and Fibae Black, all of which are very different IEMs from R2 Aten, and all of which are in slightly different price segments.

IMR R2 Aten vs HIFIMAN RE2000 Silver - HIFIMAN RE2000 Silver is quite a bit more expensive than R2 Aten, but makes a good comparison, because you may be wondering whether it is worth to invest 300 more USD, or to stop at R2 Aten. In a few words, the package is actually better for R2 Aten, with more cables from the start, better cables, the filters are also a bonus, and the carrying case, despite not being necessarily better for R2 if you're carrying it alone, provides a good solution, if you're carrying an entire setup within. The comfort is actually slightly better for RE2000, at least for my ears, there's better comfort. RE2000 isolates more, and creates a more quiet listening space for you, but at the same time, the sound is very analytic, and doesn't have anywhere near as much bass as R2 Aten if you're using the black filter. RE2000 is almost a reference tuning, with a sparkly top end, a mild V-shaped overall signature, and a deep, well extended, but almost neutral bass. There is a bit of extra bass for RE2000 than the absolute neutral, and the speed, resolution and clarity of it are sublime, but the quantity is nowhere near R2 Aten. Now, by comparison, R2 Aten has a stronger upper midrange peak, it has more overall sparkle in the treble, and it has a thicker bass, meatier, but also slower bass. The resolution is better on RE2000 Silver, but both can be very musical and easy to enjoy.

IMR R2 Aten vs TheCustomArt Fibae Black - Fibae Black is at the other end of the spectrum, compared to RE2000, as it is a dark-ish, clear, and clean IEM, but with less treble than R2 Aten. The package of R2 Aten is actually better, and especially the default cable is better than the one of Fibae black, since there are two of those cables with R2 Aten. I consider the filters to also add to the package, as Fibae Black does not like EQ at all, and The Custom Art squeezed everything there was to squeeze out of the driver inside Fibae Black. You can understand that Fibae Black is very coherent, and natural, but when you add R2 Aten to the mix, you get a much more dynamic, punchy sound, with more treble sparkle, more excitement, and more actual options to configure it. Fibae Black is quite excellent, if you want to lean back, and relax, while R2 Aten is a gem for tinkerers, those who like to experiment, and those who want a more sparkly, more exciting sound.

IMR R2 Aten vs IMR R1 Zenith - R1 Zenith has been the previous IEM I reviewed from IMR, and well, I also liked it quite a lot. It looks like they kept improving more and more, and with every new release, they leave a nice trace in the world, with more masterful works, with more unique tech, and with better price-to-performance ratios. The package is similar, but the comfort is better for R2 Aten, as it has less edges, is smaller, and has a better cable than its older brother. Now, with R1, you had two ways of tuning its sound, it had a little screw at the back, which would allow you to either open or close the acoustic chamber of the driver, and it also had a selection of acoustic filters. With R2 Aten, the acoustic chamber is always semi open, but there are more tuning options than with R1 Zenith. It was really easy and fast to determine which was my favorite signature with R1, but I took more time to tweak and play with R2, there was simply more option and more beauty with each setting to discover. You'd be happy with either, but if you wanted a larger soundstage, more detailed sound, and precision under all settings, R2 Aten manages just that. With R1 Zenith, the more you wanted to increase the stage, the more vague the sound and instrument separation became, but that doesn't seem to happen with R2 at all.

Recommended Pairings

The pairing of R2 Aten is easy, as long as you get a decent source, so anything above Shanling M2X, in terms of power, dynamics and control, should do just fine. FiiO M9 would be quite a match, and this list includes some OTG USB DACs like Cyrus Soundkey, but for today, I have chosen QLS QA 361, FiiO M11, and iBasso DX150 paired with AMP 9.

IMR R2 Aten + iBasso 150 (AMP 9) - DX150 is another gem from iBasso, priced lower than DX220, but relying on the same AMP modules, so of course, I will be pairing it with AMP 9. I am surprised to notice there is no hiss and no noise coming from this setup, and I'm surprised to notice a very detailed, dynamic and lively midrange, a clean, yet not overbearing bass, and a sparkly, well extended, airy top end. DX150 can act as a USB DAC, it has good support for streaming services, and it also has iBasso's stellar support behind, making it an excellent DAP to recommend, the only downside to it being that DX160 is available, and that one combines iBasso's latest tech, a lot of power, all for a lower price than the total price of DX150+AMP 9.

IMR R2 Aten + FiiO M11 - Of course, FiiO M11 is easy to recommend, it has a good price, it has excellent sonic ability, especially for IEMs, and it has support for all streaming services now, with full support for Play Store with the latest updates from FiiO. If you're considering getting it, you will have a slightly more neutral and bright signature for your R2, with a wide soundstage, but a slightly stronger treble, including a slightly stronger upper midrange spike, and with a clean bass that's slightly thinner than with most other sources, that seem to thicken it a bit.

IMR R2 Aten + QLS QA 361 - QLS QA 361 is a surprisingly good pair for R2 Aten, as it has a strong, clean, and punchy sound, but doesn't seem to have the thicker and more heavy sound that most sources have with R2 Aten. For an IEM that has the bass as its highlight, you need to chose a source that will keep that bass under control, and the softer, cleaner nature of QA 361 compliments R2 Aten quite well, providing what I would call a match made in heaven. QA 361 is a minimalistic DAP, so everything went to audio, there's no hiss, and there are lots of details, but there's also no streaming support, no touch screen, just a basic DAP to enjoy for years.

Value and Conclusion

The price of R2 Aten, of 500 USD, is actually pretty high, but for the technology employed, quality of sound, number of accessories, and quality of the package, you get what you pay for. There's nothing missing from the package, and getting two high quality cables is pretty much insane considering the little number of IEMs that have a similar package. Since you can configure up to 30 Signatures, out of which about ten are pretty awesome, that's paying almost 50 USD for each signature of R2 Aten, but it still has the clarity, detail, dynamics and punch of a 500 USD IEM.

When it comes to the fit, the only downside of Aten is that it has an open back, and some people are looking for IEMs that isolate, R2 Aten not doing that very well. This being said, the comfort itself is awesome, the tips included in the package are large in number, and there's a rich selection of them, there is no driver flex, and there's no cable microphonic noise, making R2 Aten one of the more comfortable and better built IEMs out there. Although I tried my best taking some slightly artistic photos for this review, it may not be obvious, but R2 Aten is a true looker, a beautiful design, with an industrial-edgy look, golden accents on a metallic body.

Reality can be whatever you want, said Mr. Bob when he set to design R2 Aten, then proceeded to make an IEM that has 30 possible signatures, leaving it up to you how you want to tune R2. From a bass-heavy, thick, yet sparkly IEM, all the way to a light, clean and snappy IEM, you have the ability to make R2 your dream IEM, with a few simple adjustments.

Before the end of this review, I want to reserve R2 Aten a place in Audiophile-Heaven's Hall Of Fame, for providing an interesting 500 USD option for those who enjoy tuning and customisable sounds.

At the end of this review, if you're looking for an IEM that has it all, sparkle, bass, dynamics, punch, thickness, and the option to chose, even the option to choose between its balanced and single ended cable, uses 2-Pin connectors for its cables, and has great comfort, and an open design, you should really consider R2 Aten, and if you keep an eye out, you may spot them while on sale, drop or other sale.

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.

Youtube Playlist

Tidal Playlist

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
Memphis May Fire - Not Over Yet

I hope my review is helpful to you!


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Wow, super detailed review, well done. Couple of questions though: when you stated. “but it comes at the cost of the upper midrange and the lower treble being quite strong.” Can this be “tuning” be overcome by eq’ing and still get quality sound? Don’t want to lose this as the upper midrange for me is important. And also, what say ye about crinicle’s less than positive response to these (C-). And finally, does this have a chance of being an all arounder? I value your insight and since Drop has them at $225, might be a bargain or Not.
Thanks Dobrescu George!
Dobrescu George
Dobrescu George
@LostnAmerica - Thank you for your kind words! 1. Yes, they can be EQ'ed. My point was that the upper midrange and lower treble are quite stong, not smooth or bland. They can be a bit spicy for some. 2. Crin has his own standards and I can understand why he might not like the IMRs, they have a hott-ish upper midrange, and a strong bass. Not really an all-rounder unless you EQ them a bit honestly, but if you like a strong bass and a stronger treble and upper midrange, you will most probably love them.


Reviewer at Sound Perfection Reviews
Formerly affiliated with HiFi Headphones
Pros: Fun and lively sound with great extension and detail
Above average soundstage
Cons: Bass heavy
Open back means limited isolation
Firstly I would like to thank Bob at IMR for sending me this sample to review.

*disclaimer: This sample was provided for the purpose of writing a review, no incentive was given to write a favourable review. All opinions expressed are my own subjective findings

Gear Used:
xDuoo XD-05 Plus / Audio Opus #2 > R2 Aten

  • Bespoke Aten driver featuring uprated Neodymium motors with beryllium composite diaphragm + high resolution Piezo ceramic driver
  • 5 acoustic audio nozzles + 6 acoustic dampers
  • 2 Pin detachable cable (3.5mm and 2.5mm balanced)
  • Impedance: 32 Ohm
  • Sensitivity: 106 +/- 3DB
  • Frequency response: 10 – 50000Hz
  • 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 R2 Aten

Packaging, Build Quality and Accessories:
The R2 Aten come in a black fabric pouch, it is quite large and houses all the accessories, personally I really love the presentation and it feels really premium for the price. I really can’t say much else, there isn’t a fancy retail box but the case is brilliant and looks the part.

Build quality overall is great, the housings are more polished than the original R1 which looked a little DIY. There is good strain relief on the cable and the earphones use a standard 2-pin connector. Overall I cannot find a single issue with the build quality, just make sure not to cross thread the filters.

Accessory wise you get a regular 3.5mm single ended cable, a 2.5mm balanced cable, filters to tune the sound, a jack adaptor and assorted tips in both silicone and foam. Literally everything you need is included and more, the accessory set you get with these is really impressive.


Comfort and Isolation:
Once you find the right tips, the R2 Aten are comfortable, the housings are smooth and fit well in the outer ear without creating pressure points. The cable is supple and conforms well over the back of your ear.

Isolation is not supposed to be a strong point on these, they are open back as you can see from the grills. They have limited isolation and at high volumes will leak a little.


There are so many filter combinations so I will try and sum up the R2 Aten as best I can without going too deep into filter rolling. It also took me some time to find my favourite filter combination, but more on that later.

The R2 Aten come with the black filters installed out of the box, and they are tuned to be fun and engaging rather than analytical or reference like. They have incredible impact down low and you can really feel the sub-bass rumble. If you are a bass head I guess you might enjoy this, but the lower midrange gets masked a little by this thunderous bass. The upper midrange then has a peak which can introduce a little bit of sibilance, they are quite v-shaped with all black filters. There is however good extension and air up top which reveals plenty of detail.

You get a selection of lower stage filters which mainly affect the bass with Black having the most and green the least. I found pink lower to be my preferred bass quantity bringing the lows more in line with the rest of the spectrum.

The top filters mainly affect the treble but I found some of them to introduce a little bit of unwanted sibilance. You do have to play around a bit with different configurations to find your preferred signature, but that is one of the fun things about the R2 Aten. You can have a pair of bass heavy earphones, or you can tune them to be a little more balanced, it is up to you how you want them.

On to my preferred combination, at first I was enjoying all Red, as it provided plenty of impact with good extension, but they were still a tad too v-shaped for my preference. I then changed to pink lower and red upper, and with this combination I have a fun yet more balanced signature, the lows still hit hard but are a little more controlled in their impact. The Red upper filter seems to be fairly sibilance free yet doesn’t hinder the extension or detail. Now I have found my ideal combination I can listen to the R2 Aten for hours on end without any fatigue.

There are some traits of the R2 Aten that you can’t tune out, they have good resolution with a wide soundstage and excellent separation. They are always going to lean towards a more fun signature, as this is how Bob intended them to sound.


I actually really like the R2 Aten, they are versatile allowing you to change filters to suit your preferences but at the end of the day they are designed to be fun and engaging. They have great detail retrieval, along with a wide soundstage and excellent instrument separation. I can recommend these for those looking for something a little different and a little more fun.



No DD, no DICE
Pros: A wholesale upgrade over previous models, fixes glaring sonic issues with the R1 and Zenith; rich, powerful bass some of the best I've heard in an IEM, with balanced mids and better control in the highs; excellent stage and imaging; generous package.
Cons: Some bizarre filter and nozzle choices, and frankly too much choice that deviates from the driver's strengths; highs can still be a touch too hot with that piezo driver; not the most resolving driver ever made; limited isolation with a semi-closed design.
Full disclosure: I received an IMR R2 Aten in exchange for my fair and honest opinion, with no expectation of a favourable review. The views expressed are my own, based on my personal sound preferences and taste in music, which may well vary from your own.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. It appears that IMR’s Bob James isn’t insane, because at the third time of asking, he’s created one of the best looking, best sounding dynamic driver IEMs I’ve ever had the pleasure of using.

Based on an evolved version of the original R1 and R1 Zenith (reviewed here) ‘hybrid’ beryllium and piezo ceramic driver, the new R2 Aten tweaks the design of both earpiece and driver to deliver a consistently excellent performance with almost any genre of music.

It comes as no small relief, too, because the hype surrounding the first two IMR IEMs was, to my ears anyway, overdone. The Zenith, while occasionally hitting the mark, was frequently too harsh in the highs, too boomy in the bass, or too meek if you tried to switch up its filters to correct the obvious ‘errors’. With a refined two-filter system (a bottom filter for bass tuning and a top ‘nozzle’ for treble), the Aten not only gives you more options for adjusting the sound to your liking, but – as you’ll soon read – delivers a far more consistent sound with a much smaller selection of filters than you actually get.

What’s in the bag?

Before we get to the sound, though, let’s look at the overall package, because that’s changed too – and for the better. The Aten comes housed in a large canvas-type hard shell zip-up case, with the different accessories and earpieces securely wedged into custom foam cut-outs.

Along with the earpieces you get a large selection of silicone and foam eartips, so you’re almost guaranteed a good fit out the box (although I always recommend buying aftermarket tips anyway). Like the Zenith, the Aten comes with two cables – one terminated with an angled 3.5mm single-ended connector, the other 2.5mm TRRS – an absolute must at this price point. Unlike the Zenith, however, both cables have been given a major upgrade, with custom-made single crystal braided copper and conveniently shaped arches around the ears, and are of much higher quality than the thin, rubbery cables that were included with the R1 and Zenith.

The new filter system means two sets of aluminium filter holders are now included as standard, instead of just the one with the Zenith. Whereas I felt that the Zenith left me wanting a little more in terms of package quality for the price, the Aten does not. Perhaps the inclusion of a smaller case to house just the earpieces and cables would be welcome, but the larger case is small enough to be portable.

Aten_01.jpg Aten_02.jpg

Fit and comfort

There was always something a little odd about the shape of the Zenith that made them just a bit too unwieldly when worn. Though the steampunk look was ‘cool’, the Zenith’s twistable knob (used to open or close the port behind the drivers) meant the overall look was not only bizarre, but made it all but impossible to use them lying on your side or under a beanie or hat that covered your ears.

The Aten, in comparison, eschews the twisting knob and cover for a stainless-steel mesh grille that not only looks more appealing, but also takes away the nagging desire to constantly open and close the port to find the ‘perfect’ sound. Surrounded by a yellow gold frame, the Aten is more Bumblebee than Mad Max, and in a good way too. It’s immediately more modern and stylish, looks far less conspicuous when worn, and even though not the smallest fit-wise, I can comfortably lie down with them and almost forget they’re there.

Some of the sharper edges of the Zenith earpieces have also been smoothed over, and the slightly longer nozzle (a result of the new two-part filter system) means it’s easier to get a good seal without jamming the earpieces into your skull. Along with the round-the-ear cable guides that make a big difference to the ease of fit, I’d say the consistent improvements make for a much better experience than simply the sum of the new parts.

Sound impressions

I suggest you read my Zenith review, because much of what I’m about to say about the Aten’s sound uses that review as context. As such, my impressions here won’t be as exhaustive, simply because they don’t need to be.

That the Aten is a better sounding IEM than the Zenith was obvious to me even before the mandatory 140-hour burn-in period was done (and if you don’t believe in burn-in, the way the Aten’s sound evolves in that first week of listening might just change your mind). Even with the default black-on-black default filter and nozzle combination, gone was the bombastic bass of the Zenith and cavernous ‘gap’ between the bass mountain and midrange valleys, replaced by an equally powerful but far more nuanced presentation that seemed to fill out the entire frequency landscape without any notable dips or spikes.

I spent a good while going through the different filter combinations – as you probably should as well – so what I’m about to say might seem strange, but hear me out. Don’t stray too far from the default. Yes, it seems to be Bob’s way of doing things to give users as much choice as possible when it comes to fine-tuning his IEMs, but invariably he’s tuned them with a signature in mind that, in my experience, doesn’t stray too far from how he ships them configured.

For example, while previous reviewers of the Zenith (and more recently the Aten) have tended to pick the red or purple/pink filters for bass, I feel that not only is the amount of bass with the black filter not excessive, but is also of higher quality than the other options. Likewise, all the new treble nozzles bar blue use dampening to attenuate both the highs and mids, and as Bob himself suggested, using the blue nozzle – which lets the sound through unaltered – also presents the Aten in its purest form.

So, try the different options (and wonder, like I did, why anyone would voluntarily use the oddly-tuned gold filters), but I guarantee you that spending some time with the original black/black or black/blue combinations will ultimately win you over because they maximise the strengths of the design.


Let’s not pull any punches: the Aten, like its older cousins, is a bass monster. I’d expect nothing less from a 14mm dynamic driver sat a few millimeters from my eardrums. But unlike the Zenith or R1 before it, the Aten’s revised driver shows more control, texture and nuance to the bass, something you’ll instantly pick up on when listening to bass-laden electronica from Daft Punk or bass-infused live instruments.

The glorious bassline that kicks in at the 20s mark of Daft Punk’s ‘Doin’ It Right’ can rattle your jaw if you’re not careful. The sub bass rumble is palpable, and the mid bass punch is equally intoxicating, but neither overwhelm the robotic effects or human vocals. This speaks to the control the Aten exhibits while wielding such a potent weapon, elevating it above much cheaper implementations of dynamic driver bass typical of budget mid-fi IEMs that seem to be flooding the market.

That the subtle midrange and treble details aren’t obscured in the face of its explosive bass delivery is a sign that Bob has learned from both his previous attempts and knew exactly what needed to be done to get the balance just right. This is not boomy Beats bass, demonstrating very natural attack and decay that makes it feel more lifelike than forced. Listen to Diana Krall’s ‘Temptation’ and you’ll hear all the texture and nuance of the double bass without any overt colouration.

Of course, by that I don’t mean that the Aten is a ‘balanced’ IEM, but its mild V-shaped tuning with my preferred filter combinations is both rich and rewarding, neither overdone like the thick, bloomy sound of the FiiO FA7, or bizarrely wonky like the Zenith (regardless of filter choice).

Be warned: if you’re one of those ‘audiophiles’ that only want to hear – rather than feel – their bass, or believe that bass, like butter, is only good for you in very small doses, give the Aten a wide berth. Yes, you can switch filters and nozzles to the point where the Aten’s balls – er, bass – are all but neutered, but seriously, why would you do that?

Normally where bass is as big as it is with the Aten, something has to give, and often that something is the mids. But you only need to hear Rosie Thomas’s exquisite vocals to the sound of guitar strings and harpsicords of ‘Why Waste More Time’ to know that the Aten is only a distant relation to its predecessor in this regard.

Whereas I felt the Zenith butchered large sections of the midrange in its presentation, the Aten somehow keeps the mids intact. Both the lower and upper midrange are represented in their totality here, perhaps not with as much resolution as you’d hear from a hybrid balanced armature IEM like the FiiO FH7, but with more than enough detail to satisfy all but die-heard detail obsessives.

Male vocals are sublime with the Aten. David Elias’s heartfelt rendition of ‘Vision of Her’ is full of subtle emotion, as is Chris Jones’s impeccably arranged version of Alan Taylor’s ‘The Tennessee Waltz’. Going even lower in the octave register, the presentation of ‘These Bones’ by the Fairfield Four is an absolute revelation on the Aten, the mix of upper bass and lower midrange deliciously satisfying.

Female vocalists make up the vast majority of my music library, and the Aten holds its nerve as the notes start to hit higher. Holly Throsby almost whispering to the tune of ‘An Evening Stroll’ sounds as soft and sublime as I can only imagine her to be, Brandi Carlile is utterly believable in her emotive telling of ‘The Story’, and Angel Olsen is absolutely mesmerising in her rendition of ‘Chance’ off her recently-released ‘All Mirrors’ album.

As a side note, the recording quality on All Mirrors is questionable, and if there’s one ‘criticism’ I can level at the Aten (especially with the no-holds-barred black/blue filter combination) is that it won’t do anything to hide recording flaws. More on this when I talk about the highs, where recording flaws can be deadly.

Using a piezo ceramic tweeter in an IEM is a brave choice, and one that I felt caused more problems than it solved with the Zenith. While the Aten goes some way to controlling the spiky tendencies of the driver, you’ll really want to be careful with the music you choose (and the filters and tips you use to play it).

As mentioned earlier, the blue treble nozzle won’t hold back the good, or the bad. Poor recordings are often fraught with nasty peaks, sibilance, splashy highs, grain. You’ll hear all of that, in high resolution, if it’s there to be heard. Jethro Tull’s ‘Budapest’ (like several other tracks on their masterpiece ‘Crest of a Knave’ album) can err on the bright side if you let the tweeters run loose, so using foam tips instead of Spiral Dots does make listening to this album less wincing.

Naturally, if you love your treble and can’t get enough of the highs, use any wide bore silicone tip and the blue nozzles and let it rip. The Aten is both more resolving and more refined than the Zenith, which can be a double-edged sword when it comes to treble, especially when the recording runs particularly hot. I’ve heard more pleasant interpretations of Adiemus’s ‘Tintinnabulum’, for example, but a track like this would have been downright painful to listen to on the Zenith.

Not being a heavy rock or metal fan I’m not one to tell you how well the Aten renders the relentless screech of electric guitars amid screaming vocals, but I’ll take an educated guess and suggest that if you enjoy a good ear bleed, the Aten won’t disappoint.

Seriously though, while I fully admit that I prefer my treble a touch more withdrawn, any issues I might have with how the Aten presents the highs is down to my choice of music and my refusal to continually swap out tips and filters with every other track change. This goes back to my point that you’re more likely to pick a filter combination and stick with it, and in doing so, that’s how I’ve used and reviewed the Aten.

Soundstage and other stuff
I keep comparing the Aten to the Zenith, but there’s a reason for that: the improvements I’m hearing are almost a mirror of the issues I had with the Zenith. Soundstage (or, more accurately, headstage) is another one I had on the list.

Where the Zenith presented a fairly wide stage for an IEM, it was also flat as a pancake, which made a mess of complex tracks by bringing too many instruments too far forward in the mix. Likewise, sparse recordings – especially binaural tracks like Meiko’s ‘Playing Favorites’ – have a great sense of depth and direction with the Aten.

The Aten keeps the width while adding a good amount of depth and height, giving instruments more room to breathe and introducing subtle layering that was sorely lacking in the Zenith. The deeper stage also helps with imaging and separation, and while the Aten isn’t exactly holographic as some of the best (and far more expensive) multi-driver IEMs, it’s excellent in its own right.

Pink Floyd’s intricate intro to ‘Time’ and David Chesky’s binaurally-recorded ambiance of Amber Rubarth’s ‘Strive’ off ‘Sessions from the 17thWard’ are both presented in a fairly realistic space that’s as deep and wide as you can hope for without spending the price of a small car on an IEM.

The Aten also sports a more natural and realistic timbre compared to its predecessor. The strings throughout Max Richter’s recomposed take on Vivadi’s ‘Four Seasons’, for example, are no longer thin and glass-like, but fuller, more present, and less grating.

All in all, the Aten is not one or two steps but several giant leaps steps ahead of Bob’s previous IMR incantations, and while I understand the sentimental appeal of those IEMs to users who took a chance on Bob, his new company, and his earlier experimental designs, the Aten makes them all redundant.

Aten_08.jpg Aten_09.jpg

Closing thoughts

In the same way that an artist’s concept sketches and first attempts at a finished painting take on their own personality and are collectible in their own right, they only have value because of the finished work.

The Aten, in its totality, is IMR’s finished work. From a generous package that upgrades several key components, a better looking and fitting earpiece design, an improved filter and nozzle system, and an across-the-board improvement in every aspect of its sound, this is the IEM Bob set out to make from the very first sketch. He’s taken this driver, now in its third iteration, as far as it can go, and love it or hate it, I believe this is about as good as it’s going to get.

Not only is the Aten a great IEM, it’s also a great value, fully justifying its $500 retail price (though you can get it cheaper as a B-stock from IMR or as a sale item on Drop from time to time). That it’s not a mass-produced product (only 300 units were made, not all of which have been sold at last check), only adds to its appeal.

Some will make a song and dance about issues that are totally unrelated to Bob’s current work or products, and I won’t harp on that here (you can Google it if spurious gossip is your thing). My own impressions of IMR and the man behind it are nothing but positive. Despite the fact that I felt the Zenith fell well short of the hype – and said as much in my review – Bob didn’t take my criticism personally, and instead invited me to try the Aten.

What I found is a boutique IEM that holds its own against much higher priced competitors. The IMR R2 Aten is very much the real deal – a perfect example of what can be achieved if you take a good idea and keep making it better and better until it finally reaches its true potential.

PS. One more thing. The Aten isn’t quite the end of the road for this design. Coming soon is a hybrid that combines the best of the Aten's dynamic driver with a crossover-less planar driver said to infuse the subtlety and microdetails that only a planar driver can produce. Called Rah, it’s another limited run product that’s all but sold out, and I’m hoping against hope that I’ll get a chance to review the next chapter in IMR’s sonic journey. Stay tuned!

An extended review with more images and information is also featured in the Headonist.
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Excellent review!
I shared your disappointment with the Zenith, while not wholly agreeing with your review; again our general impressions align, but this time down to the details too. You’ve superbly articulated the Aten’s character and delineated IMR’s progress.
Have you ever had the R1 (not Zenith) in your ears? It’s a great companion to the R2 - more of a bruiser, less technically refined, but more natural in timbre than the Z and so deliciously unapologetic.