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Itsfit R3

Rating:
5/5,
  • [​IMG]
    From the manufacturer's website:
    "Our first flagship product, ITSFIT R3 is the result of 2 years of relentless efforts in order to create a true, satisfying and customizable Reference in-ear monitor.

    Every pair of R3 goes with such delicate handcrafted shells that please you from the first try and their powerful drivers deliver the cleanest sound possible. R3 Custom, with its molds perfectly hugging your ears’ curves are perfect for sound isollation. We also have 100 beautiful pairs of limited edition Universal in-ear monitor with comfortable fit design assured to fit everyone.
    "

Recent Reviews

  1. WilliamLeonhart
    The First Loveable Reference IEMs
    Written by WilliamLeonhart
    Published Jun 13, 2019
    5.0/5,
    Pros - - Reference sound that will scale nicely with source equipments.
    - Beautiful, unique design that on the other hand doesn't attract too much attention.
    - It does fit.
    Cons - - Might be too lifeless to some, especially on flat-sounding DAC/amps.
    It has been 3 years since I had my first pair of “custom” tips done at Itsfit, and I’m still not sure whether their name is grammatically correct. Regardless, the intention is clear: for a company focused on custom IEMs, custom tips and reselling, nothing conveys more meaning than that word ‘fit’ in the name.

    But for the IEMs I’m reviewing, a perfect fit will not be the focus. Itsfit R3 will be the first universal in-ears coming from the brand: 100 units of Universal-fit will go to the market in the coming months. The company will also offers custom versions at a $130 markup, but hey, where’s the fun in owning headphones/earphones you can’t share?

    Design: No 2 Look the Same

    DSCF0488.jpg
    it's not just 2 pieces of acrylic we're looking at.

    When custom IEMs makers move onto UIEMs, they always retain the high-end feeling of the design. The R3 is no exception: from the outside, there’s no telling if it’s custom or universal. It’s the same shiny acrylic finish that you may have seen before.

    I’m not sure if there are more color options (there should be), but the choice of dark blue works perfect for me. The reason is simple: it is dark enough to keeps the phones from screaming “hey look at me” or looking too outlandishly complicated – one of the things I disliked about Itsfit’s previous product. This design is simple, and thus classy in its own way. You need to look closely to appreciate the R3’s beauty.

    And if you look closely, you’ll realize how the R3 stands out in its own way: below the acrylic finish is a piece of actual wood. Unless you tell them, nobody would realize this. The first time I held the R3 in my hands, I had to wonder: what kind of weird acrylic handwork created this strange texture. Turn out, the texture didn’t come from the plastic at all. No 2 pieces of work will share the same textures, so no 2 pairs of R3 will look 100% identical.

    Fit: As Perfect as Universal Can Be

    DSCF0491.jpg
    All the contours and valleys make for an comfortable listening experience.
    Despite being UIEMs, there are a lot of contour on the R3’s housing, again reminiscent of Itsfit’s other products. According to the company’s website, the molds would be “perfectly hugging your ears curves”. While it’s not a perfect hug, I have to agree both sides rest effortlessly on my ears. Close examination showed that the shape of the R3 is quite different to Simphonio Xcited 2, which I could wear for 2 hours top before my ears hurt. With the R3, the sky is the limit (though we might have heard of that dude who lost his hearing after wearing IEMs to sleep).

    Thanks to the choice of acrylic (and wood), R3 weighs as much as a feather. That, in combination with the contour on its housing, results in the single most comfortable IEMs experience that I’ve ever had. I’m not sure if this could be the case with all IEMs coming from CIEMs-makers, but I certainly hope this would be the industry norm going forwards.

    _DSF3595.JPG
    Despite the rather large shape, Itsfit R3 is as light as a feather.
    As I have mentioned before, Itsfit does offer a custom version for R3. I’m just not a fan of it.

    Accessories, and That Box...

    Here’s perhaps the R3’s most glaring weakness: their choice of packaging. All the accessories are fit into a quite nice looking black carton box. It would have been better IF the R3 shipped with this box only, because on the outside Itfits include a paper-based cover with a grey-ish blue-background image on it.. I’m not a fan of this cover. It’s more suited for a box of candy.

    On the inside, Itsfit includes a hard case, 2 pouches, 4 pair of extra tips and a cleaning tool. This is the first time I’m buying a pair of IEMs that come with this very useful tool, as at times I will take a look at my other IEMs and yuckkk, that sticky stuff in there...

    _DSF3516.jpg I'm not a fan of this packaging.

    Of course there’s a detachable cable, made by Itsfit themselves. Like a large portion of custom-made cables on the market, it’s silver-plated copper, meaning it can handle itself well enough. For the purpose of this review, I’ll be using my Satin Audio Chimera cable, which came with 0.78mm 2-pin standard connector as well.

    Sound: My First In-ear Reference

    Itsfit’s naming choice isn’t hard to understand. R is for “reference”... And I utterly detest the reference sound.

    You can imagine the face I make when I first heard the R3 driven by my trusty iDac2. Total. Utterly. Completely. Flat. There are no earth-shattering rhythms in the bass. There are no sweetening in the mids. Heck, these mid-ranges aren’t recessed enough to create the illusion of V-shaped sound. The trebles are, well, just there. It doesn’t try to goes on and on and on the way my Momentum lovingly does, nor does it contains the energy of my Grados.

    DSCF0476.jpg

    The R3 reminds me of Beyerdynamic DT880, Ultimate Ears Reference Masters and the AKG K701. I can very well remember, when I heard the these for the first time in 2010, the only thing I could think of was “I would never buy any reference headphones”. Sorry to the friends who were kind enough to lend them to me, and to all those who love the reference sound – it is never my cup of bubble tea.

    And yet a few years back, I learned an important lesson: references headphones can sound not-reference-like at all. I’d take the AKG 701 on a tube-buffered amp over the AKG K712 (which is warm & accessible) any day. I was melted by the HD800 driven by my Little Dot mk4.

    The same thing goes for Itsfit R3. Totally disliking the sound I got from the R3+iDac2 combo, I added a Little Dot I+ in between. The I+ is an excellent hybrid amp; it was the first piece of equipment that I wrote a review for (4 years ago). Now the R3 sounds... lush. The EI Yugoslavia 6hm5 tubes added a sweetening layer throughout the frequencies ranges. A little amount of bass is added to create the base for a relaxing experience. The mids become slightly thicker and more textured. The highs sparkle a bit more, extends a bit more.

    Of course, this doesn’t turn the R3 into a different set of IEMs. But it does turn these reference in-ears into something that I, as a lovers of Grado, Audio Technica and Sennheiser, can enjoy throughout the weekends.

    DSCF0486.jpg

    Next up is my friend’s JDS Labs C5D. Unlike the famed O2+ODAC combo, the C5D comes with a more accessible sound (reminds me of CMoyBB, R.I.P). More importantly, the C5D is the only entry-level amp whose bass boost I consider “natural” and acceptable. And bass was what the R3 could deliver: with the C5D’s bass boost on, it’s more than enough to party with Collapse under the Empire, MARINA and Boney M. Sure this is not Sony-level or Fostex-level bass, but I was quite surprise to find that the “lifeless” IEMs I heard on the iDAC2 could turn into something with this much bass.

    Of course, that’s not to say the Itsfit R3 is without faults. For one, I would have preferred the bass to extend deeper – the R3 can’t escape this “trademark” weakness of BA drivers. The soundstage is wide but could never give a true impression of depth, again, this is what all BA IEMs suffer from.

    But at its heart, the R3 is truly a quality reference IEMs. And it’s a sonic chameleon. Suddenly in the mood for... trebles boost? My Burson Play with Sparko op-amps throughly equipped could help with that: I can get Grado-like treble energy, while the mid-ranges and low-ranges remain quite “reference”. Or thicker mid-ranges to remind myself of the ATH-AD2000? The answer is R3, driven by a Schiit Modi Multibit + Little Dot mk4 with 6hm5 tubes. Or slightly V-shaped? Just plug Burson Play with all 5 V6 Vivid op-amps.

    The craziest thing about it is, despite the audible changes coming from different amp/DAC combination, Itsfit’s flagship retains pretty much all of the strengths that you would come to expect from a reference model. The low-ranges is still articulate and extremely accurate: it is never overpowering or sticky at all. The mid-ranges would never get forwards enough to make you feel like you’re in the small room. On bass boost or tube amps, the trebles will always retain its crispiness and details – on the other hands, its energy will not leave you with a dizzy head. Soundstage will stay wide, instrument will stay clear-cut as well.

    Conclusion

    _DSF3570.jpg

    Retailing for $300, the R3 is one of the few mid-priced IEMs I know of that can offer truly reference sound. Whether it’s your cup of tea, the R3 still more or less gives you the chance to experience the records in the way producers/sound engineers do. For me personally, the R3’s main draw lie in its ability to change with the amp/DAC I pair it with: be it tube amps or sterile-sounding solid state, R2R or delta sigma, Itsfit’s flagship will combine all of its classic “reference” strengths with the amp/DAC’s own color signature to create truly enjoyable experiences. Yes, Itsfit brings you the reference sound and perhaps any sound you’d want.

    images

    1. _DSF3535.jpg
      crabdog likes this.

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