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RHA CL1 Ceramic

Rating:
3.58333/5,
  1. B9Scrambler
    RHA CL1: "The Scalpel"
    Written by B9Scrambler
    Published Jan 4, 2017
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Build Quality - Accessories - Detail and Clarity
    Cons - Polarizing treble presentation - Annoying, bouncy ear guides
    Greetings Head-fi!
     
    Today we are going to be taking a brief look at RHA's new flagship earphone, the CL1 Ceramic.
     
    The CL1 took over the role of flagship late 2016, a position previously held by the T20. While they may look similar, the CL1 brings forth new tech and materials worthy of a flagship product, all back by a lengthily 3-year warranty. The housings are ceramic, the balanced connection utilized a silver cable, and the dual transducers are an all-new design utilizing a dedicated, high-frequency ceramic plate.
     
    The CL1 ends up being a pretty intense experience, so much so that I've nicknamed it "The Scalpel". It's a precision instrument that if abused can be dangerous to the health of your ears; i.e. LISTEN RESPONSIBLY! Keep that volume down.
     
    Disclaimer:
     
    The CL1 was sent to me as part of RHA's Head-fi tour that also included the brand new CL750 and RHA's first portable headphone amplifier and DAC, the Dacamp L1. These items were in my possession for 13 days before being shipped off to the next tour member. I got a couple extra days with them due to the holidays shutting down Canada post. There is no financial incentive for writing this review and all opinions within are m own. They do not represent RHA or any other entity.
     

     
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    Packaging and Accessories:
     
    The CL1 arrived with some surprisingly heavy and very premium feeling packaging. The matte black outer sleeve contains a glossy image of the CL1 with the Hi-Res logo and notation that they're made for use with amplifiers on the front. The side shows off the extensive accessory list and the two different MMCX cable inclusions; one terminating in a standard 3.5mm jack, the other in a mini XLR balanced format. The other included accessories are;
     
    - very spacious zippered semi-hard case
    - 3.5mm to 6.35m adapter
    - 6 pairs of dual density silicone ear tips
    - 2 pairs of bi-flange silicone ear tips
    - 3 pairs of Comply Tsx-200 ear tips
    - metal holder for the tips
    - Cable clip
    - Cleaning cloth for the ceramic housings
     
    While I did not open each set of silicone tips to try them out, I could see they were the same as those that came with my S500i and are of excellent quality.
     
    Sliding off the sleeve reveals a textured, matte black box with a magnetically sealed flap. A vector-graphics-esq image of the CL1's interior construction is printed on the front. I think it looks pretty cool. Unclip the flap and fold back the cover like you would a book and you're greeted to a large foam cutout containing only the CL1 housings. To the left under the cover is a feature manual tucked in a dedicated slot.
     
    Lifting out the foam sheet reveals the case and both cables neatly wrapped and sealed with a cardboard band. Above them sits the carrying case which holds the cable clips and all the spare tips, each pair of which is oddly wrapped individually. To their right is the adapter which I didn't think I could remove without damaging the foam since it was tucked in there so tightly. Since this was a review sample, others needed to take their pictures, and I really had no use for it, I left it where it was.
     
    This was a very premium unboxing experience, in my experience, and the included accessories were plentiful and of high quality. Excellent!
     

     
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    Build and Comfort:
     
    RHA is known for their build quality, and the CL1 does not disappoint. The earpieces are immaculately crafted from ceramic and feel weighty and extremely solid. The cable clicks in reassuringly and contains a notch to prevent spinning. This might bother some but I consider it a plus given MMCX connections are historically not the most reliable. The less it moves around, the better, especially at the CL1's MSRP of £349.95 / $449.95.
     
    The braided Ag4x silver-core (4-pin Mini XLR) and OFC (3.5mm/6.25mm) cables are pretty impressive. Left and right channels are denoted by blue and red coloring up near the connections to the earpieces. While not necessary given the somewhat inflexible over-ear design, it's still nice to have. Memory is completely absent and they are wonderfully flexible. The only knocks I have against them are the ear guides which I will get to, and the use of what looks like shrink wrap for the strain relief. This seems to be pretty common practice with high-end cables, but I think it looks like a blatant cost-cutting shortcut and feels cheap. The T20's spring relief set-up would have been quite appropriate here.
     
    The earpieces themselves I found wonderfully ergonomic and very comfortable. They slot into your ears hassle free and seal with ease. The issues I have with fit come from the built in ear guides/memory wire. It looks impressive but I found they didn't hold memory all that well and due to the weight of the cable would bounce around, tugging at the earpieces. I got tired of this after a few minutes of traveling so I resorted to using the CL1 only when stationary. I felt the CL750's formed tubes did a better job of guiding the cable and mitigating weight and movement.
     
    Over the CL1 is immaculately build and looks gorgeous. Comfort would be great if it wasn't for the bouncy ear guides that exacerbate the cable weight.
     

     
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    Sound:
     
    Amping: The CL1 was designed to be used with amplifiers, and it shows. With an impedance of 150 ohms and a sensitivity of 89db, my HTC OneM8 could drive them but just barely. The CL1 did not sound fantastic without amplification, lacking life and pizzazz. Tossing an amp into the mix, in particular the Dacamp L1, they exploded with life and energy.
     
    Balanced or not?: Once I figured out how to used the balanced option on the Dacamp L1 (amps aren't my jam) it offered what was clearly a superior experience. Some of the edginess apparent when listening through the 3.5mm connection was gone and the treble, while still aggressive as ever, was smoothed out around the edges making them more comfortable to listen to. Highly recommended that you listen to the CL1 amped and balanced.
     
    Tips: I stuck with the pre-installed medium silicone tips for the duration of testing. Comply foams were used briefly, but they ended up being more than a hassle than they were worth. The ear guides constantly moving the earpieces lead to an inconsistent seal more often than not. Foams helped make the CL1's enthusiastic treble response more tolerable, especially at the beginning when I was adjusting to their sound.
     

     
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    I feel the CL1 is going to be a fairly polarizing product. If you're treble sensitive, this will not be the earphone for you. If you're a treble-head, read on because the CL1 will give you the "fizz", as James May would say.
     
    I went into this product expecting it to be treble-heavy based on the comments posted prior to their arrival at my residence. That made me pretty excited. Excess treble fits in with what is generally a part of my preferred signature. That said, I quelled my anticipation so that when I sat down with them, I could form my own unbiased opinions. What were my first impressions? "Holy treble, Batman!", sums it up about right.
     
    The CL1's signature is dominated by very prominent, thin/sharp, and accurate treble that grabs all of your attention. This is not a sound for everyone, and probably not something you should be listening to at high volumes. Through the Dacamp L1 with my MTC One M8 (volume set to 80%) sourcing the beats, I listened on low gain with the volume set to just below 2 on most listening sessions. That was plenty of volume for me, if not too much on some songs.
     
    The CL1's treble is aggressive and uncompromisingly detailed, which unfortunately was very tiring on the ears. The only other product I have that prices within the same ball park is the Accutone Pisces BA. That too is a bright earphone but it's presentation is much more tame in comparison and the way it's tuned means the treble emphasis falls just short of causing exhaustion. It's one of the few bright earphones that I can listen to for hours on end. The CL1 on the other hand seems to have near endless extension, evident by their 16-45,000 Hz frequency range. The ceramic plate used to provide their upper end does it's job and it's damn impressive.
     
    I really enjoy the sound of the CL1's midrange. Vocals are on the thin side but reasonable natural and as with the treble, there is no lack of detail. Guitars have a great feel to them. The only problem is that they are disappointingly recessed. Background vocals seem to fade off into the distance and subtle queues in a mix tend to get lost. This is not an issue with the Pisces BA, which has prominent mids with a well-tuned weight to them.
     
    Luckily the bass brings things back. It's quick, accurate, maintains lots of detail and texture, and is elevated enough to fit in comfortably with the rest of the signature. Any less bass and the CL1 would come across anemic, any more and it would probably step on the midrange's tiny toes. The Pisces BA comes across as much bassier in comparison, particularly in the mid-bass.
     
    The CL1 never wowed me with an all-encompassing soundstage. It's possibly a little larger than what could be considered average. What impresses is the accuracy. The CL1 feels very focused with a black background lending to excellent instrument separation, uncanny clarity, and some of the best imaging I've come across. These strengths seemed to be exaggerated a touch due to the thin, prickly treble presentation.
     
    Overall the CL1 brings to the table insane clarity and detail supported by a very unique treble presentation. I would happily recommend this sound to a dedicated treble-head. Someone that likes to apply EQ to personalize their earphones would also have fun with the CL1. It is very receptive to minor and drastic changes without running into issues like distortion.
     

     
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    Final Thoughts:
     
    I feel the CL1 is luxury product with a luxury build and that it caters to a particular person; the discerning listener that loves their treble prominent and detailed with clarity to match. This is not a sound that everyone will enjoy, but is one that a dedicated treble-head should enjoy. To the rest of us, the CL1's presentation may come across overly polarizing and intense.
     
    I have to congratulate RHA for releasing the CL1 with such a unique tune and for not falling in line with a generic signature designed to please the masses. This is a gorgeous product with a unique sound that is deserving of the flagship title, even if it's not something I personally would consider for purchase.
     
    Thanks for reading, and thank you RHA for selecting me for this tour!
     
    - B9Scrambler
      Brooko, Deftone, peter123 and 4 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Ian Robb Forgie
      Interesting review I will have to admit I like a clear treble sound thats balanced I'll be following more comments from others. Would I be wrong to assume that they would be just to unforgiving playing a track without using the eq.
      Ian Robb Forgie, Jan 10, 2017
    3. B9Scrambler
      I definitely would not call these balanced. Way too much treble for that. My suspicions are that this earphone would be overly unforgiving for most, even with significant EQ. I could take out 10db of treble and they were still pretty sharp. Would love to see RHA update them with a filter system tailored directly at the treble presentation. 
      B9Scrambler, Jan 10, 2017
    4. Shure or bust
      So no k3003 replacement haha
      Shure or bust, Apr 19, 2017
  2. Takeanidea
    RHA CL1 Ceramic - an IEM to rule them all?
    Written by Takeanidea
    Published Dec 5, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Bass - inviting Mids - enticing Treble - shimmering
    Cons - Don't like to be separated from the DL1 for long
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    I got the honour of being part of the C1 World Tour .Thank you for the opportunity Micah and the RHA Team. Selflessly our Tour Organiser , @glassmonkey gave me the chance to unwrap this pretty special bundle of 2 IEMs and a Dacamp.Whatever I did, thank you! It’s not every day that 3 new products from the same manufacturer arrive on your doorstep.
    I have the rather daunting task on being the first person to receive the RHA Trio - the C1 IEM, D1 Dacamp and CL750 IEM. I won’t say I drew the short straw - of course , everyone wants to get their hands on these ; let’s just say you are on your own when you write the first review. There is no frame of reference , no bandwagon to jump onto. Therefore, and with some trepidation , I step into the unknown….
     
    Introduction
     
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    My journey with RHA began in 2015. I won a pair of MA750s
     
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    following a slogan competition organised for the Headfi Cambridge Meet. I then went on to review the T20 for a headfi Tour.
     
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    The T20s were not to my liking. Specifically there was an edge to the treble that I could not reconcile with. The MA750s likewise had too much high frequency energy to be exactly what I was looking for. For the many many people that own and cherish these 2 IEMs , I mean no disrespect and I know there were good points to both of these IEMs. Some people are less tolerant to certain frequencies - with the build quality and the fit and the accessories and the value for money , I was desperate to like their products. But I couldn’t. Until now….
     
    About the C1
     
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    The C1 is a beautiful looking universal fit IEM. It comes with a balanced cable (mini XLR) that fits it’s companion , the D1 Dacamp , launched simultaneously on November 25th 2016. It has a 2nd cable , an unbalanced 3.5mm , for everything else. The cables are sMMCX terminated and have an extra long memory wire , which is not plastic ; it’s really wire and it stays put. 
    The C1 is a dual driver configuration , and  another hybrid design. Another unique one. This one is a dynamic and something called a Ceramic Plate Transducer. The dynamic is dealing with everything below 8kHz, the ceramic - everything above , up to where only bats remain. The C1 will fit into your smartphone. But it isn’t going to work properly. The C1 is for amplifiers. A smartphone is looking for an IEM of 16 Ohms impedance maybe 32 at a push and a sensitivity of 100 dB or more. The C1 is 150 Ohms and 87 dB. When we want our low output devices (smartphones, most DAPs) to work straight from the headphones we need that low impedance. In essence , the lower the impedance the less output is needed to achieve a decent volume level. The more sensitive the headphone , the louder it will be at a lower volume level. So why go for a lower sensitivity higher impedance level? I have the explanation from RHAs Iain from a previous entry on headfi prior to launch -
     
    From the makers
     
    “The IEMs specifically have the impedance they do because of performance. Our engineers were working on wideband dynamic drivers and found that a config with higher impedance allows them to get better control over the higher frequencies in the extended response. At the same time. they were working on the ceramic driver, and the two techs compliment each other very nicely - piezo drivers have very high impedance, a standard dynamic alongside one wouldn't work very well.”
     
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    The competition
     
    The Sennheiser IE800 , an IEM I own, has a wideband dynamic driver.
     
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    So when anyone mentions that word , I listen. Iain is also a fan of the IE800 so I wondered; have they tried to make an IE800 for the 21st century? You know , one that you can put on and it plays music without irritating the heck out of you? 
    I looked at the quote again ; the engineers were “working on wideband dynamic” and had added “piezo drivers” to the equation. I could picture in my mind an IE800 with an extended treble. I was worried because of my flawed relationship with the T20. But I was excited at the same time. This seemed like a huge departure from RHAs endeavours to date.  
    I was determined to find a way to have a proper listen to these IEMs. I have an awful lot of in ears. I have ACS Encore Pros. They have 5 drivers and they have the most superb bass response. I have the IE800s - a single wideband dynamic driver they have a thick syrupy sound with sparkle in the detail and therefore a decent soundstage. I have oBravo Erib 2as
     
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    - a hybrid neodymium and planar IEM with mids I absolutely love - the mids almost have a punch to them. And a dozen others from Klipsch X11is , Sony XBA4ips
     
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    down to Apple EarPods. The EarPods did a shootout with a Final IEM I had on review. I preferred the EarPods. That’s another story of course….
    I haven’t yet found something I would consider the perfect IEM for me. I have found the best bass(ACS) the best mids(oBravo) and the best highs and soundstage(IE800). Of course I know I’m extremely lucky to have 3 such IEMs but it doesn’t stop me from dreaming. Maybe there is something out there that can do all 3 elements to World Class levels. Read on , and you will see whether the C1 takes on any of these heavyweights…..
     
    Sound Quality
     
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    The testing begins
     
    I spent the first part of my listening starting not from the bottom. I started right at the top. The pinnacle. The peak. Time is short and I am not here to mess around folks. I got the shiniest meanest looking cable plugged it into that D1 Dacamp thingummy,  chucked the USB cable into my MacBook , and fired up some DSD. That is how I roll. A vinyl rip too. Nothing brick walled here. Not yet.
     
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    I sat down and spent a lot of time adjusting my memory wire. I try the IEMs exactly as they come out of the box as a starting point. I figure we are strangers but the engineers know best. What they have put on the ends of the drivers are probably what sounds best in their endless research, I’m normally a medium type of guy, straight down the middle. Up until my reviewing has reached critical mass during the last 2 months this has worked well for me. Having tried so many I have finally realised that my left ear canal is much smaller than my right. With shoving so many tips into ears lately the problem of comfort is becoming more critical than before and the differences in isolation I am noticing more than ever. All IEMs are a different shape and comply in particular can be squashed up to a point where both the same size will fit. The C1 has comply supplied but on the drivers are silicons. When I tried the C1s on first I pushed them in and sat back and they were hollow and treble hot. And imbalanced to boot. I went to the box and swapped a left tip for a small silicon and the problem was somewhat diminished but still there. After a few minutes of pulling and pushing I realised the memory wire had so much flex I could manoeuvre them right by the sMMXC terminations. Minute adjustments to and fro up and down and I found my sweet spot. I don’t know your sweet spot. I don’t know you that well! But let’s get intimate - here’s mine. At least for the C1.
     
    The fitting
     
    I put them into my ears , push down lightly with my thumbs, and with my thumb and forefinger pull the memory wire gently toward my ear lobes until the bass gets loud. I then carefully pull the memory wire up while twisting the driver up. I then pull the top of my ear lobe toward the memory wire whilst pulling the memory wire toward it. We all have our ways of getting the right fit. With these, you just have to try and work at the fit until it goes right. When it goes right ; I truly hope you will notice what I did. This is why I have taken so much time up in telling you how they work for me. For me , all that work was worth it. 
    Up until I started experimenting with every conceivable micro adjustment the memory wire could take, honestly ? I thought here is a shinier version of the RHA stock sound - treble hot , too forward and too fatiguing. The sound , as I neared that sweet spot , started to change. The bass started to get big. The mids and highs started to get interesting. Really interesting….
    I dialled the C1s to the perfect angle and didn’t dare move. I was rooted to the spot. There was so much high end action going on. But it wasn’t harsh - it was extended. Extended like I hadn’t expected. It was quite a moment for me. The clarity of this was stunning. Of course I was listening to a DSD rip of Mick Jagger’s She’s the Boss. It was pretty well done as a recording. But this listening session was reminding me of putting on a top set of full size headphones, albeit with a bit more trauma to my ear canal. Over the next 6 hours the trauma became less of a problem don’t worry. There was no way I was taking them off, time as I’ve said before , is fleeting…..
     
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    Once I got these right , (and I don’t know how long that might take and what size or type of tips it may take, but bear with them) the C1s will soar. They have bass - good bass that comes from a good dynamic and the extension of that top end made me want to check out everything I’ve got. Immediately. A fraction of a degree of adjustment and I was left with a lacklustre treble hot mess of the rhythm and blues. The sound on the sunny side of the width of a hair follicle is a matter only my ears could tell the full story of. I will try and tell you as best I can what the sound signature is.
     
    Bass
     
    The C1 aims to kill it in the bass. There is sub bass without the full depth and punch of the bass hitters such as my ACS. Nor does it have the linearity and speed of my Sony XBA4s. The IE800s have a little more bloat than these but still a pleasant oomph to the lower end that resonates merrily around the ear canals. The C1 feels like a compromise between the 3 which really works. While we’re here let’s discuss bass a little more. Bass when you are sat down in a quietened darkened room in a chilled out mood listening to the ambient tones of Megadeth at a sedate volume is one thing. But; here’s another thing. You can take these out to play! Bass is everywhere on the streets, those mean streets. I mean low frequency rumbling really. An IEM with the best isolation out there will still be competing against the sounds of the street. There’s lorry’s out there -there’s wrecking balls to avoid. You wouldn’t want to be hit by one of them….. So bass is needed , and arguably it needs to have a lift and a visible presence. Our ears need to see it when we are out and about. Even when I hit the streets with the C1/D1(very carefully I promise you RHA) I had bass I could enjoy and hear where it was intended to be heard. Kate Bush Running up that Hill - has a constant drum beat that swings from left to right in the mix , much like a soldier beating out a march. What is hypnotic on some systems can get really tough to stomach at decent volume levels on something not right. When Kate sings “let’s exchange the experience” during that track - the bass goes down to subbass levels and is an impressive sound to have got out of the studio. Here it is done justice.
     
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    The Jury have voted almost unanimously with the odd reservation. Which has to be there for the purists who like the fast linear bass and the Utopians and Abyssians who have it all and can’t see why anyone else is even trying.
    The bass of the RHA C1 Ceramics(this feels very formal now but it’s a hugely important thing for us all) is reaching down into the subbass and gives a vibration that I personally love to feel in a headphone. The mid and upper bass whilst not being super accurate has a great signature that will greatly benefit following the music whilst out and about without bleeding into the rest of the signature. And that I can’t wait to tell you about….
     
    Mids
     
    The mids are part of the mix here. They feel only slightly recessed. Vocals are easy to follow and guitars wail away effortlessly enough if you want to fix your ears on them. Male vocals , lower in the FR unless you’re much younger than myself, are slightly harder to follow in the overall mix. Female vocals reach higher up into the kHz and at the ends of the notes have that slight more clarity against the rest of the stuff happening behind , in front, to the sides….. 
     
    Treble and Soundstage
     
    This is where the wow factor occurs for me. That is , if it’s going to happen. The top end of the FR is where the magic is put. All the subtle effects , the echo, the space between the instruments, the places where the producer has artificially added them onto a virtual stage. When I talk about extension, I am really talking about the extra space that is created when I perceive there to be a higher volume of treble being presented to me. Often the feeling I have is that the treble energy is there to compete with a super boomy bass presence and the treble has had to be turned at an artificially higher level than it should be. Whilst on first listen this may seem to have an exciting live feel to it, it can quickly become tiring. What I get from that type of treble is a shrill ,harsh muddy v shaped sound.  That is not what I am looking for and probably not what any of us are looking for. The analogy of putting a curtain between the music could be used to explain this to you.
     
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    Bass is quite easy to instantly spot , what is going on beyond that is far more difficult to convincingly describe. Well I find it harder anyway. I find the C1s have that elusive extension, they have the live feel that you get that instant feeling for on a v shape. But the depth of the mix; right out to the edges, the clarity is all there. I listened to a vinyl of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells with all the scratches and rumble and sparseness and the six string guitar and mandolin at the start of the record did grate. I was about to try another track , but the track got busier, the record got cleaner and I felt like I was hearing it for the first time. 
     
    Sound quality conclusion
     
    The C1 has a bass that is full of life. Some may find it too much; I suspect this may be due to being a fraction too far into the ear canal. For me, the bass is great and gives us something to give us that little pick up on our hugely varied journeys to and from our places of work. The mids are slightly recessed to me; I still found it easy enough to concentrate on the vocal but there is an awful lot of other stuff happening desperate to distract me. The treble and soundstage - they got it right. I love it. RHA done good. 
     
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    Build 
     
    Cables
     
    The cable I have been talking about needs further attention on this review. This is 1 of 2 in the box. It is silver core Ag4x and has that Mini XLR connection. The XLR is there to reduce cross channel interference. The braiding on both cables is beautiful. The joins have all had time spent on making them look robust yet elegant. The Y split is metal . The chin toggle , a cheap piece of clear plastic that could have cut from a lemonade bottle on the Noble Savants(which cost more)here are a thick perfectly machined double barrel that slide up and down the cable with no risk of snagging. The sMMCX terminals are colour coded and fit into the drivers with a click to let you know you’re home. This I found difficult to do with any speed. There is a notch that the terminals find but they sit at the top and bottom of the driver shells. I found that I  got the best chance of success by pulling the memory wires straight and spinning the cable gently around the driver until I got it to snick into place. The drivers have a delicate embossed L and R on them. It’s very tasteful. I would have liked a tiny bit of red and blue on the driver inputs to have helped me a little more. 
     
     
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    The braided OFC cable with the unbalanced termination has all the same build quality. It didn’t impress me in it’s capabilities as much as the XLR cable. The OFC sounded a little duller in comparison , it had slightly less of that extension I’ve been raving about. It enabled me to plug it directly into theBIT’s Audio Opus#2 which I had on review at the same time. I didn’t take that out and about but I did take my Ibasso DX100 around with them plugged directly in on high gain. Both units powered the C1s to high enough volume levels. The Opus needed to go into the red to fire the C1s into action , the DX100s took them on with ease, weighing in around halfway. The Opus#2 had a bit more magic to it ; what all in one solution that is. The DX100 still sounded pretty amazing for out and about rig. Neither could stand up to the immensity of the OTG bedecked C1/D1/G4 combo. That was everything was how I needed it. Everything sounded slightly lacking in comparison.
     
     
     
    Fit/Isolation/Microphonics
     
    The shape of IEMs bugs me a lot. I want all my IEMs to be this shape. Can this be arranged? At least from now onwards? This pebble shape fits snuggly into my outer ear. The shape of the RHAs is oval with a nozzle protruding at an angle from the top of the driver shell. 80% of my outer ear is taken up with the shell. The memory wires do their work and I get the magic. It would be a lot easier with the pebble shape. The isolation has not been reduced by the space within my outer ear. The memory wires have 360 degrees of flex over a significant length and push the tips far enough into the ear canal to make the rest of the World disappear. There is some leakage but it wouldn’t be heard on a bus or train or sat within 2 feet of your partner watching a TV programme.
    The cables have lots of weight to them. The driver shells are hefty for their size too. Wearing them over the ear is a sensible way forward and everything is set up for this. As such, the weight of the C1 is non existent. Microphonics, the noise perceived as a thud through the cable knocking against one’s body and reverberating up the cable and into the driver, is not in evidence.
     
    Value for money
     
    Always a bone of contention when you can get an IEM for under £10 and these are £399. The C1s have the extension worthy of a flagship. Flagships from some companies are retailing at over £3000. Yes, for an IEM. Therefore, a flagship for £399 is a breath of fresh air. This IEM is good value. To get the best from the C1s I would recommend partnering them with the D1. That adds another £399 to the equation. For this you get a balanced Dac/Amp and a balanced IEM that I believe will stand the test of time. 
     
    Conclusion
     
    Thank you to RHA for giving me another chance with your products. I was excited to hear about the C1 particularly. It felt like it was a departure from what we’ve had before. I’ve had a good long listen and an even longer think about what I need to say about this. My measured response is the C1 is an IEM anyone wanting to spend serious money on a portable earphone needs to have a listen to before they spend their hard earned cash. And if they can’t , and they are willing to part with £800 - take a chance! ***Provided they’ll refund if it’s not to your individual tastes(but please fiddle around with those memory wires first)***
    I feel like I’m a part of the next chapter in this company’s history. I’ve really wanted to embrace their previous efforts. Now I can jump on the bandwagon. It’s heading in the right direction.
     
     
     
     
    Equipment used:
     
    RHA
    CL1 Ceramic balanced / unbalanced IEM
    CL750 IEM
    DL1 Dacamp
    OTG cable
     
    Chord
    Mojo Dacamp
    Mini Optical cable
    OTG cable
     
    Sony
    XBA4ip 4 driver dynamic IEM
     
    oBravo
    Erib 2a 2 driver hybrid Universal IEM
     
    ACS
    Encore Studio Pro 5 driver dynamic Custom IEM
     
    Ibasso
    DX100 Digital Audio Player
     
    theBIT
    Audio Opus#2 Digital Audio Player
     
    Motorola
    Moto G4 Smartphone 
     
    Apple
    Macbook Pro Retina 15.6"
     
    Music played:
     
     
    Mick Jagger She's the Boss Vinyl DSD
    Kate Bush Hounds of Love Vinyl 24 96
    And many others ranging from Disturbed FLAC to Beethoven MP3s
      glassmonkey, H T T, BlinkST and 5 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Takeanidea
      Thanks Phil and Sanj. They certainly mean business. I am certain they're onto a good thing with the Ceramics. Phil, you'll need time with them, the treble does seem a bit way out there to start with, esp compared to most of the IEMs on the market.
      Takeanidea, Dec 7, 2016
    3. twister6
      You don't find treble to be overwhelmingly spiky?  I just read other few reviews, including Paul's (Brooko) write up with a measured FR graph and that treble spike looks painful :D
      twister6, Jan 7, 2017
    4. Takeanidea
      Hi twister6 , I loved the extension of the CL1s. Only listening to them with your own ears prove whether I am a misguided fool a genius or somewhere in the middle !
      I stick by every word I've said here. Brooko has his own ears opinions and graphs and does a fine job with them.
      I use my own judgement. I am not like brooko in my musical likes and dislikes ; I have an entirely different inventory from him and do not mind a lot of treble in my sound signature.
      Takeanidea, Jan 17, 2017