Rhapsodio Galaxy V2

Rating:
4.83333/5,
  1. narco dacunzolo
    a natural masterpiece
    Written by narco dacunzolo
    Published Dec 15, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - clarity,details,one of the best bass i have ever found in a dynamic driver
    Cons - heavy
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    I will do my best in order to write a comprehensive review,since I usually write my articles in Italian language, on my personal blog and an important audio site in my country,but when I find the audio product that creates beautiful emotions in me , I am really happy to share my opinions worldwide. Since it is my first English review really hope you will enjoy it.
    Link to the full review
    In italian language:
    https://simplyaudiophile.wordpress....galaxy-v2-1450-usd-for-a-natural-masterpiece/

    DISCLAIMER: galaxy v2 unit was sent me as a sample unit,for this I really thank Sammy and Rhapsodio team. I am not affiliated with the company and all observations and opinions will be only my own.

    Talking with Sammy,the boss of this company based in Hong Kong, I really appreciated his motivation and his philososphy. He has a lot of ideas in mind and a lot of future projects to show us,in particular he wants to concentrate on the mid price range for the upcoming releases.

    In the box we can find the Iem galaxy v2 with a

    PACKAGING: the packaging is really good: a hard case as you can see from the images I attached,various eartips(silicone ones) not adeguate for the 1450USD DOLLARS that this IEM has sent.

    ,and a stock cable Pandora Dwarf.
    IMG_2416.JPG
    Packaging is not a rich one,but really nice looking.

    The Galaxy v2 is very solid with a Brass housing showing a single dynamic driver in Titan material. So in a world where every company sells iems with a lot Of balanced armature and dynamic drivers, why Rhapsodio sells his single dynamic driver at 1450 USD DOLLARS?

    My answer is this one: Galaxy v2 shows one of the most natural sound I have ever heard. Maybe,multi balanced IEMS can show more details,more control, but the can’t be as natural as Galaxy v2 can be.

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    SOUND:

    All my sound consideration has been made after 200 hours of burn in as suggested from the Rhapsodio company.

    Galaxy v2 has a very audiophile and natural sound,but at the same time brings an enjoyable fun signature. Has a lot of details in particular in the high frequency response, a very good bass, maybe too much for my taste, but shows an high quality bass, one of the best I have ever heard in a single dynamic driver. The star of the show are the hights, very crispy detailed with a lot of sparkles. Female mids are really portrayed and the are very natural,with “Adele” someone like you I thought that the singer was here with me in my room.

    Maybe male voices are not as good as female ones, because they lack body.

    The soundstage isn’t one of the best , but is coherent in particular has a wide one and sometimes offers an out of the head sound, with the adeguate tracks, deep is good and has a fantastic instrumental separation with vey good layering.

    Dynamic and transients response is phenomenal, thanks to the titan driver. If you loved fiio ex1,or dunu titan 1, Galaxy v2 represents a really upgrade in every aspects.

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    CONCLUSION: YES ,galaxy v2 is a pricey IEM, is heavy if you can’t find the adeguate eartips and seal, so this is not a perfect headphone, but after all perfection doesn’t exist, but if you are looking for an audiophile sound and at the same time with a fun signature, with great clarity and dynamic, galaxy v2 is the right choice.

    Frequency response: 10Hz~ 23,000 Hz

    Sensitivity: 103dB/mV

    Impedance: 16ohm


    2pin sockets


    Pandora Dwarf
  2. MrOTL
    Treble Monster
    Written by MrOTL
    Published Dec 10, 2017
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Rosinous treble,
    Solid durability than rough looks,
    Optimized for listening to music
    Cons - Heavy weight,
    Sensitive to sound quality,
    Need bur-in more than 200Hrs
    [​IMG]

    [Specfications]

    Frequency response: 10Hz~ 23kHz
    Sensivity: 103dB
    Impedance: 16 ohm
    Connectors: 2Pin ciem sockets

    [Package]
    Galaxy v2
    Pandora Dwarf upgrade cable
    Silicon ear-caps (S/M/L)
    Container hard case

    [Main tested environment]
    Sony NW-WM1A
    Hifiman MegaMini
    Chord Hugo
    RHA L1 DacAmp
    Lotoo Paw Pico
    Macbook Pro 2017
    iPhone SE

    [Usage time]
    290Hrs+




    'Rhapsodio v2' units are wholly made of brass material from its chambers to the nozzles without connection except 2pin connectors and nozzles. Its color is like a dark silver reminiscent of titanium. Its units’ size is bigger than general iems and weight is heavy. The nozzles including enclosures are 6mm in diameter and its insides are protected by wire meshes, which can use common-size ear-caps but it will get a bit tough. On the sides of the chambers, there are anti-static stickers developed by ‘Rhapsodio’.

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    UP: Copper Wizard Upgrade cable
    Down: Dwarf Upgrade cable

    Its actual feeling of fit is heavy, but it does not give any pain to the ears because the unit chambers’ surface touches the ear canal widely. The connector of units is a 2pin ciem socket and suitable for matching with various custom cables. Overall, ‘Galaxy v2’ has a rough finish, but there have been no problem that directly affect the sound in actual use for nearly two months.


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    The "Pandora Dwarf" upgrade cable is included with the package. It is made of 6N OCC litz wires, the 2-pin male connector and Y-splitter covered with aluminum and carbonate materials. The enclosed ear-caps are designed by ‘Rhapsodio’ directly in the form of a thin bell-shape which swinging when equipped, that is quiet similar with ‘Spin-fit’ ear-caps. Using them with 'Galaxy v2', reduce long-fitting fatigue by dispersing the weight pressures on the wall of the ear canals.



    [​IMG]




    The most prominent part of "Galaxy v2" sound-signature is the strong harmonics texture in the treble. When you hear a new ‘Galaxy v2’, treble harmonic particles are uneven and rough, so seems to cause masking phenomena and unstable sound balance.

    Therefore, the manufacturer recommends doing burn-in more than 200 hours. As the work is done, the harmonic particles of the high frequency get more smoother and wet. Also, the mid-range and mid-bass are more emphasized. As a result, overall tone of sound gets calmer, and proportion of mid-range and bass become more noticeable, like bubbles rise to the water surface. Therefore, overall sound balance become more stable.

    After this change, the high frequency sounds is like a lot of thin strands of thread are condensed into one line and spread a strong energy. This characteristic is evident in "La ronde des Lutins op.25" of "Antonio Baccini" played by ‘Itzhak Perlman’. The main violin playing at the beginning of the music is very resinous, feels like as rosin powder is scattered and bumping in the air.




    [​IMG]



    The reason for these is that the instrument or vocals recorded in the main sounds lay-back in one step and the rest is the representation of the stage drawn in front of it. When you increase the volume of the sound to hear the proper volume of the main instrument, the weight of the treble will increase. When the dynamic range of the sound source is not recorded enough, high-band will be distorted as if being pressed. I recommend that listen to a sound source with a good recording quality.

    Its bass has very thin and deep harmonic characteristics. There was a highlight in the vicinity of 100Hz, so there is no problem with enjoying the solo of the bass or cello. If want to get more bass feeling, the manufacturer recommends using it with their "Copper Wizard" upgrade-cable.

    With this upgrade cable, the harmonics of the bass will thicken and overall sound signature presents more darker and heavier. And the position of the midrange is pulled forward by one step and makes the duet part in Whitney Houston & Mariah Carey's ‘When you believe’ is more prominent. At the same time, the stage is shown narrower than before.

    Galaxy v2 is affected the bass detail and the harmonic texture of the mid-range, depending on matching devices. As the signal-to-noise ratio of the mid-and-high range is stable, the harmonics of middles are softened. I would recommend matching the portable digital audio players with neutral tone, because you have heard output noise in an overdrive environment than a portable audio device.









    Who am I & Claimer

    I am Bigheadfiler, Head-fi product photographer and free-writer from South Korea. Having partnership with 'Premium Headphone Guide Korea' magazine.

    English is not my first language. So, Please understand even if I can not express the correct English sometimes.

    The 'Rhapsodio Galaxy v2' was offered by ‘Rhapsodio’. The content of the review has been written without any restriction because the authors' freedom is respected.

    Thank you for reading my post!
  3. ezekiel77
    Rhapsodio Galaxy V2 - Gateway to the Skies
    Written by ezekiel77
    Published Nov 17, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Ultra-resolution and detail, reference but fun signature, musicality, superb female vocals, best bass in the universe.
    Cons - Heavy housing, comfort is tip-dependent, male vocals lack body, 5KHz spike not for sensitive ears, unforgiving to bad recordings.
    Introduction

    Like the Darkness song, I’ve been stuck in a rut. Can’t even call it writer’s block when I’m not much of a writer. The Galaxy V2 was sent to me about a year ago, and I promised a review soon after, to herald a new, glorious, triumphant era for Rhapsodio. Oops.

    At the time of writing, the Galaxy V2 has been rendered obsolete, times three. Rhapsodio kept themselves busy! The ambitious 20BA Infinity is out, followed by the 8BA+1DD hybrid Zombie, and most damagingly, even Galaxy V3 is out, with a new tuning and smaller, tribute-to-V1-shell that I have yet to hear. Sammy the boss is never one to rest on his laurels. Always tinkering, always tweaking, always innovating. In short, he has the sort of work ethic I wish to have.

    But let’s give this a go, shall we. Several IEMs have stood the test of time (even SE846 for crying out loud), and flagship single dynamics are still quite scarce (but not for long). And I dare say that after listening for close to a year and comparing with other dynamic flagships (and some multi-BAs and hybrids too), the Galaxy V2 deserves a worthy mention among the best of them.

    Special thanks to Sammy for providing a small discount in exchange for this review. The Galaxy V2 can still be bought here (https://www.rhapsodiostore.com/products/galaxy-v2brass-housing) for $1450.


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    Equipment Used

    DAPs

    -Questyle QP1R (FW 1.0.7)
    -Sony NW-WM1A (FW 1.2)

    IEMs
    -Rhapsodio Galaxy V2
    -Rhapsodio Galaxy V1
    -Rhapsodio Solar
    -64 Audio A12
    -Astell & Kern AK T8iE MKII
    -Oriolus MK2

    Cables
    -Rhapsodio Dark Knight silver-plated copper cable
    -Rhapsodio OCC MKII copper cable


    Albums Listened

    Amber Rubarth – Sessions from the 17th Ward
    Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
    Fleetwood Mac – Rumors
    Jazz at the Pawnshop
    John Mayer – Continuum
    Linkin Park – Minutes to Midnight
    Macy Gray – Stripped
    Taylor Swift – 1989
    The Eagles – Hell Freezes Over
    The xx – xx


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    Packaging and Accessories

    The packaging is classic Rhapsodio. Unless there has been changes to how they package their IEMs, expect a good-sized black cardboard box with a printed gold logo, opening to reveal a miniature metal briefcase that’s about the size of a lunchbox. You can remove the foam and store your sandwich in it if you so desire. Within the metal box, are the IEMs, some eartips and a cable. The Galaxy V2 being a universal, I was supplied with 6 pairs of silicone eartips. 3 pairs of Spinfits (in S, M and L) which agree more with me in both fit and sound; and 3 pairs of fan-blade tips (again in three sizes) typically shipped with AliExpress IEMs. Do take note that the default cable is the Pandora Dwarf copper which I did not take. I instead paid a bit more to upgrade to the Dark Knight silver-plated copper, which not only looks spiffy and dressed for the occasion, but also provided a good match with the Galaxy V2 sound-wise. More on that later.


    Fit, Comfort and Isolation

    This is where the Galaxy V2 might put off potential buyers. The earpieces are big, larger than the ergonomic and sleeker V1 shell. Worse still, the brass housings are heavy, so it won’t be everyone’s cup of joe (I don’t drink tea). The fit and comfort would depend on your eartip choice too. A soft, flexible-stem tip like Spinfit means your ear canals bear most of the weight of the mighty V2, whereas tips with shorter, stiffer stems like Symbios help spread out the weight evenly. Once you get it to fit and seal nicely, they do get quite comfortable, but the weight means you’ll never forget you’re wearing them. Sort of like how Audeze headphones make you fully “appreciate” their weight lol. The good news is, Rhapsodio went for a utilitarian design with no weird edges or corners to cause discomfort. The hard part is getting the V2 to fit, of course. Isolation is tip and fit dependent, but on the whole you block about 70-80% of outside noise.


    Design and Build Quality

    For hobbyists like us, our sound-first philosophy means some designs look really baffling to the average consumer. Semi-customs that look like amoebas? Big hulks of metal? We’ll take a hit in design for better SQ. Galaxy V2, how do I put it, is… consistent with other Rhapsodio universals. They’re no-nonsense, all-metal and available in one colour (not counting the limited editions), in this case chrome. It is, in every sense of the word, a practical design. Nothing extravagant, just an engineered metal shell made to deliver music to both your ears. The Rhapsodio logo is just pasted on, giving the IEM a, uh, homemade look. Boutique if we’re stretching it. Build quality is good, smooth and solid, with no unsightly bumps, and the edges feel seamless, just not 100% flawless. Alas, the chrome surface invites scratches, and in my case, it really shows after a year of use.


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    Cables

    The default cable paired with Galaxy V2 is the copper Pandora Dwarf. I’ve never held nor listened to it though. If you order direct from Sammy (via Facebook PM) you can consult him about cable choices and pairing. At the time the Dark Knight silver-plated copper cable was just released. It certainly looked the part, like a serious cable ready to deliver good hi-fi. It’s a 4-braid jacketed cable, handsomely dressed in black, with a carbon fibre Y-split, and clear L-R markings at the connector end. Ergonomics and feel is quite possibly the best I’ve had from a Rhapsodio cable, and a far, far cry from the RSD Silver Litz which sounds great but behaves more like it controls you! The Dark Knight coils nicely with little memory effect, and the pre-formed earguides are easy on the ears, great for comfort. The only complaint I have is the cheap-looking chin slider which is a piece of black PVC.

    Sound impressions, now that’s the tricky part. After a few incidents involving some IEMs, I don’t cable-roll as extensively as before, because the 2-pin socket can be fragile when I least expect it. As such I’ve only directly compared the Dark Knight and Rhapsodio OCC MKII, a copper cable paired with the original Galaxy v1. The OCC MKII, was tuned with balanced warmth and detail in mind, and the Galaxy V2 gave very good note articulation and detail across the board when paired with it. There’s a slight richness to the notes most noticed in the upper bass/lower mids. The Dark Knight had some positive differences compared to OCC MKII. The best part was the air, depth and separation. Notes are better defined in their own spaces compared to OCC MKII. The soundstage width might be similar but the depth is improved. Detail retrieval is slightly better. The better differentiation of notes and instruments and the well-defined black space between them means the Dark Knight is a winner in my book. Neither cables colour the sound of the V2, which strives to be a flat, yet fun, neutral monitor.

    For listening with Sony WM1A, PW Audio No.5 balanced 4.4mm cable was used. It wasn’t an apples to apples comparison with Dark Knight, being balanced and run only from the WM1A. It retains most of the Galaxy V2 signature and characteristics, and the balanced out provides some power and a blacker background. The good thing about the PW Audio cable is, it provides some much-needed smoothness and timbre improvement compared to the Dark Knight. It sounds a bit more true-to-life and engaging, but at the price of worse instrument differentiation and spatial abilities. As it wasn’t a direct comparison, I could not tell whether the differences were more from the cables or the DAPs.


    Overall Signature

    The review game has been raised by a good many reviewers in HF. Gone are the days when you can just plonk five stars and state confidently in a one-sentence review “this is simply the best of the best, go get it, your ears will thank you.” You’ll get your arse grilled for sweeping statements like that. Nowadays you have to sell your review, get deep into the whys and hows, especially at the TOTL level where prices are much higher.

    Critical listening was done after 200 hours of burning in, as recommended by Sammy. The main setup used was QP1R (medium gain) > Dark Knight > Galaxy V2, with a switch to OCC MKII for cable comparisons. The other setup is Sony WM1A in high gain, with PW Audio No.5 in 4.4mm balanced. I prefer the pairing with QP1R as some dynamics and air are lost using the WM1A. Mandarines Symbio W wide-bore eartips were used, as I find them providing the best comfort and most detailed sound. Spinfit CP100 is not bad either, but you feel the weight of the V2 shells more, and the treble is slightly subdued with the Spinfits. Unfortunately I did not try foam tips as I do not have any.

    In a world of single dynamic flagships, the Galaxy v2 provides a distinctive flavour. Probably roasted habanero. It has a mild U-shaped signature, not because the mids are recessed, but because the bass is deliciously enhanced, as is the lower treble. The mids stay where they are, flat and uncoloured. Midheads will find this wanting, but an uncoloured, super-detailed signature was exactly what Sammy had in mind when tuning. Extenson in both ends, and overall resolution is exemplary, probably class-leading for a dynamic driver.

    And what might turn out to be the surprise of the IEM, its bass is also among the best I’ve heard. Are you sure this is a reference monitor? It’s a monitor with fun in mind. Sammy has often noted on FB that his customers want “da bass” and by golly was he giving a high quality one to them. The upper mids/lower treble has a characteristic 5KHz peak which increases clarity and detail in the upper registers. The downside to this though, it makes poor recordings sound bad. Not only does it NOT sugarcoat recording imperfections in the treble region, it pushes the aberrations to the front of the stage, naked and wrinkly. And shriveled. That’s a good monitor, but not so good in the way of listening enjoyment if your music collection is a mixed bag of recordings. Soundstage is wider than it is deep, quite good at this level, but does not stand out in the big picture. The spatial cues, imaging and head-stage exist to serve the signature (and da bass), which is more the star here.


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    Bass

    One of the most pleasurable things in this hobby is waiting for the bass to drop, followed by the rush of warmth enveloping you, washing over you, maybe even leaving you tingling. Any more pleasure and you’ll be incontinent. The Galaxy V2 bass plunges into the deepest depths, hits hard, hits fast, lights a fuse, and gets the hell out just in time before the explosion. It moves so much air it might as well be responsible for Marilyn Monroe’s flying skirt. The rush of warmth, followed by the bass air, is what makes this IEM so very special.

    It’s a big, dynamic bass, sure, but also disciplined. You feel the subbass impact just a bit, so as not to be distracting. You definitely hear the extension down to the gut, and it’s satisfying. The midbass is more elevated compared to subbass, not enough to blow your socks off, but enough to shake them down halfway. The notes are fast, well-rounded, with a quick attack and a natural, speaker-like decay. A small peculiarity about the bass which I forgive, the notes are thicker than the mids and treble, but miles more natural. The bass decay is clean enough that it never encroaches the midrange, yet moves so much air, it’ll alter the flight patterns of small insects. It’s a delicate balance between a fun and audiophile tuning, near-perfected. A bass that calls the shots. A shining example of what dynamic drivers can do, that cannot be replicated by balanced armatures.


    Mids

    In class, the smart kids raise their hands. The smarter kids show restraint because other kids will ask them to do their homework. The average kids (like me) avoid eye contact and pretend they’re busy. That’s the Galaxy V2 mids for you. While the bass is lapping up the accolades, and the treble is show-offish, the mids mostly keep to themselves. We unravel the mids and start with its biggest weakness. The bass might have been too clean for comfort. They lend little to no weight to the lower mids, and as such, male vocals suffer. They sound lean and throaty, and lack authority and menace, a growl reduced to a meow. Instruments that have more lower-mids body like the trombone, tenor sax and cello sound reedier than usual. It does have a clean presentation but I do prefer more meat on the bones, so to speak.

    Moving up, the middle mids fare better, with piano, violin and guitars capable of both speed and emotion, a nice balance. There’s good air between the notes and instruments, owing to the nimble, leaner notes. And best of all, female vocals soar. They sound articulate and very detailed. You hear the singers inhale, smack lips (lady, are you eating?) and swing their heads to the microphone, all beautifully captured, and one of the highlights of the Galaxy V2. Timbre is on the brighter side of neutral, which leads to excellent resolution from note attack to release, but could be more natural. The mids, overall, are uncoloured and awesomely detailed. The lean notes won’t be for everybody, but is an amazing tool as a monitor. A great many people, me included, would ask for a bit more note body and smoothness.


    Treble

    In the club, inebriated, you spot a hottie and she signals you over. And there you are in the dark, swinging bodies together in motion, laughing and dancing, thinking of plans after the dance. Suddenly, the lights are turned on. Someone lodged a noise complaint and the police are alerted. White fluorescent lights illuminate the dancefloor, and everyone doesn’t look as attractive as when they were bathed in soft light. You see droplets of sweat, smeared makeup, bloodshot eyes… nothing is hidden. Aww hell, I nearly took you home! The Galaxy V2 treble behaves like the unforgiving white light of the party. The perfect example of GIGO (garbage in garbage out), it doesn’t play nice with poorly-mastered recordings, and that includes a lot of albums made during the loudness war era. It captures every nuance and detail there is, in fact it’s one of the furthest-extended IEMs I’ve heard, but sometimes you don’t want to handle the ugly truth. And in that instance, I’ll have to say the Galaxy V2 isn’t for you.

    The treble, when it plays nice, is stellar. Continuing up from the mids, the treble is speedy, bright and airy, with texture you can feel, grain you can almost palpate. Detail is the name of the game. The signature 5KHz peak of Rhapsodio IEMs mean the treble is lively and in the thick of the action, never content to linger in the background. Cymbals and hi-hats have all the sizzle and sparkle you could ask for, and a good amount of energy. But again, if you feed it bad recordings, it will turn on you and drive spikes into your ears. Perilous, yes, but the rewards are great. Put on some Chesky Binaurals or classic jazz and be in awe of what the treble extension and resolution can do.


    Soundstage and Imaging

    These days, TOTL IEMs dare to dream, and strive for open headphone-like stage dimensions. You hear terms like holographic presentation, wide-open stage, depth and layering normally associated with cans, when a few years ago all the TOTL in-ears had an in-your-head sound. The Galaxy V2, in that accord, stays grounded in IEM territory. The stage size is quite large thanks to the vents, but average if compared to other TOTLs. Stage width is more readily noticeable than depth, and height is, uh, not so much there. Listening to music via Galaxy V2 is akin to looking at an artpiece on canvas in front of you. The centre imaging is excellent, with great focus and just enough depth for good differentiation between instruments. The images don’t pop out like a 3D movie, but stays coherent, and neatly arranged, in front of you. The presentation is like you’re seated in the first row of the performance. The bass does inject some warm air to the mix, so the imaging is not razor-sharp, nor the background as clean. The neatness and leanness of the mids and treble mean there’s still plenty of air to go around. The spatial ability of the Galaxy V2 is not one of its highlights, but competent as is. Given the choice I’d love to have more stage depth and height, with better separation and layering.


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    Comparisons

    Rhapsodio Galaxy V1 (with OCC MKII cable)

    So, why a sequel? The V1 was the talk of the town when it was released. Long story short, V2 provides a different, more accessible tuning. One thing you can say about Rhapsodio, is that their bass tuning never disappoints. V1 is more subbass-focused compared to V2, and you feel the rumble and growl of bassy tracks. V2 has a tamer subbass, and more prominent midbass. But even then, V1 midbass has thicker notes and longer decay, while V2 bass is less bloaty. So V1 has an even bigger, nastier (in a good way, y’know like Nasty Boys) bass than V2. And if you thought V2 is reference-oriented, V1 is even more so. The mids and treble are drier and grainier than V2. Very high resolution, but some male and female vocals sound shoutier and brighter on V1. Both don’t have much in the way of smoothness, but the detail levels are really something else, as long as your tracks are up to it. Timbre on V2 is more accurate, and sweeter-sounding. The biggest improvement in V2 is in spatial ability. Both have similar stage width, but V2 pulls ahead with a deeper stage, and better air, separation and imaging. Almost makes V1 sound congested. For my tastes, I’d take V2 over V1 any given day, except opposites day.


    Rhapsodio Solar (with RSD Silver Litz cable)

    The Solar is a counterpoint to the reference (with fun) tuning of the Galaxies, offering nearly an about-turn in terms of signature. Where the V2 is bright and airy, the Solar is smooth and intimate. Where the V2 is exciting and energetic, Solar is relaxed and laid-back. Solar isn’t interested in exposing the flaws in your music, it’s built for romance. It aims to win you over with lovey-dovey warmth with a hint of fun. The thick notes and bold midbass hump assures you there’s enough warmth to go around as opposed to the leaner and meaner Galaxy V2 bass. So much so that there’s some bass bleed into the mids. The mids, slightly recessed and laid-back in position, nonetheless shine in tracks with simpler arrangements, and sound smoother and more natural than V2. The hint of fun comes in the 5KHz peak which adds some sparkle and shimmer into the signature. But remember, Solar is all about smoothness and forgiveness, like a safe first date, so it’s not as extended as V2, and glosses over any recording imperfections. A very liquid treble. Solar has a deeper and taller stage dimension, while V2 is wider. Layering in the Solar is quite good thanks to the depth and height, but the warmth muddles the imaging, whereas V2’s airier and brighter presentation aids in more precise imaging. Ultimately they’re too different to pick a favourite, and shows off Sammy’s versatility in tuning.


    64 Audio A12 (with M15 module and ALO Reference 8 cable)

    This is the battle between the best DD bass in the universe vs the best BA bass in the universe. The A12 is like a Solar enhanced, with a more resolving signature, even bigger stage dimensions, more air, better separation and imaging, all while maintaining a warm and smooth signature. It’s damn near my endgame for warm IEMs. Ah yes, da bass. A12 reaches deep, gives you a nice pulsating subbass with a resounding thump. The midbass is equally promiment, with a nice, full body and an organic bloom… wonderful. V2 takes whatever A12 has, serves up more speed and way more air, and lacks neither in impact nor dynamics… endgame. Sorry A12, dynamics still rule. A12 roars back in mids, sounding superbly natural while providing dollops of detail. The timbre is lifelike, and vocals male and female truly captivate. V2 peers over from the corner, aware of its own thinness and brightish timbre. It only wins in detail level, but surrenders everything else to A12 in mids. Treble is governed by different philosophies. V2 has the better extension, and ekes out every detail possible, while A12 opts for fun and excitement while staying within the margins of smoothness. A12 is the Audeze LCD house sound in IEM form. Warm, smooth, liquid… fatigue-free listening for hours. Soundstage comparison is similar to V2 vs Solar. Where V2 is wider and airier with more precise separation and imaging, A12 is much deeper, much taller, and has amazingly good separation and layering despite the warm signature and thick notes. For what it is, A12 is a superb, decadent all-rounder. V2 is more critical, and despite everything I say, is very musical too, with the best bass in the universe. Certified.


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    Astell & Kern AK T8iE MKII

    Another DD vs DD comparision? Oh yesh. The AK is to me, one of the most fun monitors I’ve had the pleasure of listening to. Upfront, dynamic, and well-balanced from end to end. Note attack and decay is super fast, cast against a vast, black background. Now say that quickly. V2 bass goes deeper, hits harder, moves more air, and rumbles like the jungle. AK has a faster, cleaner bass, albeit with less extension. The trend continues in midbass, where V2 has thicker and woolier notes while AK is leaner and punchier. You already know which bass is my favourite. For mids, AK actually has a brighter and grainier tuning than V2. The mids clarity and definition is more apparent. They make V2 mids sound sweeter and smoother in comparison (told you V2 can be musical). Timbre-wise, V2 edges out in accuracy. The downfall of the AK is in the bright upper mids and lower treble, where certain instruments like cymbals are brought to the forefront, distracting from the overall presentation. I hear this a lot in rock tunes. V2 sounds more linear and grounded in that area. Keeping up with the dynamic, exciting signature of the AK, it has more apparent detail than the V2, at times sounding harsh with poorly recorded tracks. But upon closer listening, I find the V2 to be better extended. The AK has a helmet-like stage dimensions. Not very large in terms of width, depth and height, but the imaging is stellar. Instrument placement has superb definition, and coupled with the smaller stage size, it’s an immersive experience. The V2 has a deeper and wider stage, and sounds comparatively laidback. In terms of technical ability and overall signature, V2 takes this, but I have a soft spot for the fun factor of the AK.


    Oriolus MKII (with PW Audio No.5 cable)

    We round up the comparisons with another one of my favourites, the Oriolus MKII. It’s a 3BA+1DD hybrid, with a W-shaped signature, capable of incredible detail and air yet sounding sweet and warm. V2 has better resolution and end-to-end extension, but then again Oriolus isn’t a detail monster to start with, focusing on its mellow, musical tuning that covers all genres. Oriolus bass has less impact but the shape of its note is better-rounded, thicker, with a gentle bloom and longer decay. It doesn’t move as much air as V2, but its dynamic traits are unmistakable. Both mids are similarly laid-back in position, but where V2 is unabashedly reference-sounding and uncoloured, Oriolus embraces its smoothness, note roundness and thickness. It’s like gooey caramel, sweet and coloured-sounding. Even then, Oriolus sounds organic with a more natural timbre than V2. Vocals are a treat, sounding true-to-life with excellent reverb. The Oriolus treble is less peaky than the V2, but manages an equal amount of sparkle and treble air. It only loses out in extension. The spatial abilities are what makes the Oriolus shine. It has tremendous width and depth, and lots of air in between instruments. A few would complain that this makes the presentation sound distant and too laid-back, but it is exactly these traits that make the Oriolus special. Thick notes without sounding congested. V2’s stage size is smaller, and imaging more precise, with a more conventional IEM presentation of width over depth. To sum it up, each has their strengths, and it’s entirely up to preference which to go for. I love both.


    IMG_20171116_174451.jpg


    Conclusion

    The Galaxy V2 set out to prove that a reference signature is nothing to be afraid of. They open a window to the music, sometimes exposing its flaws, daring sound engineers to be more diligent with mastering. But feed it good recordings, and you’ll be rewarded with a transcendent musical experience across all genres, like a strict teacher bringing out the best of the top student. It also helps that they have some jaw-dropping bass to pull in the crowds. In a growing market of single dynamic flagships (Dita Dream, HiFiMan RE2000, Beyerdynamic Xelento, Campfire Audio Vega), the Galaxy V2 brings its own personality to the mix. You cannot question its technical ability, its deftness in bringing the music in its truest form to you. And basshead or not, you will fall in love with the “audiophile fun” bass, like I have over and over again. All in all, it showcases what a mighty single dynamic driver can do, as Sammy heralded when he announced the Galaxy, “no more driver wars”. He did what he set out to do.
      DWbirdseye, all999, SeeSax and 10 others like this.
  4. Jackpot77
    Another single dynamic all-star constellation
    Written by Jackpot77
    Published May 8, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Excellent detail retrieval and driver speed, crisp punchy sound, fantastic texture, sound superb with guitar based music
    Cons - Housings can get a little heavy, a slightly thicker midrange and bass would be ideal, can be a little sharp on occasion
    Rhapsodio Galaxy V2 – another single dynamic all-star constellation
    [​IMG]
    Pros: Excellent detail retrieval and driver speed, crisp punchy sound, fantastic texture, sound superb with guitar based music


    Cons: Housings can get a little heavy, a slightly thicker midrange and bass would be ideal, can be a little sharp on occasion


    [​IMG]

    Acknowledgment
    These IEMs were very kindly loaned to me for a few weeks by a fellow UK Head-Fi’er (@TheUKMrT) for the purposes of this review, and to compare to my Campfire Audio single dynamic driver models. Many thanks for the loaner, Paul – it’s been an enjoyable few weeks!

    This review was originally posted on Audio Primate here:
    https://audioprimate.blog/2017/05/0...nother-single-dynamic-all-star-constellation/https://audioprimate.blog/2017/05/0...nother-single-dynamic-all-star-constellation/

    About me: recent convert to audiophilia but a long time music fan, also aspiring to be a reasonably inept drummer. Listen to at least 2 hours of music a day – prefer IEMs for out and about, and a large pair of headphones when I have the house to myself and a glass in my hand. Recently started converted my library to FLAC and 320kbps MP3, and do most of my other listening through Tidal HiFi. I am a fan of rock, acoustic (apart from folk) and sarcasm. Oh yeah, and a small amount of electronica. Not a basshead, but I do love a sound with some body to it. My ideal tuning for most IEMs and headphones tends towards a musical and slightly dark presentation, although I am not treble sensitive in general. Please take all views expressed below with a pinch of salt – all my reviews are a work in progress based on my own perceptions and personal preferences, and your own ears may tell you a different story.

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    Introduction
    Rhapsodio are a Hong Kong based audio manufacturer specialising in IEMs and after-market cables, with a well-respected audiophile at the helm (the ubiquitous Sammy, who will be well known to anyone who attends any of the various CanJam events or other notable audio conventions). They are one of the few CIEM/IEM manufacturers to have both a TOTL all-BA flagship (the Solar) and a single dynamic driver TOTL flagship as well (the Galaxy). Sammy has been quoted previously as saying he prefers single DD setups due to the tuning possibilities and overall coherence of the sound, and uses his own proprietary dynamic driver tech (the UltraMag driver) to get the best sound possible. I haven’t heard the Solar as yet, but the Galaxy is definitely punching in the flagship bracket – my time with the Galaxy was both a refreshing change and a timely reminder of what exactly can be achieved from one small dynamic driver with the right tuning and design.

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    Unboxing and aesthetics
    The Galaxy are an unusual looking IEM, with a solid metal constructions and a vaguely rhomboid design reminiscent of a cross between a Jerry Harvey Siren Series model (without the brain-tickling stem length) and a pair of metal ball-bearings. The machining feels solid and weighty, with enough heft to feel like a serious piece of gear without feeling like you have a pair of Frankenbolts in your ears. Coupled with the heavy duty after-market cable these usually ship with (the Rhapsodio Pandora Dwarf, although the review set also came with the SG 2.98 from Rhapsodio’s cable line), these are a very good looking set of IEMs. The one area that could use a bit more polish is the actual branding – the dark silvery surface is polished to a mirror like sheen, but doesn’t actually carry any branding at all, with the only indication this is a Rhapsodio product coming from the mildly incongruous circular sticker (yes, a sticker) applied to each ear on the inner face of the IEM. While that looks quite cool at a distance, given the close proximity to the skin of the listener, I imagine they may start looking a little more worn over time and eventually come off, so for the future I wouldn’t mind seeing Sammy and his team looking at a more permanent method of brand awareness.

    In terms of the overall packaging, the Galaxy V2 again feels top notch, with a solid hardboard box in black and adorned with a simple company logo opening up to reveal a mini-attache case nestled in some protective foam. Opening the attache case (a serious step up in both visual and practical terms from most normal CIEM cases for permanent storage, even if it is more back-packable than pocketable), the IEM sits nestled inside in a heavy foam padding, with separate sections for tips and cables as well. The usual loadout of accessories for something in this price bracket are all present and accounted for, without any major surprises. Overall, simple but functional outer box and a great looking and earthquake proof steel case make this a package deserving of the price tag.

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    Comfort
    Once you have settled on a suitable set of tips, comfort is very good with these IEMs. I personally use foam tips, using the same style as come with my Campfire Audio gear, which I find is a good tradeoff between the ultimate isolation of Comply and the durability of the harder foam brands. The smoothed curves on the inner face of the IEM and the unusual shape allow for a close fit in the bowl of the ear – the IEM is too deep to sit fully flush with your ear for in-bed listening, but it sits securely enough for stationary listening or use while out and about. The shells are slightly too heavy to recommend doing any serious exercise wearing them, as the weight would eventually unseat them, but I’m sure there aren’t too many people who would take an £800 IEM on a 10 mile run, so that isn’t much of a black mark in my book. The nozzle length is just long enough to get a good fit without causing fatigue for me (I have very wide ear canals), and overall the Galaxy feel very snug and comfy in my ears for extended listening.

    One area that can be a little more cumbersome is with the included cable – I have used both their included copper upgrade cable and a similar silver cable, and the thick braiding and relative stiffness on both cables makes this a little less flexible for everyday wear, with the silver cable in particular feeling very heavy over the top of the ear. Neither cable had anything in the way of appreciable microphonics, however, with the the extra weight to the cables helping deaden any contact noise, Overall, a decent fit and good comfort without any major issues.

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    Audio quality
    On first listen, I will admit that the Rhapsodio took a little getting used to. Coming from the rich smoothness of the recent Campfire Audio dynamic drivers (Lyra II and Vega), firing up the Galaxy was like a splash of cold sharp water into the ears. Cold, crunchy treble and a lean and angular sound greeted my ears, with a little more bass than true neutral, but definitely weighted more towards texture than physicality. After a few days of listening (and the requisite “brain burn-in” as my ears adjusted to the sound), the Galaxy opened up for me, giving a presentation that is textured but not overly thick, and clear and crystalline rather than smooth and warm. The treble is sharp and detailed, with a great sense of crunch and energy as it moves down through to the midrange, playing very nicely with guitar based music and orchestral pieces. The bass is just thick enough to stop the sound feeling cold, with a nice sense of speed and a raspy texture that helps accentuate detail. Overall, a very different signature than I have been used to listening to recently, but very enjoyable with the right music once you adjust.

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    Bass
    The lower frequency range is a nicely taut affair, with a decent if not overly heavy sense of body and good sense of speed from the UltraMag dynamic driver technology. This certainly isn’t bass that will make a hardcore basshead weak at the knees, but there is certainly enough there to start the foot tapping or head bobbing with the right track.

    Starting on ny usual breakdown tracks, “Bad Rain” by Slash and Myles Kennedy kicks off proceedings, the snarling guitar intro underpinned by a crisp and thudding kick drum beat and opening into the snarling rasp of the bassline with a sense of menace. The bass notes sound textures and raw, hitting low and allowing the listener to hear the sound of the strings vibrating in between notes, which can be lost on some less capable drivers. Switching out to “Hello, It’s Me” by Sister Hazel, the texture and rasp is still present in the bassline, with the usually chocolate-smooth bassline still filling the lower end of the song with presence, but with a more dry and physical feel to the sound. Again, the drums kick with good impact and snap in this track, imparting a sense of energy to the snare hits and bass beats and pushing the track along with plenty of energy.

    Moving to more electronic music, “Get Lucky” from Daft Punk highlights the excellent extension of the driver into sub-bass territory, with the cavernous bassline scraping around on the floor of my ears, hitting every low note with definition and again bringing good energy to the track. Once more, texture is the order of the day over sheer quantity, but the track certainly not lacking in bass, showing that the Rhapsodio driver is more than capable of kicking out some serious low end when called for. Going in search of more sub-bass, “Heaven” by Emile Sande highlights where the bass starts to thin out, with the usually voluminous rumble that starts the track generating only a light tickle rather than a real head-shaking throb in the inner ear. It still feels solid and detailed like the mid-bass, but definitely isn’t a tuning designed for sub-bass fanatics.

    In summary, the bass is textured and nimble, thick enough to be enjoyable but lean enough to keep all the detail on the surface rather than buried in the body of the sound. If this IEM were a boxer, it would probably sit quite nicely at super-middleweight, packing plenty of punch and possessing a decent blend of power and precision to worry all but the serious heavyweight contenders. As long as you aren’t looking for the last word in slam or mid-bass quantity, the Galaxy present a nicely tuned and very detailed lower end that works very well with rock and guitar based music, and anything without too much sub-bass emphasis.

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    Mids
    The midrange follows on from the bass in terms of texture and definition, presenting a lean and muscular sound with plenty of edge. Guitars chug with a frosty crispness that wouldn’t be out of place on a Canadian beer commercial featuring the world’s favourite Belgian martial artist, crunching and slashing through the musical foreground. The sound isn’t overly full or warm, staying just on the right side of neutral for my preferences, able to carry a song without sounding thin but leaving plenty of space between instruments. Listening to “Welcome To The Jungle” by Guns N’ Roses highlights the snarling energy the drivers are capable of, riff after riff landing in jagged one-twos and the twin on-beat/off-beat guitar rhythms the band are so fond of sitting on either side of the listeners head without getting mixed in the middle. You can clearly hear both Izzy and Slash duelling with each other in each ear in between each soaring chorus, with the notes sounding positively electric. This track also highlights a possible weakness, with the sharpness of the sound becoming almost unpleasant in some sections of the song and feeling slightly “etched” in my ears. To be clear, this IEM isn’t sibilant for me, and the sharpness never actually becomes unpleasant, but it is definitely about as far as I want to go with an IEM tuning in this regard.

    In terms of tonality, the Galaxy excels with both electric and acoustic guitars, the acoustic elements ringing out clearly into the black background and the more electric riffs hitting hard and fast in the foreground of the sound. The midrange feels neither recessed or forward, sitting nicely in balance with the bass and treble frequency ranges.

    Concentrating more on vocals, Foy Vance comes up next, with “Coco” and “Upbeat Feelgood” both sounding exceptional on the Galaxy. The opening guitar scuffs are easily audible on “Coco”, with Vance’s mixture of velvet and gravel coming through like a well mixed Irish Coffee straight into your ear, the nuance in the singer’s voice carrying across well and transporting the listener easily into the heart of the music. Sticking with velvety singers, “High Note” by Mavis Staples is also excellently rendered, the tom tom hits sounding real and true and the wonderful gospel chorus of this track blending well with the silky strumming of the acoustic guitar to paint a beautiful background to Staples’ impassioned vocals. The positioning of the singers in the wall of choral sound is also top notch, with individual voices popping out on the left and right without distracting from the overall effect of the chorus line. Piano also sounds very true to life on this IEM, with a realistic timbre and crisp presentation.

    Overall detailing level in the midrange is high, with plenty of micro-detailing revealing itself naturally through the slightly leaner sound signature allied to the high separation levels the driver is capable of. This is a little too musical to feel truly analytical, but the Galaxy definitely doesn’t feel lacking in either resolution or clarity, digging plenty of information out of the landscape without distracting the listener from the main body of the song – in my opinion, the tuning here strikes a very good balance, which isn’t the easiest thing to do. Sometimes the emphasis on retrieval and texture can leave the impression of a slight graininess to the sound, but that is very fleeting in most cases, and very track dependant.

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    Treble
    If the bass and mid ranges are characterised by a light to medium thickness and muscular sound, the treble is definitely the lean and mean sibling. It flows into the ears like a blast of artic wind, sharp and cold and carrying a sense of detail that cuts into the nice warm surroundings like a freshly minted snowflake. As mentioned in the midrange, the Galaxy isn’t a sibilant listen for me (unless the track is riddled with it – it certainly isn’t a serial smoother of rough edges), but it does carry a crispness and crunch that throws detail into sharp relief and can become mildly fatiguing for me on long listening sessions with certain genres of music. I should point out that I am sensitive to treble that borders the high-mid / lower treble “hot zones”, so for listeners who aren’t bothered in those particular sonic ranges this probably won’t be an issue.

    Kicking straight into my usual test tracks, “Starlight” by Slash and Myles Kennedy is up first, the dissonant guitar intro sounding crystalline and beautiful without bringing any wincing, the high notes of Kennedy’s voice sounding pure and soaring over the simple bass guitar and guitar licks that sit underneath. The texture and gravel in the singer’s throat comes through clearly here, hitting the back of your eardrums with precision. The cymbals in this track are quite muted in comparison, with a fairly natural emphasis but not overly long decay, hitting with authority and then fading out just as quickly rather than splashing around.

    After handling the rapier, I pull out the sonic sandpaper and pop some Chris Stapleton into rotation to test for sibilance. While still being one of my favourite songs at time of writing, “Whiskey And You” from his debut album has a section near the chorus that takes the beautiful room sounds and smokiness of the singer’s voice throughout the rest of the song and pushes them through the aural equivalent of an office paper shredder on the wrong gear, the mastering prodding at the listener’s ear with a scalpel on certain lines. The Galaxy is good but not great with this track, just flirting with unpleasantness at the 1:46 and 3:06 marks in the track but climbing back out of the red zone just in time. The rest of the track is sublime, however, with the room echo and small micro-details from the simply recorded track all living where they should in the periphery of the listener’s ears.

    Trying out some electronic music, “Saturate” by The Chemical Brothers has a nice swirl to the synth runs and a delicate feel to the higher notes which contrasts well with the heavy drum and breakbeat backbone. Moving to more orchestral fare, the high violins and chimes of “Requiem For A Tower” and “Palladio” by Escala sound exceptional, the sound feeling laser-sharp in its delivery and cutting through the soundscape straight into the brain. The Galaxy copes very well with a lot of modern classical and fusion recordings, with various soundtracks I have in my collection (Hans Zimmer, Trevor Rabin etc) all sucking the listener in admirably, the texture of the mid and lower ranges helping accentuate the sharper top end of the tuning to give a great sense of engagement and dynamics to the sound.

    Overall treble extension feels good on the Galaxy, extending well past my (probably limited) hearing without any loss of strength, unlike the more anaemic sub-bass. The general character of the treble for me leans more towards open and airy with a crystalline sparkle rather than clean and clear – something like the Vega or Lyra II present treble like a smooth cool glass of spring water, the Galaxy feels more like crunching your way through an icecube, with an altogether colder and occasionally sharper feel.

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    Soundstage and separation
    The Galaxy has a good but not outrageous soundstage, sitting nicely outside my ears on the X-axis, with a more oval presentation – to me, the sound almost feels like it is arranged in a U shape with my head at the base of the U, with good forward extension on the edges of the sound to present a feeling like you are a couple of rows back from the stagefront, almost “in the pit”. Height is again decent but not stellar.

    Separation is very good on the Galaxy, with the highly detailed driver and the not overly thick signature able to keep multiple sonic strands clearly defined. This is especially noticeable in guitar based tracks – “Kashmir” by Escala ft. Slash has multiple instruments playing in similar sonic ranges throughout the track, and an element of “double tracking” in the main guitar riff, which the Galaxy takes in its stride with ease, keeping just enough distance between all the threads to allow them all to register individually in the ear. In terms of layering (the 3D “stacking” of different layers of sound) the Galaxy is less impressive, but certainly no slouch, presenting the sound in very closely packed layers rather than a fully blown-out engineering diagram (to my ears, anyway).

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    Comparisons
    Campfire Audio Vega – the Vega is the current darling and co-flagship of the highly acclaimed Campfire Audio range, sporting a metal shell and single dynamic driver like the Galaxy. In terms of sound, the Galaxy has a leaner and crisper sound than the Vega, with a more emphasised bass presence and weight to notes. The Vega feels slightly warmer in tone than the cool and crispy Galaxy, with a much more emphasised physical impact in the lower registers. Bass extension is won by the Vega, which while possessing only a little better actual extension to my ears, stays strong a lot further down into the sub-bass than the comparatively lighter Rhapsodio effort. “Heaven” by Emile Sande is a good track to quantify the difference between the two, with the Galaxy painting a nice sense of rumble across the inner ear as the into kicks in, but the Vega really rattling the furniture behind your eyeballs at the same volume. In the midrange, the Galaxy again sounds colder and leaner than the Vega, with a similarly level of clarity and resolution. The Galaxy actually feels more resolving than the Vega to my ears on some tracks, but this is mainly due to the thinner sound allowing the brain to pick out the different strands of music more easily – on closer listen, the Vega spits out the same level of detailing across the board, but the meatier musicality blends it all a little closer together on initial playback.

    Moving up to treble, the Galaxy definitely feels more “etched” than the Vega, with a cleaner and crisper sounding treble that flirts on the edge of sharpness but doesn’t get sibilant for me in my usual hotspots around the higher mid-range and lower treble. Again, the Vega wins on actual weight, with a more solid feel to hi-hat percussion but less sense of air and sparkle. Soundstage is similar in size between the two, with the Galaxy feeling slightly wider to my ears due to the extra space between the edge of each note, but the Vega presenting a more real and “3D” feeling stage for me. Separation is a draw, with the presentation edging towards the Galaxy but the Vega still keeping everything neatly segmented if you want to pick out a particular instrument in the crowd.

    Looking at build and ergonomics, this is a close battle, but for me it is edged by the Vega. The shells are lighter and better designed, fitting more easily in the ear without the constant danger of dislodgement I feel with the weightier Rhapsodio earpieces. The Rhapsodio feel more like a handmade piece of high quality jewellery, whereas the Vega look like a highly engineered piece of technology. With regards to cabling, the excellent ALO SPC Litz cable that comes as standard with the Campfire models is usually head and shoulders above most included cables I have seen yet, but in this case, the Rhapsodio copper litz cable beats it in both ergonomics and aesthetics, being a high end after-market cable in its own right.

    Overall, these two IEMs present two very different approaches – the Galaxy emphasising edge and attack at the (relative) expense of overall thickness, the Vega feeling more muscular and energetic, with a denser feel to the sound. For particularly complex musical passages, the Galaxy is probably easier to follow the individual strands of the music, but loses some of the Vega’s engagement and sheer musical magic as a result. For fans of a more analytical and clean signature bordering on neutral, the Galaxy will probably win out here – for people looking for a little more body and soul to their music without sacrificing on technicality or detail, the Vega will pull ahead. If I had to choose just one, I would go with the Vega for my personal preferences, as I feel the unique tuning it offers is just that bit more enjoyable across all sectors than the more clinical Galaxy, but if I could only listen to the Rhapsodio IEM for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t feel unhappy.

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    Campfire Audio Lyra II – The Lyra II are the second high-end dynamic driver in the Campfire Audio range, with the same shell design as the flagship Vega model, but a different beryllium driver diaphragm. In terms of build and ergonomics, the Lyra II shares a slight advantage to the Galaxy (in line with the Vega), just losing out with the more pocketable but far less sturdy Campfire carry case in comparison to Rhapsodio’s far more solid metal mini-attache case.

    Sound wise, the Lyra II presents a smoother and fuller sound than the Galaxy, but in a slightly more laid back fashion than the more energetic Vega. Bass-wise, the models are far more evenly matched, with the Lyra II having a shade more substance to the mid and sub-bass, but being far closer in overall tuning. Drum sounds are a little more realistic on the Lyra II, with tom-toms carrying a more authentic weight in comparison to the more emphasised Galaxy. In the mids, the Galaxy again come across as more lean and neutral than the Lyra II, but again to a lesser degree than the Vega. The vocals carry more sharpness and edge in the Rhapsodio tuning, with the Lyra II managing to add a dash of velvet to both male and female singers that makes for a more relaxing overall listen than the crisper Galaxy. In the treble, both are reasonably extended, but the Lyra II is far more laid back than the crystalline Galaxy, so will definitely lose out to fans of a sharper and more present treble, gaining ground with people who prefer their higher end sounds clear and smooth rather than hot and crunchy.

    In terms of detail, both have good clarity and presentation of micro-detailing, but the Galaxy feels like the more resolving of the two due to its overall tuning. Staging is again a little wider on the Galaxy, but feels more solid and 3D on the Lyra II, with a more realistic “feel” to the presentation compared to the more hyper-real Rhapsodio.

    Overall, these two IEMs aren’t that far away in tuning, but serve very different listening purposes for me – for singer/songwriter and more laid back acoustic or downtempo music, the velvety smoothness and rich sound of the Lyra II is excellent (and even tops the Vega for me with some genres). For more guitar-heavy rock music or uptempo electronica, the crisper and more aggressive Galaxy adds an extra dash of crunch and detail that really brings some tracks to life in direct comparison. Not as simple as the straight win for the Vega above, so I would say the honours are definitely even in this case, with me probably edging towards the Galaxy if I could only have one.

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    Specifications
    Specifications
    Price $1450
    Frequency Response 10 – 23000 Hz
    Sensitivity 103 dB/mV
    Impedance 16 Ohms
    Socket type 2-pin
    Included cable Rhapsodio Pandora Dwarf 6N OCC Litz Copper cable
    Conclusions
    Writing this review was a timely reminder of “brain burn in”, or how quickly we adjust to a particular sound signature. On first listen, the Galaxy felt like they may be a little too sharp for my preference, with a crystalline brittleness to the high range and just too much sharpness through the high mids to really engage my preferences. Fast forward a couple of weeks, and the about-turn on my opinions is almost complete – while I still have moments where the Galaxy is just a tad too frosty for me, the beautiful texture and nicely judged weight in the lower ranges and the energetic and crispy highs have made me a convert, bringing a sense of life and electricity to some of my music that I wouldn’t have appreciated by sticking to my “usual” tunings. They are marketed as a TOTL single dynamic driver, and in comparison to the other top end DD units I have heard to date, they are definitely worthy of a place on the top table. Crisp, dynamic sound with bags of detail, a nice presentation (both sonically and aesthetically) and a good overall package make the Galaxy V2 an easy recommendation for those who aren’t after the last word in body or bass, but prefer a sharper and leaner take on things with just enough musicality to keep the soul of the song alive. As highlighted by my comparisons above, this isn’t my personal endgame (if there is such a thing), but I can easily seeing it ticking enough boxes at its current retail price to make a lot of users more than happy.
  5. Kunlun
    A Great Addition to High-End Dynamic Driver IEMs
    Written by Kunlun
    Published Mar 14, 2017
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Natural, dynamic-driver sound, resonant bass, sweet vocals, and excellent with violins and acoustic music
    Cons - Can be sibilant with bright treble, fit is difficult to get perfect, clarity is quite good but not at the level of similarly priced armature iems

    Synopsis: The Rhapsodio Galaxy v2 are a high-end in-ear monitor with a 10.3mm titanium coated dynamic driver, a re-designed housing, and a braided copper cable. These earphones have a warm, well-extended bass, sweet midrange, and a boosted treble that, with the right fit matches the bass. These are a sizeable step up in clarity and range from cheaper dynamic driver iems. However, the fit is difficult to get right and will require time to find the right eartips and positioning in-ear. Without the right fit, the treble is bright, sibilant, and sharp without the proper bass to balance it. At its best, the Galaxy v2’s sound can come together in a coherent package, with rumbling bass and clear vocals that are hard to resist.

     
    Disclaimer: The Galaxy v2 I’ve had for a week is a loaner set from Rhapsodio which will be returned to them when the loaner tour is over.
     
    A little about Rhapsodio: Rhapsodio is a small but innovative company in Hong Kong. If you ever have the pleasure of corresponding with Sammy, the head of the company, you will quickly find out that he has a million ideas about portable audio and is always thinking and working to make the best products possible. He’s been making balanced armature iems, such as the Solar, dynamic driver iems like our Galaxy v2 here, and hybrid armature dynamic iems. A friend of mine in Hong Kong introduced me to Sammy two years ago and when I heard that the Galaxy was coming out in a 2nd version, I knew I’d have to see if a loaner tour was possible.
     
    The Galaxy v2: At the heart of this iem is a 10.3mm titanium coated diaphragm. The ultra-thin coating of titanium adds rigidity which helps the dynamic driver to have better clarity. For this, the 2nd version, the Galaxy receives a custom housing—for dynamic drivers, the housing itself can be an important part of its tuning. Here, the new housing helps to add bass depth and resonance. The cable is a high-quality braided copper. Overall, these are well-built and should really last. The price is $1450.
     
     

     
     

     
    The Galaxy v2 (more pics to come)
     
     
    Power: These are not hard to drive, but I think it’s good to give a dynamic driver plenty of power, so I used the apex Glacier as a portable amp on top of my ipod 5.5gen. That Wolfson chip equipped ipod is surprisingly still competitive!
     
     
    Burn-in: I think the new generation of metallic coated diaphragms will make more people into believers about burn-in for dynamic driver iems as the stiffer diaphragms do need some flexing before they sound their best.
     
    How to burn-in a dynamic driver? Well, I use the advice of one of the audio engineers who made the Monster Cable line of dynamic driver iems. He said that it didn’t make any sense at all to play soft piano music for a million hours. What you want is to flex the driver. That means high-volume (I say higher than is safe for a human to listen to, so take the iems out of your ears) and a playlist with heavy bass and bright treble, particularly the bass for a shorter period of time. Yes, a shorter period of time with much higher volume. I played the Galaxy v2 at about 110db with bass and treble heavy music for 72 hours in a drawer. Done. I did give a quick listen before doing this and the Galaxy sounded weird, my second listen was after burn-in and I could easily tell these were high-end iems.
     
     
    Fit: There are several issues with fit here:
    1.  The seal. Yes, you need iems to seal, people mostly seem to know that. You don’t get the right bass if you don’t have a good seal. The bass on the Galaxy v2 should be rumbling and resonant, reaching deeply. If you don’t get the full mid and sub-bass, then you don’t have a good seal. But, that’s only half the story.
     
    2. Air pressure. This is a big one for dynamic drivers and iems generally. If you have a “vacuum” seal then your own ear drum can’t move, to say nothing of a dynamic driver’s diaphragm. The sound sucks, pun intended. The Galaxy v2 is very sensitive to this, you really have to get a good seal, then break the seal to allow the air pressure to normalize (without re-creating the air pressure issue upon re-sealing). It takes practice. After a few days, you’ll have it down pat, no problems. But, you should be prepared to tip-roll. I used some tips from another iem. The Galaxy loaner set had spin-fits, I don’t think these are the best tips, but YMMV. What might be an important note is that I used silicone tips in listening to the Galaxy v2, I think foam tips would have been a perfect choice as they would match the treble and lead to an even better sound. If I get a chance to hear these again, I’ll be sure to listen with foam tips.
     
     
    The Sound: The overall sound is a little V-shaped with excellent bass presence, mids that give vocals nice clarity, and a bright treble that really works on many recordings, particularly acoustic, classical, folk, and jazz. After burn-in and with the right fit, some pop and rock were a bit sibilant at times, although not overmuch. With a poor fit, however, the sound does get harsh, so be sure to get that right. The clarity is good, but doesn’t match the best multi-BA iems and the soundstage is natural—which is my preference. There are tricks to make an iem have a large soundstage, but at the cost of sounding artificial. The Galaxy’s vented shell gives it a good-sized soundstage for an iem, but more important to me is that things sound relatively natural. Isolation is average, not bad for a vented dynamic driver iem.
     
    Bass: This is good dynamic driver bass, with an emphasis on rumble versus punch or snap. You get that real air-moving bass feel which adds naturalness versus an armature’s bass. I think this is due to the housings as the sound resounds very nicely with a trade-off in bass texture and clarity for a high-end iem. The sub-bass is very good in extension. The quantity is at north of neutral levels for sure, but I didn’t find it overmuch and a little extra is important for commuting to deal with external sound.
     
    Midrange: Vocals and lead instruments stand out well in the mix. This is important because when the bass and treble have a boost, the mids can get “sucked out” of the overall sound and a singer can sound in the background when they should be in the lead. The Galaxy v2 has things right, with sweetness and good clarity to male and female singers—something which is not just about the mids, but I think the treble adds something here as well.
     
    Treble: This is the tricky spot. There is a boost here and you can definitely get some sibilance. The Gorillaz track Ghosttrain is an example the “S” in GhoSttrain sticks out a bit with a little sharpness. If one is sensitive to it, it is something to note. However, the flip side is that violins sound fantastic. The Galaxy v2 is very nice for classical music to my ears, because the treble brings strings alive in a nice way if you know the live sound of the instruments. Cymbals crash well as well. Acoustic music is a real strong suit with the Galaxy v2. I didn’t use foam tips but I have a feeling they would answer a lot of issues with the treble. That’s going to be a strong recommendation here.
     
     
    Comparison: I think the main iem I’ll compare the Galaxy v2 to is the Campfire Vega, another high-end dynamic driver iem, this time with a ADLC coated diaphragm. The Vega definitely has more bass and more of a V-shape to its tuning, that is a primary difference. The Vega’s bass is definitely a lot more. I like it, but it’s big. The Vega’s treble is boosted differently, with a peak coming later and then falling off more than the Galaxy v2. They each had a bit of sibilance to me using silicone tips but on different tracks. Neither was too much for me but neither is for people who are particularly sensitive to sibilance and both should be used with foam tips. The Galaxy v2 is more balanced. The Vega is more v-shaped, more detailed but also edgier with greater dynamics, whereas the Galaxy v2 is more natural.
     
    One further note: I had the Dita Truth and Answer editions a while back for a week and while I won’t do a full comparison, I will say that I think the Galaxy v2’s sound was superior in overall capability while having a not-so-different tuning. Overall, I think the Galaxy v2 is for the dynamic driver fan as high-end multi-BA iems will sound more separated and more clear but won’t have the naturalness and cohesiveness of a dynamic driver.
     
     
    Overall: The Galaxy v2 is a welcome addition to the options available for a high-end dynamic driver. For the fan of acoustic music, this is a serious option. With the right tips and a good fit, the resonant bass, clear vocals, and bright treble of the Galaxy v2 really come together. I think this iem by Rhapsodio deserves more attention and as the word gets out, it’s going to get it for sure.
  6. San Man
    Galaxy V1's bigger, more musical twin brother
    Written by San Man
    Published Jan 3, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Musical, more balanced, more forgiving, very accurate reproduction of music
    Cons - Enclosure is heavier and slightly larger than the V1, tip rolling required to get the right seal
    Rhapsodio Galaxy V2
     
    **Disclaimer:  I was provided a discount on the Galaxy V2 demo unit sent to me with no stipulation that I do a review**
     
    Who am I?  (Part Deux):
    I’m still relatively "new" here on Head-Fi, even though I'm coming up on a year of membership.  Still a "Semi-newbie," so to speak.   I sold my original setup (AK100mk2, Mojo, V1) and had every intention of leaving this hobby behind, but some things change and some don't.   After I sold my setup, I bought a pair of cheap IEMs to listen to through my iPhone and was "done."   As luck had it, the chance to buy a Paw Gold came my way and I somehow found my way back onto Head-Fi.  I guess there is no leaving once you're in, kind of like a cult, so to speak.  "Ministry of Sound" sounds apt, don't you think?
        
    This will be my second review here on Head-Fi.  Honestly, I hadn't even planned on doing a review for the V2, but I wanted people to know the genuine "Magic" that comes out of Sammy's little shop of wonders.   Yes, he's still the "Magician" to me, and if you ever have the chance to audition or own the V1 or V2 (with a proper source), you'll understand why I gave him that nickname.
     
     
    Galaxy V2 Specs: 
    The Galaxy V2 employs the same 10.3 mm dynamic driver in a new custom brass housing.   The material, as well as the design of the new enclosure have a definite effect on the sound (more on that later)
        *10.3mm titanium diaphram dynamic driver
        *Frequency response: 10Hz~ 23,000 Hz
        *Sensitivity: 102dB/mV
        *Impedance: 16ohm
        *MSRP:  $1450 USD
     
     
    What’s in the box?:
    Overall, the accessories are the same as the V1 package (aluminum locker box, round metal storage case, tips), but the main difference is the included cable:
            *Rhapsodio Pandora Dwarf cable 
              *6N OCC litz
              *120*0.08mm conductors
              *TPU shielding 
              *Gold plated brass 3.5mm jack  
     
     
    Build and Fit:    
    If you're a V1 owner, the first thing you'll notice when you see the V2 for the first time is the larger enclosure.   Overall, it is larger than the original Galaxy in both shape and weight.   Sammy designed the V2 enclosure out of brass, and once you pick up the V2, you'll easily notice the difference in mass.   Each V2 enclosure is now triangular shaped, with a little more height than the V1.   Although the enclosure is larger than the V1, I found the V2  fit my ears well and is still very comfortable.   YMMV.
     
    V21.jpg
     
    V22.jpg
    (Rhapsodio stock photos)

    Make no mistake: the weight of each IEM isn't obscene to the point where you'd be fatigued wearing them, but these won't be the IEMs you take jogging or to the gym.  Although they will stay in place (with the correct fitting tip), these are more your "stay at home" headphones.
     
    The below picture easily illustrates the larger enclosure (V1 on the left, V2 on the right).  Although it's taller in height, the general diameter of the base section has decreased.
    V11.jpg
     
    A comparison showing JVC Spiral Dots on the left, Spin Fits on the right (V2 enclosure)
    V12.jpg
    (Thanks to EagleWings for the above images)
     
     
     
    Cable:
    The cable and headphone enclosures employ the industry standard 2 pin connector, however, Sammy now uses a recessed connector on the enclosure side (very good choice).   I think everyone prefers the recessed connector vs the non-recessed one, as it makes the connection look much cleaner in appearance and more secure (IMO). 
     
    The included Pandora Dwarf cable is very well made (as are all the Rhapsodio cables), albeit slightly stiff overall.  The 4 braided cable construction can be considered soft and supple for copper, and it uses no memory wire over the ear.   The individual wires themselves are thin, although the overall diameter of the 4 braid section is slightly larger than the orginal V1 SG2.98 4 wire cable.  The build quality is remains excellent, and there's no discernible microphonics present.
     
    This picture illustrates the new recessed connector in the V2 housing
    V23.jpg
    (Rhapsodio stock photo)
     
    Picture of the Dark Knight 2 pin cable installed into the recessed connector:
    IMG_5138.jpg
     
     
     
     
    Tips:
    As with the V1, I couldn't get the included Spin-Fits or Phillips tips to seal well with the V2, even when using the largest sizes.   Again, I swapped them out for my trusty JVC Spiral Dot tips in the large size and the fit was most excellent.  Tip rolling is highly recommended to ensure a good seal.
     
    JVC Spiral Dot tip installed:
    IMG_5135.jpg
     
     
     
    My Setup:
    My humble rig has been upgraded since my V1 review and now consists of the following:  
        
        Lotoo Paw Gold-->Rhapsodio 4 braid Dark Knight cable --> Galaxy V2
     
    IMG_5134.jpg
     
     
    Furthermore, I conducted this review using the Rhapsodio "Dark Knight" (DK) cable, which is constructed of the following:
        *Silver plated 99.9999% single crystal copper
        *400* 0.05 mm conductors 
        *Far infrared technology 
        *Japanese TPU shielding 
        *Cm/fitear/mmcx/im socket 
        *Carbon fiber Y  

    When I originally received the demo unit, it came packaged with the DK cable and not the Pandora Dwarf cable.  While I waited for the Dwarf cable to arrive, I conducted my listening tests with the Dark Knight cable and did not receive the Pandora Dwarf cable until much later (too late for this review).   When I have more time, I'll include some brief comparisons between the Dwarf and the Dark Knight cable.   As an added bonus, I ordered an 8 braid Dark Knight cable from Sammy, and I'll do some tests on that when time provides.

    As with my V1 review, I'm going to review the V2 only with the LPG.  No phone, no ipods, sorry.  Both the V1 and V2 "can" be used with an iPhone, but to hear them play to their full potential, you simply need amplification.   To be quite honest, the V1 and V2 love power.   They love it.  They simply shine with power, and the LPG fits that bill quite nicely.
     
     
    Test Music:
     I used a variety of music spanning many different genres, including:
        Arne Domnerus Group : Jazz At The Pawnshop 
        Bob Marley:  Is this Love
        Daft Punk:  R.A.M. - Fragments
        Eric Clapton: Change the World, Layla (Unplugged)
        Jewel:  Somewhere Over the Rainbow
        Lorde:  Royals
        Nirvana, Unplugged:  All Apologies
        Pink Floyd, DSOTM :  Time, Money (of course, I went there!)
        Steely Dan:  Aja
        Sting: Thousand Years, Brand New Day
        Ultrasone:  Test CD (It's quite superb, get a copy if you can)
        

    Burn-In:
    As with the V1, Sammy recommends proper burn-in of the V2.   "Piano music, 100 hours minimum, 25% volume level."   Luckily for me, the demo unit was close to full burn so I didn't have much more to do.  I'm probably close to 200 hours by now.  Time well saved IMO.
     
     
    Sound Impressions:
    I don't have quite the experience as other reviewers on Head-Fi, so I'll do my best to explain what I hear in simple to understand terms.
     
     
      Bass:
    In my conversations with Sammy, he related that the increase in bass/mid bass is a direct result of the brass material and the shape and design of the enclosure.  The bass continues to be heavenly, however, there's more mid bass present in the V2 than in the V1.  The bass remains deep, quick, snappy, and accurate with great extension.  Deep, deep notes continue to shine in the V2 as they did in the V1.  The bass is never sloppy, it never loses control, it never has a hint of distortion.  Fire up any track with great sub bass and mid bass and you'll instantly be rewarded with the extension and quality of reproduction that only a dynamic driver can achieve.

    I would venture to say that with the increase in mid bass versus the V1, the V2 bass is overall more balanced.  Everything in the lower range seems to blend in together better than the V1 did and thankfully I didn't notice any bleed from the mid bass into the the lower mid-range region.  The notes it produces to me are perfect; They neither hang nor disappear too quickly.  However, with as much bass as you do get, the V2 is  never overpowering and it never throws the music out of balance.  It's simply quality bass with effortless reproduction of the deep notes.  It's even better now, believe it or not.      
    Be warned:  The V2 is still not a "bass head" IEM, so mark it off your list of contenders if that's a predominant quality you want.  
     
     
      Mid-range: 
    Vocals on the Galaxy V2 are outstanding, and the new brass enclosure and resulting increase in mid bass bring the vocals ever so slightly forward.   Just a tad.  The clarity remains amazing, dare I say even better than the V1.
     
    Vocal reproduction continues to be well defined, airy, superbly detailed and with great coherence.  However, what we now have is a hint of warmth that was not present in the V1.   Don't be afraid though, the new warmth does not equate to thickness in the mid-range.  Female vocals simply shine with the V2, even more so than the V1.  Recordings such as "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "Layla" continue to sound "pure," but we now have a bit of intimacy that comes with the increase in overall warmth.   This increase in musicality in the V2 is a welcomed one, something the V1 was never quite able to, nor meant to do.
     
     
      Treble:
    Treble on the Galaxy V2 remains something to experience.   Clear, defined, detailed, coherent, and extended with no sibilance heard.    A new, welcomed feature of the V2 is a slight "taming" of the top end.   The Violins in "Andate Larghetto" Concerto No. 2 (Track #9) and the Chakraphon in "Chakraphon - Improvisation II" (Track #14) of the Ultrasone test disc continue to reveal the extension of the Galaxy's upper end, but the 1 or 2 notes that became sharp on the V1 are now ever so slightly smoothed over.   Again, a most welcomed characteristic of the V2.
     
     
    Sound stage and Imaging:
    The sound stage on the Galaxy V2 remains very wide, with great separation between vocals and instruments.   With the V2, musical separation and spatial qualities have increased.  As with the V1, V2 reproduction of instruments or singers on the sound stage are easily identifiable and placed with very little effort.  But now, with the V2, the stage seems to have even gained some depth.  What the V2 now presents is an increase in the sense of space and air between everything on the sound stage, and the new holographic effect now present on some tracks is a welcomed treat.
     
     
    Final Thoughts:
    Sammy, again, has outdid himself.   Just when I thought I heard it all, Sammy produced a Galaxy that, to me, excels over the original.   The V2 has a new, stout brass enclosure that fits my ears very well, and I can wear them for hours with no fatigue.   The V2 also reproduces music extraordinarily, with great musicality that the V1 was simply not meant to do.
        
    Continuing with improvements, the V2 is far more forgiving to poor recordings than the V1, while still reproducing the music as the musician and engineer intended.   The difference is now, you're rewarded with an IEM that's far more musical and enjoyable, yet it remains analytical and precise.  Classical music as well as vocal dominant music are the V2's sweet spot.   Fear not, as it also does very well with light rock, pop, and top 40 music.   Sorry guys, no trance or electronic music for me to listen to.  
       
    Someone described the V2 and fitting in between the Galaxy V1 and the Solar in the Rhapsodio family lineup.   I believe that's a accurate and fair assessment, although I would reckon it leans more toward the V1 than the Solar.

    People: what you now have is a choice, and a tough one at that.   Do you want a more "reference, flat" type of musical reproduction, or do you prefer an IEM that's in itself more musical but still very, very capable?  There's an appeal in either the V1 or V2, depending on your taste and preferences, and I can see either one fitting very easily into any Head-Fi'rs collection.   Yes, you now have that choice.  
      
    V1 or V2, pick your poison!
    1. Demard
      So any different between pandora dwarf and Dark knight cable ?
      Demard, Jan 5, 2017
    2. San Man
      Very different, please check the Rhapsodio thread in the forums for more insight!
      San Man, Jan 5, 2017
    3. Arthur Li
      I live in Hong Kong and have heard a prototype of the galaxy v2 before it is released. It sounds very smooth yet not muddy from what I recall. I was very impressed by the sound quality and was tempted to buy that prototype unit. However, one thing put me off the purchase - the weight. These iems are so heavy that I cannot imagine wearing them for a long listening session.
      Arthur Li, Apr 20, 2017