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"Reference Titanium" single dynamic driver IEM Type : Single 8mm titanium...

Rhapsodio RTi1

Rating:
4/5,
  • "Reference Titanium" single dynamic driver IEM

    Type : Single 8mm titanium dynamic driver
    Frequency Range : 10Hz to 23 kHz
    Impedance : 16 ohm
    Sensitivity : 95dB /mV

Recent Reviews

  1. Brooko
    Rhapsodio – Single Dynamic / Superb Sound
    Written by Brooko
    Published Sep 21, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Sonic signature, build (sturdy), cable quality (the one I have is the OCC mk2 and not stock), fit / comfort, reasonable value at current price
    Cons - Finish is somewhat DIY looking, not many accessories, price/value if at original RRP
    rti104.jpg
    For larger views of the photos (1200 x 800) - please click on the individual images

    INTRODUCTION


    This community never ceases to surprise me at times. I've slowly built a name for myself as a reviewer over the last couple of years, but sometimes my location can count against me, and being isolated means that opportunities do not always come my way. I also don't solicit reviews - preferring manufacturers come to me.

    Anyway – I was having a friendly debate on the forums about cables and their effect on audio, and that night I got a PM from Head-Fier flinkenick (you'll also know him as Nic from The Headphone List). Nic is a big believer in cables, and we actually had a great PM conversation (respect shown on both sides) about cables and their effect on IEMs. I'm afraid I'm yet to be convinced – unless there are changes in frequency or phase which affect the frequency response (and it is measurable). During our conversation, Nic firstly talked about getting me some cables so that I could test different ones for myself. But in the end he must have talked to Sammy from Rhapsodio – and instead I received a sample of the Rhapsodio RTi1 to review.

    At this point I'd just like to shout out to both Sammy and Nic, and thank them for the opportunity to review the RTi1. It's really nice when these opportunities come out of the blue.

    ABOUT RHAPSODIO
    From what I've been able to glean from various sources on the net, Rhapsodio is an Audio Company headed by main designer and enthusiast Chun Yin Mak Mak (also known as Sammy, or SolarSammy here on Head-Fi). The company was formed in early 2012 after Sammy found it difficult to find an IEM which suited his own particular tastes. This led to him experimenting with various BA and Dynamic set-ups, and culminated in release of the of the RDB and EOL series IEMs. Slowly gaining popularity, Sammy then developed his own technology (dubbed UltraMag) and this led to the release of the RTi1 in mid 2014.

    Rhapsodio is based in Hong Kong and at the time of writing has 25 products listed on their website – 9 different IEMs, 15 different cables and an amplifier. This is a direct translation from their website – but I thought it gave a little insight into what drives Sammy:

    RHAPSODIO (fantasy studio headphones) name is derived from Rhapsody with studios, meaning mad pursuit of the true voice of the movement between the studio. As the name suggests, our product design is based on acoustic-oriented, whimsical skills by creating headset, headphone upgrade cable, headphones, amplifiers and other acoustic showcase products!

    DISCLAIMER
    I was provided with a review sample of the Rhapsodio RTi1 by Sammy (via Nic) for the purposes of review. I offered to send it back to Nic on completion of the review, but he advised that the unit is a review sample and that I can keep it – so it is freely given, and gratefully accepted. I am not affiliated with Rhapsodio or Nic in any way, nor do I make any financial gain from this review, and it is my subjective opinion of the RTi1.

    PREAMBLE - 'ABOUT ME'.
    I'm a 49 year old music lover. I don't say audiophile – I just love my music. Over the last couple of years, I have slowly changed from cheaper listening set-ups to my current set-up. I vary my listening from portables (including the FiiO X5ii, X3ii, X7, LP5 Pro and L3, and iPhone 5S) to my desk-top's set-up (PC > USB > iFi iDSD). I also use a portable set-up at work – usually either X3ii/X7/L3 > HP, or PC > E17K > HP. My main full sized headphones at the time of writing are the Beyerdynamic T1, Sennheiser HD600 & HD630VB, and AKG K553. Most of my portable listening is done with IEMs, and lately it has mainly been with the Jays q-Jays, Alclair Curve2 and Adel U6. A full list of the gear I have owned (past and present is listed in my Head-Fi profile).

    I have very eclectic music tastes listening to a variety from classical/opera and jazz, to grunge and general rock. I listen to a lot of blues, jazz, folk music, classic rock, indie and alternative rock. I am particularly fond of female vocals. I generally tend toward cans that are relatively neutral/balanced, but I do have a fondness for clarity, and suspect I might have slight ‘treble-head’ preferences. I am not treble sensitive (at all), and in the past have really enjoyed headphones like the K701, SR325i, and of course the T1 and DT880. I have a specific sensitivity to the 2-3 kHz frequency area (most humans do) but my sensitivity is particularly strong, and I tend to like a relatively flat mid-range with slight elevation in the upper-mids around this area.

    I have extensively tested myself (ABX) and I find aac256 or higher to be completely transparent. I do use exclusively red-book 16/44.1 if space is not an issue. All of my music is legally purchased (mostly CD – the rest FLAC purchased on-line). I tend to be sceptical about audiophile ‘claims’, don’t generally believe in burn-in, have never heard a difference with different cables, and would rather test myself blind on perceived differences. I am not a ‘golden eared listener’. I suffer from mild tinnitus, and at 49, my hearing is less than perfect (it only extends to around 14 kHz nowadays).

    For the purposes of this review – I used the RTi1 out of many sources – including my iDSD (desktop), FiiO X7, X3ii + E17K, L&P LP5, L5 Pro, L3 and even my iPhone 5S. Although I tested them with an amplifier (at different times I used the E17K, Q1 and IMS HVA), I do not think they benefit from additional amplification. In the time I have spent with the RTi1, I have noticed no changes in the overall sonic presentation, but am aware that I have become more used to the signature of this IEM as I use them more often (brain burn-in). I've now had the RTi1 since late May 2016.

    This is a purely subjective review - my gear, my ears, and my experience. Please take it all with a grain of salt - especially if it does not match your own experience.

    THE REVIEW


    PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES
    The RTi1 I have with me is not stock – so all I can comment on is what I was sent. I do suggest visiting the website for a better idea of the usual accessories included with the RTi1 - http://www.rhapsodiostore.com/products/rti1-ultramag-u-iem

    rti101.jpg rti102.jpg

    The pelican style case

    Side view


    The RTi1 arrived to me in a nice sturdy 125 x 85 x 40mm Pelican style case – with padded interior and clear lid. Its a perfect fit for the RTi1 and OCC mk2 cable, and I appreciate Nic taking the time to ensure these had a safe and secure trip over. The normal case for a pair of RTi1 would be Rhapsodio's aluminium case with similar sizing (photo courtesy of Rhapsodio's website).

    Apart from the RTi1, I also received Sammy's OCC mk2 cable and leather snap on cable tie (which is actually pretty functional with this cable), and a pack of Spin-fit tips.

    rti103.jpg rti105.jpg

    RTi1 & OCC mk2 cable revealed

    RTi1 + cable + tie


    The total package with the stock RTi1 is equally sparse, and I guess the one thing I'd suggest Sammy consider would simply be a small variety of tips – especially Crystal or some other type of foam tips.

    TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
    (From Rhapsodio)


    RTi1
    Cost
    Normally 800 USD – currently at USD600 with upgrade cable
    Type
    Single 8mm titanium dynamic driver
    Frequency Range
    10Hz to 23 kHz
    Impedance
    16 ohm
    Sensitivity
    95dB /mV
    Cable
    (non stock) OCC mk2 1.2m
    Connectors
    2 pin – recessed sockets (CM)
    Jack
    3.5mm gold plated brass, straight jack
    Weight
    Approx 37g (cable is 29g, earpieces + tips are 8g)
    IEM Shell
    CNC milled aluminium (2 piece)


    FREQUENCY GRAPH

    The graphs below are generated using the Vibro Veritas coupler and ARTA software. Ken Ball (ALO/Campfire) graciously provided me with measurement data which I have used to recalibrate my Veritas so that it mimics an IEC 711 measurement standard (Ken uses two separate BK ear simulators, we measured the same set of IEMs, and I built my calibration curve from shared data). I do not claim that this data is 100% accurate, but it is very consistent, and is as close as I can get to the IEC 711 standard on my budget.

    The graphs are provided merely as a point of discussion, and later in the review I've included comparisons to other IEMs for similar reference. The graphs in this section are the RTi1 measured with Crystal foam tips (they give me the most consistent measurement with Veritas)

    rti1freqresponse.png rti1CSD.png

    Frequency response and channel matching

    CSD graph


    What I’m hearing:

    1. Slightly elevated mid-bass with enough punch to be highly enjoyable, but not enough to dominate.
    2. Pretty good extension into sub-bass with enough rumble to be present but also balanced. Nothing is missing.
    3. Slightly recessed lower mid-range, complimented by a rise into upper mid-range which is moderate enough to sound quite natural and very coherent – with good presence for harmonics (particular with female vocals). Because it is not a steep rise, male vocals do not sound too thin.
    4. Upper mid-range is mildly emphasised, and this adds some euphonic warmth, but does not overly colour the sound.
    5. There is a spike at 5-6 kHz which can give some bite particularly to cymbals and hi-hats, and edge to stringed instruments. It took quiet a while for me initially to get used to this. The spike may cause issues for some, but I don't notice it any more (brain burn-in), and I find now that it's instead giving a nice bit of air. Depending on the recording (if its hot or bright), it can make some tracks appear overly vivid and etched.
    6. A bit of recession in the lower treble, but climbing to another small peak at around 9 kHz. This is a much smaller peak, and I've had no issues with sibilance.
    7. Overall it is an IEM with a mild V or U shaped signature – with warm but natural sounding bottom end, clean and clear vocal area, and somewhat smooth upper end which also manages to portray upper end detail (cymbal decay) extremely well.

    I included the CSD also, and you will see evidence of some mild ringing at 5-6 and 9 kHz, but comparatively little overall bass bleed into the mid-range frequencies (which is good considering the mid-bass hump.

    BUILD QUALITY / DESIGN
    The Rhapsodio RTi1 is an interesting design. Overall it is quite a small lateral footprint (externally looks like a ½ circle and measure 17mm across and just 13mm in height). But when you turn it side on, it reveals an 11-12mm depth which flares out to about 19mm if you take the whole nozzle assembly into account. The outer shell is CNC'd aluminium which is then milled to an ergonomic shape. It is two piece with an approx 1.5mm faceplate keeping everything in. The application of the plate is very good and although the seam is visible, it is also very smooth, and pretty seamless as far as feel goes.

    rti106.jpg rti107.jpg

    Outer face and Rhapsodio engraving

    Side view showing 2 piece construction


    The milling and finish on this pair is actually pretty good – but the buffed aluminium almost gives a home-made feel to them and this is accentuated by a couple of minor imperfections in this pair (around the socket). For all that (and the extremely light weight – just 4g each earpiece) the RT1i shell is very sturdy.

    The Rhapsodio logo and name is very subtly engraved into the external plate on both sides, there is also a logo adjacent to the sockets, and the model number is engraved onto the rear left hand earpiece, close to the sockets.

    rti108.jpg rti109.jpg

    Top view - sockets and internal face

    RTi1 model number engraving and rear view


    The nozzle sort of flares out from the body, is quite short, has a very good lip, mesh screen, and is 6mm in diameter. This means that T400 Comply tips are quite a tight fit, Crystal foams fit well, and most silicones also fit pretty well including Spin-fits if you jam them on hard enough. The nozzle has a wide flare, but also smooth tapered lip, so sadly for me Sony Isolation tips would not stay in place. Because of the depth of the body, and the shortness of the nozzle, they are quite a shallow fit – we'll cover this in the next section.

    rti110.jpg rti111.jpg

    Internal moulding for comfort

    Nozzle


    Internally the RTi1 houses an 8mm dynamic driver with a titanium diaphragm capsule, and this I think is part of the reason for the RTi1's exceptional clarity. The second part is Rhapsodio's “UltraMag” technology. This is apparently (and I may not have this 100%) a combination of the titanium drivers and utilising magnetic fields within the housing to enhance driver reaction. It evidently also assists with transmission of the sound waves. I have to admit, the translations on UltraMag are pretty difficult to read, and there appears to be very little technical data available – so we'll just leave it as a titanium driver with UltraMag tech. You can draw your own inferences, or perhaps contact Sammy direct for a more technical description.

    rti112.jpg rti113.jpg

    2 pin connectors

    Y split and cinch


    The connector socket is 2 pin, and is recessed. At first glance the socket looks pretty roughly cut, but then you realise that there is actually a plastic inner sheath in the socket, and the reason it looks a little DIY is because one of the corners looks slightly out of alignment. This is intentional though, and the slight gap is actually the port or vent for the dynamic driver (it took me ages to find it – so it is quite cleverly placed). The pins themselves are 2 prong (I tried briefly with my Curve and U6 – but they are thicker than both). The fit is reasonably snug, and they seem quite secure once mated.

    rti114.jpg rti115.jpg

    Main cable braid

    Gold plated brass and fibreglass jack


    The cable I have is the OCC mk2, and it is extremely well made, and looks gorgeous. It is 1.2m long and consists of 2 sets of twisted pairs into a beautifully braided quad. The connectors have a nice simple strain relief, and have a pre-curved loop of memory sheath which naturally hangs over my ears. The Y-split and sheath are a mix of stainless steel and carbon fibre which are fairly weighty but work well. The jack is gold plated standard 3.5mm and the casing is a mix of brass and carbon fibre. The jack is also iPhone case friendly. The cable itself is very flexible, and encased in a PPE outer sheath which is nice to the touch. There are slight micro-phonics when fitted over ear, but if you snug the able inside clothing it pretty much disappears.

    rti116.jpg rti117.jpg

    You can just see the vent in top left corner of socket

    Natural loop on the cable


    Overall, there are parts of the build which look a little rustic at times – but overall the Rti1 exudes an air of sturdiness and longevity. These were built to last.

    FIT / COMFORT / ISOLATION
    I have one ear canal slightly different to the other one (my right is very slightly smaller) - so I tend to find that usually I have trouble with silicone tips and shallow fitting earphones. Sure enough – my first couple of attempts with Spin-fits weren't successful, so I knew I was going to have to go to foam tips. The RTi1's wider nozzle means that most standard silicone tips fit pretty well – but the lack of a real edge to the lip means that unfortunately hybrid tips like the Trinity Kombi or Sony Isolation tips tend to come off. Other silicone tips which fit the nozzles well included Ostry tuning tips and Spiral Dots.

    rti118.jpg rti119.jpg

    Spin fits and Ostry tips - good fit

    Spiral dots were good, Sony Isolation tips didn't stay on.


    Crystal tips fit fairly well – but potentially could slide off (especially if they are a bit older). Comply T400s fit really well – you have to force them to get them on, but they worked well once in place. But surprisingly the tips I ended up using wee once again Shure Olives (large). I tend to use these now for all shallow fitting earphones, and because they are wider, they give me a great seal every time. You wouldn't think they would fit the nozzle – but if you persevere, eventually they stretch – and for me the time taken was worth it. Perfect seal, and perfect comfort. I had read that some people thought the RTi1 were a little bass light – and all I could think was that they aren't getting a good seal. IMO the bass on the RTi1 is great – and I think the graphs show this too.

    rti120.jpg rti121.jpg

    Comply T400 (left) and Crystal foam (right)

    Shure Olives actually fit!


    Isolation with the RTi1 will depend on the seal you achieve and the tip type. I would call the isolation above average for a dynamic driver. With music playing, isolation is really good. With nothing playing I can barely hear the keys on the keyboard as I type.

    Comfort for me is wonderful – the RTi1s are another of those designs which disappear when worn. The inner shape of the shell is genius (very smooth and nicely contoured). They sit flush with my outer ear, and are extremely easy to sleep in. My only issue (with the shallow fit) is occasionally having to push them back in my ears – as they can work themselves out over time.

    rti122.jpg rti124.jpg

    Shallow but very good seal accomplished with large Olives

    Yours truly with RTi1 securely fitted


    So the RTi1 looks good when worn (that cable!), has an extremely good build, and is comfortable to wear. How do they sound?

    SOUND QUALITY
    The following is what I hear from the Rhapsodio RTi1. YMMV – and probably will – as my tastes are likely different to yours (read the preamble I gave earlier for a baseline). Most of the testing at this point (unless otherwise stated) was done with my FiiO X3ii + E17K as source, and Shure's large Olive tips.

    rti126.jpg rti127.jpg

    The L&P family and RTi1

    FiiO - X3ii and E17K main test rig at top


    For the record – on most tracks, the volume level on the E17K was around 17-19/60 (on low gain) which was giving me an average SPL around 65-70 dB (with peaks around 75 dB). Tracks used were across a variety of genres – and can be viewed in this list http://www.head-fi.org/a/brookos-test-tracks.

    I'm trying a slightly different format when it comes to sound – mainly to try and give the reader a little more useful information. We'll start with relativities.

    Relativities

    1. Sub-bass – slightly recessed comparative to mid-bass, but enough presence for rumble, and very good impact. Good extension for a dynamic driver
    2. Mid-bass – elevated compared to sub-bass and lower mid-range, but a natural hump which doesn't sound too boomy or over done. No noticeable bleed into mid-range, and speed is very good for a dynamic driver. Impact is very good. Definitely adds some warmth to the overall signature.
    3. Lower mid-range – recessed compared to both bass and upper mid-range, but does not sound overly thin or too diffuse with male vocals. There is very good texture with deeper male vocals – just a little more distance (which to me sounds quite good).
    4. Upper mid-range – elevated compared to lower mid-range, but equal in intensity/volume to bass. The first thing I have to commend Sammy on is the gradual rise from lower mid-range to the first peak at about 3.5 kHz. There can be a tendency to overly elevate this section quite quickly, and while it does tend to give female vocals a nice sweetness, it can also lean out the lower mid-range if the change is steep. Sammy has used a gradual and steady rise with the RTi1, and this gives great body and air to female vocals – but it is never over done. The upper mid-range on the RTi1 is (for me) one of the best qualities of this IEM. World class.
    5. Lower treble – hard to describe. There is an early peak at around 6 kHz which gives a lot of air and shimmer to cymbals. But following this peak, there is a gradual roll off which gives a smooth upper end, whilst still maintaining great levels of detail and clarity. I personally find this a really good tuning now – although some could find the 6 kHz peak a little too much.

    Resolution / Detail / Clarity

    1. Very good with micro detail, and able to resolve finer details well without spotlighting or over-emphasising.
    2. Cymbal hits and decay on cymbals have good presence, but (depending on the recording) sometimes the decay after the initial crash can be truncated slightly
    3. Mid-bass can very slightly mask or mute really fine details – it is all there, just a little further back in the mix
    4. Not a detail monster – instead a clean and clear monitor with good resolution portrayed naturally.

    Sound-stage, Imaging

    1. Very good directional queues, and just outside the periphery of my head space with binaural tracks – so average to good width and depth
    2. Spherically presented stage – slightly more emphasis on width than depth, but definitely not one dimensional
    3. Holographic and compelling sense of immersion both with applause section of “Dante's Prayer”, and also “Let it Rain”

    Strengths

    1. Very good sense of overall naturalness in tonality – slightly on the warmer side,. But also very clear and clean.
    2. Good with both male and female vocals
    3. Excellent with dynamic music – especially if it has bass slam
    4. Very good with acoustic music and gives strings good sense of air when plucked, and nice edge when strummed.
    5. Extremely good with female vocals, lending a slight air of euphony and sweetness – without over doing it.
    6. Genre master – I enjoyed it with all genres tested – from classical, jazz and blues to electronic, grunge and pop.

    Weaknesses

    1. On hotter recordings can tend to sizzle a little, and occasionally hit a peak which is just too vivid
    2. Can expose sibilance if it is in a recording – this is not an attribute inherent to the RTi1 – but rather a fault of the recording. The RTi1 simply exposes it.
    3. At lower listening levels it tended to lose some of it's vitality, and is an IEM I found that worked best for me at about 4-5 dB above my normal very low listening range.

    AMPLIFICATION REQUIREMENTS
    The RTi1 is easily powered straight out of the portable devices I have, and I've tried them with pretty much every DAP or amp at my disposal. Depending on the recording I found that most of the time I was setting the level at around 35-40% on my iPhone 5S to reach my normal listening range of 65-75 dB.

    rti128.jpg rti129.jpg

    E17K, Q1, IMS HVA and iFi iDSD

    E17K + X3ii


    I tried various amplifiers (properly volume matching with an SPL meter and test tones) but I couldn't discern any obvious changes or differences in dynamics or presentation. Saying that though, I enjoyed the tonality of the IMS HVA, and also pairing FiiO's Q1 with my iPhone 5S. From my tests, the RTi1 neither benefits from nor needs additional amplification.

    EQUALISATION
    To be honest I don't think may owners would be equalising the RTi1, but in the interest of completeness, I did use the tone controls on the E17K to do a rough and ready bass reduction (-4 bass). If you are finding the RTi1 a little warm, this simple cut works really well, flattening the overall signature and giving a very clean and clear tilt. Keeping the -4 bass in play, I did the same with the treble setting (-4). this really balanced the overall signature and made for a very relaxed and enjoyable setting. The RTi1 (like most earphones) reacts well to EQ and can be tuned to individual user preferences.

    COMPARISONS
    I wanted to be fair with this – but I don't own a lot of top tier dynamic universals – so I chose instead to test it against my favourite earphone (the Adel U6 which I own), the Fidue Sirius (which is coming up shortly on my review schedule), and the Pai Audio MR3 which is up for review late next week. I also included a quick reference section on the Mee Audio P1 – because I knew that the signatures are somewhat similar, and I wanted to see just how much more the RTi1 delivered at a different price tier.

    All of these comparisons are very subjective – and influenced by my own preference, physiology and bias. Comparison was once again with the X3ii + E17K, and the RTi1 used Shure Olives. All IEMs were volume matched with a 1 kHz tone and using a proper SPL meter.

    RTi1 (~$600 current promo) vs 64Audio Adel U6 (~ $899)
    rti132.jpg rt1ivsu6.png

    RTi1 and 64Audio Adel U6

    Frequency graphs

    This pits a top single dynamic against a 6 driver per side BA set-up. Starting with accessories and overall package – the U6 dominates with inclusion of cleaning tool, tips, quality case and Adel module. Moving to build, and the RTi1 is definitely the more solid of the two while the U6 is slightly more polished. Cable goes to the RTi1 but at a cost of additional weight. For fit and comfort, it is a tie. Both fit exceptionally well and I have no issues with overall comfort.

    Sonically the U6 of course offers a lot of different options, and you can even control tonality by the use of impedance adaptors. The RTi1 is definitely more V shaped with a warmer bottom end, but also a more vivid and euphonic presentation of vocal presence. The U6 is flatter overall with better balance. Both are very clean and clear. The U6 exhibits a wider, deeper and more holographic stage. I can listen to the U6 at lower volume levels – but prefer the RTi1 with more volume. My overall preference lies with the U6, but that does not stop me appreciating the Rti1's obvious strengths in this side-by-side comparison.

    RTi1 (~$600 current promo) vs Fidue Sirius (~ $899)
    rti130.jpg rt1ivssirius.png

    Rti1 and Fidue Sirius

    Frequency graphs

    This time the RTi1 goes up against Fidue's latest flagship, the 5 driver hybrid Sirius. The Sirius absolutely nails the accessory and overall package comparison – especially with the adaptors, tip range, and case. And again with overall build quality – the Sirius comes out on top with it's clean and professional design vs the RTi1's more DIY looks. For cable choice – both are quality, but I actually prefer both the look and flexibility of the Rhapsodio cable. For fit and overall comfort, the RTi1 wins by quite a margin (you'll see why when I review the Sirius). Lets just say that I know when I am wearing the Sirius where with the RTi1 I need less adjustment to be completely comfortable.

    Sonically the Sirius is an interesting earphone, and bass response will depend on your own anatomy, and how much the internal bass port is covered by your ears. I measured with a completely open port, and a fully covered port – for me (when worn), the reality lies somewhere in between. When going backward and forward the Rti1 actually sounds like the more balanced and natural sounding IEM with the slight bottom end warmth and natural progression from lower to upper mids combining well to appear more tonally correct overall. It's just a little more relaxed than the Sirius. Comparatively the Sirius has more sub-bass than mid-bass emphasis (with my own fit), but the mid-range is where the biggest difference is. The Sirius is very vivid with a real emphasis on vocals. It is undoubtedly cleaner and clearer in the mid-range, but it is also leaner, and can sometimes even get a little shouty (it is better for me at lower listening volumes). I've also heard a lot of people talk about the Sirius wide sound stage – but for me in both width and depth, the RTi1 portrays a better overall stage. Vocals sit back a little, they aren't as etched, and overall the RTi1 is the easier earphone to relax with. As far as preference goes, a lot will depend on how you normally listen. At lower volumes, the Sirius is the more exciting and vivid listen. But if you do listen at a slightly more moderate to high volume, you may find the Sirius a little too much to handle at times. For overall coherency – I actually prefer the RTi1.

    RTi1 (~$600 current promo) vs Pai Audio MR3 (~ $200)
    rti131.jpg rt1ivspaimr3.png

    Rti1 and Pai Audio MR3

    Frequency graphs

    The what – I hear you ask? The MR3 is a triple driver BA from Pai Audio, and I included it because I've been listening to it for the last couple of weeks, and I really like it. Is the comparison fair? Probably not – but I'm doing it anyway.

    Both have a very sparse overall accessory package – so we'll call both a little underwhelming. For build – the RTi1 is definitely a lot more solid (metal vs translucent plastic), and the addition of the exceptional cable on the RTi1 is something the MR3 cannot begin to match. But for fit and comfort, the MR3 is one of the most exceptionally comfortable IEMs I've ever worn. The MR3 should be the poster child for designing a shell for overall comfort.

    Sonically although the graphs aren't totally different, the overall signatures are very different. The MR3 is quite lean, balanced and slightly bright – but with the same excellent transition from lower to upper mids. Switching to the RTi1 and once again I'm struck by how much more natural the RTi1 sounds. Although the mid-bass is elevated, it just sounds right, and in fact when I gave the MR3 a small bass tweak, it was amazing how much different it sounded. Both are very clean and clear, although the Rti1 does have better resolution particularly in terms of decay and overall detail with cymbal hits. But what surprises me here is how good the MR3 is. To me the RTi1 is definitely still a class above, and although it isn't 3 times as good as the price difference indicates, it is enough IMO to justify the premium.

    RTi1 (~$600 current promo) vs MEE P1 (~ $200)
    rt1ivsmeep1.png
    This one is simply here because I recognised similar curves when I eventually measured the RTi1, and I immediately wanted to do a quick comparison. The MEE P1 has overall a better accessory package, similar build quality, and similar fit and comfort. Sonically the two IEMs are extremely similar, and are really more alike than different. Sub-bass and mid-bass are so similar they may as well be twins. And even the transition from lower to upper mid-range is virtually the same. Where the difference lies is in nuance and presentation of lower treble detail. When comparing these two I can suddenly see why Sammy has his 6 kHz peak. The difference is in the presentation of the finer points of detail such as decay and air. If you want to know about what 90-95% of the RTi1 sounds like – then go listen to the MEE P1. Now a lot will be suggesting where is the premium, and I will let individuals answer that for themselves. For a start there is the cable (although the P1 cable is also quality IMO). Then there is that last 5-10% the RTi1 has naturally. I could undoubtedly EQ the P1 and get them very close – but (in my opinion) this comes down to an anomaly. The MEE P1 is an exceptional IEM which is completely undervalued for what it delivers. The RTi1 is an exceptionally well tuned dynamic IEM which probably sits well in its current price bracket.

    Which leads us to ……

    MY THOUGHTS ON VALUE
    If we look at all of the comparisons and comments so far, and also consider other top DD IEMs (eg the Campfire Lyra at $750), then you can see that the overall tuning and build quality of the Rti1 sit comfortably at a price of $500-$600, and in fact at this price level the RTi1 is a good value proposition. If I was told today that I had to give up all my other IEMs and only listen to the RTi1 from this point onward, I would not be disappointed. Where the RTi1 would struggle would be in it's initial price category of $800-$1000. And that's true of a lot of gear that has been around for a couple of years – it slowly loses perceived value as newer IEMs and newer tech emerges. But at it's current promo price of $600 with an appropriate upgrade cable – I see real value in the RTi1. It is an IEM I absolutely enjoy.

    RHAPSODIO RTi1 - SUMMARY


    The RTi1 from Rhapsodio is the first of their IEMs I've had the chance to test, and I must say it has been an absolute privilege.
    The RTi1 comes with a rather sparse accessory package (which could and should be improved IMO), and sports a finish that might look a little DIY, but seems incredibly well built to me. It also fits me very well and is extremely comfortable for longer listening sessions.

    The cable is a work of art, and I've had many compliments on it's aesthetics so far (my wife and daughter both think it is absolutely gorgeous).

    Sonically the RTi1 has a mild V shape, but one that tends to sound natural rather than overly fun or too dynamic. It has an exceptionally well tuned mid-range, and is the ideal monitor for kicking backing and relaxing – with a generous amount of detail mixed with a creamy smoothness which is absolutely addicting.

    From a value POV, at it's current promo price of $600 and including an upgraded cable, it represents good value, and for some may very well represent end-game.

    Easy recommendation in it's current price bracket, and I'd like to take the time to thank Nic and Sammy for giving me this opportunity.

    rti134.jpg rti137.jpg rti133.jpg
      earfonia, djvkool, peter123 and 8 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Brooko
      I guess that's up to Sammy
      Brooko, Sep 22, 2016
    3. flinkenick
      TBH I don't think Paul would like the Solar. It is a bass heavy monitor, pretty far from neutral.
      flinkenick, Sep 22, 2016
    4. audio123
      @flinkenick yea its too bassy for paul tastes but the technical performance of solar is better than k10. well galaxy may be the one
      audio123, Sep 22, 2016

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