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Rhapsodio Solar

Rating:
4.83333/5,
  1. shotgunshane
    Rhapsodio Solar - Endless Power
    Written by shotgunshane
    Published May 2, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Design Options, Cable Quality, Technical Prowess, Male Vocals, Bass Power
    Cons - Bass Power, Price

    Rhapsodio Solar

     
    Rhaplogo.png
     
    Note: The custom in-ear in this review was provided at a discounted rate. 
     
    Rhapsodio is an up and coming manufacturer of both custom in-ears and custom-like universals. The owner and primary voice of customer service, Sammy, is a very friendly and passionate audiophile, who is quick to respond to inquiries and questions, particularly over Facebook messenger, which seems to be the communication method of choice. While not necessarily a new company (Sammy and team have 3+ years in business), it wasn’t until the introduction of the Solar, that word of Rhapsodio really started to take off on Head-Fi. Based in Hong Kong, they have been hard at work revamping the lineup and bringing new and different models to light, such as the Rti2- incorporating dual dynamics into a hybrid design, along with the aforementioned Solar- which contains 10 balanced armatures. Most recently they’ve even introduced a new single dynamic flagship, in the form of the Galaxy, an UltraMag II generation 10.3mm dynamic housed in an all metal, ergonomic enclosure. 
     

    Design, Build & Accessories

     
    The Solar comes in both custom form and the custom-like universal form. The universal differentiates itself from the full custom with a metal nozzle and mesh screen that covers the opening. The model used for this review was the full custom version.
     
    Solarcolors.jpg
    Universal Example (courtesy Rhapsodio)
     
    Manufacturer Specs:
    1. 4-way passive crossover design
    2. 10 balanced armature drivers (2 tweeters, 2 high, 4 mid, 2 bass)
    3. Frequency response: 20 ~ 20,000 Hz
    4. Impedance: 26ohm
    5. Bundles with Pandora Sound SPC/OCC CM Cable
    6. 1-year international warranty
     
    Rhapsodio offers many finish option for both their custom and universal offerings. There are multiple base colors that can be chosen, along with faceplate finishes like wood, carbon fiber, metal and gold flake. The website’s product page shows just a few of the more popular options. A further endless array of options can be seen on the photo section of their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/rhapsodiohk
     
    Goldflake.jpg
    Goldflake Custom (Courtesy Rhapsodio)
     
    The custom version comes standard with the Pandora cable. The Pandora is made from silver plated copper, contains four conductors and is finished in a round style braid. The conductor’s outer sleeve finish is very peculiar. It almost feels like its part leather- you detect what feel like little fibers, just like the backside of a leather strap, when you run your fingers across its surface. It’s a rather strange sensation but I found I really enjoyed the uniqueness of this custom cable. The Pandora is also finished with a memory section for over the ear wear. The memory section does not contain a wire but is more of a preformed section to prevent the cable from flopping off the ear. Also included was a cable snap to keep the cable in a wound position when storing. Both aesthetics and usability are very good. 
     
    Rhapsodio supplied the Solar in their newest case design. The case is designed for storage, rather than carrying around in your back pack, much less your trousers. To say the new case is robust and sturdy would be an understatement. While being absurdly over-sized (it looks as if it could store a brick), it contains a Nerf factory of protective foam- this is the ‘Fort Knox’ of protection. 
     
    image2.jpg
     
     

    Sound

     
    The overall signature is bass forward with a very full lower midrange. Bass texturing is brought to the forefront. Bombastic and powerful, the bass absolutely slams with impact. Vocals are very full bodied with great heft and emotion- romantic and thunderous are descriptors I’d heavily associate with the Solar. Treble is weighty with some sparkle but laid back for an easy going, long term listen. In fact, I would dub Solar as the bass lovers’ audiophile in-ear. 
     

    Comparisons

    Solar vs Ultimate Ears Reference Monitor (discontinued; replaced by UERR $999)

    ...a tabernacle of indulgence

     
    Next to the UERM, the Solar is practically a bass monster. The difference is rather stark. Solar is a thunderstorm of power and authority next to the leaner, seemingly more polite bass of the UERM. The UERM bass has always held very good texture for me but Solar pushes bass texture to the forefront, and it really takes a moment for the brain to adjust to the UERM when coming directly from the Solar. The one trait in bass they both share is a slight tilt towards mid bass over sub bass, however with the boost Solar has, there is plenty of sub bass rumble as well. While the UERM bass is about precision over presence, Solar’s bass is very much in control and doesn’t sound boomy or loose, even at such great quantity. 
     
    The lush lower midrange of the Solar is thicker, richer and more forward than the lower midrange of the UERM. Both are slightly laid back in the middle to upper midrange around 2k, but Solar bounces back a bit sooner after 3k. The lower midrange prominence and previously described dip, give Solar a slightly recessed vocal compared to the more linear UERM, but it also gives Solar a nice forward projection- giving it the ability for a slightly more out of head presentation. Midrange resolution is the UERM specialty and Solar certainly holds its own. When it comes to resolution, Solar doesn’t shy away from pushing small details to the forefront. Like everything else about the Solar, details are easily heard, bold in presence and projection. The UERM is more nuanced, almost delicate in comparison.  
     
    The light airiness and crispness of the UERM treble is again in stark contrast to the weightier, smoother treble of Solar. The Solar cannot be construed as airy- whereas distortion guitars soar to weightless heights with the UERM, the Solar is more about the grit, the grim and the undulating rhythm of drop D tuning. If some feel the UERM can be a bit on the analytical side, then Solar is built for long term, fatigue free treble listening. 
     
    If the UERM is an outside, open air venue, Solar is a tabernacle of indulgence where the whiskey flows and inhibitions are abandoned. While the UERM is much wider, Solar is not only much deeper but also has more forward projection and sounds a bit taller in direct comparison. The Solar’s depth helps to give a more precise instrument placement but the UERM has more air between instruments for more separation and space. The sonic images are about as different as they come. 
     
     
    Solar vs Empire Ears Zeus (pre revision $2099)
     

    ...powerful and thunderous

     
    Bass is the Solar specialty. It is both powerful and thunderous, and impact as well as rumble can be quite vociferous. Texture is really top notch as well,l and overall bass balance is slightly tilted towards mid and upper bass. Zeus, however, seems to take the Solar’s specialty and ups the ante. Albeit much less in quantity, texture and rumble are simply excellent, with an overall tighter and more sub bass oriented bass presentation. The result is an even more nuanced, yet delightfully indulgent performance. 
     
    Zeus places the vocalist not just front and center, but almost as if you are next to the microphone, or possibly you are the microphone. In You Outta Know, Alanis is exceptionally clear and the depth of her anger is easily felt with Zeus. In comparison, Solar puts noticeably more distance between you and Alanis, and while she remains very clear, the sense of anger is nowhere near as palpable. It’s the equivalent difference in watching a performance and being subjugated to it. 
     
    Solar note thickness and weight is obviously greater than on Zeus, and lower midrange notes are a good bit fuller, richer and easily lusher as well. Male vocals are full bodied and bursting at the seams with power. Consequently, the Zeus midrange is overall more resolving by letting the listener more easily hear low level details.
     
    Treble sparkle seems to be fairly similar between the two. Neither should be considered bright or airy but both possess a clean, weighty and articulate treble. The biggest difference will be in perception, due to the differences in note thickness and weight from bass through midrange. Being that the Solar is thicker and bassier, its treble presence seems a little more laid back next to Zeus. This again gives Zeus an upper hand in treble resolution, as it isn’t competing as heavily against the lower and middle ranges, and allows the listener to more easily hear low level detail. 
     
    The Solar is not particularly wide but doesn’t sound closed in either, a similar trait shared by Zeus as well. Solar has excellent depth compared to most TOTL offerings and height seems proportional to its width, however this is where Zeus really begins to stretch it legs and take things to a much higher level. Zeus depth and the layers within this depth are simply unmatched. While the Solar’s image is pretty precise within the stage, especially when listening for placement from front to back, separation just isn’t quite on the same level as Zeus. This is mainly due to the enhanced bass that seems to fill any sense of space and air between instruments, whereas Zeus seems to have a void of blackness between instruments. These elements of the Zeus performance help to push its overall sense of resolution and detailing to the next seemingly unattainable level. 
     
     
    Solar vs Perfect Seal AR6 ($950)
     

    ...a ruthless villain

     
    The AR6 bass sounds incredibly linear up all the way through the midrange, in that no part of the bass response sounds louder than another- rumble and impact are on equal footing and extension reaches into the lowest registers. While the Solar has great rumble, it has a tilt towards mid bass impact. Both rumble and impact are bigger and bolder than the AR6 and extends just as deep. When listening to rap and hip hop, the Solar really begins to stretch its legs. The Solar hits with power and authority; it makes you move to the aggression and attitude in 100 Miles and Runnin’ and Straight Outta Compton. The AR6 is no slouch in this genre but the Solar takes the Spinal Tap route and turns it up a notch to 11. When it comes to bass, the Solar is A Ruthless Villain. 
     
    The AR6 has a very linear midrange with a slight peak in the upper midrange. Vocals are exceptionally clear and resolving. The AR6 really seems to excel in female vocals, bringing to life the emotion and energy in the upper midrange vocal registers. In contrast, the Solar lends itself to male vocals, due to its lusher lower midrange. Male vocals are delivered with more power, authority and evocative connection. If a song is about the emotional loss of a friend or loved one, the Solar can really make those words weigh heavy on the heart. On Solar, Brooks & Dunn’s Believe is an emotional roller coaster of grief and hope. At the moments of loss, Solar broods and wallows in the emotion; in the moments of hope and belief, Solar envelopes with the tingling of inspiration and hope. Solar lets you connect directly into the heart of Ronnie Dunn. 
     
    The AR6 treble has greater presence for a brighter and airier presentation. In comparison, the AR6 treble sounds thinner next to the weightier and thicker treble of the Solar. The AR6 treble is perhaps just a hair under a neutral presentation yet with plenty of sparkle, whereas the Solar treble is a good bit more laid back and easier going. Even though laid back in treble, it still has excellent tonality and articulation.
     
     
    Solar vs 64 Audio U10 ($1399)
     

    ...denser, meatier and harder hitting

     
    The U10 and Solar are both bassy signatures but where Solar’s bass is slightly tilted towards mid bass, the U10 bass is heavily tilted to deep bass. While I consider the U10 bassy, the Solar takes it the next level over the U10. Solar bass comes across as denser, meatier and harder hitting compared to the U10’s bass which is bouncier and feels lighter and airier in nature. The U10 creates more rumble, due to lessor mid bass presence, but bass textures are thrust more to the forefront with Solar’s bass presentation. 
     
    Both the U10 and Solar have full bodied lower midranges that make for intimate and engaging male vocals, although upon direct comparison, the Solar has a more evocative and romanticized presentation. Due to Solar’s greater mid bass, however, vocals are a little further back in the mix than the U10’s. Again the Solar’s midrange seems denser against the airier midrange of the U10. Typically an airier midrange is in reference to a brighter midrange with greater upper midrange emphasis, and while the U10 does have a larger peak from the upper midrange into the lower treble, it also seems to be impacted by the Adele model breathing more air in to the notes. While distortion guitars soar with more air in the U10, it can also exacerbate sibilance in tracks, whereas the heavier sounding Solar remains smoother, mitigating occurrences of sibilance. 
     
    The U10 has an obvious greater overall emphasis on treble. U10 treble notes are noticeably thinner next to the weightier treble of the Solar. While switching back and forth, Solar seems a good bit darker in contrast to the more U shaped U10. This is most obvious in the opening segment of David Lee Roth’s Just Like Paradise, which has a light, airy upper register that just makes me want to take the top down and cruise. The U10 does a better job recreating this airy ambiance with its brighter and sparklier upper end. 
     
    To some degree, the outside, open air venue versus the tabernacle of indulgence comparison of the UERM also applies here, albeit the U10 is not open sounding as the UERM. The U10 does a better job of placement from left to right and Solar has greater depth with more precise placement from front to back. The Adele module in the U10 just makes everything seem somehow lighter than air; a show in the clouds, especially against the heavier and darker backdrop of the Solar tabernacle.
     
    Conclusion
     
    Rhapsodio’s Solar certainly lives up to its status as a TOTL offering, and its technical prowess, on top of a bass forward signature, make it an intriguing model for bass-first loving audiophiles. While Solar doesn’t come cheap, the finishing options and custom-made stock cable make it a worthy accessorized high end custom in-ear. 
      proedros, Kerouac, flinkenick and 2 others like this.
    1. Kerouac
      Hmmm, quite an intriguing (and very well written with interesting comparisons) review. Somehow I expected ''God of Thunder!'' to become your review title some time ago :wink:
       
      Anyhow, it's clear that Solar has too much bass quantity for your taste. I also have the AR6 and while it has a very different signature, I can fully understand that it ended up at 5 stars in your earlier review. But 'only' 4 stars as a final verdict for the Solar? Ah well, maybe I'm more basshead (something for me to think about) than I thought I was :)
       
      Cheers!
      Kerouac, May 3, 2016
    2. shotgunshane
      Don't take too much stock in the amount of stars. I'd prefer not to have that on the review and instead let the description speak for itself.
      shotgunshane, May 3, 2016
  2. ezekiel77
    Rhapsodio Solar - Arise, Empire of the Sun
    Written by ezekiel77
    Published May 5, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Immaculate balance, natural lifelike timbre, coherence, excellent bass, mids and treble, large soundstage with accurate imaging, robust build quality.
    Cons - Slightly veiled mids, sluggish bass at times, blunted note attack (can be too smooth), arguably best sound quality from silver cable.
    Introduction
    A wise man once said that in summit-fi, there are no weaknesses, only preferences. He must work in marketing. I’ve been in the head-fi game since 2012, still a relative newbie, and have tested, bought and sold my way up the ladder in pursuit of “the perfect sound”, which does not exist. Still, the journey has been nothing short of enjoyable, as I continue to be wowed by the many new ways music can be presented.

    Enter the Solar. Rhapsodio is a boutique brand from Hong Kong led by Sammy, who is active in Head-Fi and Facebook. The company is making waves for its impeccable IEM tuning and fancy upgrade cables. The Solar came highly, highly recommended among its reviewers, frequently garnering 5-star reviews. And being a 10BA-driver IEM, was naturally aligned with the Noble K10. Coming from a small city with no interest in developing head-fi, I had no means of testing either. So based on a few stellar reviews, the lower price of the Solar (at the time), and the friendliness of the guys in the Rhapsodio thread, I took the plunge to depths unknown, and bought the Solar blind. I chose the custom, because there’s nothing like commitment in your purchase, heh.


    IMG_20160504_165147.jpg


    Equipment Used:
    Astell & Kern AK100ii
    Chord Mojo
    Rhapsodio Solar
    Campfire Audio Jupiter
    JH Audio JH13 FreqPhase
    JH Audio Angie

    Albums Listened:
    Adele – 25
    Amber Rubarth – Scribbled Folk Symphonies
    Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
    The Eagles – Hell Freezes Over
    Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
    Jeff Buckley – Grace
    Miles Davis – Kind of Blue
    Xiomara Laugart – Tears and Rhumba


    IMG_20160503_191747.jpg


    Packaging and Accessories
    I was hand-delivered the Solar by Sammy himself. It came in a simple, classy packaging: all-black cardboard box, opening to reveal a metal miniature suitcase that would probably survive an earthquake, and in it… the power and glory of the sun. Also, the Pandora OCC cables. There weren’t any other accessories per se, but it’s a custom IEM, and I wasn’t expecting any. You were expecting a cleaning cloth?

    Fit, Isolation and Comfort
    Sammy gestured me for a quick fit. Being brand-new CIEMs they had slight resistance going in. Oh don’t worry, they will be coated with a delicate layer of my exquisite cerumen (that’s earwax to you) and will slide right in with repeated fits. And get a really nice sheen while we’re at it. So back to the subject, the fit was perfect, 100% seal for both ears in the first fit. No refits needed, REJOICE! Isolation was near-total blockage of external noise, and that is to be expected in well-made CIEMs. Comfort wasn’t the best and never will be in the first fit, but as of today, they slide in, stay put, and after an hour or so I don’t feel like I have anything inside my ears. Supremely comfortable.


    IMG_20160503_222941.jpg


    Design and Build Quality
    After a quick listen, I took them out of my ears to admire the fruit of my good taste. “Man, I chose good. Look at ‘em!” And I could look at them all day. Black with gold flakes is a Rhapsodio favorite, nearly a trademark, and a timeless design. The build quality is also flawless. I gave Sammy the thumbs up. He gave me an amused “of course” look. It’s really a different feeling when the creator of the CIEM is standing right in front of you. I wanted to gush at his genius, yet had to hold back, as I was certain everyone else has already gushed at his genius. In the end I mustered three words, “好好听 (a very good listen).”

    Cables
    Each Rhapsodio IEM comes with a house cable priced from $130 upwards, and have the look and feel of upgrade cables. The “stock” cable paired with the Solar is the OCC Pandora. After a week or so with it, something felt off, and I had to PM Sammy. This is a matter of preference of course, but to me the notes lacked attack and bite, and I was nodding off even while Rage Against the Machine (a very popular band known for their ballads) was playing. Matter-of-factly, Sammy suggested the RSD silver litz cable for more excitement in the sound, and so I bit. Holding the silver cable in my hands for the first time did not inspire confidence. It was more rigid than the Pandora, and has an unwieldy memory effect. The cable has more of a “backyard DIY” look compared to better-known brands, and the pins did not insert fully into the Solar. The sound had better be good! And true enough, there is a marginal improvement without messing with the overall signature. More note urgency and sparkle. Not a night and day difference, but enough to tell a difference. I didn’t a/b both cables because I sold the Pandora back to Sammy. I’m cheap. Now onto the sound.


    IMG_20160505_120924.jpg


    Sound Impressions:
    Overall Signature

    I’m a wordy dude, so no worries if you’ve skipped everything above. Bro’s got your back. What you need to know is the sound impressions are made with the RSD Silver Litz cable, not the stock Pandora copper. The cables are ran-in for 100 hours, and the Solar about 200 hours total before serious listening began. Sammy’s a proponent of burning-in, and I understand it’s controversial here, so just assume I’m following manufacturer’s instructions if that makes you sleep better at night. The signature is U-shaped, with enough bass to blow your house down, and a smooth yet sparkly treble that’s perfectly balanced. The mids are slightly pushed back, but still very detailed. Notes are thick and rich with a smooth finish, never fatiguing. Attack and decay is natural-sounding but its speed can be sluggish, noticeable in fast tracks. Very good separation and layering of notes owing to a deep and tall soundstage. On the whole, you get a very coherent sound, with a pleasing, easy-to-like signature, and natural, lifelike timbre in instruments. That’s the Solar’s main selling point.

    Bass
    The bass never ceases to amaze me. It’s definitely boosted for your enjoyment, but the bloom and decay sounds so natural, like a well-tuned dynamic-driver. Double bass, bass guitar, bongos, they sound alive and inviting. It reaches deep into your throat, and you feel it! Subbass is gently elevated while the midbass is plenty generous, with a rich tonal body. It does sound slower in complex passages, and not too detailed. But it segues very naturally into the mids, with no bleed at all. The deep soundstage helps in getting the most out of the bass, yet separating it cleanly from the rest of the spectrum. It has its own playground, and flourishes in it. A top, top bass. Hugely satisfying, like something from high-end speaker systems. And I’m not even a basshead.

    Mids
    Sweet, rich, creamy, a gentle but satisfying bite, and well-layered. I assure you I’m not reviewing a fine slice of cake. Although employing a mild U-shaped signature, the mids are still allowed to shine. You get used to the location of the mids, at the deepest part of a semi-circular stage, rather than occupying centre stage. Pop in a record heavy on vocals, acoustic guitar and pianos, and bask in its magnificence. Lower mids carry some body from the upper bass, lending richness and authority to the notes. Upper mids are intimate and melodious. Vocals are located above and in front of the head, with good heft and weight. They sound natural and pleasing, especially male vocals. Guitar plucks are realistic and have fantastic timbre. Pianos sound like the real thing. A GREAT slice of cake. Smooth as butter with no grain, perhaps a bit too smooth, as detail-heads will be clamoring for clarity. Compared to detail-oriented IEMs, there is a veil, but on its own, its richness and smoothness will make you sit back and enjoy the music.


    IMG_20160504_165037.jpg


    Treble
    The most accomplished of the whole spectrum. Where the bass can be sluggish and the mids can be veiled, the treble is hardest to fault to my ears. Hugely resolving, extending for Miles (Davis), with nary a touch of harshness. It’s quite exciting yet forgiving, achieving a splendid balance between smoothness and clarity. Cymbals and hi-hats decay with realism and a certain je ne sais quoi, trumpets bray triumphantly without piercing the ears. Cavalli Audio might have taken the name, but listening to the treble is truly like liquid gold. Some sparkle and shimmer, a fluid and seductive character, and precious to no end.

    Soundstage and Imaging
    This is the IEM that taught me about height, that it’s not enough for a soundstage to be wide and deep, hang on bruv, there’s a third dimension! Where the width is good, but not the greatest I’ve heard among TOTL IEMs, the depth and height are astonishing. The music achieves a definite 3D space, with width, depth, height and layering used to maximum effect, creating a wonderful, enveloping soundscape. Think back to when you were a kid going inside a circus tent for the first time, the sensation overload and being amaze-balled by everything. Okay maybe not that big but you get the idea. Imaging is stellar. Each instrument occupies their own space inside the tent and is allowed equal opportunity to shine. Even with the note thickness of the Solar, separation and air between instruments are well below the lime (sublime). My jokes might fall flat but not the Solar. Like the first burst of light at dawn, the Solar provides light and warmth and invites you to immerse in its splendor. What a sight, what a sound.


    IMG_20160504_215709.jpg


    Comparisons:
    Campfire Audio Jupiter

    The Jupiter is a well-loved 4BA universal with a solid build and a neutral-with-slight-warmth signature. Its subbass and midbass are boosted equally, unlike Solar with more midbass emphasis. Note thickness is similar for both, but impact, slam and rumble definitely goes to the Solar. But curiously, bass detail and separation are better for the Solar despite the elevated midbass. It makes good use of its depth for better layering. Jupiter’s midbass stumbles more in fast passages, notes less well-articulated. For mids, Jupiter’s are in-your-head whereas Solar’s are more above and in front (studio vs stage). Solar has sweeter and more natural mids despite being slightly veiled. Jupiter has boosted upper mids and lower treble that increases detail and clarity, however this makes some instruments, especially trumpets, sound unnatural. Treble in the Jupiter also has more sparkle and shimmer, but not as forgiving and once again, natural sounding as the Solar. Jupiter has the wider stage, but is no match for the depth and height of the Solar. Overall, Solar sounds more coherent with a seamless spectral transition. Jupiter no doubt has a more exciting sound and a bigger wow factor on first listen. But its thick bass and sparkly treble, while good individually, can come out disjointed at times. The Jupiter seems like the kid trying to impress the teacher with his knowhow, while Solar IS the teacher.

    JH Audio JH13 FreqPhase
    The 6BA 13 is my reference, the yardstick by which all TOTLs are measured by. Its exciting, fast, balanced sound makes this an endgame for rock and metal. Against the Solar is a battle between two ideologies, the quick aggressor vs the relaxed slow-burner. Notes are thinner and nimbler on the 13, with a faster and impactful attack and decay. It makes for a very engaging listen. Solar, as I’ve said, has a more natural, lifelike tuning. Sounds sluggish next to the 13, but shines so much more on low-tempo tracks when emotion and euphony are called upon. Then it makes the 13 seem cold and “digital” in comparison. If we go by sections, bass extension is equal for both, but Solar packs more rumble, with a more accurate, realistic timbre. The 13’s mids, probably the weakest point of the 13, is no match at all for the natural, emotive Solar mids. 13’s vocals might sound clearer with a veil removed, but tends to be shoutier. 13’s treble too, is splashier, less forgiving, and can be downright harsh in poor recordings. Certainly more exciting but error-prone next to the Solar. In terms of presentation, Solar has a more immersive, enveloping sound with good layering, while 13 seems to present its music like a flat canvas in front of you. There is width and some depth, but the separation and air between instruments are lacking next to the Solar. And I will again harp on the lifelike timbre of the instruments presented by the Solar. The 13 does cymbals, drums, percussion and high-hats very well, but just about every other instrument is bested by the Solar.

    JH Audio Angie
    The Angie is an 8BA IEM that’s known for its mid-forward neutral sound, and to me the best-tuned of the Sirens. In contrast to the 13, the Angie and Solar share many similarities. Let’s get to it. Angie (at bass port 2:00 position) has slightly more detailed bass, with cleaner notes and quicker decay. Solar is warmer, slower, midbass-heavy, punches harder, with a natural decay, and sounds dynamic-like. Angie sounds like a very good BA bass. Mids they go blow-for-blow, decided only by preference. Angie’s mids are more prominent and upfront, with a bit more detail but grainier. Excellent tuning, except vocals are in-your-head. Solar's mids are located further back, sounds sweeter and smoother but very slightly muffled compared to Angie's mids. Both sound natural, with realistic timbre. I would gladly go for either. Treble is another close fight. Both have equal extension and detail. Angie with more precise, articulated notes, and Solar with sweeter, thicker notation. More treble shimmer and sparkle on the Solar, very addictive and natural. Both are just as forgiving. In terms of staging, Angie is wider, whereas Solar is taller and deeper, with better layering of music. Not to say Angie’s imaging is bad, but Solar makes a better case, using its width, depth and height to create a splendid 3D image. Imaging is a mighty Solar strength! Overall, both are in the same ballpark of warmish, smooth, detailed premier IEMs. Angie has the thinner and better-separated notes, giving the impression of more detail. But Solar, with its thicker, richer notes actually sound airier because it uses its depth and height very well. A rare feat indeed.


    IMG_20160505_091550.jpg


    Conclusion
    This is my first TOTL review, and with apologies to Sammy, I’ve really taken my time with it. Moments of critical listening were interrupted by hours upon hours of sheer musical enjoyment. I have not heard realism from instruments as good as this. It’s uncanny! And like a drunk uncle who knows not when to leave or shut up, I will drill these words again to you. Natural, lifelike timbre. I’ve said natural like a few hundred times in this review alone, because it really was a revelation to me. If you want a well-balanced all-rounder suitable for nearly all genres, with pinpoint imaging and a satisfyingly large soundstage, please do consider the Solar. Its bass, mids and treble gel together in a super-coherent unit, ignited by its immaculate balance. It truly has no deal-breaking weaknesses.

    At this level, and especially with this signature (warm, smooth, detailed), people will gravitate towards fellow headliners Zeus, A12 and of course, the nambawan custom in Head-Fi, the legendary K10. I daresay the Solar stands with that elite group of CIEMs, and trades blows with them week-in, week-out in Head-Fi battles/comparos. Sort of like Austin, Triple H, Undertaker and the Rock. The past year has been a watershed moment in IEM history, with breathtaking TOTLs arriving every other month, portable audio has never been this exciting. With more reviews, good word-of-mouth, and aided by the excellent customer service of Sammy and co., I hope to see the Solar withstand the test of time.


    IMG_20160504_164940.jpg
      autumnholy, Wokei, Kerouac and 7 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. EagleWings
      @ezekiel77 , Cool. I also noticed that a K10 is in order as well. I look forward to reading your comparisons between the Solar, K10 and A12. Exciting times indeed.
      EagleWings, May 6, 2016
    3. ezekiel77
      @EagleWings that one's up in the air bcos the wait is so long. I might or might not cancel, we'll see.
      ezekiel77, May 6, 2016
    4. EagleWings
      @ezekiel77 , oh well.. I'm sure the Solar and the A12 will do the job of keeping the times excited..
      EagleWings, May 6, 2016
  3. RRC-Tyr
    Rhapsodio Solars: Hidden Gem in the IEM World
    Written by RRC-Tyr
    Published May 11, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Bass depth and impact, Great mids, resolution and clarity
    Cons - Lack of accessories
    The Solar
    -10 balanced armature drivers
     
    Introduction
    To start, this is my first time writing a review so please bear with me and I would also like to put a disclaimer that everything written here is based on my opinion only and does not in any way undermine products from other manufacturers.
     
    13101326_10206454002734345_365942017_n.jpg
    (Credits to my friend for photo above)
     
    Information
    For the source, I am using an LG G4 running Onkyo HD Player through a MicroUSB OTG cable into the Chord Mojos. Music genre ranges from pop, rock and instrumentals most of which are from Japanese artists like Nana Mizuki, BACK-ON, SPHERE, fripSide and the like. Below will be a list of a few songs listened to for this review. Lastly, all music formats listened to are in FLAC. The Solars used for this review is the Universal version with Rhapsodio's very own "wind" tips (L). This was used as it provided the best fit out everything else. Though I didn't get a chance to take a photo for comparison, I would say the IEM is roughly, if not the same size as JH Audio Angie's. So if you have ears that are in the smaller side, I would suggest getting the custom version. Also, before anything
    Sammy also allows one to put a custom logo and designs/colors not in the website. Feel free to contact Sammy for requests, he is an approachable guy and really nice if I may add.
     
    Treble
    First off, this is the only element in the Solars that I would say does not 100% fit my preference. To start with, the treble is quite sparkly at least for my taste. Though not my cup of tea, it contributes to the overall fun sound signature of the Solar. Quoting what Sammy said 'after around 100-150 hours of burn in, it should lessen'. The sparkle can easily be heard on relatively high volumes especially on high pitched female vocals. This leads me to my next point, treble extension. The treble extends quite high in the Solars to the point that you think your ears will break but never does. If you're the type of person that likes a V-shaped sound signature, then I would 100% recommend the Solars.

    *Note: After roughly 80 hours of listening, I am happy to say that I have learned to love the sparkle in the treble, as a
    matter of a fact, I find that it actually enhances female vocals and contributes to the overall "fun" nature of the Solars*

     
    Mids
    One word, speechless. This is the only thing I can think of that can describe the mids of the Solars. The midrange is full, clear, and natural. I can't think of anything wrong with it at all. As I mainly listen
    to Japanese songs, the midrange is extremely important due to the songs being vocal heavy. The main issue I had coming from full sized headphones(HD650) is that the mids sounds veiled but for the Solars it doesn't sound veiled at all even with the amount of bass present. The mids are unique in the sense that it presents male and female vocals quite differently, males vocals have that slight warmth to it to portray that deep voice while still maintaining clarity. On the other hand for female, the amount of clarity and detail is simply breathtaking.It's like the perfect blend of treble,midrange and bass all in a single package, not one element tries to overshadow the other. I would not change anything which regards to the mids, simply amazing.
     
    Bass
    Before I start ranting on how much I love the bass of the Solars. I would just like to point out that I am a basshead and as such I love earphones that can produce that punchy bass but I am also quite picky when it comes to the quality of bass. Most people think that as long as it has that boomy sound, it has good bass but there is a difference between just boomy bass and good quality bass. And for me the Solar have ticked all the boxes for being a quality bass even exceeding my expectations. The bass of the Solars is fast, punchy and goes really deep. I would say that even if you're used to having little/no bass, you will appreciate what the Solars have to offer. The bass is punchy but in a controlled way, what I mean by control is that even though it extends quite deep for whatever reason the midbass is not muddy at all. The best part is that it doesn't make the vocals sound veiled at all either. I don't know how Sammy did it, but whatever he did it is just amazing.
     
    Soundstage
    Coming from full sized headphones, I would say that my standard for soundstage is a bit different mainly due to being used to the wide and surround like presentation. Taking this into consideration, I would say that the Solars comes up quite close, only lacking a bit of width and height compared to their heavier brothers. If I would use figures for comparison, headphones would present itself as half a circle where each of the instruments have a significant gap as to where they are being played almost like attending a concert with a huge stage. And like a concert, you need to pay a premium price
    to be able to listen closer. On the other hand, the Solar soundstage would be similar to listening in a bar, a bit narrower but the instruments are closer to each other and more in front of you. Though the depth is in my opinion, better than what full size can give. Lastly, the presentation is nice and airy with great resolution. All these things considered, I would say that the Solars is one of the best I've heard in a while in terms of soundstage/presentation.
     
    download_20151222_221635.jpg
    Final Remarks:
    Overall, I would say that the Solars is a great all-rounder if you happen to be in the market for one. Also, if you're the type that wants music to be presented in a realistic and fun manner then I would 100% recommend the Solars. It can definitely hold its own against other TOTL iems from other manufacturers. Considering also the price, one should definitely put the Solars up
    in the list of contenders. As I would say it is one of the best, if not the best bang for the buck IEM in its price range.
     
    Comparison
    These comparison are based on roughly only 2 hours of auditioning due to time constraints when I met with Sammy. So basically, initial impressions and comparison.
     
    20160101_122223.jpg
    Rhapsodio&Rooth Hybrid Collaboration(MSRP unknown)
    First off I would like to thank sammy for giving me the chance to audition these iems. If I had to compare these IEMs, it's like the little brother of the Solars. Like how little brothers are in real life(at least as kids), they are livelier and more in your face type of IEMs. If the Solars are front going to midrow the rooth collab hybrid is on the front row period. Every aspect aside from soundstage is accentuated,
    treble is more sparkly, while bass hits hard but not as deep. For me, because the bass hits harder; it felt like the bass is not as fast and sometimes find it difficult to catch up to bass heavy fast paced songs. Also, because of this the sound is a bit muddier and sometimes midrange is slightly overshadowed. As I said earlier in this review, sparkly treble is not my cup of tea and as such the rooth collaboration hybrid is not for people that have similar tastes. Though this is the case, I would highly recommend the IEM to people that mainly listens to rock/pop and just wants to have a great midrange iem.
     
    20160101_122201.jpg
     
    Rhapsodio Galaxy(MSRP $1600, comes with SG 2.98 as stock cable)
    This is an IEM that is still currently in development by sammy so these impressions/comparison will not be the final product but roughly 60%-70% of it. The Rhapsodio Galaxy is what I would say how a reference sounding IEM should sound like. If I have to give a comparison, it is literally an HD800 in IEM form. Treble extends really far when called for(even further than the Solars imo) with just the right amount of sparkle. Bass is there only if it's called for, and when it hits it's just the right amount(might not satisfy bassheads). By right amount, you will definitely hear the bass,but once the next note hits it's gone which is probably why I feel that the galaxy is heads above the Solars in terms of clarity and resolution. As a comparison, Solar bass can be felt but Galaxy is more analytical? Lastly  soundstage is similar to the Solars, like the Solars compared to full size headphones,the soundstage is relatively narrower and more compact with one another. Big words as this may be, I think this IEM is a HD800 in a smaller more portable casing sacrificing only some aspects of full sized headphones like comfort and soundstage width and height. Definitely a TOTL item like it's brother the Solars just catered for a different set of people.
     
    Upgrade Cables
     
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    Rhapsodio Golden Litz Cable (roughly $650)
    This is the most expensive invoking cables that I have ever used from the day I started getting into audio. The cable just screams premium in all aspects(particularly color). Now does it sound as good as it looks. In my opinion, it does though imo it's catered for a different set of people. The most obvious thing when I change to these cables is clarity and resolution in the midrange and improves on what the Solars can already deliver with stock cables. Treble extension became even further with these cables to the point that it is ear piercing. This is where for me how the cables transformed the Solars into more reference sounding. As for bass, compared to the stock cable of the Solars it turned into something like the Rhapsodio Galaxy bass, just enough when called for. Soundstage became wider for sure and height is improved a little bit, small but good change. The cable for me is an attempt to retain all the great things about the Solars while trying to mix in little
    bits of how Galaxy and headphones sounds like.
     
    20160101_122703.jpg
    RSD Nylon Mark 1
    One word "reference", this is the very first thing that came to my mind when I listened using these cables. the transformation is just unreal for me it's like I was using a different IEM close to that of the Galaxy. It transformed the Solars into something opposite of my tastes. As a basshead,I felt that the bass became less and honestly almost non-existent for me. It's like when you're eating cake and you removed the icing which made the Solars sounded a bit dull for my taste. If you're the type of person that likes the treble and upper midrange then by all means this cable is a specialist in improving those two aspects. Don't get me wrong, it is a good cable just not for me. Honestly the one cable I spent the least time on.
     
    2.98 Silver Litz Cable
    Of all the cables mentioned, this is imo the best pair for the Solars. It made the Solars a bit warmer and improved the midrange quite a bit while lessening the sparkle in the treble of Solar. If you're a basshead and you think that the Solars are still lacking then you're in for a treat. These cables gives more authority to the Solar's bass almost like you made the Solars lift some weights. Bass impact and texture is improved and for me brought the drums closer to the vocals in terms of imaging which made it sound like you're in the front row. Mids became slightly more forward resulting in more
    in your face yet fun signature. The cable made the Solars sound fuller while still retaining the overall nature of the Solars.
     
    List of some songs used.
    1) Vitalization- Nana Mizuki
    2) Complication- ROOKiEZ is PUNK'D
    3) Imagination- SPYAIR
    4) Two souls- toward the truth- fripSide
    5) Gyakkou no Flugel- Takayama Minami & Nana Mizuki
    6) Brand New Smile- Takagaki Ayahi
    7) L.L.L- Myth&Roid
    8) The first ending- Myth&Roid
    9) Bokutachi wa Hitotsu no Hikari - Love Live
    10) Irresistible- Fall Out Boy
    11) Phoenix- Fall Out Boy
    12) Clock Strikes- One OK Rock
    1. View previous replies...
    2. H T T
      There is no way I can afford this IEM, but where did you purchase your music by Nana Mizuki? It is so hard to get JPOP in the US.
      H T T, May 16, 2016
    3. mahesh
      Very nice Review :)
      mahesh, May 17, 2016
    4. 0MoUsE0
      When I saw the "μ" on the IEM, I already know what the song list is going to look like. XD
      However, nice review, thanks
       
      0MoUsE0, May 22, 2016
  4. PinkyPowers
    Of, Relating To, Or Determined By The Sun: A Review of the Rhapsodio Solar CIEM
    Written by PinkyPowers
    Published Aug 7, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Detailed and clear. A wealth of deep, deep bass. Glistening highs. Perfect Mids. Delivers a thick, full sound.
    Cons - Cable is rather stiff.
    SolarAK120ii4.jpg

    What would you do if you owned a pair of IEMs you loved completely—if only they weren’t so god-awful big?

    That’s my predicament with the Jerry Harvey Audio Siren Series Angie. I’ve now owned her just under a year, and sound-wise she leaves nothing to be desired. Everything I wrote in my review still holds. And then some! Unfortunately, her size causes me sorrow and distress in regular intervals, tarnishing an otherwise miraculous relationship.

    Modern wisdom says the solution to this conflict is to go custom with Angie, and I very nearly did. Yet I couldn’t shake the notion this was an opportunity to explore something new, something I may like even better.

    My passions run towards a warmer, weightier sound. Angie is capable of superb note thickness, but I wanted to push this philosophy even further. The Noble Kaiser 10 almost got my money, its legendary status as a beefy, warmth-monster speaking directly to my aforementioned disposition.

    However, the Solar BA10 repeatedly beat out Noble by Head-Fi members who owned or tried both. So in a reckless leap of faith I contacted Rhapsodio.

    SolarFarInfraredAK120ii.jpg

    Big Boss Sammy at Rhapsodio is highly responsive on Facebook—not so much via email—and he took good care of me. Being a life-long artist, I simply had to design the CIEM myself. I sent him some proof of concept images for the look of my custom Solars and he and his team were enthusiastic about tackling the project.

    RedWineMockup.jpg

    Now, I’m not going to lie to you, Sammy is not the greatest with English. Communication is hit or miss at times. Now and again I must take pains to make certain we understand one another. Although, seeing as I don’t know any second languages, he’s doing far better than me. Plus, he’s very patient with me and willing to work things out until all the details are agreed upon by both parties.

    This is my first experience with Custom In-Ear Monitors. I found an Ultimate Ears-approved Audiologist very close to me. She made the process painless, admiring how clean my ears were and commenting on my average canal size… which I felt undercut the praise a little. There’s nothing average about this man’s biology; I’m an experimental mutation the likes of which shall never be seen again.

    Wait-time on my CIEM Solar ended up being two months… the first go around. For someone who’s previously only gone the universal route, waiting months for a new earphone is hard on the psyche. So you can only imagine the mental anguish of finding out the left ear piece does not seal well. I held on to them for a week, trying to maintain my denial. Eventually reason won out.

    Back to the Audiologist for another ear-mold. And another one-and-a-half-month-wait for the refit.

    And the left side is still not perfect!

    Placing blame for fit issues with CIEMs is not clear-cut. It could be the Audiologist, the earphone manufacturer, or even your own damn fault. Maybe you tensed your jaw while the impressions set.

    The fact the left monitor still does not fit perfectly is fishy. I shall bring my IEMs into the Audiologist and try to figure out what’s going on here. I CAN achieve a good seal. It just doesn’t last like a custom fit ought to. You needn’t worry that my review is compromised by sub-par audio. I’ve put a couple hundred hours on these with absolute perfect seal. I know what these truly sound like.

    Who’s at fault over fit issues may be a gray area, but it’s far easier to blame Rhapsodio for the adventure I’ve had with the cable.

    During our very first correspondences I stated my want for a 2.5mm TRRS Balanced cable. I went so far as to put that info, along with other specifics, in the PayPal notes upon purchase. I wrote a lovely letter that traveled with my ear impressions across the ocean which also made reference to the type of termination my cable should have. I made further comments about it during the many Facebook chats I enjoyed with Sammy.

    The first time my Solars arrived they came with a 3.5mm TRS cable. I laughed. Sammy Laughed. When they came back after the refit, it still only had a 3.5mm TRS cable. I groaned, and Sammy cried. He decided to build me a special cable with a special new connector he found. Sammy claimed it changed the sound in a way he was very excited about.

    TRRSCase.jpg

    TRRSCable.jpg

    It’s a fine bit of work to be sure. The only thing different is the termination, and yet he’s right, it does sound truly different. Even when I use my 2.5mmTRRS-to-3.5mmTRS adapter, to rule out my AKs balanced output as the culprit, there is indeed a change. It sounds a tad clearer than the other cable, but the bass is audibly lower, which I’m not a fan of.

    The volume in general is also lower, which should not be, since my AK120ii puts out more voltage through its 2.5mm output. There must be a ridiculous amount of resistance in this jack. Unfortunately, the lack of bass is not an illusion due to the lower overall volume. When I volume match, and listen critically, the lows are lessened by a serious margin.

    I think I’ll re-terminate this new cable myself when I find the motivation. For now I’ll stay with the single-ended 3.5mm cable.

    The standard Pandora cable is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship and right sturdy, but I don’t like how stiff it is, or the rough texture coating each strand.

    Sammy also turned my regular old standard Solars into FarInfrared Solars, which involves placing magic stickers on the driver clusters inside the shell. It’s meant to make the sound cleaner, with better extension. But no one can explain how or why. Since so much time past during the refit, I’m in no position to give a reliable comparison between the two versions. I loved them before, and I love them now. The stickers are pretty though.

    SolarFarInfrared.jpg

    Which makes this a good time to talk about how these buggers actually sound, yes?

    The Rhapsodio Solar BA10 delivers a full, bassy presentation, with enough treble to maintain good air and detail. The vocals stand back a pace on the stage, letting the lows and highs swell around them to wonderful effect. Very much like a live rock concert. Solar uses ten Balanced Armature drivers: A pair of large drivers for bass. Four medium-size boxes dedicated to the middle spectrum. And four tiny tweeters administer the highs.

    I cannot call the Solar v-shaped. The Klipsch R6 is v-shaped. In contrast, Solar is artfully done, as you never lose the vocals, no matter how much bass exists on the record. Like I said before, the mids simply take a small step back, nowhere near enough for the other frequencies to bury them.

    Nonetheless, the Solar’s bass is its defining quality. It blooms and rumbles deep into the lower reaches. It’s fast and smooth and remarkably natural in tone. It sounds more like a dynamic driver than a BA. Such warmth swaths the music, creating a tangible, earthy presence.

    SolarX51.jpg

    You would expect earphones like this to be dark in balance, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Solar’s treble pierces the gloom in clear, bright highs that sparkle like a pearl in sunlight. The treble is clean and honest, widening the soundstage and revealing all the subtle complexities of the track. Upon first hearing Solar, I marveled at how much air there was, given the amount of bass and the thickness of the sound. Those highs truly elevate it above the murky fenlands that often come from too much sub frequency in the mix.

    Terms like “recessed” are misleading when talking about the Solar’s vocal range; you can hear them perfectly. There is detail, grit, and vibrato. They sound true and right. With Rock & Roll, they could not be placed better in the mix. Still, if you are a purist at heart, and hold neutrality at top priority, then Solar is probably not for you, as they are tuned for fun and pleasure-listening, not professional/critical-listening.

    SolarInPelicanCase.jpg
    Solar and AK120ii secure in my Pelican 1060 case, with 1062 foam insert.

    IEMParty.jpg

    I’m cobsmacked at how much the Solar sounds like my early favorite, the Audio Technica IM03. Yes, Solar is much thicker, and noticeably more detailed, yet bass punch and treble sparkle are nearly the same, with Solar just barely edging ahead. Overall balance and tonality are very alike. The IM03 is just a little closer to neutral with the vocals. The Audio Technica is one of the most natural-sounding earphones, and Solar does not necessarily beat it here, but rather matches that high grade.

    Jerry Harvey’s Angie has been my closest companion for so long now. She sings with a voice I fell in love with upon first hearing it. Even after weeks and weeks with nothing but Solar in my ears, when I come back to Angie, I don’t know which I like more. Each does a couple of things better than the other.

    My preference is to keep Angie’s bass attenuators at 2:30, giving her a warm, bassy profile, without losing detail or air.

    Although Solar has two drivers more than Angie, note thickness and weight are about the same, both much fuller than the IM03. Angie is capable of nearly the same volume of bass, but Solar reaches deeper into the sub bass and the lows come off fuller and richer because of it. Amazingly, Solar also possesses FAR greater air in the presentation. Even when I turned Angie’s pots all the way down, Solar sounded brighter, with a better sense of space and atmosphere. This is likely due to Solar’s outstanding treble. I’ve always praised Angie for having clean, well-extended highs, but Solar adds some real sparkle to its top frequencies, and that makes a world of difference here. It brightens the stage up, revealing details Angie might miss.

    SolarAK120ii.jpg

    So you may think by the above paragraph that I clearly favor Solar, but as I’ve said, it’s not quite so easy for me. Angie is smoother and lusher. Probably owing to its lack of sparkle. Every detail is not highlighted, rendering a more forgiving melody. Angie is not dull or muddy. FAR FROM IT. Though compared to Solar, she’s certainly the easier, more euphoric monitor. She pours honey in my ears and I love her for it.

    I planned to sell off Angie when the Rhapsodio Custom came in, but I’m not sure I can do that. Her size really is a detriment, but if I don’t have to use her as my every day carry, maybe I can keep her around for the occasional sexy fun time when I lust for that old honey again.

    In the meantime, The Rhapsodio Solar FarInfrared BA10 CIEM suits my needs splendidly. It is a killer earphone and I can’t recommend it enough. The same goes for Rhapsodio as a company; Sammy helms a magnificent ship over there in Hong Kong. While it may be young, Rhapsodio has grown mighty, and I look forward to seeing where next it sails.

    -~::Pinky_Powers::~-

    SolarAK120ii2.jpg

    SolarFarInfraredLCD22.jpg

    SolarFarInfraredinear.jpg
    1. View previous replies...
    2. FastAndClean
      great review
      FastAndClean, Aug 8, 2016
    3. Paulo Abreu
      Well written.Interesting the mention about K10, makes me feel better and confident on my option for Angies... :)
      Paulo Abreu, Aug 8, 2016
    4. Subhakar
      Old honey. Sexy fun time. Miraculous relationship. Cobsmacked. Magnificent review from a life-long artist. Kudos. :)
      Subhakar, Oct 19, 2016
  5. karanehir35
    The Fantastic Sound
    Written by karanehir35
    Published Oct 21, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Bass Quality
    Fullness and Sweet Mids
    Detailed but Relaxing Treble
    Cons - The Housing is a bit large
    Soundstage is not very wide
    Mids missing some transparency
    Rhapsodio Solar Review

    Rhapsodio is a Hong Kong based company and the owner is Sammy.

    The Solar is a IEM with 10 Balanced armature driver units, 4 passive crossover and 3 main acoustic pipes. I have tested the Solar with the 2.98G/ 8 braided upgraded cable that bring this IEM to a different level especially the mids and detail and have also used the Noble K10U stock cable. I want advise to those who want buy the Solar, that they should get this special cable.


    MATERIAL QULITY

    The Solar is in terms of size bigger than the Noble K10 and a bit smaller than the Rosie IEM. It has a custom like shell and is sitting comfortable in my ears and I lıke the fit very much. Maybe people who have smaller ears will have problems with the fit.
    DSC_0333.JPG


    The Solar comes with an acrylic housing and build quality of this housing is solid and they are no imperfections such as openings etc. The quality of the housing is perfect.
    images (13).jpeg

    The 2 pin connectors on the housing are not too tight like on the K10 and lose like on other IEMs. It is easy to put in and out the cable that makes a cable swapping not an issue.

    The cable is very robust and the braiding of this 8 core braided cable is tight and they are no big gaps.



    We can say in short that the Solar has a build quality that is worth its price. Don’t mind that the Solar looks a bit rough, it is a very esthetic IEM.



    SOUND QUALITY

    The Solar has a slightly and wide angled V shaped sound character and is an IEM that sounds on the warmer side. Yes, it is warm but not is not as dark like the Heir 5.

    The Solar sounds vivid and detailed, thanks to the slightly bright treble factor
    e8ad464478ea3b1203f7e5348e9d6743.jpg
    Lows

    The Solar has a strong and deep lower frequency presentation. This is the area where the Solar is surpassing its price with its detail. I can say that the Solar is in this regarding better than other totl IEMs (for example K10/Adel U12 etc.). The lows have also not the sort of sub-bass presentation that comes from only one point. The Solar is transmitting the lows with good separating to the ears. I have also the opinion that the Solar IEM has a bass presentation that is close to real and natural sound.

    The mid-bass comes is soft with body to my ears. The mid-bass is not compressing the stage except some songs with high instrument density. The Solar has not a midbass focused bass presentation like the Noble K10 and is more sub-bass focused that makes it very pleasant to listen. The bass speed in genres like metal music is above average due to the bass extensions that is a bit higher than normal. But I have had no issues with many songs with exception of some critical listening’s. The Solar is in short an IEM with strong, tight and highly detailed lows.






    Mids

    Solar is a IEM with V shaped character that makes the mids a bit recessed. The sound is with the stock cable a bit recessed but is surprisingly upfront with the 8 core braided upgrade cable. The mids still a bit more recessed than those of the K10’s but the fact that the upgrade cable brings the mids upfront makes it very pleasant.

    The Solar’s mid area has a presentation where instruments are a little bit behind the vocals. The vocals are warm, bodied and musical. People who like listen to vocals will like this. The instrument separation of the Solar is pretty good due to the wide and deep stage. They are only some problems with songs that have a high instrument density, but the general performance is quite successful. My only complaint to the mids is the slightly veiled presentation in this region. I would only wish that the 8 core cable could add more clearness and transparency to the sound that is otherwise perfect, with exception in some songs that I use for critical listening.

    In shorts, there is missing only some clearness/transparency in the mids area and it would be very nice if they could add some brightness like in the treble area. His could make the Solar even better than the Fitear tg334. The resolution in this area is good enough for this price level.

    The instrument timber in the lower regions is on a high level with the Solar that makes it suitable with jazz to ethnic music. The Solar IEM is showing a good separation between instruments and the vocals. Yes, it has a warm tonality in this area but that doesn’t mean that there is too much air with warm character between instruments. The air between instruments is filled with a neutral air that is not warm and makes the general separation successful.
    939f4a45a9a084c7820b21a2d1ae98ec.jpg

    Trebles

    The brightness, which is more present in the treble area than in the lower frequency’s and mids is avoiding the Solar to be classified as a warm and dark IEM and makes it to a member of detailed and vivid sounding IEMs. The treble has a slightly bright and prominent tonality. The only downside in the treble area is the extensions that does not extend enough forward. Instruments such as cymbals have good definition but the extensions are a bit too short in certain genres.

    I do like the transition between the upper mids because of the soft and controlled presentation. The treble is not annoying in high notes of pianos, in the opposite it is sounding quite soft. Which I like too, about the Solar’s treble is the presentation of the side flute that doesn’t sounded like a horn. Especially the separation of instruments in classical genres such as Concerto’s and Quartets gave me some hours of pleasant listening. The Solar is in my opinion a rarely to found IEM, because of its success in both jazz/classical and pop/electronic music genres. The speed of Solar’s treble is good enough for some genres such as heavy metal or trash metal. But at times it may not be enough for some extreme fast metal songs.


    In short, many people will enjoy the Solar’s sub-frequency power, wide/deep stage, instrument separation, silent & black background, full bodied & musical mids and vivid treble presentation.




    Comparison with the Noble K10

    The Solar and K10 are successful in the lower frequencies such as mid-bass and the sub-bass depth. The main focus of the K10 is the mid-bass, but I found the Solar mores successful in both sub- and mid-bass regions, because it has the ability to make cleaner and more powerful hits and has also the better lower frequency resolution.

    The K10 has a mids that are more upfront and better resolution than the Solar. But the vocal performance is a bit subjective, because I found the K10 more successful with female and the Solar with male vocals, that’s because the Solar sounds fuller and has a more natural timber. If Solar have had more transparency and brightness in the mids, it could maybe more successful than K10.

    The upper midrange of the K10'un is more pronounced than Solar. Bu the treble is equal in terms of quality. The treble of the Solar and the K10 does not extend enough forward and here is a quick decay while listening to instruments like bells, cymbals. The K10 has some issues with songs where you can find a high density of instruments, because it was hard to define instruments for example a side flute in a song. It was easier to define this side flute with the Solar due to the wider stage, which makes it more successful in this area. The general speed of this IEM’s with genres like for example trash metal is not the best I have heard before, but I can say that I found the K10 faster and more successful in such genres.

    The Solar is superior to the K10 in terms of stage width, that has not a very wide soundstage I found the two IEMs at satisfactory levels in terms of soundstage depth.
    The Solar is in general more successful in relation of instruments separation and the K10 in terms of definition. In the symphonic music recordings, where treble instruments and mid instruments were used together, the Solar’s mid-bass fogged out, while the K10 have had mixing issues and loosed the control in the upper midrange. I can say that the Solar was more successful in this records than the K10, due to its larger soundstage and the better/correct instrument positioning.
    939f4a45a9a084c7820b21a2d1ae98ec.jpg
      mrhero, chaturanga and Moonstar like this.