Rikubuds Grand Alter Saber 3

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Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Generous accessories
Light and ergonomic
Class-leading timbre
Warm neutral tonality, very balanced
Excellent technicalities
Cons: Balanced/detachable cable comes at added cost
Requires amplification for optimal sonics
Not for bassheads

The Grand Alter Saber 3 (GAS 3) was purchased by myself at full price.

It can be obtained here:

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Tested at 150 Euros.


Other than the earbuds, these are provided:
1) Large carrying case
2) White high-density foams
3) Red medium-density foams
4) Black low-density foams

The accessories are pretty generous.

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The white dense foam adds warmth and bass, whereas the thinner black ones would make the sonics brighter and thinner. The red ones are a mid-point between the two. Adventerous folk can even combine 2 sets of foams (double foaming) to add girth and increase warmth if you would like, so do foam-roll and see what suits your preferences.

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Rikubuds has included a large carrying case. Rikubud's logo graces the front, and the inner aspect has webbing to store accessories.

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While this earbud's cables are not detachable by default, when placing an order, you can message Rikubuds to choose between various colours and terminations (4.4 mm or 3.5 mm). You can also opt for an MMCX detachable option, though this requires a top-up of 35 Euros.

The stock cable is on the thinner side, but it is supple and well-braided, with zero microphonics. It is a tinge tangly though. The right cable has a red band to mark that it is the right side, with a blue one on the left side, as per usual convention.

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The GAS 3 has its own unique waifu, for those that are interested:

The rest of this review was done with the stock white (high density) foams. No aftermarket accessories were used, so as not to add any confounders to the sound.


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The GAS 3 is fashioned from a RG39-1 shell. The housings are extremely ergonomic and light. The thin stem rests nicely in the intertragal notch, with excellent balancing of the centre-of-gravity, and I had no discomfort using these puppies for marathon listening sessions.


This earbud utilizes a 15.4 mm light blue PET driver.


I tested the GAS 3 with the following sources:
- Apple dongle
- Cayin RU7
- Chord Mojo 2
- Fiio K11 DAC/amp
- Fiio KA13 dongle
- Hiby R3 Pro Saber 2022 DAP
- Khadas Tone Board -> Schiit Asgard 3 amp
- Questyle M15 DAC/AMP dongle
- Sony Walkman NW A-55 DAP (Walkman One WM1Z Plus v2 Mod)
- Sony Walkman NW A-55 DAP (Walkman One Neutral Mod)
- Sony Walkman NW WM1A DAP (Walkman One WM1Z Plus v2 Mod)
- Smartphone

This flathead has a whopping 180 ohm impedance and 118 dB/mW sensitivity. It is rather hard to drive, and would benefit from amplification to tighten the bass and improve dynamics. Using the GAS 3 with a weaker smartphone won't do the sound justice unfortunately.


, the GAS 3 is warm neutral. For folks who have had the pleasure of listening to the Sony IER-M9, the GAS 3 is a earbud form of this legendary IEM. Note weight is on the thicker side, with a pleasant and balanced soundscape.

The GAS 3, like most earbuds, is mid-bass focused, with a sub-bass roll-off. What the GAS 3 cedes in outright quantity, it makes it up in quality. Bass is nimble and fast, with decent texturing and minimal mid-bass bleed. It is far from a basshead set, but most other non-bassheads should find nothing much to complain in terms of bass calibre.

There is a bit of heft and warmth added from a bloom in the mid-bass, but the lower midrange is still relatively transparent, allowing instruments to be layered on a dark background. Upper mids are forwards without any shoutiness.

The GAS 3 sports a smooth treble with no sibilance or fatigue. While it is not exactly dark, trebleheads may want a tinge more pizzaz in the tuning. On the flip-side, this allows the GAS 3 to be used for long sessions. And for a treble that lies on the demure side, resolution is not lacking at all - many tuners overly boost the treble region to provide "fake clarity", which isn't the case here.

Speaking about technicalities, the GAS 3 definitely belongs in the TOTL conversation. Imaging is quite pinpoint, with an expansive soundstage with no compression heard, especially when well amped. Layering and instrument separation are well portrayed, and the GAS 3 handles complex passages in the music with aplomb.

Timbre is class-leading and is probably one of the best I've tried in a earbud. Timbre freaks will have a field day for vocals and acoustic instruments like woodwinds, brasses, percussions and strings.


Yincrow RW-2000

The RW-2000 is a warmish U-shaped set.

Timbre is natural too, but the RW-2000 has a weaker soundstage, with slightly poorer imaging and instrument separation. Edge definition is a tinge sharper on the RW-2000.

The RW-2000 has a detachable cable though, and can be worn over ears or cable down. The RW-2000 is much easier to drive.

Yinman 600 ohm

The Yinman 600 ohm is an L-shaped flathead, which is arguably one of the most power-hungry transducers, with specs of 600 ohm impedance and 87 dB/mW sensitivity. Thus, the Yinmans generally require a desktop setup to drive - which definitely limits its case use. It is harder to drive than the GAS 3, which already isn't that easy to juice in the first place.

The Yinman 600 ohm is thicker in note weight, with a more bombastic bass. The Yinman's bass descends deeper in the sub-bass regions, though it isn't as clean or textured, with mid-bass bleed noted. The Yinman 600 ohm is darker in the treble too.

The Yinman 600 ohm has inferior clarity, micro-detailing, imaging, instrument separation and soundstage. It also has a non-detachable cable.


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The Grand Alter Saber 3 is a earbud version of the acclaimed Sony IER-M9, boasting of a warm neutral non-offensive tuning, with solid imaging and soundstage. The soundscape is very balanced with top-notch timbral accuracy to boot. Additionally, accessories are generous, with excellent ergonomics.

In stock form, the GAS 3's cable is non-detachable, but one can opt for an MMCX or balanced version with some added costs. The GAS 3 is also not for bassheads, but the bass quality is up-to-the-mark. One thing to note - the GAS 3 requires amplification due to the high impedance, and weak sources might not represent the sound fairly - so please ensure that there is a solid source before considering this earbud.

In conclusion, for earbud aficionados looking for a TOTL balanced earbud with high performance and refinement, the GAS 3 has my recommendation.
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I had both. Serratus is warmer with better soundstage detail. GAS 3 is brighter with less bass and more prominent vocals.
GAS 3 is more difficult to drive than Serratus


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