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Rose Mini 3

Rating:
4/5,
  1. Cinder
    Rose Mini 3 Review: Small Size, Big Sound
    Written by Cinder
    Published Nov 12, 2019
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Tiny, comfortable ergonomics, great resolution, tonal clarity, good spacial presentation, tonal cohesion
    Cons - Small graininess in the upper-treble
    There seems to be a formatting issue going on here. If you are bothered by the large images, I have another version live here.

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    Rose is a China-based audiophile brand. They pride themselves on their excellent value-based audiophile IEMs and have developed several successful lines. Rose are the makers of one of my all-time favorite IEMs, the Cappuccino Mk. II as well. Today we are taking a look at the Rose Mini 3, the successor to the popular Mini 2. Spoiler alert: its pretty damn good.

    You can find the Mini3 for sale here, on Penon Audio, for $149.

    About My Preferences: Heads up, I’m a person! As such, these words are my opinion, and they are tinged by my personal preferences. While I try to mitigate this as much as possible during my review process, I’d be lying if I said my biases are completely erased. So for you, my readers, keep this in mind:

    • My ideal sound signature would be one with competent sub-bass, a textured mid-bass, a slightly warm midrange, and an extended treble.
    • I have mild treble sensitivity.
    Source: The Mini 3 was tested in the following configurations:

    • LG V40-> earphones
    • Hidizs AP100 3.5mm out -> FiiO A5 3.5mm out -> earphones
    • HiFiMAN SuperMini -> earphones
    All music was served as MP3 @320Kbps or as FLAC.

    Tech Specs
    • Driver: 3x Balanced Armature Drivers
    • Cable: Removable SPC MMCX
    I can’t find any more details at the moment, but I’ll add them as I find them.

    Sound Signature
    Sonic Overview:
    The Mini 3 is surprisingly neutral. While it isn’t completely flat, it is certainly approaching such a sound signature. Its most pronounced feature is its treble, which exists slightly ahead of its upper-midrange and bass. The Mini 3’s midrange and bass are pretty tightly tied, with the mid-bass blending in closely with the lower-midrange. Its sub-bass rolls off behind the mid-bass.

    Sonic Breakdown:
    Treble: Songs used: In One Ear, Midnight City, Outlands, Satisfy, Little One

    In One Ear has a large number of subtle treble-bound queues. The Mini 3 managed to pick up the majority of them, displaying them to me in a coherent and pleasing way. From the breathing and conversation in the intro and bridge, to the high-hat decay in the background during the chorus, the Mini 3’s upper-register-competence was on full-display.

    I also enjoyed the Mini 3’s recounting of Outlands. I was taken in by the airy representation of the massive orchestrations and volumes of string instruments. Tone and presentation were both top-notch, with the Mini 3 approaching one of my favorite bright IEMs as a result. On a similar wavelength, the Mini 3 was able to capture many of the background effects in Little One, a performance that really aided in constructing a convincing atmosphere for the song.

    Importantly, the Mini 3 is not sibilant or sharp, even while playing back poorly-mastered songs such as Satisfy. I find that “neutral” or “bright” IEMs designed in China sometimes have this particular issue, so I’m glad to see that Rose handled the Mini 3’s tuning appropriately.

    Midrange: Songs used: Flagpole Sitta, Jacked Up, I Am The Highway, Dreams, Too Close, Little Black Submarines, Show Me How To Live (Live at the Quart Festival)

    The Mini 3’s midrange is really well tuned. It is mostly neutral, with a mild brightness. Its upper-midrange has a spike near the 1–2KHz range to bring forth common instrumentation and vocals. This works to a great effect, allowing the Mini 3 to be very expressive.The guitars of Flagpole Sitta sound electric and have their crunch cleanly presented. Jacked Up’s heavier sound is nicely complemented by the Mini 3’s light and airy style.

    I was similarly impressed by the detail pickup of the Mini 3’s midrange with the live recording of Show Me How To Live. The audience sounded so lively, as did the band itself. You could hear so clearly the unique intonations and minor defects in the recording that make it so special.

    The Mini 3 doesn’t play favorites with vocals. While bright IEMs tend to favor female vocals, the Mini 3 has a wide-enough lower-midrange to fill out male vocals such that they don’t sound anemic.

    Bass: Songs used: Moth, Gold Dust, In For The Kill (Skream Remix), War Pigs (Celldweller Remix)

    The Mini 3 is a “hear not feel” sort of IEM. You can clearly hear the bass guitars of Moth articulating in the background of the song, but you don’t feel much in the way of rumble during Gold Dust or In For The Kill. I still quite enjoyed War Pigs though, as the Mini 3 did produce a small amount of impact that, combined with its excellent mid-bass articulation, made the song’s alternative representation enjoyable.

    All things considered, I do like the Mini 3’s bass. It isn’t meant for hip-hop and dubstep (assuming you want a lot of bass in the mix while listening to these genres), and handles pretty much all other genres with ease.

    Packaging / Unboxing
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    The Mini 3’s packaging is small and efficient, just like it is. I appreciated the sturdy cardboard used and the lack of excessive seals that would have complicated the unboxing process. The IEM and accessories were neatly packed into their own bags and containers. The cable arrived in an un-kinked state and the eartips were not crushed/deformed by the packing process.

    Build
    Construction Quality
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    The Mini 3’s shells are made out of a hard, semi-transparent plastic. They are sturdy, despite their diminutive size, and showcase the drivers within. It makes for an interesting visual display — assuming that you actually spend any time with them out of your ears!

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    The bottom of the Mini 3’s shell sports a MMCX connector that sits flush with the shell. It connects firmly with the cable and doesn’t offer too much rotation or wiggle.

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    The Mini 3’s nozzles are much-improved over the Mini 2. These are made out of metal and a hard plastic and are very unlikely to break. They don’t have a debris filter integrated into them though, so care must be taken to ensure that nothing falls into them.

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    Rose included a cable that is visually appealing, sturdily-built, and comfortable to wear. Capped by metal at both ends, this silver-plated braided cable will last a good long while.

    Comfort
    The Mini 3 is exceedingly comfortable. Not only am I able to wear it for a (practically) unlimited amount of time, my SO’s tiny ears are able to as well. Passive sound isolation is quite good as well, making the Mini 3 a good choice for public use (or to keep yourself focused in a noisy office).

    Accessories
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    Inside the box you’ll find:

    • 1x hard carrying case
    • 4x pairs of double-flanged silicone eartips
    • 3x pairs of standard silicone eartips
    This is a fine accessory package. While the exclusion of foam eartips is a bit disappointing, its par for the course with Rose. That said, I was able to get an uncharacteristically good seal with the Mini 3’s silicone eartips — I usually struggle to find an eartip that is comfortable and provides good sound isolation.

    Summary
    Rose has impressed me yet again. They consistently produce unique and entertaining IEMs, filling niches that no one else can. While having a tiny chassis may seem like a gimmick to some, there are some people out there who have really small ears, and struggle to wear normal audiophile-grade IEMs as a result. The Mini 3 provides a high-fidelity audio experience in a shell that these estranged listeners can finally enjoy, and that’s something I can absolutely respect. Size aside, the sound and build quality of the Mini 3 is nothing to scoff at in a fair fight with other IEMs in its price-range. For $150, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a well-balanced and bright IEM that is as comfortable listen to as the Mini 3. So if you get a chance to try it out, I highly recommend that you do.

    As always, happy listening!