Flare Audio R2PRO Kickstarter campaign
May 28, 2015 at 11:54 AM Post #166 of 3,098

sodesuka

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There are always those cheap Chinese foam tips from aliexpress, though I haven't tried them, the feedbacks has been good. $7 for 3 pairs? yes please.
 
Going to use spin-fit with this phones, hopefully they'll do the job until I get myself custom tips (provided I like the phones).
 
May 28, 2015 at 12:08 PM Post #167 of 3,098

Jobbing

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There are always those cheap Chinese foam tips from aliexpress, though I haven't tried them, the feedbacks has been good. $7 for 3 pairs? yes please.

Going to use spin-fit with this phones, hopefully they'll do the job until I get myself custom tips (provided I like the phones).


These aren't rubbish tips I can assure you. I have several types of Christallines and several types of SpinFits :wink:
 
May 28, 2015 at 12:12 PM Post #168 of 3,098

sodesuka

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These aren't rubbish tips I can assure you. I have several types of Christallines and several types of SpinFits
wink.gif


What's Christallines? Yeah, I believe they're good, but I don't know if it would sounds good with R2PRO specifically, silicone and foam usually sound different.
 
May 28, 2015 at 12:53 PM Post #170 of 3,098

Jobbing

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What's Christallines? Yeah, I believe they're good, but I don't know if it would sounds good with R2PRO specifically, silicone and foam usually sound different.

:roll eyes:
See link posted below for Crystal(line) tips, they're foam like Comply. @creator stated Comply would do justice to the R2's sound and isolation, that should qualify Crystal tips as well. SpinFit tips have excellent fit as well, not as isolating as Comply though.
 
May 28, 2015 at 1:17 PM Post #171 of 3,098

sodesuka

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I did (briefly) see that but the name was Crystal not Christallines :p
 
How's the crystal tips durability? They say it's "long-lasting" but no exact number is given for how long is "long". £10 isn't exactly cheap for a pair of tips...
 
May 28, 2015 at 1:25 PM Post #172 of 3,098

Jobbing

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I did see that but the name was Crystal not Christallines :p

How's the crystal tips durability? They say it's "long-lasting" but no exact number is given for how "long". £10 isn't exactly cheap for a pair of tips...


That would be the company name :wink: The Crystal tips definitely seem more durable than the Comply tips I have here, I should be able to post some pics tomorrow.
 
May 28, 2015 at 2:39 PM Post #176 of 3,098

julian67

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As threatened, err I mean promised, I visited Flare Audio this morning.

I wore clean underpants in case I was struck by a bus (see "Good Upbringing Finally Pays Off For Local Fat Man" - The Argus), and I trimmed my ear hairs this morning, inside and out (noisy but fun).

I had with me my Samsung Galaxy Note II, Shure SE215, Samsung HS330 dual driver headset, Xiaomi Piston 3, various tips, and my FiiO E7. Being a true genius I forgot to take the USB OTG mini to micro cable that lets me actually use the FiiO as a DAC/Amp with the Galaxy Note. Doh. It doesn't matter too much as the difference is more about sound levels than audio quality (you won't find much wrong with the audio out on the Note 2 except that, in typical smartphone fashion, it is a little quiet when compared to dedicated players).

My audio files were all lossless: flac from CD rips. No mp3s, no 24/96 or 24/192 or mangled downmixed multi-channel. I listened to a few tracks from albums of viol consorts, orchestral music, old skool rock, some modern(ish) dance music, contemporary African guitar, specifically:

Rose Consort of Viols - Elizabethan Songs and Consort Music
Thomas Tomkins - Consort Music for Viols and Voices, Keyboard Music - Rose Consort of Viols & Red Byrd
William Byrd - The Early Byrd - I Fagiolini & Fretwork & Sophie Yates
Alleluia - Motets by Vivaldi, Handel, Porpora and Mozart - Julia Lezhneva, Il Giardino Armonico & Giovanni Antonini
Frank Bridge - Orchestral Works Vol. 4 - BBC National Orchestra of Wales & Richard Hickox
Sibelius - The Lemminkäinen Suite - The Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra & Neeme Järvi
Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Ragged Glory
X-Press 2 (feat. David Byrne) - Lazy
Djelimady Tounkara - Solon Kôno

I spent a loooong time listening to the R2A and the R2Pro. It's easy, and reasons to stop don't seem to enter the mind.

I chose to listen to the R2A because that is the model I initially pledged for, and the R2Pro as it's the top of the range IEM and I was curious as to whether the same driver in a housing of the same dimensions but of different material (aluminium vs titanium) would really sound different.

First Point:

For those wondering whether to purchase the Shure SE215 or commit to the kickstarter price for the similarly priced Flare Audio R2A:

G E T T H E F L A R E S ! ! ! ! ! :D

Second Point:

For those worried about only getting one pair of Comply tips with the non Pro designated models: if this is what stops you getting the Flares at the kickstarter price you will be annoyed with yourself for a long time. OK, if you never listen to these IEMs you might not feel too bad and you can remain undisturbed in your opinion, but if you do later hear them then be prepared to feel baaad :p And foolish. And more bad. And badder, if that is a word. It is now (apologies to all who invested time and money in my education).


OK, OK but What are they like?

Physically they are tiny. They are easy to wear, comfortable and unobtrusive. There will be no difficulty wearing these cable down, cable up, cable front or back. You will be able to sleep with them in or don a helmet with no snagging and wear it with no discomfort. I wore them with cable up and over but then down to the front. There was zero cable induction noise AKA microphonics. Isolation when using the Comply tips is excellent. It's still good with silicone tips but as ever nothing beats expanding foam in your lugholes.

There is one sound property that I believe to be identical in each: the sound stage is utterly natural and believable to the point that you don't think about the soundstage because you are immersed in the music. When I switched to my Shures I was immediately aware of experiencing a "left speaker, right speaker and a bit in the middle" sound stage. Switching back to the Flares cured that rather nicely!

These things sound gorgeous. These are not made for the salesman who feels he/she has to wow you in 5 minutes in the store, so there is not some silly exaggerated bass so no need for overdone highs trying to make up for the mids being swamped by the bass. But there is also absolutely no danger of confusing the Flare Audio R2* with some joyless single balanced armature IEM that sucks the pleasure out of your music leaving you with a pale facsimile or some kind of dry analytical let down.

These offer a really natural, enjoyable sound combined with a totally credible experience. I hesitate to say sound stage because while listening you are not searching for artifical terms in an attempt to describe the deficiencies of an artificial experience....it sounds real!

There is a difference in the sound between the aluminium R2A and the titanium R2Pro. Davis did explain to me the reasons for this being to do with certain properties of titanium but unfortunately my Physics 'O' level B grade certificate was achieved well over 30 years ago and when people explain stuff like this my brain gets stuck at "this is actually a thing and those are indeed English words but what they all mean I will never know...must nod and agree...phew it worked". I do remember from my youth that titanium is great for bicycle frames - almost as light as aluminium but with the comfort of steel. I had my Columbus Genius steel road frame painted titanium. It looked great and I was a lot thinner in those days so it was fast too. I digress.

Initially I wondered if this perceived difference was a bias/expectation thing so I spent a lot of time comparing the R2A and R2Pro. I even double checked with Tom (Flare's IEM guy) that this definitely is the same driver. He assured me that it is. The R2A has a slightly warmer or thicker bass while the R2Pro seems to be more able to render texture and timbre. These are not huge differences but they are real and apparent. I spent maybe an hour and a half sitting still and being good while I listened (my Mum would be surprised and impressed). Obviously Davis has vastly more hours with these IEMs and knows them better than anyone and he finds some differences in the top end as well.

Value For Money

Are the R2A worth the kickstarter price? Yes, and by a country mile. They make my similarly priced Shure SE215 feel clunky, thumpy, artificial and decidedly second best. My Samsung dual driver IEMs (world's most underrated IEM!) are better than the Shures despite costing much less; tonality is closer to the natural sound of the Flares than is the Shures. But they certainly have some mid bass resonances, and they don't approach the natural sound stage of the Flares. £79 for the Flares vs £10 for the Samsungs? For pure listening pleasure the Flares still offer value. In a few months there should be Apple and Samsung compatible versions of the Flares at which point you can also answer your phone....

Are the R2Pro worth a substantial premium over the R2A? I think this is harder to quantify because it's quite a price jump and that difference is going to feel insignificant to some people but as wide as the Atlantic to others. I committed to the R2A on kickstarter and I have some serious thinking to do now because I really, really want (omg I am a spice girl - beery spice?) the R2Pro but I can't remember where I left the key to the subterranean nuke proof shelter where I keep my Visa card.....

If you can afford the Pros just go for it. If you can only run to the A's kickstarter price then don't worry, you will be getting something genuinely brilliant, well made and enjoyable.

Final Note

A really big "Thank You!" to Davis and Naomi and Tom and everyone else at Flare Audio.
 
May 28, 2015 at 3:17 PM Post #178 of 3,098

RedJohn456

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As threatened, err I mean promised, I visited Flare Audio this morning.

I wore clean underpants in case I was struck by a bus (see "Good Upbringing Finally Pays Off For Local Fat Man" - The Argus), and I trimmed my ear hairs this morning, inside and out (noisy but fun).

I had with me my Samsung Galaxy Note II, Shure SE215, Samsung HS330 dual driver headset, Xiaomi Piston 3, various tips, and my FiiO E7. Being a true genius I forgot to take the USB OTG mini to micro cable that lets me actually use the FiiO as a DAC/Amp with the Galaxy Note. Doh. It doesn't matter too much as the difference is more about sound levels than audio quality (you won't find much wrong with the audio out on the Note 2 except that, in typical smartphone fashion, it is a little quiet when compared to dedicated players).

My audio files were all lossless: flac from CD rips. No mp3s, no 24/96 or 24/192 or mangled downmixed multi-channel. I listened to a few tracks from albums of viol consorts, orchestral music, old skool rock, some modern(ish) dance music, contemporary African guitar, specifically:

Rose Consort of Viols - Elizabethan Songs and Consort Music
Thomas Tomkins - Consort Music for Viols and Voices, Keyboard Music - Rose Consort of Viols & Red Byrd
William Byrd - The Early Byrd - I Fagiolini & Fretwork & Sophie Yates
Alleluia - Motets by Vivaldi, Handel, Porpora and Mozart - Julia Lezhneva, Il Giardino Armonico & Giovanni Antonini
Frank Bridge - Orchestral Works Vol. 4 - BBC National Orchestra of Wales & Richard Hickox
Sibelius - The Lemminkäinen Suite - The Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra & Neeme Järvi
Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Ragged Glory
X-Press 2 (feat. David Byrne) - Lazy
Djelimady Tounkara - Solon Kôno

I spent a loooong time listening to the R2A and the R2Pro. It's easy, and reasons to stop don't seem to enter the mind.

I chose to listen to the R2A because that is the model I initially pledged for, and the R2Pro as it's the top of the range IEM and I was curious as to whether the same driver in a housing of the same dimensions but of different material (aluminium vs titanium) would really sound different.

First Point:

For those wondering whether to purchase the Shure SE215 or commit to the kickstarter price for the similarly priced Flare Audio R2A:

G E T T H E F L A R E S ! ! ! ! !
biggrin.gif


Second Point:

For those worried about only getting one pair of Comply tips with the non Pro designated models: if this is what stops you getting the Flares at the kickstarter price you will be annoyed with yourself for a long time. OK, if you never listen to these IEMs you might not feel too bad and you can remain undisturbed in your opinion, but if you do later hear them then be prepared to feel baaad
tongue.gif
And foolish. And more bad. And badder, if that is a word. It is now (apologies to all who invested time and money in my education).


OK, OK but What are they like?

Physically they are tiny. They are easy to wear, comfortable and unobtrusive. There will be no difficulty wearing these cable down, cable up, cable front or back. You will be able to sleep with them in or don a helmet with no snagging and wear it with no discomfort. I wore them with cable up and over but then down to the front. There was zero cable induction noise AKA microphonics. Isolation when using the Comply tips is excellent. It's still good with silicone tips but as ever nothing beats expanding foam in your lugholes.

There is one sound property that I believe to be identical in each: the sound stage is utterly natural and believable to the point that you don't think about the soundstage because you are immersed in the music. When I switched to my Shures I was immediately aware of experiencing a "left speaker, right speaker and a bit in the middle" sound stage. Switching back to the Flares cured that rather nicely!

These things sound gorgeous. These are not made for the salesman who feels he/she has to wow you in 5 minutes in the store, so there is not some silly exaggerated bass so no need for overdone highs trying to make up for the mids being swamped by the bass. But there is also absolutely no danger of confusing the Flare Audio R2* with some joyless single balanced armature IEM that sucks the pleasure out of your music leaving you with a pale facsimile or some kind of dry analytical let down.

These offer a really natural, enjoyable sound combined with a totally credible experience. I hesitate to say sound stage because while listening you are not searching for artifical terms in an attempt to describe the deficiencies of an artificial experience....it sounds real!

There is a difference in the sound between the aluminium R2A and the titanium R2Pro. Davis did explain to me the reasons for this being to do with certain properties of titanium but unfortunately my Physics 'O' level B grade certificate was achieved well over 30 years ago and when people explain stuff like this my brain gets stuck at "this is actually a thing and those are indeed English words but what they all mean I will never know...must nod and agree...phew it worked". I do remember from my youth that titanium is great for bicycle frames - almost as light as aluminium but with the comfort of steel. I had my Columbus Genius steel road frame painted titanium. It looked great and I was a lot thinner in those days so it was fast too. I digress.

Initially I wondered if this perceived difference was a bias/expectation thing so I spent a lot of time comparing the R2A and R2Pro. I even double checked with Tom (Flare's IEM guy) that this definitely is the same driver. He assured me that it is. The R2A has a slightly warmer or thicker bass while the R2Pro seems to be more able to render texture and timbre. These are not huge differences but they are real and apparent. I spent maybe an hour and a half sitting still and being good while I listened (my Mum would be surprised and impressed). Obviously Davis has vastly more hours with these IEMs and knows them better than anyone and he finds some differences in the top end as well.

Value For Money

Are the R2A worth the kickstarter price? Yes, and by a country mile. They make my similarly priced Shure SE215 feel clunky, thumpy, artificial and decidedly second best. My Samsung dual driver IEMs (world's most underrated IEM!) are better than the Shures despite costing much less; tonality is closer to the natural sound of the Flares than is the Shures. But they certainly have some mid bass resonances, and they don't approach the natural sound stage of the Flares. £79 for the Flares vs £10 for the Samsungs? For pure listening pleasure the Flares still offer value. In a few months there should be Apple and Samsung compatible versions of the Flares at which point you can also answer your phone....

Are the R2Pro worth a substantial premium over the R2A? I think this is harder to quantify because it's quite a price jump and that difference is going to feel insignificant to some people but as wide as the Atlantic to others. I committed to the R2A on kickstarter and I have some serious thinking to do now because I really, really want (omg I am a spice girl - beery spice?) the R2Pro but I can't remember where I left the key to the subterranean nuke proof shelter where I keep my Visa card.....

If you can afford the Pros just go for it. If you can only run to the A's kickstarter price then don't worry, you will be getting something genuinely brilliant, well made and enjoyable.

Final Note

A really big "Thank You!" to Davis and Naomi and Tom and everyone else at Flare Audio.


Thanks so much for the impressions, really helpful! What would be the one thing that stood out to you with respect to the differences between R2A and R2Pro? I don't listen to really audiophile recording, binaural recordings or classical etc. Would you say the R2Pro is great for top40 music as well? 
 
One reservation that I have is about the comply tips themselves. They need to be replaced continuously and thats an added fee obviously. Did you try them on with regular tips and how they get on? :)
 
May 28, 2015 at 3:48 PM Post #179 of 3,098

julian67

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Thanks so much for the impressions, really helpful! What would be the one thing that stood out to you with respect to the differences between R2A and R2Pro? I don't listen to really audiophile recording, binaural recordings or classical etc. Would you say the R2Pro is great for top40 music as well? 

One reservation that I have is about the comply tips themselves. They need to be replaced continuously and thats an added fee obviously. Did you try them on with regular tips and how they get on? :)


Top 40....oh. Sorry, you just discovered a huge void in my aural world.

The closest I got to listening to bass heavy electronic music was X-Press 2 which is ...err... bass heavy electronic music but from 2002.

To me the thing that stood out most between the two versions was that the Pros seem to extract that last little bit of texture and timbre and seem to be neutral/natural, while the R2A have a slightly warmer or thicker bass. I suspect that timbre and texture matter more with natural sounds like non-autotuned vocals and instruments made of wood, brass, gut, steel, reed and so on but this may just be my misconception or prejudice.

Tips: other tips work well. I'm not crazy about the price of Comply tips here in UK so for quite a while I've been using EarphonesPlus "Squish Fit" large foams which are about a third the price of Comply. They are foam only with no tight fitting plastic tube inner so don't work with everything but they do fit and work nicely on the Flare Audio R2s. I also tried out some EarphonesPlus Triple Flange silicones, and the medium silicones that came with a set of UE600. If you want isolation you need expanding foam so it's Comply (ideally) or EarphonesPlus foams imo. The silicone tips fit and work OK but I think without the best isolation you can lose some detail, depending on environment.
 
May 28, 2015 at 3:58 PM Post #180 of 3,098

Jobbing

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As threatened, err I mean promised, I visited Flare Audio this morning.

...... - snippet - .......

If you can afford the Pros just go for it. If you can only run to the A's kickstarter price then don't worry, you will be getting something genuinely brilliant, well made and enjoyable.

Final Note

A really big "Thank You!" to Davis and Naomi and Tom and everyone else at Flare Audio.



A big thank you for this post! Your way of writing matches your avatar - please take that as a compliment - I could read these kind of reviews all day. Your review is helpful and hilarious at the same time, you did a great job addressing some of the issues raised here and on the Flare Audio campaign page, whilst staying truthful to yourself, not ending up in audiophile blablabla. I'd love to read more of your impressions in the future :blush:
 

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