[REVIEW]: Rhapsodio RD3: Dynamic Driver In-Ear Monitor
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Kunlun

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Synopsis:
The RD3 is part of the next generation of earphones from Rhapsodio. Powered by a single high-end dynamic driver, it has a warm sound and a hearty bass response. The RD3’s design includes detachable cables and a strong metal housing. For $400, its sound and build quality make the RD3 a serious contender in the mid-level price range.

 
 
Please note that this review was written listening to an RD3 loaner set. I played this for 100 hours on a loud and varied playlist before listening and I used an Apex Glacier portable amplifier through most of my listening to give the earphones all the power they could need.
 
 
Introduction:
Rhapsodio is the result of two men’s passion for music. Sammy and Sam have a thriving audio business in Hong Kong and they decided to take their love of audio to the next level by making and selling their own audio gear. The RD3 is part of a new generation of Rhapsodio products including earphones, cables, and I’m told there will be more to come!
 
 
The RD3:
The RD3 is powered by an advanced, full-range, single dynamic driver.
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 
Ear courtesy of Kunlun Modelling Agency
 
 
 
Build Quality:
The RD3 is built very strongly with the striking look of its reflective metal housing giving a clear sense that these are very solidly engineered. The cables are detachable and replaceable and the stock cable is both light and strong, terminating in a very hefty jack.
 
I should mention that Rhapsodio also has its own line of upgrade cables available.
 
 
Fit:
The RD3’s housing is more like a custom fit in-ear monitor than the typical earphone. It’s big and will stick out of one’s ears more than a lower-profile earphone. This might be a disadvantage for some and is worth considering. However, once it’s in, it doesn’t feel heavy in-ear and it’s fairly secure and quite comfortable.
 
 
Isolation:
The RD3 has average isolation of external noise. I found it certainly sufficient for commuting on the subway. Walking around was no problem with an average level of wind noise. People who need the ultimate in isolation may look elsewhere, but otherwise, these should be fine.
 
 
Impendence:
I tend to use a portable amplifier with my earphone, generally. However, coming straight from my old 5.5generation ipod, the RD3 sounds good. It’s warm, bassy sound does just fine. However, to bring out the RD3’s best clarity and to really see what it can do, I would definitely give it a higher powered source.
 
 
 
 
The Sound:
 
Overall:
The RD3 has a full bass, a warm midrange and a little bit of a peak in the treble just to keep things a little more balanced and avoid a dark sound. It’s a fun sound that lets you enjoy your music—a non-fatiguing sort of sound that people often describe as euphonic. Acoustic rock, folk, jazz and light classical are all well handled in the warm sound. I listened to pop, hip-hop, rock, choral, orchestral and more with the RD3. It handled it all well and let the music take center stage.
 
 
Timbre:
Like many dynamic drivers, the RD3 does well with a realistic reproduction of voices and instruments. To me, this is a vital ability for an earphone so the RD3 was a pleasure to listen to.
 
 
Soundstage and Separation:
The RD3 has an open soundstage with a natural sounding spaciousness. The single dynamic driver gives a very coherent sound where instruments and voices come together the way that they do in a live music environment. The separation is good, but those looking for a slightly unnatural, hyper-separated sound will do better with a multi-balanced armature earphone.
 
 
Bass:
The bass is strong point for the RD3. The bass here is well done with the mid-bass having the emphasis and decent extension into the sub-bass below that. Bass heavy music lovers will love the RD3. However, the control is good as well so the bass won’t interfere with bass-light genres.
 
 
Midrange:
If you want a warm sound with nice richness, the RD3 will give you that. It’s a sound that lets you relax in the music. There’s a little boost in the vocal range to allow the heart of the music to step a touch forward which works well in the overall tonality. The effect is to give you a bit of clarity with the warmth.
 
 
Treble:
The treble does a good job of keeping up with the bass and midrange. The treble has a little peak around 7-8khz which adds emphasis and the sense of clarity. It’s well done, I never found the treble fatiguing during the weeks I’ve listened. The treble starts to roll-off after that, allowing the music to have a bit of air, but not extending far into the upper treble.
 
 
 
 
Conclusion:
At $400, the RD3 is a definite, strong mid-range choice. It’s a very enjoyable sound and there’s enough control, clarity, and balance to go with the warm, bassy richness. Plus, the excellent build quality and detachable cable makes for a good package overall. Rhapsodio has a hit in the RD3.
 
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Kunlun

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reserved -- Also, I want to add that other people's RD3 impressions are welcome in this thread!
 
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Thanks for the review. Any quick thoughts vs the G10? Sounds like they are rather different in terms of FR and presentation, so I guess what I'm really asking about is how the bass compares
 
 
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I have been enjoying the RD3 for some time. Experiment with the tips because material and size of the tips will change the soubd.
 
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I owe Sammy a review as well - losing a father and a father in law in rapid succession these past few months has placed some of the more time-sensitive projects on the back burner. I can say that the new pricing is definitely a positive - and these are built like tanks, but still manage to disappear in the ears. The polished finish is a delight. They look and feel like jewelry. They like power, but it isn't a requirement. I am enjoying them immensely.... Sammy has poured his heart and soul in the dynamic series IEMs.
 
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Kunlun

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  I owe Sammy a review as well - losing a father and a father in law in rapid succession these past few months has placed some of the more time-sensitive projects on the back burner. I can say that the new pricing is definitely a positive - and these are built like tanks, but still manage to disappear in the ears. The polished finish is a delight. They look and feel like jewelry. They like power, but it isn't a requirement. I am enjoying them immensely.... Sammy has poured his heart and soul in the dynamic series IEMs.

I'm sorry to hear that, my condolences.
 
Whenever you're ready, I hope you'll post a few more impressions here.
 
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Kunlun

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  Thanks for the review. Any quick thoughts vs the G10? Sounds like they are rather different in terms of FR and presentation, so I guess what I'm really asking about is how the bass compares
 
You're welcome! The G10 has more sub-bass extension, no question, and you're right, the overall approach is different. But, that's not to say that the RD3 doesn't have good bass!
 
I have been enjoying the RD3 for some time. Experiment with the tips because material and size of the tips will change the soubd.

I would love to hear your thoughts on which tips work best. I have a friend in HK who says that the Rhapsodio silver cables are a must for the RD3.
 
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Silicon works well and so dies comply tips but both have to be tight fit meaning smaller size so I have to stretch it to get it on the nozzle.
 
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Silicon works well and so dies comply tips but both have to be tight fit meaning smaller size so I have to stretch it to get it on the nozzle.

Got it, thanks.
 
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Actually I have had a RD3 for quite some time and although it is not in my daily rotation now I do reach for them now and then for a change of taste. While I have no love for the "euphonic" sound profile, the RD3 does possess a lively sound with tons of details to match - in it is one of the most detailed sounding dynamic transducer I've ever heard. It is also the more natural sounding sibling of the 2 flagship dynamics of Rhapsodio - the more expensive RTi sounds a bit colder and more aggressive in comparison.
 
It's worth mentioning that the RD3 utilizes a carbon fiber diaphram while RTi uses a titanium coated diaphram. 
 
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  Actually I have had a RD3 for quite some time and although it is not in my daily rotation now I do reach for them now and then for a change of taste. While I have no love for the "euphonic" sound profile, the RD3 does possess a lively sound with tons of details to match - in it is one of the most detailed sounding dynamic transducer I've ever heard. It is also the more natural sounding sibling of the 2 flagship dynamics of Rhapsodio - the more expensive RTi sounds a bit colder and more aggressive in comparison.
 
It's worth mentioning that the RD3 utilizes a carbon fiber diaphram while RTi uses a titanium coated diaphram. 
 
Looking at the pics in the thread I believe my RD3 is the earlier batch with raw matte finish, different from the polished finish which is offered as standard now. I believe the sound is the same though.
 
It is my specialty iem for hot / hyperexcited Japanese female rock-ish vocals - the elevated 7-8K region brings out the emotion of these singers particularly well while the bass has great visceral impact without any apparent mid-bass emphasize.
 
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  You're welcome! The G10 has more sub-bass extension, no question, and you're right, the overall approach is different. But, that's not to say that the RD3 doesn't have good bass!
 

I would love to hear your thoughts on which tips work best. I have a friend in HK who says that the Rhapsodio silver cables are a must for the RD3.
 
I am using the JVC spiral dots on the RD3, which provides better isolation than the stock tips and retains the sound profile well.
 
RD3 is one of the most cable-dependent iem I have ever owned. Instead of saying it shows different cables' characters I'd rather say it simply produces easily audible different, and sometimes quite unpredictable, tonality and balance with different cables. For quite some time I tend to pair it with pure silver cables after trying out numerous copper, SPC, pure silver or even TWAu, and I tried the Rhapsodio silver cable which was a nice match but didn't place the order since I didn't want to wait (they usually don't stock any of their cables I was told). Right now I pair it with the Plussound tri-metal (copper+gold, silver+gold) to achieve the best balance. I did pair it with another copper/silver/gold cable, the Labkable Takumi, but the result wasn't at all satisfactory, so it isn't just a matter of conductor material. Matching is the key.
 
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Yep the RD3 sound will change a lot with your choice of cable.
 
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Kunlun

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Actually I have had a RD3 for quite some time and although it is not in my daily rotation now I do reach for them now and then for a change of taste. While I have no love for the "euphonic" sound profile, the RD3 does possess a lively sound with tons of details to match - in it is one of the most detailed sounding dynamic transducer I've ever heard. It is also the more natural sounding sibling of the 2 flagship dynamics of Rhapsodio - the more expensive RTi sounds a bit colder and more aggressive in comparison.

It's worth mentioning that the RD3 utilizes a carbon fiber diaphram while RTi uses a titanium coated diaphram. 

Hey productred, thanks for sharing! I think your comments help to show well the strengths of the RD3.
 
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Kunlun

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I am using the JVC spiral dots on the RD3, which provides better isolation than the stock tips and retains the sound profile well.

RD3 is one of the most cable-dependent iem I have ever owned. Instead of saying it shows different cables' characters I'd rather say it simply produces easily audible different, and sometimes quite unpredictable, tonality and balance with different cables. For quite some time I tend to pair it with pure silver cables after trying out numerous copper, SPC, pure silver or even TWAu, and I tried the Rhapsodio silver cable which was a nice match but didn't place the order since I didn't want to wait (they usually don't stock any of their cables I was told). Right now I pair it with the Plussound tri-metal (copper+gold, silver+gold) to achieve the best balance. I did pair it with another copper/silver/gold cable, the Labkable Takumi, but the result wasn't at all satisfactory, so it isn't just a matter of conductor material. Matching is the key.


Yep the RD3 sound will change a lot with your choice of cable.

I ended up with spiral dots tips myself. I'll have to try the Rhapsodio silver cable on the RD3.
 
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