Softears - Discussion & Appreciation
Sep 6, 2021 at 5:57 PM Post #646 of 788

KickAssChewGum

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Not that this applies to anyone in this thread or matters much but I keep having other reviewers skip right over the RSV and give little love.. not even close to what it deserves. It should join my 'Short Bus' Recommendation list. Which is really only 4 iems at this point.
It’s such a terrific IEM. You literally cannot go wrong with the @Softears RSV.
 
Sep 6, 2021 at 6:35 PM Post #647 of 788

metaljem77

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Softears RSV Review (crossposted from the RSV page):

Huge thanks to the incredibly lovely team at @Softears for sending me the RSV free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion.

When I recently reviewed the @Softears Cerberus, I expressed an interest in hearing more of the brand’s products. Thanks to the lovely folks at @Softears, I didn’t have to wait too long to do so, as the RSV was soon winging its way towards me.

As many of you already know, the @Softears brand is the luxury, high-end division of the Moondrop brand, responsible for many popular IEMs such as the S8, Variations and the Blessing 2 Dusk edition (tuned in collaboration with renowned reviewer/head-fier @crinacle).

Unboxing:





As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not one to get too hung up on unboxing experiences but, I have to say, I think the RSV packaging is pretty cool, giving it a somewhat understated yet premium feel. Inside the main oblong box, there’s a beautifully crafted, round black leather carry case which contains the earpieces in individual bags for safe transport. On the opposite side of the box are the cable and accessories (including a cleaning brush and 2 sets of tips – silicone and foam in S, M and L sizes – and a braided, matte black 4 wire cable that’s soft and pliable, terminated with 2pin and 3.5mm connectors at each end. It’s a simple package but high-end in feel, much like a designer-label accessory, functional but very classy.

Design:



This premium feel extends to the IEMs themselves. Each earpiece, of the pseudo-custom type, is beautifully crafted from medical grade black resin with carbon fibre inlays, interspersed with a few gold foil flakes. Even the printed logos are sexy as hell, with the @Softears logo on one earpiece and the (pretty cool) RSV logo on the other, reminiscent of that of a high-end sports car. All in all, a TOTL presentation for a mid-range product that retails at just $729. Bravo @Softears!

The shells are mid to average size and provide a very comfortable fit (for my ears at least) and provide a good level of isolation. They are also very lightweight (largely thanks to only containing 5 BAs, I suspect) and can be worn for a very long time with no fatigue. In fact, I have found myself completely forgetting they were in my ears on occasion, which is not something I can say that often about IEMs in general.

Inside, these are all BA IEMS - 5 in total - with 2 BAs assigned to the lows, 1 BA taking care of the mids and a dual-BA looking after the highs, all connected by a 3-way crossover. At an impedence of 8 ohm@ 1khz and a sensitivity of 125db/1VRMS@1khz, they are very easy to drive from either a DAP or smartphone.

Sound:



A premium look and unboxing experience is one thing but that all amounts to nothing if the sound is lacklustre. But I’m pleased to report that the RSV really delivers where it counts the most. And I mean REALLY delivers!

The moniker RSV stands for Reference Sound Five and whilst the RSV certainly delivers on the promise of a reference sound, it is also infused with a deep musicality that is often missing from IEMs labelled as such. Their sound definitely leans to the warmer side of reference neutral, although that emphasis is reflected more in the sub-bass than the mid-bass. Don’t get me wrong, there is still plenty of mid-bass slam when it’s required, but the sub-bass texture and rumble is the star of the show here, lending tracks a weight and authority that is not often common in ‘reference’ monitors, let alone ones made up entirely of balanced armatures. In fact, the bass is so impressive on the RSV, that I constantly find that I’m having to remind myself that there is no dynamic driver in their make-up. Even more impressive is that there is absolutely no bleed from the lower registers into the mids.

The mids themselves are equally impressive, with a weight and texture that make both male and female vocals extremely natural. As the mids in any good reference tuning should, they sit very comfortably in the overall mix and, thanks to a slight recess in the tuning of the upper mids, never get harsh or shouty. Similarly, instruments have impressive body and texture, creating an overall very satisfying mid-range that never feels lacking in the way that warmer tuned IEMs often can.

In keeping with the RSVs overall warm to neutral tonality, the treble is incredibly well controlled, with a slightly laid-back quality that is never overly aggressive or sibilant. Despite this control, detail retrieval is still very impressive, with nothing lacking in the presentation.

Overall a very pleasing and incredibly coherent signature with excellent timbre.

From a technical perspective, resolution is much better than average in this price bracket. Actually, I would go so far as to say it’s pretty impressive. Is it as highly resolving as, say, the Orilous Trailli or even @Softears’ own Cerberus? Of course not, but those are monitors that are several multiples more expensive than these. Having said that, the RSV are not a million miles away which is super impressive. Separation and layering are equally impressive, even more so, in fact, than in a few much more expensive TOTL IEMs that I have experienced. Soundstage, too, is above average for this price point, with impressive depth and height in particular. Width, whilst still above average, is not the widest that I’ve heard, perhaps somewhat owing to the overall warmer tuning and dead-central vocal imaging, but it’s certainly nothing to complain about.



When I reviewed the Cerberus, @Softears’ super impressive TOTL tribrid, I found its one failing to be the stock cable. Not so in the case of the RSV. The included cable, as well as being supple and comfortable to wear, is actually a pretty decent performer and matches the overall sleek look of the RSVs aesthetics. I would have preferred a balance termination rather than the 3.5mm offered here, but that’s a very small niggle, especially given the asking price.

Because I’m a cable freak, though, I couldn’t help myself and just had to see how the RSV would scale with a higher-end cable. I know many feel that it’s ridiculous to pair a mid-range monitor with a high-end cable, but I don’t agree, as I feel that if the combination of cable and IEM attain a level comparable to a similarly priced TOTL IEM, then that cost is justified. Given the overall sound signature of the RSV, I suspected that it would be a great match with the Eletech Iliad (@Eric Chong's outfit makes some exceptional cables) and, spoiler alert, boy was I correct! Paired with the Iliad, the RSV steps everything up to the next level. Soundstage is wider and deeper, resolution is noticeably increased, positioning and layering is even more precise, whilst bass is even more well-controlled with incredible texture. The mids, too, are refined further, with more texture and micro details present, and the treble has more sparkle whilst still retaining that pleasing, detailed, non-fatiguing, laid-back quality that keeps the overall signature so natural.



In fact, the RSV/Iliad combo reminds me very much of that enveloping, ‘just right’ sound of the Orilous Trailli, and, just like the Traili, the RSV (with or without the Iliad) excels across pretty much all genres of music to equally pleasing effect. Is the resolving power of the RSV/Iliad combo equal to that of the Trailli? Is the layering, separation and staging as impressive? Not quite, of course, but, even with a TOTL cable such as the Iliad, the overall cost is less than a third of the cost of the Trailli, with FAR more than a third of the performance. Trailli lovers, please put the pitchforks away. I still love the Trailli and don’t ever intend to part with mine, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to how many times I reached for the RSV/Iliad combo over the Trailli in the last few weeks. That sub-bass rumble is just so damned addictive!

At the cheaper end of the cable scale, I found the @Penon OSG and @ISN Solar to be really fun pairings with the RSV as well, both adding a bit more sparkle to the treble whilst leaning even further into the slam and rumble of the low end, for a highly musical presentation.

From a source perspective, I tried the RSV from both my Astell & Kern SP2000Cu (with and without the @Cayin C9) as well as my @Cayin N6ii (with the recently released R2R R01 motherboard).

Out of the Sp2000Cu, the sound was exactly as described above (I tend to use the SP2000 as my benchmark DAP). Adding the Cayin C9 to the chain increases the size of the soundstage a touch in all directions and enhances the layering and separation slightly, with a slight increase in bass and overall note body.

The Cayin N6ii/R01 takes everything up a notch, retaining the clarity and detail of the RSV whilst ramping up the musicality, giving everything more of an analogue liquidity, particularly in the mid and lower registers.

This is pretty much in keeping with what I’d expect of a monitor like the RSV where, because of its relatively neutral signature, it is likely to be affected by the colouration traits of specific sources.



If it isn’t clear already, I absolutely love the RSV. Quite frankly, it’s astounding what @Softears have achieved with only 5 BAs, from their incredibly well-balanced signature and impressive layering, to their spectacular DD-like bass. It is a perfect match with almost any genre of music and retails for an incredibly impressive $729.99. As such it is simply astounding value for such an accomplished product and is possibly the easiest IEM recommendation I have made to date. @Softears, fast becoming one of my favourite brands, have excelled themselves once again by pushing the boundaries of what can be done, not only within this price bracket but with BAs in general. The RSV is an astonishing success that makes me hunger even more for a chance to hear their two other IEMs, the RS10 and the Turii. Very highly recommended!
Thanks for this :) I’ve been looking for a not too costly IEM to pair with my Iliad, and this may be it :wink:
 
Sep 6, 2021 at 6:37 PM Post #648 of 788

KickAssChewGum

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Thanks for this :) I’ve been looking for a not too costly IEM to pair with my Iliad, and this may be it :wink:
It’s an awesome combo. You won’t be disappointed.
 
Sep 10, 2021 at 4:57 AM Post #649 of 788

MATWIN94

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Does anybody had opportunity to compare the TURII to SEN IE900 or a FAUDIO DARK SKY? all are presented as very good single DD. having the SEN i can be lookin for a complementary signature. and i find the TURII beautiful :))

Thanks
 
Sep 10, 2021 at 6:29 AM Post #650 of 788

Virtu Fortuna

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1631269710916.png


Cerberus Custom
 
Sep 10, 2021 at 7:26 PM Post #651 of 788

KickAssChewGum

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Sep 10, 2021 at 11:37 PM Post #653 of 788

ryanjsoo

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1631269710916.png

Cerberus Custom

Lucky man! Know you love Cerberus, how does the custom compare to the uni? It's definitely a model that's grown on me.

It is difficult to compare it to the RS10 given the two differ greatly in both note presentation and tuning. The RS10 is definitely for those that like to zoom in and scrutinise every detail, the Cerberus to me is a more relaxing listen, you can sit back and enjoy its spacious but laid-back image as a whole. I did find it a bit soft around the edges, wondering if the custom appends this :)
 
Sep 11, 2021 at 8:05 AM Post #654 of 788

Virtu Fortuna

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Lucky man! Know you love Cerberus, how does the custom compare to the uni? It's definitely a model that's grown on me.

It is difficult to compare it to the RS10 given the two differ greatly in both note presentation and tuning. The RS10 is definitely for those that like to zoom in and scrutinise every detail, the Cerberus to me is a more relaxing listen, you can sit back and enjoy its spacious but laid-back image as a whole. I did find it a bit soft around the edges, wondering if the custom appends this :)
Thank you mate. Compared to the universal, this one sounds more consistent with a bit stronger and richer bass response. I say consistent because the universal one changes depending on the ear tips you use. The mids have excellent timbre with the custom one as well. It's overall a bit more coherent and I think the treble extends better overall. It's not a huge difference with custom but you get more consistent performance with small improvements, especially in bass response.
 
Sep 11, 2021 at 9:41 AM Post #655 of 788

AmericanSpirit

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Softears RSV Review (crossposted from the RSV page):

Huge thanks to the incredibly lovely team at @Softears for sending me the RSV free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion.

When I recently reviewed the @Softears Cerberus, I expressed an interest in hearing more of the brand’s products. Thanks to the lovely folks at @Softears, I didn’t have to wait too long to do so, as the RSV was soon winging its way towards me.

As many of you already know, the @Softears brand is the luxury, high-end division of the Moondrop brand, responsible for many popular IEMs such as the S8, Variations and the Blessing 2 Dusk edition (tuned in collaboration with renowned reviewer/head-fier @crinacle).

Unboxing:





As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not one to get too hung up on unboxing experiences but, I have to say, I think the RSV packaging is pretty cool, giving it a somewhat understated yet premium feel. Inside the main oblong box, there’s a beautifully crafted, round black leather carry case which contains the earpieces in individual bags for safe transport. On the opposite side of the box are the cable and accessories (including a cleaning brush and 2 sets of tips – silicone and foam in S, M and L sizes – and a braided, matte black 4 wire cable that’s soft and pliable, terminated with 2pin and 3.5mm connectors at each end. It’s a simple package but high-end in feel, much like a designer-label accessory, functional but very classy.

Design:



This premium feel extends to the IEMs themselves. Each earpiece, of the pseudo-custom type, is beautifully crafted from medical grade black resin with carbon fibre inlays, interspersed with a few gold foil flakes. Even the printed logos are sexy as hell, with the @Softears logo on one earpiece and the (pretty cool) RSV logo on the other, reminiscent of that of a high-end sports car. All in all, a TOTL presentation for a mid-range product that retails at just $729. Bravo @Softears!

The shells are mid to average size and provide a very comfortable fit (for my ears at least) and provide a good level of isolation. They are also very lightweight (largely thanks to only containing 5 BAs, I suspect) and can be worn for a very long time with no fatigue. In fact, I have found myself completely forgetting they were in my ears on occasion, which is not something I can say that often about IEMs in general.

Inside, these are all BA IEMS - 5 in total - with 2 BAs assigned to the lows, 1 BA taking care of the mids and a dual-BA looking after the highs, all connected by a 3-way crossover. At an impedence of 8 ohm@ 1khz and a sensitivity of 125db/1VRMS@1khz, they are very easy to drive from either a DAP or smartphone.

Sound:



A premium look and unboxing experience is one thing but that all amounts to nothing if the sound is lacklustre. But I’m pleased to report that the RSV really delivers where it counts the most. And I mean REALLY delivers!

The moniker RSV stands for Reference Sound Five and whilst the RSV certainly delivers on the promise of a reference sound, it is also infused with a deep musicality that is often missing from IEMs labelled as such. Their sound definitely leans to the warmer side of reference neutral, although that emphasis is reflected more in the sub-bass than the mid-bass. Don’t get me wrong, there is still plenty of mid-bass slam when it’s required, but the sub-bass texture and rumble is the star of the show here, lending tracks a weight and authority that is not often common in ‘reference’ monitors, let alone ones made up entirely of balanced armatures. In fact, the bass is so impressive on the RSV, that I constantly find that I’m having to remind myself that there is no dynamic driver in their make-up. Even more impressive is that there is absolutely no bleed from the lower registers into the mids.

The mids themselves are equally impressive, with a weight and texture that make both male and female vocals extremely natural. As the mids in any good reference tuning should, they sit very comfortably in the overall mix and, thanks to a slight recess in the tuning of the upper mids, never get harsh or shouty. Similarly, instruments have impressive body and texture, creating an overall very satisfying mid-range that never feels lacking in the way that warmer tuned IEMs often can.

In keeping with the RSVs overall warm to neutral tonality, the treble is incredibly well controlled, with a slightly laid-back quality that is never overly aggressive or sibilant. Despite this control, detail retrieval is still very impressive, with nothing lacking in the presentation.

Overall a very pleasing and incredibly coherent signature with excellent timbre.

From a technical perspective, resolution is much better than average in this price bracket. Actually, I would go so far as to say it’s pretty impressive. Is it as highly resolving as, say, the Orilous Trailli or even @Softears’ own Cerberus? Of course not, but those are monitors that are several multiples more expensive than these. Having said that, the RSV are not a million miles away which is super impressive. Separation and layering are equally impressive, even more so, in fact, than in a few much more expensive TOTL IEMs that I have experienced. Soundstage, too, is above average for this price point, with impressive depth and height in particular. Width, whilst still above average, is not the widest that I’ve heard, perhaps somewhat owing to the overall warmer tuning and dead-central vocal imaging, but it’s certainly nothing to complain about.



When I reviewed the Cerberus, @Softears’ super impressive TOTL tribrid, I found its one failing to be the stock cable. Not so in the case of the RSV. The included cable, as well as being supple and comfortable to wear, is actually a pretty decent performer and matches the overall sleek look of the RSVs aesthetics. I would have preferred a balance termination rather than the 3.5mm offered here, but that’s a very small niggle, especially given the asking price.

Because I’m a cable freak, though, I couldn’t help myself and just had to see how the RSV would scale with a higher-end cable. I know many feel that it’s ridiculous to pair a mid-range monitor with a high-end cable, but I don’t agree, as I feel that if the combination of cable and IEM attain a level comparable to a similarly priced TOTL IEM, then that cost is justified. Given the overall sound signature of the RSV, I suspected that it would be a great match with the Eletech Iliad (@Eric Chong's outfit makes some exceptional cables) and, spoiler alert, boy was I correct! Paired with the Iliad, the RSV steps everything up to the next level. Soundstage is wider and deeper, resolution is noticeably increased, positioning and layering is even more precise, whilst bass is even more well-controlled with incredible texture. The mids, too, are refined further, with more texture and micro details present, and the treble has more sparkle whilst still retaining that pleasing, detailed, non-fatiguing, laid-back quality that keeps the overall signature so natural.



In fact, the RSV/Iliad combo reminds me very much of that enveloping, ‘just right’ sound of the Orilous Trailli, and, just like the Traili, the RSV (with or without the Iliad) excels across pretty much all genres of music to equally pleasing effect. Is the resolving power of the RSV/Iliad combo equal to that of the Trailli? Is the layering, separation and staging as impressive? Not quite, of course, but, even with a TOTL cable such as the Iliad, the overall cost is less than a third of the cost of the Trailli, with FAR more than a third of the performance. Trailli lovers, please put the pitchforks away. I still love the Trailli and don’t ever intend to part with mine, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to how many times I reached for the RSV/Iliad combo over the Trailli in the last few weeks. That sub-bass rumble is just so damned addictive!

At the cheaper end of the cable scale, I found the @Penon OSG and @ISN Solar to be really fun pairings with the RSV as well, both adding a bit more sparkle to the treble whilst leaning even further into the slam and rumble of the low end, for a highly musical presentation.

From a source perspective, I tried the RSV from both my Astell & Kern SP2000Cu (with and without the @Cayin C9) as well as my @Cayin N6ii (with the recently released R2R R01 motherboard).

Out of the Sp2000Cu, the sound was exactly as described above (I tend to use the SP2000 as my benchmark DAP). Adding the Cayin C9 to the chain increases the size of the soundstage a touch in all directions and enhances the layering and separation slightly, with a slight increase in bass and overall note body.

The Cayin N6ii/R01 takes everything up a notch, retaining the clarity and detail of the RSV whilst ramping up the musicality, giving everything more of an analogue liquidity, particularly in the mid and lower registers.

This is pretty much in keeping with what I’d expect of a monitor like the RSV where, because of its relatively neutral signature, it is likely to be affected by the colouration traits of specific sources.



If it isn’t clear already, I absolutely love the RSV. Quite frankly, it’s astounding what @Softears have achieved with only 5 BAs, from their incredibly well-balanced signature and impressive layering, to their spectacular DD-like bass. It is a perfect match with almost any genre of music and retails for an incredibly impressive $729.99. As such it is simply astounding value for such an accomplished product and is possibly the easiest IEM recommendation I have made to date. @Softears, fast becoming one of my favourite brands, have excelled themselves once again by pushing the boundaries of what can be done, not only within this price bracket but with BAs in general. The RSV is an astonishing success that makes me hunger even more for a chance to hear their two other IEMs, the RS10 and the Turii. Very highly recommended!
Softears RSV remains to my reference sound indeed, hard to replace by any IEMs. It’s a 5BA but it sound like single DD in timbre, extremely coherent.
 
Sep 12, 2021 at 1:02 AM Post #656 of 788

ryanjsoo

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Thank you mate. Compared to the universal, this one sounds more consistent with a bit stronger and richer bass response. I say consistent because the universal one changes depending on the ear tips you use. The mids have excellent timbre with the custom one as well. It's overall a bit more coherent and I think the treble extends better overall. It's not a huge difference with custom but you get more consistent performance with small improvements, especially in bass response.

Glad you got to experience it and sounds like a great listen, enjoy my friend :)
 
Sep 13, 2021 at 2:34 PM Post #657 of 788

holsen

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I just did a huge listening session with U12T, Nana 2.0, RSV and UM 3DT ,In all seriousness, A/bing with the U12T, the T has a more reverberant sound but its artificial and added in somehow.. the RST is pure and clean and accurate to the actual mix. In mids the RSV basically slaughters the everything in richness, openness and vocal/instrumental tonality and timbre. It has near perfect tonality (FOR ME) and IS the best IEM i've ever heard. I'm sure that wont be the case for everyone but for me, it is.
I've been tracking you over on the EJ07M thread, would you still the say the same in light of your recent revelations about the "M"? I'm looking to add one more piece into my collection and havent had anything all BA since walking away from Shure years ago. I'm intrigued by both the EJ07M and this RSV. You're a fan of both, where's your prefenecne now?
 
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Sep 13, 2021 at 4:25 PM Post #658 of 788

redrol

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RSV is more correct, while M is a more a music lovers set with added detail and subbass. The RSV is very likely more correct in terms of intended playback. I still adore the 07 and 07M because reference isn't always what I wanna hear. For instance, I recently did a 14 hours hike and took the 07, not 07M nor RSV. I wanted a very relaxing playback for the entire day.
 
Sep 15, 2021 at 3:36 PM Post #659 of 788

Deolum

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Anyone else thinks that the size of the horizontal soundstage of the RSV is huge? I only notice that on my desktop setup not so much on mobile though. I actually had to make sure it weren't my speakers that were playing.
 
Sep 16, 2021 at 2:19 PM Post #660 of 788

Strifeff7

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Anyone else thinks that the size of the horizontal soundstage of the RSV is huge? I only notice that on my desktop setup not so much on mobile though. I actually had to make sure it weren't my speakers that were playing.
Yes,
honestly if it have a DD rumble plus an EST treble sparkle,
it will easily be an end game for me,

*sadly the cerberus is not it,
 

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