Rock-It Sounds R-30 / R-30M Review

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Rock-It Sounds R-30
Added Sep 2012

Details: Single BA earphone from Rock-It Sounds
MSRP: $69.99 (manufacturer’s page); $75.99 for R-30M with mic & 1-button remote (manufacturer’s page)
Current Price: $70 from rockitsounds.com / $80 from amazon.com for R-30; $75.99 for R-30M
Specs: Driver: BA | Imp: 29Ω | Sens: 114 dB | Freq: 20-18k Hz | Cable: 4.2′ I-plug
Nozzle Size: 3mm | Preferred tips: Stock single-flanges; Shure gray flex; Shure olives
Wear Style: Over-the-ear

Accessories (3.5/5) – Single-flange silicone tips (3 sizes), rubber housing covers (3 sizes), airline adapter, and clamshell carrying case
Build Quality (4/5) – The R-30 utilizes plastic housings with three pairs of removable rubber sheaths included to aid in fitment. The sheaths differ in size and shape and can be removed entirely to make the housings smaller (shown). The twisted cable is identical to those found on other Rock-It products and the MEElectronics A151
Isolation (3.5/5) – Isolation is good even though only single-flange tips are included
Microphonics (5/5) – Cable noise is nonexistent with the excellent twisted cable
Comfort (4.5/5) – The R-30 utilizes a familiar over-the-ear design and fits much like the Westone IEMs. The housings are on the large side with the silicone sheaths in place but may offer a more stable fit. Removing the sheaths entirely is an option, though the shells are somewhat elongated and may not fit smaller ears still

Sound (7.7/10) – The overall sound signature of the R-30 is a balanced one, with a hint of warmth and impressive bass for an entry-level BA earphone. The low end is punchy and only slightly rolled off, with a rather full-bodied presentation for a single armature. Bass control and extension lag slightly behind higher-end sets such as the MEElec A161P and Rock-It’s own R-50, resulting in a softer, slightly boomy note and more deep bass drop-off. In this way and others, the R-30 reminds me of the pricier Westone 1. Compared to the lower-end R-20 model, however, the sound of the R-30 is more balanced and the bass is more natural – fuller and deeper with no reduction in tightness.

The midrange of the R-30 is forward and a bit warm in tone. Clarity is better compared to the R-20 but not quite as good as with the A161P or R-50 – about on-par with the VSonic GR06 and Monoprice 8320. The mids of the R-30 are quite smooth and note thickness is greater than with the more Ety-like A161P, which sounds thinner but also more crisp than the R-30.

The top end of the R-30 is slightly laid back on the whole – low on sparkle and not as extended as the treble of the A161P. The R-30 still has better sparkle and extension than the R-20, but also filters out less sibilance In fact, sibilance on tracks is about as exposed as with the R-50 despite the crisper, more prominent treble of the higher-end dual-armature earphone.

The soundstage of the R-30 is above average – larger and airier than that of the R-20, for example. There is some depth and height as well as good separation, and the ability to portray intimacy as well as distance. In addition, the R-30 is quite sensitive – more so than the lower-end R-20 and other Siren-based armature earphones.

Value (10/10) – The Rock-It Sounds R-30 is an impressive performer, improving noticeably on the sound of most entry-level BA earphones while competing with them directly on price. The color scheme and odd-looking outer sheaths of the R-30 may be a turn-off for some but as a whole the R-30 is one of the most well-rounded packages south of $100.

Pros: Comfortable; excellent cable; no cable noise, great sound for the price
Cons: May not fit those with smaller ears well


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About Author

Living in the fast-paced city of Los Angeles, ljokerl has been using portable audio gear to deal with lengthy commutes for the better part of a decade. He spends much of his time listening to music and occasionally writes portable audio reviews across several enthusiast sites, focusing mostly on in-ear earphones.

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