Rose Mini 2 Review – Sub $100 Reference Standard

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Design –

Mini is definitely apt when describing Rose’s affordable in-ear; despite housing two drivers within each earpiece they easily one of the smallest earphone I’ve tested, smaller than even the Klipch X10 and Etymotic ER4. Yet despite their size, the Mini 2’s acrylic build feels very solid and resistant to stress, they also look pretty stunning with none of the clouding that affected the BR5 MKII, the housings are crystal clear revealing the internal components and wiring. Red and blue Rose text also help differentiate between sides and the housings are slightly angled for ergonomics.

The nozzles are slim and on the longer side, enabling a deeper fit. Of note, the sound tubes are slightly flexible rather than rigid, some have expressed concerns that this could become a potential point of failure but it could be intentional to aid seal in a similar sense to Spinfits or perhaps the acrylic used in the main housing is too brittle to be extruded that thin. I didn’t find them to present any weakness during my testing, I even forcefully flexed the nozzles with no repercussions.

Comfort is unsurprisingly fantastic, the Mini 2 literally disappears in the ear and produces no hotspots even after hours of listening. They do take a bit of acclimatization due to their more unconventional shape and size though after a few minutes I was able to consistently achieve a strong seal. They are also pretty stable in the ear despite being so small, their over-ear fit and strong seal allowing them to stay put during a quick run. Isolation is as strong as any other sealed earphone apart from more ear-filling monitors such as the Campfire Audio earphones and even Rose’s own BR5 MKII. Noise attenuation is still more than sufficient for public transport and air travel when paired with a set of foam ear tips. Furthermore, wind noise is minimal since they barely protrude from the ear though due to the nature of their design, they still aren’t perfectly suited towards use while sleeping.

While previous revisions of the Mini 2 had a fixed cable, the new units come with a removable MMCX unit. New units also ship with Rose’s nupdated silver plated cable, the same included with the wood Masya and BR5 MKII. It is an ergonomically excellent cable that is radically improved over previous designs. The cable looks stunning with a loose braid and transparent sheathing that reveals the lustrous silver conductors beneath. The cable is slightly rubbery but is very supple, easily coiling and untangling after storage.

Furthermore, the cable isn’t overly microphonic and has zero memory. I’m a huge fan of Rose’s choice of pre-moulded ear guides over memory wire, they are perfectly shaped and really hug the ear, improving fit stability and general comfort. I also appreciate small touches like the continuous y-split and well relieved straight plug that should aid longevity. The plug is also case friendly for use with smartphones though Rose do not offer a configuration with a mic/remote.

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About Author

Avid writer, passionate photographer and full-time student, Ryan's audio origins and enduring interests lie within all aspects of portable audio. An ongoing desire to bring quality audio to the regular reader underpins his reviewer ethos as he seeks to bring a new perspective on the cutting edge and budget dredge alike.

32 Comments

  1. CHJC on

    Hi Ryan,

    How does the Rose mini 2 compare to the RHA MA750? I love the 750s, but I’m looking for something more neutral and detailed, as I just feel that lots of details are hidden with the 750s when listening to more classical styled music. I’m addition, I’d like an IEM for general media consumption and not just exclusively music (which I guess can be solved with a neutral IEM?).

    Thanks in advance!

  2. jose Solorzano on

    Hy Ryan,
    great review on the Rose Mini 2. Have you tried fischer audio dba-02?
    Would you care to compare? thanks in advance
    Jose

    • Ryan Soo on

      Hi Jose,

      I haven’t heard the DBA-02 but did own the DBA-02 MKII in the past. From memory, it was a brighter sounding earphone. On the contrary, the Mini 2 is smoother and warmer, it has more body but also isn’t as aggressively detailed or airy.

  3. Han on

    Hi Ryan, just stumbled on this great review! Currently on the Pinnacle PX which is basically P1 with a different finish and only with the cheaper black MMCX cable. I like the detail retrieval and lack of bass bloat but find string sounds (especially violins) and cymbals/high hats a little unnatural/thin when listening to a mix of classical/soundtracks/jazz.

    How do the string and percussion reproduction on the Mini 2 compare? This might be a great 2-BA to step up to as I liked the Creative Aurvana In-Ear 3 except muddles mids and the Brainwavz B100 I used to own. I have tried and like the ATH-IM02/LS200 for a great detail retrieval like PX and natural strings but the price is a little out of my budget. Thank you!

    • Ryan Soo on

      Hi Han,

      The PX is definitely on the aggressive side, bright with a focus on clarity. The Mini 2 is almost the opposite, it is a little smoother in its high-frequency delivery and bass is more even if still slightly warmed. The Mini 2 has more realistic timbre than my P1, I wouldn’t say that it has any advantage in resolution, soundstage or detail retrieval, but it is easily the more natural sounding earphone. I feel it is a good match for your outlined genres as a result, but does lack the sub-bass extension and clarity of the P1/PX.

      • Han on

        Thanks Ryan! Have heard about some potential QC issues elsewhere so will wait and see. Appreciate the comparison.

  4. Ivo001 on

    Wondering how these compare to Ibasso IT01. Similarly priced.

    • Ryan Soo on

      I found the IT01 to be considerably more V-shaped. It has better sub-bass extension and a fair deal more emphasis. The IT01 is more aggressive with greater clarity and a brighter signature, while the Mini 2 is more balanced and linear, retrieving greater micro-detail. The IT01 is also a fairly small in-ear, both are comfy and isolate well. Different kinds of sound, it depends if you’re looking for something more balanced (Mini 2) or more engaging (IT01).

      • Jose on

        Hi Ryan,
        I am torn between IT01and Mini 2. Besides sound signature, how do they compare regarding soundstage, image rendering and instrument separation?
        thanks

        • Ryan Soo on

          Hi Jose, I find the IT01 to produce a larger soundstage and better separation as it’s brighter and has a slightly thinner body. On the contrary, as the Mini 2 is more balanced, it is more coherent with better imaging.

  5. DJ Peeti-V on

    Quick tip after some use with the Mini 2: If you want more isolation but do not want to use foam tips, use Shure Triple Flange tips. The Shures provided more isolation than any of the tips that were shipped with the Mini 2.

  6. YWYW on

    The Mini2 does ship to Singapore from PenonAudio, ‘tho not for sub-$100. Will give it a shot.

    Thanks for the timely advice. I was close to ordering the F9 Pro, but since none of the personal monitor mixers I’ve used have precise EQ, they would have been a nightmare to EQ!

  7. YWYW on

    Hi Ryan, thanks for the review. Unfortunately the Mini2 doesn’t ship to Singapore. Any alternatives at around the same price range?

    Currently I’m using the RE-400. Was using the M6 Pro before it broke. Looking to upgrade for:
    – better isolation (for public transport)
    – more articulate highs
    – tighter and punchier lows for faster genres like prog metal
    – decent separation for live on-stage monitoring

    Would like something fairly balanced like the RE-400, but doesn’t have to be reference. Would the Fiio F9 be suitable?

    Thanks!

    • Ryan Soo on

      Hi YWYW, I don’t feel the F9 is the most balanced in-ear on the market, it is definitely skewed bright. However, if you’re comfortable using eQ, it may be what you’re looking for.

      It has pretty tight bass with the balanced tips, great clarity and separation combined with great resolution and treble air for the price.

      That said, isolation is pretty mediocre and definitely lower than what the RE-400 is capable of though it does have more low-end which may balance it out in louder environments.

      Regarding the Mini 2, perhaps you can try Penonaudio, they are quite flexible with international shipping.

      Cheers,
      Ryan.

  8. Jay on

    Hi Ryan, long time fan.
    I recently lost my Kinera H3, which were a tad too V-shaped for me. Previously i was rocking some gr07 that I loved but build quality made me want to stay away from Vsonic for good.
    Would the Minis be a good next step? I’m kinda afraid of BAs, I’m currently using some Meelec A151s and I find myself missing my old iems quite a bit.

    Thank you for all your work !

    • Ryan Soo on

      Thank you Jay!

      The Mini 2 is in the same ballpark as the GR07 in tuning but, due to its size and use of BA drivers, it does not possess the same bass extension and rumble. That said, it is still a natural sounding earphone and isn’t lacking body as some other neutrally-orientated BA in-ears can since it does have a slightly warmer bass response. Be sure to purchase them from a seller like Penon Audio for warranty as Rose has had some QC issues in the past. I do love how they fit and sound but this is something I have to let people know. Let me know if you have any other questions and hope you have a happy holiday!

  9. Shawn on

    Hey Ryan,

    How would these compare to the Etymotic HF5? Would you say Etymotic is still the best choice if isolation is an important factor?

    • Ryan Soo on

      Hey Shawn, from memory, the HF5’s do isolate a bit more, but the Mini 2 will isolate very well with foam ear tips or triple flanges. I feel the Rose is slightly warmer down low and a little more laid-back up top though it is hardly a bass-heavy earphone.

  10. DJ Peeti-V on

    How would you compare these to the TDK BA 200s?

    • Ryan Soo on

      Sorry DJ, I haven’t heard the TDK’s.

  11. Austin Lau on

    I bought the Mini 2 a week or so ago after reading this review and I agree wholeheartedly with your impressions. It’s an incredible IEM and the balance is simply astounding – especially compared to the TFZ Exclusive 5’s that I purchased in a similar fashion. Thanks for the review!

    • Ryan Soo on

      Thanks for your feedback Austin, glad you’re enjoying them and that Rose are getting some attention!

  12. Gaston on

    Hola Ryan, gracias por las actualizaciones tan buenas que hace, es un placer leerlo. Me gusta el Mini2 (tengo un Hifiman RE400 muriendo por el cable, pero que puedo decirme de los nuevos Ibasso it01, mismo precio, y el Brainwavz
    B400, un poco mas caro pero con 4 conductores, Gracias y un saludo.

    • Gaston on

      Hola Ryan veo que no ha contestado seguramente esta muy ocupado ,queria preguntarte sobre el
      Jay-Q-Jay,muchomas caro contra el Rose Mini 2 que parece tu favorito .Gracias un Saludo.

      • Ryan Soo on

        Hi Gaston,

        Apologies for my delayed response, I haven’t heard the Jay-Q-Jay or IT01 unfortunately, but the Mini 2 is pretty comparable to the RE-400 in balance and quality. It is perhaps sligthly more bassy and less dynamic as it uses armature drivers but the removable cable should ensure better longevity.

        Cheers,
        Ryan.

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  14. Kamil Raja on

    Hey Ryan I wanted to ask how do these compare to the westone w20/w2, audio technica im02 or gr07? my westones just died so i was wondering if these are a good replacement. Thank you so much for review, it really came in handy since i’m looking for a new pair of iems

  15. William on

    How do these compare against the GR07? My ones finally broke and I’m looking for alternates or even sonic upgrades. Anything that comes to your mind as a recommendation would be helpful as well!

  16. Daniel Rodrigues on

    Hi!

    Thanks for the review!

    Can you compare them to the RE-400’s?

    Thanks

    • Ryan Soo on

      Pretty similar balance and style of tuning, the RE-400 is a dynamic driver earphone so it has more sub-bass extension and slam though the Mini 2 has slightly more mid-bass punch. Mids are similar, the Rose is smoother and upper mids are a bit more detail. Treble is more linear and extended on the Rose though the RE-400 has a wider soundstage. I would pick the Rose mainly due to the removable cable and build which feels better than the Hifiman despite their diminutive size.

  17. Kevin Scott Caja on

    Hi Ryan, awesome review! I’m tempted to buy this IEM. How would you compare this to Apple’s ADDIEM?

    Thanks!

    • Ryan Soo on

      Sorry Kevin, haven’t had a chance to try Apple’s in-ear, I believe there was a review on Head-fi that provided some comparison.

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