Rose Mini 2 Review – Sub $100 Reference Standard

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Introduction –

If you haven’t read my BR5 MKII review or snooped around the earbud and Chi-fi threads on Head-fi, you may not be familiar with Rose. They are a smaller manufacturer but one that has proven themselves to be quite knowledgeable in audio, producing some genuinely compelling products that easily rival models from more established Western brands. And while the majority of their products pursue a more premium price point, a few such as the Mini 2 I have here today are not only quite affordable but carry much of the same charm as their higher end offerings. With a clean $100 asking price, the Mini 2 occupies a highly competitive price point, but I’m sure their unique design and highly balanced sound will find many fans. Let’s see how the Mini 2 performs.

Buy at Penonaudio

 

Disclaimer –

I would like to thank Chi Kong Hui from Penonaudio very much for his quick communication and for providing me with the Mini 2 for the purpose of review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the earphones free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.

 

Accessories –

The Mini 2 does not have the same lavish packaging as the BR5 MKII or Masya but Rose do include a nice set of accessories nonetheless. The Mini 2 comes within a small box containing a soft pouch and the same Westone vault style case as other Rose earphones.

And as before, I found the case to be really exceptional, sturdy and well sized for portability, it is one of my favourites. The case contains the earphones themselves along with a bag of ear tips. The Mini 2 comes with medium Klipsch style tips pre-installed. They are a really fantastic ear tip for small nozzled earphones and Rose’s implementation works just as well as the OEM Klipsch tips, providing a super solid seal and great comfort.

Since the tips are oval in shape, I do recommend rotating them to find the most comfortable orientation. I found that they were most comfortable rotated to around ~45 degrees though some have had more luck with the tips rotated to horizontal. Rose also include some standard foam and silicone tips of various sizes should you want a more conventional fit.

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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.

31 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. 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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  13. 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

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

  16. 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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