A Voice of Metal and Clay – A Review of the IMR Acoustics R1

Since the R1 is on the bright side, in spite of a staggering amount of bass, I prefer to pair it with a warmer source. Of course, your tastes may differ. As far as driving power, these IEM’s don’t require much. More than some IEMs, but nothing too outrageous. Any DAP will drive them sufficiently.

My TOTL choice for the R1 is theBit’s Opus#2 ($999, Review HERE. It has a touch of warmth, and is by far the most natural, organic DAP I’ve heard. Spacious, holographic, deep and resolving as f**k. It helps with the R1’s brightness problem, while feeding its strengths. Hard not to be wowed to death by this setup.

In terms of tonality, my favorite pairing was the Opus#1S ($399, Review HERE). It’s warmer than the #2, but not as technically impressive. Soundstage is smaller, resolution is lesser, and details aren’t as readily accessible. Yet it tamed that treble and added smoothness across the spectrum, which is ever so welcome. Oh yes, it’s a yummy combo.

The Cayin N5ii ($369, Review HERE) walks that line between bright and warm. It’s severely neutral, with just a hint of warmth. It has a full sound, with strong dynamics, but it’s also wildly resolving, thanks to higher frequencies which aren’t f**king around. And that’s the key to why this pairing isn’t my favorite in the mid-tier. The R1 needs a large helping of added warmth from the source, and Cayin’s new player is too balanced. Now, that’s not to say I don’t actually like this coupling. I do. It sounds amazing. But given a choice, I think the R1 sounds better with less treble. YMMV.

Continuing this trend of Clarity=Bad, the DX200 with AMP4 Module ($899, Review HERE) is my least favorite source for the R1. Which is confusing, because it is my favorite DAP. It’s the most detailed, transparent, and holographic, with the largest soundstage, best layering, and highest resolving. And holy shit, the R1 scales up to some insane extreme of its ideals. But that’s where we meet the R1’s old nemesis: hot treble. What can I say? It sounds awesome. Of course it does. But the R1 really, really, really sounds its best when given a smoother, warmer signal.

The IMR Acoustics R1 impressed the shit out of me. The bass, the clarity, the endless highs… it’s a goddamn showstopper. With the vents open, it sounds all the more spacious and airy, like a good open-back set of cans. I recommend a custom cable, just to avoid the demented antagonism of those stock cords. Other than that, simply be sure you aren’t overly sensitive to bright sounds, and I’d say the R1 is for you. It’s so good you may quit the hobby forever and call it a day.




Pinky Powers

Pinky Powers

Pinky is an artsy twat. Illustration, graphic design, writing. Yet music escapes him, and always has. He builds his own cables, and likes to explore the craftsmanship of others. He's a stabby one, also. At the first hint of annoyance, out comes the blade. I say he's compensating for something... in a big bad way. If we all try really hard as a collective, maybe we can have him put down.


14 Responses

  1. Pinky,

    If I may, what’s the brand name of the black tips that’s shown in the photos? I have the R1 and have been experimenting with various chords and tips….

  2. The IMR R1 uses a slight variation of the industry standard 2-pin connector. This variation does not exclude the use of standard connectors, however, it is hit or miss whether they will fit or not. The main thing to avoid is memory wire of heat-shrink ear loops. Because the R1’s socket is 90° off the standard configuration, cables which have these features are useless. Of course, if you build the cable yourself, you can do anything with the right adjustments.

    I built my cable from Toxic Cable’s DiY store. But good luck doing the same, as I hear the owner recently passed away. 🙁

  3. great review. I got the IRM R1 and i am interested in the balanced cable
    (made by you) you used in your review for the R1 instead of the original one.
    Could you inform me where i can buy it and maybe which specifications are
    needed to get the right cable for the R1?

  4. The account was created with a HBB email address too. So, it’s either him, or someone truly obsessed. lol

    I took it out.

  5. Fgs, Pinky, please remove that address!!
    It’s no joke, that is HBB home address, someone is trolling…:(

  6. Generally, I don’t remove troll posts unless they cross a special line. Just being negative isn’t enough.

    But thanks, man. I think you’re right about the address. 😉

  7. Found it on amazon uk for a bargain price. Wondering to just buy these to see what they’re worth. Artiste DC-1 (No Yatian mentioned)

  8. I deleted one comment because it was excessively hostile/abusive. I don’t wish to discourage discussion or opinion, but you must act like civilized people. 😉

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