Next stop: Hong Kong! Rhapsodio is a company we’ve covered numerous times on THL, including my most recent review of their Eden, here. Below, I take a look at their de facto balanced-armature flagship: The monstrous, 20-driver Infinity.
Rhapsodio Infinity: Wow! What a powerful sound! The Infinity displays outstanding dynamic energy, with instruments that punch like nothing I’ve ever heard before. Imagine the power and authority of a DD-driven bass, but throughout the entire frequency response! Instruments are full-bodied, physical, dense and warm, but there’s a forcefulness propelling them from the Infinity’s pitch-black background onto the very front of the soundscape- akin to a theatre sound system.
However, it’s never short on headroom either. Genuine, extension-driven depth maintains that dynamism for a long stretch of time. The treble is articulate, sparkly and clean, but always inoffensive. This is certainly a bass-driven monitor, but vocal melody is prominent as well. All in all, the Infinity sports an extremely impactful sound – almost like someone’s very politely whacking huge, looming instruments at the sides of your head. It’s loud and proud, but firmly authoritative all throughout. The price is steep, and I don’t expect it to be everyone’s cup of tea. But one-of-a-kind, it very certainly is.
LEAR is similarly an old friend of THL’s hailing from the tropical cityscapes of Hong Kong. With an equally audacious design, here are my impressions of their quint-dynamic-driver universal in-ear monitors: The aptly-named BAMDAS 5.
LEAR BAMDAS 5: The BAMDAS 5 is a monitor built for all-around clarity and energy. It sports a w-shaped response ideal for genres like rock and pop, where both extremes and the lead melody require equal prominence; if not tonal realism or transparency. For such an unusual configuration, the BAMDAS 5 presents a more standard tuning: A thump-y mid-bass, neutral lower-mids, forwardly-placed, vibrant upper-mids and peaks along 7 and 12kHz; orthodox throughout.
It’s unapologetically upbeat without being shy in terms of tonal colouration. So again, it’s ideal for partying and rocking out, but not so for referencing or production. Worth noting is its ability to impact without becoming congested, almost in a similar vein as 64Audio’s A6t, but not to the extent of the Infinity. Imaging is consequently average. Some aspects of its punchy-smooth tuning remind me of Ultimate Ears’ LIVE, but the BAMDAS 5 is cleaner and less cloy in texture. For the price, I don’t know if it ticks enough boxes to serve as a daily driver, but I can’t deny how charming it can be to listen to.
FlipEars is a Filipino brand who’ve slowly risen to prominence through prolific appearances at trade shows, and through the gorgeous designs proudly displayed on their social media. I managed to hear their six-driver monitor AXIS, adorned by intricate, gold artwork on top. As you’ll soon see from my impressions, the AXIS surely sounded as good as it looked.
FlipEars AXIS: Among the lot here, AXIS presents the most structurally-complete and technically-competent midrange. The lower- and upper-mids show tons of sophistication; well-rounded, resolving and emotive in its delivery. FlipEars clearly cares for structure and body as much as they do detail and definition. The AXIS balances technical performance, musicality and life-liked-ness like 64Audio’s A6t does, but it’s noticeably more laid-back – especially at the extremes.
The AXIS’s low-end is musical and pleasing; wholesomely warm and rounded. It’s not necessarily noteworthy in any particular way – neither in extension, nor in texture – but it performs without intruding on the midrange and treble, which is a feat that’s underrated in its complexity. Similarly, the treble is not the furthest extended I’ve heard – as made clear by its okay stage – but it balances smoothness, articulation and energy with impressive finesse. All in all, the AXIS is simply a pleasing, coherent and versatile monitor with a killer midrange to boot. FlipEars is absolutely a one to watch.