e-earphone Japan – Featuring Impressions from FitEar, FAudio, Rhapsodio and more!

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Rhapsodio

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

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

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.

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About Author

Church-boy by day and audio-obsessee by night, Daniel Lesmana’s world revolves around the rhythms and melodies we lovingly call: Music. When he’s not behind a console mixing live for a congregation of thousands, engineering records in a studio environment, or making noise behind a drum set, you’ll find him on his laptop analysing audio gear with fervor and glee. Now a specialist in custom IEMs, cables and full-sized headphones, he’s looking to bring his unique sensibilities - as both an enthusiast and a professional - into the reviewer’s space; a place where no man has gone before.

14 Comments

  1. Hi Deezel,

    How did you came by the Flipears? I only know that they are Philippine made. Any more impressions on the Axis?

      • Hey Rhyan,

        I first stumbled upon them on Instagram, so when I saw their products at e-earphone, I instantly wanted to try them. I got a couple minutes on a couple of their other models, but I forgot which they were. They shared a common house sound with a crisp treble, an emphasis on detail and a neutral tone, which I honestly find a bit generic at this point – not bad per se, but it’s something I’ve already heard hundreds of times before. So, the AXIS was clearly the one that stood out and really stuck with me throughout my entire trip.

        Cheers,
        Daniel

  2. Hey deezel I wanted to know how the fitear togo 334 faced against the fitear est and fitear 2 which one is a better balanced out of the 3 but with still having a mid-centric signature

    • Hey Neil,

      All three are pretty well-balanced. The most mid-centric of the three is definitely the 334.

      Cheers,
      Daniel

  3. Hey Deezel. Thanks for your interesting article. I have a Fitear model bearing the number: 084537. It appears to be from the Universal Series. Can you tell me if this is the case and what current model if any it most resembles?

    • Hi Tim,

      Unfortunately, I can’t find out what model it is by serial number alone. If the model number isn’t printed on the bulbous concha area, the only other indicator would perhaps be colour, because FitEar usually colour-code their universals. But for the most accurate information, I’d recommend e-mailing FitEar directly and asking them for clarification.

      Cheers,
      Daniel

  4. Hey deezel I am really interested in the faudio major can you describe the signature more, what other iems does it compete against interms of the totl(fourte, legend x, solaris, u12t,trio) and would rnb, vocals, hippop and house work well with the iem, thanks, also what are your favourite top 3 iems regardless of price in universal

    • Hi Neil,

      Unfortunately, I only caught this comment after replying to yours on the CanJam SG 2018 article. I hope you won’t mind referring to the comments section of that article as an answer to your question. Again, I can’t really describe the Major any further than I already have given the brief time I had with it. Is there anything in particular signature-wise that you’d like to know?

      Cheers,
      Daniel

        • I’ll copy and paste it here:

          “Hey Neil,

          I talked about the Major quite a bit in my e-earphone article here: https://theheadphonelist.com/e-earphone-japan/4/. I’m afraid I can’t say much more without another audition, but I have talked to FAudio about a potential collaboration with the Major.

          I can’t really speak to the comparisons you’re asking for, because I haven’t listened to them side-by-side with the Major. I can say that the Major is a step above its single-DD’ed brethren like the Dita Dream or the Sennheiser IE800S, but I don’t know whether it’s on par with technical giants like the Fourté. In terms of staging for example, the Fourté definitely has a more transparent stage. But when you take into account how much the Fourté sacrifices tonally in the process, all of a sudden the Major sounds like the more enjoyable option. Really, it’s too complex of a comparison for me to speak blindly on without an A/B audition, so you’ll have to wait on that.

          To put it simply, I think the Major punches considerably above its price, but we have to be realistic too. ????

          Given the Major’s tonal balance, it would work really well with hip-hop and house music. When you start talking about R&B and vocals, it really depends on what kind of R&B you listen to and what you look for from vocals. If the kind of R&B you listen to is more dreamy and vibe-y ala Miguel, for example, I think the Major would work really well. If it’s more pop-oriented ala John Legend, then it depends on how you like your bass. I think the Major’s low-end is guttural, visceral and placed just right, but with those genres of tracks, it may outshine the vocals a bit – not in presence, but in engagement and musicality.

          If you want vocals to be the clear focus of the ensemble, the Major isn’t perhaps for you. But then again, none of the TOTLs you mentioned do that either, so I’m guessing that’s not what you’re fully looking for. In terms of vocal clarity, the Major performs really well. Its treble is a touch darker and smoother than the Fourté’s, so instruments aren’t as crisp as the ones on there. But as a result, the Major is more pleasing to listen to and less metallic-sounding. If you want more body and wetness with your vocals, the Major isn’t too much for that. The Major’s vocals are on the cleaner side, but again, they’re very refined-sounding, so they won’t come across lean at all.

          My top three universal IEMs (i.e. IEMs that aren’t available in custom form, so the Legend X and U12t aren’t included) at the moment would probably be the Major, Earsonics’ Grace and Jomo Audio’s Trinity Brass. I love the Major for the reasons I described on my e-earphone article. Earsonics’ Grace has a wonderfully elegant, refined, gorgeous signature that my colleague Nic so accurately described in his review: https://theheadphonelist.com/earsonics-grace/. And, the Trinity to me fuses technical performance and musicality in such a wonderful way. It’s a fun-sounding, coherent and engaging piece with an effortless and not-showy technical foundation underneath.”

          • Well thanks for the detail, I will give a quick run down of iems I used to have ie80, ie800 , sm64/earsonics velvet, oriolus mkii, phonak pfe 232 to then picking up the andromeda which was amazing but had a bad fit to finally using the fitear tg334 which had great vocals, I listen to a lot of rnb (miguel ofcourse), old school hippop, triphop and country so for me mids and treble are important as is bass, so now you know my history interms of iems, I guess I learn towards warmish clear dynamic sound as fitear tg334 has a very dynamic bass but is a bit bloated

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