NOTE: The Rhapsodio Orla is currently out of stock and unavailable for purchase until further notice.
DISCLAIMER: Rhapsodio provided me with a discounted price on the Orla in return for my honest opinion. I am not personally affiliated with the company in any way, nor do I receive any monetary rewards for a positive evaluation. I’d like to thank Rhapsodio for their kindness and support. The review is as follows.
Rhapsodio is an in-ear manufacturer based in Hong Kong, spearheaded by the ever-electric Sammy Mak. Sammy is well-renowned – and well-acclaimed – in this industry for his adventurous exploits in the realm of dynamic drivers, as well as an ever-rotating carousel of products that blink in-and-out of his skunkworks at the drop of a hat. But, what sets Sammy (and Rhapsodio) apart is that there isn’t one among them that you can call a throwaway. From their entry pieces to their flagships, there’s a special sauce to Rhapsodio you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. Today, we’re looking at their latest from the former. The Orla is a $300, single-DD IEM with its unique riff on organic, along with the chops to pull it off.
- Driver count: One dynamic driver
- Impedance: 32Ω @ 1kHz
- Sensitivity: 96dB @ 1mW
- Key feature(s) (if any): Proprietary dynamic driver
- Available form factor(s): Custom and universal acrylic IEMs
- Price: $300
- Website: www.facebook.com/rhapsodiohk
Build and Accessories
The packaging Rhapsodio have prepared for the Orla is truly stunning. The in-ears come inside a chest-like wooden box, complete with a sliding lid that’s beautifully engraved with the company logo on top. There almost feels like a Japanese influence to it, reminiscent of a sliding shoji opening to a tatami within. In line with that, there’s also something Japanese about how the wood’s been treated as well. The box feels gorgeously smooth throughout, and it’s clear tons of care had been put into both the lacquering and buffing stages of the manufacturing process. Once again, this one certainly ranks among the best unboxing experiences I’ve had at the entry level, and I hope to see more step up to this standard. Bravo!
Sliding the lid open, you’ll find the interior foam-padded on all sides. It’s been lined with this beige fabric, reinforcing that Japanese agriculture theme again. In the centre are the IEMs stored within Rhapsodio’s also-incredible carrying case. It’s a semi-soft case equipped with a carabiner, no less. And, the materials and silhouette Rhapsodio have used here are quite reminiscent of products from brands like Krumpler. Given my affinity for their pouches – especially for audio gear – this is a case I can absolutely see myself using daily. Plus, as if the case didn’t belong on a belt hoop enough, it even opens at the top, allowing easy insertion and extraction while on-the-go from the hip. Inside the case is a silky fabric lining to keep your in-ears snug, and there’s even an inner compartment where you can keep your ear tips, adapters, etc. Then, finally, you have cosmetic touches like the Rhapsodio logo on the side too. So far, it’s been an absolute masterclass from them.
The only qualm I have with the Orla’s unboxing experience would probably be the essential accessories. Funnily enough, Rhapsodio have done the exact opposite of what most companies practice and eschewed these essentials in favour of a more luxurious first impression. In exchange for the wooden box and the carrying pouch, you’ll give up the cleaning tool, microfibre cloth and desiccant. If you’re someone with experience with CIEMs, you’ll most likely have those items in your possession already. But, especially since the Orla is an entry-level IEM, some may be disappointed to find them gone too.
Finally, moving onto the monitors themselves, Rhapsodio’s build quality is top-notch. Both earpieces feel solid, and I love how they’ve been contoured too. They’re secure without being overly tight, and the fit is always reliable; locking in with a simple twist, without any additional finagling required. The shells are a barely-translucent black, and the lacquerwork on them is flawlessly sleek. Every curve feels smooth, including the join between the shell and the faceplate; truly seamless.
On these faceplates, Rhapsodio have used a material I’ve never seen before: A transparent, rainbow-like foil that shifts in colour depending on the light and the viewing angle; gorgeous to experience in person. The only fault I found on my pair would be the cleanliness of the right side. That side had to be redone due to a channel imbalance Rhapsodio found prior to shipping, so there’s a bit of debris here and there that’s not the most pleasant to see. But, otherwise, these are a truly well-made pair of IEMs, and that right monitor could be a teachable experience for Rhapsodio’s process moving forward.