Compact Monitors, started in 1998 by Felix Reinsch, is a familiar brand to musicians and audiophiles in Europe, especially Germany. Recently, the company split into two different companies with Felix starting Rhines Custom Monitors and Compact Monitors being no more. Both companies make the Stage 2, 3, and 4, but that is where the similarities end. The Stage series offers a spacious presentation that has a boost on both ends for a fun sound, with excellent transparency and air.
In 2013 Felix replaced the Stage 1.2, which is the entry level design, with the Rookie. This year, Rhines Custom Monitors new models include the Stage 5, which still has a boost in the bass and treble, but it is more mild and the additional driver allows the boost to be pushed further to the extremes of the frequency spectrum. Bass is deeper and the overall tone isn’t quite as warm while the treble is flatter, so while this is still a “Stage” series monitor, it has a different flavor. Rhines has also added another case option for audiophiles, which is made from wood and leather.
Adding earphone options to the ER series musicians ear plugs is the Jack 3, which is a triple driver earphone that will be replacing the Jack 2. The ER can be used with interchangeable filters, attenuating 9 dB, 15 dB, or 25 dB, or one of the Jack series earphones for a cost effective custom IEM solution.
All stage series products are upgradable, so you can start with the Stage 2 and work your way up without having to buy new monitors each time. The Stage 5 and Jack 3 are too new to be on the website, but information can be found in the Rhines Custom Monitors brochure, which has product and company info.
But, Rhines isn’t stopping there as they are working on some other projects for release this year including a limited edition for Japan and Taiwan as well as a yet to be announced “surprise.”
A preview of my upcoming Stage 3 review can be found here.