Rose Mini 2 Review – Sub $100 Reference Standard

Verdict –

The Mini 2 is quite an oddity, they are so supremely balanced in a market that really values more sculpted earphones. As a result, the benchmarks and references around this price become these more popular, more sculpted models which probably explains why the hifiman RE-400 received such varied reviews. To my ear, the Mini 2 is more pleasing than Hifiman’s offering and build quality is miles ahead. They may sound a little bland and mid-forward when coming from more V-shaped competitors, but give them a few days and the Mini 2 will enlighten you with balance and nuance that these models glance over by virtue of flawed design.


Again, it all comes down to individual preference and reference, for example, some call the SE215 balanced but to me they’re very much on the thicker more laid-back side. I suppose I’ll chuck in individual ear anatomy into the subjectivity of this hobby as well because I could sit here and gush all day about the Mini 2 but ultimately, that is just my take according to my personal preferences. So many question and inquire about the absolute best earphone under $100 when in reality, no clear winner exists. At the very least, Rose has given us another excellent offering around this price range; if you are looking for absolute comfort and acoustic balance with hints of musicality sprinkled in, I can’t think of a better choice than the Mini 2. For those looking for a bit more vibrancy and engagement to their sound, you can see my other reviews, I have covered dozens of in-ears of different forms and flavours.

Verdict – 9.5/10, The Mini 2 may not be the most vibrant, shimmery or thumping earphone out there but there are plenty of models that already satisfy those criteria. Rather, the Mini 2 occupies a vacancy around this price, offering some real neutrality with a taste of additional musicality. Top that off with perfect comfort and an excellent removable cable and the Mini 2 becomes an easy recommendation for lovers of natural clarity and balance and perhaps those that struggle to find a solid fit on conventional IEMs.



Ryan Soo

Ryan Soo

Avid writer, passionate photographer and sleep-deprived medical student, Ryan has an ongoing desire to bring quality products to the regular reader.


31 Responses

  1. Hi Ryan,

    How does the Rose mini 2 compare to the RHA MA750? I love the 750s, but I’m looking for something more neutral and detailed, as I just feel that lots of details are hidden with the 750s when listening to more classical styled music. I’m addition, I’d like an IEM for general media consumption and not just exclusively music (which I guess can be solved with a neutral IEM?).

    Thanks in advance!

  2. Hi Jose, I find the IT01 to produce a larger soundstage and better separation as it’s brighter and has a slightly thinner body. On the contrary, as the Mini 2 is more balanced, it is more coherent with better imaging.

  3. Hi Ryan,
    I am torn between IT01and Mini 2. Besides sound signature, how do they compare regarding soundstage, image rendering and instrument separation?

  4. Hi Han,

    The PX is definitely on the aggressive side, bright with a focus on clarity. The Mini 2 is almost the opposite, it is a little smoother in its high-frequency delivery and bass is more even if still slightly warmed. The Mini 2 has more realistic timbre than my P1, I wouldn’t say that it has any advantage in resolution, soundstage or detail retrieval, but it is easily the more natural sounding earphone. I feel it is a good match for your outlined genres as a result, but does lack the sub-bass extension and clarity of the P1/PX.

  5. Hi Jose,

    I haven’t heard the DBA-02 but did own the DBA-02 MKII in the past. From memory, it was a brighter sounding earphone. On the contrary, the Mini 2 is smoother and warmer, it has more body but also isn’t as aggressively detailed or airy.

  6. Hy Ryan,
    great review on the Rose Mini 2. Have you tried fischer audio dba-02?
    Would you care to compare? thanks in advance

  7. Hi Ryan, just stumbled on this great review! Currently on the Pinnacle PX which is basically P1 with a different finish and only with the cheaper black MMCX cable. I like the detail retrieval and lack of bass bloat but find string sounds (especially violins) and cymbals/high hats a little unnatural/thin when listening to a mix of classical/soundtracks/jazz.

    How do the string and percussion reproduction on the Mini 2 compare? This might be a great 2-BA to step up to as I liked the Creative Aurvana In-Ear 3 except muddles mids and the Brainwavz B100 I used to own. I have tried and like the ATH-IM02/LS200 for a great detail retrieval like PX and natural strings but the price is a little out of my budget. Thank you!

  8. I found the IT01 to be considerably more V-shaped. It has better sub-bass extension and a fair deal more emphasis. The IT01 is more aggressive with greater clarity and a brighter signature, while the Mini 2 is more balanced and linear, retrieving greater micro-detail. The IT01 is also a fairly small in-ear, both are comfy and isolate well. Different kinds of sound, it depends if you’re looking for something more balanced (Mini 2) or more engaging (IT01).

  9. Quick tip after some use with the Mini 2: If you want more isolation but do not want to use foam tips, use Shure Triple Flange tips. The Shures provided more isolation than any of the tips that were shipped with the Mini 2.

  10. The Mini2 does ship to Singapore from PenonAudio, ‘tho not for sub-$100. Will give it a shot.

    Thanks for the timely advice. I was close to ordering the F9 Pro, but since none of the personal monitor mixers I’ve used have precise EQ, they would have been a nightmare to EQ!

  11. Hi YWYW, I don’t feel the F9 is the most balanced in-ear on the market, it is definitely skewed bright. However, if you’re comfortable using eQ, it may be what you’re looking for.

    It has pretty tight bass with the balanced tips, great clarity and separation combined with great resolution and treble air for the price.

    That said, isolation is pretty mediocre and definitely lower than what the RE-400 is capable of though it does have more low-end which may balance it out in louder environments.

    Regarding the Mini 2, perhaps you can try Penonaudio, they are quite flexible with international shipping.


  12. Hi Ryan, thanks for the review. Unfortunately the Mini2 doesn’t ship to Singapore. Any alternatives at around the same price range?

    Currently I’m using the RE-400. Was using the M6 Pro before it broke. Looking to upgrade for:
    – better isolation (for public transport)
    – more articulate highs
    – tighter and punchier lows for faster genres like prog metal
    – decent separation for live on-stage monitoring

    Would like something fairly balanced like the RE-400, but doesn’t have to be reference. Would the Fiio F9 be suitable?


  13. Thank you Jay!

    The Mini 2 is in the same ballpark as the GR07 in tuning but, due to its size and use of BA drivers, it does not possess the same bass extension and rumble. That said, it is still a natural sounding earphone and isn’t lacking body as some other neutrally-orientated BA in-ears can since it does have a slightly warmer bass response. Be sure to purchase them from a seller like Penon Audio for warranty as Rose has had some QC issues in the past. I do love how they fit and sound but this is something I have to let people know. Let me know if you have any other questions and hope you have a happy holiday!

  14. Hey Shawn, from memory, the HF5’s do isolate a bit more, but the Mini 2 will isolate very well with foam ear tips or triple flanges. I feel the Rose is slightly warmer down low and a little more laid-back up top though it is hardly a bass-heavy earphone.

  15. Hi Ryan, long time fan.
    I recently lost my Kinera H3, which were a tad too V-shaped for me. Previously i was rocking some gr07 that I loved but build quality made me want to stay away from Vsonic for good.
    Would the Minis be a good next step? I’m kinda afraid of BAs, I’m currently using some Meelec A151s and I find myself missing my old iems quite a bit.

    Thank you for all your work !

  16. Hey Ryan,

    How would these compare to the Etymotic HF5? Would you say Etymotic is still the best choice if isolation is an important factor?

  17. I bought the Mini 2 a week or so ago after reading this review and I agree wholeheartedly with your impressions. It’s an incredible IEM and the balance is simply astounding – especially compared to the TFZ Exclusive 5’s that I purchased in a similar fashion. Thanks for the review!

  18. Hi Gaston,

    Apologies for my delayed response, I haven’t heard the Jay-Q-Jay or IT01 unfortunately, but the Mini 2 is pretty comparable to the RE-400 in balance and quality. It is perhaps sligthly more bassy and less dynamic as it uses armature drivers but the removable cable should ensure better longevity.


  19. Hola Ryan veo que no ha contestado seguramente esta muy ocupado ,queria preguntarte sobre el
    Jay-Q-Jay,muchomas caro contra el Rose Mini 2 que parece tu favorito .Gracias un Saludo.

  20. Hola Ryan, gracias por las actualizaciones tan buenas que hace, es un placer leerlo. Me gusta el Mini2 (tengo un Hifiman RE400 muriendo por el cable, pero que puedo decirme de los nuevos Ibasso it01, mismo precio, y el Brainwavz
    B400, un poco mas caro pero con 4 conductores, Gracias y un saludo.

  21. Hey Ryan I wanted to ask how do these compare to the westone w20/w2, audio technica im02 or gr07? my westones just died so i was wondering if these are a good replacement. Thank you so much for review, it really came in handy since i’m looking for a new pair of iems

  22. How do these compare against the GR07? My ones finally broke and I’m looking for alternates or even sonic upgrades. Anything that comes to your mind as a recommendation would be helpful as well!

  23. Pretty similar balance and style of tuning, the RE-400 is a dynamic driver earphone so it has more sub-bass extension and slam though the Mini 2 has slightly more mid-bass punch. Mids are similar, the Rose is smoother and upper mids are a bit more detail. Treble is more linear and extended on the Rose though the RE-400 has a wider soundstage. I would pick the Rose mainly due to the removable cable and build which feels better than the Hifiman despite their diminutive size.

  24. Sorry Kevin, haven’t had a chance to try Apple’s in-ear, I believe there was a review on Head-fi that provided some comparison.

  25. Hi Ryan, awesome review! I’m tempted to buy this IEM. How would you compare this to Apple’s ADDIEM?


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