Tests were all done with the Ortofon tips. Overall, as mentioned in the introduction, I find that these IEMs fulfill its designers’ objectives. The signature approaches somewhat neutral. I’d venture to say that it, as per the maker, is mostly accurate too. The reason why I mentioned “mostly” is that, occasionally, I find the upper bass and lower mids to be just a tad lacking — but not by much. Usually, the other positive features of the signature distracts from noticing that particular lacking point.
I never realized until recently that I’m particularly sensitive to bright treble, and this is coming from someone who used to enjoy the Ultrasone Edition 8s and owned one for nine months! As such, with the RDB+ 2v1, I find the treble to be sitting on the fence. Depending on how the wind blows, given the right conditions (cable, amplifier, DAC), it has a very airy and smooth presentation – one of the highlights of the IEM, in fact. However, with a bright amp, pure silver cables, and bright musical tracks, then the treble could definitely sound harsh. Still, I don’t actually encounter that latter combination that much, which means that most of the time I’m actually enjoying the airy treble quite a bit. I also suspect that the midrange has a big part to play in the relative perception of the treble (which is why I don’t find the treble sibilant most of the time).
To my ears, the mids are also quite flat, except for the lower end where it seems to take a little bit of a dip (but not by much). In fact, I don’t actually notice it most of the time. Vocals sound detailed, yet rich, and musical. Vocal tracks seem to shine with this IEM’s sound signature. Listening to the Norah Jones’ Come Away With Me album, I sense a lush richness in Norah’s voice, along with an intimate presentation. Vocals on Taylor Swift’s “Ours” are great, whilst guitars are crystal clear. Similarly, with A1’s “When I’m Missing You”, the vocals & guitar at the introduction are quite musical. With Adele’s 21 album (possibly more specifically “Set Fire To The Rain”), I personally could do with a little more upper-bass/lower-mid emphasis. However, the dip is ever so slight and the other positive features of the signature seem to distract me from noticing this little dip.
The bass is an area where I believe most listeners will perceive this IEM to be lacking. However, what I find rather interesting about the bass is that, most of the time, when it’s truly called for, it is there — just not forwardly present all the time. Back to the Taylor Swift’s “Ours” track, the bass there fills in nicely without being overpowering. However, with the A1 track, although the bass is tight, the sub-bass does feel somewhat lacking, taking away from the fun-factor.
Soundstage and Imaging
The soundstage is decent. These days, with the likes of the FitEar MH335DW or Tralucent 1Plus2 with their super-massive soundstages, the average IEMs pale by comparison. Having said that, the RDB+2V1 doesn’t sound congested — by my standards, at least (though not exactly super vast, either). I feel it performs well amongst its peers. The imaging, on the other hand, is another forte of the RDB+ 2v1. This is more prevalent with live recording albums such as This is Chris Botti.
Presentation, Timbre & Speed
I’m probably repeating the airy presentation again, but this is one of the great features of the RDB+ 2V1 (in addition to timbre) that sticks to my mind. String instruments (such as violins), acoustic guitars, and percussion just sound so natural with this IEM. I feel they are presented with crystal clarity and accuracy. The IEM also sounds quite fast. Listening to Cher Lloyd’s Sticks + Stones album, the RDB+ 2V1 keeps up pretty well and tracks don’t sound slow at all.