Welcome to my Cliffnotes, a series where I push out rapid fire opinions of some of the IEMs I’ve heard but can’t be bothered to fully review. Thus I won’t get too in-depth, nor will I be too formal and technical. Less analysis, more… from-the-heart if you will.
oBravo is a company that has always been shrouded in this aura of mystique, born from its status as a near-unattainable symbol of audiophillic wealth. The price tag of many of its IEMs blows away nearly everything else in the market and garners rave reviews, though there are very few who can truly confirm the acclaim that these get for that reason.
The Ra C is a slippery one, with many distributors and retailers either not carrying demo units or if they do, outright refusing the peasants like me even the opportunity to test out these mythical beasts unless I looked like I was ready to shell out the cash. I won’t pretend that I was actively seeking these out, but having a listen to these (and graphing them out) has definitely been on my agenda for the past 2 years, alas with no success.
That is, by sheer luck and coincidence, until yesterday.
You all have seen the title of this mini-review so here’s my message to the oBravo cultists: this is your last chance to turn back now.
Product page: http://www.obravoaudio.com/en/products-2/signature-2/ra-c-cu/
Driver configuration: DD + AMT (Air Motion Transformer) hybrid
The Ra C-Cu isn’t worth $100, much less $10,000.
I have no good things to say about this. It is wrong on so many levels that it’s hard to list them all, so let’s start with the bass. I understand that the Ra C-Cu is built to be an open-backed kind of IEM for imaging purposes, but there are ways to tune these kinds of IEMs without completely screwing over the bass response. The exalted MDR-EX1000 for instance, or perhaps the Audeze LCD-i4, both great examples on how you can still get great bass extension even without a fully sealed enclosure.
But the Ra C-Cu doesn’t have bass extension. It’s basically more earbud than IEM. And if that’s not enough, the Ra C-Cu has this resonant hump in the midbass that completely muddies the mids, so rather than getting the clarity of a rolled-off transducer like, say, the Koss KSC75, it still presents the bloat of an overly-bassy pair of IEMs. All of the drawbacks, none of the benefits.
Let’s talk mids now. The easiest way to describe them would be “unnatural” but if you want to be extra-nice, I guess you can call them “unique-sounding”. You can probably get used to these after hundreds of hours of listening, but you can do the same thing with $5 buds. Not an excuse.
You would think that treble would be the best thing about the Ra C-Cu given its unique AMT tweeter, but no. The treble is all over the place with random spikes and dips, and sometimes even gets sibilant despite its somewhat subdued overall nature. There is honestly nothing special with the detail or speed and it makes me question why even use the AMT drivers in the first place.
For the paltry sum of 10 grand, I think you’d expect near-immaculate product quality. Alas, this Ra C-Cu comes with significant channel imbalance.
And to the naysayers, to the goalpost shifters who would now begin to question my testing methodology, here is my statement to you and everyone else reading this.
- The best, most exotic cable cannot fix the Ra C-Cu.
- All the power in the world will not fix the Ra C-Cu.
- No source, DAC, amplifier or otherwise, will magically make the Ra C-Cu sound good.
- You can burn these in till the heat death of the universe, but it’ll still be bad.
- Tips can only do so much, and the Ra C-Cu is too much.
It is a fundamentally flawed product born from either sheer incompetency or laziness, and I’m not sure which is worse. Fixing this will require an entire overhaul of the design and tuning philosophy, and there is nothing the end-user can do short of a full driver transplant that will make these truly worth the price.
I hardly ever use the following statement due to the subjectivity of the hobby, but I think this is an absolutely appropriate time given the level of inadequacy. The Ra C-Cu is objectively bad, not just as a value proprosition but in an absolute sense in the absence of pricing. oBravo’s own $320 Cupids are better than them, not as a compliment to the Cupids but rather a testament to how painfully awful the Ra C-Cu is.
Get something better if you have that kind of money to burn, like the VE Erlkonig or something.
I’m back in Singapore! That should explain how I managed to get my hands on one of these things. Expect more cliffnotes and graphs in the coming weeks!
My usual thanks to my loyal supporters on Patreon and shoutouts to my big money boys:
27 thoughts on “[Cliffnotes] oBravo Ra C-Cu: $10,000 Joke”
So, I’ve listened to and reviewed 4 of the erib series and apart from the erib-1a, they were indeed dogshit.
The erib 6, 7 & 8 had ALL of the issues stated with this pair. Unlistenable. Forget brain burn-in, they made Beats sound like LCD-4’s!
On to the erib 1a.
Now whether by fluke or actual skill, these sounded beautiful. Spacious, balanced AND musical.
They were indeed on par with my UE-RR ciems.
The UE-RR retails around £800.
Obravo are a boutique audio company preying on rich idiots with big wallets and cloth ears.
I think the venting in the ceramic body was closed resulting in a bass boost. If you have the chance to measure them again check that the tips don’t cover the small hole.
Beside that the amt drivers are sensitive to dirt resulting in a uneven fq chart. I know one owner who clean them and told me that they loosed a hick in the fq chart after cleaning.
I know the higher obravo eamt range good and it’s strange how different they are for different folks. Definitly one you need to test before buying them. Overall a tricky earphone and sensitive to dirt.
Yeah right, 10k and it doesn’t even come with proper dust protection, what a great investment.
So what you’re saying is that for the Ra C-Cu to release its full power, you will need to listen to it in a dust-free lab? I’m sure not many people out there are willing to do that.
Sorry but this article is just ridiculous
In what way?
These measurements are so confusing with the listening expierence i had on different shows. They of course not for everone due their character.
I know one owner who sold them because the bass was to strong for him.
Are those some fakes you had? Connector seems not to be the stock one.
Yeah they sound like shite
Most of the time i compare these charts with other they are quite different.
Generating traffic with a voodo review and some strange data don’t sound serious to me.
When i tried to correct my iems with auto eq and these data they sounded not better.
But i listen these ra only once at a show, they sounded ok but i prefere a other signature.
Whose other data have you compared with?
D’ont judge to hard on crincale, it’s not easy for a young man to handle demanding audio gear. Like a supercar these on the edge gear can act strange and need time and experience to understand whats happening.
These oBravo sounded one time strange i could hear them, the second time they sounded heavenly. I think due the high ohm specs they don’t match with every amp/dap fine.
But i’m certain with some time crinacle will grow into this :-).
I don’t appreciate being talked down on purely on the basis of age.
Damn right! Go get them crinn! Like a bulldog that won’t let go.
I will just leave thi here: https://twitter.com/MaxSettingsYT/status/1208768787874492416
The sarcasm is super strong if present, but if not, you’re a person whose wife ran away without looking back because you burned it all in return for.. dogshit.
Ben, that comment is like telling Max Verstappen how to drive a toyota prius to stay on the track.
Age has nothing to do with having a good pair of ears and the ability to listen what sounds right or wrong to their individual ears.
Save your elitist comment where the sun doesn’t shine.
Man, don’t bet against it. There might be a particular kind of deaf that actually likes that kind of an IEM.
This guy just talked down to someone who has probably listened to 500x times as many IEM’s as he has, and on better equipment than he owns. Boomers are so absurd
It’s not about how good it sounds. It’s about making a statement
You know what we need? We need the folks at [Supreme] to make us some IEMs. Out of 24K gold.
That would probably be cheaper honestly
Gold of corresponding amount in grams are cheaper than any of the heaviest IEMs.
I am rather confused about the oBravo Ra c cu, I would use my own listening judgment if I had actually listen to it. In the other hand I am own oBravo eamt 1c since 2017, and I honestly love it, I can only think the Ra is better, until I listen to the Ra I very happy with my eamt 1c
If you hadn’t listened to it, what makes you think it’s better? Just the price?
Don’t have this judgement that just because one IEM is made well by one company, everything else they make will be better. That is just unsupported bullsh*t.
Hello Crin, apparently the sound is patched in 21.5 iteration although I am not sure to trust my ears or not. No signs of channel imbalance. No bass bleeding and improved bass extension. For mids, it is much more natural. Treble however, presence region is still screwn up, sibilant and all over the place. Technicalities wise, still deserve a good score tho. I have auditioned other stuffs and treble region for female vocals Ra-c-cu is still worst amongst them and my favorite vocalist’s voice is still poorly represented from this piece of transducer. No offence but this might be just one of more products of audiophilic overconfidence that they deserve 10 grands for this product, whereas it doesn’t reach a $320 Blessing 2.