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If you’re like me, you’d probably have heard whispers of this particular brand being mentioned around the IEM community, but not many (English) reviews of their products are floating around, if any at all.
Softears is a Chinese audio company launched in 2017 and specialises primarily in IEMs, and one that is often compared to and associated with another popular chifi brand: Moondrop. According to a post on Head-Fi by Moondrop themselves:
“So long words short, it’s more like a relationship between [Nokia and Vertu] in old days.
We do share some R&D team and resources (the midrange driver in S8 is from Softears [and we share some] production lines etc.)
While at same time, we make our separate decision of product design and promotions.“
So the two are separate entities, but more collaborative than a straight rivalry.
For the last few years Softears has been more focused on the Chinese domestic market, hence the lack of publicity in the international market. More recently though they have started to push more aggressively into the Western market, and so today I present to you their newest release: the RSV.
But as per usual, just because they have the thumbs-up from an established brand like Moondrop doesn’t mean that I’ll go any easier on them. So IEF is here once again to answer to age-old burning question: how good is the RSV actually?
Driver configuration: 5BA
This RSV was kindly provided by ShenZhenAudio.
My unboxing posts are pretty much the only times I’ll ever talk about build quality, accessories and the like. I’m not really the person to ask about these things as I don’t really care about them that much.
- Hard case
- IEM pouches
- Cleaning tool
Cable: 4-wire round braid. Feels a bit too rubbery and stiff; not the greatest cable in terms of overall skinfeel and comfort.
Connection: recessed 2-pin. My first choice between the 2-pin/MMCX debacle, so no complaints here.
Build: fairly standard full resin build. No immediate structural complaints.
Fit: pseudo-custom. A bit on the thick side; comfortable for me still but YMMV.
Isolation: good, as expected of a fully-sealed design.
- No surprises here, the RSV is tuned excellently. Probably one of the best IEMs speaking purely in terms of tonal performance.
- Timbre is surprisingly good; there is a notable absence of that dreaded BA timbre despite its pure-BA configuration.
- Not quite as defined as I’d like it to be, but seems like this is the tradeoff for a more natural decay.
- Good resolution; not top-tier, but decent.
- Imaging ability would be the bottleneck in the RSV, around the bottom end of average. The “in-your-head” effect is present and the RSV noticeably struggles with live recordings.
- I’d probably classify the RSV as the “natural counter” to the Moondrop S8; the S8 is more detailed with better clarity but suffers from some BA timbre, while the RSV is pretty much the opposite being more pleasant but at the cost of sheer detailing and definition.
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