A strong contender from a long bloodline of reference IEMs!
PROS: Very well tuned for the price, reference IEM, very good natural tonality and timbre, good bass performance (especially for a multi-BA IEM), sub-bass rumble, forward upper-midrange, fairly neutral smooth and natural treble presentation, good resolution and separation, build quality and design, close to CIEM fit with medium-deep insertion, noise isolation, good cable and case.
CONS: Mid-treble dip takes away from absolute reference presentation as well as what could’ve been excellent technical performance for the price. Big shells could be troublesome for small ears. Could’ve used more variety in stock ear tips.
The product was provided to me free of charge for the review in exchange for my honest opinion.
Softears is closely associated with the highly popular Chinese company – Moondrop, as they share a lot of R&D and manufacturing assets while remaining sister companies that run their business independent of each other. As per what I’m told, Softears’ CEO is actually an automobile engineer by education who joined Moondrop after completing his studies. Moondrop’s founder, Herbert invested in him to create a no boundaries, no budget restrictions R&D brand, Softears, to see what could be achieved if money was no object. If you haven’t noticed, Moondrop’s IEMs like Blessing2 and S8 use Softears developed drivers for the reference quality midrange they are particularly known for.
- Drivers – 5 Balanced Armature drivers
- Frequency response – 5-40kHz (Effective range – 20-20kHz)
- Sensitivity – 125dB/Vrms @1kHz
- Impedance – 8 ohms
- THD – < 1% @ 94dB
- Shell material – Imported medical resin
Included in the box.
- Softears RSV
- 4 core cable
- Silicone ear tips – 2 types (SML)
- Leather case
- Warranty Card
- Cleaning cloth & brush
RSV, like a lot of resin IEMs, is made with medical grade resin but its build, design, fit and finish are executed to very high standards. The stock design has black shells with carbon fibre + sprinkled gold flakes faceplate design. The right shell has the Softears brand logo while the left shell has RSV in a font that reminds me of one of my all time favourite games – Need for Speed. Even though this isn’t the first IEM I’ve come across with this faceplate design, RSV’s faceplate looks particularly special as the clear lacquer is finished to high gloss without any smudges underneath, which highlights the layered carbon fibres and gold flakes with a nice 3D effect.
Cable – RSV comes stock with a matte-black 4 core braided cable with 2-pin connectors and a 3.5mm jack. There is no info anywhere regarding the wire the cable is made of but I quite like it. It has a powdery matte finish and is fairly supple. Aesthetically, it pairs really well with RSV and has minimal microphonics. It has pre-moulded ear guides and a red ring on the right connector to indicate the right channel.
Case – RSV comes with a very nice round black leather case. I would’ve loved it even more if the stitching was black too but the case is quite roomy on the inside and comfortably fits RSV with the cable.
Fit and Comfort.
Just for reference, I have medium-large sized ears. RSV’s shells are quite large but are one of the snuggest and most comfortable fitting semi-custom universal shells that I’ve owned or tried. Noise isolation is class leading because of its snug medium-deep insertion fit, which almost feels like a CIEM.
Just beware that RSV’s shells are bigger than Moondrop’s Blessing2 and S8. So, if you have small ears and the Moondrop shells were big for your ears, RSV’s shells might not be best for you. Still, RSV has better semi-custom contours than the Moondrop siblings and might fit and slide in your ears better. One can only know fo sure by trying ’em out.