Pros – Well built, energetic, powerful
Cons – Ergonomics, thicker notes
Rhapsodio is a Hong Kong audio gear company, they offer IEM’s, cables, connectors, eartips and the list goes on. Sammy is the man you seek if you want anything Rhapsodio. In the past I have purchased IEM’s and other cables from Sammy and the products and service have been top notch. Please see my review of the Solar a kick ass IEM.
This review features the Rhapsodio RSD Golden mk3. I know cables for IEM’s are seriously controversial in the HeadFi community. Some believe that a cable, using different metals and alloys are pure snake oil or placebo, that no sonic differences can be heard. I am not going to try to dispel that or debate whether there is any merit in after market cables. My feeling is a quality cable combined with a good source and a balanced output all work together to create something magical. If asked if a cable alone will make a night or day difference I would say HELL NO! If you want better sound buy a better headphone or IEM and then next would be a good source and cables fall somewhere below.
I need to get one thing off my chest. I love Rhapsodio gear, but the three cables I have from them do not have the best ergonomics. They are stiff and rather cumbersome to use. When you have a stiff, cumbersome, uncooperative cable it makes it feel heavy and in the way. An example of an ergonomically friendly cable would be the Reference 8 cable. It is a thin silver plated copper cable that you don’t even know you are wearing. That said it is kinda springy and feels frail by comparison to the Rhapsodio cables. The mk3 has the best ergonomics of all of the Rhapsodio cables I have used.
The RSD Golden mk3 list price for $300.00 and I have the additional Far Infrared connectors. Don’t ask me what that means or what the hell they do but it is an additional $80.00 on their website, I didn’t pay for them. It is not as if I didn’t ask about them but I couldn’t understand the answer…technical stuff and an accent and I was lost, sorry I tried. One note about the Far Infrared connector pins, they appear to be a thicker diameter than usual. They were tight on both of the IEM’s I tried them with and I was afraid to force them into the IEM, so they didn’t sit flush. This did not cause any problems or for the sound to cut out but it is what it is. I tried the cable with both the Solar and the 64 Audio U12 and both were the same. I could not fully insert it, not bragging or complaining .
Connectors don’t fully seat
The cable I have is terminated for 2.5mm TRRS balanced output but it can be terminated in 3.5mm for a SE output if that is your desire. The mk3 itself has a quality build and feels like it could endure many tugs on cabinet handles if you are prone to snagging yours on cabinets as much as I do. It is really sturdy and solidly built and has a nice coated rubbery feel and a wooden fob that slides to a heat shrink tubing below the split. There are no memory wires, just heatshrink around the part you wrap around your ear.
2-pin Far Infrared
Shall we advance to the placebo snake oil part of the review?….THE SOUND!
For the review I will be using the Solar and the 64 Audio U12, both are warm sonically with the Solar being a little more balanced with a bit more trebly and the U12 being a wonderfully bassy yet articulate monitor. This is not a review about the 64 Audio U12 so I will not get into the different Adel/Apex modules and the effect these have on the sound signature of the U12, however I will tell you I am using the M15 for the review.
mk3 with the Solar
The general characteristics of the mk3 cable are to the warmer side of things producing a bit of a thicker sound with thicker notes. With both IEM’s the mk3 had a very powerful, full bodied impact on the music I was listening too. For example, the song Would? by Alice in Chains was as rich and full of energy as I have ever heard it. With the Solar, the mk3 makes an already musical sounding IEM more fun. The Solar is not an IEM that has a huge soundstage so the thicker notes of the mk3 do not really negatively affect the Solar as much as it does the U12 which has very wide soundstage. The U12 pairs much better with brighter sounding cables and source. The mk3 cable really showcases the bass and midrange side of the sound signature. It does not enhance the soundstage and I think if an IEM had a strident edge to it this cable could assist in taming that treble.
Beatles- Solar/mk3/Opus #2 = Bliss
My IEM of choice with the mk3 cable is the Solar. I think it pairs real well but I would still prefer the Silver Litz cable if I was using a Rhapsodio cable with the Solar. It seems to create a bit more air and doesn’t quite thicken up the sound like the mk3 does. I do not have any bright IEM’s as I prefer warmth but the mk3 would compliment a brighter IEM very well. When using a fairly neutral source such as the Opus #2 it pairs very well.
Top L – RSD Silver Litz Top R – RSD Golden mk3
Bottom – Pandora SPC
In closing, whether you believe in any sonic value from after market cables or not, cables are just another part of this wonderful hobby. I would recommend this cable based on it’s awesome build quality, it is sturdy, and durable. Heat shrink tubing where all of the connectors are an example of the quality. I would say that this cable would pair excellently with any brighter IEM’s. I enjoyed it with both of my warmish IEM’s however it was more in small doses as it was a powerful, heavier sound.