Review: Softears RS10

Introduction

The RS10 is one of two flagship in-ear monitors from Softears. Also known as the “Reference Sound 10” this professional high-end audio tool allows you to monitor the output audio information with the highest transparency possible. The RS10 is your portable solution that replaces a well-treated studio with high-end speakers!

The Softears RS10 is a true technical marvel! Over years the company has perfected every little detail of this high-end in-ear headphone. The result is a perfectly linear frequency response, very low distortion and linear phase in the frequency-time domain. The RS10 is available as universal-fit or customized-fit. Find out here how it performs!

Suitable for Pro-Audio Gear

The design of the Softears RS10 allows for a high compatibility with use of conventional devices found in a (home) studio setup. The 5-way crossover of these miniature monitors is designed to have linear impedance so that the output impedance of the source cannot change the perfect tonality of the RS10 – this is an often overlooked problem with other IEM.

Furthermore, the efficiency of the Softears RS10 is matched to be closer to conventional studio headphones. Often, in-ears are very sensitive and have hiss problems when they are not used with an amp that was specifically designed for sensitive headphones. The RS10 is rated at 100dB/100mV and is thus ideal to use with almost any headphone output.

Audiophile Components Stuffed into a Tiny Shell

To achieve the performance as it does, Softears uses proprietary BA drivers to recreate the midrange frequencies as accurately and with low distortion as possible. The total of number of drivers exceeds 10 per side. Two passive drivers are implemented per pair to further improve the sound waves and minimize air pressure. This helps the stereo imaging and reduces fatigue.

The audio is split up by complex crossovers into 5 paths to ensure each frequency range performs the best. The transparent shell allows you to look at all the beautiful drivers, sound tubes, resistors, capacitors and wires. The RS10 is not only beautiful to look at, but the small shell is also incredibly comfortable and it is amazing how small it actually is. Most ears should not have any issues with the fit at all.

Sound Review

Bass

The RS10 has a shelved low-end boost that compensates the lack of physicality from a speaker. The bass curve is based on research and years of experience. Softears nailed the tuning here, allowing for low-end rumble, clean and fast punch, and a realistic texture of the bass.

Despite the low-end shelf, do not mistake the RS10 for a bass-heavy IEM. There is no bleeding into the midrange. The ground and lower midrange are neutral-flat allowing voices and instruments to step forward and claim their focus in the mix.

Midrange

As can be expected from a reference IEM, the midrange is as neutral as can be. The sound is equal to that of similarly priced near-field studio monitors. There is absolutely no coloration, no added thickness, no recession or boosted presence. Softears tuned the RS10 to be as transparent as possible.

The resolution ridicules many more expensive earphones, which is apparent in the easiness with which the RS10 separates multiple layers in the audio track. This is truly a reference!

Treble

The treble has a very natural sound with tonal accuracy. Unlike with most hifi IEM, the higher frequencies are not boosted at all. Considering the soundstage, cymbals are one layer behind vocals, unless the mix demands otherwise.

Again, the RS10 has excellent technicalities with breathtaking transients and very short decay.

Verdict

The Softears RS10 is without a doubt one of the best all-BA in-ear monitors. It is designed to replace or complement a professional studio with top-class monitors. Amazingly so, Softears has achieved just that with their "Reference Sound 10"! It is one of the very few neutral high-end headphones. The meticulous tuning and incredible performance make this one of the most transparent audio devices we ever experienced.

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