Review: Rhapsodio Saturn
Firstly I would like to thank my friend Erik for loaning me these for review; they have had many hours of use and are fully burnt in.
*disclaimer: This sample was provided on loan for the purpose of writing a review, no incentive was given to write a favourable review. All opinions expressed are my own subjective findings.
Gear Used: Audio Opus #2 / JDS Labs OL DAC + O2 amp > Saturn
Accessories and Build Quality:
The Saturn come in a nice hardshell plastic case, with a fews pairs of tips. You get S, M and L in two different types of silicone tips. I didn’t get the full retail packaging, so I’m not sure if they come with anything else like a jack adaptor, but to be honest nothing else is really needed.
The Saturn are a very well built IEM, the shells are acrylic and look like a custom monitor, there is no wax guard on the nozzle so be sure to keep them clean. The internals all look secure and the 2-pin detachable cable is great. The included cable is silver plated copper, and has good strain relief, but it does have normal memory wire which I am not a fan of.
Comfort, Isolation and Driver Flex:
These are quite big monitors, and because of this they don’t fit very flush in my small ears, and stick out quite a bit. This is due to me having very small ears though, and most people won’t have any fit issues with these.
Isolation is good but not great, these are vented due to the dynamic driver so they won’t isolate as well as a fully sealed monitor, but they are fine for general daily use.
Driver flex is present upon initial insertion, but sorts itself out once inserted.
Split into the usual categories with a conclusion at the end.
Lows: These are a bass heavy IEM, the bass is incredibly full and dynamic but a little overblown at points. This is a little tip dependent and spinfit tips do control the bass a little compared to the Symbio wide tips. The lows are extremely full and there is plenty of power behind them, both sub and mid-bass have excellent power. Kick drums hit with authority, and you can hear and feel the sub-bass rumble. Unfortunately there is a little bit too much for my tastes in quantity, and they do slightly muddle up the lower midrange.
Mids: The midrange is largely clean; the lower mids do have a little added body from the lows but for some reason even though the mids are recessed presence wise they still come across with great clarity and tone. There are certain tones that sound a little nasal, but for the most part the midrange is well behaved. There is excellent separation between guitars and vocals in the midrange, and the positioning in the soundstage is very good. Female vocals do a little better than deeper male vocals, and the midrange is a little bumpy frequency wise, as some notes are quite upfront whereas the rest is a little recessed. For example during Mayday Parade – Black Cat, the verses are up front and in your face, but the chorus is a little recessed. Not the most linear and upfront midrange, but still not too bad considering the power behind the lows.
Highs: The highs on these have good presence and sparkle, they do roll off a little in the really upper ranges, but there is plenty of power behind them. These are a v-shaped IEM for the most part, with a little added energy up top but without them being harsh. There is a little sibilance, but nothing that is fatiguing. The highs do sometimes sound a little metallic, and are not the most natural but they are fun and inject a lot of energy into the mix.
Soundstaging is actually really good on these, the centre image is precise and there is enough air around instruments to prevent them from getting too congested during complex tracks. Instrument separation is good too; there is a little congestion during very complex tracks but nothing major.
The only other cable I tried these with is my home-made Toxic Viper, this SPC cable really cleaned up the bass bloat but did not take away the fun factor. The bass is more focussed around the sub-bass without the mid-bass bleeding into the midrange as much. I was quite impressed by how much this cable controlled the overblown lows, making me think the stock one has quite different impedance. There is a little hardness in the upper midrange and treble with the Toxic Viper, but overall the controlling of the lows is the main difference, and a slightly more realistic tone to the treble. This to me is an improvement, but some will prefer the fuller stock sound.
Conclusion: Whilst far from being my cup of tea, I can see why the Saturn could be popular with some. The build quality is excellent; they look fantastic and offer a really fun sound. The bass is full and somewhat over-the-top during certain tracks, but this is without completely ruining the midrange. Only a small band in the lower midrange is really affected, the rest is well detailed and not overly recessed. The highs are energetic but never harsh; these are just a fun and enjoyable listen.
Sound Perfection Rating: 8.5/10 (Housing is big, bass can be a little overwhelming)