Review: oBravo Ra C Cu – Top of the line

Other

While I was at it, I also tested the oBravo with some very normal sources such as my Dell laptop, the Denon integrated receiver, the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the iPhone 8. Not immediately sources I’d think about using with the Ra C Cu, but why not?!

I only got a new laptop and the Ra C Cu actually sounded better on the old one. On the new one you get loose bass, darker mids and very soft treble. The voices are pretty good actually but it’s not a recommended setup.

Straight from the Home Cinema amplifier, the oBravo, believe it or not, sounds really bad. Muffled, dark, thick, loose and compressed. Oh no Denon, not going to happen. My good old Samsung can barely get loud enough but the combo works. Bass is a bit bigger and not the tightest but it’s still more than acceptable. The mids are rich and musical, voices natural and treble is extended and lively enough, this is a musical combination that puts a smile on my face, what a lovely pairing.

Now of course my hopes were even higher with the new iPhone 8, yes that’s with the Apple supplied adapter. And yes, it sounds just as nice though a it doesn’t have the same level of energy as the Samsung does. Sound is very balanced though, with excellent bass, mids and treble. It’s a softer rendering but a very relaxing one. A very enjoyable combination.

Comparisons

So what on earth can you compare a special technology using, $10K universal IEM with? Not easy, right? The only thing that comes up here is the oBravo EAMT-1A which we talked about earlier.

The Eamt-1x series were the oBravo TOTL IEMs before the Ra series saw the light, it was/is expensive but it did get our IEM award for excellent performance. The Eamt-series is still available and the 1a version sets you back over $4600 USD.

First of all the “original”, if I may call it that, is a whole lot easier to pair and drive. When listening to the 1a you recognize the typical sound and the Ra C Cu sound much alike. The big difference here being that the Ra does everything better. Bass is deeper, more in control, has better layering and more detail. The mids are more spacious, also have better layering and sound a tad cleaner. Treble is even more energetic and here you really notice the effect of the improved AMT driver. Treble is more clear, more extended and shows more detail. It’s more spacious and better layered.

Does that make the Eamt-1a bad, oh no, not at all. The 1a still is one hell of IEM, especially at that price. IS the Ra better, it surely is. Is it $6K better? Well only you can answer that, all we can say is that the difference is quite remarkable.

Conclusion

Testing this crazy IEM has taken a lot of work but it was rewarding at the same time. The oBravo Ra C Cu isn’t the very easiest IEM to pair and get the synergy right, but once you do you get a heavenly sound. Only with a limited number of portable players the result is good enough, but the Ra really starts to shine when you hook it up to an external amplifier. Some work out better than others do and that goes for both portable as well as desktop amps. In the end however the Solaris and Violectric V281 to me are the amps that get the absolute best out of the Ra, and once you’ve heard what it is capable of, it’s hard to go back to a lesser combo.

The Ra C Cu is one hell of an IEM. Yes the price is impressive but the sound is the exact same thing, you just have to get it right.

I’d like to thank oBravo again for giving us the opportunity to officially review the Ra C Cu together with Headfonics, and Phil from the Audioconcierge for the product support. If you ever get the chance to listen to the Ra C Cu, make sure you do and take your time. Just don’t forget to bring an amp and you’ll most likely love it.

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Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. He's running Headfonia as a side project next to his full time day job in Digital Marketing & Consultancy. He's a big fan of tube amps and custom inear monitors and has published hundreds of product reviews over the years.

3 Comments

  • Reply May 16, 2018

    Dave Hutchinson

    I guess a couple of good comparisons might have been the Audeze LCD-i4 or the Shure KSE-1500?
    Of course, they aren’t the same price but they are TOTL IEMs and with the law of diminishing returns it would be a very interesting comparison.

  • Reply June 18, 2018

    Guy Lamaar

    If you look at the price delta between the Ra-C-Cu and the “standard” Ra-C, that’s some pretty expensive copper. I think I’ll wait until oBravo release the -Pt or -Au variants; hopefully, they’ll be priced a little more realistically …

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