Disclaimer: Rhapsodio supplied the Reference Titanium One (RTI1) for the purposes of this review. The RTI1 goes for 1.000$ bones.
The Rhapsodio RTI1 shines. So does its boom-proof box. And though I’ve not taken an exacto knife to its case, I assume that the titanium driver does just the same. The RTI1 sports a single, dynamic driver. It measures 8mm across and is made from titanium.
If you’re a tech geek, stop reading now. This review doesn’t need you. I want to talk to the person that loves their music, and doesn’t care if an earphone has one, or many, drivers. In fact, my favorite universal earphone is the single-driver Grado GR10.
More does not always mean better. You know what does mean better? Better.
And I think that Rhapsodio have that nailed.
Rhapsodio have their toes dipped in a few pools: amps, DACs, cables, earphones, and a web aesthetic that hearkens back to 2006. Their trademark is a cross between a jawbone microphone, a printed circuit board, and a twisted game of Carcassone.
The RTI1 comes in a polished metal box. It is held together by chromed knuckles and latches. Its logo is blasted on top and inside, the earphones sit pretty between layers of velvet gauze. If you keep your RTI1s in their box, they will last a lifetime.
Everything else feels a bit off-the-shelf, but is of good quality.
Actually, I think I’ll blab a little here. 1000$ is a lot of money to throw down on a pair of earphones. And while the RTI1 sounds great, it can’t shake its DIY-aesthetic. I could be very wrong, but I don’t expect it to retain its value on the used market.
At distances greater than two meters, you’d be forgiven for mistaking it for a Bose In-Ear. I’m not necessarily against the cable’s barber-pole dizzy looks. But it doesn’t really fit a 1000$ earphone. If I were you, I’d spring for the upgrade cable, or attach any compatible cable in its stead.
Anyway, the barber pole is sheathed in a thin layer of clear plastic which bifurcates at the y-split. After that it is divided into two thinner arms, both sheathed in the same plastic. This sheath does a great job of protecting the cable against frays and kinks. Sprigging from the y-split, flexible plastic shunts skirt the first few millimeters of the cable, protecting it from the most egregious bends.
At the earphone, the cable is protected by around ten centimeters of heat shrink. That heat shrink is comfortable, and much less fiddly than memory wire. Which goads me into asking: why is it that memory wire even exists? It’s a bugger with glasses, a bugger to fix into a case; it may even get you stopped at the airport. I’m glad Rhapsodio went with heat shrink.
Protection sort of drops a grade at the coaxial connector. The rubbery grommet whose job it is to stave off the injunction of the metal coaxial, fails by coming unhooked too easily. This bares the cable to the metallic bite of the coaxial sheath. The good news is that the cable terminal is recessed. It is damped by a plastic well. Successive cable swapping isn’t going to hurt the RTI1, but the cable’s protective elements probably will fall apart.
At the 3,5mm plug, the cable lacks any sort of sheath at all. Instead, it disappears straight into a smooth-edged washer. Since the plug is straight, it requires care, especially when used in a pocket and connected with a large player like the iRiver AK240, the excellent (and huge) Calyx M, or Hidizs’s budget champ, the AP100.
The RTI1’s metal exterior is handsome if understated. It’s glintier than it is blingy. Its matte surface staves off all but the most greasy of finger prints. It is both light, and sound. As you can imagine, it is cool to the touch. Count it a blessing in the summer. In the winter, well, let’s just say this: as long as you’re not in Canada or Russia, you should be fine.
It’s also pock-marked: small blemishes and imperfections in its metallic surface bely its asking price. If evenly spread, they would have triggered the part of me that wants to say ‘quaint’. Overall, the chassis says DIY-gone-professional more than any earphone I’ve held for years.
As for its shape, the RTI1’s got a beer-loving-35-year-old-starting-to-go-to-fat thing going on: gentle double chins here, curvy lines there, and a preference to opulence. In Comply terms, it’s a T200. As always, I prefer to use ortofon’s comfy L-tips (which come with the amazing ortofon e-Q8). When I’m feeling experimental, I wiggle on FitEar’s universal series transparent tips.
Speaking of FitEar, the RTI1 fits very similarly to the FitEar ToGo!334. It is large, and doesn’t lie flush to, or in, the ear. Because it doesn’t try to fill up the concha, it can be used comfortably by most any sized ear. It wiggles in the canal, but is easy to put in and take out again.
Finally, when inserting it into the ear, it makes a crinkling sound as its driver flexes with the sudden influx of air pressure.
Sound impressions after the jump: