The RTI1 nails the balance between energy and listenability. It provides the right amount of attack energy in both extremes. It trends neither tizzy, nor clangy. Its bass will rumble your skull. Vocals are slightly depressed, but clear and crisp. If midrange details is your thing, I suggest checking out the Grado GR10, or the FitEar ToGo!334. If your budget is smaller but your source smoking-good, the ortofon e-Q8 does much of what the RTI1 does, but leaves out the RTI1’s godly bass.
The RTI1 has a mildly aggressive slant. Highs are extended, wide set, and never far from the spotlight. They exude influence all the way into the upper midrange, but blend seamlessly into all other frequencies. They are the reason you might be tempted to call the RTI1 detail-oriented. While details are part and parcel to its general schtick, the RTI1 isn’t all about the small things; it’s about the shape in which those small things are arranged. It’s about the bigger picture. The temperate U-shaped signature keeps low and high details out to the side, and mids centered. It doesn’t extrude music into your ears, it extrudes you into the music.
And high ring is so lovely, so trancelike. It’s driven me into the bourbon. And god, bourbon is good. And god, so is pre-dubstep EDM. Thank you RTI1.
Treble attack is fast, and decay semi-fast. This allows for a bit of after-echo, which absolutely rocks for slower trance music, almost all EDM, and pretty much every live genre. It extends pretty high, and is smoothly textured. It hits down into the upper midrange, adding bite here, and edge there. Its slight effluvium masquerades as a gentle, clean ring. Another genre in which it rocks is progressive. A third is EDM. Not surprisingly, dubstep, which thrives on bass largess, and treble contrast, is a fourth.
What blows my mind is how the RTI1 thrashes bass details while sublimating its sound pressure to the purest vibrations. Bass is always centred. It is muscly, and it starts pumping at very low frequencies. In fact, it renders with aplomb the almost subliminal lines which introduce Markus Schulz’s Mainstage, a thing 95% of earphones cannot do. You can practically hear your brain wag in response to Kusanagi’s “Like You” and “Turn the Lights Off”. Pressure is strong from the nearly inaudible 40Hz range, and up. Its sound pressure is counterpointed by control. It never, ever, encroaches into low mids. It never bleeds from the upper bass.
Other frequencies seethe around it, creating a space all their own. Bass detail is centred. A small amount of atmospheric vibration blows to the sides, but in the main, bass stays put. Component bass instrument separation is meagre. Most of the RTI1’s atmosphere comes from its highs and upper mids. The smooth transition to mids from bass is the buttress upon which the entire signature hangs.
Mids retain a good amount of instrument separation, but like bass, don’t project much of a 3D image. That said, what they do project is width, and texture. They reveal the air and shimmer of a space, and highs take it away from there. Spatial details are wide and tall, but not crazily deep on the Z-axis.
Given a poor source, or a genre not fit to its contrasty signature, the RTI1 can sound slightly energetic. The great news is that that focus isn’t sibilant in the slightest. Treble fans should look no further. The minute high frequency decay adds a pleasant accent to everything.
All in all, the RTI1’s mild U-shape, while not what I would call reference, is a good, addictive, thing. Bass is foot-tapping, highs are clear, and on the whole, quick to react. Hard-hitting sounds hit hard. Soft sounds are soft. Nothing is out of place.
The best-fitting DAP I’ve used is the Hidiz AP100, or the Mezzo Hifi MSAK100. The problem with the former is that it hisses just a bit too much. The RTI1 is a sensitive earphone. It’s not overly difficult to drive, but it requires a decent player to coax out its best.
If you wish the ortofon e-Q8 had bigger bass and a bit more accent up top — not to mention a more spacious sound — you should look at the RTI1. If you’re all about the mids, there are other, better-fitting, options. Personally, I’m in it for the contrast. And, I’ve not had this much fun since discovering Sambuca.
From day one, the RTI1 wowed. Detail, surface tension, contrast, sparkle: it has each in spades. Bass does its effortless thing underneath, and highs are fantastically energetic without being sibilant. All of that comes at no real cost to the midrange. You get shine, but no sibilance. And god damn, bass is a.w.e.s.o.m.e. The RTI1 has bet the farm on a fabulous U-shaped signature. And I think it was a good bet.
The earphone is cool in the summer, made generally tough, and it comes in a nice box. It’s got a distinctly DIY feel to it, and I don’t expect it to sell well on used markets in a few years. But for now, it’s one of the best choices out there in arena of contrasty, foot-tapping earphones. Had Rhapsodio told me the RTI1 was a luxury earphone for a luxury market, I’d have spat blood. It so obviously isn’t.
And it’s good as it is.
- 8mm Titanium diaphragm driver design
- UltraMag technology provides extraordinary sonic quality
- Reference-class precision, all-rounded, ultra-high resolution with a big sound stage
- Bundles with OFC copper CM cable
- Rigid, durable metal housing
- CM socket cables compatible
- 1-year international warranty
- Available in silver colour