Rhines Stage 5: Enjoy Your Music

4. Price & Accessories

The Stage 5 isn’t cheap and prices start at 1379€. Euro that is. The Stage 5 came in a gorgeous looking wooden personalized box with my name on it. The Rhines logo you can see in the pictures even is in real gold. I kid you not. Accessory wise there was a pretty soft pouch, a cleaning tool, cleaning spray, moisture absorbers (dry caps), two stickers and one 6,3mm to 3.5mm adapter. From what I understood though, you can also request the standard black aluminum hard case.

5. Customer Service

As my impressions were made at the show and I didn’t request for anything myself, I can’t really judge this. I have been in touch with them via Facebook but I’m sure that’s not the way it usually goes. I also told them to only make the monitors when they had time as I didn’t want to cut in line of the paying customers, and so it took around 2 months. I wouldn’t use that as an estimation though and if you’re curious about delivery times, I suggest you contact Rhines directly.

 6. Sound

The first few minutes listening to the Stage 5 are always special. I use them a lot as they offer the best comfort ever and they look great but my ears each time have to adapt to the more airy mids. They’re more airy then any of my other monitors but after one song you’ll be completely hooked to them already. I’m glad the after market cable elevates the midrange clarity though, with the stock cable there seems to be this weird veil I can’t shake off.

First thing I noticed when I put the Stage 5 in my ears was the great left-right balance, the good imaging and its powerful bass. The Stage 5 is reasonably fast sounding but it’s not the fastest monitor on the market. I would describe the sound stage width as being normal. The Stage 5’s sound stage is wider than it is deep and you don’t get that inside your head kind of sound which is always good. Detail wise the Stage 5 is good, I wouldn’t expect anything less of a 5 driver, but it isn’t the most analytical monitor either, I’d say it’s more fun than analytical.

I wouldn’t really call it the most linear tuned earphone as the focus to me is clearly on the bass section, then the mids and then the treble. The bass and mids are fairly in tune but I would have preferred a little more focus on the treble. The Stage 5 is a monitor that is more on the darker sounding side yet with good clarity overall.

Bass has great body, goes deep and sounds tight. Like in a lot of monitors bass isn’t always the fastest but I’m not complaining about its speed at all. When called upon in the recording, bass can really impress and that’s the way I like it. It’s not a bass heavy monitor for bass heads but the bass focus certainly is there. I would have liked to have heard a more layered bass with more timbre though, that would have made it perfect.

The Stage 5’s mids have good body but the mids are very special. They sometimes sound a bit more in the back but they have good detail and separation. With good recordings you get a full bodied sound with good dynamics and detail. The mids are quite airy which can sound really good but with bad recordings it is the monitor’s weak point. With the stock cable I somehow found the mids to have this weird veil over them and with the airy character I did not really like the result. By using an after market cable the clarity greatly improved. In general I would still describe the mids more on the darker side. I read someone saying he wouldn’t recommend the Stage 5 for midrange lovers and if you like more forward sounding and less dark mids this indeed isn’t the monitor for you. On the other hand, if you’re in to big bodied mids, this just might be the perfect monitor for you.

The highs, like Rhines says, are smooth and not peaky. I feel they’re less in line with the bass and mids but then again that does result in a smooth and easy to listen to sound, and that’s exactly how Rhines intended it to sound. While I can appreciate a lot of treble I also really enjoy this monitor’s treble tuning and I’m sure most of the customers would be extremely happy with the treble. Then again, if you’re a real treble fan,  I wouldn’t recommend this specific model.

I found the Stage 5 isn’t too forgiving and a good source and especially quality files are recommended at all times. When you’re buying a monitor of this level, I doubt people will be using bad sources and low quality files though. I myself have been using it with the Astel & Kern AK120ii and the combination is really good: you get the good bass and full bodied mids from the Stage 5 together with the detail and clarity of the AK. I can listen to it for hours and I always end up singing along with my songs, until my girlfriend tells me to stop when she can’t take no more.

7. Competitors

1964 V6S: These monitors are faster sounding and have less bass body and thinner mids. The treble of the V6S do is further extended and the sound stage is wider.

CustomArt Harmony 8Pro: Has a wider and deeper sound stage. It’s a detail king with great speed and clarity. It is tighter, faster and more linear but the bass and mids do not have the body of the Stage 5. It’s more reference vs fun.

Cosmic Ears CE6E: The CE6E has less bass body as the Stage 5 but the CE6E’s has more timbre and detail. The mids are more in line with the bass than with the Stage 5. Treble is more extended on the CE. The CE6E’s sound stage is a tad wider as well.

Driveability, Conclusion and pictures on page 3!

4.2/5 - (5 votes)

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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.

13 Comments

  • Reply January 13, 2015

    ohm image

    Here stars the war of high-quality German custom earphones. I love the wood of this one.

  • Reply January 13, 2015

    solid

    So do you prefer Stage 5 or VE6??

    • Reply January 13, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      I don’t have the VE6, I have the V6s though

    • Reply January 13, 2015

      ohm image

      I’ve got the VE6, and it is awesome.

  • Reply January 14, 2015

    Patrick.C

    Good to see more CIEMs on this website L. and N!

    Also that some manufacturers are making those In-ears is really great for audophile guys like us (1964 / US, Cosmic Ears / Sweden, ACS -/ Switzerland, Rhine / Germany and many more)
    I personally prefer, since my buy last year, IEMs over dynamic and orthodox Headphones.

    Why you ask? As a glass user it is nerve-racking for longer sessions, the weight is a problem and they are usually easier to drive than a headphone with a high resistance or less sensitivity (SPL/mW)

    Regards Patrick

    • Reply January 14, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      I agree and some of these customs aee superb. Yet at the same time they just cant replace the sound of an open reference headphone

      • Reply January 14, 2015

        Patrick.C

        I have to go to CanJam next year so we can discuss in person about the benefits of a HD800, STAX Top Flagship and Audeze LCD3 and many more.

        Then I can’t remember the soundsignature of those anymore expect for Audeze best midrange I have listened to date and the kef ls50 in reference studio/music use and se535 as a solid In ear.

        Best regards my friend.

      • Reply January 14, 2015

        dalethorn

        Going from speakers to big headphones to smaller on-ears to in-ears — that’s a lot of different perspectives isn’t it?

  • Reply January 15, 2015

    Alexandre Nishikawa

    Hey! How would you compare these to the Noble Audio K10?

    • Reply January 15, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      I would’t. sorry, I don’t have the K10. From what I understnd the K10 is a level up in clarity, detail and linearity

      • Reply January 15, 2015

        Alexandre Nishikawa

        Oh, it was Nathan. Thanks for the fast reply!

  • Reply January 31, 2016

    hello

    Hi, How would you compare it to Shure SE846?

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