Today we check out the custom version of a flagship IEM; the Softears Cerberus which sells for USD 2099.
Disclaimer: Softears directly provided the Softears Cerberus CIEM sample free of charge. I covered the customs taxes for the package. This review reflects my honest opinion about the product.
Softears may sound like a new name in the audiophile market, but it’s actually quite popular in China and it was established in 2017. Nowadays they’re trying to expand their business to the western markets, so that’s why they’ve reached to us. We were glad to know about them and we accepted to put their products to the test.
Their debut was with no other than the two flagship IEMs; the “RS10” and the “Cerberus”. I reviewed them both as below and recommended them on our Best Universal IEMs page. One thing is for sure; Softears takes this IEM business quite seriously. These guys really know how to tune an IEM with great engineering capabilities. They certainly deserve more recognition in the market.
After those, they launched their latest offering, the RSV, and it also got a recommended badge from us. It became quite popular as far as I can see and rightfully so. This is one of the most coherent monitors you can get for that price.
The Softears Cerberus is a tribrid flagship with a sophisticated configuration. This came out before the RS10 even, so it can be said that this is the landmark model when Softears emerged on the scene. The configuration is 1DD+4BA+2EST, and the EST drivers are from Sonion of course. Softears claims that thanks to their close relations to a BA driver manufacturer in China, the BA drivers in this model are designed specifically for the Cerberus.
The dynamic driver is also proprietary, as Softears claims, and it has high sensitivity and fast response. The passive bass unit in the RS10 is also present inside the Cerberus. Other than the internal design, the Cerberus has an impeccably crafted outer shell with a fantastic look for the universal model. For this custom one, I chose my own of course.
The custom models share the same packaging as the universal one in a very compact rectangular box. However, the overall presentation can certainly be improved here. As it is, this reminds me of the unboxing experience of Moondrop, which is a related brand to Softears. Yet, this model is a flagship one so it should’ve been a little bit different.
For example, the newer RSV has a better package overall with a better presentation. So I think they were also aware of this and improved the unboxing experience with the RSV. But I guess these older flagship models stayed the same. If they’re going to continue to sell these models, I think they can change the box to provide a more premium experience.
I actually liked the compactness, but it’s not quite something you’d expect when you pay a premium price for a flagship monitor. Especially after seeing the packaging of the RSV. As for accessories, it’s pretty good. You get a card with the serial number, user manual, warranty paper, carrying case with a cleaning tool, and two small pouches for storing the earpieces individually, to protect them against scratches. You also get a cleaning cloth and two cable straps.
Softears doesn’t have a special webpage to order a Custom IEM. You can contact them directly and get the instructions. They provide you with sample photos and a faceplate catalogue to pick your design. There are no order forms or tools. Perhaps they receive a custom order very rarely so maybe that’s why they didn’t choose to include a special order process.
I provided digital 3D impressions for my sample. They accept physical or digital impressions. The digital scans save you the cost of sending physical impressions to China. After choosing my design and sending .stl files, Softears offered me to send empty shells for testing out the fit. My digital files were a bit old, so they had to be sure. After I confirmed the fit, they started to build the CIEM.
They finished the CIEM in two weeks and sent it out. That’s very fast by today’s standards but I guess they’re not fully loaded with CIEM orders. They’re most probably selling universal models heavily. But in the end, they offered me a method to test out the fit, and they finished making a CIEM in a very short time. So despite the absence of a special ordering process/online tool for ordering, this is a good service in my book.
When you look at the universal version of the Cerberus, it’s extraordinary. The golden details over a black shell create a very exciting look. It’s almost like a bespoke CIEM design in a universal form. I think the shells of the Cerberus look magnificent.
But because I thought that particular design wouldn’t look that great in a custom form, I chose a simpler design for the CIEM version. The shell of my custom is fully black and the faceplate has sparkling flakes. Under certain light, the flakes shine with bright colours. It’s not easy to show it in the photos, but I’m quite happy with the design.