Today we check out co-flagship IEMs; Softears RS10 & Cerberus which sell for $2099 USD each.
Disclaimer: Softears directly provided the Softears RS10 & Cerberus samples free of charge. I covered the customs taxes for the package. This review reflects my honest opinion about the products.
EDIT: Last week we launched an AudioQuest survey and $/€2400 USD/Euro prize draw. Don’t forget to check it out here.
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 these two IEMs; the “RS10” and the “Cerberus”. One thing is for sure; Softears takes this IEM business quite seriously. After those two, Softears launched the “Turii”, which is a high-end single dynamic driver IEM, just like the latest bomb from Sennheiser; the IE900.
After that, they launched their latest offering, the RSV, and it got a recommended badge from us.
About RS10 & Cerberus
The Softears RS10 is a 10BA flagship with a 5-way crossover network. The RS10 name represents; “Reference Sound 10”. The internal design is quite complex and I’m not going to dive much into that. But one important aspect of the RS10 is the passive driver. To ease the air pressure inside the ears and to enhance the bass texture, this passive unit vibrates without making a sound. It produces a similar effect as the Adel or Apex modules that we know from the recent past.
The Softears Cerberus on the other hand is a tribrid flagship with a very different 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 unit in the RS10 is also present inside the Cerberus for the same goal. Other than the internal design, the Cerberus has an impeccably crafted outer shell with a fantastic look.
The two models share the same packaging in very compact rectangular boxes. However, the overall presentation can certainly be improved here. As it is, they reminded me of the unboxing experience of Moondrop, which is a related brand to Softears. Yet, these models are priced as flagships so it should’ve been different than the ones from Moondrop.
For example, the newer RSV has a better package overall with a much 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.
Is it that bad? No way, and 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, these boxes become a bit too ordinary. As for accessories, it’s also pretty normal. You get a card with the serial number, a warranty paper, a carrying case with a cleaning tool, a few silicone tips, and two small pouches for storing the earpieces individually, to protect them against scratches. You also get a cleaning cloth as well. Both models share exactly the same packaging in terms of those goodies.
However, the ear tips could’ve been better since we see some companies working with Final Audio or SpinFit for covering that part. Especially when you ask around 2k$ for your IEMs, the tips should be better in my opinion. They work just fine and I had no issues with them, but still, these tips don’t reflect the asking price. Other than that, everything is normal and you get everything you need in the package except the cable, which I will dive down into in a minute.
The design of the RS10 is serious-looking with a full-clear shell with crystal clear quality. This is not much of a surprise though. We’ve already seen this clarity from Moondrop monitors, like the Moondrop A8. These guys know how to create clean-cut, perfectly clear shells that show everything inside like HD quality. It reflects the overall sound presentation of the RS10 as well, so I think this is a great choice indeed. The shells are simply impeccable without even a single glue mark or whatsoever. What great craftsmanship here. The faceplate has two parallel silver lines with the Softears logo which completes the design nicely.
When you look at the Cerberus though, it’s even more 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 of course, you might find the RS10’s sterile and clean-cut look a bit more appealing depending on your taste. In my case, I absolutely loved the Cerberus more. The two parallel lines are also present here on the faceplate in gold color, and with the Softears logo once again.