Build Quality and Cables
Build quality is very good as well, as the earpieces are unibody including the nozzles. The sound bores are cut nicely too, and the faceplate closing is perfect. These models don’t have the recessed 2-pin sockets of the RSV, but actually, the cables stick nicely and better than on the RSV. I remarked in the RSV review that the recessed sockets could’ve designed better with a deeper fit. There are no problems here with the flagships, however.
That brings us to the cables here. When you charge more than 2000$ for an IEM, you better supply a good cable. The cable is a very important aspect of an IEM, for both sound and aesthetics, let alone with a high-end flagship model. And the cable supplied with these two models is very underwhelming. I’m not going to say that the cable doesn’t have good wires or it’s a low-quality cable since I don’t know the supplier at all. And it would’ve been understandable with a mid-range IEM, but not with a flagship, high-end, premium-priced IEM.
Even the RSV has a better cable, at least in terms of the quality feel and looks. The color of this one is complementary to the RS10 maybe, but not to the Cerberus. And when I paired these IEMs with good cables, I heard improved results in terms of overall presentation and technical performance. I see this issue from time to time with different manufacturers and they need to recognize the importance of a good quality cable.
The fit of the Softears models is very good. It’s not quite like the RSV since these two are larger and they stick out a bit from your ears with lots of drivers inside. They feel very good and comfortable in the ear and they also block lots of outside noise. The Cerberus has a vent for the dynamic driver so its isolation is a bit less in theory, but in reality, I didn’t have any problems regarding isolation.
The tips, as I remarked above, could’ve been better with a possible collaboration. I tried the Final Audio tips and SpinFit tips, also with a couple more tips in my possession. The result is very good with all of the tips that suit my ear size, so I don’t think anyone would have any problems with the fit of these models overall. Yet, finding the perfect tips for you can require some time, since these IEMs are a bit larger than average.
Sound Quality – RS10
The Softears RS10 is a reference-grade IEM with a fantastic technical performance. Also, I really liked how refined it is. This IEM is indeed the definition of refinement coming together with 10 drivers. Just like the RSV, the RS10 has a great tuning that would please many purists and lovers of reference and linear-sounding gear. Everything sounds accurate, precise, and clean with the RS10 and its technical performance is simply excellent.
The Softears RS10 has a powerful bass response, and it’s actually more than what I expected. That’s not it though. The RS10 has more bass quantity than the Cerberus too. Especially the sub-bass is very strong and tight when asked for. The mid-bass body is also very good and it has great control as well. I would say the RS10 has a touch more bass quantity than what I call a “reference sound”, but that allows it to be more flexible and manageable with almost any genre.
Don’t interpret my words to think that RS10 has a boomy or too aggressive bass. That’s not the case at all. The bass has incredible texture and decay performance. There’s no mid-bass bleed whatsoever, and it has that bass response that you can only find in premium IEMs; perfect timing, speed, and quantity at the same time (when the recording needs).
This is a very surprising bass response from BA drivers. There’s great punch and kick, and it also has very good decay, which is expected from BA technology. Bass has good balance, enough presence for most music, and it’s very controlled. This makes the RS10 a very versatile IEM. This is not a huge bass whatsoever, but it’s certainly very close to being a reference while being a tad more than that in terms of quantity. The technical performance of the bass is the best part though.
The mid-range in the RS10 is very transparent and refined. This is a studio-type of mid reproduction without any coloration added. There’s great resolution here with great dynamism. Sure, there’s no coloration here, but the dynamism is definitely there, and both vocals and instruments have a very good definition. However, for the lovers of the warm sound signature, this presentation would be a bit dry to some degree. However, if you like to have a technical approach, this would be a joy to listen to.
The mids are a tad bright here, with incredible micro and macro details. Sometimes I think that RS10 is a bit “too detailed” even, and the uncompromising reference sound is definitely felt more in this range than bass. This is a very neutral mid-range, so if you seek fun or warmth in mids, the RS10 won’t give you that. What it would give is incredible detail and transparency, dynamism, and resolution. You’ll hear every nuance, every breath, and every touch.
Timbre wise it’s not the most musical IEM of course. It reproduces an instrument’s sound in the most realistic way possible. But it doesn’t have that “musical touch” to make you feel joyful and excited. It’s unapologetically reference and studio-like. You’ll hear how that instrument sounds precisely, and absolutely nothing else is added or left out. And that’s what it’s all about; precision.
Just like the mids, the treble is very transparent and very resolving. Highs have great control but they’re not shy at all. In fact, the RS10 has a better treble definition and crispness than what Cerberus has to offer with its EST drivers. Treble has great air and a great sense of space, together with a very good extension.
Another good thing about the treble here is the overall articulation. Since there’s great layering and separation, the treble sounds clean with a great sense of separation, and everything sounds in place with great rhythm. The energy is definitely not missing, there’s good enough bite and crispness here. The definition of the treble is done very well. Once again, it’s very reference-grade in the treble without any added peaks or added smoothness. It feels very neutral just like the mid-range.