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Rose Technology Mini2: Ein zartes, aber durchsetzungsfähiges Röschen - [Review] 🇬🇧

Vorwort:

Wie bereits in der Vergangenheit erwähnt, werde ich meine zukünftigen Rezensionen nicht mehr bilingual, sondern nur noch auf Deutsch oder Englisch schreiben und veröffentlichen.

Den Auftakt einer englischsprachigen Rezension, die ich auf meinem Audio- und Review-Blog, Kopfhörer-Lounge, veröffentliche, macht die des Rose Technology Mini2. Bei jenem Produkt handelt es sich um einen aus China stammenden Dual-BA In-Ear, der preislich um 100€ positioniert ist und wie die Mehrheit der interessanten asiatischen In-Ears importiert werden muss.



Aufmerksam bin ich auf den Mini2 geworden, als ich im Penon Audio Webshop, bei dem ich schon seit Jahren Kunde bin und für den ich in jüngerer Zeit auch einige Rezensionen verfasst habe, nach neuen interessanten In-Ears und Audio-Produkten suchte, die es vielleicht auf meine „must buy“-Liste, die ich tatsächlich führe, schaffen könnten. Aufgefallen ist mir dabei bei den Neuankünften der Rose Technology Mini2 In-Ear, bei welchem es sich wie bereits erwähnt um einen preislich sehr interessant platzierten Dual-BA In-Ear handelt.
Hatte ich doch in der Vergangenheit schon mehrfach Blindkäufe getätigt und mir auf eigenes Risiko relativ exotische und unbekannte In-Ears gekauft (z.B. the t.bone EP-7, den Pai Audio MR3 oder den zur damaligen Zeit in der deutschen online Audio-Szene gar nicht besprochenen Etymotic ER-4S), war ich auch am Mini2 höchst interessiert. Und hätte ich nicht ein Rezensionsangebot von Penon Audio erhalten, hätte ich mir den In-Ear garantiert selbst gekauft.

Dass mich der Chinese sehr positiv überrascht hat und sogar Einzug in meine Liste an Produkten, die ich persönlich liebe, hielt, möchte ich bereits vor der eigentlichen, nun folgenden Rezension vorweg nehmen.



Introduction:

“Rose Technology” is a company name you are probably not familiar with – no, they are not a company that supplies flowers or gardening tools, but instead they are a still young and small Chinese manufacture that makes in-ears and earbuds.
Aside from hybrid in-ears, one dynamic in-ear and dynamic earbuds, they also have two multi-Balanced Armature in-ears in their portfolio, namely the quintuple-driver BR5 as well as the Mini2 that is the subject of this review.



Priced just around $100, these in-ears rival other inexpensive dual-BA in-ears such as the Apple In-Ears, the t.bone EP-7, Pai Audio MR2 or Zero Audio Carbo Doppio.


How does the Mini2 sound? Is it worth the price? How does it compare to other in-ears? This and more is to be found in the course of this review.


Disclaimer & Acknowledgement: Before I go on, I would like to thank Penon Audio who organised the shipment of a free sample of the Rose Technology Mini2 to me for the purpose of an honest, unbiased and unpaid review.


Technical Specifications:

http://penonaudio.com/Rose-Mini2-2BA-IEMs
Price: $99.90 (fixed cable; $115 for the detachable cable version)
Drivers: Balanced Armature, 2 drivers per ear, 2-way configuration
Drivers: Sonion 2600 & Knowles 30095
Impedance: 45 Ohms
Sensitivity: 108 dB


Delivery Content:

Quite often, very small manufacturers from Asia don’t supply anything more than a basic packaging for their in-ears. Therefore it might probably surprise you a bit, in a positive way, that the Mini2 arrives in a small black Rose-branded cardboard box that houses a small, sturdy Otterbox-like carrying case that is bolstered on the inside and includes the in-ears as well as all of the accessories that come with them.
So inside the nice little carrying case, one can find the following: the in-ear bodies, a cable (if the version with removable cables was ordered), one pair of memory foam ear tips, one pair of double-flange silicone tips, one pair of medium/small black silicone tips, three pairs of white silicone tips in different sizes with normal stem length, and one pair of white silicone tips with short stem length.




Looks, Feels, Build Quality:

The in-ears are tiny in size – seriously tiny!

The body of each side is made of acrylic, while the nozzles are flexible silicone tubes with an acoustic damper inside.
There is a coloured Rose logo on each of the shells, and the colour simultaneously acts as a side indicator with red standing for right and blue for left, which by the way is also the standard for most higher-end and stage in-ears.



The in-ears are well made and there is no sign of inclusions or bubbles inside the transparent acrylic bodies that let you see the drivers, internal wiring and parts of the crossover components, however I am a little worried about the flexible silicone tube nozzle. For people who constantly change ear tips, it might definitely be a weak spot compared to more commonly found acrylic, plastic or steel nozzles.



If ordered with removable cables, the cable you get has got coaxial MMCX connectors and is a really nice one – it is silver, nicely long, and made of four separate strands that are twisted, just like the majority of cables for high-end and professional in-ears.
Hence it is very flexible but also sturdy at the same time.
The cable also features a y-split that sits pleasantly low, with a chin-slider that is easy to move but doesn’t accidentally change its position.




Comfort, Isolation:

People with very small and narrow ear canals that usually struggle with getting a proper fit and seal with most in-ears will likely love the Mini2 when it comes to ergonomics, and in my large ears, the in-ears are almost invisible (and sit as well as fit very well, too).
Due to their shape, the user can also try different insertion depths to get the comfort and sound he wants (I usually prefer a deep insertion with most small in-ears).



The in-ears can be worn both with the cable down as well as – more professionally – over the ears, with the latter adding more security and pretty much completely eliminating cable noise.
Since the MMCX connectors are angled and not straight, inserting and placing the in-ears might feel a bit unfamiliar at first, but after no more than two or three insertions, when the correct direction of the connectors has been found out and gotten used to, inserting the Mini2 is just as easy as with about any other in-ear.

Due to the closed shells, isolation is really good – just as expected.


Sound:

My main sources for listening were the iBasso DX200 and the HiFime9018d.

I used the largest included single-flange tips with regular stem length and deep insertion. Individual sound impressions might probably vary depending on the used tips and insertion depth.

Tonality:

What the Mini 2 presents to my ears is a very balanced, mature sound that heads into the flatter, more neutral direction. It is definitely not the typical consumer-oriented, bass-heavy or v-shaped sound that is often found in this price range. It is also not a rather mid-centric sound that some single-BA in-ears in the lower price range have.

What I generally hear when listening to music is a well-balanced sound with a bass that is just a few dB north of a truly flat sounding in-ear (such as the Etymotic ER-4S or ER-4SR), with a focus on midbass as well as upper bass and a sub-bass that can still be heard but is a bit less present in comparison. The bass doesn’t spill into the midrange and doesn’t thicken it/warm it up.
The midrange sounds tonally accurate and realistic to me, with just a very subtle lift favouring female/higher vocals compared to deeper/male vocals. This helps higher vocals to subtly stand out, but male/deep voices are ever so slightly on the slimmer side when it comes to body.
The treble that follows right after is surprisingly even and pretty neutral, with probably just a small dip in the middle highs, and represents an accurate timbre that I honestly did not expect to find – regardless of what I play, the treble just doesn’t sound artificial or off in terms of timbre and realism when it comes to reproducing instruments, which is pretty rare in this price range (the treble is often either on the smoother side, or it is brighter and/or has got some small peaks and dips that make it sound more artificial – not so with the Mini2). Extension above 10 kHz seems to be really good as well.
“Accuracy” and “realism” are the first words that come to my mind when thinking of the Mini2’s sound signature. It just doesn’t do anything wrong and neither subdues nor highlights anything on a recording. What really puts a smile on my face is that the highs are neither emphasised nor any recessed sounding and appear very realistic, without any sharpness, edginess, and are generally fairly even.



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Listening to sine sweeps, I hear the bass to start climbing at 600 Hz and reaching the climax around 180 Hz. This level is kept upright down to 80 Hz and then loses quantity towards 20 Hz. The sub-bass is still audible (both with sine sweeps and music) but logically with less quantity and impact.
Quantity-wise, the strongest elevation in the lows is around 5 dB compared to a diffuse-field flat low frequency range as it can for example be found in the Etymotic ER-4S and ER-4SR (therefore the Mini2 has got about the same bass quantity as the InEar StageDiver SD-2, Pai Audio MR3 and Etymotic ER-4XR, but with a less present sub-bass in comparison).
Moving on to the midrange and lower treble, I can hear an ever so slight lift between 2 and 3 kHz, followed by a dip around 4 kHz.
Above 5 kHz, level is neutral and even to my ears, with just a slight lift at 9 kHz and great extension past 16 kHz.

Resolution:

Many dual-BA in-ears in the lower price range offer an overall good resolution but either struggle when it comes to partial resolution (of either the bass, midrange or treble) or coherency – for example, the Apple in-ears (that are quite underrated as good dual-BA in-ears in the sub $100 price range in my opinion) offer a good sound for their respective price but don’t sound as coherent as comparatively priced single-BA in-ears and seem to be less controlled and resolving in the lower ranges than in the upper. A part of this is also true for the Pai Audio MR2, that, while it sounds coherent, has got a great soundstage and sounds overall detailed for the money, sounds a bit less detailed in the bass and lower midrange than in the highs.

None of this is true for the Mini2 – my assumption (before I got the in-ear) that it might be more or less in the same technical ballpark as the Apple in-ears was quite wrong. In reality, the Mini2 sounds highly coherent and there is no area that I could say is less detailed and resolving than the other (if anything, then the midrange is ever so slightly, minimally less detailed than the lows and highs even though speech intelligibility is, not really that surprisingly, high).
The treble is well-separated, sounds realistic and has got just the right decay without fading away too quickly or staying for too long. Single notes and bow strokes are well distinguishable from each other and busy drumming and cymbal crashes don’t end up in a bright, sizzling mess but with good separation and rendering.
The bass is tight and controlled, just as it could be expected from most in-ears with a Balanced Armature woofer. In its price range and up to $200, the Mini2 has got a bass that is among the fastest as well as tightest in its class and shows great control – it is only slightly soft in attack compared to some of the tighter higher-end and mid-priced in-ears, but there are enough models in the higher and medium price range that differ more or less greatly from each other when it comes to bass character and either have a tighter (e.g. UERM, W4R, ATH-IM03, FA-3E) or softer (e.g. StageDiver SD-2, FA-4E XB, MR2, most hybrid IEMs) bass response than the Mini2.



So when it comes to detail retrieval, the Mini2 is a great in-ear that offers a coherent, precise and detailed sound without costing much.

Soundstage:

The Mini2 offers a quite spacious soundstage that has got a good amount of width and corresponding spatial depth to create a rather open sphere.
Width is good and exceeds the base of my head. Spatial depth is also present but less compared to the width, so the soundstage is clearly more oval than round to my ears.
Separation is good and the in-ear also manages to display empty space fairly well. Even with fast, complex and dense recordings, the soundstage doesn’t cave in but remains pleasantly controlled and intact.

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In Comparison with other In-Ears:

Let’s find out how the Mini2 sounds compared to two other dual-BA in-ears in about the same price range as well as one single-BA in-ear.



Apple In-Ears:

The Apple in-ears, if a good seal is achieved, have got somewhat more bass quantity and the more pronounced sub-bass compared to the Mini2. With rather deep insertion, the Apple in-ears also have the slightly darker treble in comparison.
The Mini2 sounds more realistic and even in the treble than the Apple in-ears.

When it comes to resolution, the Rose is ahead – not only does it offer the more coherent sound, but also the more detailed presentation in the lows along with more tightness, bite, control and impact, but also the more detailed, better separated treble. The only area where both are about on-par is the central mids at 1 kHz.

Moving over to the soundstage, the Rose has got the wider and also somewhat deeper stage with the sharper, more precise instrument separation and placement as well as the better reproduction of spatial emptiness. Playing complex and dense recordings, the Rose’s soundstage also remains audibly better controlled.

Pai Audio MR2:

The MR2 has got the more pronounced, thicker bass in comparison, that has got about 4 dB more in quantity. The MR2 can be considered as being v-shaped due to its countervailing upper treble peak.
The MR2 has got the more forward midrange in comparison.

When it comes to resolution, I hear both as being very comparable in the upper range, with probably a slight advantage for the Rose. In the central and upper midrange, it is a draw with probably an ever so slight advantage for the Pai. In the bass and lower midrange however, I hear the Mini2 as being somewhat ahead and more detailed sounding.
The MR2 has got the somewhat softer and slightly less controlled bass than the Mini2 that sounds more resolving, quicker and tighter.

In terms of soundstage, the MR2 that is quite excellent in this regard, offers the larger spatial room with more width, depth and the even better separation and portrayal of emptiness.

Brainwavz B100:

The Brainwavz’s bass and lower midrange is a little fuller and more pronounced in comparison. Both bottom end elevations have got about the same shape (some roll-off towards the sub-bass).
The B100 has got the more pronounced 10 kHz range wherefore the Mini2 sounds a bit more realistic and even up top in comparison and also has got the better extension past 10 kHz. Nonetheless the B100 is a great in-ear for its price.

Directly comparing the two in-ears, he B100 still sounds a little more coherent and uniform in comparison. The Rose in-ear has got the slightly more detailed midrange out of the two.
In the treble, the difference isn’t as big anymore but I’d also say that the Mini2 is putting out the somewhat better separation here.
Moving to the bass and lower midrange, the Rose is more resolving, audibly less grainy and sounds tighter. Decay is comparably good with both in-ears.

The Mini2 has got more spatial width, whereas the B100 carries somewhat more spatial depth. When it comes to instrument separation, placement and portrayal of emptiness, the Rose in-ear is a bit ahead.

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And last but not least, as a bonus, here is a comparative frequency response measurement chart of all of the in-ears that were just compared:



Please note that this is what I recorded with my pseudo-diffuse-field-compensated-calibrated Vibro Veritas coupler (you can read more about the graphs and process of how they are taken and the inaccuracy in my measurements following this external link: frequency-response.blogspot.com/p/about-measurement-graphs.html).
It is not ideal yet but should give a rather good idea of what the in-ears sound like when mentally adding some level around 3 kHz as well as 6 kHz where my calibration is rather off.

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Conclusion:

The Rose Technology Mini2 is definitely a keeper and a gem – it offers a balanced sound that heads into the neutral direction, has got a good coherency and detail retrieval across the whole frequency
range, recreates a quite spacious as well as detailed soundstage and is really inexpensive for what it is and especially what it delivers.
Getting more sound quality from other dual-BA in-ears at this price point than from the Mini2 surely is not an easy task to cope with at all.



The only thing I am somewhat concerned about is the long-term reliability of the nozzles that are just flexible silicone tubes. Other than that, the Mini2 offers great value and sound quality for the money and is an easy recommendation for everyone who is looking for a well-balanced, rather neutral sound.

4.5 out of 5 possible stars.