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Rhapsodio Supreme v3: A diamond in the sky

SupreV- Diamond In The Sk



Made from solid brass, and sporting a single 5G Magnetostatic driver, the Supreme V3 is the most technical, unique and speaker-like presentation I've ever heard. Be prepared to be wow'ed - with the synergy and power.





PROs:

- Insane resolution, top notch technicals


- Articulate and textured mids


- Immense stage with the best positioning and depth I've ever heard


- Amazing speaker like presentation


- Gorgeous gold plated solid brass shells


- Very resonant, very layered and rich with overtones


- Good stock cable




Cons:

- Price


- Shells are big and heavy


- Tuning is specialized and won't be for everyone


- Can be “thin” and/or lacking heavy bass presence


- "Magic" is only with certain kinds of music





Greetings my dear audiophiles, and welcome to my full review of the Rhapsodio Supreme V3! I’m quite excited to get into this one, simply because this is one amazing and extremely unique piece of gear. No-one seems to know about it, there is so little information and/or reviews for Rhapsodio gear. Crickets online. But while the western world seems to have a very limited knowledge of Rhapsodio gear (hereby referred to as simply RSD for brevity), they are surely considered one of the very best in Asia, and one of the top Head-fi designers in the world. The V3 is something unique, very special indeed. Unlike anything I have reviewed, or even experienced myself. Summit-fi without question. Something that truly needs to be heard to understand. It is cutting edge, with insanely high resolution, and a massive stage with such depth it is frankly out of this world. And did I mention that it’s only one driver!?! A single Magneto-static driver is the only thing under the hood, and armed with all kinds of patented tech (which can be viewed here) this is for sure the most resolving single driver IEM of all time, and shockingly may also be the most of any IEM I’ve ever heard. The V3 itself has an almost cult-like following, and so at the behest of several friends who own one, I was so inspired to hear it for myself that I tracked down the designer, became friends, and eventually he graciously sent me one to review, along with about eight of his cables. This was my first experience with anything RSD, so I was really excited to have to opportunity to share my experiences with the world. In some way I feel I am introducing Rhapsodio to the western world, and while that is of course not true, I sadly see very little mention of them on Head-Fi in the most popular threads and communities. I intend to change that if I can, starting here, with their ultra flagship, the Supreme V3. I take that responsibility very seriously, and since this is an exorbitantly expensive piece of kit, coming in north of $6.4k USD, this IEM deserves both my respect, and my honesty. To oblige that sense of fairness and openness, I will be directly comparing the V3 to a stable of current Summit-Fit contenders: Oriolus Traillii, FitEar Creator, UM Amber Pearl, and Aroma Jewel.




Right off the bat this is not an IEM for everyone, nor for all genres. For one it is made of solid brass, like a trumpet or saxophone, and is quite heavy. Sonically it is very unique, with a tuning that is rather specialized. It has a bell like clarity and tonality that is unmistakable, that comes no doubt from its all metal body. It is fantastically resolving, super textured, and very musical. It is vast and epic, with surgical precision framed by lush beauty that simply cannot be ignored. I will say that it is in fact the most resolving IEM I have ever heard. Yes, crazy. More so than Storm or Ragnar even, and it does so without sounding harsh, bright, or overly anything’ed to achieve this. It’s also quite hard to power to potential. While you can get the volume to adequate levels with “normal” gear, the V3 truly shines with scaled up equipment. A desktop rig, external amp or very powerful DAP is recommended. It has the most detailed and crazy defined mids I have ever heard. Very extended treble with nice sparkle, without any harness or glare. The stage is gargantuan, with more depth than I have ever heard from an IEM. But, and it’s a big but, its ultra specialized tuning will absolutely not work for everything. It excels for certain genes, and when it does it’s glorious. I would cautiously say it was designed for “Asian” music, more delicate and polished, over a thick and meaty rock sound or electronic rumbles. It could be called thin-ish, at least compared to others, and there just won’t be enough bass quantity and sub rumble for a lot of people. I would not recommend this for a bass head, even though the bass quality is fantastic. It sounds undeniably god-like when listening to vocals, instruments, or jazz, just breathtaking. Anything well produced will shine like a diamond. Metal, rock and heavier weighted music it’s a bit too thin, too much clarity and shine for the lack of weight in the lower mids and bass to balance it out. EDM is very energetic and tight, and the spacial positioning is simply off the charts good. But unless you prefer your EDM bass shy, which is a bit of a misnomer, this might not be your bag. If you like incredible tactility, godlike vocals, endless technical prowess, with supreme musicality in a package that sounds like nothing else, this could be your thing.



EDIT 2.7.24 - After further experimentation I have found that the review unit I was given has one side out of phase. This can be easily confirmed by simply reversing the cable on one of the 2 pin sockets. The result is more bass and lower mids, and slightly better vocal imaging. While the V3 is not bass heavy, in the spirit of being honest and transparent, please take my review and impressions below with that understanding.







Before I get into the details let me quickly do my usual testing gear rundown and disclaimer in favor of transparency:



-This is a demo unit, and will be returned to RSD after my review. I asked to review it, and Sammy (RSD’s wonderful owner/creator) sent me one for this purpose only. As he recommended I had the V3 on burn-in for 200+ hrs before doing any critical listening. The V3 has a good stock cable, but since “the sound” is using RSD’s fabled Copper Fantasies cable, (the purple one) I used that predominantly. I also spent a good deal of time with the Orphy attached, which is also quite stunning.



-To be clear, I review because I love doing so, it’s a great source of joy for me. I don’t do this for work, I spend an enormous amount of time on these. I take it very seriously, as I know people rely on reviews before they shell out enormous amount of cash, just like I do myself. For that reason I only review things that interest me, things I would maybe buy for myself. If you’ve read any of my previous reviews you will know that I usually choose very expensive gear. This here is a very expensive IEM, clocking in at the aforementioned $6.4k +, which is simple insanity. The pricing of gear is totally nuts and we’re headed for Armageddon if this continues ( I think I’ve copy pasted this in a few reviews now). Considering the company we’re in here, all this stuff is stupid expensive and we’re all totally off our rockers. Please try to keep in mind that some people in this world have the money for these kinds of toys, so I will try to focus my review on the sonic aspects primarily, so we can take a look at these here Summit-fi showstopper without their cash melting contexts. If you are insulted or morally wronged by the price tag just leave now, I won’t blame you at all. It costs a literal arm and leg; moving on.



-I used a very varied playlist of testing tracks to form my initial thoughts, and then spent several weeks simply listening to whatever inspired me like I normally would. I love all kinds of music, and to form an honest opinion for any piece of gear I think it absolutely necessary to test with lots of different kinds of music. If you’re taking a reviewer’s word about a piece of gear you want to spend your hard earned cash on, in my opinion you absolutely should take how their musical tastes match or differ from your own. A few excepts from my latest listening roster:



Jazz: Snarky Puppy, GoGo Penguin, Coltrane, Miles Davis, Charlie Hunter, Avishai Cohen, Kandace Springs, Chris Potter, John Scofield, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Esperanza Spalding, Gregory Porter, Julian Lage, Funky Knuckles, Ghost Note, Aaron Parks.


Rock: Led Zeppelin, Jeff Beck, Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Dire Straits, Talking Heads, Rage Against The Machine, Eric Johnson, Michael Landau, Them Crooked Vultures, Tom Petty, Jackson Brown, Jethro Tull.


Modern Music: Jordan Rakei, Tom Misch, Lianne La Havas, Asgeir, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Glass Animals, Jacob Collier, Moonchild, Robert Glasper, Hiatus Coyote.


Electronic: Om Unit, Archie Pelago, Yosi Horikawa, Hidden Orchestra, Joe Armon-Jones, Emancipator, Kryptic Minds, Bonobo, FKJ, Djrum, Synkro


Heavy Music: Animals as Leaders, Tool, Gojira, Polyphia, TesseracT, Meshuggah, Hacktivist, Trivium, Sevendust, Periphery, Sepultura, Intervals, Plini, Polyphia.



- As my source I used my LP6 Ti AE and Sony WM1ZM2. These are both very analog DAPs with smoother treble response, so my findings could vary using a brighter or more reference tuned DAP. For IEM comparisons, as mentioned above, I used the Oriolus Traillii, Aroma Jewel, FitEar Creator, and UM Amber Pearl.



Without further ado, let’s get into it!






UNBOXING

I normally spend very little time with unboxing and the whole “experience”. I choose to break the goods out as quickly as possible, get them in my ears and just jam out. The box and all fancy accessories just sit on a shelf, or in a closet. I know some people care, I don’t. The V3 comes in a nice bamboo box, inside there is a shiny metal case that has a fancy looking ball-peened finish. Inside you’ll find a couple sets of tips, the stock cable, and the V3’s nestled snuggly in a pair of yellow IEM bags. I found the metal box to be cosmetic use only, there is no soft or padded liner of any kind, so you’d need to keep the IEMs in their bags to use it. The top also screws on, so I think it’s more for presentation than actual daily use. The bamboo box has a nice cushioned interior, with a circular space cut out where the metal box sits, so if you don’t use the metal box you could potentially use the Bamboo as IEM storage. It’s a fairly basic package, quite simplistic and eco friendly which I can appreciate. There is a definite lack of cardboard and other nonsense inside, and it does feel well thought out. For me this is plenty. Others may want more for their $6k, but to me the R&D and millions of hours spent designing this thing is enough. Moving on.




IEM and FIT

These are big and heavy IEMs, they’re solid Brass. I found the shape to be quite ergonomic, and while I have smaller ears they fit pretty well. They do stick out of my ears some, but I can imagine for a set of “normal ears” the fit should be good. They are fairly CIEM shaped on the back side, with a long nozzle designed for deep insertion. They are about the same size as a CIEM of mine, so if they fit your ears they could be very comfortable, even if the weight can sometimes make them feel like they are falling out a bit. I did have some issues with seal coming and going, and I think the weight played a role in this. The nozzle is fairly long and angled up a bit, so I found pushing or angling them up or down allowed me to hear the V3 hitting my eardrum at slightly different angles. This did in fact change the sound, and there was a sweet spot when the nozzle was just right, opening up the stage and getting more headroom. I also got a good seal with several tips but the bass response was rather weak, but when I found the right tips, and the right angle the bass was deeper, more punchy and higher in quantity. This is of course due to my personal ear anatomy and should be understood as such. I did have some friends try them out, and their sonic impressions were the same as mine, but perhaps my findings could be ever so slightly tilted because of my ear’s physical dimensions and angles. If these were available in custom form I can imagine that it would be better for me, but the overall tuning would be the same. When I did my critical listening I was holding the IEMs at the right angle when needed to maintain consistency. Usually the fit was good, seal was good, and I could listen for some time before needing to adjust them.



A word on brass if I may. Sammy also sent me a set of V3 done in acrylic, just a prototype so I could hear what the brass does to the sound. Let me tell you, if anyone ever felt that shell material doesn’t affect the sound, they should take a listen to these two back to back. If I had to describe it, think of a trumpet’s bell, the way it’s designed to amplify and project the instrument’s tonality for the audience. The V3 sounds like that. Bell like and rich in overtones. The acrylic version sounds good, but the magic, that V3’ness, I can attest comes from the brass material. It’s just more articulate, more detailed, more fresh and crisp. He tried many other materials, but I can say Sammy really did his research here, because the brass really does bring something special to the mix. Like it or not, that’s one of the V3’s secret sauces right there. But it comes with the trade-off that they are heavy, cold to the touch when not in use, and all the usual stuff that comes with metal shells. I was excited to compare the V3 and Creator, simply because they are both solid metal shells, one Brass the other Titanium. They couldn’t be more different in tuning and style, but it was clear the materials used in both made a substantial difference in the final sound. Metal does indeed impart some sonic upgrades, some kind of magic infusion!









These are very tip dependent, perhaps more so than any IEM I have ever tried. I will be the first to admit that my ear canals are a bit too narrow for this IEM to be comfortable for longer periods, but I know from all other V3 owners that it is very, very sensitive to tip choice. Ultimately I preferred the Eletech Baroque tips both sonically and ergo wise. With these the fit was fine, they stayed in my ears well enough, and they were the most open, and detailed of anything else I tried. If anyone hasn’t tired these yet they are magic. I also had good luck with the included stock silicone tips, while they were less comfortable they did give me a slightly deeper more prominent bass. They’re a bit more stiff, so I guess the seal was somehow better, though less open and airy.



The shells themselves are gorgeous, and this is coming from a guy who infamously doesn’t like bling or shiny things very much. Would I choose this style? Nope, but I will say that after some time I grew to appreciate, even like their looks. The brass is gold-plated and looks gorgeous. The shells are mirror like, and the faceplates have this very slightly hammered texture to them when you look closely. From a distance they look like a solid piece of gold, so if you like bling these are perhaps the most gorgeous IEMs you will ever see. They are finger prints magnets, and basically impossible to keep perfect. I saw tiny hair scratches on the faceplates after using them only a few times, despite keeping them in the soft bags always, and handling them with the utmost care. That’s the tradeoff for a mirror finish (The Creator too), thankfully you only see this when you look very closely, otherwise they look polished and shiny golden all the time. I will say that these are perhaps the best made and most sturdy IEM I have ever tried. The finish is perfect, the seams impeccable. The weight adds to that feeling, they have heft for sure. Sammy uses his own proprietary 2 pic sockets that are spring mounted, when you plug in a cable it feels so robust and secure. They are a whole different level than the usual plastic or resin mounted that you see in every other IEM. I’ve seen this type of socket once before, in the Subtonic Storm. The V3’s sockets are white, and you can see it’s a separate part that can be swapped out if needed. Overall, if you can handle the weight and the fit is good, these are a work of art that you can treasure forever.










The stock cable is a 2 wire pure copper, which for all intents and purposes makes me think of the PW 1960s 2 wire. It has the same sleeved look and feel, is about the same level of microphonics and scratchiness, and performance wise I found it very similar. Like a good pure copper, it’s a nice stock cable for sure. A bit tangly, but par for the course of this type. Since my aforementioned friends all swear by the V3 being paired ONLY with the RSD Copper Fantasies, as I mentioned above, I spent most of my time with this combo. I will attest that after trying many other cables with the V3, nothing else quite compared to the synergy of purple and gold. They were literally designed for each other, but that brings the cost of this combo to over $9k, and some may arguably scoff and shout for sure. Insane prices. I just want it known that, price no contest, V3 + RSD CF is nuts. For the rest of my time I had the Orpheus super glued on there, and it was also fantastic. I’ll get more into the cable match-ups later in the review.




SOUND

How does this golden thing sound? Frankly it’s really hard to put into words. It sounds like nothing else out there, very unique. With the right material, they are god like. They’ll make you s&^% your pants, really. The spatial positioning and resolutional prowess is undeniably jaw-dropping. They are super fast and articulate. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever heard in an IEM, I promise you. But… I don’t want this review to be overly full of cliche caveats, but it is unavoidable. I simply cannot toss out “god-like” and “pants-staining” without an explanation as to why you shouldn’t all run out immediately, sell your car, and buy this IEM. The tuning is very unique, and may not be a fan favorite for some of you. It’s not bright, but it is very clear and present, with a great sense of energy and intensity. It’s very musical, it’s not harsh, but man is it really resolving and sharp. There is a slight rise in the upper mids around 8khz, which gives them a notch extra bite and clarity. As I mentioned above, it’s a bit on the thin side, and the low mids and bottom end aren’t super flushed out or thick either. So it comes across more delicate and airy than thick or juicy. It is very powerful sounding, but in a different sense. It has a very lust-full midrange, with quite good weight, but the rest of the spectrum is lighter and more refreshing over meaty. I hope that can be understood. I am very careful in using words like thin since they have a nasty connotation, but in this case it’s a kind of magic lightweight sound, delicate and airy. Open and clear. This is done intentionally, the tuning is very accurate. And when the genre is right, these are going to blow your face off your head.



I will be the first to admit these are not what I would buy to cover all my genres. This is not your father’s all-rounded summit-fi IEM. They are not for everyone, and probably not a daily driver. I could imagine buying them if I had 1 or 2 others that covered all my bases, and I needed one special staggering IEM that I brought out only when I had the time and situation to really appreciate them. These demand your attention. They exude class and refinement. They are fantastic really, but for certain kinds of music especially. While you can listen to anything with them; they do sound good for everything as I found in my numerous hours long sessions with them. But they only really shine like diamonds from the sky with certain genres. Pop and Asian music. Ambient. Modern jazz. Acoustic music. Vocals, man these are something else. Exquisitely mastered music will make you question things about your soul. Really. But, again with the caveat, for other styles they are just good, even not the right choice. Rock and metal there is too much “brass” going on, unless you like it fast and lean with every detail flying in your face. And if you fancy a meaty juicy sound then these simply won’t work for you. Bass heavy listeners can read on but perhaps only for the fun of it. While the quality is fantastic, these are just not tuned for that kind of thing. I was able to listen for longer sessions, but I will attest that the sheer amount of detail and raw textured presentation can indeed be overwhelming.









BASS

The V3 has great bass. It has a very DD quality while there’s a little something extra coming from the unique implementation of the Magneto-static driver. This is not your standard DD sound, it’s much faster and cleaner than I expected. It’s quite textured, but fast and crisp like BA bass. You could say the best of both worlds. It reaches quite deep, but you don’t feel that throbbing sub rumble as much as you’d perhaps wish. After doing some rolling frequency tests I can verify that it reaches all the way to 20hz, I could feel it all the way down as it never trailed off. Quantity is pretty even between sub and mid, but for me it just sounds more prominent in the midbass, even if I know for sure that the quantities are linear. Mid bass is very textured, all the bass is, but you hear this quality more in the upper bass than in the deepest lows. It is very fast and punchy, very tactile and crisp, but I was missing a bit of that pushing air feeling. The rumble, the guts churning. While I was doing some EDM tests I was actually quite blown away with the quality and speed, it was simply not enough of a presence to be felt the way I would want. It all comes down to the tuning, the V3 was simply not meant for that kind of thing. Think a little less bass than Ragnar, with great texture and control just neutral quantity. But put on some Avishai Cohen or Nenad Vasilic and be treated to some of the most realistic acoustic bass you’ve ever heard.



This is the bass in the V3, it’s very realistic when using actual instruments. Synthetic bass is great too, but the uniqueness and passion of the V3 is when presenting real instruments. Texture, feel, grit, thump, bounce, decay, all are top level. The depth of these IEM shows even quite clearly in the bass region, I can hear kick drums and thuds decaying in front of me with astonishing clarity. It’s quite something. So while there may not be oodles of heavy bass, the quality and presentation is extremely impressive.




BASS COMPARISONS

All my others IEMs have more bass, that is clear. It’s not like the V3 is way bass shy, it simply presents the bass is a more neutral and less frontal way. Traillii has great bass, even for a BA set the texture and “feel” is top notch. I hear more sub bass than midbass, and it has great rumble and authority. There is plenty of bass for me, and this is honestly one of my favorite bass presentations regardless of the lack of a DD. V3 is faster, more textured, but does not have that enveloping sensation. Amber Pearl and Creator both have far more bass. AP is faster and punchier, Creator is the most textured of all being a bit slower but very deep and satisfying. AP has the largest quantity of all of these, to the point of being somewhat overwhelming to the other frequencies, while Creator is simply full and deep and more balanced with the rest of the spectrum. Jewel is more neutral, but has great speed for a DD, though I don’t hear it reach as low as others. My favorite bass of these is the Creator, that dual series-wired 9mm drivers are just so analog and textured everything else feels less so in comparison. V3 is the fastest by far, even more so than AP.



DEEPEST > Creator/Traillii - AP/SV3 - Jewel


TEXTURED > Creator/SV3 - Jewel - AP/Traillii


PUNCHIEST > V3/AP- Creator/Jewel/Traillii


ACCURATE > Jewel/V3 - Creator/Traillii - AP








MIDS

Here is where the V3 starts to shred everything else, at least in terms of abilities. I will try my best to explain here, but I need you all to know something first; this is audio like you’ve never heard in a portable setup. The space, details, stage and overall presentation is totally out of this world. There is seemingly no limit to the space around you as you listen, sounds emanate from every corner of your periphery, and the level of detail and clarity is rather ming-boggling. All the small clicks and pops, minuscule water droplets and soundscapes that accompany the music you’re used to hearing are now clearly audible as they swirl around you in vivid detail. Transients are fast and clear but not sharp. There is a slight rise in the upper mids, around 8-9khz which gives the sound a slight sheen of extra detail without sounding harsh or tinny. This is fast and articulate, nuts levels of details, but I never felt out of my music like some ultra technical sets do. It was actually the opposite. I was always listening while writing this review, and more than once I completely nodded out, forgetting to write anything, as my eyes closed and I was whisked away into a space of sonic bliss. The mids are actually placed quite closely, so vocals sit right above your head, almost to the point of intimate, but the space around you opens up in every direction and you realize you’ve got the only seat to a private concert, and the vocalist in sitting in your lap and whispering in your ear. You can even feel the tickle and soft air on your ears. Vocals and space are where this set excels for sure, the detail and stage size is just intoxicating and when you find the right material, ideally well mastered spacious music, get ready to have your mind melted. Sound comes from everywhere, a huge wall of sound that simply melts the world around you, it’s all encompassing. Listen to something like Yosi Horikawa’s “Bubbles”, Kryptic Mind’s “Brief Passing”, or any test track that is recorded super well and you’ll never be the same again. I kid you not, it’s like listening to a very, very expensive 2 channel setup in a well treated room. Life changing. Beyond epic.



While EDM doesn’t quite have enough bass rumble for me, the space, detail and speed of this IEM begs you to listen to it anyway. Something like Om Unit or Clozee gives me goosebumps. For vocals put on Allison Kraus’ “New Favorite”, Kandace Springs’ “Don’t Need The Real Thing, or anything Gregory Porter and be prepared for the most Hi-Fi and crystal clear vocal presentation you’ll ever hear in an IEM setup. Modern jazz like Metheney, Avishai Cohen or Brian Blade Fellowship is effortless and enormous. I’m serious, this is next level stuff.



The flip side to this is, when you listen to certain kinds of music, including poorly recorded stuff, the magic disappears and you have more of a “regular IEM” kind of sound. They don’t sound harsh with poorly recorded music, it’s just they sound totally normal, and the lack of bass weight and presence makes them sound a tad thin and perhaps even bright to some. Also, without that magic, the upper mids shine can be a tad fatiguing. I don’t mean they sound bad, again, you can listen to any kind of music with these and they sound good. But that amazing shockwave is far more present listening to well mastered and spacious music. Metal and rock to me sounded too thin and lacked the boom and grind I was hoping for. The grit and crunch is there, but the weight and power is less so. Now, if you like your metal fast and articulate and can sacrifice some low mid oomph in exchange for speed and laser focus then you’ll be very happy. Instruments sound great, but I would say guitars, violins, and synths tend to lean a bit more ethereal over “truthful” which again comes down to the listener’s preferences. For me, these are the most resolving and spacious mids I have ever heard, nothing comes close. They make everything else sound almost veiled by comparison. They stay musical and never bright, thought perhaps a bit thin in certain situations. Again, it all comes down to preferences. What I think will make this set divisive is the “lack of weight”. On one hand these have the most weightless, effortless and detailed mids, the trade-off is that for some people, with certain kinds of music, these will simply be too thin and spritely. I would never call them bright, but fresh and spritely come to mind over and over when I listen to them. And yes, after longer listening sessions one could say they aren’t necessarily tiring, but the sheer amount of information presented to you, and the freshness and clarity in which it is brought, is enough to overwhelm anyone’s mind.



Just like I said in the intro, this set requires an aside or caveat for all the hyperbole and excessive positivity. This set, and especially the mids, give you something that no other set can give you, I stand by that statement. But, it requires a certain genre, or genres to shine, as well as a certain quality and resolution in the mix to do so. To some that might not matter, or perhaps you only listen to vocals and acoustic music, then this is the end game for you. Just buy it, get one. If you listen to other styles of music, this may very well not be the set for you. Or at the very least, it won’t be your ONLY set. I can’t stress this enough, preferences and genre play an enormous role in whether this set will blow your mind, or leave you wanting. It’s at the very least a solid fact to say these are some of the best mids I have ever heard.










MIDS COMPARISONS

Comparing the V3 to others is difficult, simply because it’s so unique. The resolution and detail is simply unmatched among other Summit IEMs, and I know that’s quite a statement. But, that doesn’t mean that I prefer the V3, or the V3 is “better” than others. V3 wins hands down for space, detail, clarity, crispness and stage size in the mids. But if I had to choose my favorite that would probably go to the Creator, simply because I love DD mids and these are to die for. They are more weighted, textured and analog, and while they are still detailed they err on the side of powerful/musical over airy/spacious. Following just behind would be the AP and Traillii, each offering a different take on perfect mids. AP has that UM sound, and if you like their mids then game over. AP has luscious and weighted mids as well, though they are more BA sounding compared to the DD Creator’s analog heaven. Traillii has the space and effortlessness, slightly more relaxed mids that are more around you instead of in front, but very detailed in their own way. I love them both, hard to pick a winner here. AP and Traillii both are more weighted, emotional and relaxed compared to the V3’s lighting speed and clarity, though the V3 is quite emotional as well, just in a different and unique way. Jewel mids are somewhere in the middle as well, closer to a reference type of sound, just not as wide and spacious as the others. For an all rounder the V3 sits dead last for the “average” user, this is for the “advanced” user if you’ll permit me to use the word, deeming anyone under a certain line unworthy. The V3 demands your attention, and for only certain kinds of music. The rest of these IEMs also give absolute top tier performance that covers a far wider fan base, and sounds great with anything. As has been the theme for this entire review, Sammy’s tuning choices are really the separation between these IEMs, you’ll fall in love or just prefer a different one. But none can compete head to head in terms of the V3’s separation, space, micro detail and holography.




DETAILED > SV3 - Traillii/AP/Jewel/Creator


WEIGHTED > AP/Creator - Jewel/Traillii - SV3


TEXTURED > SV3/Creator - AP/Traillii/Jewel


ACCURATE > Jewel - Creator - Traillii/AP - SV3


SPACIOUS > SV3 - Traillii/Creator - AP - Jewel


ENERGETIC > SV3 - AP - Jewel - Creator/Traillii










TREBLE

Before I borrowed the V3 I did some research and one reviewer called it bright. I was worried about this more than anything, because for me harsh treble is a simple game over, it ruins the rest of the experience. But after I received them, plugged them and put them in my ears, I could tell absolutely that they’re not bright at all! In fact what makes the V3 so interesting is its natural, extended, lovely non fatiguing treble, despite the ultra resolving mids. One would imagine such a thing would be piercing up top, but I don’t hear any peaks, shrieks or sibilance present at all. It’s not rolled off like the Jewel, or super relaxed like the Traillii, but neither is it overtly intense or overly accentuated. I found it super extended, very resolving, and in keeping with the rest of the tuning simply fresh, crisp and extremely articulate. There is a nice amount of sparkle, but I wouldn’t say that makes it bright. The massive amount of detail, stage size and micro-sensations are present here as well, coming up nicely from the mids. The stage here is massive, as in the mids, it just seems to be endless, expanding out into space. It really is hard to explain this feeling, as if sound isn’t emanating from a specific point at all, and it wafts around you like a gorgeous mist of sonic bliss.



I won’t say that the treble is less resolving than the mids, but it terms of how the IEM presents as a whole, one could say the midrange is the feature here, and the treble plays a perfectly matched supporting role. Treble heads will really enjoy it, the quality is absolutely fantastic, but it’s not like the Anti which features the treble front and center. There is plenty or sparkle but it is well controlled, and not overly present or bright and splashy. It’s energetic, but just the right amount to match the mids. I for one really appreciate this, and it makes the V3 a joy to listen to for longer periods without fatigue. (Remembering of course that the sheer amount of information coming from the mids can induce some overwhelming feelings) This is beautiful treble, and I think the tuning here is very balanced. If the lower mids and bass had some more meat and weight to them I think the tuning could work for more genres and decidedly attract more kinds of listeners.




TREBLE COMPARISONS

While the V3 has been in a category of its own thus far from a tuning perspective, its treble is more or less in line with the rest of the IEMs being compared here. I don’t hear them being so different, and thusly the V3’s extremely technical abilities do shine here without the need for a caveat as before. All of these IEMs have great treble, it really just comes down to how you like your presentation, and what brand does it for you. Oriolus, UM, FitEar, Aroma and Rhapsodio, very hard to choose! In this company one could say that the V3 is the most fresh and crisp, while not being overly sparkly or sibilant. Extension is top notch. AP would be more relaxed, even so over it’s brother the Multiverse Mentor. AP treble is smoother and less crisp, but also very enjoyable to listen to for as long anyone could ever stand without a break. Traillii treble is wondrous, as it somehow continues to win favorite after favorite award, even after years and dozens of new FOTM IEMs have come and gone. One can see why. The upper are a bit recessed, keeping things smooth and more easy on the ears, and then there’s a peak for sparkle and energy, and then another dip higher up to continue the smooth and relaxed vibe. It’s a very unique treble, coveted and often imitated even. It’s hard to find a fault unless you prefer a bit more energy. I’ve always loved the way the EST are implemented on the Traillii, and it is a bar I compare all others too. They are simply weightless. The Creator uses a single EST and while it is very spacious and extended, there is a bit more weight and thickness to the treble that I really enjoyed as well. You could even say that it’s just a tad dark up top, but with cable choices I was able to get a very fine sparkle that was completely natural and just up my alley. Jewel is the most relaxed by far, even going so far to be rolled off and overly smooth for some. It’s very airy, using 6 EST to achieve this, but sparkle city it is not.



Simply put, if you like an energetic top end that isn’t bright or harsh the V3 is hard to beat. If you like a nicely relaxed top end then either the AP or Creator would do you just fine. For a smooth treble with a bit more air and sparkle then Traillii straddles that line perfectly. And if you like a very relaxed and slightly rolled off top end, the Jewel is the king. You can’t go wrong with any of these.




QUANTITY > SV3/Traillii - AP/Creator - Jewel


QUALITY > Traillii/AP/SV3 - Creator - Jewel


EXTENSION > SV3 - Traillii - AP/Creator - Jewel


WEIGHT > Creator - AP - Traillii/Jewel - V3


DETAILS > SV3 - Traillii/AP - Creator/Jewel


REALISTIC > Traillii/AP/Creator - SV3/Jewel









STAGE

This section is copy pasted from my past reviews, I think it sums it all up quite perfectly for my personal feelings:


As always, stage size is hard to quantify and explain. Let’s look at the root of the term “soundstage” for a moment. To me we’re talking about the space around you- in front of you, above and behind you, to the sides- where music is emanating from one central area and the surrounding environment is portraying, affecting, or mirroring this sound into a 3D environmental experience for your ears. There is clearly a stage, with performers, and you the listener are positioned somewhere in the space. You may be in front row center, or “rows” back, like a concert or 2 Channel speakers at home. You could be placed inside the band, like they’re sitting next to you, or even all around you. I have been privy to hear some drool-worthy, insanely expensive 2 channel systems, and let me tell you, they all sound like you’re INSIDE the studio with the band. I’ve also clocked more than my fair share of live concerts, and in that live scenario the band is clearly in front of you, and the music comes from one huge source in that direction. Some may prefer sitting in the middle of a crowd at a festival, moshing or swaying back and forth to the beat, subs shaking your chest with giant vocals floating above your head and a light show emblazoning the sky. Or you’re in a smaller club, smaller system, but the band feels like you can reach out and touch them, emotions flying to your sheer proximity as you can brave their cigarette smoke. Or, like a Snarky Puppy live album, the crowd is literally inside the space, fist bumping along to the crazy inspired jams as one tries desperately not to touch all their amazing gear. So which is bigger? Which is better? Thankfully we don’t have to choose, everyone can enjoy whichever makes them happy, hooray for choices!



The stage on the V3 warrants some extra time to explain and praise. While the tuning of the V3 could be divisive for some, something everyone will love, and be totally blown away by, is the V3’s immense almost uncanny stage. From the moment you first sit down and listen, you’re greeted to this sensation of sitting INSIDE the music. Sound emanates from all around you, and while I have said that quite a few times in other reviews, nothing compares to the V3 stage experience. It is stupefying. Vocals are somewhat close, but the rest of the music takes place at seemingly impossible distances to you. From above, below, in from and behind, it’s simply astounding. A wall of sound, in the literal sense. The depth is incredible, as though things can be meters away from you, out of reach. I’ve never heard bass and kick drum decay like this. You can hear it in front of you as the hit decays away, into reverb, into nothingness, fading away from you inch by inch, foot by foot. I can hear the space BETWEEN myself, the bass kick, and the synth track, spread out in front of me like a tapestry of space. Positioning and spacial cues are wild. This is a studio monitor sound, an open back headphone sound, all coming from these little golden brass gems in your ears. I know this sounds like a lot of superfluous nonsense, but I kid you not, this is the most impressive stage I have ever heard by FAR.



Now, it would seem likely that the lack of note weight and thinner tuning would have something to do with the V3’s ability to bend the law of physics, and to that end it would have seemingly been a choice made by Sammy. It could also be called a trade-off under that pretense, which brings the question of what is most important to you. If you like a bit more weight, you simply might not be able to get a stage that massive and spacious. I don’t know, I really don’t. It seems to me either Sammy went for the most extreme level of stage, detail and space possible, resulting in the tuning we have before us. Or more realistically, the V3 was simply tuned thinner and more for Asian style music, resulting in the ability to gift its listeners with this unreal staging. Stage is more of a feeling than a measurable condition, so as always YMMV.



To compare, using the title holder Traillii, the Bird stretches out perhaps a bit wider but I hear the origin of the sound from two ear pieces, instead of space all around me. I can tell I’m wearing an IEM, and thusly it’s out of head but nevertheless an IEM sound. The V3 has similar width, but it goes out equally on ALL AXIS, creating an enormous stage with seemingly no point of origin. The Bird stage is very impressive, this is just a different experience. The biggest difference is the Traillii sounds amazing with any music, and basically any source, where the V3 needs proper amplification and fantastic source music to shine fully.



If I had to try and describe the stages in terms of physical dimensions I would say this:



SV3 - An enormous holographic stage, with more depth than any other IEM I have heard. Truly all around you. Unmatched.


AP - A big 3D oval, with sounds emanating from all around you, especially vertically.


Creator - A very vast stage in front of you, like listening to very large studio monitors.


Traillii - An oval, hugely circular, with the midrange stretching out at the widest edges as far as one can see. Great treble extension.


Jewel - a lovely circular stage in all directions, with less height. Quite holographic but not as big as others.




SIZE > SV3 - Traillii - AP/Creator - Jewel


WIDTH> SV3/Traillii - AP/Creator - Jewel


HEIGHT > SV3/Traillii - AP/Creator - Jewel


DEPTH > SV3 - Traillii/AP - Creator/Jewel


HOLOGRAPHY > SV3 - Traillii - AP/Jewel/Creator


REALISTIC > AP/Creator - Traillii - Jewel - SV3













PAIRINGS/CABLES


As mentioned in the opening paragraphs, the V3 comes with a good/decent stock cable, but I did most of my testing with the RSD Copper Fantasies. The stock cable is not really comparable to the RSD top end available, but that seems to be the norm for Summit-Fi IEMs. Seemingly these brands expect the buyers of such gear to have their own cables, or test and decide on an upgrade cable after buying. Spending a fortune in the process. The CF will be featured in an upcoming review, so I will leave the in-depth analysis for later, but suffice to say, like the V3, the CF is the most detail oriented copper cable I’ve ever tried. It is tight and punchy, with a small graceful rise in the upper mids, mirroring the V3’s own. It was designed to go with the V3, and this synergy is undeniable. I also spent a good amount of time with my Orpheus on there, and frankly it brings the V3 more into the spectrum of all rounder with its increase in note weight and bass impact. It also stretched the mids out a lot, making the V3 even more studio monitor sounding. I really liked it a lot, though the most “V3 Magic” comes from the pairing of Purple and Gold.



RSD CF - A perfectly balanced pairing. Incredible resolution, very energetic and crisp. Punchy bass, sweet yet resolving mids with slight rise in upper mids for enhanced attack and clarity. Extended treble, spacious 3D stage with extreme depth.



PW Orpheus - Very balanced but with more bass and impact, thicker notes and slightly more relaxed treble. Stage is huge, more width than with CF, though not as deep/tall. Orphy also has a gentle rise in the upper mids, but it’s situated lower on the spectrum, so it’s less energetic and crisp while still giving things like distorted guitars and vocals an extra sense of presence and cut.



Brise Shirogane - This was an interesting pairing, the Brise has fantastic resolution and space but its mids are slightly too smooth compared to the rest of the spectrum. I mentioned this in my review, and while it was noticeable with other IEMs it rarely bothered me. But since the V3’s mids are so crisp and clean it sort of brought the balance and tuning slightly out of wack. That could be something someone would want, to tone down the extreme clarity, though for me if you’re getting the V3 you intend to squeeze every last bit of detail. The Shiro brought more sub-bass and extremely extended top end were great advantages, as well as the stage size being huge and very holographic. Somehow the Shiro has just wasn’t the right fit for me, and I preffered either the CF or Orphy.



DAPS - As mentioned the V3 needs good power to shine, the more the better. I really liked it out of the Sony WM1ZM2, though I did end up having the volume up around 90-100 for enhanced listening. It would benefit greatly from an amp like the Tsuranagi or 475. With an amp you get a bigger stage, deeper and more controlled bass as well as more sparkle and air up top. With the LP6 Ti AE I can feel the extra power under the hood, more control and a bigger more epic sound. The Sony features a bit more micro details and highlights the crispness more, while the AE gives it a bit more of an analog sound. I found with the Sony I preferred the RSD CF cable, this was the closest to what I would imagine Sammy was hearing when he tuned it. With the AE I enjoyed the Orphy more, bringing the V3 into more all rounder territory, with a smoother more organic top. It also had a bigger more holographic stage and fatter bass. I don’t currently have a more reference DAP, but I could imagine that with the N30LE it could be quite transcendent. With a brighter choice like 320MAX it could potentially venture into bright territory.









CONCLUSION

And so here we are, at the end of another exhausting review. I always set out to make them shorter, but find it extremely difficult to do so. These Summit-Fi gears have so much going on, and especially the V3, whose uniqueness could be divisive amongst potential buyers. It’s impossible to name it best, without having some strong experience and detail to support that statement. But I can’t also just say it only works for Asian music and call it a day. That would be unfair both to Rhapsodio, as well as the audio world as whole. I can say this: on a technical basis the V3 is simply the most impressive IEM I have ever heard. But it’s so much more than that, the way it presets music is just on another level. The stage sets a dangerous precedent for all others, and I can tell you after listening to the V3 for a few hours everything else seems small and quaint by comparison. That being said, every IEM I heard immediately afterwards satisfied my bass and weight needs more, and made the V3 seem kind of thin in comparison. They say you can’t have your cake and eat it too, and this would seem appropriate for the V3’s unique tuning and presentation. It all comes down to this, I believe the V3 was tuned for “Asian” style music, and simply doesn’t work as well with more heavy and/or western styles of music. That means well mastered pop, acoustic and vocal music, or even electronic spacey music, the V3 is unbeatable. Nothing comes close really. But for everything else, other IEMs might work better. Or at the very least I could say fairly that the V3 doesn’t excel as an all rounder, (for westerners or thicker more compact music) as it’s simply just “good” for those styles. If I was to pick the best all rounder I couldn’t include the V3, it’s just too specialized. The AP, Creator or Traillii will be a better fit for most people. They are easier to power, don’t need such high-end gear to shine, and their tuning is just more universal. But, if you like something unique, something special, something that brings music to your ears in a way you didn’t know was possible from an IEM, look no further than the Rhapsodio Supreme V3. It will knock your socks off, literally. It provides something no other IEM can, and that’s really saying something. If you have one or two IEMs already, and you’re looking for something different, (and you can afford it) this is it. If you listen to Asian/Vocal/acoustic music, and/or really like a leaner, clean, crisp and incredibly detailed sound, this is it. Full stop. Don’t bother with anything else, you’ll just be dissapointed afterwards. I know those are strong words, but I truly believe what Sammy has made here deserves such praise. It’s unlike anything else. My only wish is that it was thicker sounding, and with more bass. Fill out those low mids and bass, give it a little more sub bass and thump, that would bring it closer to all rounder for a lot of people, myself included. But who knows, doing so just might remove the magic that makes the V3 what it is. Maybe we’ll see something like that in the presumable V4 maybe coming at some point in the future. Either way, huge kudos to Sammy and the Rhapsodio team, this is a stunner. Full stop.





Thanks for reading! If you’d like to get one for yourself please visit the Rhapsodio website here. Or find a dealer near you.

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