Ranko Acoustics RIE-880 IEM Review
Ranko Acoustics RIE-880 IEM Review
Ranko Acoustics has been established in 1992 in New York and is dedicated in research and development of cables, and accessories for Hi-End Audio and Video application.
The RIE-1000 was the first IEM product of the company, while the RIE-880 that I will now review for you is their second and latest In-Ear Monitor that features a 9mm Diameter Single Dynamic Driver that is located inside a fancy looking 3D printed skin friendly resin shell, which comes with the companies RHA-105 High-Purity OCC (Ohno Continuous Cast) – Silver Plated Copper Cable. The RIE-880 is also equipped with its Patented RA FPhase technology.
- Ranko Acoustics Website: http://www.rankoacoustics.com/
I would like to thank Ranko Acoustics for providing me the RIE-880 In-Ear Monitor sample for review purposes. I am not affiliated with Ranko Acoustics beyond this review and these words reflect my true and unaltered opinions about the product.
Price & Availability:
The actual price of the Ranko Acoustics RIE-880 is about 140,00 USD. More information’s can be found under the link below;
Package and Accessories:
The Ranko Acoustics RIE-880 came inside a black box that has a oval shaped transparent plastic window on the top cover where you can see the Monitor, which are put in to a white foam sheet.
On the top cover are some product/company related brandings, while the rear part of the box sports some details & information’s about the RIE-880.
The box includes the following items;
- 1 pair x Ranko Acoustics RIE-880 In-Ear Monitor
- 1 piece x RHA-1050 Detachable Cable with 2-Pin connectors
- 3 pairs x Silicone Ear Tips
- 1 piece x 3.5mm to 6.3mm Headphone Adaptor
- 1 piece x Cleaning Tool
- 1 piece x Some Pint Materials
Design and Build Quality:
The Ranko Acoustics RIE-880 is a pretty nice looking In-Ear Monitor with a semi-custom shell that is made of 3D printed Skin Friendly Resin Material that is available in two different color options, which are in black and white color variations. It features a 9mm Single Dynamic Driver and 2-Pin detachable connector configuration.
The faceplate of the monitor shell is one of the main attractions of the RIE-880, which sport an eye-catching hand painted color patterns in gold and silver Ranko Acoutsics (RK) brand logo in silver that is located in the center of this surface.
On rear side of the monitor shell is sound nozzle and the surface which fits to your ear concha thanks to semi-custom shape.
The sound nozzle has a slightly angled profile with a fairly small diameter, which has a lip to hold the ear tips and a metal mesh to prevent the insertion of dust and earwax on the top.
On the top of the monitor housing is the 0.78mm diameter 2-Pin female connector and a vent/opening for the 9mm Single Dynamic Driver that is located near the sound nozzle.
The 2-Pin female connector offers a pretty secure and tight connection with the male connector that is located on the detachable cable.
At the rear side of the monitor shell is the model description of the IEM and the L & R markings.
The RIE-880 came with the RHA-1050, which is one of the companies in-house designed and produced detachable cables that is made of High-Purity OCC Silver plated copper conductors. The conductors do have a silver plated shielding and are protected with a flexible PVC insulation in grey color.
The 0.78mm diameter 2-Pin male connectors do have a metal housing in black color that do sport Left and Right markings and color indicators (blue for left and red for right).
Near the connectors are heat-shrink ear guides that do offer extra comfort especially on the go.
The cable has a twisted design and features metal chin slider and y-splitter in black color, from which the splitter has the brand logo on the top.
The cable of the RIE-880 has a gold plated 3.5mm Single Ended (TRS) headphone plug with a straight profiled metal housing in black color that features the Ranko Acoustics Branding in gold on the surface. It features a heat-shrink strain relief in for extra durability.
The overall build quality of both the monitors and the cable are top notch and do fulfill my expectations from a product at this price level.
Fit & Isolation:
The monitors of the Ranko Acoustics RIE-880 do have a relative small size and do fit perfectly in to my ear-conchas with an average size, thanks to the semi-custom profile of the inner surface.
The passive noise isolation of the RIE-880 is below average, which is only sufficient enough for the use in relative low noisy environments such like a bus or train.
Drivability & Pairing:
The Ranko Acoustics RIE-880 shows an impedance of 60 ohms and a sensitivity of 107dB, which makes it to a relative power hungry In-Ear Monitor that shows its true potential if you use it with powerful sources such like an portable amplifier (FiiO Q5s) or DAP (iBasso DX220MAX, FiiO M11 Pro).
Other Remarkable Features:
RA FPhase Acoustic Architecture
RIE-880 has Ranko’s patented RA FPhase acoustic architecture that helps maintain the correct phase and accurate response for all the frequencies. This ensures you get a precise, controlled music experience with proper detail and no frequency overlap issue.
Electronic Equalizer Internal Circuit with OCC Wires
Ranko RIE-880 features an equalizer electronic internal circuit design that is made using in-house high-quality GC-OCC wires. This helps in ensuring high-quality audio with no distortion or noise in the output signal.
- Driver Configuration : 9mm Diameter Single Dynamic Driver
- Impedance : 60 Ω
- Sensitivity : 107 dB
- Frequency response : 5 Hz – 30kHz
- Maximum Power : 15mW
- Connector : 0.78mm dia. 2-Pin
- Plug : available in 3.5mm Single Ended
- Cable Material : RHA-1050 OCC Silver – Plated Copper
- Cable length : approx 120cm
- Weight : 3.5grams (each earpiece)
Equipment’s used for this review:
- IEM’s : Ranko Acoustics RIE-880, Final Audio E4000, OE Audio Tita
- DAP&DAC’s : iBasso DX220 MAX, FiiO M11 Pro, FiiO Q5s
Albums & tracks used for this review:
- Hayley Westenra – Odyssey Album (Dezzer HiFi)
- Dionne Warwick – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Sarah McLachlan – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Sertap Erener – Aşk (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Edith Piaf – Non Je Ne Regrette Rien (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Diana Krall – So Wonderful (DSF)
- Aretha Franklin – I Say A Little Payer (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- David Bowie – Heroes (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Barry White – Just The Way You Are (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Isaac Hayes – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Sting – Englishman in New York – (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Portishead – It Could Be Sweet (Spotify)
- Charly Antolini – Duwadjuwandadu (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Chopin – Nocturn No. 20 In C-Sharp Minor (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Fazıl Say – Nazım Oratoryosu (Live) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Deezer HiFi)
- Otto Liebert& Luna Negra – The River (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Bro Safari, UFO! – Drama “Party Favor Remix” (Deezer HiFi)
- Christian Reindl (Lucie Paradise) – Cernunnos (Spotify)
- Armin Van Buuren – Vini Vici (Deezer HiFi)
- Really Slow Motion – Deadwood (Deezer HiFi)
- Jo Blankenburg – Meraki (Spotify)
- Massive Attack – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Lorde – Royals (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Lunatic Soul – The Passage (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Deftones – My Own Summer (Shove it) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Opeth – Windowpane (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Rush’s – Leave That Thing Alone (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Slayer – Angel of Death (Spotify)s
- Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)
- Yosi Horikawa – Bubbles (Spotify)
The Ranko Acoustics RIE-880 has a V shaped sound signature with a warmish tonality. The bass shows good depth and bodied, the midrange is recessed but nicely clear, fairly detailed and musical, while the treble area is slightly bright but not sharp and do show an adequate level of extension.
Please note that this review has been written after a burn-in period of 60 hours. I have used the stock silicone ear tips and the RHA-1050 OCC Silver – Plated Copper cable that are included in the package. Main sources are the iBasso DX220 MAX and FiiO Q5s since that RIE-880 needs a powerful source to show its true potential.
The subbass region of the Ranko Acoustics RIE-880 has nicely warm and soft tonality, along with a good sense of depth and extension. The overall subbass quantity and intensity is not too much nor too shy. The depth and emphasis from instruments such like cross drums up to synthesizers is fairly good, which makes it suitable for a wide variety of genre.
The midbass area of the RIE-880 sounds fairly strong, fast and controlled. The tonality is mildly warm, pretty smooth and musical and I couldn’t find any remarkable negative situations such like muddiness or mixings.
The bass of the RIE-880 is in general fast and controlled, while the resolution and layering fulfills the expatiations from a product at this price range. On of the highlights of the bass is the clean and smooth presentation without to overwhelm you even after long listening periods.
The midrange of the Ranko Acoustics RIE-880 shows a slightly warmer than neutral tonality, while it sounds a bit recessed due to the V shaped tuning. The midrange comes more in the foreground when you pair it with a powerful source.
The lower midrange of the RIE-880 has a sufficient presence and depth for male vocals like Sting, Elton John or even Barry White that are reproduced with a moderate sense of weight and fullness without to sound in any way dull or the lifeless.
Female vocals are shown in a pretty transparent and pronounced manner, thanks to the general upper midrange tuning. Vocals like Diana Krall, Edith Piaf or Sertap Erener do sound pretty lively, while the detail retrieval is on an adequate level.
Instruments on the other hand do sound in general pretty musical and do show a good level of clarity and airiness. Guitars for example are slightly warmish, bassy and fairly clean, while violins do have a fairly bright tonality without to be overly harsh or sibilant, if you pair it with a good source.
Upper Midrange & Treble:
The upper midrange of the Ranko Acoustics RIE-880 is quite energetic and shows a pretty strong intensity that tends to a bright tonality. This region offers a good level of clarity and airiness, while the transitions are in general controlled, if you pair it with a good source and feed it with well recorded materials.
The treble range of the RIE-880 sounds slightly bright and shows in general an efficient sense of extension and resolution. The lower treble region is slightly more highlighted and detailed compared to the upper treble region.
This lower treble region adds the overall presentation a sufficient sense of clarity and definition, while upper treble area of the RIE-880 is able to produce a moderate level of airiness and sparkle.
Instruments such like cymbals in trash metal are reproduced fairly fast and accented, while hi-hats are slightly recessed. Other instruments such like crash and ride cymbals don’t show any negative conditions live mixings or over sharpness, which is a remarkable plus point for this area.
The treble range of the RIE-880 offers in general an efficient performance for its price in terms of clarity, detail retrieval and extension.
Soundstage & Imaging:
Ranko Acoustics RIE-880 offers a pretty airy and spacious soundstage atmosphere with a fairly precise separation and placement of vocals and instruments. The stage shows a good level of wideness, while the depth is on a moderate level.
Some Short Comparisons:
Ranko Acoustics RIE-880 versus Final Audio E4000:
Both the Ranko Acoustics RIE-880 and the Final Audio E4000 do have a mildly warm and pretty musical tonality and do need a source with good amplification to shows their true potential.
The subbass region of the RIE-880 shows slightly more depth and rumble, while both IEM’s do have in general a moderate level of intensity in this area. The midbass of both IEM’s is impactful and controlled, while the RIE-880 has the slightly edge in terms speed and tightness and resolution.
The midrange of both the RIE-880 and the E4000 has a mildly warm tonality. The midrange of the E4000 is slightly more upfront and intimate in presentation when I do listen to vocals. The level clarity and airiness is pretty equal, maybe a tad better on the RIE-880.
The lower midrange of the E4000 shows slightly more body and depth which gives it an advantage when I do listen to male vocals or instruments such like violas or acoustic guitars. The RIE-880 on the other hand shows a slightly better sense of upper midrange brightness, clarity and resolution, which makes it more successful with female voices or instruments such like a violin, flute or piano.
Both the upper and the lower treble range of the RIE-880 are slightly more highlighted and detailed than those of the E4000. The lower treble region of the RIE-880 shows a tad more clarity and definition, while both IEM’s do sound pretty controlled this area. The upper treble is slightly more energetic when I do listen to the RIE-880.
The soundstage of both the RIE-880 and E4000 do show a good level of width, while the E4000 has a slightly advantage when it comes to the depth of the stage.
Ranko Acoustics RIE-880 versus OE Audio Tita:
The OE Audio Tita has a tad warmer tonality and an in general darker presentation compared to the Ranko Acoustics RIE-880, which has a slightly brighter and more transparent overall presentation.
The lower frequency region of the RIE-880 shows a better sense of control/authority and offers a better level of resolution. The subbass region of the OE Audio Tita show less depth and sounds also a bit uncontrolled compared to RIE-880. The RIE-880 offers also a better level of impact, depth and texture in the midbass region.
The midrange of both IEM’s is on the warmer side of neutral, while the warmth of the Tita is more dominant compare to those of the RIE-880. The RIE-880 offers a higher sense of clarity and airiness due to its more highlighted upper midrange tuning. The general midrange presentation of the RIE-880 is lively and detailed than those of the Tita, which sounds a bit veiled and somewhat muddy in direct comparison.
The treble range of the OE Audio Tita shows an audible roll-off, which is one of the reasons why it sounds a bit dull in this area. The RIE-880 offers more treble quantity, detail and extension. It shows in general more sparkle and airiness while the Tita sounds slightly more controlled.
The soundstage of both In-Ear Monitors is pretty equal in terms of depth, however the Ranko Acoustics RIE-880 is shows a better performance when it comes to the wideness of the stage.
The RIE-880 is the second In-Ear Monitor of a well known audio company, which is now a new player in the earphone industry. The RIE-880 that is equipped with a Single Dynamic Driver offers a pretty entertaining sound signature, along with a fairly detailed and lively presentation. Moreover, is has a beautiful appearance, comfortable fit and comes with the RHA-1050 detachable cable which has a sturdy build quality. The combination of good sound, optics and build quality makes me curious about future products of this company.
Pros and Cons:
- + Entertaining Sound Signature
- + Above average performance in terms of staging
- + Faceplate Design and Build Quality
- + Fit & Comfort
- + Good Stock Cable
- – Needs a good source with relative a powerful output to show its true potential
- – Average Passive Sound Isolation
- – Comes only with 3 pairs of Silicone Ear Tips