A Martini Invites You to Live
- Very complete sound in all three ranges, balanced and homogeneous.
- Presence and punch of the low end.
- Three-dimensionality of the mids.
- Great sensation of openness.
- The cable is fixed.
- Weight of the capsules a bit high
- Treble may be too soft.
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Rose Technics is a Chinese brand, known for making high quality IEMS and Earbuds. In the case of earbuds, many enthusiasts are familiar with the great Maria, Maria II, Masya, Masya MK2 and Mojito models. All of them have dual dynamic drivers. However, in the case of the current Rose Martini, the new audiophile earbud model, there is only one dynamic driver, whose diaphragm is made of carbon ceramic. The design of the housing is very sophisticated and features a two-way air pressure adjustment tube system to improve bass performance. The materials used to create the different parts of the capsule are 304 steel (cavity tube, rear panel and rear of the capsule) and gold-plated brass (cavity tube and outer shell). The double tube is responsible for regulating the low frequencies, achieving a solid and powerful bass. The third generation of the dynamic driver, with a carbon-based ceramic diaphragm, provides improved resolution. The metal parts have been CNC-machined for a truly polished and luxurious finish. No effort has been spared on the cable either. A Lizt structure with rare earth copper has been used, with a protective layer of flannel and an insulating layer of PET. Monocrystalline copper was used for the anode and rare earth copper for the cathode. The result is a product that stands out visually for its design, beauty and high level of construction. We will see the rest of its features, as well as its sound performance in this review.
- Driver type: 15.4mm dynamic driver, with carbon ceramic diaphragm
- Frequency Response: 16-45000Hz
- Sensitivity: 100dB/mW @ 1kHz
- Impedance: 32Ω
- Jack Connector: Selectable between 3.5mm SE and 4.4mm BAL connector
- Cable length: 1.2m
The Rose Martini comes in a relatively small and narrow black box. Its dimensions are 153x132x27mm. On the main part you can read Martini simulating handwriting in white letters. The box is decorated with a hexagonal motif reminiscent of the Rose logo. On the right side you can see the two earbuds, placed vertically and showing each side. On the back face, on the left side, there is an anime girl (something that is becoming very common, and tiresome, on many brands). On the right side, there are the specifications, in Chinese. In reality, this cover is not a box, but a wrapper. After removing them, two identical boxes appear, sealed in plastic. They are both black cases, which have a rubberised coating, with the brand logo inscribed on the top. They open a little less than 90 degrees and are lined with a black velvet-like lining. One of them holds the earbuds, encased in a black foam mould. The other contains a pair of zip pouches with the accessories and several cards. In summary, the complete contents are as follows:
- The Rose Martini
- A 3.5mm SE to 6.35mm SE adapter.
- 10 complete foams.
- One card with instructions and specifications.
- One warranty card.
Both the packaging and the contents with the two boxes are relatively surprising. Although, the accessories are minimal, there are no donut foams and all the foams are equal in density. The boxes, although narrow, are adequate to hold the Martini. I must say that it is the same as the IEMS Rose QT9 MK2, but since these are earbuds, there is no problem storing them.
Overall, I find the accessory set limited and the fact that all the text is in Chinese only.
Construction and Design
Where you can’t fault the design and construction. The design is simply exquisite, combining 304 steel with gold-plated brass. The micro-perforated sound hole cover, through which the sound is emitted, is made of gold-plated brass. The diaphragm is carbon ceramic, with a 15.4mm driver. The capsule housing is made of 304 steel, as is the rear panel. The capsule shell is conical and has two elongated openings near its edge. At the top of the cone there is another piece which is cylindrical at its base, attached to another piece which has a semi oval and inclined shape, but one end of which ends with a flat cut, also inclined, forming a sharp vertex on this side, while the other remains rounded. The Rose logo is engraved on its outer face and the letter identifying the channel is inscribed on the vertex. From this semi-oval piece come two gold-plated copper tubes, which form the circuit that regulates the air pressure. Finally, a piece of 304 steel serves as a clamp for the other end of these tubes. You can see the hole in one of them, while the cable comes out of the other. It is covered with black flannel and its conductor is made of monocrystalline copper for the anode and rare earth copper for the cathode. It has a small translucent plastic pin, while the splitter piece is a small metal cylinder. The sleeve of the 4.4mm balanced jack plug is a large cylinder with a slight depression in the middle. The cable is doubled from the splitter to the connector and has a small translucent plastic adapter at its junction. The connector is gold-plated.
The design is clearly distinctive and high-end, with a premium finish and high-quality, highly polished materials. They are almost a work of goldsmithing and the combination of metal and gold parts is tastefully done, without seeming excessive. It is clear that these are not lightweight materials and the weight of each capsule is felt, so care must be taken when handling the capsules. Even the 4.4mm connector is also sensitively weighted, which makes the whole thing feel very solid. On this occasion, the looks alone justify the price.
The only downside I find to the design is the use of a fixed cable, something that all other high-end earbuds do not have, but instead use a convenient 2-pin connection.
Adjustment and Ergonomics
The outer shape is asymmetrical and facilitates fitting. Although the cone is regular. The diameter of the capsules is 16.55mm and their thickness is about 5mm. The material is very smooth and polished. It gives the impression of being slippery, but the foams do a good job in this aspect and a good fit is achieved. It is true that the weight is felt in the ears, but it is bearable. Being a free cone, the capsules can be rotated inside the pinna, for a better fit, while the tubes provide extra grip on their contact with the tragus-antitragus.
Earbuds are not best suited for a perennial fit. In this case, the very smooth surface can make the best fit unstable, due to the sliding of the foams on the surface. This does not usually happen if the movement is of low intensity, but it can happen.
Indeed, the sound quality of the Martini should be contemplated in peace and quiet, in order to make the most of its virtues.
The Rose Martini’s profile is eminently warm, with a good bass and midrange presence and a smooth treble. Indeed, the sonority, power and presence of the low end is very striking. It is clear that its dual-tube system works, when it comes to reproducing solid and powerful bass. The mids are natural, smooth, very pleasant and rounded, with a feeling of fullness that is quite complete. The highs persist in that idea of smoothness, but with less emphasis. These are not resolution or analytical earbuds, but are more organic and analogue.
Martini have two oval openings at the back of the capsules, located in the cone, on opposite sides, top and bottom, near the rim. These openings and how they are covered, due to each particular morphology, can contribute to appreciate, to a greater or lesser extent, the bass. It could be said that a typical fit would cover a small portion of the lower opening, leaving the upper opening more free. Rotating the capsule inside the earcup, trying to put the tubes horizontally, manages to cover more of the lower opening and increase the fixation of the earbuds. This is a common practice I do when fitting most of the earbuds I try. Although it is not a quick operation, I get several improvements in hearing, due to a better focus of the driver in front of the ear canals, as well as a more occlusive fit. This is not always possible, but in this case, the Martini’s lend themselves very well to this adjustment, remaining very stable and without slipping. In this way, the lower opening is almost completely covered. Perhaps it’s a mixture of everything, the better fit I get, the greater degree of occlusion, the better orientation, etc. But, it is clear that these new Rose get a really natural and powerful bass hit. The mid-bass is punchy, even the first sub-bass is also punchy. It is not a very sensory low end, but more audible than perceptible. This limits the expressiveness of the lower notes and shows a certain colouring in them, something that is very common in earbuds, even in this range. But that doesn’t limit its sonority, which still has a fairly high degree of naturalness and analogue feel.
Technically it is quite capable, proposing an agile and dry stroke in the execution, although the decay is not so fast, leaving a slight aftertaste that softens the range and provides a feeling of generalised warmth. This aspect also influences the texture, avoiding roughness in the texture and reducing the level of resolution. Similarly, the layering, the separation of layers and different levels, also has that sweet, velvety and cohesive quality that characterises the range.
Despite the feeling of bass presence, it is not the most predominant range, but there is a great balance with the rest of the bands. Perhaps this homogeneity is one of the Martini’s most remarkable points. If you listen to electronic music, the bass and treble will make a stellar contribution. But when the vocals come in, the bass seems to have a great respect for them, giving up or sharing the limelight. It is undeniable that the warmth is transmitted towards the mids, but it is clearly noticeable, as the transition occurs quite cleanly. The driver has a great ability to split frequencies and separate them, as well as give them distance and a three-dimensional ambience. And, in that sense, the agility and sense of dynamics offered, feels totally premium and is not within the reach of many earbuds.
Without being mid-centre earbuds, the Rose Martini’s full potential is in the mid-range. However, with this statement, I would be putting the bass and treble in a bad light and that would not be fair. Actually, I would have to say that the Martini’s sound is very big. There is plenty of room for everything: the bass has a good place, but there is even more room for the midrange, not to mention the treble. There is not only width, but also a lot of height and depth. The elements acquire the ability to move on the different axes, giving them the virtue of feeling alive within the scene. As the sense of enveloping space is wide, the expressiveness of details and nuances is different, although very analogue. It is very curious how small details are reproduced in a way that is so organic and far removed from a digital or analytical aspect. Nevertheless, there is no denying that the sound presents warmth, softness and also clarity, without being bright or very transparent. The mids are harmonious, euphonic and musical. Thanks to its complete lower range, the first part of the mids has a good weight, without ever being muddy in its presence, which is to be excluded and not associated with Martini’s. The result is very full male voices, with presence, body, density, weight and muscle, but at the same time smooth and melodious. Despite the presence of the bass, the vocals open up space, presentially speaking and occupying their throne of power. Their texture is homogeneous and subtle, this is not a sound that is characterised by being descriptive on the surfaces, but rather one that opts for smoothness, but for demonstrating details in empty spaces. Or, rather, in extending such nuances to free locations, so that they can be observed with much better clarity and evidence. In this sense, the revealing effect is associated with the expansive effect, to generate a symbiosis that enhances the perception of such details. This is how it is possible to appreciate an exuberant laterality, as the richness of the notes is demonstrated in those areas where the voices are not present. Returning to the vocals, but this time, to the female ones, due to the balance of the central zone, they do not feel so projected. In this sense, the more homogeneous behaviour of the range is appreciated, even if it is at the cost of losing a sense of forced clarity. This is why the sonority prevails naturally and the female voices acquire a greater descriptive point, as the upper zone possesses a more explicit sparkle, but one that is never excessive. The sibilance, therefore, is always controlled, even pleasant.
The instrumentation is rich, thanks to the harmonics and realistic timbre. It also makes good use of the good laterality of the sound, which takes care of wrapping the voices, as well as looking soloistic when they are. It has an appreciable layering and its organisation in space, as well as its placement, is precise and distinguishable. Thanks to the detail, the nuances of the instruments can be appreciated easily and separately from the voices, even if they are more or less distant. The result is a very choral performance, clear and perceptive, ornamental, concisely placed, spacious on all axes, with plenty of movement, life and dynamics. Tuned for full enjoyment.
The treble has a mixture of softness and finesse. They are not excessive, nor are they exaggerated. The first part has a good width and relative closeness, which allows a clear perception, but without it being predominant or stressful. Its reproduction, unsurprisingly, falls on the natural and harmonious side. Then you feel the classic control drop, in this case it is light and well thought out. There is a good amount of air to enrich the harmonics and lengthen the high notes. Both the speed and decay are natural and do not show themselves to be forced to be faster. The high notes last in a precise way, just long enough to be enjoyed, without being harmful or excessive. In this way, the upper range allows for a particular showcasing and does not only bring resources to the middle range. The treble is not crunchy, but refined, melodious and very enjoyable, as it could not be otherwise. This is how the three strips build up and complement each other to produce a truly complete and complex sound, at the same time highly musical, pleasant, natural, warm, organic and dynamic.
I couldn’t stop talking about stage and separation, especially in the midrange. Earbuds have the ability to generate a great soundstage. But, in those that are high-end, the perception of the soundstage is even superior. The Rose Martini are in that premium range, where the soundstage is clearly large, with an excellent sense of laterality, an excellent ability to position elements and details, as well as to separate them from both vocals and instruments. But this separation is not limited to these areas; the bands also have a clear division, allowing each of them to complement each other in a symbiotic way. It is not that there are hollows, far from it, but it is commendable how the frequency ranges are able to layer and not overlap, to combine without merging. In this sense, the feeling of three-dimensional separation is shown with ease, but without losing musicality. The sound is not completely transparent or crystalline, the sense of warmth threads through it subtly, but not in a line, not in a mantle, it is a much more complex structure, stretching in all three dimensions, in which height, depth and width, are presented in a very palpable way. And, despite all this, the scene still appears natural and organic, without becoming unreal because it escapes from the head. Realism first and foremost.
In a similar price range, although now available at a lower price, is this model which is the current flagship of the NiceHCK shop. With a very premium construction, presentation and accessories, the EBX21 is made of aluminium, with a stylish yet functional design. They have an MMCX connection and a cable very much in the vein of the Rose Martini, albeit with heavier metal parts. The ergonomics are better on the Martini because they have a smaller capsule that fits better. However, it is true that the Rose is heavier.
One great thing about the Martini’s is that their first impression is excellent, it’s very striking that they have such a full sound in all bands. There are no hollows or cracks, the whole spectrum is present and within reach. What’s wrong with the EBX21s? Comparatively speaking, the low end lacks the fullness and power of the Rose. It is true that the NiceHCK’s punch is more concrete and concise, with a quicker decay. But its sonority is not complete, and the timbre is affected. It lacks depth and presence in the sub-bass. This is very noticeable when playing electronic music, the bass becomes soft on the EBX21’s, while a quick switch to the Rose’s is like entering the Sonar Festival, through the big door. I can admit that the NiceHCKs have better technicality in this lower range, but at the cost of losing incidence and weight in the sound.
Entering the midrange, the EBX21s still present a comparative hollowness, in the first part of the midrange. There is a lot of lightness in their sound, but less body in the male voices. Thus, they are thinner, but with good texture and detail. But the dense, full, well-balanced, full-bodied feel of the Rose floods the scene and once again brings out the colours of the EBX21’s. Their punchier, warmer, more homogeneous sound presents a more unified, seamless and balanced wall. In the second half of this central range is where EBX21 begin to present their full potential. If the body of the voices is exuberant in the Martini, its details, nuances and ornaments are more appreciable in the EBX21. Still, the Rose’s timbre and sonority is more natural, though also more analogue. Again, the midrange of the EBX21s again exhibits soft spots compared to the homogeneity of the Martini.
The high end of the EBX21 is the only range that challenges the Rose Martini, because its sound is simply more acute. The sound has a sharper, brighter and purer tendency, while the Rose has a smoother and more rounded execution. The EBX21’s treble is faster and dissipates earlier, technically more appropriate. This is why the descriptiveness and harmonics are more textured and nuanced, the EBX21’s driver seems faster and more analytical. Although, at the microphone level, the level of both earbuds is the same, it’s just a closer exposure of one element or the other, due to the tuning of each.
The soundstage of each model is quite wide. The greater analytical ability and more concise notes of the EBX21s give their sound a more perceptible sense of separation. The sound is vaporous and ethereal. Whereas the Rose has a superior expansive feel, more depth and height, greater laterality and a higher overall occupancy. More sound, more homogeneity, more balance, more space occupied, more scene. That is the Rose Martini’s proposition.
Every premium earbud model I try makes me eat my words and look like a fool. Actually, I don’t mind, if I have to admit that the sound has room for improvement and I can prove it. This is the case. Previously, I gave very good marks to models in this price range. But the Rose Martini are better. First, because they have a powerful and present low end. This may not be to the taste of many purist audiophiles, but I thoroughly enjoyed writing this review. The second thing my ears focus on when I try earbuds is the clarity and level of transparency. In this respect, the Martini’s are in the range of the great earbuds I’ve tried. But where they really excel is in balance and homogeneity. From the sub-bass to the first highs, the Rose’s have no hollowness at all and every sound band is completely devastating in comparison to their rivals. The sound is complete, seamless, wall-like, dense and full. The mid-range body is full bodied, balanced, warm, organic, natural, euphonic and dynamic. It also has a lot of life and movement. Added to this is its expansive quality: the stage tends to occupy a lot of space on all three axes, allowing empty areas to be filled with nuance and detail, while the main instruments and vocals are placed in much more privileged and larger positions. The result is a truly musical sound that is smooth, harmonious and thoroughly enjoyable. The sensation emitted by the Rose Martini is the sound of large earphones, with a lot of height and dynamics, which is more enjoyable the more time they spend in our ears. A great new step forward.
Sources Used During the Analysis
- ACMEE MF02s.
- ACMEE Magic Sound 4 ES9018K2M 192K/24Bit.
- xDuoo Link2 Bal.
- Tempotec Sonata E44.
- Hidizs DH80s.
- S.M.S.L Sanskrit 10th MKII + iFi ZEN CAN.