Pure BA, Pure Synergy
- Balanced sound with great mids and surprising low area.
- Size and weight.
- Accessories and cable.
- Separation, light, clarity, recreation, detail and richness of nuances.
- «The whole is more than the sum of its parts.”
- Feeling of fragility.
- Limited sound depth.
- Sub-bass below 40Hz.
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Rose Technics is an established brand of IEMs and Earbuds. Its IEMs feature the hybrid technology used in most of them. Also their earbuds are very recognized and appreciated, among them the Masya and Masya Pro.
The model I’m going to analyze is the second version of a series called Mini. This name is not trivial, as the dimensions of these hybrid IEMs are, and a lot. In this case, the Rose Mini2 MKII 2.0, are Dual BA. Surprisingly, they do not sound as analytical as one might think a priori, but even enjoy a certain warmth. Also, they are not so anemic in bass being a double BA of such a small size.
- Driver: 2BA. Rose custom driver for high frequency，Sonion driver for middle and low frequency
- Frequency range: 20Hz – 30kHz
- Sensitivity: 108dB
- Impedance: 45Ω
- Cable: Silver-plated OFC
- Type of capsule connection: MMCX
The Rose Mini2 MKII 2.0 comes in a completely white box, with the brand in silver letters on the top. And nothing else. Just a small sticker on the side, indicating the model: «mini2». The box is square, 138x138x42mm. After opening it, you can see a metal can and round logo, brand and slogan. It is embedded in a foam mould. Next to it there is a small transparent plastic box containing tips of simple silicone and bi-flange. A 6.3mm plug adapter is located in a slot in the mould. Inside the metal box are the IEMs, with a silver-plated cable connected. In addition, it comes with a zipper bag with other transparent tips bi-flange, self-made and special, to improve the seal. Finally, there are two more pairs of foam tips in two sizes, in a bright red colour.
All in all:
- Silver-plated 4-core cable.
- Metallic box.
- 3 pairs of grey silicone tips in sizes SxMxL.
- 1 pair of gray silicone tips bi-flange large size.
- 4 pairs of specially designed bi-flange transparent silicone tips, sizes SxMxLxXL
- 2 pairs of red foam tips, sizes MxL.
I believe that both the presentation and the content are totally appropriate to the price level. A very simple and minimalist design, a very useful metal box, although I prefer semi-rigid with zipper. And some very interesting bi-flange tips. I just miss some tri-flange tips.
Construction and Design
The size of these lEMs are minuscule, they weigh nothing. The outer part of the capsule is greenish-yellow plastic. It is made up of two parts joined together. The nozzle is thin and covered with a metal cylinder. They do not have a grille to block the exit of the sound. The MMCX connection is at the bottom. At the top is the logo of the brand, in almost imperceptible relief. In the same way, but at the bottom, next to the nozzles, are the letters R and L, which identify each channel.
They are so small that they give a sensation of fragility, perhaps the most negative point in this section. Even the plastic used in the capsules doesn’t seem very rigid. In addition, the finish of the nozzles and its narrow channel, accentuate their union as a weak point.
IEMs are not symmetrical, but have an inclination to improve insertion.
The cable has 4 highly braided, silver-plated wire cores. This gives it high usability and flexibility, it is hardly binding and it is not microphonic at all. The sleeves of the MMCX connectors are silver-plated metal cylinders. A red ring on one of them distinguishes the side. The splitting part is made of transparent plastic, as is the adjusting ring. The sleeve of the Jack connector is cylindrical, with a bevelled side on which the mark is written. The 3.5mm plug is gold-plated.
Nothing to argue about in the cable, very much in line with the IEMS.
Adjustment and Ergonomics
Given the triangular shape of the Mini2, its small size, the cable connected from below and the inclination of the capsules towards the channel, the adjustment is simple. Using the supplied tips, the sealing is increased, all the more so with the specially designed bi-flange tips. This is because the outer flange is larger, stiffer and more horizontal. In this way, the occlusion achieved is increased. The result is an almost perfect fit, a fairly high soundproofing and a good level of immersion. The only disadvantage is that there are no tri-flange tips of this type. Lately I’m getting the best results with this type of tips; having a deeper insertion, the clarity and closeness are enlarged.
Although the Mini2 has an inclination to facilitate the adjustment in its corresponding ear, the use on the ear is possible, without the need to change the capsules on the side. In fact, it’s the way I prefer to wear them, because with tri-flange tips, adjustment is easier even this way.
Once put on, they don’t move, as they don’t weigh anything, the movement doesn’t affect you. Even if you put them on your ear, tightening the cable under your chin, it’s almost impossible for them to come off. In this sense, the adjustment is outstanding.
A double BA could not show another profile that was not balanced. But that’s not all, because it has warmth and brightness, as if its profile were a small V-shaped profile.
Out of prejudice: it won’t be the best bass that a BA driver can produce, besides, being so small. But little can be criticized in excess the low zone of the Mini2. And I start with what could be a conclusion of the present range, but I do it in advance, because so it is.
The bass, above all, stands out for its remarkable speed and dryness, but is neither cold nor hollow, but enjoys a fairly unexpected body. The sub-bass arrives more than decently at 20Hz, but I must mention that the sonority and the timbre of the frequencies below 40Hz are somewhat «special». But even that barrier, the naturalness of the bass is quite good.
The mid bass is noteworthy for its linearity and good presence. There is a clear blow in this area, not overwhelming, far from it, but clearly perceptible and even moderately emphasized, if compared with the rest of frequencies. But, I am not going to deceive anyone, the lower zone does not possess the power, nor does it move the amount of air necessary to recreate the whole range with absolute authority. But it never ceases to amaze me more and more every time I listen.
The texture is quite smooth, the shot is dry and concise, has some depth, but limited in volume. On the other hand the detail is good, but the lows are not very descriptive or dynamic.
The lower-middle zone gently declines from the slight enhancement of the bass. Thus, this part is influenced by a faint warmth. And the voices benefit from it, apart from sounding more frontal, close and almost intimate, they have a soft and pleasant body. But they also have a fine spark of final brightness, which sometimes weakens the whole. The clarity is evident in all the area, in addition very well defined and conveniently filed in its final edges, to contain the profile, without reaching the surgical end. The mids remain in the delicacy and certain sweetness that brings warmth, to gain in naturalness, retaining the great detail and nuance that provides a well-tuned Balanced Armature of low and medium. The result is a BA that looks sweet and airy, that expands naturally and with more brio than one could have predicted. But, where the character of these IEMs comes out, is in the recreation of details and nuances, as it has an innate ability to reveal, with great richness, all the tiny musical aspects that have, both the bad recordings and the good ones.
The treble begins very well with the mids, but suffers a brief high parenthesis after the first few measures, which reveals a somewhat conflictive point in a sensitive area. It is a double-edged sword, on the one hand awakened to a profile that until now was delicately contained and sweet. On the other hand, it moderately sharpens the highs in a single point, subtracting the good extension that it possesses. In this case, the average would have been more advisable than a higher note. In any case, this initial slight enhancement is perceived more due to the balance of the whole, than just by itself. And as many times happens, this hit sometimes appears, sometimes not. When it is not there, it is missed and when it is there, it is criticized.
Overall, it is unfair to penalize both this small initial peak, because globally, the high points look as expected from a good BA dedicated to them: good accuracy, definition, finesse, with the crisp point indicated and with remarkable ability to bring air and clarity to the rest of the ranges.
The Mini2 soundstageis a bit particular, they enjoy a good width and height, because they offer a good opening and vertical projection sensation, but there is not much depth. The sound is open, but limited in distance. The amount of air and separation is great, causing an ethereal sensation, but without forming a cloud that surrounds the 360⁰, but rather a front dome, somewhat inclined on our forehead.
It really is a pity that certain lack of depth, because the instrumental recreation, the existing separation between all the details and musical elements is praiseworthy. An improvement in this aspect would have provided a quite high level in this section. Even so, the light and space offered by the Mini2 is very good for its price, not within the reach of many IEMs in its range. It is another of the remarkable qualities of its BA drivers.
A priori it seems unfair to compare pure BA IEMS with other hybrids, but it may even be necessary to ponder the Mini2s fairly..
The first difference noticed is in profile, the Ikko have a brighter profile, more unbalanced than the Rose. While the Mini2, are clearly warmer and more neutral, but with greater presence in the middle bass. The OH1 lead in the presence of sub-bass, weak point of the Rose, but, however, the Mini2 have greater presence in the whole of the lower zone, in their own way, of course. In this sense, their greater warmth plays an important role in this perception. The voices, in the Rose, also receive the beneficial treatment of warmth, to endow them with greater body and width, in addition to a closer and fuller presence. In the Ikko, the voices sound thinner, cooler, louder and turned towards the treble. Sometimes, even comparatively speaking, they become more crisp, just like the mid-range instruments, where timbre is perceived more sharp, due to the greater emphasis of the boundary between mids and highs. This is where the greatest equilibrium of Mini2 is found, and the incidence of its first highs is very reduced. But it also makes its light tenuous, since the Ikko shine more intensely, but it does not stop being an heady sleep, which reactivates that more intimate and attractive aspect of the Mini2.
Already in the high zone, the Rose have more presence and extension. But the Ikko have a greater emphasis on the upper mids, which disguises the first highs of a more crisp and crunchy tone. But then, they become more trimmed, even going less far than the Rose trebles.
The scene is clearly differentiated, the width of the Rose is vast, while the Ikko are perceived much more focused, with some greater depth. Although they don’t really even win in that respect, it’s just a feeling of disproportion between width and depth that the Rose have.
In the Mini2, the width of their scene is largely due to the amount of air between their frequencies, so they enjoy greater separation. And although the Ikko sound very clear and with remarkable definition, their music does not expand as much as in the Mini2. As a result, instrumental recreation and stereophonic sensation are better described in the Rose than in the Ikko.
I can think of two words to define the Rose Mini2 MKII 2.0: surprising and synergy. It’s really commendable how IEMs with only two BAs drivers, inside tiny capsules, are able to generate such amount of sound and more with that quality. All the space and separation of the one that they do not have in their interior, is in their sound.
The other big surprise is its low area, I still wipe my ears to check that it’s true. And, on top of that, they have a certain warmth, not to mention their mids.
Synergy comes because, this time, the sum of its parts improves the whole. Individually, my notes on the Mini2, in its various sections, are not excellent. But the final result touches it. The more time I spend with them, the better my overall evaluation is.
Thus, the Mini2 has become my reference of IEMs with BA drivers. I just wonder how the Rose Mini3Pro will be with 3 drivers of this type, because with these I take off my hat, but I leave the Mini2 placed.
Sources Used During the Analysis
- Burson Audio Playmate
- Fiio M11