Sup PAR fam. Today we review the RevoNext RX8 dual driver hybrid earphone. The RX8 has one dynamic and one balanced armature driver. It’s exceptionally comfortable and has a great balanced sound. Let’s take a closer look!
RevoNext is relatively new in the IEM market but they’ve made very positive early impressions. Based in Stockholm, Sweden the company is committed to:
continuously exploring the revolution of acoustic technology
At the time of writing RevoNext have 3 models: the QT2 triple driver, QT3 quad driver and RX8 dual driver.
Extremely comfortable design
Comes with an excellent and detachable 2-pin cable
Deep, powerful bass
Value for money
Can display some sibilance
Very basic accessory bundle
Driver unit: 1DD+1BA hybrid driver unit
Earphone sensitivity: 106dB/mW
Frequency range: 20-20000Hz
Cable Length: 1.2m
Earphone interface: 2-Pin Interface
This sample was provided for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
Package and Accessories
Here we have a fairly typical white cardboard box with the image of the RevoNext RX8 in colour on the front.
Under the lid is a transparent plastic cover with the user manual visible below. Inside is a sight many of us are familiar with and that is the standard black plastic insert with the IEMs displayed on display up top.
The accessories are very basic and include only the cable and three pairs of silicone eartips (S, M, L). That’s about as minimalist as you can get but it’s all you need.
Build Quality and Design
The RevoNext RX8 is available in 4 different colours: clear black, opaque black, clear red and clear blue. It differs somewhat to many of the recent budget Chi_Fi IEMs in that it has plastic housings rather than a metal alloy that is becoming more commonplace lately.
On the transparent faceplates is a silver-coloured disc with concentric rings surrounded by tendrils formed into the plastic itself. I don’t know why but this blue version always makes me think of the Greek water deity Poseidon.
There is an L and R indicator printed on the top edge of the housings along with the brand and model names. In the centre of the inner shell is a single pinhole-sized vent for the dynamic driver and to relieve pressure.
A medium length nozzle protrudes from the inner side of the shell and has a well-defined ridge to secure eartips and also a metal mesh covering to keep out any ear wax.
The twisted cable is blue in colour which is rather unusual and comes with a branded Velcro cable tie. At the top of the cable are the 0.75mm 2-pin connectors which have an L and R markings.
There are pre-formed ear-guides of the kind which have become extremely commonplace recently. They’re formed by clear heat-shrink tubing and help hold the cable in place over your ears.
Further down is a small hardened rubber Y-split with a matching chin slider. The chin slider works well and the Y-split is small and unobtrusive. The cable terminates in an L-shaped rubber-coated 3.5mm plug.
Overall it’s a good tangle-resistant cable with minimal microphonics, solid build quality and ergonomics.
Fit, Comfort and Noise Isolation
The earpieces have a low profile and sit flush with the ears so they’re great for lying down in bed or on the sofa. They’re also lightweight and the smooth, rounded edges never cause any irritation or hot-spots.
The pre-formed ear guides are supple and work really well and the cumulative result from all this is an in-ear monitor that is exceptionally comfortable.
Despite the conchae-filling shape of the housings, the noise isolation of the RX8 is only average. Once there’s music playing, however, you will hear very little of your surroundings. Noise leak is minimal so there are no concerns about disturbing other people nearby.
Gear used for testing includes the Shanling M0 and Benjie T6 for portable devices. On the desktop, it was a Windows PC running Tidal Hi-Fi to the Topping DX7 DAC.
The RevoNext RX8 has a warm, full-bodied and mildly V-shaped signature. It has a big bass, slightly recessed midrange and a mostly smooth treble. It is tuned for fun and musicality rather than accuracy.
The RX8’s bass is authoritative and powerful. It carries some impressive weight but is not boomy. It has an average attack speed and slower decay, giving bass notes a thick edge but it avoids feeling sluggish and still has good definition.
The sub-bass to mid-bass transition is quite linear and it has great extension which means that the RX8 can bring some seriously intense rumble when called upon.
There is some impressive resolving ability and separation in the RX8’s midrange. Electric guitars have good texture and string instruments have good body and resonance.
The lower midrange has plenty of body so the transition from the upper bass is smooth. Male vocals sound rich and hearty while female vocals have plenty of vibrancy with neither getting preference over the other.
Reaching towards the upper midrange the RX8 shows lots of clarity and just a hint of colour added to female vocals.
The treble turns out to be the RX8’s Achilles heel. For the most part, it’s detailed and clear albeit lacking sparkle and energy. However, the significant peak at around 11kHz or 12kHz, unfortunately, causes sibilance on occasion.
It’s not always there and doesn’t affect cymbals and other instruments often but the consonants in vocals fall right into this range and it can be rather brutal. It’s such a shame because it’s a very narrow frequency band but a significant one. For that reason, I find the RX8 to be great for instrumentals and less than ideal for vocals based music.
The RX8 portrays a fairly intimate stage that has average width and above average depth. This is mostly due to the forwardness of the midrange (it’s recessed but only mildly) and the less than stellar treble extension coupled with a hearty bass.
Fortunately, it doesn’t feel crowded or congested because the RX8 still have excellent separation in the midrange and impressive layering on top of that. Stereo imaging is solid and the RX8 is able to give an accurate representation of an instrument’s position within the stage.
RevoNext RX8 vs RevoNext QT2 ($47 USD)
This may seem like a strange or unfair comparison but there’s a good reason for it. According to my measurements (not 100% accurate but ballpark), the RX8 and QT2 share an almost identical frequency response.
So indeed they do share a lot of similarities but in the end they are surprisingly different – and this is the perfect example of why we shouldn’t rely too heavily on measurements when evaluating audio.
While in terms of bass these 2 IEMs have a lot in common the RX8 feels to have more bass quantity. It feels a bit more aggressive and less controlled. My guess is this is because of the dampening effects of the QT2’s metal housings compared to the plastic RX8.
The midrange is similar again with the RX8 putting on a great performance to very nearly match the performance of its bugger sibling. There’s very little to differentiate the 2 here except for the QT2’s slightly better separation and resolution.
It’s the treble that turns out to be the most significant differentiating factor between these 2 earphones. While they look just the same on the graphs the QT2 simply doesn’t exhibit the same sibilance that the RX8 suffers from. This could be because of the QT2’s semi-open housings or it might be something else entirely I’m not sure. But that’s the only reason I would recommend the QT2 over the RX8.
The award for best build quality no doubt goes to the QT2 but the RX8 is far more ergonomic and comfortable during extended listening sessions.
RevoNext RX8 vs DEAT HiFi Small ($29 USD)
The Small has a single micro dynamic driver and comes in a tiny form factor. The RX8 has a weightier and more impactful bass while the Small has a little more texture.
The forwardness of the midrange is similar on both IEMs. Separation and layering are superior on the RX8. Male and female vocals take more prominence on the Small.
The DEAT HiFi’s treble is a bit livelier and has more energy while at the same time avoiding any sibilance. Overall the Small sounds more natural and non-fatiguing but lacks the separation and resolution of the RX8.
Both have a great build-quality for budget IEMs and I find both equally as comfortable – the Small due to it’s diminutive size and the RX8 because of it’s natural ear-fitting shape.
The RevoNext RX8 is a very good earphone considering its $26 price tag. It is so close to being unbeatable in the sub $30 segment if not for that unfortunate 11kHz peak (which can be easily attenuated with EQ).
As such the RX8 is superb for instrumental music but less so for vocals because of that sibilant peak. Even so, it still offers excellent value for money and it is currently my favourite in its price range for post-rock and other instrumental music.