The SeeAudio x Z Reviews Rinko is a new hybrid dual-driver IEM. Rinko features a rare driver configuration of 1DD+1Planar Magnetic. It’s priced at $99.
Disclaimer: This sample was provided by HiFiGo for an honest review. All observations and opinions here are based on my experience with the product.
SeeAudio x Z Reviews Rinko
- Impedance: 30Ω.
- Sensitivity: 112dB±1dB
- Frequency Response Range: 20Hz-20kHz.
- FR QA/QC: ±1dB >THD+N: ≤2%.
- Driver Configuration: 1DD+1PR.
- Termination: 3.5mm or 4.4mm.
- Connector Interface: 2-pin 0.78mm.
- Cable: 6N oxygen-free copper wire 12 cable
What’s in the Box
- SeeAudio x Z Reviews Rinko IEMs
- Detachable 0.78mm 2-pin OFC cable
- Carrying case
- 3x pairs of Render hybrid eartips
- Waifu cardboard stand
When I unboxed Rinko, my first thought was how much it resembled the Truthear HEXA. The aluminium faceplates and translucent 3D-printed resin shells share a similar matte black finish and feel.
The slim shells are not only aesthetically pleasing but also exceptionally comfortable. However, they offer little passive noise isolation. Rinko features standard 0.78mm 2-pin sockets, aluminium nozzles, and a single vent on the rear side.
Included with Rinko is a twisted oxygen-free copper cable. The straight plug and Y-splitter boast a polished aluminium design, while the chin slider and connector housings are made of clear plastic. Although the cable feels somewhat generic, it performs well, despite having a slight memory effect.
Gear used for testing includes the Shanling UA5, Topping DX1 and SMSL C200. It’s an efficient IEM and therefore does not require a lot of power to drive – feel free to plug it into any source.
So how does Rinko with its unusual driver configuration sound? It’s somewhat V-shaped with elevated bass and a lifted upper midrange. It focuses on a bold bass response and copious presence. The sound can be intense on the listener, as it bombards you with fundamental frequencies.
Rinko’s bass is tuned well north of neutral. It adds a sense of fun and excitement to genres like psytrance and hip hop. However, similar to its upper mids (which I will discuss later), extended exposure to the bass can be fatiguing. The bass is forceful and thumpy, yet it lacks a notably crisp or tight quality.
Despite the emphasized bass, the mids aren’t entirely buried, thanks to the elevated upper midrange frequencies. But the recessed lower mids reduce vocal intelligibility. Female vocals exhibit greater clarity and articulation compared to male voices, although both lack the desired stability and focus for clear imaging.
The lower midrange is recessed and lies in a valley between the bass and upper mids. The exaggerated upper mids result in occasional shoutiness and unwanted resonance but the stifled harmonics can be distracting.
The lower treble region features a pronounced boost in the presence region, enhancing clarity. However, this boost is followed by a significant dip between 5kHz and 7kHz. While this dip prevents sibilance, it also diminishes harmonics and airiness, resulting in a subdued impact of percussion attacks. Furthermore, it lacks the desired sharpness and limits Rinko’s ability to retrieve fine details.
Soundstage and Technical Performance
Rinko’s stage is wide, reaching the edges of the headspace but its centre image is a little vague in regards to focus and stability. As a result, the imaging lacks precise localization and precision. In addition, instruments do not have enough space or distinct placement within the audio mix, leading to poor separation. Despite having good clarity, the detail retrieval is decidedly average.
The 7Hz Legato (review here) has dual dynamic drivers. It has more bass impact, especially in the sub-bass region. Legato has a more conventional upper midrange, whereas Rinko puts all of its eggs in the presence region. The result is a more natural-sounding Legato in addition to its extra vocal presence. Rinko, in comparison, has heavily recessed vocals and a rear stage position, making it sound as though you are sitting many rows back from the performers.
Legato’s treble is spread more evenly, resulting in better extension and air. Legato’s stage isn’t as wide but it has more depth and centre image stability.
Kiwi Ears Quartet
The Kiwi Ears Quartet is a 2DD+2BA hybrid IEM. It’s more U-shaped compared to Rinko’s V-shaped sound signature. Quartet’s bass is more hard-hitting and has a greater impact. The mids and vocals are more forward on the quartet. Perhaps most importantly, Quartet’s vocals have better stability and density whereas they sound somewhat hazy on the Rinko.
Treble extension is better on the Quartet – notes sound airier yet more precise. The overall coherency is better on the Quartet and as a result, its vocals and instruments sound more accurate compared to Rinko.
In regards to technical performance, Quartet comes out ahead, mainly due to its steadier centre image, cohesiveness, soundstage depth and consequently better imaging.
In summary, the SeeAudio x Z Reviews Rinko IEM offers a unique sound signature with its emphasized bass and lifted upper midrange. It delivers a bold and intense listening experience. However, the recessed lower mids impact vocal intelligibility. The lower treble region provides clarity, but the subsequent dip limits the presence of harmonics and fine details.
While Rinko performs reasonably well, there are numerous other options available in the market that offer better overall performance. There are more compelling alternatives but the waifus alone might be enough to make you pull the trigger on this one.