Well, we’re taking IEMs north of INR 10,000 for a spin tonight, so audiophiles, listen up
Today, we’ll be comparing three contenders, arguably some of the best in this price segment that have their own sets of strengths and weaknesses, each geared towards a specific set of consumers. The three nominees are the V-MODA Zn, RHA T10 & Sennheiser's IE 60.
It’s a triple threat match folks, without any further delay, here it goes:
The last time we checked, never had this Italian design house disappointed with product design. The Zn is no exception. With a design for the housings made to resemble something from the realms of science fiction, these bad boys are lookers. These may very well might be the best looking IEMs, ever. Zn is the scientific symbol for Zinc, a high grade metal element, which has been used to construct the housing, which is of course where this product borrows its nomenclature from. Inevitably, the build is exceptional, there’s heft in the earphones. The thick cable is reinforced with Kevlar, a material used to make bullet-proof jackets. The end result is an earphone that looks fantastic and feels indestructible. The fit might not win any awards, but it is decently comfortable. The noise isolation is good, but can be much better. Using Comply Foam tips would be a big help in improving that.
Unlike the Zn, the Scottish made the T10s look more understated, classy and sophisticated. Rather than just sheer aesthetics, practicality too has a role to play in this design. To start with, the all metal housings with that brushed metal finish look elegant and feel opulent to the touch. The build is phenomenal. Precision milled and hand assembled, these IEMs are meant to tackle a lifetime of abuse. No wonder RHA is confidently offering a 3-Year warranty. The fit is admirably good. The large number of eartips only help in achieving this fit for the maximum base of users. Good fit easily corresponds to great isolation.
While the Italian aims for a striking personality, and the Scottish aims at an elegant one, the German gears its design to be outright practical, which corresponds to a very understated design. No fancy metal, no attractive presentation, in comparison to the other two contenders, the IE 60 looks does look slightly outdated.
Despite the use of plastics, the build is a very good, the cable is strong and flexes well. The practicality advantage shows its hand when it comes to the fit and comfort. They are very comfortable and are ideal for long hours of music listening. The noise isolation is excellent, and they block out a ton of ambient noise.Getting to how these sound...
Big on Bass? Check! The basshead satisfier among the lot has to be the Zn. While there is room for the mids to be expressed, the highs are tactfully emphasized to keep a sonic balance, which is incredibly fun though not strictly accurate.
So, while they sound tremendous, the subtle details in classical music aren’t reproduced as well as they should, with a faint presence. For every other genre that does well on bass and sparkling highs, these sound great. Not the audiophile choice, but the fantastic soundstage along with the sound makes them real ear charmers.
Before we get into the sound, the main USP about the RHA’s offering are the tuning filters. There’s a bass, treble and reference filter. By default they are packaged with the balanced filter assembled to the housings. In this configuration, the sound is comparitively very balanced and neat. No colouring, no accentuation. They sound is unveiled, lively and distortion free. This does mean that they won’t sweep you off your feet. Plus the lows are ever so slightly rolled off, making the bass sound a tad tinny. Of course, the bass filter remedies this, and the good thing is that it doesn’t affect any other part of the audio. The soundstage is the best-in class. The audio feels well presented and distinguishable. The T10s should be duly noted for their achievement in audio fidelity.
While the Zn takes a King of the Hill approach and the T10 aims to be the Symphony Maestro, the IE60 tries to be the Mambo No. 5.
A bit of boomy bass and a truck load of mids, the highs on the other hand are understated and lack the sparkle. This makes vocals sound rich and bass heavy genres sound good, but Symphony, orchestra, Jazz, Blues, anything with details sound dull.
These are perfect for Gaming and Movies though, especially for listening to podcasts. The soundstage is impressively wide too. All in all, they aren’t ear charmers, or an audiophile’s choice, but they have their own set of audiences.
This is rather a simple choice. The three contenders serve their own purpose to their respective targeted audience.
The Alpha Protocol lover will obviously choose the Italian made V-MODA Zn, its robust build, bombastic sound and heart throbbing design can easily hypnotise the mass to spend the dollars.
The Accuracy Hunter will hunt for the RHA T10. If you’re a fan of clean unblemished distortion free audio, this is your homerun.
If you want a headset to be versatile with Bass heavy genres of music, along with accompanying you for some live performances and a gaming headset add-on, this is a good package for you. Just don’t expect the charming sound of the ZN or the clean presentation of the T10s.
Which earphones do you prefer? Do let us know in the comments below!
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