See Audio x Z Review Rinko IEM Review & Teardown!!
2023 is all about collaborations, we are just three-four months in and we have already got so many collaboration products. Just a few days back I completed my review for the See Audio x Tangzu Audio Shimin Li Encounter Edition, a collaborative project between See Audio and Tangzu Audio. Today, I am going to bring a review for another See Audio collaboration, the See Audio x Z Reviews Rinko. Rinko is actually the talk of the town currently mainly because of a driver-related controversy that’s going around. Basically, things are going around about the verification of its planar driver unit. People are talking and engaging in a lot of discussions over this, and that got me curious to do a teardown myself. Hifigo has also posted a teardown that shows the internals which has increased my curiosity even further. So, I have joined hands with a friend of mine to tear down my unit as well. I will be adding a teardown section later in this review, but first, let’s find out more about the Rinko design, build, and sound!!
A Short Disclaimer Before I Begin:-
The See Audio x Z Reviews Rinko was sent to me as a review sample from HiFiGo. There is no monetary benefit involved in this review, I would like to thank HiFiGo for providing me with this sample unit. I have enjoyed a good two-week period with the set, and now the set is actually not working for me as I messed up during the tear down(actually broke the planar shell for the left side driver unit). But the teardown and my review are complete that’s the good thing here. At the time of this writeup the unit retails for 99.99$, you can go and check out more information on the HiFiGo page below(It’s a non-affiliated link).
About See Audio x Z Reviews Rinko:-
As I mentioned above, Rinko is a collaboration between See Audio and Z Reviews. It’s a dual-driver hybrid set of IEMs featuring a dynamic driver and a micro planar driver unit as advertised by the brand. The pair has attractive pricing and comes with a beautiful waifu designer box package. That’s almost everything that everyone knows now, let’s begin directly with the unboxing experience for the set.
Unboxing The Rinko:-
See Audio makes good packages for their IEMs. I was so in love with their Yume II package design, it looked so beautiful. The Package of Rinko has a designer look with waifu design right on the slip-on cover. On the back, we have the technical details and another image of the waifu. They have named this waifu Rinko(as evident from their keycap set as well). I have also got a stander of Rinko, which is a good-looking designer item(my wife has already called her dibs on this stander). Inside we have everything we need to get going including the pair itself, a 3.5mm terminated 2-pin cable, three pairs of new silicone-foam hybrid ear tips, a carry case, and a user guide. There’s also a cardboard-style stander inside the package with the Rinko waifu image exactly as we have on the front of the slip-on cover. Too much waifu in the package!!! But overall a good experience for unboxing a 100$ set. The new Eartips are quite good, will share more about them in the design and build quality part.
>3.5mm terminated 2-pin cable.
>Three pairs of New Render Ear tips.
Design & Build Quality:-
The pair is pretty well-built. It has a unique 3D beveled shape with metallic face covers. The inner cavity reminds me of Moondrop Variations with its semi-translucent black-colored look. We have Zeos engraved on the side of both earpieces. The pair looks and feels amazing in hand. Rinko has a single air vent present right underneath the Zeos engraving on the side. The pair has a lightweight design, it sits firmly into my ears and serves me well with a comfortable fit and good isolation.
The included cable is a generic stock cable. It’s soft, has 2-pin connectors, and has a 3.5mm termination. Rinko comes with new Render Ear Tips. They are a blend of silicone and memory foam with foam filled in between the silicone tube and silicone outer layer. They are quite good and I personally like them with the Rinko.
Driving The Rinko:-
Rinko is an easy-to-drive pair, it works well enough straight out of my Sony WM1A. Heck, it’s so easy to power that it works well with my PS5 controller as well. I have used the pair extensively for gaming with my PS5. So don’t worry about driving the set, it works well off with basic sources.
Rinko packs a powerful and fun sound signature. It has a strong lower-end response, delivering a powerful sub-bass rumble and a strong mid-bass response. It is borderline basshead for my taste and that’s why I find it perfect for watching movies and enjoying some video games. I hooked it into my PS5 and was literally amazed by its outstanding theatrical sound feeling. It benefits from the surround sound of the PS5 and delivers an expansive soundstage with crisp bass. Lower-end is probably the highlight of the set for me. The bass is so strong that it sometimes comes over the lower mids as well, Upper mids sound clean and accurate. They have crisp clarity for vocals and instruments. Treble is also nicely done on the Rinko, it sounds clean and sibilance free.
As mentioned earlier, the Rinko has an emphasized lower-end response. It has a fast, quick, punchy lower-end response that complements genres such as hip-hop, EDM, etc. The lower-end clarity is quite refined and well-textured. Love the rumble it produces while watching movies and playing games. Personally loved watching Interstellar, the bgm sounded so lively and created a different aura with its strong lower end. I must add, this is the borderline bass response I can enjoy, anything above this would be overwhelming atleast for me.
Even though the strong mid-bass reaches for the lower mids every now and then, the pair maintains a clean midrange most of the time. The instruments are well-separated, and the clarity is quite good for vocals as well. Female vocals are a bit more pronounced than male vocals. I don’t find them harsh or sibilant even at louder volumes. The midrange is pretty nicely done, although could be a bit more clean with a little more control in the lower end.
The Treble response is nicely done, it’s smooth, it’s detailed, it’s crisp. I won’t say that the pair has strong extension in the lower end, but it does a great job in delivering a smooth, detailed presentation with no noticeable harshness or sibilance. The pair also has good air that presents a clean staging even in busy tracks.
Soundstage, Layering, Instrument Separation, Dynamics:-
Rinko has a decently wide soundstage, with a good amount of air, the pair sounds quite open and expansive. With the Surround effect of PS5, this was just a super amazing theatrical experience. I used to play God of War Ragnarok and Horizon Zero Dawn and the experience was simply sublime. The soundstage, the surround effect, and the overall experience are pretty solid!!
Short Comparison With Simgot EA500:-
Simgot EA500 is one of my favorite sets around the 100$ price bracket. The pair sounds natural and wonderful. Here’s a short comparison between Rinko and EA500.
>Rinko has a strong lower-end, much stronger than the EA500.
>EA500 sounds more natural tonally and timbre-wise, Rinko sounds warmer.
>Rinko has a more pronounced sound, it sounds more lively and immersive.
>EA500 has a more musical presentation.
>Rinko is an IEM that produces a strong V-shape profile producing a more fun signature.
Okay so now being done with the review, I am going to share my teardown experience with your guys. This is my first teardown and I absolutely loved every bit of it. Just a short piece of information before I begin, I took help from a friend of mine who is proficient in modding. He has done many different earbuds and IEM mods before(like MMCX mod on earbuds, repairing mmcx/2-pin connectors, etc). So I would like to thank my dear friend for helping me out here.
Now on to the teardown, the pair opens up easily with its face cover glued onto the shell. Upon opening, the first thing we see are two wires going from the 2-pin connectors to the frequency crossover board. The frequency board is quite delicate and needed to be handled with care, it is directly connected to the drivers. The drivers here are stuck together.
There’s a big casing that houses a slightly beveled shape diaphragm with a vertical copper coil. This is I guess the dynamic driver unit. It has a single magnet attached to it on the backside. Right next to this driver towards the ear nozzle is a smaller driver unit which is stuck to the bigger casing. This is the controversial planar magnetic driver unit. This one uses a diaphragm similar to the dynamic driver unit but instead of a vertical copper coil, this one has a coil that is embedded right into the diaphragm. From my small understanding of these drivers, Planar Magnetic drivers are units that use flat diaphragms with the coil embedded into them, the same is there on this unit. There are two magnets, one on each side of this diaphragm.
How I damaged my Unit?
Now on to my mistake here, upon trying to open the casing of the planar unit, I actually put in some extra force that broke the casing of the driver unit. So the left side of my Rinko is now planar-less lol. But I am just happy to learn this new thing. I wish to do more teardowns in the upcoming future and learn more about this. Actually teardown was interesting, it was fun doing it with a close friend. But yeah feeling sad that the unit got damaged. Now I will have to purchase a unit for PS5 lol.
There are a lot of things going around for the See Audio x Z Reviews Rinko, I find the pair to have an amazing sound experience. In fact before going bad, this was the pair that I have enjoyed hours of gaming with. It’s also quite good for music, loved listening to fast genres such as hip-hop, EDM, regional Bollywood, and other regional genres as well. Rinko actually has a lively, fun sound that is pretty solid for everyday enjoyment!! Now going to get another one for me!!