Disclaimer: All the listening was done using Tidal Hifi and Flac files. Sources used were mainly Cayin N3 Pro (solid state), Xduoo MT-602 and Xduoo XD-05 Plus with Burson V5i opamps. I paid for the buds with my own money but was given a big discount. No incentives were given to write anything about these, good or bad. All thoughts and opinions will be my own, despite my close relationship with Riku.
Table of Contents
Alright, it’s that time of the year again. The buds are making a comeback in my collection, as I gave most of what I had away to friends and random people, leaving me mostly with my trusted custom DIY Blur PK32.
Earbuds are starting to trend again as two well known chads decided to start selling their stuff: @Rikudou_Goku and @tgx I’m close to both and I could not let the opportunity pass to talk about their work and help it get some recognition, which brings us to this post, which will address 2 RG Buds I got last week and spent some hours with each one.
The house sound
Unless you live under a rock, everyone knows Riku’s target and preferences tilt into basshead territory. Elevated sub-bass with a clean cut into the mids and a not so elevated pinna gain, but giving preference to a well extended upper treble.
These preferences passed on to his work. His house sound revolves around bass, with sub over mid, with fast and tight impacts. His favorite technicality, just like mine, it’s the need for a very open and airy soundstage, which I welcome every day of the week, and his buds deliver just that.
Where we always end up disagreeing is on (upper) mids or lower treble, but I’m confident enough to say that he knows what he is doing and he’s taking a good neutral approach regarding these.
So far, great. Now into specifics!
Before I start, I wanna leave a word on driveability and scalability. Lancer 1 has 150ohm and will eat most people you throw at it. The reason I’m mentioning this is that I can’t recommend it if you plan to straight plug it into your phone or apple dongle. Buds scaling is much bigger, closer to open backs than to IEMs. You’ve been warned.
Lancer 1 promises a land of less bass quantity and more emphasis on other regions. If I had to describe its FR, I would say with some certainty that it’s a W-shaped earbud.
Sub-bass is tastefully done and elevated, extending lower frequencies effortlessly, using that mid-bass clean cut to show its claws without bleeding into the mids. This results in a lot of texture, which even a basslet (compared to him) like me claps like a seal. The mid bass is clean but has a lot of impact, despite not being the star of the show. This is the second best bass I’ve heard in any bud, only surpassed by its brother below.
The rest of the mid frequency is pretty neutral to slight forward, and could use more detail, but due to the tuning and my IEM spoiled brain, this is more a nitpick than an actual flaw. What I’m not a fan of, is male vocals, which feel a bit recessed and blurred into the mid chops of a song. The female ones are actually fine where I could use a bit more bite, but it doesn’t bother me at all.
Treble is pretty neutral and tastefully done as well. Nothing ever feels sharp, out of place, making you settled to enjoy these for a full work day without any problem. Extension is there but not overly cooked, making you miss no detail and bringing lots of air into the mix.
Now technicalities are absolutely stunning but one part: separation and layering in the mid frequencies. This is the only thing I think could be improved and I have to point out, because every other thing about techs is great to me, including its timbre or resolving power.
Quickly comparing them with my Blurs PK32, the Lancer 1 has straight out better bass and timbre. The Blurs still win from mids to the upper treble, feeling less veiled and better separation thrown into the mix. The stage and imaging are better in the Lancer 1. Overall I think they are pretty different and better at stuff that the other isn’t, which shows incredible value on Lancer 1 when compared directly to a many times more expensive Blur. For those source freaks like me, Lancer 1 also scales better than Blur with power and tubes (directly or pre-amped).
Lancer 1 reminds me a lot of a Blur MX64 STE, but with much better timbre and less fatiguing, maybe giving the impression of coming out as a hair less resolving. I would take Lancer 1 over it, anyway and I consider it an upgrade to that pair, and costs half the asking price.
Value rank: 5/5; Personal Rank: S+
The bassy brother. “F**k you, bass” as Crinnacle would put it.
L-shape with upper mids recession, the Zerker is the dark coffee of your morning. I was only going for Lancer 1 but I caved and got the brother as well. It was surprising since the first track. Despite its bass elevation, it’s more immersive and less in your face replay… Unless you blast the volume knob! Scales pretty well, let me tell you.
Sub-bass heavy, clean cutted transition into the mids, the star of the show. Tight, fast, detailed and textured, taking over the replay. It’s so well that that makes some IEM’s sub-bass cry. It’s the best earbud bass I’ve heard, period.
Mid-bass is more tucked in, just enough for warmth and presence, and giving a great replay of male vocals.
The upper mids are a bit recessed, making it not the best suited for extended female vocal replays or piano concerts, but still well done and not offensive.
Treble is on the darker side, despite a little bit of extension. If it was an IEM, we were talking about EJ07 levels of upper treble or less (WTB EST buds, by the way). Cymbals and guitars feel somewhat recessed and tucked in, missing some of that upper harmonic detail and giving it a sense of a faster decay, but again, nothing offensive to the replay. I get a feeling it is not its focus anyway.
Technically speaking, just like its brother, the stage and imaging are great, but the Lancer is more detailed and with better timbre. Resolving power feels less due to not having as much treble fake sense of details, but given its low end, I will have to say the details are still pretty good.
Even though it’s not my usual tuning, I pretty much love it in its specific genres. I have no doubt in my mind that the Berserker 1 is a top notch contender for bassheads or the usual X6/Qian39 upgrade searchers.
Value rank: 5/5; Personal Rank: S
These two earbuds will be kept in my daily rotations. Lancer 1 is closer to my tastes but the Zerker has earned its own spot due to its stellar bass for an earbud.
Each of these two buds retails for 50 Eur + shipping, putting it in a strong contender spot for endgame in the earbud world, without breaking the bank. @Rikudou_Goku’s work gets the Cult seal of approval. If this is the start, sky might be the limit. Cables lack some quality but are more than fine, and I know it’s something he’s trying to work around. If you’re ever looking for buds, talk to him and let him guide you on his offers (when he has stock). The guy deserves the support.
Touché. Can’t wait to hear @tgx’s Serratus.
Thanks for reading!
Update as of 29th June 2022: After reviewing Serratus, my ranking list has changed but the value rank didn’t.
Lancer 1 new rank: S-.
Berserker 1 new rank: A+.
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