RAPTGO Hook-X – Green light

Overall tonality balance
Planar speed
Good imaging chops for a planar
“Analog” sound

Not as resolving as the competition
Competition is cheaper

Disclaimer: This unit was provided by Linsoul for free in exchange for a written review. No incentives of any kind were given and the review you are about to read are my own thoughts and opinions. Thanks once again to Linsoul for the opportunity and support.

Table of Contents

  1. Prologue and Accessories
  2. Sound
    1. Sub-bass
    2. Mid-bass
    3. Mid-range
    4. Treble
    5. Technical chops
  3. Comparisons
    1. Sub-bass
    2. Mid-bass
    3. Mid-range
    4. Treble
    5. Technicalities
    6. The bottom line
  4. The verdict

Driver Setup: 14.2mm Planar Driver + 1 PiezoElectric driver
Price: $240
Purchase link and info: Linsoul
Included in the box:

  • Hook-X;
  • Standard 2pin cable with a interchangeable termination;
  • 3 cable terminations – 3.5mm (unbalanced), 2.5mm and 4.4mm (both balanced);
  • 9 pairs of silicone tips;
  • A carrying case;
  • Paperwork and warranty.

Comfort, fit and isolation: Great fit and comfort. Isolation is bad due to the semi-open design.
Source used: Topping E30 + L30, Singxer SA-1 + iFi Zen Dac V2, Qudelix5k
Tips used: BVGP W01
Volume used during critical listening: 77db @ 440 hz
Test playlist with some of the songs used:Tidal

Prologue and Accessories

And… Another one.

Yes, you all already know by now, “the year of the planar”, so on and so forth. Today I’m going to take a dive into a not-so-common brand called RAPTGO. This brand made an appearance and a half with the IEM we are reviewing today, despite its previous releases. Due to my overly stacked calendar, they already released another IEM after the Hook-X, this time a single dynamic driver IEM called Leaf.

The box and accessories of the Hook-X are pretty well packed in a small box, but don’t let the size full you, as it is stacked with goods:

  • Tips: Not one, not two but three different kinds of silicone tips, each one with three sizes to be chosen from. The tips are very decent and I actually enjoyed the blue ones for a bit, but decided to go back to my trusted W01 to rule out the variables of this review. If you end up buying the Hook-X, make sure to test them. 
  • Cable: There was a huge buzz around this cable looks since it first got announced: at that time, the Hook-X was the first planar to show an out of the ordinary cable and with interchangeable terminations. 2.5mm, 3.5mm or 4.4mm doesn’t matter, as RAPTGO got you covered in green style.
    Interchanging the terminations is actually a pretty straight forward job, as it uses a simple push and pull mechanism, with a small dent to aim for so you don’t miss the spot.
    Stylish and practical or not, the cable will also be my first nitpick of my review, and I’ll say it right now: I do not like it. After a couple of days of usage it got roughed out in the fabric, ended up exposing one of its contents right in the middle of it, so I intend to change it after this review. I’ve found, over the course of time, that fabric covered cables don’t work for me. Also, despite liking the hardware looks and colors, the overall fabric mix of black and neon green does not meet my personal taste, but as always, YMMV.
  • Case: The carrying case is about as regular as it gets, with soft and nice to the touch fabric inside and with RAPTGO big logo on the outside. To me, it is not very practical, as it falls under the category of big enough to store the IEMs with the cable and something extra inside, but too big to carry around in my pocket, but great for storage at your station. It is reminiscent of the LETSHUOER S12 or EJ07 case, but amplified by 10 to 20%. 

Now, before we end this ramble and dive right into the sound, there is one more topic I would like to adress, and it is the Hook-X fit, comfort and isolation

Well the first two are pretty straight forward, fitting great and having terrific comfort for me, but this is another of those YMMV moments. Now, the real reason I am writing this paragraph resides in its isolation.

Due to Hook-X semi-open style, the isolation on it is, as you might imagine, pretty terrible. I used it to commute some time ago and let’s just say that trains or subways don’t go along with it. This is a con for me since I used to always be on the move, but it might not be to you.


The Hook-X is what I consider a warm-balanced or neutral with a bass-boost monitor. The bass shelf is really well done and correcting itself around the 500hz mark. This type of bass shelf can get by since we are talking about a planar driver and, contrary to other types of drivers, this is actually a good thing, adding body and warmth.

The mid-range stays almost linear after that, followed by a not so sudden rise in the pinna gain region, peaking close to the 2.5k hertz, who then plateaus until around the 5.5k hz, without any fatiguing peaks.

Despite what the graph shows, the 8k region is a coupler’s artifact and the treble has a slight dip before this zone, starting where that plateau fell off but rising again here, and coming back up with great extension until around the 15k mark, where it slowly fades off again. My suspicion is that this 8k to 15k hertz is the zone where the Piezzo kicks in, to make sure they could tame the usual wonky planar treble.

Enough gibberish you say? Let the music talk.


Hans Zimmer – Why So Serious? (Sub-bass drop around 3:25m)

The sub-bass is not the best trait of the Hook-X, and this epic piece by Zimmer is proof to that. Despite its elevation and presence, the rumble is nothing to write home about other than it passes the bare average line.

Don’t get me wrong, it is good enough, but I was expecting something else after seeing the bass shelf on the graph.


Mark Lettieri – Magnetar

Hook-X’s follows the same trend, but not quite. This is a sensible topic so I better explain myself.

Once again, the tuning is spot on. Bass guitars sound amazing and are very well portrayed. But I can’t shake off the feeling I would like to hear and feel some more microdynamics. The impact is there, enough to be felt on drum kicks. The speed is the typical planar style, with faster than lightning presentation. The minor problem I have with the Hook-X mid-bass is that I would like to hear it less blurry and more textured.

Ok, now that I picked on techs, let’s rewind into the tonality. The Hook-X has the best bass guitars of all the planars IEMs I have tried so far, and still take the win in this regard – and Magnetar is proof to that. This late self-corrected bass shelf adds warmth and body to all the frequency response even past itself, which is a godsend given how thin a light planars can sound without the right boost in this region.


Speaking of mid-bass correction into the midrange and its warmth, the midrange of the Hook-X is not hard to explain, but sure ain’t common. The only word that would make it justice has to be – the cliché, I know – analog.

You probably wonder what I mean by analog and I can’t really explain it to you, but I swear it ain’t buzzwords. To be fair, this mid-range is reminiscent of my single dynamic drivers on my old Cayin RU-6 dongle. They are warm, thick and have some sense of texture to it. 

This also means that if you are a fan of analytical or sterile mid-range, this one ain’t for you, but let’s dive into the music once again.

Govi – Espresso

Govi’s guitar strings need two things two shine during Espresso – speed and detail, just like any good planar are made of.

The pulls and releases of the guitar are unlike most: clear to a point of increased perception. Their tonality is just a hair warmer than it should, which I enjoy, so I won’t pick on that. The detail and clarity could be better for a planar, but given this tonality, I won’t be the one to complain.

Speaking of tonality, I saved the best for the end. Unlike what most planar offers out there got us used to, the Hook-X has a great mid-range position, just north of neutral but still forward, turning it automatically into the one to go for if all you care is the mid-range on a planar IEM. Thanks to planar’s lack of bleed, the warmth is added to a point, but without really messing much with this frequency zone. Touché.

Karen Souza – Tainted Love

RSV, is that you?

Well, it ain’t but to be fair, most aren’t. But it has the kind of tonality I love on voices like Karen Souza’s in this bootleg of a classic. Warm, somewhat thick and welcoming, completely embracing your soul in a nice contrast with the background piano playing higher notes. 

Now, this kind of tuning doesn’t get shouty but actually the opposite. It will come out as lacking for bite and detail on her voice, but I would be glad to make that compromise if I had to choose.

Postmodern Jukebox – Can’t Feel My Face

Just right I praised Hook-X’s female vocals, the male counterpart shows up and takes up the podium. The tonality is spot on, on the warmer side once again, but without turning male voices too deep or husky.

Just like the female vocals above, the clarity and detail of it could use a touch more of juice to it, but otherwise nothing really to point on. 


John Wasson – Caravan

Treble – the one to torment any planar IEM user on some tracks. It’s known to be the Achilles Tendon of these drivers, who come out wonky or overy sibilant. Right? Or was all that until now?

Tonality wise, Hook-X’s treble is very good for an IEM at this price. It’s great for a planar, or wouldn’t it be the best up until now. As I mentioned above, the treble is a softly done plateau until it takes a dip around 5.5k hertz, coming back right after slowly to add extension to the harmonics.

Cymbal strikes never feel too harsh or sibilant, and brass instruments just glide across the replay until they fall off well extended – one of my favorite characteristics of this IEM.

It has a very fast attack and decay, as usual for a planar, but the usual timbre isn’t as present. In fact, I would say it is in the middle of the road between a planar and a dynamic driver, but of course, closer to the first one. The Piezo timbre isn’t really noticeable to me, but might have something to do with that.

Technical chops

Up to this point, I have touched on some of the technical characteristics of the Hook-X here and there, but I will now proceed to sum it up.

Wendy Marcini – The Plan

The dynamics on the Hook-X are average for its price point, accompanied by the usual planar good sense of sheer detail, but not as detailed as some of its direct competition. 

Regarding stereoimaging… it is still an IEM, but it seems to be using the semi-open design properly. It’s not ultra wide but wide enough, but as most IEMs, could use more depth and height to it. It has very good imaging, with some sense of 3D, probably due to my HRTF so YMMV on this one.

Again, the timbre on the Hook-X is not the usual “planar timbre”, but it is indeed close, with fast attack and decays and not as natural, but as always, whether you like it or not is a YMMV. This is usually provided by the ultra fast speed these kinds of drivers display, turning them into demi-gods for genres like metal or busy passages, especially when aligned with bass microdynamics that, well, Hook-X could use a touch more.

Last but not least, the separation and layering is on the mediocre side, probably affected by tonality and the need for more width/depth across the presentation.


For this section I will do a quick shootout between three of the current planar market favorites, plugged into Singxer SA-1 all at the same time, just switching and adjusting volume between them.

The lineup:

  • Raptgo Hook-X (using W01 tips)
  • LETSHUOER S12 (using Final E)
  • TANGZU Wu Zetian (using Final E)

The volume was matched at 77 db @ 440 hz and they are all using balanced 4.4mm cables. Both Hook-X and S12 take the same amount of power to reach this breakpoint, while the Wu Zetian is harder to drive, requiring more volume.


Hans Zimmer – Why So Serious? (Sub-bass drop around 3:25m)
ModelS12Wu ZetianHook-X

The best replay of the 3:25 claustrophobic drop goes, without any margin of doubt, to the Wu Zetian, a powerful combination allied with its tuning. It just feels powerful and overwhelming, as it should in that specific timestamp.

At the same time, the S12 follows suit on the rumble part, showing its drivers capacities but only losing to WZ due to tonality differences, with a more polite bass shelf.

The Hook-X is the opposite of the S12, having the desired elevation but falling shorter on rumble and extension compared to the other two.


Trentemøller – Chameleon (0:30m and onwards)

Regarding the bass, the three IEMs are planars, showing incredible speed. 

ModelS12Wu ZetianHook-X

Regarding the bass, the three IEMs are planars, showing incredible speed, making them suited for busy passages and high demanding genres. On microdynamics, the Wu Zetian tags along with the S12, with the last having a hair more but nothing worth mentioning imo, making them the best “mid-bassers” of the three, regarding impact and texture. The decisive factor between the two still falls under the tonality, with the WZ taking over the crown thanks to that.

The Hook-X follows the WZ tuning closely, which is great, but falls behind the other two regarding the subjective characteristics.


Hania Rani – Glass
ModelS12Wu ZetianHook-X

The tonality of the Wu Zetian is the most most recessed on these pianos, despite it’s nice transparency and detail, coming out as wishing for a smidge more. The note-weight is above the S12 with its bass shelf, but still below RAPTGO’s planar.

The Hook-X has by far the best tonality in the mid-range, only lacking the clarity and detail the other two have, more noticeable when listening closely to the separation between both hands playing, but by far replaying it the best. It is also the warmer of the three, with more note-weight and closer to reality.

The S12 is the most technical, analytical and transparent in the mid-range, and really good at that, but lacking some added body and still recessed, which would not be my pick for this genre.

Adele – Oh My God

My least favorite of the three, when regarding female vocals, has to be the S12. Its replay comes out as more gritty and aggressive, despite its superior clarity and detail on the voices. To my preferences, the LETSHUOER offer comes out as thinner and more analytical, lacking some body and the most recessed of the three.

The Hook-X has the smoothest female vocals and the better tuning, also supported by its extension into the treble that we will talk about shortly, but showing a clear step-down regarding these vocals’ detail quality. To note that it is, by far, the most forward presentation of the three.

The Wu Zetian is the middle of the road, showing a great compromise between the tuning and the details it shows, being my personal winner regarding this subject. It’s closer to neutral than to the Hook-X, but the details make up for it.

Dead South – In Hell I’ll be in Good company
ModelS12Wu ZetianHook-X

Once again, the LETSHUOER S12 comes out as the worst of the bunch, given its tonality. It’s the most recessed and thin out of the three and the male vocals just blend in between the rest of the track, despite its resolving power.

Coming close is the Wu Zetian, also showing a recession in the male vocals but not as much as the S12, as for that being a better replay but still not the best and not its stronger point.

The Hook-X is by far the best replay of male vocals between the three competitors. The elevation is there, coming out as north of neutral with great note weight and some bite to it, just falling short on these vocals’ clarity.


David Carroll – Hell’s Bells
ModelS12Wu ZetianHook-X

The Raptogo Hook-X has the most energy and feels somewhat crunchy, but has the bass to back it up and kind of plateaus after the pinna gain, so won’t feel as piercing as expected, at all.

The Wu Zetian, as mentioned before, has good treble but lacks extension, which slightly affects its decay.

The S12 is the worst replay of the three by having not only the energy but also the grainy feel, turning it into the most fatiguing IEM out of the three.


Yosi Horikawa – Bubbles
Polyphia – Playing God
ModelS12Wu ZetianHook-X
Resolving Power123

The Wu Zetian is my favorite pick regarding this section. While not being the most resolving, it has the best stage, mainly in its depth, with average imaging. It also shows better separation and layering, especially in the mid-range, compared to the other two. Regarding dynamics and resolving power, the WZ falls into the middle of the trio, closer to the S12 and distancing itself more from the Hook-X.

Hook-X has the best imaging and, due to its semi-open design, falls only very slightly short vs the WZ regarding stage size. Its width is barely the same, just with less depth, and for that I would take its competition regarding this topic, despite not having a clear winner between the two. Hook-X handicap has to be its resolving power and dynamics, especially when compared to the other two, that are slightly above.

The LETSHUOER S12 is the most diffuse and with a smaller stage, showing signs of congestion in placing instruments and separating them. It does take out its competition when we talk about dynamics and resolving power, being slightly ahead in those regards, giving a sense of more clarity and resolving power.

The bottom line

At this point, there is no doubt in my mind that every single planar offer on the market has built in trade-offs. I do not own a Timeless anymore, even though I had two, and I decided to leave Dioko out of this comparison for simplicity and because I think that’s a step below these three.

Either you pick S12, Hook-X or Wu Zetian, you can’t really go wrong, but you have to keep in mind what the trade-offs of each set are.

Sets like the LETSHUOER S12 or especially the 7hz Timeless come out as the most resolving and redefining the bracket bracket they sit on, but trade tuning (S12) or imaging chops (Timeless) to achieve those levels.

The Wu Zetian and the Hook-X trade some of that resolution for better tuning and stage presentation, but in different ways. 

The WZ keeps the V-shape style or, better it, enhances it, coming out with a better bass response and more tamed treble by losing a hair on the resolving power. 

The Hook-X follows the same trend, but boosts the mid-range as well, taking a toll on its resolving power and dynamics.

The Salnotes Dioko is a step below the others, mainly on the bass response that is pretty flat and soft, but undercutting the competition in price and focusing on a more balanced treble and mid response.

Speaking of price, I decided to leave it out of the spider graph, but it’s pretty obvious that the Wu Zetian and the S12 take the lead of price to performance, while the Hook-X and the Timeless are more expensive than these.

The verdict

Given we are reaching the end of this take, I will lay down all the cards on the table: the RAPTGO Hook-X didn’t “wow” me like the Timeless did when I first heard a planar – in fact, far from that.

The Hook-X went from okayish to start growing on me everytime I took it out for a spin. Its analog signature and well done mid to upper treble frequency response kept pulling me back over its competition for some genres, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss the bass and resolving power of its brothers.

In the end, I truly enjoyed it and together with the Wu Zetian, they are my currently favorite planars as an overall package. As far as value goes, the Hook-X is a hard hit to swallow given the almost $100 price increase over its competition and costing even more than that over single dynamics like the Etymotic ER2XR or the Tripowin Olina, while going too close to the overly competitive $300 bracket where Blessings and Mangird Teas exist.

Nonetheless, I wanna end on a good note and give it my personal recommendation, as I feel it’s more than justified on today’s market and this fancy gray and neon-green shell is more than just your ordinary planar IEM.

Value ranking: 3.5/5. Personal rank: B.

Thanks for reading!

2 responses to “RAPTGO Hook-X – Green light”

  1. Best raptgo hook x review I ever read. Enjoying your detailed reviews everytime, moreover you have similar personal target with me, so that easier to hear from my eyes through your words. Keep it up man

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What an awesome review, the highest quality out there, all I need to know, great music selection, thank you so much!


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