Rhapsodio, short in RSD, is a well respected IEM/cable manufacturer based on Hong Kong. They have three categories for the line-up: DD series, hybrid series, and BA series. Infinity is the flagship model for the BA line-up which is gaining much attention for its coherent sound and number of drivers. Recently announced Eden is their new DD flagship model after the success of the Galaxy V2. Zombie takes up the flagship title among the hybrid line up and also has been receiving positive feedback, which I much agree. Let’s go through some highlights about this IEM as well as its sound. Zombie is priced for $1,980 and has a driver configuration of 8BA+1DD.
Packaging / Accessories
Now keep in mind, Rhapsodio keeps their packaging similar throughout their product and constantly improves it, so the packaging/accessories that I’ll be covering here may be outdated (yes, quite possibly). Zombie came in with a big metal case protected with a box packed with foams and includes windwhirl eartips, normal eartips, cable strap, earpieces, and a cable. I hope they included a more portable, but again I’m quite sure they’ve updated their packaging and should be including one on recent batches.
Earpieces / Specs
As briefly mentioned, Zombie MK8 has a driver configuration of 8BA+1DD; 4 mids, 4 highs, and 1DD full range. Yes, there’s a full-range dynamic driver in a hybrid IEM packed with extra 8 BA drivers. Not only it’s unusual to stick a dynamic driver as a full range, but it also doesn’t even have a crossover. At this point, such driver setup would be a gamble, where sound could be a complete mess or you hit a home run. Thankfully the former wasn’t the case and Rhapsodio did an excellent job tuning these, though let’s go through about those a bit later on the sound impressions section.
Earpieces are a bit large but ergonomically shaped and I’m sure most users won’t find a problem with fitting. The connectors on these are 0.78mm 2Pin with a nozzle diameter of T500, being compatible with Spiral Dots, Sedna Earfit, Spinfit, etc. Resin housings have solid black shells with beautifully designed wood faceplates. Another part that I must mention is about the driver flex on these. The flexing sound itself isn’t so loud but definitely sensitive. Won’t cause any problem to the sound, but I know those who absolutely hate hearing them, so be aware if you’re one of those.
Pandora Dwarf cable
I can confidently say that Rhapsodio puts much effort to the cables when they serve their products which I much appreciate – especially seeing lots of manufacturers serving their highly expensive IEMs with potato-like cables. Zombie comes with the Pandora Dwarf with a price tag of $150. The Pandora Dwarf is made of 4 core 6N OCC litz copper cables. Both 2Pin connectors and the Y-splits are nicely designed with carbon designs and terminated with Rhapsodio silver 3.5mm plugs.
Also, matching the right cable is crucial for Zombie, especially. The Pandora Dwarf is a great cable and matches pretty well with these, however there’s a whole lot more you could bring out from Zombie if you match them up with a bright sounding cable. The brighter the better, since this IEM sounds thick, strong, and full of bass. I’d strongly recommend pure silver cables like Dita Awesome Truth cables or Effect Thor Silver.
Sound impressions – Ultra / Sub bass
The most eye-catching part from Zombie would be no other than the bass. It has that speaker-like characteristic – big, groovy, and bold. The bass feels gigantic in both size and amount but controlled quite nicely. Zombie keeps the lows real heavy while keeping it tight enough, nicely achieving both stability and dynamics. Ultra lows are very clean and well presented, giving off a feeling as if the bass is flooding out from the void. It would be obvious at this point to mention that the Zombie to be a hardcore bass heavy IEM, though that’s not it. Of course such sound would definitely be appreciable to bassheads, though many would still find the bass to be enjoyable as Zombie manages to reveal every detail throughout the frequency unless you aren’t into bass at all.
So yeah, this is one of the best basses I’ve heard so far. Campfire Audio Vega has a rock solid bass while Zombie keeps the bass more gentle with a fiber-like texture, or texture from a speaker, really. I’d rate the bass over Vega’s as Zombie has a more natural reverb with a wider presentation, especially from top to bottom. Zombie is definitely the #1 among any IEMs I’ve owned (or tried) when it comes to bass. Its huge, thundering bass actually rings the chest. I’d say the bass quantity is similar or a little higher than Campfire Audio Atlas. Both Vega and Atlas are well known for their strong, accurate bass but comes a bit short when compared with Zombie – mainly on the wideness.
Sound Impression – Mid / Treble, etc.
While the lows are presented very vibrantly, Zombie doesn’t let the mids/highs to be dropped dead at the bottom – it still achieves all the micro details as I said above. However the bass does make the upper frequencies to “pop out less”. Mids stay neutral in terms of position or slightly steps back, though I wouldn’t particularly consider it much to be veiled but would rather say it’s about the hugeness. Vocals fill to the back of the head as well as the phase itself feeling to be darn large. Zombie does a nice job with female vocals but definitely not ideal if you’re into thin feminine style voices.
Tonality is one of the biggest parts that I was concerned before giving these a listen due to its unusual driver setup, though it was surprising to find out that not only the tonality was on point, but also didn’t have the phase canceling problem that is often visible on multi-driver IEMs. I’d say this is the part that surely proves that Rhapsodio wasn’t lying about their driver setup to have perfect harmony. Overall vocal flows smoothly throughout the frequency with no visible sibilance or turbulence. Also, the sound, in general, feels quite similar to Empire Ears Legend X. The temperature is tilted to the warmer side but shifts a bit back to being neutral on the upper mids. The brightness on these reminds me of a jazz cafe – slightly dimmed lighting, keeping the atmosphere emotional and sensual.
Highs take a step back with a relatively smaller quantity. Though the textures are crisp and do a nice job highlighting the smallest details and treble reverbs. It’s amazing how the dynamic driver manages to stay coherent with the 8 balanced armatures from bottom to top. Trebles are also warm so doesn’t feel much cooler in temperature, so the purpose for the treble here is more about enjoying the fatigue-free treble details rather than being refreshing. Scales for the staging and headroom are hands down one of the best I’ve tried along with the Nerva-X. Separation is nice, however, it doesn’t get drastic to the point where it ruins the coherency of the sound.
Large speakers packed in your ears
Rhapsodio quoted their Zombie to be “opening a new benchmark to hybrid IEMs” and I thoroughly agree. Not only Zombie demonstrates how to properly tune a hybrid setup with its coherent and harmonic sound, but it also solved the phase canceling problem in a quite interesting way. Zombie is possibly one of the most coherent sounding hybrid IEM packed with such amount of drivers and was much surprised about it. Its huge speaker-like sound gives an unexpected side-effect where other IEMs feel scanty after tuning into the Zombie for a while. Having a great experience with Zombie, it seems like I must experience other Rhapsodio IEMs. Looking much forward to see how Rhapsodio would be maturing their brand as well as their products.