Today we’re checking out the AG-R1S, Auglamour’s most affordable entry into the earphone market.
Auglamour has been around since 2015 and has built their brand on their offering of stylish, well constructed, and affordable products, supplemented by an outstanding auditory experience. Looking at models like the GR1, RX1, and the RT-1, you can see these values in motion. They all look amazing with unique designs and quality materials (GR1 especially!), not one of them comes in at over 70 USD, and they all provide a listening experience that is at the very least competitive within their segments. Despite having been on the market for quite a while now, the R1S comes in just under 20 USD and doesn’t skimp on these values, remaining a great option for someone that simply wants a reliable, well-fitting earphone with good sound.
Let’s take a closer look.
Thank you to Chi with Penon Audio for arranging a sample of the R1S for review. No financial incentive was provided to write this review and all thoughts and opinions within are my own. They do not represent Auglamour, Penon, or any other entity.
At the time of this review the R1S retailed for 19.90 USD. It is also available with an inline microphone for no extra cost (model AG-R1Si); https://penonaudio.com/auglamour-ag-r1s.html?search=auglamour
I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. While I enjoy a variety of signatures in my headphones I generally lean towards slightly warm with elevated treble and sub-bass, an even and natural mid-range response, with reduced mid-bass. The HiFiMan RE800, Brainwavz B400, and thinksound On2 offer unique examples of signatures I enjoy.
The R1S was used exclusively with portable sources for this review, those being my LG G5, Shanling M1, HiFi E.T. MA8, and the Walnut V2S. The R1S is a warm sounding earphone and as such I found it best paired with the bright V2S and neutral-ish MA8. It also paired well with the G5.
- Driver: 10mm dynamic
- Sensitivity: 96 +/- 3dB
- Impedance: 16 ohms
- Frequency Response: 20-20 KHz
Packaging and Accessories:
The R1S arrives is a very stylish, compact box made from very dense, high quality cardboard. On the front you have the model information and a clean image of the R1S. Flipping to the back you are presented with some contact information for the brand, along with some codes you can scan for their WeChat and Weibo social media platforms. The sides, top, and bottom of the package provide their web page; www.auglamour.com.
Sliding out the inner box you’re greeted by the R1S, with bright yellow foam tips installed no less, settled within a plastic tray, along with one of the awesome Auglamour logo pendants they seem to include with all their products. I don’t really know what you’re expected to do with it, but it’s beautifully constructed and looks awesome, so I’m all for it. Underneath the tray are the remainder of the accessories. In all you get;
- R1S earphones
- Fabric carrying case
- Silicone ear hooks for over ear use
- Single flange ear tips (s/m/l)
- Foam ear tips (m)
- Shirt clip
The R1S has a great unboxing experience for such an inexpensive earphone. I know I’m one of the few who care, but quality of the cardboard is outstanding. It truly is. The accessories are also really nice too, giving you everything you need and nothing you don’t (except for maybe the awesome pendant).
Build, Comfort, and Isolation:
The R1S’s shells are made from a zinc alloy, and are rock solid as a result. They remind me a lot of the similarly aged KZ ED10, but with better fit and finish, especially on that sexy chrome coating. The button on the rear of each housing printed with the Auglamour logo has a subtle brushed texture applied to it too, giving it a more upscale look than would be expected from such an inexpensive product. The rubber protrusion posing a strain relief is neatly attached without any misalignment or shoddy molding.
The cable has an interesting visual texturing to it but is smooth with a durable feeling sheath. It is quite flexible but is subject to noise transmission from rubbing or bumping against things. This can be mitigated by wearing the R1S over-ear. It has also retained a number of kinks from being wrapped up and released from the packaging months ago. Strain relief is excellent at the y-split and compact 90 degree angled jack and should protect the R1S from careless use and accidental tugs. Overall a decent cable.
The R1S’ shells feature very standard 5mm wide nozzles that extend from the housings at a 60 degree angle. The housing are well rounded where they touch your ears. The combination of all these features makes the R1S easy on the ears and suitable for wear over long periods. About the only qualm I have regarding comfort is levied at the stock tips which use quite a stiff silicone putting pressure on the inner ear. Such a concern will vary user to user. The generic nozzle size means replacement tips that better meet your needs are easy to locate.
The R1S isolates exceptionally well for a dynamic driver based earphone. The combination of a tight seal, tiny pinhole vent which completely alleviates driver flex, and those dense metal housings leads too something that effectively blocks unwanted noise from leaking in. Use the pre-installed foam tips and the isolation is even better. Good stuff here.
I went into the R1S with pretty low expectations given it has been out for a few years. The budget earphone scene has mostly moved on from single dynamics and embraced hybrid designs full force, leaving the humble R1S looking pretty unimpressive on paper. It doesn’t display the impressive Balanced Armature resolution of similarly priced hybrids like those from Knowledge Zenith, or any interesting tech like the graphene coated drivers such as those in the UiiSii CM5. Despite this, the RS1 remains an unapologetically coherent and enjoyable sounding earphone.
It’s treble has a relaxed, rolled off quality to it with a particularly reserved lower treble region, as evident tossing them on with Gramatik’s “Bluestep” where the opening smattering of cymbal work sits back in the mix instead of being fully forward as it should. Micro-detail is somewhat lacking but it retains enough clarity to avoid sounding muddied or congested. Cymbals aren’t particularly sparkly nor vibrant and have a slightly dry texturing that aids in long term listenability. This treble presentation isn’t very airy nor spacious, but it remains intelligible and is quite suitable for the mobile nature of the R1S.
The mid-range is refreshingly forward and clear with great vocal weight and depth. Both upper and lower mids are clear and do not become overshadowed by the abundant bass despite there being some mild bleed into the lower mids. Listening to Dillon Francis’ “We the Funk feat. Fuego” shows off the R1S’ good mid-range clarity and presence in the face of a prominent low end. Rolling with Jessie J’s “Bang Bang” shows a mild upper mid emphasis.
Throwing on something a little more abstract with Venitian Snares’ “Szamar Madar” shows the R1S’s excellent tone and timbre with stringed instruments. It also shows that it’s 10mm drivers can handle quick, congested drum work pretty handily. That’s good because the R1S is a bassy little earphone with good extension though more emphasis is placed on mid-bass than sub-bass regions. It is punchy with good transitional qualities that make it an excellent pick for modern pop and hip hop, as evidenced with Kavinski’s “Solli”.
The R1S has a pretty intimate sound stage that is very much in the head, though it will occasionally throw sounds off into the distance with convincing effect. Imaging is smooth and accurate channel to channel with adequate separation and layering. On very busy tracks like King Crimson’s “Starless and Bible Black” the R1S starts to lose composure and sound congested.
While the R1S can’t compete with similarly priced modern hybrids in regards to clarity and detail, it is still a competent performer with an enjoyable, bassy signature.
ColaRad C2: The C2 and R1S are cut from the same cloth with warm, mellow signatures. I find the C2 slightly more detailed and clear in the treble but as you dip into the mids and low end the R1S is more coherent. The R1S’s mid-range is also more forward but also slightly thicker. Bass on the C2 doesn’t dig quite as deep but offers more mid-bass impact. The C2’s sound stage is larger and wider but if more vague and less precise. Neither are stellar performers and simply sound decent.
The C2 is built well enough, but lacks the feeling and look of quality of the R1S. It looks much more “budget” than Auglamour’s offering, and is more expensive to boot. The cable especially is a large step down from that on the RS1. It is thin, slightly sticky, and not very well relieved. Isolation is also significantly worse, though it is to be expected given the C2 is open back. Fit and comfort is slightly better for me with the C2 due to it’s more traditional barrel shaped housing.
KZ ZST: The ZST sees much improved clarity in the mids and treble but also has a leaner, less weighty presentation. Treble is more detailed but not as tight, displaying some splashiness not heard in the R1S. Same with a touch of sibilance. Mids are similarly presented with them being a hint more forward and natural in tone on the R1S. Bass is better balanced on the ZST with it having less mid-bass. It’s also a little quicker and more agile on the ZST doing a better job of handling “Starless and Bible Black”. The ZST’s sound stage is wider and deeper with smoother, more accurate channel to channel transitions. Layering is also more apparent and dynamic with greater separation.
The ZST’s plastic housings are nicely crafted. Being plastic and with large but functional gaps between the faceplate and main body, it lacks the more premium look and feel of the R1S and doesn’t isolate as well. KZ’s cable is similar but with a more grippy sheath. It is quieter though, and lacks the memory of Auglamour’s cable. Strain relief is equally good on both. I find the ZST slightly more comfortable, simply because the large housings fit my ear so well and distribute what little weight there is quite evenly. I expect this won’t be the case for everyone, and that some will find the R1S’s smaller, more universal shells the more comfortable of the two.
Despite being on the market for quite a while, the R1S remains a solid earphone. It competes best with similarly priced products from mainstream brands like Philips, Sony, Marley, and Skullcandy in terms of signature and sonic performance, yet offers a superior unboxing experience, accessories, and build quality, giving you more for your money. What it doesn’t complete as well with are more recent budget offerings from more obscure brands like UiiSii, KZ, or VJJB. They can generally match or near the R1S in build quality but exceed it in sound quality, especially when you start taking into account hybrids or single dynamics from heavier hitting brands like Xaomi (ex. Piston lineup).
Still, the R1S isn’t obsolete yet and offers up a cool design with great build and material quality, a great fit, a good package, and a fun signature. I hope Auglamour updates it soon with a retuned driver, giving it the sonic performance it needs to jump to the head of the pack.
Thanks for reading.
***** ***** ***** ***** *****
Some Test Tunes:
Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid (Album)
Hail Mary Mallon – Are You Going to Eat That? (Album)
King Crimson – Lark’s Tongues in Aspic (Album)
King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black (Track)
Supertramp – Crime of the Century (Album)
Infected Mushroom – Legend of the Black Shawarma (Album)
Gorillaz – Plastic Beach (Album)
Massive Attack – Mezzanine (Album)
Fleetwood Mac – Rumors (Album)
Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels (Album)
The Prodigy – The Day is My Enemy (Album)
Tobacco – F****d Up Friends (Album)
Felt – Felt 2 (A Tribute to Lisa Bonet) (Album)
Michael Jackson – Thriller (Album)
The Crystal Method – Grace (feat. LeAnn Rimes) (Track)
Jidenna – Long Live the Chief (Track)
Skrillex – Ragga Bomb (Track)
Big Grams – Run for Your Life (Track)
Funkadelic – Maggot Brain (Track)
Aesop Rock – Fishtales (Track)