Greetings,

Today we’re checking out the middle child in Auglamour’s lineup, the R8.

On the spec sheet, the R8 seems pretty appealing with 0.75mm 2-pin removable cables, an ergonomic design crafted from 80,000 ear impressions, and a ultra-thin, 10mm bio-diaphragms. I’ve experienced all of Auglamour’s current lineup save for their newest model the F200, so nice features at a low cost are something I expect from the brand. How does it all come together with the R8?

Let’s take a closer look.

Disclaimer:

Thanks to Chi with Penon Audio for sending over a sample unit of the R8 for review. The thoughts within this review are my own and do not represent Penon, Auglamour, or any other entity. No financial incentive was provided to write a positive review, or otherwise.

At the time of this review the R8 retailed for 38.00 USD: https://penonaudio.com/auglamour-ag-r8.html

Personal Preferences:

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.

Source:

For at home use the R8 was powered by a TEAC HA-501 desktop amp or straight out of my Asus FX53V laptop. For portable use it was paired with an LG G5, HiFiMan MegaMini, or Shanling M1. The R8 was easy enough to drive and works fine out of a smart phone, but does seem to liven up with a bit more power via improved clarity.

Specifications:

  • Driver: 10mm bio-diaphragm
  • Sensitivity: 96 ± 3dB @ 1KHz
  • Impedance: 16 ohm ± 15%
  • Frequency response: 20Hz ~ 20KHz

Packaging and Accessories:

The R8 arrives in an unusually large package with high quality images of the earphones on the front, rear, and sides, along with the usual branding and logos. The back also contains some bullet points covering a few features, though the translation isn’t particularly useful. For example, “Experience Ascension” refers to the removable cables while “Product Material and Process” covers the shells. I don’t understand what either statement is trying to get across.

Lifting off the lid you immediately come across a cardboard sheet with something printed in Mandarin. On the back is a list of what’s included. Below that sheet is the R8 itself neatly secured within a large plastic inlay. Lifting that out reveals the included miniature Pelican-style carrying case and a smaller cardboard box within which are the rest of the accessories. In all you get;

  • R8 earphones
  • 0.75mm 2-pin cable
  • 3 pairs of single flange tips (s/m/l)
  • 1 pair of foam tips (m)
  • Hard plastic carrying case
  • Silicone ear guides
  • Shirt clip
  • Auglamour logo pendant

Overall it’s a great accessory kit for the price, though not necessarily well-tailored to the R8. The cable already has memory wire for guiding the cable around the ear, negating the point of including ear guides. For me at least, the included tips were of no use due to the R8’s ‘interesting’ ergonomics so they had to be replaced. The included case is awesome though, and is just like the ones included with Rose Technology’s products as well as TFZ’s newest high end offerings in the Tequila 1 and King Pro. To see this case included with a sub-40 USD earphone is great.

Build, Comfort, and Isolation:

The R8’s zinc alloy shells look gorgeous and feel extremely solid, as is expected from solid metal shells. The glossy finish applied to the exterior is nicely applied with very few imperfections. That last 5% regarding fit is missing though, with the face plates not lining up quite as well as they could. The metal grills fit cleanly in place protecting the drivers from dust and grime, and the 2-pin receptacles protrude evenly from each shell. The cable slides in a little looser than is preferred, but feels tight enough to prevent you from losing an ear piece should to dangle them around your neck.

The cable is pretty decent coming across quite similar to those KZ uses. Auglamour’s is a little stiffer and has retained many bends from being packaged, but the sheath feels more dense and durable and stickiness is kept in check. Strain relief is excellent at the case-friendly 90 degree angled jack and y-split. You’ll also find an effective chin cinch to help with getting a secure fit, and/or deal with cable noise. The memory wire works well in holding the shape you bend it too with only a mild tendency to straighten up. Better than most, that’s for sure.

20180706_171936~2

I initially found fit and comfort on the R8, well, god-awful, and struggled for weeks to find the right tips that would let them sit comfortably. I could not understand how they ended up with something so ergonomically poor, despite crafting the shell from 80,000 ear impressions. What I failed to realize, until much later than I would like to admit, is that these are not meant to be worn like similarly shaped earphones. Most products of this shape see the cable sticking straight up then wrapping around your ear, with the body of the earphone nestling in the base of your ear. The R8 sits vertically with the cable protruding forward, then wrapping up and around your ear. Just like the Simgot EN700 Pro actually. Once my tiny brain figured this out, and I moved away from the stubby stock tips to something a little longer like the budget friendly KZ Starlines or some “slightly” most costly Spinfits, the R8 went from being in my top three least comfortable earphones along with the BGVP MRY6 and KEF M200 to something I’d happily wear for extended periods. I suppose the orientation of logo on the housing should have been a dead givaway as to the correct way to wear them, but as I mentioned before; tiny brain.

Lastly, isolation. Meh. It’s flat out average for a single dynamic, far below what I was expecting given how excellent the cheaper R1S was in this regard. With music on it’s suitable for walking around in fairly noisy environments, but in a bus or other equally noisy area I’d like some additional blockage. The yellow foams work great for this, and as such are a welcome inclusion in the package.

Sound:

Tips: I really couldn’t get a good enough fit with the stock tips to determine how the R8 sounded with them, and as such my time was spent using large Spinfits or large KZ Starlines. All my impressions will be based around these tips which sounded quite similar to my ears with the Starlines showing off just a touch more sub-bass.

Once I got the R8’s fit down, I realized that it is a very capable single dynamic earphone and despite being a few years old at this point, can easily hold it’s own against recent releases. To put it simply, the R8 is underrated and under appreciated.

The R8 has a clear lower treble focus which gives it excellent clarity through the mid-range and above. Emphasis seems to take a sharp dip around 6k which explains the lack of sparkle and shimmer, such as in the opening of Gramatik’s “Bluestep”. It really sounds to me like something JVC was putting out a few years back with their carbon nano-tube series, and I love it. Energetic yet not really all that fatiguing unless you’v got the volume cranked. I know many out there have issues with 5k peaks, so you in particular will want to be wary going into the R8.

The R8’s mid-range is set back just a touch, but I definitely wouldn’t call it recessed. It has a strong presence that cuts through the bass and treble. Vocalists are clear and articulate. The R8 works it equally well with K.A.A.N’s rapid fire rap as it does with the smooth crooning of James Mercer on Brain Burton’s side project, Broken Bells. Instruments also have great attack and texture with a really natural sounding timbre.

The R8’s low end has a clear sub-bass focus that really stands out when tossing on EDM or electronic heavy tracks like Skrillex’s “Ragga Bomb” and Kavinski’s “Solli”. The texture and speed is there too, retaining strong coherency when things speed up and get complicated. Depth of extension is fantastic without any notable drop off with digging into deep sub-bass regions.

Sound stage is about the only area where the R8 doesn’t stand out. It’s somewhat narrow but with good depth. Imaging is fairly accurate but nothing particularly special, while layering and separation are quite good. Despite the narrow staging, it can tackle King Crimson’s “Starless and Bible Black” without becoming overly congested.

Select Comparisons:

Auglamour R1S: The R8 shares a family resemblance with the R1S but comes out well on top. It has the treble detail and sparkle the R1S was lacking without pushing it too far. Mid-range clarity and detail is significantly improved and is no longer effected by the mid-bass. Mid-bass is dialed back a lot letting with additional sub-bass presence and more texture. Sound stage is slightly larger but with more precise imaging and better separation.

I prefer the R1S’ cable but lament the lack of a chin cinch which you get on the R8. The R1S’ build is more precise and betting fitting, but the finish over the R8 is cleaner and more even. The R8 is a step behind in terms of ergonomics due to the learning curve regarding how to actually wear it. Nor does it offer the same excellent isolation.

Overall I’d much rather listen to and use the R8, even if it is less comforting on my ears.

Tin Audio T1: The T1 has a slightly warmer presentation with more mid-bass emphasis, less punch, and less extension. Bass is similarly well-textured. Mids are dialed back a bit on the R8 but are slightly leaner, more detailed, and a touch more articulate. Lower treble on the R8 has a bit more energy and focus than on the T1 and comes across slightly better controlled. T1 has more extension though. R8’s sound stage is more narrow but deeper with better layering qualities.

The T1’s build quality has few equals at this price range and as nice as the R8 is, it can’t match the T1’s fit and finish. The T1 also has a better behaved and easier to manage cable, but strain relief is sub-par compared to the R8 and it is fixed. I suspect the R8’s cable will last longer as it seems more durable, and it can always be replaced when it does fail. The T1’s button shape is significantly easier to deal with than the R8 with it’s odd fit and is more comfortable as a result.

Despite the comfort and build advantages the T1 has, I actually much prefer the R8 with it’s more detailed, more energetic, and yet no more fatiguing sound. That’s saying a lot because I love the T1 and it’s relaxing nature.

Final Thoughts:

Due to my initial poor experiences with the R8 this wasn’t a review I was looking forward to writing. Once I got around the oddly steep learning curve regarding how to wear them, that all changed and the excellent sound output of the R8 became fully realized. This is a good, no great sounding, budget-friendly, single dynamic earphone.

Pending you’re willing to put in the effort to work with the R8 and it’s unintuitive fit, and aren’t bothered by the average fit and finish, you’ll be rewarded with a good looking earphone made from durable materials. One that also outputs a coherent, competent, and enjoyable sound that bests one of my personal favorites in the price range, the TinAudio T1. Add to that a common 0.75mm removable cable system which gives you lots of upgraded cable options (recommended you get something with an angled connector at the earphone) and the R8 is well worth checking out.

Thanks for reading!

– B9Scrambler

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

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)

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