Radius HP-TWF21 In Ear Monitors (Review)

Discussion in 'iPhone Accessories' started by Austin M., Jun 4, 2011.

  1. Austin M. macrumors 6502a

    Austin M.

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2010
    Location:
    Washington
    #1
    [​IMG]

    First, I'd like to apologize for the lack of reviews in the past week. While I did pump out a few last week, I have been very busy and the end of my Freshman year is right around the corner, which also means finals, yet more things to add to my mind. School aside, let's get back into some reviews, specifically a pair of IEM's that I have been listening to for the past three weeks. The Radius HP-TWF21 are some very unique IEM's, that's no doubt. From the dual dynamic drivers to the eye catching looks, these earphones are sure to please. That being said, do these things even sound good? Well, I guess we are about to find out. Before I begin, I'd like to thank Dimitri over at Musicca Acoustics for sending out both the Radius HP-TWF21 and the Ortofon e-Q5 for review. Musicca Acoustics exports some of Japan's finest earphones and audio gear.

    As always, let's put down a few things that I will be excluding from my reviews from here on out. First, I will be leaving out packaging unless it adds overall value to the product and stuff along those lines. Fancy packaging doesn't make the product, and I don't see how it would help the review if it doesn't add anything to the overall product itself. That being said, we are still going to take a look at the contents that are inside, as those can be a very important part of the product, no matter what it may be. So, to begin, what is included with the Radius HP-TWF21's?The HP-TWF21's come with a very nice clamshell carrying case that is made out if genuine leather and is great for portable use or a storage compartment if you want to keep your HP-TWF21's nice and safe. Alongside that is a rubber headphone winder to keep your headphones secure when they are in the carrying case. You will also get four sets of single flange ear tips, all made out of silicone, and are quite fat and not as narrow as other natural fitting IEM's. Its kind of a bummer that there are no double flange tips as these aren't exactly the best at isolating. As an added bonus Radius even threw in a microfiber cloth and a L shaped plug in for use with other audio devices.

    Although not as sturdy as my Ortofon's, the HP-TWF21's still deliver a pretty good job of keeping the design eye catching and durable. Let's take a quick tour around the perimeter of these earphones. Starting at the bottom you will find the 3.5 mm headphone jack that is gold plated and has Radius's logo painted in white around a small layer of black polycarbonate. Before we get to the cable splitter and the yolk, I'd like to mention a few things about the cable itself. The cable is nylon reinforced and does a very pretty good job of resisting tangles and knots. Moving on up the cable you will find the cable splitter and the yolk. While the cable splitter is made out of a very nice black polycarbonate I did notice that the yolk is made out of rubber and was pretty smooth when gliding up the shaft of the IEM's. The actual 'phones themselves have a very funky design to them. First, there is a rubber hole where the cable runs into, which is to assure durability once more. While this was a nice addition to the earphones, I did find myself worrying a little bit that the rubber may eventually pop out of place and have to be removed. That being put aside, there is an area for what appears to be a vent that is encased in a gold oval that directly connects to the drivers themselves. At first glance, these are very large earphones, mainly due to the dual dynamic drivers, which we will talk about in a little bit. For now, let's talk about isolation and comfort.

    I'll be one of the first to tell you that these are very comfortable earphones. I've heard from many other complaints from other members around here saying that the HP-TWF21 younger sibling, the TWF11, weren't every comfortable in the ear due to the angel that the earphones presented themselves in. Fortunately, Radius has realized this and went back to the drawing board with a whole new design. The HP-TWF21's feature a slanted nozzle that sit perfectly in my medium sized ear canals and were able to be worn for hours on end without any ear fatigue whatsoever. That being said, these earphones do not offer very good isolation, very mediocre to say the least. Since these sit in the ear rather than actually seal, the Radius's do let in a lot of background noise that can be very annoying, so I can't really recommend these for portable use as they are more of a listen at home style earphone. As far as microphonics go, these do have a pretty decent amount of cable noise and can be heard even when listening to music at louder volumes. Then again, this could be due to the material that is used in the cable.

    Now we have the most important part of the earphones, sound quality. Just as a quick side note, I let all my dynamic driver earphones burn in for well over 100 hours and I even let the HP-TWF21 burn in for well over 150 hours to get that full effect. Now, for $300, I was expecting a lot from the HP-TWF21's. From what I have heard from some other people, the previous version of these earphones, the HP-TWF11's weren't the best when it came to balancing out every frequency and I even heard a few instances where bass overpowered everything and seemed quite bloated. Since I have not tried the HP-TWF11's, I can't comment on any of those sayings. My job here today is to explain wether the Radius is worth the money.

    The sound signature of the HP-TWF21's are definitely bass centric, as noted right out of the box. At first, bass and lower frequencies did sound quite overpowering and lacked a good amount of warmness for me to fully enjoy it. After a ton of burn in though, that all changes. The bass lays off a little bit and blends in nicely with the rest of the sound spectrum. Extension was very good and I have not found any instances of roll off. Subbass had a very good amount of rumble and definitely has a very good amount of impact although it's not too much for it to be bloated and dominating. Even though these are very bass heavy earphones, I noticed that there is a slight lack of midbass and can be quite laid back when compared to subbass, which seemed to be quite forward. I found midbass to have quite a smooth feel around it and was not very boomy at all due to the laid back style. The good thing about the HP-TWF21's is that they have a decent amount of attack. The HP-TWF21's aren’t in any way slow, and are right where they need to be in terms of speed.

    Moving onto midrange you will find a pretty peculiar sound. While being slightly thick, the midrange was very smooth and actually had some pretty nice detail to it. While being slightly airy, the midrange was a little bit laid back and did not have a high amount of crispness. Then again, for bass powered earphones, they do ooze a pretty good amount of detail and clarity. Treble and higher end frequencies did have a decent amount of forwardness to them. I have always thought that forwardness is a good thing when it comes to any kind of IEM and unfortunately I have found myself to be very wrong, especially in the case of the HP-TWF21's. While being very up close, the HP-TWF21's lack higher end detail and crispness. They were by no means horrible and I have heard a lot worse for the price range. When compared to the likes of the Ortofon e-Q5, which have a very good amount of brightness and bloom, the HP-TWF21's just aren't very rich. To my ears, they have a small amount of chalkiness that you wouldn't find on some other dynamic's. That aside, the HP-TWF21's do have an accurate soundstage, with depth and width being very good.

    So, are these worth the money? I'd have to say yes on that one. Since I have not heard the previous make of these, I cannot comment on wether these are worth nearly double amount of the previous models. The HP-TWF21's have some pretty beautiful sound and while these aren't exactly the most analytical earphone to be found on the market (they real aren't analytical at all), bass lovers will still love the high velocity of the lower end frequencies (notice how I said bass lovers, and not bass heads, as there is a distinct difference). You can pick up the HP-TWF21's for $298 over at Musicca Acoustics.

    Rating: 4/5
     
  2. weisjt macrumors 6502a

    weisjt

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2010
    Location:
    Southern Pines, North Carolina
    #2
    do you post your headphone reviews on headphone forums? just wandering
     
  3. Austin M. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Austin M.

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2010
    Location:
    Washington
    #3
    Yes. :)
     
  4. weisjt macrumors 6502a

    weisjt

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2010
    Location:
    Southern Pines, North Carolina
  5. SchneiderMan macrumors G3

    SchneiderMan

    Joined:
    May 25, 2008
    Location:
    Apple state
    #5
    What's the point of having your own site then :D
     

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