On its own the Rio manages to deliver acceptable sound but when you compare it to the competition in this price range I felt they were lacking. Soundstage was something I found to be average on the them, the centrally focused output gave me fatigue after long periods. there was little sense of spaciousness. The bass wasn’t very tight and the mid/treble frequencies lacked enough detail. All of these probably aren’t an issue if these are your first earphones but once you listen to a better model or brand in the same class you realise how much your ears are missing out on with the Rio.
I have had a think about what I’ve said here and asked myself was I expecting too much from an earphone at this price point? I don’t think I have since there are other brands with models at similar prices which offer much nicer sound quality but don’t have the accessories and presentation to match. A case of swings and roundabouts, if you will.
I wanted to make sure that the poor sound wasn’t just my Galaxy Note II being picky with earphones so I plugged the Rio into a NAD stereo amplifier which has an excellent headphone amplifier output and sadly experienced the same results.
The performance testing I put the Rio through was by no means technical but in a real world environment under realistic conditions, I felt they didn’t deliver what I expected and was able to replicate these findings from more than one music source.