If you're looking for a clear, bright and vibrant earbud with a lot of bite, superb soundstage with great separation and air and impressive resolution as well as fast and clean bass then the Rose Maria is the earbud you want to get!
- Massive soundstage with precise imaging
- Excellent resolution
- Well extended upper treble
- Vibrant lower treble
- Very articulate midrange with excellent separation and bite
- Fast, clean and detailed bass
- Detachable cable with 2 pin sockets
- Upper mids bite might be too much for some
- Incredibly long burn in required (at least 400 hours)
- I wished some earhooks system was provided (although using Maria over ear with an upgrade cable works well).
Product Page : https://penonaudio.com/rose-maria.html
Price : 369$
Fit, Build & Isolation
The first thing that you need to know about Rose Maria is how big the shell is. I took a shot with Penon BS-1 as your typical earbuds form factor. Rose Technics had no choice with a dual 20mm and 10mm drivers the shells were bound to be quite big. This being said Rose Technics was wise to keep the Maria very lightweight.
Fit will be dependent on your ears size and overall morphology. I know I have big ears and I was able to fit them well enough to stay in place at home but on the move they can fall off. As we’ll see upgrade cables can help and was much more comfortable wearing Rose Maria over ears with cables featuring earhooks. I wished Rose Technics did think of adding a earhook of some form there.
There are two bundled cables with Rose Maria and unfortunately both are single ended, we’ll see that Rose Maria really benefits from more driving power thus a balanced cable is a definite upgrade in most cases. This being said both cables are quite nicely built with nylon sheathing, one has a lower footprint but I mainly stuck with the blue braided cable. I have no information on the material used.
I have heard of Rose Technics line up but never had the opportunity to audition one of the best sellers like Rose Masya earbuds or the B&R 7 IEM. I must say I was quite intrigued by Rose Maria and when I had the opportunity to review them I was looking forward to it.
As you can see in the technical brief below, Rose Maria took quite a bit of development with two dynamic drivers one massive 20mm PET and PU composite driver for the lows and a 10mm tungsten alloy driver for the mids and highs.
Rose Technics opted for a 2pin socket allowing for cable upgrades, consistent with its flagship earbuds status.
First thing first, a very important note. Rose Maria requires a massive 500 hours of burn in, yes you read that correctly. That’s 20 days 24hours burn in process and it’s the longest I ever had to burn in any gear. I am assuming this is mainly for the very rigid tungsten alloy as the mids and highs where honestly pretty harsh initially. I stopped the burn in process several times at 100, 200, 300, 400 and 500 hours. The changes occur very late in the process and things start to settle at 300 hours to go progressively smoother until I didn’t notice much change between 400 and 500.
Now once burned in, how does Rose Maria sound? Rose Technics writes on the Maria’s box “Wether it’s atmospheric symphony, elegant classical music or emotionally pop music get everything in your ears, it’s Maria”. It doesn’t tell me much in the way of its tuning priorities. Despite a much smoother presentation after burn in Rose Maria is a bright and clear sounding earbud with a massive stage and a very resolving signature supported by strong technicalities. Surprisingly bass is not as massive as I would have figured from the 20mm driver especially compared to Penon BS-1 which has more bass presence (but deeper insertion). Keep in mind this might also be due to my very big ears canals providing lesser seal as well as the size of the Rose Maria making for a shallower insertion. When I press the unit to my ears bass is much more powerful. Still, it’s a clean and detailed bass with surprising speed for the 20mm driver size.
Rose Maria bass is a clean and tight bass. Sub bass extension is average but the highlight of Rose Maria is its mid bass with impeccable control and surprising speed. It’s a quick and agile bass with snappy attack and quick decay.
Nenad Vasilic “Lupafte” was one of the snappiest and cleanest I have heard it with plenty of detail. Okvsho “Algoriddim” is a track has more mid bass heft and presence and this time percussive impact is really superb and conveys great rythm while retaining impressive detail. Maybe the best portrayal of that track I have heard to date.
It was immediately apparent Rose Maria would shine fully with mid bass heavy tracks so I went on with Jyoti “This Walk” and the dreamy and rythmic of this song was brilliantly revealed with only a tad too much upper mids to my liking but we’ll get to this in the Mids section. Ayo “Throw it away” definitely sounded better with Ayo deeper seated voice and again the dreamy, rythmic type of track fared very well with Rose Maria. I finished the mid bass tour so to speak with Rubén Gonzàles “La Lluvia” and again was impressed by the level of control and detail as this is a track were most IEMs and earbuds are too rich mid bass wise.
Rose Maria’s midrange is on the brighter side of the scale with a clear tilt towards upper mids. Rose Maria mids are clear, articulate with very good separation and air, timbre is accurate and the presentation is forward. Rose Maria emphasizes lead instruments and vocals with a clear focus on the upper mids section.
The lower mids are lean, it’s a rather thinner presentation making for a clearer midrange with great separation. Upper mids are clearly emphasized and Rose Maria has great bite with a lot of energy. Depending on tracks this could mean a tad too much bite for my taste and tracks like Hank Levy “Whiplash” or Miles Davis trumpet in “So what” or Houston Person “Everything must change” is a bit beyond my personal threshold but I am notably sensitive there. Cymbals have great sizzle, snare drums are very crisp with great energy and tracks like John Coltrane “Equinox” are spot on with Rose Maria.
Vocals are clear and forwardly positioned. There are a lot of nuances conveyed but as was predictable given the lower mids male vocals do lack power and sound higher pitched than neutral. Female vocals have plenty of energy and sometimes a bit too much for my taste but I do prefer a sweeter slightly warm presentation so that more of a reflection on my own preferences.
Rose Maria treble is energetic and well extended, providing excellent resolution and detail retrieval as well as plenty of excitement.
Lower treble has superb energy and luckily I noticed no treble hotness it’s an engaging lower treble. The Hot Sardines “Come love (L’amour s’en fout)” piano intro is spot on and I just wished notes carried a tad more weight but that’s not reasonable to expect from an earbud. I am nitpicking, I really enjoyed Rose Maria lower treble section. Vaiteani “How they call it (accoustic version)” was really engaging and the chimelike Kalimba sounded beautiful on the Rose Maria.
Upper treble has very good extension, Rose Maria has a lot of air being open but it’s furthered by its driver performance here. In Infected Mushroom “Jeenge”, Erez Aizen acoustic guitar is superb as well as the airy synth sounds and all the complexities of the tracks are painted beautifully.
When I read Rose Maria spec sheet and its 20mm dynamic driver for the lows and the 4Hz floor I honestly expected it to feature bombastic bass but as it turns out Rose Maria’s bass is just as detailed as the rest of it range but not as energetic as its upper mids and lower treble. It’s a bright, fast and clean earbud with strong technicalities and plenty of excitement.
Rose Technics obviously chose to tune it very differently from the typical earbud, and as such it won’t be for everyone. I’d recommend a warmer source in terms of pairing the Rose Maria paired better with the Hiby R8 than the DX160 for my taste but your mileage may vary. On the Lotoo PAW S1 I used the “Dental” ATE setting to smoothen things a bit. Cable rolling is also quite interesting and for use on the go I can only recommend an upgrade cable with earhooks : this helps stability a great deal and makes it possible to use Rose Maria on the go. My favorite cable pairing was Dunu Blanche as it provides extra body in the lower mids section as well as overall smoother listen, not to mention the extra juice and sounstage you get from going balanced.
If you’re looking for a clear, bright and vibrant earbud with a lot of bite, superb soundstage with great separation and air and impressive resolution as well as fast and clean bass then the Rose Maria is the earbud you want to get!
I spent approximately 30 hours with the Rose Maria, listening on iBasso DX160, Hiby R8 and Lotoo PAW S1 using the stock cable and Dunu Blanche. I also spent quite a bit of time on AAW Capri Cable out of the iPhone.
Thanks to Rose Technics for providing a review unit of . As usual, this review is my honest opinion. No incentive was given for a favorable review.
- Hard carry case
- 2 wire braided cable / 3.5 termination
- 1 wire nylon sheathed cable / 3.5 termination
- Frequency response : 4 – 23600 Hz
- Impedance : 14 ohm
- Sensitivity : 104dB
- Weight : 20g