I have recently reviewed headphone amplifier from Rudistor, while I like the NX-03, what really keep me impressed is Rudistor’s full size headphone, the Rudistor MD2. What??!! Rudistor made a headphone? You may read my thought below.
Rudistor is not well known for their headphones, this is for sure, but few years back they had gained some respect and fame in the headphones crowd with their first headphone, MD1. But then, all of Rudistor’s headphones are handcrafted and built by hand, thus no mass marketing such as the big brands, those who had them in hand loved them, some had compared them to other flagship but keep loving the MD1, Rudistor’s headphone have gained good reputation and ownership all over the world then, especially in China mainland, even my country, Malaysia had a thread to discuss them and shared opinion on it. Most of the comments are positive.
But then, Rudistor stop the production of MD1, quickly replaced by the Rudistor MD2, which said to improve the treble energy further and has better construction (Construction quality is very bad for the pricing), MD2 were selling well again, of course not as hot selling like the widely advertised Sennheiser HD800 and Beyerdynamic T1, but for its own it is impressive. However, MD2 did not get enough discussion in headfi this year, shadowed by the giant manufacturer such as Sennheiser and Beyerdynamic, followed by the capable new comers, Philips and so, is the MD2 still stood firmly their ground?
Enough for the history lesson, lets get to the review.
The only headphone from Rudistor is not cheap though, it is not costing more than the HD800 nor T1 but very near, at least more expensive than a lot will buy. The looks itself is very similar from what you will see from Grado, but please keep this in mind, Rudistor is nothing associated with the Grado, despite the similar looks. But the ear cushion, at least from what I know, is 100% compaitable with the one from Grado GS1000, so no worries if your ear cushion run out of age.
(From Rudistor/s official website)
MD2 is a extremely comfortable headphone, honestly, the 250gram is extremely light on the head, The ear cushion is definitely deserved some praise, being light and soft on head, clamping force is minimal while keeping it on head. Awesome I can say for a flagship, it is easily on par if not better than my already very comfortable German-Maestro GMP450/GMP400. The cable itself wrapped by a sleeve rather than rubber, quality itself is reliable, what we are lacking here is the cable was fixed rather than interchangeable, I believe the cable is part of Rudistor’s tuning but honestly I appreciated an interchangeable cable feature, not only this will bring different outcome but also a better bet after years, old cable might worn out.
Connecting MD2 to my reference system, it is a winner. First few words that came to my mind when describing MD2’s sound signature, it must be ‘Airy’, ‘opened’, ‘fast’, ‘smooth’, ‘relaxed’. Wait, how could airy and relaxed lived in the same hood?
Sadly, being airy also means that it is not as ‘full sounding’ nor ‘rich sounding’ as some, but the superbly airy and completely opened soundscape are something very special and unique, it is even wider and deeper in soundstage compared to the very capable AKG 701/702/712 series.
While you must be thinking that MD2 is a treble machine, you can rest assured with this, MD2 is no way a bright headphone, in fact, it is quite balanced off the ground, neutral in sound signature. The airy sound signature (Not empty thin type of sound, it is airy) however will give a wrong sense that it is bright, but I was sure MD2 is not a bright headphone. I played the album ‘Air, the Bach album’ (24bit 96khz) by Anne Akiko Meyers, honestly, I don’t find any harshness and bright in the album with MD2, in fact all I have is the airy and detailed of the violin, and excellent instrument separation that keep everything clean. Treble is so clean and detailed, with no harshness, a class in its own.
I move on to my favourite vocal album, Midnight Martinee by Amanda Mcbroom, vocal is very natural and sibilant is on minimal. I believe not everyone will like MD2’s vocal performance though, especially those who would like to have more body in the music. For me, I like the vocal performance for its airy and natural expression, third track ‘Ghost in this house’ potrayed in a good manner, nothing bleeding in to any of the frequency, while you can listen to every bit of whole thing. But like I said, those who like HD650/HD600/LCD series kinds of lush, weighty, full and rich sound will not appreciate MD2. I honestly do find the vocal performance of MD2 is quite poisonous, but in a good manner without adding unnecessarily coloration that we audiophiles tried to avoid. Fourth track ‘Baby’, the initial beep box of the male performer, has been potrayed completely by the MD2, the impact and depth were nicely present.
I then played the album ‘Share a moment with Jheena Lodwick,’ by Jheena Lodwick, I was stunned by the details and sadness in the music. I really love the vocal performance of the MD2 and think that it is very capable in this, in another hand, I do wished that there is more body to the sound. I understand why Rudistor made MD2 in this way though, it is indeed unique and easy going. Bass will never getting loud in the music with MD2, no, it is no bass light, but the bass is indeed there for you to see, but not for you to ‘feel’, good depth and punchy but not so in amount of bass, also not impactful. However, bass performance is quite good, it never lacking nor excess, it is enough, MD2 is not lacking in bass.
It is meaningless to worry about the bass performance of Rudistor MD2, I played the Cello album, ‘Starker Plays Kodaly’, the vibration of string and low region played nicely with MD2, without the weighty body however made this is not essential for MD2, compared to my other headphones. For classical music though, it is not really a problem, I played some symphony music, the complex layering never got MD2 panic on its foot, MD2 steadily handled them, with details and airy soundscape.
Rudistor MD2 is not cheap, honestly. All right, MD2 do performed like a charm, in some specific music genre, such as vocal based music, jazz and classical music, music that need airy sound and good soundscape, MD2 scored them high, undeniable. However, when consumers are going to pay 999USD for a headphone, I am assuming they have at least 6K of source, DACs and headphone amplifiers combination to comply with the expensive headphone, luckily, MD2 is not that hungry and source demanding like others, so it can be easily fulfilled in terms of source and amplification, however, good one do shine and MD2 reflected them all. This is one of the selling point and strength of MD2 against other headphones in the price range too. Don’t misunderstood though, MD2 has a lot of potential.
However, I am actually having hard feeling to fully recommend Rudistor MD2. It is excellent sounding but times over times, I really hope that music gets more body and the bass can have more slam. I knew that Rudistor might intended to make MD2 sounded this way, but from another perspective, having more body to the sound will actually help (if can do so without sacrifying the airy/open sound). I believe this is the point that most of the people will be complaining.
Thanks God, for those who appreciated a clean, airy, detailed and opened sound more than anything else, without investing too much on the source/Dacs/amplifier, MD2 might be the answer.