Before starting this review, I would like to share technical aspects and package details.
Also, I would like to thanks to Penon Audio for this great opportunity. Here is the link of the Roland: https://penonaudio.com/fearless-audio-paladin-roland.html?search=roland
Drive unit: 2 electrostatic, 2 balanced armature, 1 dynamic
Frequency response: 18-80kHz
Sound insulation: 26dB
Connector: 2pin 0.78mm
Astell & Kern AK120
Emotiva Big Ego
THX AAA 789
Package, Design & Isolation;
Fearless Roland comes in a super big cartoon case that is slightly heavy. When you open the box, premium unbox experience is waiting for you. This is really high-quality impressive opening scene. Inside the box, there is rounded shape leather carrying case, Roland earphone, stock cables, and 6 pairs of silicon tips. Package content is not satisfying but everything is in good quality.
There are 3 color options of Roland; silver, gold, and blue. Mine is the blue one, and I think this is also the most popular one. The design is astonishing, and it looks gorgeous. There is a silver Fearless logo on the right faceplate and the model name on the left faceplate. Shell design is pretty comfortable for its size due to its custom like shape and I’ve never faced any pain or discomfort issues during long listening sessions. Nozzle is long enough for deep and secure fit. Cable is 8 braided silver-plated copper cable. I think Roland comes with the new stock cable; I have the old ones. Cable quality is visually fantastic, and it looks beautiful, so no complaint here. Roland has commonly used 0.78mm 2 pin socket, so you can upgrade your stock cable with after-market cables. Fearless Roland has triple drivers’ configuration that has dual balanced armatures, dual electrostatic drivers with one dynamic driver. Nowadays most of the TOTL earphones use same triple driver configuration with their earphones. By the way, Roland is a part of the Paladin series of Fearless Audio and there are also La Hire and Lancelot earphones. Those also have electrostatic drivers with different configuration.
In terms of isolation, Roland does great job on that. Its isolation is very well, blocking the outside noise successfully. I always use silicon tips with my universal IEM’s but you can always get a better isolation with the foam tips.
Most of you know that there are some impressions or personal experiences that Roland is dark sounded earphone. I would like to point out that although it is dark sounded, it never gets muddy in any area. All frequencies are dynamic and it never feels lifeless and dry. High frequencies show high level of performance because of the dual EST driver. It is extremely detailed and has high resolution, and despite all these details, it is an easy-to-listen earphone. With the advantage of the dark presentation, it does not show any sign of fatigue in long hours of listening. In fact, Roland is reminiscent of the Sennheiser HD650 within its tonality. The mid frequencies are slightly behind of the overall sound, but there is no large gap and the vocals are relatively forward. The vocals are smooth and textured, with a very romantic and lush presentation. The bass frequencies have fantastic quality which we are used to see on TOTL earphones. Highly detailed and powerful. This power never crushes other frequencies and does not create any imbalance on overall sound. The soundstage is not easy to understand at very first listen, but then you feel that it has an extremely wide stage. Roland is extremely successful in both musical and technical capacity.
I would like to say that Roland has smooth sounding on trebles, but also it has crazy amount of detail with great instrument separation. Electrostatic tweeter produces amazing details, but it never gets sibilant. Highs sparkle but it is not fatiguing, and I listen it for hours. Treble is clear, well presented and not too bright or too crisp. Overall trebles’ signature and tonality are very effortless. Upper trebles are not harsh and there is no any sharp peak. Smooth edges of the highs are easy to listen. Clearly hearing every instrument in its own place without being touched by other instruments. Although, slightly misty atmosphere of the presentation, feels like veiled over the trebles, but the trebles are clean and clear to hear every detail and small nuance of the music. Roland’s presentation is slightly dark which makes it feel like the treble is off at first listen, but when it is get used to its sound all the clashes, crashes, bells become more audible. Personally, the trebles of the Roland are fantastic in terms of resolution and extension. Lots of air, clarity and its express cohesion in overall sound.
Mids are warm, lush and slightly forward presence while spacious and airy. It is a bit recessed but enough to give a sense of depth to the soundstage. Instruments are lush and not distinct; the separation is quite impressive. They are slightly laid back and recessed from the highs and lows. There is some coloration in the mid frequencies as well as in instruments and vocals. The warm and smooth tonality feels natural and organic with velvet like presentation. I’ve listened many genres like EDM, Jazz, Pops, Classic and R&B and mids are quite enjoyable to listen, but I’d like to say that I enjoyed mostly on EDM genres. The mid-frequencies are slightly bodied and relatively colorful as I said, so the instruments sound thicker and bolder, but I am not talking about the studio reference earphone. The instruments are positioned right behind the vocals, and vocals are slightly forward. Whether male or female both vocals are beautifully rendered in smooth and natural presentation.
Bass is phenomenal in terms of quantity and quality and this is my favorite frequencies of Roland. It has some serious power on bottom and it is not shy of the sub-bass extension. It is fantastic, punchy and it’s barely bleeding into the mids which I’ll discuss next. Dynamic driver is not hesitating to go deep and it has impactful notes. The bass decay is on the quicker side, but on the other hand it is not as quick as like balanced armature bass. Recovery time and notes are pretty good and it is not messing up with the fast songs. The tonality is not artificial, on the contrary it is natural and organic which creates smooth atmosphere. Mid-bass is just a touch overwhelming and sometimes it is bleeding into mids and compressing the overall sound, but it barely happens that I would like to mention. The prominent bass presence adds dynamism and rhythm to the sound and it pushes you to listen more bassy tracks. Overall, I really love the bass of Roland, hits hard, goes deep and still stays detailed and tight.
Soundstage is not the best but one of the largest that I’ve experienced. Its dark presentation doesn’t create claustrophobic atmosphere, contrary it is quite wide and the imaging allows for pinpoint separation. Also, it has a natural wideness and there are no artificial effects, and it is spacious and airy.
Effect Audio Ares:
Ares is one of my favorite budget friendly copper cable which is its sound great with almost every earphone that I’ve listened. And here, Ares matching good with Roland. Bass becomes more controlled and tighter while mids are slightly bolder in tonality and details are more pronounced. Trebles are slightly recessed and more relaxed but also it remains in same in quantity. Soundstage is almost same with stock cable both wideness and depth. I believe stock cable is slightly airier and more spacious while Ares more intimate. The only thing that I don’t like is the overall tonality which is overall sound becomes more darker with Ares. At least too much for my taste.
Penon Audio Leo:
Leo is one of my favorite pure silver cables from Penon Audio. Its detailed and spacious sound is great pairing option with the warmer sounding earphones. With the Roland, Leo did really good improvements on sound. Bass becomes much tighter and more controlled, and also, it’s more detailed. Mids are slightly recessed but more open and vocals are slightly more forward. Trebles are more extended, sparkle and more prominent than the stock cable. Soundstage is airy and distance between instruments are more pronounced.
Roland vs Oriolus Percivali:
Let me start from the design and build quality. Both earphones are amazingly beautiful. Percivali looks more elegant with that wooden faceplate while Roland looks more fashionable and eye catching. Both earphones built and material qualities are top notch, so there is absolutely no complaint here. Roland’s shell is slightly bigger and it has longer nozzle than the Percivali, but surprisingly Roland is comfortable as Percivali. Percivali has slimmer/smaller shape and its nozzle is little shorter than Roland. They both are super ergonomic for ears. Percivali comes with 2 braided PW Audio cable while Roland comes with 8 braided SPC cable. Both Percivali and Roland have same driver configuration. 1 dynamic driver, 2 electrostatic drivers and 2 balanced armature drivers, but their tuning is way different. Percivali has more prominent and better extended trebles while Roland has slightly laid back and smooth trebles. Details are more expressed with Percivali but Roland has some shadows on trebles. Details are absolutely there but it is much easier to focus on Percivali. Separation and resolution levels are very similar but as I said before, more pronounced on Percivali. Mids are more forward and bolder on Roland. It has better body and timbre which Percivali is slightly thinner and linear when I compare side by side. Normally Percivali doesn’t have thinner mid but Roland make it slightly thinner in notes. Vocals are more up front and romantic on Roland while on Percivali has more centered and slightly recessed. Both are super detailed in this area, but Roland’s dark sound would need more focus in to details. Bass response are amazingly beautiful on both earphones. Percivali has super timbre, deep and powerful bass, and Roland is very similar with Percivali in this sense. Soundstage is more open and airier on Percivali, Roland is airy and wide and not as airy as like Percivali. Both earphones are great in terms of sound, but they are differing in with their tunings. There is no winner here, there is some preferences. Percivali is more open and crystal clear but also more fatiguing in long hours listening. Roland is much better in this regard.
Especially this year, Fearless Audio released so many great earphones like S4, S6 Rui and S8 which I haven’t listened S8 yet but it has great impressions and reviews. In terms of material quality, and sound tunings they are great performers for the retail price. Triple driver’s earphone design is quite new innovation in the audio industry and we see mostly on TOTL series of the companies line up. Roland is the member of their TOTL Paladin series and it reflects the Fearless Audio’s latest end game sound with its triple driver design. It has clear, clean, super detailed highs with smooth, warmth mids, and powerful high level of bass performance in slightly darkish atmosphere. Some people might don’t like its sound signature but if you give a chance, you won’t be disappointed. Furthermore, its retail price is relatively reasonable comparing the other brands triple driver earphones.