Today we review the RAPTGO Leaf D01, an affordable, proprietary 10mm dual-cavity dynamic driver universal in-ear monitor. It costs $129.
Disclaimer: This sample was sent to us in exchange for our honest opinion. Headfonics is an independent website with no affiliate links or status. we thank Linsoul for this opportunity.
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Please note that this article follows our latest scoring guidelines which you can read here.
RAPTGO Sheet D01
It may not be as special as the Hook-X, but the RAPTGO Leaf D01, aiming for easier driver mounting, was already able to deliver exciting performance for half the price. Keep warming up to tonal balance by pairing with the right equipment or EQ and you can expect to be rewarded with clarity and remarkable instrument separation.
Great instrument separation
Bass profile adds interest to the clear signature
Solid construction and recessed sockets for long life
Treble can be overwhelming
Shell dimensions sit weakly on the ear
There is no doubt that the fledgling IEM manufacturer Raptgo can design new and exciting releases like they did with the Hook-X. But I bet not many knew about the brand before their TOTL hybrid planar and PZT driver, which makes it all the more exciting to know where they’re going.
So when I heard Raptgo set its sights on announcing a new single dynamic driver IEM called the Leaf D01, I got curious if it would be a successful series.
The real challenge I see with the Leaf D01 is whether the $100 savings from the Hook-X is a cause for concern or celebration.
Without the mumbo jumbo of a multi-driver system, the Leaf D01 is kept simple with a single 10mm Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP) dynamic driver. It is a newly developed driver from Raptgo that can produce frequencies between 20Hz and 35kHz.
The special thing about this is that despite their limited budget, they still came up with a dedicated driver. The tuning and tweaking of the 9 micro-LCP diaphragm and dual-layer OFC voice coil is up to Raptgo to handle.
The Leaf D01 is also designed with a semi-open back cavity, as shown by the two cutouts in the face. This type of treatment usually helps reduce unwanted ear pressure and also improves sound in some applications.
Of course, the Leaf D01 is formed in the same shape it is named after. Still, it lacks any shade usually associated with it, so the Leaf D01’s rugged aircraft-grade aluminum body won’t be reminiscent of the greens unless told.
And while wearing it, I also noticed that the tip mimics that where a leaf tip points down. Spectators will therefore be less inclined to associate the Leaf D01 with its inspiration at a glance.
However, I won’t deny that the Leaf D01, when properly oriented, is an elegantly designed IEM. The perpendicular channel forms a solid lure that extends to the soft fold and completes the shape of a leaf.
Touching the surface while inspecting the build quality, the soft sheen that came from the IEM supported the solid material used for the chassis. And according to Raptgo, the exterior has been treated to improve the Leaf D01’s wear resistance.
Using common 0.78mm 2-pin connectors, the unique thing about the Leaf D01 is the recessed hole where the cable must be entered. I did find it disconcerting at first as I couldn’t look inside and force the pins in while they weren’t aligned yet.
Comfort & Insulation
Thanks to the recessed connectors mounted deeper than usual, the ear guides are placed exactly where they need to be so as not to have an awkward gap to the back. This may be so, but the actual curvature, once it reaches the lower part, doesn’t feel quite as snug, so it’s not as secure as I would have liked.
The shell shape also sits a bit weak in my ear. While I hold the Hook-X with high praise for being secure even with its heavier and bulkier build, the Leaf D01 falls out more easily, probably due to its smaller and more elongated dimensions.
Where the Leaf D01 gains confidence is in its nimble weight once fitted. It can be dense and sturdy in the hand as it’s all metal, but that soon fades as it also insulates pretty average for a semi-open back when fitted correctly.
I’ll get into the differences in sound in a later section, as there’s no clear label differentiating the two sets of silicone ear tips included. But it’s nice of Raptgo to use a hard case to store the tips, which you can use if you want to carry aftermarket tips as well.
The main identifying factor when selecting tips is the different colored stems. However, what is less obvious since the bur width and overall dimensions are similar is that one set has a harder compound while the other is on the softer side.
There are two obvious changes that Raptgo has made to the Leaf D01’s cable. The supplied 1.25m cable still uses 0.78mm 2-pin connectors for the IEMs, but no longer has the interchangeable connectors and the color is now more neutral.
I don’t mind losing the ability to swap the ends of the cable, as at the end of the day I much prefer simplicity and saving on the extra connectors that aren’t included. For me, the standard 3.5mm jack is also less stressful when plugged in, as it’s also built shorter.
The finish of the metals used on the y-splice and terminals are solid and the 2 pin is also marked with a red and blue ring to identify the side. And the softness of the paracord cable is flexible enough, plus it has a premium-looking nylon braid that, if not for the light microphony, is already nice for everyday use.
Packaging & Accessories
Probably because the brand is quite young, the unboxing of the Leaf D01 is identical to their more successful and expensive Hook-X monitor to build a luxury image. Raptgo kept the box in a sleeve along with the bristly-yet-nice-to-the-touch materials used inside.
But before we see the Leaf D01, a thin, translucent plastic with the Raptgo logo will teasingly show what’s underneath. While it doesn’t directly serve any real purpose of protecting the content, it again shows that Raptgo cares about the experience.
With a modest divider made of thick cardboard that hides the paperwork and takes up most of the lower section, the Leaf D01 is free of any distractions in its area. Under both sections are the rest of the accessories.
The part where the cheaper Leaf D01 shows a difference to its more expensive sibling is the missing interchangeable connector to the cable. So apart from the hard case with the replacement tips inside, only the cable with a 3.5mm jack is left.
The yellow silicone earplugs were used in the formulation of the sound impressions. How the sound is changed by changing tips is discussed separately. Both the Chord Electronics Mojo 2 and the Earmen Angel portable DAC/Amps were used as sources.
One coursing quality that the Leaf D01 exhibited throughout is its ability to excite and sound crisp, which incidentally is also the main criticism if a brighter sound signature isn’t your cup of tea. However, I have to applaud Raptgo for making the Leaf D01 its own IEM and not based on its more successful bigger brother.
Technically, the main highlight for me if you want to consider the Leaf D01 is instrument separation and depth. The half-open chassis probably helps a lot to keep the room information pretty cohesive for the price.
As mentioned, the Leaf D01 is a clearly tuned monitor. The bass region is not insignificant at all, but will seem on the reserved side once the higher frequencies, starting from the upper mids to the treble, trade evenness for perceived clarity.
The Leaf D01 won’t be the sweetest or heavily flavored IEM if you’re curious. Rather, it’s an engaging listen that only adds impact through traces of smoothness in key areas as it ultimately aims for a certain level of precision.
And so the Leaf D01 seemed pretty characterless at first until I noticed it approaching with an extended piano reverb. It’s kind of funny that a deep rumble spreading in an accentuated way is all it takes to inject some life into the mix.
Transparency is still at play here, even with the fleeting feeling of wetness and smoothness in the low end. Inspect the scene further and while the lack of tightness brings bigger thumps closer together, tighter basslines will show crispness around the edges.
The vocal region is airy for the price and the definition, while not exactly refined, is easy to detect. Female singers are especially determined, but the climb to the treble region has a screaming personality that could be too much for some.
In any case, the Leaf D01’s favor on most instruments is the timbre that doesn’t sound anemic. So, play the right set of numbers and the Leaf D01 wouldn’t get highhanded.
Instruments still sound clear in the end, instruments can initiate clarity and detail in the beginning, but they could use more delicacy to not sound so punchy for long listening. The excess energy from a loud electric guitar, for example, tends to cover other parts of the song, which can become unpleasant.
Depending on the mix, some instruments come out of the driver easily. The spread of sound echoes with a deep space that doesn’t sound forced or harsh in the placement of snaps and taps.
And there won’t be any broad concerns about the Leaf D01’s staging capabilities either. But it doesn’t get that high, so while it has control over a crowded scenario, the spread of energy will be more heard laterally, limiting placement accuracy.
I do find that the size of the instruments are quite similar and the vocals sit comfortably up front, a few rows away.
Before I even started reviewing the Leaf D01, I switched tips to see which one fits the Leaf D01 more. I’m curious to see if Raptgo transforms tuning in a way that’s appropriate for different use cases.
What I noticed is a more forward midrange when using the green tips to bring the vocals closer. If a more naturally spaced and distant image is preferred in the center, the yellow provided some extra airiness and a lighter impression.
The yellow tips with a thinner signature separate instruments more clearly and open up the image. However, the biggest drawback is that it can be more sizzling at times.
I still stuck with the yellow tips for the rating though, as the green tips don’t quite give the low end I wanted. Although it has a tighter sound signature, the bass line is drier and doesn’t present as readily as the denser look of the yellow tops.
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