Disclaimer: I photographed Radius’s new earphones for Musica Acoustics. In exchange, Musica gave me both sets. I decided to write about both the TWF31 the TFW41. Musica Acoustics currently have a limited time special on the TFW41 with ortofon ec7s cable for 499$ USD. You can find out all about it here: Radius TWF31 and TWF41.
Subject: Radius TWF41
I’ve been asked: what’s different between the 31 and 41? Both are dual diaphragm earphones, but the TWF41’s got a 13mm beryllium-coated diaphragm, rather than a more ordinary 13mm film diaphragm. Differences in sound are revealing.
Discriminating between sound signatures mature and timid is a chore. What initially sounds soft, or boring, may be a mask for deep stage layering, string-centric tuning, or wide, warm mids. The TWF41 certainly is string-centric, and mature-sounding- more so even than the TWF31.
Its upper midrange is less bitey than the TWF31’s. Its main mids, however, are brighter and more textured. Width-based midrange stereo cues spread further to the left and right. They extrude low-voiced percussion, chimes, and rhythm elements into central focus. The lot surrounds the listener like no earphone I’ve heard. And, despite a warmer bass-to-mids transition zone, its spatial cues and vocals are both starker and clearer. To a certain extent, the TWF41’s warmer foot is less haunting but more engaging than the TWF31’s.
Which makes the Ocharaku Sakura Plus its closest non-Radius analogue. The rift between the two is widest in the upper mids, where - as always, the Ocharaku is brighter, and more textured. Both TWF models derive detail from fantastically layered sound stages. But the TWF41 in particular, projects gapingly deep and wide midrange images. The Ocharaku’s deep stereo image is built on sharp delineation between instruments. Two different takes. Ocharaku’s takes you deep into the instrumental blueprint; Radius’s takes you deep into the composition.
And, while I worship Sakura Plus, the TWF41’s effortless out-of-head rendering is, at least for me, more addictive. And its upper midrange is less fatiguing. But it is also less well suited for hard EDM and industrial trance. When you really want to hear, or to feel, minute texture, TWF41 won’t get you there. It’s neither splashy nor slow, but where hard, metallic edges are needed, it renders out bevels and gradients.
TWF31 won’t do it, either. The TWF31’s smaller bass impact and harder upper midrange gives it an edge for both delicate, and fast, genres. But not an edge over the Ocharaku. I should absolutely prefer it to the TWF41. The converse is actually true. The TWF41’s deep and powerful midrange is unequalled. Its ultra-natural sound stage is a step above the TWF31, which is a step above most of what’s out there.
It’s not a stand-in for Sakura Plus. It’s not as instrumentally textured as Kuro. It’s all about soundstage texture and depth. And that lovely midrange. Given time, it will serve an unforgettable musical experience.
But the TWF41 is a Radius. It shares the same build and branding issues that plague the TWF31, that plagued the TFW11. I don’t expect used units to hold value or become collector’s items. Truly intractable enthusiasts - those searching for a specific sound and nothing else - will enjoy how the TWF41 influences their music. But I would also expect them to wish that same sound came from a better made, better-branded earphone.
It’s strange to handle an expensive earphone whose accessories, brand image, plastic moulding, etc., are so far below par for the price. It’s the one area Radius would be smart to close the gaps in the TWF series chassis, get rid of bubbles along their seams, firm up the body so it doesn’t flex, and re-think their cable.
Musica Acoustics tell me that production for the ortofon ec7s and ec8s is over. He has a limited number of TWF31/TWF41 + ec7s sets available, which he’s putting on special. Usually the TWF41 goes for 499$ USD. But until supplies run out, it and the ec7s set go for the same price.
Despite my misgivings about the TWF series’s build quality, its sound may be worth the ticket for you. If you have the chance, check them out.
ohm image: Review: Radius Wn3 HP-TWF31
ohm image: A wide angle on Ocharaku's Sakura Plus
ohm image: ohmage to the Ocharaku Flat4-KURO
ohm image: ansible ohmage: ortofon e-Q8
ohm image: oreo cables: ortofon's ec7s x ec8s
headfonia: Review: Ocharaku Flat4-Sakura Plus - Atmospheric
TouchMyApps: Radius HP-TWF11R earphone in review