What I like most about good looking, impressively made in-ear headphones is that they also sound as good as they look and feel.
Lately we’ve been reviewing all sorts of high-end audio gear which we can't complain about, but it also means that these gadgets come with a hefty wallet-draining price tag to match. So we think it’s time for something a little more affordable, and it just so happens that British audio brand, RHA, has come out with a brand-new pair of in-ear headphones at a very attractive price. These aren't just another cheap and inexpensive pair though, the super tiny S500i are as premium as some of the most expensive in-ear headphones on the market when it comes to styling, build quality and sound - only at a budget friendly $50 price point. But are they any better than one of our all-time favorite in-ear headphones under the $200 mark – the $89 NS500 made by the Swedish audio brand Nocs?
For a pair of $50 in-ears you certainly get a lot for your money. Even before we get into the meat and potatoes, the S500i come decked out with a few goodies inside to set you on the straight and narrow. Inside the box you'll find a very nice drawstring pouch to safely store your shiny new headphones, a shirt clip to stabilize the cable running down your body should you choose to use it, as well as a large selection of silicone ear tips. Although there's no shortage of ear tips sizes to choose from, it would have been real nice if RHA included some foam tips as well. Even though we're not sponsored by this brand in any way, we always advocate using a set of Comply foam tips for superior sound isolation and fitting. Pro tip: the S500i are compatible with the Comply T-200 tips.
What the S500i has going for it is as clear as daylight. I'm of course talking about that svelte, tiny form factor. Each in-ear is machined out of solid aluminum, which in person, looks a lot more like titanium due to the darker, almost gunmetal shade of the colorway used for the S500i. At a side profile you can see the S500i's distict, angular design that is also in the shape of a very compact cylinder. Looking closely you can see that these feature a fine brushed textured finish giving off quite an attractive technical aesthetic that I can very much appreciate at such an affordable price.
And the way that these fit into your ears is simply phenomenal in that not only do they seemingly disappear when worn due to their tiny size, but the round silicone tips create a great tight seal that’s really secure and just feels so comfortable. Of course with the crazy amount of tip sizes, you’ll have to pick and choose the size that’s right for you. That said, the standard tips pre-fitted should already fit most people’s ears just perfectly. The dual-flanged tips of example did not fit me correctly as they are too small for me personally, and only one size is included whereas the rest of the tip sizes are all uniformly rounded. You can also see that the casings are both laser etched with legible left and right indicators for quick and easy identification for how to correctly wear them.
The build quality is phenomenal, and I’m really impressed by it. For a pair of inexpensive in-ear headphones the RHA S500i are some really well made pieces. From the solid aluminum housings, the hybrid rubber and fabric woven cable, and all the way down to the material-coordinated 3-button remote and slim audio plug.
Smaller in-ear headphones means less tug and pull when you're wearing them, which increases comfort as well as affording a securer fit inside your ears. Aside from that though, the S500i simply fade away when you're carrying them, so there's less of a reason not, whenever and wherever it is that you go. Now as much as the in-ears themselves are small and lightweight, the cable attached to them is easily as important when it comes to weight and usability. A heavy, bulky cable can ruin the experience if not properly designed with user comfort and wearability during intensive activities in mind. Where the Nocs NS500 feature a robust, flat cable with a weighty presence that can at times rub against your body to the point where it can become somewhat of a nuisance, the cable of the S500i is impressively unique and as lightweight as it can get without having to sacrifice durability. What RHA has done differently is use a braided fabric cord terminated by this wonderfully made, slim 3.5mm connector while the rest of the cable splits into a thinner rubbery cord leading to each of the in-ear headphones.
The in-line 3-button remote and microphone built-into the S500i model (RHA S500 is the remote-free variant) offers standard features like volume adjustment, play/pause/skip, call answer/end, and Siri interaction. Buttons have a disguise able design that make it easy to feel for what you're pressing and overall I didn't find the remote itself too bulky or heavy on the cable. The buttons work beautifully too and offer a fair amount of tactile feedback when pressed. And like the in-ears themselves, it's also made out of solid aluminum with a layer of rubberized buttons integrated into the cylindrical casing. It's worth noting that the microphone does a really good job picking up your voice loudly and clearly without any interference so you can be heard cleanly and clearly to your callers.
What I like most about good looking, impressively made in-ear headphones is that they also sound as good as they look and feel. And as soon as I listened to the S500i I thought they sounded great, but something was missing. The sound signature is very bright and on the treble-heavy side, so things sound amazingly clear throughout the highs/mids/lows. But that’s the thing, bass is somewhat lacking and the S500i barely produce a truly deep low-end bass compared to the Nocs NS500, which have the S500i beat as they produce a fuller audio experience. That said, the S500i are still very capable considering their price tag and offer a tight sounding mid-bass that is never overpowering. They produce crystal clear sound with an acceptable amount of bass that I’m sure a lot of people will find satisfactory - except for bassheads that is.
The RHA S500i offer a lot of value for money. And considering just how small they are, they deliver an impressive audio performance without any significant compromises. Should you buy RHA’s S500i? If you’ve got $50 in your pocket waiting to be spent on a fresh set of quality in-ear headphones, you should definitely pick up a pair. And if you can live without a remote and microphone features, RHA's S500 is an even cheaper, stripped-down alternative to the S500i. You’ll be hard pressed to find something that will offer what the S500i have put down for you to pick up. You’ll be happy you bent over this time, that’s for sure.
Read the full article at Gadgetmac
If you sample other models in its immediate price class it soon becomes clear that RHA's entry level earphone is, in a sense, a man among the boys...it serves as a delightful way to introduce music lovers on a budget to genuinely high quality sound.
As high-end audio enthusiasts, the components we enjoy tend to be, my normal mortals’ standards, crazily expensive. There are many people who love music (passionately so), but are not made of cubic money, and therefore need listening devices that are genuinely good yet also inexpensive to acquire. In an ideal, world, it would be nice to think that competent manufacturers of high performance earphones would work to address this market niche. The trouble, at least in my experience, is that you can easily find cheap earphones or you can search out good earphones, but rarely do you encounter earphones that are at once good and eminently affordable.
Happily, though, the relentlessly inventive Scots at RHA Audio heard the pleas of music lovers on tight budgets and answered them with a lovely little £39.95 earphone called the S500i. Before we begin, though, one point we should clarify is that while the price of the RHA S500i is quite modest, everything else about the earphones – including materials, quality of build, sound quality and included accessories – is up to RHA’s typically high standards.
The S500i is a very compact, iPhone-compatible, dynamic driver-equipped earphone whose earpiece housings are made of an aluminium alloy. Indeed, the housings look like tiny metal cylinders or barrels (roughly 7.5mm in diameter) with their outer ends cut on a stylish diagonal angle. Like all other RHA Models we have reviewed to date, the S500i features its own miniature, purpose-built ‘micro dynamic driver’ – in this case, RHA’s model 140.1 drivers, which according to RHA provide ‘vibrant, immersive and detailed full-range sound’.
The earphone is fitted with an iDevice-compatible three-button remote/microphone and a distinctive signal cable that is fabric sheathed over most of its length, but that features a smooth, snag-free covering for those portions of the cable that run from the ‘Y-yoke’ to the earpieces themselves. The connector plug, in keeping with RHA practice, is a machined metal part with a knurled gripping surface and a gold-plated, four-conductor 3.5mm plug. Completing the picture are sets of dual density silicone ear tips (two pairs each, sizes S, M, and L) and one pair of dual-flange silicone ear tips, a plastic ear tip storage carrier, a garment clip, and a mesh carry bag. Those who are not part of the Apple ecosystem may wish to note that in addition to the S500i RHA also offers an even less expensive version called the S500, priced at £29.95. The S500 forgoes the in-line three-button remote/microphone module, but is otherwise identical to its sibling.
Before talking about the S500i’s sound, one item we should discuss is the matter of ergonomics. RHA models we have tested in the past have shown admirable flexibility of fit and have come very close to the ideal of being true ‘one size fits all’ designs, but the S500i struck me as being somewhat more ‘fit-sensitive’ than its siblings. I think this perceived ‘fit sensitivity’ perhaps results from the fact that the S500i earpieces are almost too compact for their own good; the cylindrical earpiece ‘barrels’ are very short, meaning that for those with deeply set ear canals, the earphones need to be inserted to a depth where they nearly ‘disappear’ both from view and from reach. Another factor is that the S500i signal cables exit from the sides – not the ends – of the earpiece housings, which can in some instances create interference between the cables and the wearer’s outer ears. But with these observations noted, let me emphasize that, after a bit of trial and error experimentation, I was able to find a wearing position where the S500i’s fit comfortably and provided the airtight ear-tip seal so vital to optimal sound quality.
For my listening tests I decided to evaluate the RHA S500i with the following source components: a Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone, an Apple iPad Air tablet, a Lotoo PAW Gold digital audio player, and a Questyle QP1R digital audio player. The train of thought, here, is that these components nicely represent the range of sources with which the S500i might be used, from very modest ones (the Galaxy smartphone) to very high quality ones (the Lotoo and the Questyle).
Once properly fitted, the S500i was ready to strut its stuff, and very good sonic stuff it turned out to be. Let’s start with voicing. Some RHA models such as the MA750 and T10i earphones exhibit voicing what is generally neutral, but tinged with gentle touches of natural organic warmth and desirable hints of bass emphasis. In contrast, the S500i offers a somewhat brighter, more mid-range forward, and thus more clarity and detail-centric presentation. In turn the S500i’s lower midrange and mass are wonderfully neutral, with only the slightest touch of bass lift – a quality that might come as a disappointment for those seeking a goodly dollop of bass boost, but which will seem nearly ideal for accuracy-minded audiophiles. Granted, for those who favour the warmth, bass bunch and balanced refinement of the more costly RHA earphones might initially find the S500i a little too ‘cold’ or forward sounding to their tastes. Nevertheless, I think many listeners would be favourably impressed by the S500i’s openness, transparency, and clarity, coupled with its taut and well-defined bass – all of which are exemplary for its modest price.
Part of the method behind the S500i’s voicing has to do with the fact that it is meant to be driven directly from iPhones, iPads, and the like, which tend to have relatively dark sounding and softly focused analogue output sections. Happily, the S500i’s voicing marries up in a symbiotic way with most smartphones and tablets, drawing out musical details and nuances that, with less accomplished earphones, would simply be lost or buried. In essence, then, the S500i lets users of iDevices and the like enjoy a significantly ‘higher end’ listening experience than might ordinarily be available to them.
To hear the benefits of the S500i’s voicing in action, let me suggest listening to the track ‘Broken Arrow’ from Robbie Robertson’s eponymous album. The song is introduced by a softly syncopated, reverberant high percussion figure that quickly is echoes by a much lower-pitched tom-tom pattern; a few bars later, a gently plucked electric guitar and the brooding, mysterious sound of a synthesizer join in, creating a deeply ethereal mood. Finally, a second keyboard instrument joins the mix, adding a plaintive and subtly melancholic sound that perfectly underscores the song’s melody line.
As the song unfolds, the S500i’s upper midrange and treble clarity do much to gently expose (and allow listeners to savour) the sounds of the high percussion instruments, the plucked guitar, the keyboards, and Robertson’s vocals, yet without giving them too much emphasis or causing them to become brittle or strident. At the same time, the RHA’s taut and articulate lower mids and bass do a fine job of revealing the purring, growling modulations of the synthesizer’s bass passages, making them sound all the more compelling in the process. Overall, the S500i’s sound directs the listener’s attention towards the sumptuous textures that help drive the sound forward, providing an ideal backdrop for the overarching sound of Robbie Robertson’s voice.
When playing the same track through RHA’s upmarket T10i earphone, it is apparent that the more costly model serves up a somewhat more sophisticated sound, but also sound that is noticeably warmer and more bass-centred. In back-to-back comparisons with the T10i, then, the S500i actually fares quite well, because it gently pushes Robertson’s evocative vocals and the soulful guitar work featured on the track forward in the mix. While we can and should admire the well-rounded performance of RHA’s more costly earphones, the key point is that the modestly priced S500i is fully able to hold its own – even with its own big brothers – owing to its unexpectedly clear and well-defined sound.
As with many audio overachievers, the hard part about assessing the S500i is avoiding the temptation to compare it to far more costly sonic fare (something the earphone’s overall fit, finish and mix of accessories invites you to do). So, to get a proper appraisal of the S500i, you almost have to force yourself to chant repeatedly, “It only costs £39.95…” If you sample other models in its immediate price class, it soon becomes clear that RHA’s entry-level earphone is, in a sense, a man among boys. As such, it serves as a delightful way to introduce music lovers on a budget to genuinely high quality sound at a price that won’t break the bank. Well done, RHA.
Read the full article on HiFi+
An entertaining, exciting sound with plenty of detail and a good amount of low end.
No, it’s got nothing to do with cricket, but don’t anticipate that preventing us from filling this review with dreadful/terrific T20-based dad jokes.
Right off the bat (sorry!) these RHA in-ears appear befitting of their not insubstantial price tag. Of course quality isn’t measured in grams, but the T20s’ thick rubber cord and kidney-shaped stainless steel earpieces weigh a reassuring 39g. (It’s worth noting here that, if it’s a deal breaker, you’ll need to spend an extra tenner on the T20i for the pleasure of an inline microphone.)
Comfort and build
That’s a third heavier than RHA’s main rival at this price point, the Award-winning Shure SE425, but it needn’t be an issue thanks to support from the T20s’ over-ear cabling.
In fact, these are some of the most comfortable in-ears we’ve tested, also armed with a selection of ten interchangeable tips, including double flange and memory foam types.
Much of the T20s’ mass is housing what RHA has dubbed its Revolutionary DualCoil dynamic driver. The purpose of the additional, independently moving voice coil here is to separate higher and lower frequency signals and produce a more accurate overall reproduction. There’s certainly some logic there.
And the performance tends to support the theory. We play Patrick Wolf’s Wind In The Wires and are struck immediately by the detail in the introduction of the album’s opening track, The Libertine. As the piano and violin meander towards a beginning, there is ample room beneath to accommodate the insect-like scraping percussion and electric hum.
As the piece progresses, we’re drawn to each of the subtler accompaniments: the lightly strumming acoustic guitar, the sampled horse hooves and octave-up doubled vocal.
What’s more, this is a performance full of life. The bass and 4/4 kick drum have real impetus that steers the song from the moment their beat begins. Despite the subtleties the T20s are able to unearth, they are also capable of entertaining, in no small part thanks to a decent amount of driving low end.
That depth isn’t only useful for bass-heavy songs, however. Fast forward to tracks even as sparse as The Railway House, comprising almost exclusively of Wolf and his ukulele, and you experience the support it gives the whole midrange.
The song keeps its light-footed airiness in the absence of bass frequencies, but there’s a solidity and warmth to the vocal that warms it up and keeps a satisfying balance.
So what’s the catch (yes, we’ve shoe-horned in yet another cricket pun) then? In comparison with the Shure SE425s highlights a few of the T20s’ weaknesses.
Play something such as 65DaysOfStatic’s Drove Through Ghosts To Get Here, for example, constantly accelerating and decelerating and broadening in percussive texture. The T20s don’t lose pace – they’re quite capable of expressing the rubato – but are less precise with each glitch and beat as the rhythms grow to near a cacophony.
That mild loss in accuracy is likely due to the rich bass, which the Shures cannot match – nor can they the solidity and warmth it offers the midrange – but is just enough, along with the less able grasp of subtler dynamics, to have the T20s drop a star.
While you can combat this to a point by tweaking the amount of low end via the interchangeable filters – ‘reference’ filters come attached, but also included are ‘bass’ and ‘treble’ filters – it isn’t drastic enough a change and you sacrifice the overall balance of our preferred choice ‘reference’.
But this is a high four; we like the T20s. They are detailed, punchy, fun and have an impressive amount of low end.
Though we’d want a little more to challenge the Award-winning Shure SE425s at this price, we’d be lying if we told you we didn’t enjoy testing them. So, how’s that?
Read the full article on What HiFi?
These in-ear headphones are a great example of harnessing engineering and materials with a purpose.
When a piece of technology becomes commoditized, the inevitable response from its maker is to try and obscure that fact by resorting to gimmicks. Smartphones offer some of the best examples of unnecessary over-engineering (see LG’s curved G Flex handsets) and gratuitous use of exotic materials (like on Motorola’s kevlar-plated Droids), but they’re hardly alone.
Headphone makers are just as susceptible to filling out spec sheets with meaningless jargon, and on first sight, I thought the RHA T20i in-ears to be just another in a long line of gimmick-laden tech products. They have a “revolutionary” DualCoil driver system, interchangeable tuning filters, and an injection-molded stainless steel build. I didn’t think something so simple as a pair of earphones required all that sophistication and expense, but having listened to them for an extended period of time, I have to say the T20is are a pleasant exception to the gimmick rule.
Reid Heath Acoustics is a British headphone company whose products have attracted Apple’s attention and are featured alongside the more familiar Beats, Bose, and Bowers & Wilkins brands in the accessory section of Apple Stores around the world. This particular set, the T20i, comes with the Made for iPhone designation and an in-line microphone, which bumps its price up by $10 over the otherwise identical T20. Both look pretty much the same as their predecessor T10 / T10i models, whose attractiveness has been recognized with a Red Dot product design award. The molded steel provides a neat, durable carriage for the technology within and has a universal appearance that wouldn’t be out of place in almost any context.
What’s different about RHA’s T20 family is the unique driver and magnet arrangement on the inside of each earphone. Instead of the usual solid disc, RHA uses a ring magnet and puts two voice coils around it — hence the DualCoil branding — with the inner one handling the lower range of frequencies and the outer addressing the higher end. The audio signal is split when it arrives at the earphone, with bass and lower midtones going to one coil and treble and upper midtones going to the other. I’m not going to pretend to understand the mechanics of how this separation makes things sound better — I just know that it does.
Putting on the T20is for the first time was an eye-opening experience. I’ve messed around with expensive earphones before, but none have ever delighted me quite so quickly. It’s not that anything stands out in the sound of the T20is, but on the contrary, it’s the absence of any excess or distortion that is most notable. I’m used to most in-ear headphones exaggerating bass in order to make up for their physical constraints, but not this time. The bass produced by the T20i set is clear, precise, and just right. Neither overpowering nor underwhelming. The best analogy I can think of is a fine-tipped pen: it leaves a mark only where the writer intends and doesn’t spill a drop of superfluous ink.
Bass is important to me because it figures prominently in the sort of electronic music I usually listen to — Daft Punk, deadmau5, and DJ Shadow, just from the D section — but the T20is handle pretty much everything I throw at them with aplomb. The urgency of a wailing Eddie Vedder and the deep, soul-sapping despondency of Thom Yorke are both realized beautifully and effectively. Every instrument has a distinct position on the T20i sound stage, which isn’t extraordinarily wide, but still offers enough definition for me to easily distinguish between, for example, the guitar at my left temple, the bass at the right, the drums at the back of my head, and the vocals in the middle. I’m also constantly discovering subtleties about my favorite tracks that I just hadn’t noticed before: little background flourishes that had previously been lost in a bassy swamp. That being said, I do find the treble can sometimes feel harsh, though I suspect that’s down to the recordings I listen to. Violin concertos sound perfectly crisp and accurate, no matter what volume I turn them up to.
The best, and most important, thing I can say about the RHA T20is is that they just let me enjoy my music. RHA subscribes to the school of thought that headphones, like a camera’s lens, aren’t supposed to embellish or affect the signal. They are meant to convey it faithfully, and that’s what this pair of earphones does. And just like a good camera, the T20is continue to work well when I crank up the intensity: even at max volume, they remain composed and distortion-free. Their detail is almost excessive: during an episode of The Great British Bake Off on BBC iPlayer, I could hear judge Paul Hollywood’s heavy breathing and chewing as he was tasting the latest cakes on the show. Like HD video, high-resolution audio is a double-edged sword — and yes, the T20is are Hi-Res-certified, although I still can’t find a huge difference in listening to Hi-Res tracks. All of my positive impressions, and the Paul Hollywood episode, came from conventional, compressed audio.
As someone who listens to a lot of his music on YouTube, I realize I’m not exactly the target audience for the RHA T20is. These headphones are expensive to me, but they’re at the affordable end of the scale for people who put in the effort to ensure the highest quality of their aural experience. But you know what, the T20is are so good that they’re tempting me to change my ways. I still listen to the Best Brutal Dubstep mixes online, but I’m also growing more curious about higher-fidelity recordings and how they might sound. I can’t think of a better function for a piece of technology than its rekindling of a passion for cultural exploration.
In terms of day-to-day use, the RHA T20is are a little less practical than a conventional pair of in-ear buds. They’re larger and heavier, and putting them on and taking them off requires more ceremony to get just right. Colored tabs at the top of each earphone identify which is left and which is right and connect to a moldable hook that goes over the ear. Such over-ear hooks are a common solution to the greater bulk and weight of high-end earphones, but I’ve universally hated all the ones I’ve tried before. They’re just a nuisance to fit correctly. I was having the same issue with RHA’s set until I got a bit more aggressive in shaping the hook around the contours of my ear. That did indeed make for a more comfortable, or perhaps more tolerable, fit. What’s clear is that the T20is are not designed to be worn while running for the subway or in the midst of an intensive workout. The in-line mic works very well, but its integrated controls are a little too high on the wire, forcing me to reach almost up to my ear to change tracks.
RHA bundles no less than 10 pairs of ear tips, including two sets of memory foam covers that should fit anyone. Those sit atop swappable tuning filters, which are clearly demarcated: one set boosts the bass, the default one keeps things neutral, and the treble filters emphasize the high end. For all this customization and multiplicity of options, I found myself most comfortable using the default set of filters and buds. They fit me best, and the reference sound is just too pure and accurate for me to wish to spoil it by prioritizing any part of the aural spectrum.
That’s really the thing I keep coming back to with the T20is: they sound great. Whether you mess around with all the user configuration options or just rip them out of the box, they will inevitably impress you. Take this from someone who isn’t an audiophile and usually treats music like fast food. I’ve been inspired by the RHA T20is to improve my music collection, both in its quality and diversity. These in-ear headphones are a great example of harnessing engineering and materials with a purpose. They’re different for the sake of being better, not just different.
Read the full article at The Verge
On the basis of sound quality alone, the T20 is an earphone that music lovers really need to hear. Highly recommended, and then some.
Over the past few years, Hi-Fi+ has followed the evolution of the Scottish earphone specialists RHA Audio closely. Over time the firm has consistently shown that it knows how to make musically satisfying, well constructed, beautifully finished, and keenly priced earphones that stand as a reference standard in terms of value for money. First we favourably reviewed RHA’s MA750i and then the T10i, keeping close tabs on the firm’s successive new flagship models. Now, we have the firm’s latest flagship earphone, the T20, which may well represent RHA’s greatest single leap forward in sound quality to date.
If you are familiar with typical earphones in the sub-£200 price class, you might picture them as comparatively generic and, frankly, unexceptional products—products built down to a price point rather than up to a quality standard. Happily, RHA’s T20 proves the exception to the rule. Instead, from the moment you first crack open the packaging, everything about the T20 exudes quality, refinement, and attention to detail.
For example, where some competitors might mould their earpieces from comparatively cheap-looking thermoplastics, RHA fabricates the T20’s earpieces from injection moulded stainless steel. Similarly, where competitors might provide flimsy-looking signal cables fitted with fragile connector plugs, RHA instead equips the T20 with multicore, steel reinforced, oxygen-free copper cables terminated with robust, gold-plated plugs enclosed in stainless steel housings. When you hold an RHA earphone in your hand, then, it has the unmistakable feel of something built with genuine care and precision.
RHA’s list of differentiators doesn’t end here. Where some competitors provide only minimal earpiece strain reliefs for their signal cables, RHA equips its earpieces with ingenious, mouldable wire guides that users can form into comfortable over-the-ear shapes (and that retain those shapes until re-formed by the user). While such guides are not a new idea, it is rare to see them so well executed on earphones as affordable as these. Over and again, one has the sense that RHA has found a way to serve up luxury-class products at near-utilitarian prices.
The T20’s accessories show similar attention to detail. The earphones come with two pairs each of three sizes of single-flange silicone ear tips, two sizes of dual-flange ear tips, and two sizes of compressible, closed-cell memory foam ear tips, all of which attach to a stainless ear tip holder sized to fit inside RHA’s included, zip-closure, leatherette earphone carry case. Thoughtfully, RHA provides a detachable signal-cable garment clip, which can help keep cables from flopping about.
Two design key details lie at the heart of the T20’s sound. First, like the T10-series models, the T20 provides three pairs of screw-in, metal-sleeved, colour-coded tuning filters (labelled Bass, Treble, and Reference); an RHA frequency response chart shows the effects of these filters are blessedly restrained—never garish. In simple terms, the Reference filter provides the most neutral voicing overall, the Bass filter adds a judicious touch of low-frequency lift, while the Treble filter adds upper midrange and treble lift above about 2.5 kHz. A case could be made for using any of these filter sets depending upon the listener’s tastes, though I strongly preferred the Reference filters and used them for most of my listening. The key point is that RHA—unlike many of its competitors—gives users freedom of choice.
Second, and most important of all, RHA has fitted the T20 with its all-new DualCoil dynamic driver, which injects a considerable amount of fresh (perhaps even iconoclastic) thinking into the traditional dynamic driver design formula. While astute observers will note that the T20 looks much like the T10i/T10 on the outside, the fact is that it sounds different to and significantly better than its precursor—an improvement I would attribute directly to the DualCoil driver.
As its name suggests, RHA’s DualCoil driver incorporates a single diaphragm that is powered by two discrete voice coils, which in turn are powered by an annular (ring-shaped) motor magnet. The inner coil, positioned at the inner rim of the magnet, handles bass and lower midrange frequencies while the outer coil, positioned at the outer rim of the magnet, handles midrange and treble frequencies. RHA stresses that, “each coil operates independently to produce part of the frequency range.” The voice coils are fed by a miniature two-way crossover network and together drive an unorthodox three-section diaphragm that looks something like an archer’s target with a central ‘bull’s-eye’ surrounded by two broad concentric rings. The inner coil attaches to the diaphragm’s central ‘bulls eye’, while the outer coil attaches to the next ring out from the centre. Finally, the rim of the diaphragm attaches to the driver’s metal frame, providing a surround of sorts. RHA emphasises that the driver’s voice coils, “are able to manipulate the different areas of the diaphragm to generate sound waves.” In short, the DualCoil driver provides the benefits of a two-driver array, but with the coherency only a single-diaphragm driver can provide.
After a bit of initial run-in the T20’s sound opened up, smoothed out, and was ready for critical listening; immediately, the substantial sonic benefits of the new model became apparent. First, with the Reference filters in place, the T20 driver preserved but also expanded upon RHA’s traditionally smooth, neutrally balanced, and full-bodied sound—in particular offering greater extension at both frequency extremes. Second, the T20 driver handled large-scale dynamics with a heightened and exuberant kind of athletic grace, while rendering small-scale dynamic shifts with superior delicacy and subtlety. Third, and perhaps most importantly, the T20 resolved small textural and transient details with dramatically enhanced focus, acuity, and speed vis-à-vis earlier RHA models. Though RHA’s T10i was and is a very good earphone in its own right, the fact is that the T20 sounds dramatically better.
Honestly, I could cite dozens of musical examples to illustrate the sonic benefits I have just mentioned, but it occurs to me that it might be more useful to describe just one well-recorded piece of music that shows all those benefits in play at once. That piece would be the track ‘Farrucas’ from Pepe Romero’s justly famous Flamenco [Philips/FIM]. At first glance, flamenco can seem deceptively simple owing to its minimalist instrumentation, which according to Romero consists of only “four elements, cante (singing), baile (dancing), toque (guitar-playing), and jaleo (rhythmic accentuation and spontaneous verbal comments).”
‘Farrucas’ features dancer Paco Romero, whose contributions include sharply incisive toe taps and almost violent heel stamps, delivered with the utmost in dynamic control. Pepe Romero provides a guitar foundation that is at times sweet, lilting, and moderately paced, but also at times laced with blisteringly fast and beautifully controlled runs of notes, with dynamics ranging from mild to wild. Finally, the track is seasoned with piquant rhythmic accents consisting of handclaps, finger-snaps, and the sound of castanets. Together, these music elements can prove very challenging for any hi-fi system, headphone, or earphone to reproduce.
Amazingly, though, the T20 handled that challenge with a brilliant performance that would have done a far more expensive earphone proud. First, the RHA’s captured the sweetness and delicacy of Pepe Romero’s acoustic guitar, while also revealing its more fierce and hot-blooded character—especially on Romero’s sometime ferociously fast-paced runs. Second, the T20’s were spot on in rendering the sheer precision of Paco Romero’s sharply accentuated toe taps and positively thunderous heel stamps, on which the RHA’s reproduced the violent bursts of low-frequency energy launched out across the (I think) hardwood floor of the recording space as the heel strikes hit home. Third, the T20 deftly delineated the slightly differently flavoured pitches and textures of the supporting handclaps, finger-snaps, and castanets (a task made more difficult by the fact that these three elements were similar in pitch, timbre, and attack). Even so, the RHA’s made child’s play of the task. Finally, the Scottish earphones did an excellent job of capturing the reverberant characteristics and high frequency ‘air’ afforded by the live-sounding recording venue—in the process conveying a terrific sense of three dimensionality.
If you stop to think about it, the description I’ve just provided would constitute a favourable review for most any premium-priced earphone you might name. But, the fact that this description fits an earphone selling for a tick under £180 reflects both the brilliance and, if I might say so, the generosity of RHA’s T20 design. This is not, then, just a good earphone ‘for the money’; it’s a fine earphone, period. On the basis of sound quality alone, the T20 is an earphone that music lovers really need to hear. Highly recommended, and then some.
Read the full article at HiFI+
These combine the rich sound of headphones worth hundreds with a size smaller than your average headache tablet.
Mini and mighty
Hulking over-ear cans may be OK if you don't mind looking like a tragic skater-boy wannabe in your Savile Row suit, but the rest of us prefer something more subtle. And none are smaller, neater or sharper than Scottish audio experts RHA's new in-ear aluminium alloy S500i headphones. These combine the rich sound of headphones worth hundreds with a size smaller than your average headache tablet.
The clincher: If you want them even lighter (but good God, man, they're 14g!), there is a pair without the mic/remote.
Superb quality sound at a very decent price - these headphones also come with a variety of earpieces so they can get the perfect fit.
Christmas Gift Guide 2015
Superb quality sound at a very decent price - these headphones also come with a variety of earpieces so they can get the perfect fit.
Read the full feature on the Guardian
Budget friendly price and an enjoyable sound make the RHA S500i one hell of an enticing IEM.
There’s no shortage of budget-friendly IEMs on the market today. Any number of stores display cheap, throw-away earphones in their checkout lines or next to the register, but these are often traps. Most of these IEMs sound terrible with fat, bloated bass, mids so low that even Hermes Conrad couldn’t limbo his way underneath, and treble that feels like someone is using your eardrum as the base for a drill press. Why can’t an inexpensive IEM sound good? Why can’t these stores stock products that an audiophile on a budget can gladly purchase? Enter the S500i.
The S500i is the latest budget-friendly offering from RHA. Sporting a price tag under $50, this could be the budget IEM that music lovers have been craving.
The S500i is certainly not overburdened with accessories but RHA did include all the essentials. You’ll find the packaging contains a carrying pouch alongside a number of silicon ear tips. In a generous gesture, RHA provides two pair of small, medium and large tips as well as a single pair of double flange for those who prefer that style. The final accessory comes in the form of a small clothing clip. That’s all you’ll find in the box, but there’s really not any need for more.
Build quality is excellent. RHA decided to stay away from plastic enclosures and went with a machined aluminum body. The housing is small and unintrusive, a smart design choice that will appeal to even the most fashion-conscious listener. The right channel is home to the 3-button remote and microphone and functions smoothly with all compatible Apple devices. The left and right wires are coated in a soft and flexible thermoplastic rubber leading down to the split. The remaining portion of the cable is sleeved in a tangle resistant braided cloth. To complete the cable, it’s terminated with a gold plated 3.5mm TRRS connector, housed in aluminum like the ear pieces.
The remote on the S500i is one of the nicer ones I’ve used. On many 3-button remotes there’s not enough distinction between the volume and control buttons. The S500i uses the same design as the remote found on other RHA IEMs such as the T10 and T20. The main control button is concave and can easily be found with the thumb or forefinger when reaching to make a change. As a result the volume buttons sit higher and are clearly separated from one another. On some remotes it’s a guess exactly which button you’re pressing until the change occurs, but on the RHA remotes that’s never a problem.
I’ve always admired the thought and consideration that went into RHA’s headphone design, but I often found myself wishing their headphones had a touch less bass. The S500i’s sound signature makes a rather interesting departure from what many consider the RHA house sound, and it’s made the S500i more in-line with my tastes than nearly every RHA model I’ve heard previously.
The S500i features an even and linear low end that does an excellent job conveying detail and separation. It delivers a wonderful experience when listening to an upright bass walk a line, but it’s less than ideal when you want the rich, full-bodied bass often found in electronic music. Shpongle’s “Turn Up The Silence” comes to mind as a great example. Through the S500i, the bass guitar is very clean and crisp, but I found myself wanting a touch more “oomph.” Switching gears to a tune like “Alive” from Hiromi, the bass guitar could not be more spot-on. The quick decay and tight control allows for the bassline to perfectly blend with the rest of the trio.
The S500i’s sound takes a shallow dip in the lower midrange but does a superb job keeping that dip from becoming too distracting. Again visiting Hiromi’s “Alive,” her piano sounds more polite around middle C than in the lower range. This doesn’t mean that the mids are recessed, because they certainly are not, but a touch more would not feel amiss.
Continuing through the midrange the response begins to tilt upwards until it becomes very prominent in the upper midrange and lower highs. The sound is detailed and clear, but the treble can be peaky at times. Thankfully it’s far from the ear-shattering sharpness found in several other IEMs on the market. Hiromi’s quick attacks at the keys during the more energetic movements can occasionally be a bit much, but overall the experience is enjoyable.
The S500i’s soundstage is not small. In fact, quite the opposite is true. I found that the soundstage was surprisingly large given the size of the enclosure. The sound presents an excellent sense of width and depth with moderate height, but it comes across as somewhat artificial. Because of the clarity and detail in the upper register, imaging is excellent and you can easily place all instruments when listening to your favorite music. But due to the more polite nature of the lower mids and the upper emphasis, the performers feel more spread out than they’d naturally be during a performance. This effect is less noticeable when there is a lot going on, but it’s more apparent when listening to a small group. This isn’t a strike against the S500i, but it’s something that bears mentioning.
There’s really only one major complaint that I have about the S500i and it’s one with a simple resolution. The cable is designed in a way that is meant to be worn straight down from the ears. This is a common trait that the S500i shares with all of RHA’s sub-$100 IEMs. Unfortunately, this design often results in a very microphonic cable and that’s true once again with the S500i. When worn as designed, the cable rubs on the listener’s clothing or close by objects and creates a noisy listening experience.
This is easily remedied by rotating the IEM so that the cable runs over and behind the ear, creating more surface contact along the cable and reducing noise. The drawback to doing this is that it raises the remote so that it sits along the jawline. This has a negative impact on the built-in microphone, putting it in a location where it’s harder to pick up the listener’s voice. That’s a trade-off I’ve taken during the majority of my listening with the S500i. I listen with sources other than my iPhone, and the remote and mic don’t serve any function when that’s true. I’ve only used the microphone a handful of times. When I’m listening to music the over-ear method is my default choice.
One more detail to mention is that the S500i is available exclusively through Apple. There is a version of this IEM without the microphone and remote called the S500 and it can be purchased direct from RHA or through any of their partners. The S500 shaves off a few bucks and comes in just shy of $40.
I’ve been carrying the S500i almost daily while I’ve had my review unit. It’s voiced in such a way that I want to always have it at hand, and at its asking price there’s no reason not to. It’s sturdy enough that I don’t fear breaking it, but should that happen it’s not painful to pick up another pair. Budget friendly price, availability at Apple stores, and an enjoyable sound make the RHA S500i one hell of an enticing IEM. It won’t appeal to bassheads or the lovers of luscious midranges. It’s not a good fit for listeners who are sensitive to treble peaks. But if you don’t fit into those categories and you enjoy an even, balanced sound, then be ready to embrace this earphone with open arms. At this price, even your wallet will be happy.
Read the full article at Headphone Guru
The clear sound, good looks, and bountiful extras on display here help the S500s easily surpass their price point.
Glasgow-based Reid and Heath Acoustics has built a reputation for selling affordable in-ear monitors with an upmarket feel, but the S500s are the best instance of it bringing that mindset to the budget level.
Though it’s not as significant with a pair of IEMs, the design here is excellent. The metallic earpieces qualify as elegant, the kevlar-tinged cable is sturdy, and little touches like the aluminum around the connector surpass what I’d expect from $40 earphones. They aren’t for working out, but you’ll like looking at them.
The headphones come with seven sets of eartips, which is a ton, and should make finding the right fit straightforward. If you pay $10 more for the S500i model, you also get a three-button set of inline volume and playback controls. Unfortunately, those are only fully compatible with iOS devices.
Either way, these things are noticeably light and tiny. As a result, they jam deeply into your ear canal, almost hiding in your head while they’re on. That may be irritating to those who already find in-ears to be slightly uncomfortable, but it creates a tight seal that blocks out an impressive amount of outside noise. You need to crank them up a bit to leak much sound, too.
The most important thing is that the S500s also sound great. They have a very bright profile that greatly emphasizes the highs and high-mids, with tight, solidly powerful lows laying underneath that. For the money, they wring out a great level of detail; they’re consistently crisp, and they feature a relatively wide soundstage. Their sharp, edgy signature makes things like lead guitars and (most) women’s vocals shine in particular, though the bouncy bass lets hip-hop hold its own as well.
This definitely isn’t a natural sound, however. The emphasis on the high-end makes the S500s a bit too harsh at maximum volumes, and you’ll notice at least a little sibilance on most vocal tracks. The mids never feel prominent either, though what you can hear is usually well-defined.
Still, even if it’s not tremendously balanced, the clear sound, good looks, and bountiful extras on display here help the S500s easily surpass their price point.
Read the full article at Business Insider
The RHA S500i are one of the few in-ears that are worthy of your attention at this price point.
If you're looking for in-ears at an affordable price, it's easy to suffer a paralysis of choice at the store. There are just so many good in-ears for $40 or below that it's tough to figure out what's worth the money and what isn't. And truth be told, most of them aren't.
The RHA Audio S500i are one of the few in-ears that are worthy of your attention at this price point. Clad in durable aluminum and providing audio performance that rivals more expensive options, bargain hunters should keep the S500i on their radar.
However, these buds aren't for everyone: pop fans will be fine, but fans of other genres—such as classical music—may be less pleased by what they hear.
RHA Audio really took their time with this one. From the moment you pick them up, it's readily apparent that these in-ears benefited from several revisions in the design process.
For example, the aluminum casing to the earbuds ensures that they won't get crushed or rattled too badly, and the braided cable sheath from the jack split on down helps prevent everyday wear and tear from damaging the thin wires. Follow the wire down from the jack split and you arrive at yet more aluminum protective plating, this time guarding the standard 3-channel 1/8th inch plug.
Smartphone users will appreciate the in-line remote hanging from the right earbud, though the controls are only billed to work with iPhones and iPads. The remote itself—encased in yet more aluminum—hides a microphone, volume controls, and a multi-function button allowing you to play/pause music, or simply answer and end calls.
Included in the packaging are six different sizes of silicone tips, along with a set of double-flanged tips that are a little better at isolating sound. While you may have to go through a bit of trial and error to find the right fit, having so many options to choose from is a big plus.
Also in the box is a handy mesh pouch for easy storage. It won't exactly keep your cables from getting tangled, but any sort of pouch or case is a must-have for in-ears. The added shirt clip is a nice touch, though I have a sneaking suspicion that most of the time people will elect to shove the case in a bag or pocket.
For a $40 set of in-ears, you could do a lot worse than the S500i. I say that, because there are plenty of headphones that fall short at this price point—and it's tough to separate the wheat from the chaff.
There's really not much to kvetch about when it comes to common entry-level problems. There aren't any notable channel balance issues, and distortion is mostly inaudible. However, it does rear its ugly head in harmonic notes, so cymbal-heavy music may sound a little off. This will be most pronounced when listening to classical music, or songs with fewer instruments playing over each other.
In terms of note emphasis, the S500is sound quite a bit like most other bargain in-ears. They shoot for a response that mimics how your ears perceive sounds at roughly the same loudness across all audible notes, but with a few deviations here and there. However those deviations allow certain instruments to take center stage, and others fade into the background.
Specifically, the S500is make the highest two octaves of a piano, high piccolo, and sibilant cymbals will sound very pronounced in comparison to the rest of your music. Fans of orchestral music or trap hits are going to notice this more than fans of other genres.
It's not necessarily a bad thing: sometimes it can bring out background vocals and instruments from a saturated mix like the example above. The melody in that song is also quite high, and because it dances around a range normally downplayed by consumer audio standards, it can be a little harder to hear over the snare samples.
For a more seasonal example, consider Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker (suite), Op.71a: the highest piccolo notes in several of the songs will sound quite loud in comparison to the rest of the music. Owners of the S500i will want to avoid this if they can.
The Bottom Line
If the RHA S500i can be summed up in one word, it's "value." While they're not the best-sounding in-ears out there, you can do far worse for the money. If you like how they look, and you like how they sound, there's really not a good argument against spending the two Jacksons to grab these buds.
Sure, they're not perfect. They'll probably last a good long while before the wire comes undone at the solder points, maybe they get tangled and break, or maybe they just get misplaced. In any case, the S500i is a set of in-ears that performs exactly as you'd expect for the money: They beat the pants off of airport magazine stand buds, but they don't break the bank either.
Quite frankly, we can't find a reason to not buy these in-ears, unless they're simply not what you're looking for. If you like the look, pull the trigger.
Read the full article at Reviewed
The RHA S500i’s let me know that paying a little more gets you a lot more.
My very first foray into using RHA was from the very base version of their earbuds, say about 4 or 5 years back (FYI, they were called MA150’s. To put it in context, they’re no longer sold by RHA). They did what they were supposed to do, but every single time I used them whilst on the move, I could hear the braided cable moving against my clothing through the earbuds. Still, I liked them. They did the job better than I’d expected at a knock-down price of £15. The bass kicked butt, and it was tight. I haven’t used them in a while as they were donated to the never ending black hole of ‘my-daughter-needs-new-headphones’. But that’s not important right now. The S500i headphones are a different beast. The packaging is a tasteful affair, which helped my anticipation when I undid the packaging and found a full – and I mean, you have a complete set of earbuds for whatever the size of your ear is – full tray worth of 7 pairs of buds.
I wasted no time taking the well-cushioned S500i’s out and taking them for a spin. They sounded ok. Most of all, that annoying braided-cable sound was completely absent. So far, so good. I listened to music on the way to work and on the way home, and that was ok.
Something then happened! I’m not entirely sure what, but somewhere around week 2 or 3, I’d find myself listening to music on my BlueTooth headset, and I’d stop, take them off, and pop in the RHA’s. I didn’t even notice until I was outside and raining on my way home, and I was huddled under a shop awning fiddling around with wires to put the RHA’s in. I think I was kicking back to some old school jams (One Dark Night, by Kool G Rap), when I realised I wanted a little more to the tune. Whammo. The bass was tight, and the heavy piano line was a perfect counterpart to the atmospheric thunder and rain. The lyrics were crystal clear through the insistent high hats...
I was head-bopping, the world fading away to the soundstage the S500i’s were laying out to me. Something had happened between the time I first used the earbuds and now. The sounds were richer, smoother. Don’t get me wrong, when bass was needed it delivered in spades, but when something a little more restrained was required from when I put on The Beauty Song from the House of Flying Daggers Soundtrack – oh, that was so clear. By the time I hit the Kathleen Battle rendition of Lovers from the same soundtrack (it’s one of my favourites. Sue me. seriously, don’t. I can’t afford it with the wages the owner of CoolSmartPhone Towers doles out) her voice rose from the track and wrapped the power of her vocals around me. I’m not a music expert. I can’t really tell my decibel from my ohm. But I can tell you this: I’m never ever going back to a £20 pair of earbuds without a damned good reason. The RHA S500i’s let me know that paying a little more gets you a lot more.
At times, I seem to end up using my phone a lot, both in and out of work. Jumping on a conference call and sneaking around to grab a cup of coffee was simplicity itself. I found myself having to actually turn down the volume when trying to hear the ambient sounds of people in the kitchen area because the tight fit of the S500 earbuds are pretty good at cutting down on the random sounds. It wasn’t that I couldn’t hear people, more like that the noise they made mattered less. Hard to explain. Nevertheless, those on the call heard me a lot clearer than they did whenever I tried to use my BT headset. Score one for the wired connection.
The standard 3.5 mm connector is gold plated, and I have no idea if that helped with the sound reproduction, but it certainly hasn’t detracted one iota from the aural experience.
The inline remote connector takes a little bit of getting used to if you want to get the most out of it – also, the S500i is ‘tweaked’ for an iPhone. I hardly used it on an iPhone, but was still able to get the answer/hangup functionality working without a problem. You also get play/pause of music using the same button, and the volume controls are placed at the top/bottom end of the remote. Simples? Why, yes it is.
As you might have noticed, I tend to pick up earphones on the lower end of the budget. I’m not surprised when a pair of buds up and fail on me at some point outside of a 1 year warranty. The S500i’s don’t fall into that category for me. They feel solid, in a way that a brick feels solid, but they aren’t heavy or ungainly in my ear in the least. I keep them in the supplied pouch (nice touch, RHA) because that makes them easy to get to, and for some reason, they never seem to tangle up. The clip to keep it pinned to a piece of clothing gets used a lot, especially when I’m outside in the dusk hours, shooting a few hoops on my own to relax. That counts for a lot. The outer casing feels like aluminium, or if any of our stateside cousins are reading this, it feels like aluminum. They’re not on the £100-200 range of earbuds, but then sometimes that isn’t what you’re after.
If you want something that definitely sounds as if it should cost twice as much as they’re priced for, then check out RHA. They’ve done it again. I should not have been surprised.
Read the full article on coolsmartphone
The S500i gives you style and substance in one tiny, well-designed package.
The world seems to be full of huge, chunky earphones/headphones – you’re nobody if you don’t wear huge “cans”…
Except, they don’t necessarily give you the best fit or sound. I prefer in-ear headphones, buds that sit inside your ear, snuggly and giving you excellent music pleasure.
These new earphones from RHA, the S500i gives you style and substance in one tiny, well-designed package.
As with this style of headphone, the S500i is lightweight and comfortable to use and wear – mainly being down to the big quality aluminium used in the production of these beauties. Add to that a fabric cord and an easy to use mic/volume control and you have a future classic. These come with a selection of dual density replaceable ear tips that ensure you don’t disturb the other commuters!
The 1.35m fabric cable gives you more than enough cable to pop your phone in your pocket and still do the head bop to your favourite tunes without dislodging the earbuds. The lightweight, aluminium construction helps to make it feel like you’re not wearing anything – in your ears…
The selection of replaceable ear tips means a snug fit but also keeps your earphones clean and tidy. This is something I’ve struggled with using the white ones supplied by “you-know-who”.
Now I love my cheesy music, and sometimes I want to listen to it without the judgement looks from those around me – you know who you are. So, the fact that these lovely things actually do what they say they will and keep the noise in your ears, rather than anyone else, is a bonus for me. I can look like I’m listening to Megadeath or Mahler, instead of actually bopping away to Steps or Scootch.
I’m biased when it comes to this type of earbud, I prefer my headphones small and easy to transport/store so these are ideal. My only negative is, as usual, the fact the cord tangles – but this is something that happens with all headphones so it’s no major issue. They come with a lovely drawstring pocket to keep them safe and tidy so at least RHA are thinking about how to transport them and try to keep them tangle free.
Read the full article on TheGayUK
It's no surprise to me the RHA name is fast becoming synonymous with good design and build quality.
RHA, one of my favourite earphone companies of the past few years are back again with another in ear headphone to flesh out there already very comprehensive lineup. In the past I have reviewed almost every earphone that RHA has put out and I can honestly say that pound for pound RHA products are the most well thought out and best value in their respective price ranges. Despite owning some of the worlds best IEM's (In Ear Monitors) such as the Campfire Audio Lyra and Shure SE846 when someone comes up and asks me what earphones they should get I usually suggest the RHA T10i or T20i. It's attention to detail and the little things on the higher end RHA's I loved but now we throw down with the RHA S500i review and see if this new sub $50 little brother has learned anything from the T10 and T20.
Packaging on the RHA S500i is pretty much in line with what you would expect at this price point. Its not going to blow you away. Its a box with pretty pictures on it. Those pretty pictures of course follow in line with the rest of the products the company offers and if this one was placed in a store I could easily pick it out and attribute it to the Glasgow based headphone company. There was a fair bit of wasted space inside the packaging with the earphones tucked away on the right hand side and visible through a small viewing window. Looking in I was surprised at just how tiny these little earphones were.
When conducting RHA earphone reviews in the past I have always noted that the included accessory sets have been top of the line. Loads of tips, filters, unique filter and tip holders and a nice feeling semi rigid case. Well in line with the cost cutting exercise to get the RHA S500i to a sub $50 price point the accessory options have been put on a diet. Instead of the traditional case you are now left with a RHA branded cloth drawstring case that is good only for being somewhere to put your earphones and very little protection will be provided as opposed to a hard case you might find on similarly priced Brainwavz Products. The companies signature tip holder is still there albeit in a plastic as opposed to metal form and the tip selection still manages to cover all the sizes and styles you need to get a perfect fit.
Design & Build Quality
As with every other RHA earphone this is really where things start to look good. The S500i are a very well built earphone as you might expect but it was the little touches that made the difference and sets them apart from a lot of the other generic looking, cookie cutter options in the sub $50 earphone category. Starting with the housing the first thing you will notice is just how small these S500i are. The housing is made of machined aluminium, tubular in shape and branded with RHA at the end and it has a small driver vent on the bottom. The filters are fixed unlike the companies more premium offerings but as long as you are careful when changing tips you shouldn't have any issues as the filters actually sit slightly increased into the driver shaft as opposed to being placed on top as is the case with many other budget earphones. There are of course R + L markers on each earpiece so you know which side goes where. The cable exits the housing at a slight angle away from the ear canal which means you can get a few extra mm of depth to create a deeper seal. Strain relief is small but adequate and you will of course be covered by RHA's great warranty if anything does go south.
The cable itself is very well done and features a low microphonic upper cable housing made of rubber and the lower half after the cable splitter is a lightweight cord. This combination of materials meant that there was very little noise, if any, from the cable. The RHA S500i is of course the model that features an inline microphone and control set and during the course of the review it was found to offer excellent call quality. The earbud microphone and control is made of the same aluminium found on the earpieces, its rock solid. Cable splitter and cinch are nothing to write home about but do there job just as they should. Finally the S500i cable jack is metal, straight plugged and has the awesome little metal knurling design I was fond of on the more expensive IEM's from RHA.
For the price you will be getting a set of earphones that are very well built and have had a lot of thought put into them. I have just this year seen companies put out some terribly designed earphones and those this cost $400. Its no surprise to me though as the RHA name is fast becoming synonymous with good design and build quality.
Fit and Isolation
Fit on the RHA s500i super simple as the earphones are just so small and the tips grippy enough to provide a tight seal in seconds. Weight is definetly an issue on the earpieces as the whole unit is extremely light and comfortable worn over ear or cable down. Due to the small housing the eabuds don't have the greatest instertation depth and as a result are only average when it comes to isolation but its still fine for riding on the bus or being on a busy street, they will block out most noise, just not all.
The sound that the S500i put out is very much a consumer focussed tuning with some fairly strong bass recessed midrange and pushed treble. Its very much a V Shaped sound signature, something that does well with modern genres of music like EDM & Hip-Hop. The presentation is dark overall with good bass response that manages to go fairly low but does seem a little slow when the music gets more challenging. They do manage to extend fairly low and offer up some Sub-Bass to get your head rattling. Of course not to the levels of the mighty T10i but of course the S500i cots 1/5 the price. Mids are smooth, definitely not as prominent as the bass and the treble. The earphones are best for electronic music but fans of acoustic and rock would be better served with something like the the KZ ATE IEM with its more balanced signature & mid focussed signature. Highs were good and the treble while being bright had lots of detail about it at this price point, only a few times did it ever become peaky and that was when pushed with classical and jazz recordings.
The S500i might not be RHA's most outstanding earphone but what it does offer is a lot of value in both the build & feature sets. Sound performance is good for the price category, even though it doesn't really stand out from the crowd in terms of pure fidelit. If you are someone who listens to mostly mainstream music and you like a bit of bass to your tuning then the RHA s500 should work very well and last you many years without having taken to heavy a till on your wallet.
Read the full article on Audiophile On
The sound output goes above and beyond what you might expect at this price range.
You may know the RHA T20 as one of the premium high fidelity noise isolating in-ear headphones available today. However, this kind of technology does not come without a price and in the case of the T20, the buy-in comes at around $240. But what if you use your headphones primarily for kicking around at the gym, subway and just floating in your pockets as ‘daily carry’?
Well, then RHA has the S500i, which is their entry-level option. But as we all know, when it comes to budgeting a pair of headphones, something has to be sacrificed to keep within its ‘budget’. So what did RHA sacrifice? We weren’t sure, so we asked if we could sample their new headphones for ourselves – and they agreed to send us a pair.
We can tell you that they did not sacrifice on usability. This S500i comes with a ton of ear tips (7 by our count) to make sure you get a perfect (sound isolating) fit. It also comes with a braided cord for durability and a fully stocked inline remote control with three buttons at your command and a mic that sits comfortably at your jawline.
Perhaps RHA cut a few corners on sound quality?
No, the sound output goes above and beyond what you might expect at this price range. Our philosophy is that it is always easier to dampen extra bass and brightness than it is to compensate for its lack of – and with the S500i, it comes out of the box with an obvious appreciation for the far ends of the frequency spectrum. But despite its preference to be a little ‘over-the-top’ in its bass and treble, it does maintain its balance quite well no matter what you’re listening to.
Our theory as to what makes the S500i a ‘budget’ pair of in-ear headphones is its simple design. While these may be finished with excellent quality aluminum, they are not exactly eye-catching or ground-breaking. And if we had to make a guess as to who these were designed for, we would simplify it with a single question:
Are you the kind of guy who lives for the experience of the ride or the pride of having excess bling on your driveway? Because this budget sports car was built for both speed and comfort, and if that sounds like your own philosophy on life – you can get a little more close and personal with the S500i here.
Read the full article on Urbasm
The RHA T20 is a stellar, audiophile-quality in-ear with truly killer isolation. Place them in your ears, and the world disappears.
For the Person Who Must Have Silence At All Times. In-ear headphones are the best for those times of intense concentration, whether you're crunching budgets or playing side two of Pink Floyd's "Animals." The RHA T20 is a stellar, audiophile-quality in-ear with truly killer isolation. Place them in your ears, and the world disappears.
Read the full article on Wired
The separation and clarity of all the frequencies is superb. RHA’s clever sound shapers have managed to bring out a treble that doesn’t fatigue, a mid-range that projects forward and a bass that doesn’t muddy or crowd out the rest of the music.
Over the past year I’ve looked at quite a few pairs of headphones so I thought it was about time I took a look at earphones instead. Not everyone wants to carry around a large pair of headphones or wander the streets looking like one of Doctor Who’s cybermen, and yet there’s little to compare to a really good pair of reference headphones to bring out all the subtlety and detail in a piece of music, especially if you have a hi-res music player such as the AK Jr that I reviewed here recently.
For the past few weeks I’ve been road-testing a pair of T20i earphones from Scottish company RHA. These earphones are at the top of the RHA range and there’s no question that they reek of high quality. Manufactured from injection-moulded stainless steel (I’d no idea you could injection mould stainless steel) these earphones feel weighty in the hand. The cable is thick and durable while the 3.5mm gold-plated jack plug is exquisitely assembled with a coil spring running up the cable to relieve any strain on the plug . There’s a small tubular remote towards the top end of the right-hand cable which has a microphone and the usual controls to work with most iPhones, iPods and iPads. It’s fair to say that the feel of the T20i reflects their price tag very well. Each pair comes with a three-year guarantee which speaks volume for the build quality.
The T20i come with a selection of silicone and memory foam earplugs in various sizes so that you can choose the one that suits your ears best. Alongside the earplugs is a set of three changeable steel tuning filters that offer a subtle change in the sound character, ranging from treble and reference through to bass. These little metal filters screw into the earphone housings and you can try each pair out to see which set suits your taste. The effect of the tuning filters is fairly subtle but I found the bass filter added a little extra depth that suited my hearing best.
Inside those injection-moulded stainless steel housings are two separate voice coils which work much the same way that a woofer and a tweeter might on a two-way speaker. A tiny crossover is also shoehorned into the housing to direct the appropriate frequencies to each voice coil. The result is a clear and neutral sound that can actually be quite unusual at first listen. Most of us are used to using the earbuds that come with our iPhones or iPods and, let’s be honest here, those cheap mass-produced units are never going to win awards for sound quality. In fact, most of us have only ever heard our music on the go through earbuds tuned to provide maximum volume and thick bass so that we can get the illusion we’re listening to hi-fi when we’re running or exercising.
Initially the T20i sounded a little bright to my ears but after trying out and swapping over the tuning filters and selecting a set of earbuds that properly fitted my ears, I finally heard the sound quality that the designers at RHA had intended me to hear. I can’t stress enough how important it is to select the correct size of earbud and to test out the tuning filters in order to get the very best out of the earphones. If the T20i aren’t fitting properly you’ll just hear a harsh and tinny sound that won’t impress, but once you have the earphones set up correctly you will hear a sound that’s every bit as clear and as enjoyable as any pair of high-end headphones. The separation and clarity of all the frequencies is superb. RHA’s clever sound shapers have managed to bring out a treble that doesn’t fatigue, a mid-range that projects forward and a bass that doesn’t muddy or crowd out the rest of the music. These are earphones you can listen to on a long train journey or flight without suffering ear fatigue. You’ll find yourself searching out different tracks just to hear them anew.
Okay, so I realise I’m gushing a bit here so there must be some drawbacks or downsides to the T20i. These aren’t easy earphones to drive and they certainly won’t sound as loud as the cheap earbuds that shipped with your phone. In fact, it might take a while for your ears to adjust to how music really should sound on a portable device. I also noted that during my time with the T20i their sound mellowed and stretched out with extended use; they just got better and better. What started out as quite a harsh and metallic sound ended up being as warm and comfy as a well-worn cardigan.
The RHO T20i aren’t cheap earphones but they are good. When you consider you can pay up to £2000 for a pair of earphones from the likes of Astell & Kern, I think £190 isn’t too high a price to pay, particularly if you’re using them on a £600 phone or music player. Everything from the stainless steel tray to hold the selection of earbuds to the smart little zip case supplied to keep your earphones safe feels luxurious and well thought out. My only worry would be leaving such a gorgeous pair of headphones on a train or hotel room. However, that shouldn’t be a problem as they sound so good you’re unlikely to take them out of your ears.
Read the full article on Forbes
Find out more about the T20i
The S500i promises to continue the trend of excellent sound, cool minimalist style and robust components at an affordable price.
What are they?
Quality budget headphones.
How will they change my life?
Glasgow-based RHA has built a substantial reputation in a relatively short space of time. This is due in part to the unique style of the products, but what also comes across is the company's passion for what it does. Converting that tenacious spirit into quality devices is what invariably makes – or breaks – a brand.
The latest headphones from RHA, the S500i, promise to continue the trend of excellent sound, cool minimalist style and robust components at an affordable price.
The reasons for purchasing budget headphones can vary drastically from economic constraints to simply wanting a secondary pair for a rainy day. Quality of sound, materials and design are typically the last considerations and generally perceived as bonuses. These low expectations can and should now be forgotten.
The S500i in-ear headphones shatter conventional perceptions of cheaper sound products. Even before sampling their aural delights you are greeted with tip-top design: a gold-plated connection jack, a sleek aluminium body, a three-button remote control/mic and seven choices of ear-buds.
A three-year warranty is testament to the build quality. Compact and attractive, looking like perfectly machined pieces of futuristic biometrics, the S500i headphones are functional and pleasingly free from pretentiousness.
The audio performance maintains the high standard with crisp notes and little to no feedback. Its perfect range lies between soft rock and punk although everything I threw at the S500i was dealt with without any complaints.
It's hard to be critical about something so enjoyable, but I did find it a tad difficult to remove them from my ears without pulling on the cable.
Best for ...
Those with more than a passing interest in music. The price means anyone can enjoy the benefits of proper tone relay. Finding these in my stocking at Christmas would go down a treat.
Avoid if ...
Your appetite for high sound quality is negligible.
Read the full article in The Herald
Put next to a similarly-priced pair of headphones it becomes evident just how impressive build quality is.
The S500i is a surprisingly premium-feeling pair of in-ear headphones. I wouldn't expect aluminium alloy for this little money, but lo and behold: that's exactly what you get. Put next to a similarly-priced pair of headphones, such as Sennheiser's CX3.00, it becomes evident just how impressive build quality is. The design itself looks incredibly classy as well.
Rather than sitting over the top of your ears, as is the case with many of RHA's other headphones including the T10i, the S500is are designed to be worn straight in. It's fortunate that their length is restrained, as not to protrude too far out of your ear canal. They're actually relatively low-profile once inserted, and the angled back of each earphone's casing also helps create the illusion of a smaller size. The use of aluminium has helped make the earphones lightweight. You won't feel like these are pulling out of your ears. The silver finish is simple, clean and not at all ostentatious.
The Y-shaped cable consists of two materials. The main cable is fabric braided, which doesn't tangle easily nor does it magnify microphonics (the sound of the cable rubbing against your clothing). The two cables leading to the earphones are a thinner rubbery material that doesn't feel quite as robust, but I was never worried about them becoming frayed or damaged. The headphones terminate in a straight 3.5mm headphone jack, which, like the rest of the headphones, is very well constructed.
With the S500i, the right earphone cable has a three-button inline remote for iOS devices. I found the remote a little fiddly, however. The buttons don't have much travel to them and are very flush, meaning it's difficult to tell if you're pressing them or not. Double and triple-clicks of the play/pause button to skip tracks, therefore, became rather hit and miss. Used hands-free, the microphone was perfectly capable of picking up my voice with good clarity. An S500 model sans the remote is also available if you don't need the microphone and remote, which is an incredible bargain.
You get plenty of accessories, with a travel pouch and clip and six pairs of dual density and double-flange silicone tips. It's therefore easy to find a pair of tips that fit your ears. As with all in-ear headphones, the fit and a good seal are critical for maintaining any real bass presence.
Sound quality for a pair of headphones at this price was very acceptable. There's good clarity in the mids and treble, for the most part, with only occasional muddiness as the bass encroaches slightly into the higher frequencies. The headphones do have a generally warm signature if that's your preference. At higher volumes, the treble becomes a bit bright and mildly uncomfortable, however. Again, you have to make certain allowances considering the price and these certainly sounded very respectable for the money.
If you're looking for a stylish, inexpensive pair of headphones you'll be well served by the RHA S500i, and even for this low price you get RHA's great three year warranty.
Read the full article at expertreviews
Clean audio performance and an abundance of accessories make the RHA S500i a solid deal in this price range.
RHA has made a name for itself by offering quality headphones and earphones at budget prices. Eventually the company expanded its lineup to include some pricier options, like the RHA T20, but is returning to its roots with the S500i. The in-ear S500i, at $49.95, offers more accessories than plenty of earphones twice the price, with a design that also seems imported from a pricier tier. Beyond the accessories and design, the actual audio performance is powerful, with solid bass response and noticeably sculpted highs that result in some extra brightness. There simply aren't many options like this in the price range, and so the S500i earns our Editors' Choice award.
The S500i flaunts a sleek, stylish look, with earpieces that are tiny and execptionally lightweight. Metallic accents on the earpieces, the inline remote control, and the 3.5mm connection are paired with a black cable that includes a section covered in Kevlar.
Situated along the right ear's cable at chin-height, the inline remote has three buttons: a multi-function button that controls playback, track navigation, and call management, and + and - buttons for volume control. The volume buttons work in conjunction with your mobile device's levels.
A whopping seven eartip pairs are included with the S500i, including a single set of flange-style eartips. The in-ear fit is secure, and blocks out a significant amount of ambient room noise. It's important to use the right size eartip from an audio standpoint—the smallest tips still stayed securely in my ears, but the bass response was seriously diminished unless I had larger eartips in. This is true with all eartips and earphones to some degree, but the variation in bass response, despite a secure fit, was quite noticeable with the S500i. RHA also includes a shirt clip and a padded mesh drawstring protective pouch.
Performance and Conclusions
On tracks with powerful sub-bass content, like The Knife's "Silent Shout," the RHA S500i delivers thunderous low end, and at top, unwise listening levels, the drivers do not distort. At more moderate volumes, the deep bass is still prominent in the mix—but because the S500i also boosts and sculpts the higher frequencies quite a bit, there's a decent sense of balance between the lows and highs. On other tracks, the high-mids and highs can seem more prominent.
Bill Callahan's "Drover," a track with little in the way of deep bass, gets some added low frequency presence through the S500i, but not so much that it overpowers things. The drums receive a little extra deep low-end power, but primarily, we notice how bright and crisp things sound—Callahan's vocals have plenty of treble edge, and the percussive hits and guitar strums that populate the mix are particularly bright. At times, this can make things seem a bit sibilant, but the sound signature is never harsh or brittle.
On Jay-Z and Kanye West's "No Church in the Wild," the kick drum loop's attack gets a generous helping of treble, allowing it to stay sharp and easily slice through the mix's many layers. The vinyl crackle of the loop seems elevated here, another example of the S500i's noticeable brightness. The sub-bass synth hits and sustain of the drum loop still get plenty of low-end boosting and presence, however. Again, the vocals can sound a bit sibilant, but things aren't overboard in this regard.
On orchestral tracks, like the opening scene in John Adams' The Gospel According to the Other Mary, the earphones definitely favor the already-prominent higher register strings, brass, and vocals. The sound here is bright and well-defined, and there's enough low frequency boosting to make sure things never sound brittle. The lower register instrumentation can sometimes sound powerful, but mostly plays a supporting role on tracks like this.
Even with the super-sculpted sound signature, the RHA S500i earphones sound excellent for the price. Most of the similarly priced models also have very sculpted sound signatures and tend to be exercise-focused, like the JBL Synchros Reflect, the Skullcandy Method, and the SOL Republic Relays Sport. But clean audio performance and an abundance of accessories make the RHA S500i a solid deal in this price range. For those who enjoy some added brightness with their bass, this is an excellent budget wired earphone option, earning it our Editors' Choice award.
Read the full article at PC Mag
If you’re looking for something sharp and formidable that doesn’t break the bank, we recommend giving them a try.
For its latest pair of in-ear headphones, design-conscious audio brand RHA traded in the hulky steel used in its T10i and T20i models for ultra-light aluminum casings. Dubbed the S500i, the new headphones boast one another major change-up from their predecessors: An enticingly affordable price point is less than half of the next model in the lineup.
To look at them, you’d never know the S500i are a budget set of buds, though. The micro-drivers inside each sleek casing allows for a strikingly small profile, and the design boasts features normally reserved for the $100 price point and above, brushing the same chic chrome across a three-button iOS mic piece and 3.5mm cable termination.
Other impressive features include braiding along the cable for tangle-resistance, a small mesh carrying case, and, as we’ve come to expect from RHA, a veritable vegas-style buffet of silicone eartips to help ensure a secure fit. The S500i do fit well — even after a couple of hours of wear, we never experienced any comfort issues. Our only real gripe with the headphones’ design is the cable, which gets pretty noisy when it rubs on your face or clothing.
As for performance, the S500i are a definite step up from the earbuds that likely came with your smartphone, and they outperform plenty of other offerings in their price range. Treble and upper mids are detailed, though the sparkly attack might be just a tad too sharp for some. On the other end, bass is full and firm for most tracks. Power cuts off a little early in the upper bass, running into a midrange that lacks much presence or excitement, but at this price point, the S500i impress, offering clarity and balance along with impressive stereo imaging.
The S500i are available now through the Apple store. If you’re looking for something sharp and formidable that doesn’t break the bank, we recommend giving them a try.
Read the full article at Digital Trends
Holiday Gift Guide 2015: Perfect Presents for Music Fans.
Holiday Gift Guide 2015: Perfect Presents for Music Fans
For audiophiles who don't want to look like an airplane mechanic, these stainless-steel earbuds are a revelation. Swappable filters on the tips optimize sound for bass or treble-heavy tunes, and a DualCoil driver makes any music crystal clear.
Read the full article at Rolling Stone
RHA’s T20 headphones deliver a great sound and are impressively versatile too.
People like Beats headphones. It's a fact and, as much as we might bemoan the style-over-content ethos, Beats’ impact on the premium headphone market can’t be ignored. They’re like the gateway-drug for high-end headphones.
The RHA T20 headphones are Reid and Heath Acoustics’ next shot at the premium in-ear market. It’s first go, the T10i headphones, were reasonably successful if a little over-excitable on the bass front. But RHA is aiming to right the previous design’s few wrongs with its new design.
The T20s though are still obviously related to their progenitors, using the same injection-moulded metal housing to lend them that real high-end feel, and also come with the most obvious selling point of the T10i: the tuneable filters.
When you’re spending pretty big on a pair of in-ear headphones - and at £180 for the T20s you will be - you want to know they are going to be versatile enough to cope with your varied music tastes.
While you might go through phases of listening to a very specific genre of music, chances are you’ll be listening intently to one type of music today and something tonally very different the next month. My personal tastes happily bounce between the likes of John B, Palma Violets, Dire Straits, The Cure and Emancipator - all pretty different and all really demanding different things for your headphones.
That’s where RHA’s changeable filters, smart driver design and relatively wide frequency range come into their own.
The default set of screw-on filters are the most balanced, offering an almost reference-level, flat EQ, but there are also discrete sets to filter out more bass or more treble. They’re easy to change - remove the ear-tip and simply unscrew the existing filter and replace it.
Though, realistically, they're a little too fiddly for you to able to change on the fly when you’re out and about.
Comfort and fit
There are also myriad different ear-tips too, from standard single and dual-flange silicone designs to differently-sized memory foam options. These all make it very easy to find a comfortable, and impressively noise-cancelling, fitting with the T20s.
What might be a little more divisive though is the over-ear hook design, where the cable itself wraps up-and-over the ear. The top part of the rubberised headphone cable has its own memory, retaining its shape when wound around your ears.
This stops them from being easily tugged out of your ear and also stops them from feeling too weighty. That moulded metal design could have felt very heavy on the ear otherwise. Though that weight does give a real sense of their build-quality.
As does the stainless steel splitter which parts the hefty multicore cable and splits it between left and right components. The 3.5mm headphone jack is constructed from a similarly weighty chunk of steel, with a springy coil wrapped around the base of the cable to give it some support and - hopefully - a longer life.
All the design smarts and customisation would be for nought if the sound quality wasn’t up to scratch. Thankfully this is where RHA has stepped up its game from the T10i headphones.
With the default filter set the audio is clear and precise, without the over-heavy bass which marred the previous design. The clarity on the vocals is seriously impressive making them a great choice if you have a penchant for accapella or audio books, but maybe less so for EDM or anything you want to have a little more punch.
For that though you can add the filter which emphasise low-end frequencies. This adds a definite depth to the sound without unnecessarily muddying the other frequencies.
I’m not sure where the other filter comes in though; it just makes the aural experience too lightweight and thin for my tastes.
It’s not just all about these filters though, the main reason for the impressive sound quality is the DualCoil dynamic driver design, effectively integrating an additional tweeter into the space normally given over to a single driver design. And those filters are only of any use because the DualCoil drivers offer a broad frequency range going from 16Hz-40kHz.
This all helps give a balance to the audio which stops the T20s from being fatiguing to wear for long periods of time - something which I find happens a lot with other in-ear designs.
The sound quality in the T20s then makes them a great in-ear fit for the likes of Hi-Res Audio devices we’re seeing coming from the likes of Pioneer with its new XDP-100R player, or higher-end options from Acoustic Research and Astell&Kern.
RHA’s T20 headphones deliver a great sound and are impressively versatile too. They fix the unseemly bass levels which marred the original T10i design and deliver incredible clarity to acoustic and vocal performances.
They might seem a little feature-light for the smartphone crowd - though you can go for the T20i set which offers in-line controls if that is what you’re after. That said there are no other in-ear sets out there which can offer the tuneable filters the T20 headphones come with.
They’re not perfect - that over-ear loop is going to put a good few people off - but they do offer excellent sound coupled with robust build quality. And they’re a set of headphones I keep coming back to when testing new Hi-Res Audio devices.
Read the full article at T3
With its ergonomic shape, ultra heavy-duty stainless steel construction, and dynamic driver, the T20 is one of the more unique high-end earphones on the market right now.
Accessories (5/5) – Single-flange (6 pairs in 3 sizes), double-flange (2 sizes), and foam (2 pairs) eartips with stainless steel caddy, shirt clip, threaded nozzle tuning filters (3 pairs), and zippered leather carrying case
Build Quality (5/5) – The T20 is yet another in a long line of RHA IEMs with impeccable construction. It utilizes injection-molded stainless-steel housings and features three pairs of interchangeable sound-tuning nozzle filters, which are color-coded and stored threaded through a metal plate. Cables are of above-average thickness, tangle-resistant, and feature a rather beefy “memory wire” section in place of the flexible earhook found on RHA’s MA750 model. The cable terminates with RHA’s signature metal I-plug and the earphones are covered by a 3-year warranty
Isolation (3.5/5) – Isolation is quite good, on-par with the MA750 model
Microphonics (4.5/5) – The cable carries some noise but microphonics are generally not a problem due to mandatory over-the-ear fitment and the fact that the cord is thick and heavy, and doesn’t move around much
Comfort (3.5/5) – The ergonomic shape of the T20 makes it unique among the metal IEMs I’ve tried and is similar to what we typically see from Shure, Westone, and EarSonics stage monitors. However, the stainless steel shells of the T20 are also quite heavy in comparison, and a little less comfortable as a result. The memory wire helps, but during more active use it needs the cable cinch to stay in place securely
Sound (9.1/10) – The T20 is the third new flagship we’ve seen from RHA in about two years. The title originally belonged to the MA750, which impressed me enough to land a spot on my Earphone Buyer’s Guide upon its debut. The MA750’s combination of superb design and build quality with warm and pleasant acoustics remains difficult to beat – in fact, the T10 model that superseded it missed the mark for me thanks to its overly bass-heavy sound.
The T20 is very similar in design and construction to the T10, down to the three pairs of included tuning filters. However, while the T10 was very bass-heavy and ultimately not as natural-sounding as the MA750, the T20 reverts to a more balanced presentation.
The changes in sound brought about by its tuning filters are quite subtle, but a small amount of customization is better than none. The default “Reference” filter puts forward a mildly v-shaped sound not unlike that of the MA750, but with tighter lows providing a less warm and bass-biased sound and making the v-shape more audible.
The tuning of the T20 shares similarities with earphones such as the less expensive Alpha & Delta AD01 and the pricier, triple-driver Fidue A83, though both of these have slightly more pronounced “v-shaped” sound signatures. The AD01 is warmer and more bass-heavy than the T20 while the A83 has less bass with a slightly brighter and splashier top end.
The T20’s “Bass” filter cuts treble energy down slightly, biasing the sound of the T20 even more towards the low end. Though I consider bass impact and depth to already be plentiful with the “Reference” filter, I do like the smoother sound this filter provides. However, the T20 is not too heavy on midrange presence and detail in the first place, and using this filter dulls the sound further. In the interest of not losing even more fine detail, I ended up using the “Reference” filter instead.
The “Treble” filter of the T20 is actually the most mid-recessed of the three. It maintains the plentiful bass impact of the “Reference” filter but seems to re-balance the midrange and treble a little, with more bias towards the high end. Because the difference is again fairly mild, this filter is definitely usable and the resulting sound is still not as bright as, say, a DUNU Titan 1. However, the less mid-recessed “Reference” filter was again more to my liking.
The presentation of the T20, which is fairly consistent between all three filters, is about mid-pack for a $200+ earphone. It’s not overly wide and out-of-the-head, instead offering a moderately forward sound. Earphones such as the VSonic GR07 and DUNU Titan 1 appear more airy and spacious in comparison, but also lack the dynamics and immediacy of the T20’s presentation.
One last thing worth noting is that the T20 is quite sensitive to source noise – surprisingly so for a dynamic-driver earphone, especially one with such low rated sensitivity (per the manufacturer specs). In practical terms, this means the T20 will produce audible hiss and/or electrical noise with sources that don’t have an extremely low noise floor, and selecting the T20 as a “safe” choice for use with an imperfect source based on the rated sensitivity and dynamic driver may not have the desired results.
Value (8.5/10) – While the RHA T10 was something of a departure from the superb MA750 model that preceded it, the new T20 takes a step back and delivers more of what made the MA750 great. It tackles the difficult task of improving on the MA750’s strongest points – its build and sound quality – and succeeds by combining a seemingly tough-as-nails construction with a slightly more exaggerated version of the MA750’s impactful, mildly v-shaped sound signature. It can be a little heavy-handed in the upper midrange and doesn’t have the most delicate, refined, or detailed sound, but rewards listeners with excellent dynamics and good clarity on top of impactful bass.
With its ergonomic shape, ultra heavy-duty stainless steel construction, and dynamic driver, the T20 is one of the more unique high-end earphones on the market right now, and while it may not quite deliver the killer value for money of the more inexpensive MA750, I’m glad to see RHA continuing to both innovate and improve on previous designs.
Read the full article on the headphone list
Overall, RHA have really made an outstanding product in the T20s. From the design to the build to the sound performance, they have left no stone unturned.
It has not been long since I last reviewed one of RHA’s products – the RHA T10 earphone. While the build quality and overall form factor impressed me very much the sound tuning did leave quite a bit to be desired on a relative scale.
With RHA being an incredibly attentive company, they have listened to feedback and have completely reinvigorated the T10s through new driver implementation to deliver a sound that matches its build. The end result being the T20 IEMs. The T20s adopts the same build and design which has earned the T10 much praise and success throughout the globe. There is even the same filter system which seemingly makes the whole experience with RHA more customisable and tailored to the consumer experience. However, there is one fundamental change that distinguishes the T20 from the T10 and that is the driver configuration. Instead of the previously single dynamic drivers, RHA have now chosen to adopt a new technology – DualCoil Dynamic drivers said to produce an even higher level of resolution and detail than its predecessor.
The T20i counterpart has already been announced and will have a separate launch date to the T20 earphones. It will include a microphone and in-line 3 button remote compatible with Apple devices with a price of just $10 extra.
The Filter System
Like the T10 before it, RHA have stuck with the 3 filter options; a bass, reference and treble tuner. While the sound signatures do not completely differ from one another, there are subtle changes discerned from a base sound signature. As mentioned in my previous T10 review, RHA have implemented this system incredibly well. Compared to the Shure SE846s which have cumbersome tuning options, the RHA T10 have chosen a simplistic approach which in the long term will save time.
What you Get: the Box & Accessories
Packaging is excellent which is to be expected from a well-known company with points of sales across many notable retailers including Apple. Their box includes 6 pairs of dual density ear tips, 2 pairs of memory foam ear tips, 2 double flange ear tips, the tuning filters, a premium carry case and a stainless steel ear tip holder. All in all, the packaging is outstanding and downright classy – a trait which is slowly but surely becoming synonymous with the RHA brand.
Build Quality & Fit
The manufacturing process remains to be metal injection moulding – the same of which is used in the production of the Final Audio Heaven VIII. This form of manufacturing reigns supreme in building a body that accurately houses the sound components of in-ear monitors. It has certainly paid off with RHA for its valuable ergonomics and precision contouring.
On the surface, both the T10 and the T20 are virtually indistinguishable but on closer inspection, the T20 logo on the underside of the IEM reveals the difference. The build quality does not stop at the delicately crafted stainless steel body but extends across the whole product. Both the Y-split and the straight jack are also made from stainless steel and would look to survive just about any form of abuse from daily wear. The thick rubbery cord ties in neatly to the concept of durability and completes the overall T20 product.
Fit was excellent for me and although the T20 are a bit weighty, it feels that the weight is evenly distributed for a comfortable listening experience. Again, as with the T10, the ear hooks could be better implemented to hug the rear of the ear more tightly instead of this awkwardly loose departure to the Y-split.
Sound impressions (w/ treble filters)
Immediately from the onset, bass levels are less bloated and more precise than the T10s though they still boosted to an extent. Nevertheless, lows are responsive, impactful and possess more sub-bass than mid-bass. The lows neither detract from the higher frequencies nor does it ever get to a stage where it is fatiguing. Instead, the bass is very pleasant and has a good texture across many tracks. Next to the DUNU DN-2000, the quantity of the T20 succumbs to that of the former but is unquestionably more intelligible. The DUNU DN-2000J’s bass however, is much more articulate than the T20 but again falls short of the latter in terms of sheer quantity.
Unlike the T10, the bass has minimal bleeding into the midrange frequencies which makes for a very enjoyable listening experience. The mids are slightly warm of neutral and have an incredibly natural tone which is a welcomed change after spending many hours with strident balanced-armature sets. Perfect for late night listening where you might not want an ultra-resolving pair of IEMs, these offer a smooth ride that is quite hard to fault. Next to the T10, the T20 present with a higher peak across the upper midrange frequencies which contribute to its more engaging and lively temperament. Though not as airy and spacious sounding as the Fidue A73, instruments that perform with the midrange frequencies offer very decent levels of separation. There is a slight U-shaped depression where the mids are less emphasised than the frequencies either side of it but that is not to say that the mids are lacking in quantity or distant from the overall sound signature.
With a surprisingly good top-end, the RHA T20 offers sparkly highs with great extension and air. What particularly impressed me was the tone with which the high frequencies were delivered; invariably smooth yet displaying a certain vivid and forthright character. The tuning here is something that is leagues ahead of the somewhat subdued treble of the RHA T10. In terms of comparisons, both the Rock-it Sounds R-50 and DUNU DN-2000J render a more resolving treble section but lose out on a fatigue-free sound that the T20 perfectly seems to encapsulate. A job extremely well done by the upcoming headphone brand.
Bass & Reference Filters
Usually when there is a customizable filter option, the bass option is the one I am usually first to abandon and the RHA filters are no exception to this rule. I feel that with this option, the bass becomes too bloated and detracts from the other frequency ranges.
The treble filters, on the other hand, does an exceptional job at keeping the bass at bay with minimal spillage which would otherwise affect overall performance. This coupled with the sparkling smooth highs really make the T20 a force to be reckoned with.
The reference filters offer a balanced sound which lacks the treble extension that treble-heads like me especially crave for. This is partially due to a more bass-dominant presence which is certainly boomier and less refined than its treble filter counterpart. Thus, of the three, the treble filters would be my go-to choice for daily listening.
Soundstage & Reference Filters
The soundstage is not as large as the DUNU DN-2000 or the DN-2000J for that matter, but it is respectably airy and spacious on its own accord. Vocals are more intimate than compared to the DN-2000 but there is a decent amount of separation that prevents the T20 from ever sounding congested.
I feel that RHA’s customer service deserves a separate mention as it is unequivocally the best I have ever dealt with. For example, when I initially noticed a missing reference filter the RHA team were more than happy to rectify the situation and immediately sent a replacement set. The generous 3 year warranty is also a testament to RHA’s trust in their product range. It is no wonder that Apple have chosen to sell RHA products in their stores since the company’s strive for perfection and customer relations comes from an all-too familiar place.
Overall, RHA have really made an outstanding product in the T20s. From the design to the build to the sound performance, they have left no stone unturned. Whereas before, the sound signature mainly resided in the consumer-oriented category, the sound can now be attributed to audiophile territory. I am thoroughly impressed with this flagship and the sonic improvement it provides over its predecessor. The T20 punches well above its price tag with an incredible build and a natural, vivacious and smooth tonality. While I can’t really fault the T20 for any inherent bad qualities, an even larger soundstage and detailing would push this model to compete with the very best. With that said, I very much look forward to their next release.
Read the full article at audioholics
I am convinced the T20 is an earphone that pleases a whole lot of listeners, this is about as good as it gets in this price range without going to custom monitors. You won’t regret buying it.
I quite like RHA. Not only have they been putting great new products on the market but they all are really nice people. I have met several of them during shows and even the ones I have only emailed with are always very helpful and friendly. I get the feeling they all sincerely stand behind their products and that just shows in everything they do.
I was a bit surprised to see RHA release the T20 so soon after the T10 so the T20 must be something special, right?
If I remember well I had mixed feelings about the T10 back when I reviewed it. While build quality and fit were perfectly fine the T10s were always on the bass heavier side. I have to say I haven’t used them since the review, which mostly is a good indicator if I really like a product or not. That being said, the T10 –to me– was the best IEM in their line-up even if bass was always a bit on the leaner side. Some loved it, some hated it. But isn’t that always the case?
The T20, just like the T10 has a metal injection moulded, stainless steel construction and it uses interchangeable tuning filters to EQ the sound to your liking. The T20’s non removable cable is a multicore, reinforced, oxygen-free copper cable with gold plated connection. I quite like the cable: it’s “friction noise free” and the patent pending, mouldable over-ear hooks make it stay perfectly over and in your ears. I have a fairly small head and ears and the “hooks” could have been a bit smaller but they do work great. I was also pleasantly surprised to see RHA gives you a three year warranty.
The T20 also is High-Res Audio certified as it conforms to Hi-Res Audio standards as defined by Japan Audio Society. When you buy the T20 it will come in a very pretty box which will contain the T20 in-ear headphone, the tuning filters with their holder, a whole bunch of tips, a carry case and a clothing clip. Not bad at all but they do are $239,95 so that explains a lot. The 39g weighing T20’s sensitivity is 90dB and they have an impedance of 16Ohm. That makes them fairly easy to drive. The “old” T10 uses a regular dynamic driver while the new T20 switched to a new DualCoil™ dynamic driver. According to RHA the DualCoil™ dynamic driver technology is capable of outperforming conventional drivers in levels of resolution, clarity and detail.
Build quality & Comfort
This is where RHA scores big in my book, especially with the T-Series. The metal injection moulded units look gorgeous and their finish is superb. All the accessories from the carrying case to the filters and the filter holder have top notch build quality. And I just love the metal 3.5 plug with the spring strain relief system, everyone should do that.
The latest RHA’s are tiny and extremely comfortable, probably because of the moulding process. 85% of all universal monitors do not fit me and that sucks. Lately however I have been feeling quite lucky as the Rockjaw Alfa Genus V1 & V2, LMUE AD01, RHA T10 and Trinity Delta – all smaller designs – fit perfectly. I can easily listen to the RHA IEMs for several hours without my ears getting itchy or before they start hurting. Great job!
The filter system of course isn’t new and the filters basically are the same as with the T10. After the TOTL AKG it got quiet for a while for what interchangeable filters are concerned but lately a couple of brands like the popular Trinity and Rockjaw brand have also been using these filters. The funny thing is the Rockjaw filters fit the RHA monitors and vice versa. The Trinity filters are a lot bigger and don’t fit.
The T20, technically, is the best sounding RHA IEM of their line-up. It has the most balanced sound and is closest to being linear and neutral. And I absolutely mean that in a good way. Do note that the general impressions below are based on the reference filter (the grey one). The T20’s soundstage is quite good but you will always get a more inside your head sound. The space between the instruments is smaller and maybe that’s giving this perception also. The T20 on all filters sounds fast and very clear and I think it’s one of the strongest points of this monitor. At the same time the T20 is fairly detailed and especially vocals are really good. From bass to mids, I find the whole presentation to be pretty well balanced, even with the bass filter installed.
There do is still room for improvement on what timbre, depth and imaging is concerned. Bass is fairly tight and is perfectly in line with the mids section for my taste. That probably means that some of you might find the bass to be just above neutral. Sub bass can be on the looser side which I experienced with certain rap music but in general I am pretty pleased with the way the T20 is doing bass. Like I said it could have better layering and detail but this is something that is valid for the complete T20 and not just the bass. Using an amplifier with bass boost, like the Fiio Q1 which I am using right now, allows increasing the bass presence to beyond linear and neutral but the T20 does allow it without sounding wrong.
The mids section is very well done with a good level of detail and especially vocals are really nice to listen to. The attention does get drawn a bit to the slightly more forward sounding vocals, but I quite like that kind of presentation. Compared to higher end models it’s again the depth I am missing together with an airier presentation as they can now sound rather closed depending on the song and the recording. I find the treble to be reasonably extended and it always sounded lively and clear without ever giving the impression of sounding harsh or soft for that matter. Lively and energetic is what I would label it.
With the BASS filter installed (black one – of which I have gotten 4) you kind of keep the presentation of the mids and the treble but the bass gets extra weight and becomes a tad looser down below. I don’t find the filter to drastically change the bass presence, Fiio’s Bass Boost has larger impact on the bass than swapping the filters. With the Treble filter, it’s all in the name, treble gets a slight boost making then the overall sound signature a bit thinner. This isn’t my kind of sound. Personally I would say the reference filter is best, followed by the bass filter and lastly the treble filter.
Compared to the T10, the T20 has a more reference kind of tuning or audiophile tuning as you wish to call it, even with the bass filter installed. The T20 is the more linear and technically equipped monitor while the T10 will for sure please the bass heads among us more. Personally I would never call the T10 a bass heads headphone though, that’s something I’d rather say of RHA’s MA-600 IEM or the Fischer audio Eterna Rev. 1.
For most of the time I have been using the T20 straight from the AK120ii and the Luxury & Precision L5Pro, no amplification is needed by any means and the T20 will sound just like I described above. When I did use an amplifier it was the Fiio Q1 while I was at work and then the Q1 served as an AMP/DAC unit. I quite frequently turned off the Bass Boost though. So no, the T20 doesn’t really need an amp but you can (slightly) tune the T20 a little bit hardware wise. When I connected the T20 to Jan Meier’s excellent 9V battery operated Corda Quickstep (portable amplifier), the T20’s layering improved significantly. Lower bass got tighter and treble even got more energetic (sometimes even a bit too much).
I wouldn’t worry too much about synergy with your actual source, the T20 is easy.
In a short time RHA has come a long way. I wouldn’t be surprised if they would suddenly launch a full sized headphone in 2016. Or will they surprise us with an even better version of this IEM, named the T30? Anyway, RHA has become a brand to follow: a varied product line-up, reasonably priced IEMs with a good price/quality ratio, very good build quality and qualitative packaging. And then there’s the excellent comfort, stunning looks and good sound. What’s not to love?
The T20 is a wonderful IEM and to me it is their best one so far. I am convinced the T20 is an earphone that pleases a whole lot of listeners, this is about as good as it gets in this price range without going to custom monitors. You won’t regret buying it.
Read the full article at Headfonia
Build quality is impeccable, sound quality superb and they’re incredibly attractive.
For a while, Scotland-based audio company RHA was known primarily for delivering audiophile-grade sound in affordable earphones. With the T20, that’s not exactly how they played it. In fact, this set of headphones is not anywhere near cheap enough to be classed as an affordable pair, but I still feel that in terms of design, audio and versatility, they comfortably give you your money’s worth. That’s despite the fact they’d set you back $240/£180 if you decided to splurge on them…
On the design front, RHA has gone all-out with the T20 to make a headphone that both looks and feels like a high-end product. The 3.5mm jack is encased in a durable stainless steel casing, while a tightly coiled spring protects the cable from fraying or breaking near the end. Further up the cable, another well-made stainless steel cylinder protects the area where the cable splits in two to form the individual earbuds. But the earphones themselves take it to a whole new level.
The drivers are built in to metal injection-moulded stainless steel casing. Which is to say: They look stunning. The surface is so smooth and round, there are no rough edges or corners, and they’re very strong. They’re also really ergonomic, and sit almost flush with your ears. They’re not the lightest earphones around, but they’re not uncomfortable to wear.
Great effort and attention has gone in to how they feel when you wear them. There are ten pairs of ear tips with various designs, in different sizes and made from different materials to suit you. Personally, I like the memory foam ear tips, but there are regular dual-material silicone ones in small, medium and large sizes as well as a couple of double flange models in two different size. All these ear tips are stowed inside the included folding case, held securely in a credit card-sized piece of metal with bespoke cut-outs designed to hold the tips in place.
Even the ear-hooks that loop out and over your ears are well-conceived. They’re made from a material which is both pliable and strong, to ensure that when you mould it to fit around your ears, they stay in that shape. And they’re not their just hold the earphones in, when well-fitted, they also ensure the earphones’ noise cancellation properties are optimized, helping you block out ambient/exterior noise. Which leads us conveniently on to sound performance.
As with most features of any product, sound quality is very much a subjective thing. Some people like bass, a lot. Others like a more neutral and balanced sound, while others prefer to hear the high-frequency tones and couldn’t care less about bass. Regardless of which describes you best, the T20 has you covered.
RHA has designed a Tuning Filter System, whereby the user can unscrew the very tips of the earphone and replace it with a pair designed to boost bass, or boost treble manually. Personally, I quite like it when bass kicks me in the chest and fills out the background of the music, so I immediately swapped out the neutral filters for the bass ones. I was really impressed by the difference they made. Where I found the ‘reference’ filters to be a little too sterile, the bass tuning filters brought me close to my perfect sound profile. The rest could be achieved by adjusting the EQ on my device.
Regardless of whether I tried the bass, neutral or treble tuning filters, one thing remained the same: Clarity. I could hear details in many songs I can’t remember hearing before. Not just hearing the bass drum, or snare being hit, but actually being able to pick out the sound of the bass drum pedal or stick strike against the drum’s skin.
Sounds were balanced, and bass notes didn’t muddy over the rest of the frequencies, even with the bass filters installed. That’s thanks mostly to RHA’s DualCoil Dynamic Driver which is engineered to deliver a neutral tone.
For those of you with Hi-Res Audio equipment, you’ll be pleased to know the T20 is also Hi-Res Audio certified, meaning you can listen to your favorite tunes without losing any quality.
If there’s one issue with the RHA T20 earphones, it’s that there is no in-line microphone or music controls, so if you want to turn the volume up or down on your smartphone, or make/receive a phone call, you’ll need to pick up your phone. Thankfully there is another option: Buy the T20i instead. It’s the same set of earphones, except it has an inline mic/control set. It costs $10/£10 more, but is well worth the extra if you need that extra control.
The next step for me would be for RHA to make a set of wireless T20s. As much as I appreciate the incredible sound and build quality, I’m not a big fan of having wires hanging out all over the place. But that’s a personal thing. Cables can be a good thing. Even with some of the best wireless tech around, nothing quite matches a physical cable for quality and latency.
Overall, it’s tough to fault RHA’s premium earphones. They’re far from the cheapest earphones around, but even at that price, they still look and sound like they could cost more. Build quality is impeccable, sound quality superb and they’re incredibly attractive. The very fact you can manually change the audio profile to suit your taste just makes them so much better. If you’re looking in to a great pair of in-ear phones to invest in, you should definitely add these to your wish-list.
Read the full article at 9 to 5 Google
Even if you never bother installing its two additional screw-in acoustic filters, the T20 still comes across as astonishingly detailed.
Even if you never bother installing its two additional screw-in acoustic filters (one enhances treble frequencies by 3 dB, the other bass frequencies by the same amount), the T20 still comes across as astonishingly detailed. But it’s worth taking the five minutes required to swap them out. This simple-seeming modification makes the T20 sound awesome in different ways. The treble filter imparts a crisp but natural timbre to vocals and brass especially, while the bass filter provides an unmistakable kick without coming across as boomy. Just remember that, as with all earbuds, the T20 needs to sit snug in your ear, blocking out as much ambient noise as possible, if you want to appreciate all of the nuance. The T20 includes 10 eartips of various sizes—including foam and silicone—so you can get the fit just so. I heard the most detail using the double-flange silicone tips.
We found them to have a forgiving nature when it came to lossy audio formats, and very capable indeed when the resolution was dialed up. Hi-Res WAV and FLAC files were detailed, immersive and lively.
Back in May, British headphone maker Reid Heath Audio (RHA) announced a new pair of in-ear headphones that debuted something called DualCoil dynamic driver technology. The company had managed to install two independently-powered dynamic voice coils on a micro ring magnet, one to handle lower audio frequencies and the other to take care of the higher end. The T20s promised a true-to-life reproduction and support for high resolution audio. We got to plug in for some hi-res, and lo-res, listening.
At first glance, the T20s seem pretty familiar. They sport the same injection-molded stainless steel driver housings as the earlier T10i and T10 models, have the same patent-pending over-ear hooks, run the same length of oxygen-free copper cable and come supplied with the same frequency-tweaking screw-in tuning filters. They're also every bit as comfortable plugged in, even for long-haul listening. In the box you'll also find the same impressive selection of soft silicone and foam buds and a quality carry case. But the T20s are a different animal.
Sure, the cable color is black rather than gray, and the ear hooks are covered instead of exposed, but RHA has been also messing around with magnets and copper-clad aluminum wire since releasing its previous high-end flagships.
"Our research and development team reengineered the traditional dynamic driver, using a small annular (or ring) magnet in place of a solid one," the company's Emma Dixon told us. "This allowed them to experiment with using an additional voice coil operating independently to manipulate the same diaphragm. It is the first time this configuration has been used, our DualCoil driver is totally unique."
As you can see from the exploded view above, a voice coil is positioned around the magnet within the housing – much the same as with conventional earphone drivers. But RHA selected an annular magnet for its new driver, and also placed another voice coil within its ring. And the company redesigned the diaphragm to have both an outer and an inner apex to match the new coil setup.
"The frequency range signal is divided by a crossover, into high and low frequency bands," Dixon revealed to us. "Frequencies below 2.2 kHz (bass and lower midtones) are generated by the inner coil, while the outer coil handles frequencies above the crossover point (upper mids and treble) for an ultra efficient, high resolution performance."
The upshot is a pair of earphones claimed "capable of outperforming conventional drivers in levels of resolution, clarity and detail." So how do they stack up?
Vive la résolution
Both the packaging and the product page proudly display the Hi-Res symbol, meaning that the T20s conform to high resolution audio standards laid out by the Japan Audio Society – so it only seemed right and proper to head for some high resolution FLAC and WAV files. The following outlines the different listening experiences encountered with various formats, including MP3s, spinning plastic discs and 24-bit digital audio files.
A 256 kbps MP3 version of Blue Train by John Coltrane proved a vibrant and enjoyable, if a little cramped, affair through the musical and entertaining, rather than neutral, Reference filters. The T20s didn't appear to punish this lower quality audio format too severely, though where detail had been stripped out of the source track, these earphones picked that up as a reminder that higher resolution audio files really are worth the effort and money.
The T20s responded to the higher quality of a CD of the same track by widening and deepening the stereo image and offering a more detailed rendition of some fine blowing from Coltrane, Morgan and Fuller. They breathed more life into the energetic percussive prowess of Philly Joe Jones, the walking bass had more impact and the piano had more color to it. At the risk of being branded quite, quite mad, the reproduction of this digital format seemed almost vinyl-like.
The performance of RHA's new flagship bumped up a notch again when a high resolution WAV file (24-bit/192 kHz) was driven through them via a laptop and external DAC. The T20s offered a vivid and quite expansive stage with the image pushed out beyond, and a little behind, the ears and arcing round in front of the nose.
Even at low volume levels, the clarity and attention to detail were impressive. Where distortion did start to creep in at higher, ill-advised, volume levels when listening to the MP3 version of this track, none could be detected here. This is definitely the format for folks who like the opulent sound of the wind blowing though the reeds.
Elsewhere, there was natural decay to snare and cymbals, attention-grabbing definition to the slightly warm upper mids and a nice airy feel to the instrumentation. Though criticism at this resolution could force us into the realm of ultra pickiness, the bass did feel a little more laid back in the high resolution mix than we're used to hearing through earphones. On the plus side, the T20s gave Drew's piano-playing gymnastics a little more room to shine.
Earphones weren't really designed for sitting in a favorite armchair with a glass of single malt in one hand and the hi-fi remote in the other, they were made for music on the move. An MP3 of Woke up Dreaming from Joe Bonamassa via a Galaxy Note 8.0 running the music player that came as default with the tablet, for example, was a little less forceful at the bottom end through the T20s than with the T10s, but nonetheless full-bodied and lively in an intimate small room kind of way.
With some cheaper earphones, the vocals on this nippy little number can come through a little lacking around the edges and the acoustic guitar can sound like its strings haven't been changed in a while, but despite the limitations of the lossy format, the T20s managed to smooth out the rough edges and offered up a surprisingly well rounded presentation of the guitarist's voice positioned front and center. And, as they should, the strings responding to Bonamassa's fast-fretting pick-trickery had a refreshing lively pop to them.
Presenting the bass on some tracks with less presence than earphones designed by 50 Cent, for instance, doesn't mean that the T20s are lacking in that department, as a listen to full band rock music using the Reference filters – such as Seether's explosive, and a little twisted, Gasoline on an iPhone – testified. The combination of pounding kick, relentless bass and some thick, dark and dirty crunch from the main guitar rhythm ensured that there was thunder-a-plenty.
There was no sign of the "fighting for air" issues that can sometimes trouble plug-in audio throwers when dealing with a lot of power play. The T20s produced a tight, full-bodied bass that dug way down below and a tantalizing edge to hot-running distorted guitars. Morgan's throaty growl punched through clean and clear and the drum kit definitely gained more space across the stage.
If even more bass is desired, then a quick swap over to the bass filter will put a little more emphasis on the lower registers, without stripping away definition from elsewhere or overpowering the lower mids.
Our final example of the kind of music played through the T20s over the past few weeks is quite a mixed bag musically. Child of a blind man by Hazmat Modine (in FLAC format on a portable music player) features soothing, laid back vocal harmony punctuated by arresting sassy brass fills from instruments such as trombone, flugelhorn and saxophone. The former can feel like they're locked in a small cupboard with some less capable earphones, but the T20s allowed them to fill out their rightful positions slightly behind each ear, ever so slightly forward and also out to the left and right.
The various representatives of the horn section were fat and boisterous, with a live performance feel to them, and a multi-voiced Fon chant from members of the Gangbé Brass Band proved powerful, well paced and well placed as it powered through the middle of the track. And, rather bizarrely, there was a nicely rounded punchy rasp to the low end thanks to a tuba doing a very good impersonation of a bass guitar.
The bottom line
As you might expect, the new driver technology and fine-tuned signature of the T20s offer a somewhat different listening experience to the T10s that came before. We found them to have a forgiving nature when it came to lossy audio formats, and very capable indeed when the resolution was dialed up. Hi-Res WAV and FLAC files were detailed, immersive and lively.
There may not be quite enough lower end out of the box to satisfy those used to Beats tuning, but the bonus is a distinct lack of bleed and distortion. What the T20s lack in midbass, however, they make up for in sub bass. And RHA has provided a means to further tweak the sound by swapping out the filters. As with the T10s we reviewed back in April, the black Bass filters give the lower frequencies a bit of a boost, while the copper-colored Treble filters bring out the higher reaches.
For much of our time with the T20s, though, we found the clean, clear and rather jolly lines taken by the silver Reference filters more than sufficient for most genres, but the other filters were always ready for deployment from their own metal holder if needed. It can be a bit of a fiddle to swap out filters for just one or two tracks though, so some forward planning is beneficial.
Music found to be worth the effort of changing to the bass filters included tracks by Nero, Massive Attack and, surprisingly, Ed Alleyne-Johnson. As for the treble filters, they brought out the best from artists like Jorma Kaukonen, Carlos García Montoya and Leo Kottke, though we did find them a little harsh with some selections, such as Tim Buckley's Dolphins and T-Bone Walker's Midnight Blues.
Though earphones are ideal for listening to music on the move, they're generally a bit lacking when it comes to home hi-fi, computer audio or TV/gaming entertainment. Not so the T20s. We found the stage wide enough, the image detailed enough, the sound quality high enough and being plugged in comfortable enough to leave the closed back circumaural headphones in the drawer for pretty much the whole of the review period.
The T20s are clearly not going to be in everyone's budget. But if sound quality, comfort and durability are what float your boat, then RHA's new DualCoil-packing in-ear headphones are worth saving up for. They're available now.
Read the full article at Gizmag
Excellent audio performance with accurate bass response and wonderful clarity in the highs.
RHA has gradually morphed from a boutique manufacturer of quality, budget earphones to a purveyor of much higher-end gear, and the new T20 represents the company's current top-of-the-line offering. Audiophiles keen on being able to tweak sound signature without involving digital signal processing or apps will be drawn to the T20's tuning filters—easily replaceable nozzles that emphasize focus on bass, reference, or treble. In this price range it would be nice to see a detachable cable, but with a plethora of accessories and excellent audio performance, there's not much to complain about with the T20. It earns our Editors' Choice award for high-end earphones.
The stainless steel housings that hold the T20's "DualCoil" drivers—a type of driver RHA claims delivers more audio clarity and resolution—look high-end and handsome. Underneath each silicone eartip, the nozzle that extends toward the ear canal can be screwed off and removed—this is the tuning filter. The "reference" tuning filters are in place when the T20 is shipped, but can be swapped out with "treble" or "bass" filters.
A thick rubber cable descends from each earpiece, with a rigid, moldable section running a few inches from where the cable meets the housing you can sculpt the cable over the top of your ears and behind, and it stays in place quite well. The two cables join as one around mid-torso, terminating in a 3.5mm connection—a slider along the cable can be pulled upward if you'd rather have the cables combine closer to chin height. It's really too bad the cable isn't removable, however—considering it's likely to malfunction long before the drivers do, it would add significant value to a very expensive purchase.
It's also a tad surprising that earphones this expensive don't ship with a 1/4-inch headphone jack adapter for use with home audio gear, but those are cheap and easy enough to find. However, between the tuning filters and a whopping eight pairs of silicone eartips in various sizes and shapes, as well as two pairs of Comply foam eartips, there's little to complain about in the accessories department. The goodies don't stop there—you also get a classy zip-up protective pouch and a removable shirt-clip.
Going into this review, the big question was: How will the T20's sound signature differ from that of its (slightly) more affordable sibling, the RHA T10i? The T10i is a high-quality offering that also features tuning filters—but regardless of which filter you have in, the 10i packs some very boosted bass. The T20 delivers a more flat-response style sound signature that is more accurate—its default response, with the "reference" tuning filters in place, is balanced, clear, and neither bass-heavy nor brittle.
On tracks with powerful sub-bass levels, like The Knife's "Silent Shout," the T20 delivers accurate, powerful low-end. This isn't the sound of a wildly boosted bass response, it's the sound of accurately reproduced, very powerful bass in a mix. Putting the added bass filters in obviously increases the bass response, but without going over the top—it's like bass boosting for audiophiles, who really only want a small amount of added low-end.
Using the default reference tuning filters, Bill Callahan's "Drover" sounds fantastic. His voice gets plenty of high-mid treble edge to remain clear and crisp, despite being paired with a rich presence in the low-mids. The drums on this track can sound overly thunderous on earphones that boost the lows wildly, but through the T20, while we do get a strong sense of the drums' lower frequencies, everything sounds natural. This is one of the more balanced sound signatures we've heard lately—everything in every range gets more or less equal representation through the reference tuning filters.
On Jay-Z and Kanye West's "No Church in the Wild," the kick drum loop's attack is nice and crisp, with plenty of high-mid punch to allow the hits to slice through the multi-layered mix with ease. The vocals, which float above the track with ease, are never overly sibilant, but have plenty of bright, high-frequency presence. The sub-bass synth hits that punctuate the beat here are not as intense through the T20 as they are through heavily-bass boosted pairs, but they still sound plenty powerful. And, of course, if you wish, you can put in the bass filters for more thump.
Orchestral tracks, like the opening scene in John Adams' The Gospel According to the Other Mary, sound quite bright through the reference filters. I actually preferred the bass filters here—they added some extra depth that brought out the lower register instrumentation more without sacrificing clarity and brightness. So, you may have to do some swapping of filters here and there to get the sound and balance you prefer, but the process of changing the filters is very quick and simple.
If you're trying to decide between the T10i and the T20, the T20 is, in our opinion, the better option, but bass lovers will likely gravitate more to the T10i. For slightly less money, we also are big fans of the Westone W10. But most of the earphones we test tend to cost less than either of these models. The recently released Bowers & Wilkins C5 Series 2, for instance, is an excellent choice, as is the Yamaha EPH-M200. The RHA T20 is a worthy Editors' Choice for serious music lovers.
Read the full review at PCMag.com
It hits all the right notes: neutral sound, looks, comfort, durability, accessories, warranty and customizability
About six months ago, I reviewed the T10i IEMs (in-ear monitors) by Reid Heath Acoustics, a Scottish audio company. It was one of my favorite headphones, with top-notch build quality, a comfortable and elegant design and powerful sound.
Some people found the sound a bit too powerful though, with a strong bass that sometimes intruded on the rest of the sound frequency and bright treble that just wasn’t the cup of tea for some of the persnickety audiophiles paying $200 for the set. The headphone’s included tuning filters helped you modify the sound between bass, reference and treble settings, but the effect was relatively subtle.
Enter the new T20, due later this summer. While they look nearly identical to their predecessors, a newly designed ‘DualCoil’ driver is designed to provide a neutral sound by separating the high and low frequencies onto different mechanisms.
It delivers: The T20 competes with larger headphones as well as earphones.
Build and design
If you’ve read our T10i review, then you already know most of the design story here. The headphones are beautifully crafted out of polished, injection molded steel, giving them an almost handmade look. Aesthetically, the only real difference is the use of a reassuringly thick black cable instead of a grey one, which I suppose somehow makes them look a little more serious-business.
The earphones are meant to be worn around the ear instead of the usual arrangement with the cable handing straight down. This has the dual benefit of helping the buds stay in your ear while exercising and reducing microphonics (the sound of the headphone cables hitting your body).
Like the T10i, the T20 have a unique moldable ear hook design, which you can adjust to conform to your own ears’ shape. As for the earpieces themselves, they are smooth and small enough that I had no issue sleeping with them on.
Notably, RHA released the T20 without a microphone to start. It’s likely the people spending their cash on headphones in this price range care more about the sound quality than convenience, and some audiophiles allege that integrated microphones degrade the cable’s sound signature. I personally missed the convenience of the microphone though, so I was happy to hear that a T20i model will be released in the future for a small premium (no specifics on the price yet).
As with their predecessors, isolation from the outside wold is excellent. There’s no fancy noise cancellation circuitry, but the metal housings are able to block outside noise well, especially using the included foam tips. It’s comparable to larger headphones using active noise cancelling such as some Beats models and the Bose QC25.
Speaking of tips, you’ll be more than covered by the set included in the box. You get two sets of small, medium and large sizes, two sizes of double flanged tips, and two pairs of the aforementioned foam ones. As always with in-ear headphones, its worth experimenting with different configurations to see what best suits your tastes. In my case, it was the foam tips.
You also get the T series’ trademark tuning filters, again in bass, ‘reference,’ and treble varieties (more on this later).
Both the tips and filters come with their own machined steel holsters – a nice touch – as well as an elegant leather carrying case for all the items so you don’t damage the headphones or lose any of the accessories.
I do still wish the cables were detachable – the more expensive headphones are, the more silly this omission is – but again, RHA has a virtually unmatched three-year warranty, so it largely balances out.
Let’s first discuss those sound filters. The effect is subtle, but they definitely work to nudge sound slightly towards your preferences. Unlike with the T10i, this time I think the reference filters are probably the best option for most people, although I still personally gravitate to the brighter treble sound.
Furthermore, the bass tips are legitimately useful this time around, increasing the physicality of low notes by a substantial amount without being overwhelming. Because the default tuning is much more balanced this time around, the filters end up being more effective. As a note, most of my listening happened using the middle-ground reference filters.
Starting on the low end, the most noticeable characteristic is the relatively tame midbass. This part of the sound spectrum is very often overemphasized on headphones aimed at the masses – including previous RHA headphones – as it’s an easy way to add a fun “thump” to pop and hip hop. Unfortunately, it also has the effect of distorting virtually everything else, so it’s refreshing to hear that’s not the case here.
The T20 instead shows its low-end chops by providing a deep and powerful rumble on the sub-bass, helping the headphones have more visceral rumble on church organs and a more realistic kick to its drums on tracks like Paramore’s Ain’t it Fun.
The refined laid-back mid-bass allows the midrange – where vocals and most instruments live – to shine. There’s virtually no discernible bloat on voices, which is an impressive feat for sealed in ear monitors.
I’m perhaps most impressed by the treble, which addresses the sometimes harsh sound on the T10i. Here it manages to always be prominent without ever being grating. It extends high enough to give cymbals the proper sparkle in jazz tracks like Gretchen Parlato’s Weak, but I caught no hint of sibilance (an annoying hissy characteristic around the letter ‘s’ and certain instruments) either.
The balanced frequency response make the T20 something of a genre master – there wasn’t a single type of music I thought sounded poor. The DualCoil drivers use separate parts of the speaker diaphragm to push out low and high tunes, and it shows how separate lower sounds are kept from the higher notes.
This also aids in giving the T20 a realistic amount of instrument separation. I’ve heard a wider soundstage (how far from your head instruments sound) on some earphones in the price range before, but you can still hear separate instruments clearly in orchestral tracks, and there’s a surprising physical depth to the sound.
On the whole I’d still describe the T20 as being a bit more bassy than what audiophiles may consider neutral, but any less and you’d miss out on a lot of the fun sound in more mainstream music.
Let’s be clear: the T20 are aimed at people who care about their sound quality above anything else. Few companies would consider releasing mainstream IEMs without a microphone in 2015, so RHA is making a statement that sound quality is paramount with the T20.
Still, while mainstream consumers may not often consider earphones to be in the same league as larger, over the ear headphones, the T20 can easily compete with large cans like the audiophile-approved Sennheiser Momentum 2.0, which retail for $349.
They T20 fix little that was wrong with the T10i. While audio quality in this price range is inevitably subject, I have no hesitation to recommend the T20 if you can afford them. It hits all the right notes: neutral sound, looks, comfort, durability, accessories, warranty and customizability.
Read the full review at TNW
The RHA T10i is a supremely comfortable pair of in-ear headphones that sound great with fantastic build quality.
The T10i is easily one of the weightiest pairs of in-ear headphones we’ve tested, but also one of the best built - improving on RHA's own MA750i we reviewed back in 2013. The use of stainless steel goes some way to explain the added weight and we actually found the extra heft reassuring.
Initially we were concerned the weight would mean they might be uncomfortable by pulling down when in your ears, but we were pleased to find this wasn't the case. Mouldable over-ear hooks help keep each earphone in place, with the cables looped behind your ears rather than straight down. You’re able to bend the hooks into a custom shape around your ears to remove any slack. The driver housing is also reasonably low profile, sitting flush against your outer ear so they don’t protrude or succumb to the weight of gravity pulling them away from your ear canal.
RHA has been extremely generous with sleeves, which helps when it comes to comfort and finding a secure fit. There are three different sized silicone tips and you get two pairs of each, meaning you have a spare should you lose a set. It’s always annoying to lose a tip and have to resort to using a different size so we were glad to have a second pair. There are also two different sized double flange tips that provide a greater level of isolation as they sit a little further in your ear canal. On top of these you also get two pairs of memory foam tips, which we found provided the greatest seal.
You also get a well-made carry case, which offers a good level of protection while also being large enough that you don’t need to squeeze the earphones in. The sleeves and tuning filters also come with holders.
The T10i uses a Y-shaped cable, with an iPhone-compatible three button remote and microphone built into the the right earphone cable. Volume controls unfortunately don’t work with Android. The rubberised cable terminates in a straight 3.5mm jack that is reinforced with a spring, which should help with flexion. The only minor complaint we have with the T10i is the mix of materials and colours. It’s as though RHA has attempted to use as many shades of grey as possible for the cable, remote, microphone and driver housing, so the T10i lacks a degree of visual and material consistency.
Unlike in-ear headphones from Shure, the cable is designed more to be worn down your front, rather than run down your back, which is similar to how musicians often wear in-ear monitors. This method won't really work with the T10i because the microphone would then be located behind your neck, although if this isn’t an issue you can still wear them in this manner and take up the excess slack with a cable cinch.
Similar to the Alfa Genus Rock Jaw, the T10i uses interchangeable tuning filters in order to adapt its sound signature. Three sets are included: bass, reference and treble. We actually found the reference pair had more than adequate bass response for most tracks. When we did want a little more energy the bass tuning filters performed admirably by adding some extra warmth without muddying the sound. We were less impressed by the treble tuning filter as it caused the sound to become a little too bright. We spent most of our listening time with the reference tuning filters, however, preferring the flatter, more neutral sound signature, and found the sound delightfully delicate. The T10i’s dynamic drivers delivered crisp details in instrumentation and the sound stage was about as wide as you could expect from a pair of in-ear headphones at this price.
We’re big fans of the T10i. They not only sound great but they’re very well built, too. We found them significantly better than the similarly-priced Tonino Lamborghini Quantum HL-01 and also preferred them to the more expensive Atomic Floyd SuperDarts Titanium +remote. If you’re looking for a premium pair of in-ear headphones, the RHA T10i is a great choice especially considering its great three year warranty.
Read the full article at Expert Reviews
The T10s offered a comfortable secure fit that not only did a great job of isolating me from the outside world, but also managed to keep my tunes locked in.
In November last year, British headphone maker Reid Heath Audio (RHA) released a new flagship in-ear headphone model called the T10i that featured interchangeable tuning filters which altered the frequency response from the company's reference signature to focus on either lows or highs. The high fidelity, noise isolating earphones went on to earn the company a Red Dot Award in the Product Design category. RHA has recently added a sibling that's sonically the same but doesn't have an inline control and is a little cheaper, and it's this T10 model that Gizmag has been taking for a test drive.
The inline remote of the T10i in-ear headphones was designed to be used with compatible Apple devices. For those who listen to most or all of their music through non-Apple systems, this control can be something of a waste. Hence the T10 earphones, which provide pretty much exactly the same listening experience, but without the redundant remote.
Within the ergonomic metal injection-molded stainless steel housing of each earpiece, the result of a 10-hour metal injection molding process that involves heating the steel to over 1,300° C (2,372° F) while the shape is formed, is a hand-made dynamic driver. This flagship 770.1 holds the promise of a natural, true-to-life balanced sound signature. Other than the fact that it has a Mylar diaphragm, the company has not revealed anything else about the driver, saying that "detailed specifications can sometimes be misleading (for example, bigger drivers equals better sound)."
We can tell you that the T10s offer passive noise isolation, an overall frequency range of 16 Hz to 22 kHz, 16 Ohm impedance, 100 dB sensitivity and a maximum power output of 5 mW. The in-ear headphones also come supplied with three custom tuning filters. The reference filter (silver band) came screwed into the housing and offers the most neutral of the three responses. The bass filter (black band) enhances the lower registers for genres such as hip hop, dubstep and metal. The treble filter (copper band) tips the balance in favor of the highs for jazz and acoustic listening. Filters not is use are stored in a metal holder. Very classy.
The high-end feel continues with the inclusion of 10 ear tips – dual density silicone, double flange silicone and memory foam – all but the ones in use being stored on a stainless steel ear tip holder. Between the business end and the 3.5 mm gold-plated jack is a multicore, oxygen-free copper cable that's 94 cm (37 in) from cable end of the jack to the Y joint and then a further 46 cm (18 in) to the start of the patent-pending over-ear hooks. When listening to music on the move, we found this to be rather too long for our tastes and led to a few awkward tugs when rising from kneeling or sitting position to standing.
The earphones didn't budge from their positions in each ear though due mainly to the hooks that can be manipulated for a contoured, secure fit. But the ear hooks did lead to a few tangled knots when removing the earphones from stow-away safety for use.
The T10s won't be duking it out for any featherweight earphones crown, they tip the scales at 38 g (1.34 oz) with filter and medium silicone tips attached. That's more than the weight of the Moderna MS 200 earphoneswe reviewed back in 2013 and Samsung's great-looking but sonically disappointing Level in-ear headphones put together.
Bringing up the rear to complete the supplied package is a spring-loaded plastic clothing clip for extra security and a zipped carry case (12.8 x 7.9 x 3 cm/5 x 3.1 x 1.2 in).
From the stainless steel jack cover to the soft-touch feel of the cable and the signatured casing at the Y joint to the molded driver housings, the T10s just ooze high end style. They appear well constructed and that RHA has put a lot of thought into the aesthetics as well as the sound is evident.
For those who don't like ear hooks, they keep their manhandled position so you can flatten them out and dangle (though doing so will add another 10-11 cm/4 in to the length of the cable). The only problem I had with this was that the shape of the housing seemed to fight against me stuffing the bud in my canal, meaning that I had to place right earphone in left ear and left earphone in right ear to get something approaching a snug fit. I did discover a sport-friendly alternative though.
The over-ear hooks can be bent into all manner of shapes, you could even tie them in knots if you wanted and they wouldn't utter one word of complaint. The play on them is also quite good so I pushed the right and left buds into their proper ear canals as though I was going to feed the hooks over the back of my ears, but pushed the top of the springy bit under the inferior crus of the antihelix to rest against the cymba of the concha and the T10s pretty much didn't budge when I was running for the train or out for a run with the dogs. Definitely not as comfortable as hanging the hooks behind the ears though.
When used as designed, I found these earphones to be very comfortable indeed. I've listened to over 100 hours of music and watched a good number of videos wearing these and felt no long haul fatigue. For the most part – and despite their weight – I hardly noticed they were wrapped around my ears and plugged in at all. The pre-music preparation was a bit more fiddly than simply popping in a pair of straight-down-dangly earphones and moving off, but the audio performance was worth the effort.
Comfort is very important, but a good many audioholics will put up with a little discomfort for top notch sonic performance. So were the T10s just ear candy, or did they deliver? I've spent much of my waking hours over the last few weeks plugged into RHA's weighty in-ear headphones, and have listened to various genres played through a number of different portable devices, media players and hi-fi systems.
The same set of medium silicone buds were used with all of the filters and the EQ flattened on all music sources. The following selections are representative of how the T10s performed overall.
First up, the Third Bardo's late 60s epic Five Years Ahead Of My Time given an 80s reworking by Rhode Island's psychedelic garage masters Plan 9. On this occasion, the format was MP3 through the reference filter and a Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 was the source device.
The T10s allowed a goodly amount of space for the multiple guitars mixed left, right and center to do their stuff without bashing into one another or fighting for attention (though not nearly as much as Phiaton's MS-200s). The overall sound was clear and detailed. However, though the rapid-firing bass runs sounded rich and fat, the kick did seem to get a little lost in the mix. Elsewhere a spirited full kit workout was given plenty of room to impress, from the colorful tones of the toms to the washing, crashing and ringing of cymbals and hi-hat.
Even though I've been regularly listening to Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon for decades, I never tire of this audiophile favorite and Money is usually one of the first tracks I head to when testing audio equipment. For this outing, FLAC format and a Cowon dedicated audio player were used, and all three tuning filters were tried.
The reference filter delivered a lively and engaging listening experience. There was good instrumentation throughout, the saxophone, vocals and multiple guitars were all well placed and, though not the most spacious soundstage we've experienced from earphones in this price range, it by no means felt cramped. I'd say that there's more than enough bottom end punch to satisfy those who haven't grown up in the Beats generation, but those who prefer more thunder can install the bass filter.
First though, the silicone tips need to be removed. Then the filters in residence need to be turned counterclockwise to extract them from the molded steel housings. The bass filters need to take their rightful place in the housings and the silicone tips slid back on.
The whole process is a bit fiddly and, of course, such tuning tweaks can also be achieved by some under the hood EQ tweaking. But screwing in the filter does allow for a more uniform listening experience across different source devices without having to ensure that the EQ precisely matches. It's by no means an exact science, but can save some time and effort making in-device frequency adjustments, so long as a filter doesn't slip from between finger and thumb, resulting is precious listening time being wasted scrambling on the floor looking for it.
The bass filters produced a more pronounced bass chug, and I noticed that the tom action had moved a touch more forward in the mix, particularly during one of the quieter guitar sequences. As the frequency curve moves toward the lower mids, it levels out to match the reference line and the rest of the range is every bit as colorful as with the reference filter.
The change in sound after the treble filter was installed wasn't as pronounced as when the bass filter replaced the reference. The lower registers were much the same as with the reference filter in place, but the hi-hat and cymbal, the tremolo and wah guitars and the upper registers of the keyboard work were all brought further forward in the mix (without being overpowering).
The treble filter is recommended for jazz, a cappella and acoustic music so I had expected it to shine on the slow jazzy 12-bar blues of Call it Stormy Monday by T-Bone Walker (on vinyl), but the brass work was too far forward and T-Bone's subtle chops were too far back. Happily, the reference filter came to the rescue and delivered the kind of intimate performance I'm more used to.
Sticking with the treble filter, the T10s next spent some time in the company of Sweden's acoustic guitar masters Peter Almqvist and Ulf Wakenius (again on vinyl). I've listened to the lively treatment that Guitars Unlimited gives to one of Django Reinhardt's most well-known compositions, Nuages, numerous times through quality speakers and circumaural headphones and the T10s sporting the treble filter more than matched the best of those experiences. These earphones really brought out the beautiful natural tones of both instruments, particularly the pop of the lead breaks. Most impressed.
Where the T10i earphones were designed with Apple device users in mind, the T10s have Android users in their sights. So, the next stop was a Huawei Android smartphone to give an MP3 of Out of Line by Device a listen through the reference filter. The bass and kick are really given some importance in the mix of this modern metal electronica anthem, and I was keen to see if the fine vocal performances from David Draimen and Serj Tankian managed to cut through the noise. And they did, with impressive clarity. Very tight performance.
Swapping over to the black bass filter, the low end wallop was geared up a notch or three. The bass and sub-bass got a little more room to move too, with the thundering bass guitar not cozying up to the kick quite as much. Vocals were still well placed and didn't threaten to merge or conflict with other sounds in the same frequency range and the highs of the intentionally distorted cymbal bashing continued to forcefully dice and slice.
The reference filter was designed as a good performer across a host of different genres, so how did the T10s handle the classics? Well, they offered a very life-like reproduction of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D major Op 35 performed live by the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France with Julia Fischer taking lead honors. The source sound quality was by no means high (a YouTube video via an Asus All-in-One Windows PC), but RHA's stereo imaging, instrumentation and soundstaging managed to inject more emotion and intensity into a captivating performance than Samsung's Level earphones, used as a side-by-side comparison, could muster.
The T10s offered a comfortable secure fit that not only did a great job of isolating me from the outside world, but also managed to keep my tunes locked in. In the sub-$200 arena, RHA's earphones are about the most comfortable I've ever tried.
The choice of tips is quite generous, with the foam tips offering the most noise isolation, and the all-metal holder for between use storage gives off a high-end vibe and goes well with the molded steel housings of the T10s themselves. All that shiny steel (together with that extra long cable) does contribute to a rather heavy pair of in-ear headphones, but the over-ear hooks do a good job of reducing the load.
The sonic performance is immersive, detailed, quite roomy and clear. The reference filters are already rich and full, with a good measure of tight bottom end (and definitely not as neutral as the name would suggest). The mids appear steady and vocals manage to break through whatever the background cacophony of choice. The highs stealthily avoid any sibilance or sharpness traps to round off a solid sonic airing.
As the names suggest, the bass filter give more power to the lower registers while the treble filter brings some extra sparkle to the top end.
Swapping out the tuning filters can be fiddly, an activity that didn't seem to improve with experience, and RHA's in-ear headphones are not the first to include them. High-end in-ear monitors from Shure and AKG, for example, come with filtered tuning, though at a significantly higher price of admission. They do what they're designed for though, and if used correctly can markedly improve a listener's experience.
The T10 in-ear headphones carry a suggested retail price of US$189.95, and are sonically no different from the Apple-friendly T10i earphones for $10 more. If solid performers in a stylish, very comfortable package are what you're looking for, then either of these RHA flagships are highly recommended.
Read the full article at Gizmag
RHA’s T10i are a solid new choice.
British headphone maker RHA has crafted an elegant new pair of in-ear headphones drafted from mold-injection steel to add some style (and substance) to the cutthroat genre, dubbed the T10i. And those who want a healthy burst of bass without sacrificing detail will want to take note.
The T10i aren’t just your ordinary pair of buds. The wrap-around earpieces hold more than a few tricks up their sleeves, not the least of which are the three sets of removable filters that help tune the sound, designed to move between a bassier punch, a more natural sound, and a snappier push in the treble.
There are plenty of other features on board as well, including a mountain of eartips to choose from –in both silicone and Comply foam– a soft black case, oxygen free copper cabling with gold plated connection, and a long cable with a well-constructed iOS three-button mic piece.
The T10i offer an impressive claimed frequency response of 16-22kHz, and plenty of power from their onboard dynamic drivers. The bendable hooks adjust to keep the earphones in place, and the heavy steel pieces fit well in our ears, without issue over long listening sessions.
As for the sound, we really enjoyed the T10i for most listening, offering a rich and buttery midrange, and plenty of extension and clarity up top. We preferred using the treble filters for a bit of extra snap in the upper register on some tracks, though in all iterations, we found bass could be just a tad too heavy in some genres — especially hip-hop.
That said, if you love some extra bass, these are one of the rare breed that offer that deep punch without infecting the rest of the sound signature to a prohibitive level. If you’re looking for a new pair of in-ears that have some oomph down low, well-cut detail above, and a style that stands out (and you can afford their $200 price tag) RHA’s T10i are a solid new choice.
Read the full article at Digital Trends
The build is among the best I’ve seen for any headphone, including full-size over-the-ear headphones, and the long warranty only adds extra reassurance.
Choosing headphones is confusing. Some sets are tuned to get the bass pumping during your workouts. Others are better suited to quietly enjoy classical music. And every manufacturer has its own idea of what sounds “best”.
But what if you could tune the sound to your liking without the need for an equalizer? That’s what Reid Heath Acoustics (RHA) is aiming for with its new $200 T10i. We’ve been fans of RHA’s headphones before; couple this with an injection-molded steel build and a 3-year warranty and you’ve got our attention.
RHA’s headphones have always been strong on the design front, beginning with the packaging and accessories. The T10i kicks it up a notch.
Inside the box – other than the headphones, of course – you’ll find a selection of several silicon and foam tips that should help you find a good fit. Also included are the three color-coded sound-tuning filters (more on them later) and a leather carrying case to hold all the included items.
It’s not often earphones can be described as “beautiful,” but the T10i earn the designation. Crafted through an injection-molded steel process, the T10i look and feel almost handmade. The bulbous, form-fitting shape rests comfortably in your ear; I was able to sleep with them on with no issue.
The most unique design point is the ear hook. The hooks are soft and springy, but you can actually mold them to a shape that best fits around your individual ears. Not everyone likes wearing earphones over-the-ear, but I prefer mine that way for the added stability when working out.
The hooks are necessary too, since the earpieces are quite heavy on their own. But that’s just a testament to their build quality.
The T10i features the same thick cable used on the MA750i, which is mainly a good thing. The y-split and connector are both machined out of metal as well, and the connector has a reassuringly sturdy spring strain relief. There are three buttons and a mic; as expected, only the play/pause button and microphone work on my Android devices.
The headphones don’t feature any fancy noise-cancelling circuitry, but they did a great job of blocking outside noise, even as the turbines roared and babies cried during my flight to CES. The foam tips work particularly well if isolation is your priority (although it’s worth noting they slightly soften treble).
I only have two complaints: First off,the cable’s rubbery texture (read: lots of friction) makes it hard to untangle. Because the cable is so thick, it doesn’t tangle often in the first place, but it’s a little irksome when it does. Second, I wish the cables were detachable as on some competitors at this price point, but that’s largely forgivable given the top-notch build and 3-year warranty.
Reviewing the T10i is somewhat like reviewing three headphones – the three tuning filters will cause the headphones to vary slightly for different audiences. I was happiest with the sound from the treble filters, so that’s what I’ll be describing in general, but changes are subtle enough that there is still a common sound signature for all configurations.
As a note, I let the headphones “burn-in” for several hours before making definitive assessments. Whether headphones and speakers actually need to be broken in to perform optimally is a highly debated matter, but I prefer to let mine settle just in case.
The first thing you notice about the T10i is that these are bass-powerhouses regardless of what filter you’re using. You’re unlikely to be left wanting for stronger kick on a bass heavy R&B track like Janelle Monae’s “Primetime“.
At the same time, it’s high quality bass, textured enough to realistically depict the rumble of a church organ’s sub-bass on something like Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue“.
The midbass response is stronger than I generally prefer, lending a certain thickness to the sound. While a heavy midbass is fun on pop tracks, it has a tendency to overwhelm texture and detail in other frequencies, which is why many audiophiles bawk at some popular products tuned for the masses.
What impresses me about the T10i, then, is that they have just as heavy a midbass as other headphones while maintaining the details you’d expect from an audiophile-grade product.
The midrange generally comes off well-balanced with respect to the other frequencies. Hayley Williams’ voice in Paramore’s “Ain’t it Fun” comes through powerfully. Rock tracks with with more aggressive basslines may suffer more from the headphone’s tuning, however.
The treble (especially with, well, the treble filters) is well extended, giving cymbals in Daft Punk’s Get Lucky a realistic amount of shimmer. It might come off slightly harsh if you’re sensitive to sharp sounds when using the treble filters, but one of the other filters or using the foam eartips should mitigate this.
Despite having slightly thicker bass than the MA750i to my ears, Rodrigo and Gabriela’s strumming on The Soundmaker sounds wonderfully defined.
As with the MA750i, the T10i are surprisingly good at making music sound like it’s not completely stuck your head, with orchestral music providing a three-dimensional soundstage – a relatively rare feat for bass-heavy in-ear monitors.
Perhaps my favorite aspect of the T10i is how well it reproduces an instrument’stimbre, most aptly with the treble or reference filters on. This is likely a result of the thick steel housings eliminating unwanted resonances.
Speaking of the filters, RHA isn’t the first to try something of the sort, but it’s still a relatively rare feature. Don’t expect them to provide any drastic change, but rather a mild shift towards their respective tuning.
The headphones come with the ‘reference’ filters applied by default, which provide a pleasant bassy sound balance, but I actually think the treble filters are closer to a median point anyone can enjoy.
I’d rather see the reference sound become the bass one. I don’t think many will need more thump than those provide, and in any case the bass filter seems to behave more by decreasing treble further than actually increasing strengthening the low end. Instead, I’d rather there be a new, brighter option be created for treble-lovers.
Still, it’s much nicer to have the option to tune the sound than not at all.
There’s a lot to like about the T10i. I wouldn’t consider them quite the amazing deal the MA750i offer at $129 for the average listener, but to more serious audiophiles, the sound quality upgrade is obvious.
I do still wish they were tuned to be ever-so-slightly less bassy – I suspect many discerning listeners willing to spend this much would rather this be the case as well – but there’s no denying the output is high quality regardless of your sound preferences.
The build is among the best I’ve seen for any headphone, including full-size over-the-ear headphones, and the long warranty only adds extra reassurance.
Any nitpicks aside, it’s not often you come across headphones that so well combine the trifecta of sound, build and convenience. Though not inexpensive, RHA’s T10i earphones are a truly luxury product without an outlandish price.
Read the full article at The Next Web
RHA have produced earphones that could easily warrant a £100 price tag. Combining original design, premium build quality and excellent sound, the Glasgow firm has impressed us once again.
SCOTLAND’s RHA have been diligently carving out a niche in the premium audio market for several years now, impressing with their blend of idiosyncratic design and top grade performance. When we reviewed their T10i earphones last year, we were taken by their bold aesthetics superb sonic output. The company’s MA350 range, now available in the same sleek, industrial packaging as the T10i, ticks the same boxes.
Designed to resemble a trumpet’s bell, they are constructed out of material that is hard to find in most earphones that sell for less than £70, let alone £30. The metal is solid aircraft grade aluminium which has been sandblasted and partially anodised in matte black. The resultant look is effortless stylish and gives a distinctive appearance while also making it feel reassuringly sturdy.
The bass is deep and controlled and the sound retains its clarity at high volumes
For in-ear phones, the MA350s are capable of deep and controlled bass notes that many over-ear sets would struggle to emulate. Tested with Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti, the warm low frequencies gave the music drive and impact without muddying the rest of the sound signature. Even at high volume, the sound retained its clarity and sharpness. We’re talking quality you would expect from earphones retailing at three times the price.
Promises of noise isolation are kept thanks to great design and materials
Equally surprising for in-ear buds is RHA’s claim of noise isolation, a promise many manufacturers make idly only to fail to deliver on it. But RHA make good on their vow, thanks in large part to the premium materials and the build quality. The machined aluminium and metal driver grille ensure that sound does not escape, while the rubber tipped ends (RHA provide a range of sizes in the box, along with a drawstring carry bag) provide a complete seal in the ear canal.
While the design of the MA350s is near faultless, one decision we took issue with was the use of a fabric braided cable. Granted, this is a far more sturdy material than plastic and it does not impact adversely on the sound, but finding the odd little kink proved annoying given the clean, refined look of the earphones. Some people might not even notice, let alone complain, of course.
The MA350 earphones could easily sell for £100
Designed for an entry level audience, RHA have produced earphones that could easily warrant a £100 price tag. Combining original design, premium build quality and excellent sound, the Glasgow firm has impressed us once again. If you’re a Scottish audiophile, why scour the rest of the world looking for earphones that pack style and substance when you could pick them up on your doorstep?
Read the full article at Scotsman
Quality sound is something RHA is synonymous with and the MA350 is no exception, combing crystal clear harmonics with robust materials that won't fail after a few months.
Budget in-ear headphones
How will it change my life?
Another week and another set of headphones I hear you sigh, well, not so fast. I reviewed Glasgow-based RHA's T10i not so long ago and was hugely impressed with the value for money they offered. When I heard that their original MA350 was still doing a roaring trade three years on and had undergone a recent refresh, I had to give them a blast.
I like to think I've perfected the art of dissecting audio equipment to its bones. I view it as being akin to the 12 Trials of Hercules. Every test brings a different aspect of what is wanted in such a device: after all Chopin and Stravinsky could make linked tea cups sound good.
Anyone who has bought an expensive MP3 player or phone will know that the default headphones that arrive with them are a serious chink in the armour which should be disposed of immediately and replaced with something of the standard of the MA350.
Vocals can be useful but only for pitch and unless your MP3 player is dominated by Nina Simone then you'll want to delve a bit deeper into the earphones' capabilities. The ultimate challenge, the MA350's Cerberus and one that invariably downs most contenders, is Orion by Metallica: delicate transitions of heavy bass, drums and guitar that this set of headphones handles with ease.
Quality sound is something RHA is synonymous with and the MA350 is no exception, combining crystal clear harmonics with robust materials that won't fail after a few months. Noise isolation is a term banded about by most audio output companies but you only get a sense of what this actually means when you try lower-end products first.
To derive the same effect from poorly manufactured equipment you need to ramp up the volume which degrades the quality. The MA350 achieves this at reduced sound levels meaning those around you are not subjected to your musical tastes.
Not a lot.
Best for ...
Achieving a sound to rival headphones that cost four times as much.
Avoid if ...
You are looking for the bling to get you noticed.
Score: 9/10, an ideal gift to gain brownie points or simply treat your ears to rock bliss.
Read the full article at The Herald Scotland.
The firm has just created a new upscale, yet still quite reasonably priced, high performance earphone that goes even further than the MA750i did in terms of both sound and build quality.
Roughly a year a go I penned a Hi-Fi+ web exclusive review of a very fine and surprisingly affordable earphone called the MA750i from the Scottish firm RHA. (http://www.hifiplus.com/articles/rha-ma750i-earphones/) If you read that review then you already know that we felt the MA750i offered exceptionally good build quality for its modest (£89.95) price. We were also ‘favourably impressed’ by that earphone’s almost self-effacingly neutral voicing, which offered pleasing and unforced qualities of natural warmth and wonderfully even-handed and uncoloured tonal balance – a desirable quality that many earphone makers have found difficult to achieve.
Now, let’s jump forward a year to the present time to ask a simple rhetorical question: What has RHA has done for us lately? The answer, in simple terms, is that the firm has just created a new upscale, yet still quite reasonably priced, high performance earphone that goes even further than the MA750i did in terms of both sound and build quality. The new earphone is called the T10i (£149.95) and it has a number of distinguishing features that set it apart from the MA750i. Among these features are:
An all-new handmade dynamic driver (internally known as the RHA 770.1 driver) that is said to “reproduce all genres of music with high levels of accuracy and detail. An included set of colour-coded, metal, screw-in type voicing filters to fine-tune the T10i’s voicing for a “Reference” (neutrally balanced), “Treble” (slightly treble-enhanced), or “Bass” (subtly bass enhanced) presentation.
Impressive-looking, ultra-comfortable, and very durable earpiece housings made of Metal Injection Moulded stainless steel (not an easy material to use in moulding processes, so that the construction of the earpieces involves heating the housings to “1300° C for up to ten hours to ensure the steel is the correct shape and density for outstanding comfort and durability”).
Distinctive, patent-pending, over-the-ear ear-hooks that are relatively flexible and easy to shape, yet that hold their shapes quite well once properly adjusted.
A multicore, 1.35mm signal cable with oxygen free copper conductors and an Apple-certified three-button in line remote/microphone module.
An elaborate accessories pack, including a premium carry case, single and dual-flange silicone ear tips and memory foam ear tips, plus a detachable garment hook.
Given how good the original MA750i was, I imagine the first question readers will ask is whether the T10i actually does sound better than the MA750i. The short answer is that it does, though the differences are subtle and more qualitative and textural in nature. As we see it, this is a good thing in the that the MA750i offered such admirably neutral voicing; so, too, does the T10i when its Reference voicing filters are installed. And, unlike most earphones on the market, the T10i offers not just one voicing curve, but three distinctly different ones.
Naturally, the sceptics among us will be quick to ask whether the T10i’s voicing filters give critical listeners worthwhile voicing adjustment options as opposed to providing garish sonic effects that represent little more than ill-judged gimmicks. The answer, I am happy to say, is that yes, the voicing filters do give listeners useful presentation control options—options that offer relatively subtle adjustments to the T10i’s standard, Reference voicing curve. The key word in the preceding sentence is ‘subtle’, as RHA’s Bass filters add no more than a 3dB lift in low-frequency output below 100 Hz, relative to the Reference curve. Likewise, the Treble filters provide no more than a +3dB lift in upper midrange/treble output above 1kHz, again relative to the Reference curve. What is more, the Bass and Treble filters both closely follow the shape of the T10i’s Reference response curve, so that the filters could be said to provide “a little lift”—not huge, overwrought, and potentially over-the-top changes in voicing.
For those who might be wondering about this, the small filters (which are a bit smaller in diameter than rubber pencil eraser tips) feature beautifully made, metal enclosures with knurled rims that make the filters easier to grasp and to install or remove. The screw-in filters fit into machined and threaded holes in the mouths of the T10i earpiece sound outlet tubes. Changes, then, are as simple as unscrewing one set of filters and screwing in another. To help owners keep everything straight, the filters are colour-coded (black for Bass, silver-grey for Reference, and copper-colour for Treble) and RHA thoughtfully provides a small stainless-steel carrier plate where users can store those filters not presently in use.
One might well ask whether having multiple voicing filters is even a good idea, but I think that it can be, at least where earphones are concerned. I say this because firms such the Swiss hearing technology company Phonak and others have done research that shows different individuals do have different in-ear perceptions of sonic neutrality. Part of the reason for this may be that, with earphones, the wearers’ ear canals, which of course differ from one another in size, shape, and volume, are in a sense the “enclosures” into which the earphone drivers will load. Given this, offering a means of making judicious voicing adjustments seems a step in the right direction. Readers might find it instructive to note that one of the finest and most expensive earphones ever reviewed by Hi-Fi+, namely the AKGK3003i (£1,000), also provides screw-in voicing filters, meaning the T10i is certainly in good company.
How does the T10i sound? Well, obviously the answer depends to some degree on which filters are installed, but to establish a baseline of sorts I did the preponderance of my review listening with the T10i’s Reference filters installed. Then, as a useful comparison I listened to the T10i in comparison both to RHA’s original MA750i earphones and to the more expensive Westone W10 earphones (£199).
The T10i (with Reference filters) is voiced quite similarly to the MA750i, which is to say that it offers refreshingly neutral tonal balance coupled with what I consider desirable qualities of natural, organic warmth with ample (but not overblown) bass weight and impact. If you listen closely, though, one significant difference you would find is that the T10i offers even higher levels of transient speed, resolution, and overall textural nuance than does the MA750i, so that the T10i figuratively might be described as an MA750i ‘on steroids’. Though both models carry the same 100dB sensitivity rating, it seemed to me that the T10i needed just slightly higher amplifier output settings to achieve the same playback levels as the MA750i. Both RHA earphones are, though, extremely easy to drive.
Once the Westone W10 was brought into the comparison, my observation was that the W10 produced a somewhat more midrange/treble-forward presentation than did the T10i—a presentation replete with crisp, energetic transients. But, one obvious trade-off was that the Westone offered noticeably less mid- and low-bass weight and support. At first, casual listeners might be tempted to blurt out that the Westone ‘sounds clearer’, but further listening reveals that this initial perception is mostly down to the fact that the W10 achieves its perceived edge in clarity at the expense of slightly skewed overall tonal balance and limited bass support, both of which are areas where the RHA, by comparison, excels.
This, however, is where the potential benefits of RHA’s optional voicing filters loom large. Suppose, just for the sake of illustration, that you did an A/B comparison between the T10i and Westone’s W10 and found yourself narrowly preferring the Westones (even though you might miss the RHA’s more even tonal balance and superior bass). In such a circumstance, all you need do would be to substitute RHA’s Treble filters in place of the standard Reference filters to enjoy a touch of midrange/treble lift comparable to that provided by the W10s, while still benefitting from the RHA’s greater bass weight and low-end impact. The point is that the T10i’s give you the means to fine-tune tonal balance to suit your personal listening tastes and preferences, yet without veering into the realm of garish sonic colourations.
Read the full article at Hifi+
It is hands down the finest earphone I've heard at its price point.
RHA is a British (well, Scottish) audio manufacturer that aims to revise our thinking on what a genuinely modestly priced pair of earphones can be and do, both in terms of sound and build quality. As a case in point, I would cite RHA’s flagship model, the MA750i which sells for $129.95 (US), £89.95 (UK), or €99.95 (EU). If you stop to think about it, you could easily go out with your mates, spring for some delectable pub grub and a few pints, only to find you’d actually spent more for the evening than RHA’s top-flite MA750i would have cost you. In my book, this math makes the MA750i a potential bargain (or what we Amurricans might call “a screamin’ good deal”), provided the earphones sound good and are well made. But is that the case?
Yes. Full stop.
We could pretty much end this review right there, but it would hardly seem sporting of me. After all, surely Hi-Fi+ readers are eager to learn how and why a British earphone is acquiring a bit of a reputation as a giant killer on both sides of the Atlantic and on both sides of the English Channel. I generally prefer to leave discussions of sonic character for last, so let’s begin by looking at what your £89.95 will buy you if you invest in a set of MA750i’s.
When you open the box you’ll discover the MA750i is beautifully made. For starters, its earpiece enclosures are made of machined 303F-grade stainless steel, which creates a strong, positive first impression. Nothing—absolutely nothing—looks cheaply made, here. The ‘phones are supplied with a large diameter set of smoothly-jacketed, steel reinforced, oxygen free signal cables that terminate in a robust, knurled metal mini-plug fitted with a gold plated, four-conductor plug tip. The “four-conductor” bit refers to the fact that the MA750i is fully iPod/iPhone/iPad compatible and accordingly comes with a machined metal in-line three-button remote/mic module (with soft rubber button surfaces for better ergonomics). Sturdy strain reliefs are fitted where the signal cables enter the earpieces and where the signal cable routes into the connector plug. Even the “Y-yoke” (the joint where the left and right earpiece leads join the main signal cable) is handled via a knurled metal connector whose fit and finish mimic those of the main output connector.
Read the full article at HiFi+
It's staggering just how much innovation and the degree of technological detail the designers and engineers have put into the T10i.
What are they?
Banging new headphones from a Scottish firm.
How will they change my life?
I often write about headphones but think of me as being like Goldilocks - I'm looking for a set that is just right. To that end, the fit has to be perfect; the sound can't be too tinny or heavy on bass; and they have to offer value for money as well as look good.
Over the years, I've learned that music appreciation is a bit like tastebuds, in that not everyone will hear a sound or pitch in the same way. Ultimately, what sounds good is subjective so it's important that you have equipment that will give an accurate mirror of what the artists created.
Just when I thought my mission to find a set that were "just right" was doomed to failure, a flash of brilliance pricked my ears: T10i in-ear headphones from Glasgow-based RHA.
From first use, the T10i headphones put me in a blissful trance akin to following the pied piper to rock 'n' roll heaven. The large selection of memory foam buds should give most people their ideal fit and effortlessly cling to the aural canal like a soothing padded plaster which, coupled with the immense noise-isolating design, protects you from the harsh racket of the outside world while aiding musical enjoyment.
Many high-profile companies should look at the RHA technology as a template instead of trying to alter the sound to reflect how they think consumers want to hear certain sounds. Unlike RHA, attempts to second guess the tastes of their audience only act as a hardwired filter which restricts most genres.
The T10i come with interchangeable tuning filters which put sound control into the hands of the listener to dampen bass and so on when needed.
It's staggering just how much innovation and the degree of technological detail the designers and engineers have put into the T10i, from the mouldable ear hooks to the three-button remote and microphone.
You would need an electron microscope to find fault with this fine specimen.
Best for ...
Everyone. The sound balance will suit all music lovers.
Avoid if ...
Like Voltaire, you think anything too stupid to be said is sung.
Read the full article at The Herald Scotland.
I wouldn’t be surprised if these were regarded as a ‘classic’ in even five or ten years’ time... If you’ve been waiting for a good in-ear headset to come along, don’t hesitate on grabbing the T10i.
A good in-ear headphone is like a truly good book – most of the time, you’re settling for “good enough,” and a true masterpiece only comes along once in a while. The new RHA T10i is that masterpiece when it comes to in-ear buds, with design that’s durable, eye-catching and comfortable, and sound quality that’s hard to match, and that can be tailored to your own tastes thanks to replaceable hardware tuning filters included with the set for sound modification without the attendant downsides of software-side equalization.
RHA has crafted a set of earbuds that are unique – so unique that at first I wasn’t sure what to make of them. The stainless steel buds have a design that manages to look more organic than industrial despite the material used in its construction, and the final effect is of something almost hand-made. Details like the cylindrical steel remote case and the knurled cable case protectors at the headphone split point and the 3.5mm connector are far more industrial in look, and therefore easier to mentally place when you’re taking in the RHA T10i at first glance, but the earbuds take a little more getting used to.
In the end, though, the T10i’s buds are designed to sit in the ear with maximum comfort, and their smooth-pebble look is ultimately a pleasant alternative to other earbud designs that strive for something harsher, and that feel worse when worn as a result. Other design elements, including the flexible metal clad “ear hooks” that make up the final portion of each cable nearest the ear buds, the remote, and the cable end nearest the 3.5mm jack seems designed to result in a final product that is best able to withstand tangles, unceremonious packing and repeated removal/insertion in iPhones and other devices without cable breakage and with a reduction of wear.
Attention to detail is obvious, too, in the case that comes with the RHA T10i, which includes a metal card that holds additional earbuds and the swappable tuning tips. You won’t have to go digging for these accessories when you need them, as RHA appears to have thought of everything.
When preparing this review, I had to go back and remind myself of the price when preparing the list of basic specs – and I honestly thought I’d made a mistake when the number I came up with was $200. The RHA T10i I’d be listening to could’ve easily cost $100 to $200 more than that, based on the kind of sound they deliver.
Out of the box, the RHA T10i have the neutral acoustic filters installed, which are screw-in components that go under the actual earbud tip and modulate the balance of the sound you’ll get from the devices. These basic, or reference ones, provided the perfect sound for me – rich, warm and inviting, but not overly heavy on the base, or too tinny in service of the kind of high-fidelity clarity only a purist can love.
The good news is that if you’re either a bass addict or a classical enthusiast, you can easily tag in the other two acoustic filters as needed, and essentially convert your earbuds into a completely different set, albeit with the same great construction and a high level of sound quality that persists despite the shifts in overall equalization. And because this is hardware level, not software-side equalization, you won’t notice any odd auditory effects from the change – and they’ll apply to all your music, unlike some of the app-based solutions provided by other companies.
RHA’s sound and comfort combo means that you can listen to these while also forgetting that you’re wearing earbuds for the most part, even while in motion and using them under toques or other hats, which is a rare achievement for this kind of audio hardware.
If you’re looking for a good pair of in-ear headphones, the RHA T10i are for you. They might be a bit outside the ideal target price range of most, since I often get asked what’s the best option at $100, but the extra $100 gets you a lot of additional benefit with the T10i over any comparable option. They’re better than in-ear headsets I’ve owned that have cost twice as much, in fact, and they seem designed to last. iPhone compatibility via the in-line remote is also great, and the sound quality on calls, even when used out on the street, is likewise top-notch.
I wouldn’t be surprised if these were regarded as a ‘classic’ in even five or ten years’ time, and one of the better bargains in mobile audio accessories. If you’ve been waiting for a good in-ear headset to come along, don’t hesitate on grabbing the T10i.
Read the full article at TechCrunch
The RHA T10i is probably the best looking and best built in-ear headphone for $200. The design is exquisite.
The RHA T10i is probably the best looking and best built in-ear headphone for $200. The design is exquisite, featuring noise-isolating stainless steel buds, hand-made drivers, interchangeable sound filters, and an oxygen-free copper cable.
There are a lot of excellent in-ear headphones for $200 though. How does the T10i stack up? Here’s our full review.
Build and Fit
The T10is exude a luxury not typically found in the $200 in-ear range. Even the $500 NuForce Primo 8 didn’t feel as expensive as these. It’s not just the metal buds themselves that impress. Included in the box are ten pairs of tips: six silicone domes, two “Christmas tree”, and two foam (not specifically Comply, but similar), all arranged on a metal tray.
Even more interesting are the interchangeable filters. The Torque Audio and Shure SE846 have this as well, and it’s a cool idea. In theory it allows finer tuning of the sound to suit a wider range of personal preferences. What I’ve found, though, is they’re hard to judge: If there’s one filter I like the sound of, does that mean the other filters sound “bad”? A heavier question than we have space for here, perhaps. Regardless, with the (admittedly excellent) Shure SE846 I stuck with the “Neutral,” the others sounding a bit more… tilted. So I started with the Reference filter here, checking out the Bass and Treble filters after.
Rounding out the included goodies is an in-line 3-button remote and mic, and a really nice leather (?) wallet-sized carrying case.
After you pick your favorite of the myriad tips, you’ll need to take a moment to fiddle with the cable loop. The T10is have an over-the-ear cable design I’ve found hit-or-miss with other headphones. For some people, the design works great, keeping the buds secured comfortable. Others can’t stand it, and can’t get a good fit. I’m somewhere in the middle, with some headphones that feature the design working great, others… not so much. A lot of that is how well (or not) the cable interacts with my glasses. The T10i were OK, but I didn’t ever love it. I was able to get them to fit without pushing on my glasses frames, which isn’t something I can say about the Shures. Even if you don’t have glasses, expect some trial and error to get the fit right (and do get the fit right, otherwise the T10s won’t sound as good as they should).
For test music, I used songs written about in Best Headphone Test Tracks, using both my HTC One and Apple iPod touch as sources.
The overall sound of the RHA T10i, with the “Reference” filter, is of a lot of bass, and noticeable boost in the upper-midrange. The bass is a little muddled, more “whump” than “thump.” The spike in the upper mid-range is right around the snare drum range. I tend to like a little extra bass, but I like it better defined than this. If you’ve ready any of my headphone reviews before, you know I hate upper mid-range boosts. A lot of headphones have this (for reasons not worth getting into here).
The bass though, goes really deep. Organ music, for example, sounds pretty epic. Or Roger Water’s bass on “Another Brick in the Wall Part 2.” I can’t say I’ve heard in-ears that seem to go as low as these do. Overall I could, ahem, basically get used to the low end with the T10i. That spike in the upper mids, though not nearly as bad as many headphones, was a bit more than I’d like. It gives the T10s an almost shouty sound with certain voices.
Not to pre-judge, but I expected to hate the “Treble” filter. I can hear high end sounds really well, and I definitely don’t need more of them. Ever. But hey, thorough review and all that. The filters screw on and off very easily, which isn’t the case with many such designs.
Yeah… um, the Treble filter had almost the same amount of bass as the Reference filter. There is definitely more treble, though not as much as you’d think. There’s a lot more sibilance though. So I’m not sure even people who like a lot treble would really dig this filter. It’s a bit harsh.
Last up was the “Bass” filter. Given the Reference filter already had as much bass as I’d care for, I was pretty curious what this filter would do. There is more bass, but it actually sounds a little better controlled, which I wasn’t expecting. That 2-3k spike is still there, though, which is a bummer.
However… I switched to the foam tips and the sound changed a lot. This has been the case with several headphones I’ve tried (the Shures, for one). In-ear headphones are all about the fit, and it’s hard to get a better seal than with foam (at least for most ears). Using the Bass filters and the foam tips, the sound was a bit mellowed. The spike was reduced, and because of the reduced treble, the T10s sounded less open. I liked them a lot more though. They went from “good, but not great” to “I could listen to these.” It’s still a lot of bass though, keep that in mind.
I switched to the Treble filters. A more even frequency response than with the Bass filter, certainly, but with the mid-range very forward. Voices, for example, were a bit louder than they should be. The Reference filters, not surprisingly, were a balance between the two. Bit more bass than the Treble, a bit more treble than the Bass.
Overall, the foam/Treble combo (in my ears, anyway) was what I’d say is the best balanced, though I preferred the Reference. Regardless, the T10s in this configuration were a touch dull sounding. They did have some excellent stereo separation, soundstage, and imaging, though, better than I’ve heard with most in-ears.
The RHA T10i is a beautiful headphone, of that there’s no question. The multiple tips, filters, and overall design is fantastic, especially when you consider the price.
The sound though… is harder to say. I did find a tip/filter combo I liked, and that is the point of including them all. However, I didn’t like them until I found that one combo, which is a bit worrying. These had the biggest difference in how much I liked/disliked the sound between best fit, and worst fit, of any headphone I’ve tested. Plus, the foam tips were the only tips that fit comfortably for me because of the over-the-ear cable loop. It’s lucky, perhaps, that the way those tips change the sound in my ears, changed it in a way I liked.
Further, there are plenty of excellent sounding $200 in-ears that just sound good as soon as you put them in, without all the hassle.
Which is to say, I can’t flat out recommend the T10i. But I’m not not recommending them. If you can get a good fit, and you like the around-the-ear design, and you like bass, these are definitely worth checking out.
And they’re certainly gorgeous.
Read the full article at Forbes
The T10i sets a new high for RHA, pushing the boundaries of sound quality and delivery.
T10iThe recently announced RHA T10i (US$199.95) noise-isolating, in-ear headphones take top-shelf in RHA's lineup of fantastic headphones. According to RHA, the T10i headphones take precedence over the MA750i (read my review here), which have been my everyday headphones over the last year or so. They're also the set I recommend to anyone looking for new headphones with high-quality sound, but with a modest budget. How does the T10i compare as the new top-tier RHA offering?
According to RHA's website, the T10i takes a step forward in almost every aspect compared to the MA750i. The MA750i drivers are made from 303F Stainless Steel. The T10i drivers are made from Injected Molded Steel -- a process where steel is subjected to 1300 degrees Celsius heat for up to ten hours, ensuring the correct shape and density for superior comfort and durability. The result is a cool, brushed metal look and feel, with a sturdy confidence. I would have no problems shoving these into my back pocket or bag.
The MA750i has over-ear cable supports. The T10i has "moulded" over-ear hooks that adjust to the shape of your ear. The MA750i has a steel reinforced, oxygen-free cable with gold plated connections. The T10i has a multicore, reinforced, oxygen-free copper cable with gold plated connections, and it's noticeably thinner, but still strong and hard-wearing. The list goes on. Incrementally different as they are, both headphones look fantastic, are rugged and durable, have a three button remote and mic made for iOS users and, as with all RHA headphones, have a 3-year warranty.
However, the big difference here is between the MA750i 560.1 driver and the T10i 770.1 driver. For starters, the T10i's are noticeably bigger. But there's a lot more to it than just size. Aside from delivering a natural, balanced sound signature aiming to accommodate all genres of music accurately and precisely with high levels of soundstage imaging, the frequency response of the 770.1 driver is customizable with the T10i's interchangeable tuning filter system.
By unscrewing the tip-ends off the drivers and replacing them with either of the two sets of additional filters, users can enhance the bass or treble response of the T10i or remain with the pre-installed, true-to-life reference filters attached.
I spent the bulk of my listening time using the reference filters on the T10i. After the lengthy, but recommended burn-in period, I found the T10i's to be immediately familiar in feel and sound -- though offering a weightier, more detailed sound compared with the MA750i's more open sound -- but with a new found focus and determination that bested the MA750i.
Of course, choosing the right ear tip is crucial for both noise isolation and the sound you'll get. I have some universal custom molds for my ears, but found that they didn't work well with the T10i's. Perhaps when fitted, there's a bit more travel between the driver and my ear. Either way, do try the different tips that come with the T10i's to get the best fit.
Damien Rice's The Box (do listen to the album version) demonstrates how the T10i delivers fine detail and presentation as well as range and depth with life and energy. Rice's vocal is front and center, delicate and then soaring over an acoustic guitar. Subtle inflections, intonations and rhythms are beautifully presented and handled. The later piano and strings demonstrate the breadth of the T10i's soundstage, with warmth and clarity. Brass and drums join the mix, filling into the balanced depth and fullness the T10i offers. Everything culminates with a climatic end; piano harmonics linger while Rice's vocal and guitar end the song. It's a great song and a pleasure to hear through the T10i's.
I spent less time with the filters, but appreciated the enhancements that each brought. If you're looking for that extra bit of sonic depth or height in your music, both will deliver subtle, but appreciated enhancements to either end of the spectrum. The filters provide a customization that is not often found in headphones of this price range, if at all.
The T10i sets a new high for RHA, pushing the boundaries of sound quality and delivery. They're a worthy upgrade to the MA750i, with incremental upgrades to an already impressive feature set, but it's those 770.1 drivers that make all the difference. There's also the custom filters for personal taste, which is a premium feature. Hitting the $200 price point starts to push beyond the realms of budget headphones, but I think the T10i offer great value for money when you could easily spend a lot more for a similar, high-quality experience.
Read the full article at TUAW
It is a bold, brash and unconventional aesthetic and it looks marvellous...the design informs a superb sonic performance.
THIS Scottish firm fuses bold design to outstanding audio performance
FOR all the engineering marvels that Glasgow has given the world, there is a temptation to regard its industrial heritage as a thing of the past, an energy borne from and which ended with the Victorian era, now to be preserved and revered in the hushed confines museums and libraries. Yet the city’s indomitable spirit has not only survived into the 21st century, but prospered in new ways, with arguably no finer exponent than RHA, a specialist audio company just off the banks of the Clyde at Finnieston, which has also recently opened a pop up shop in Princes Square. Its name may not be familiar to most Scots, but for audiophiles the world over, those three initials represent a guarantee of top-grade sound.
From its humble head office tucked off Argyle Street, the company - formerly known as Reid & Heath Acoustics - has unveiled its latest product, the T10i. Ostensibly, these are in-ear, wired earphones, but such a description feels wholly inadequate when you consider the work and innovation that has gone into them. The first thing that strikes you about the model is its design, akin to a personal listening device dreamt up by H.R. Giger, the late surrealist set designer famous for his work on Alien.
The aesthetic is brash, unconventional and brilliant
Quite simply, the T10i looks classical and otherworldly at once, like Henry Moore meets Blade Runner. What stands out most of all is the use of cold, brushed injection moulded stainless steel for the main body of the earphones, bound to the winding spine of an oxygen-free copper cable with gold plated connectors. It is a bold, brash and unconventional aesthetic and it looks marvellous. More importantly, the design informs a superb sonic performance. The weight of the metallic components give the T10i a sturdiness that improves the isolation of external noise without compromising comfort, thanks to over ear hooks that mould around the ears and leave you free to focus on the output rather than fiddling around.
The resultant sound is a resounding success, a combination of power, finesse and dexterity. RHA say its handmade dynamic driver allows the earphones to excel across a range of genres with detail and accuracy, and our tests endorsed such a claim. Back catalogue vintage Rolling Stones tracks came through with punch and clarity as the T10i brought out the best of the guitar textures and interplay while representing the thumping backbeat with gusto. Punchier tracks from Daft Punk also sounded dynamic and powerful with no distortion when the volume was cranked up.
With extensive options, RHA cater to audiophiles and general consumers alike
While such an expansive performance will likely satisfy the majority of consumers, RHA also caters to the whims of a more demanding audience. The T10i comes not only with a handsome carry case, but an array of accessories and attachments designed to fine tune its fit and sound. Listeners can choose from a range of ear tips - including dual density silicone, memory foam and double flange silicone - but the masterstroke is the choice of two additional tuning filters to add nuance to the overall frequency, whether you favour a little extra bass or treble.
The former is well catered for in the standard issue reference filter already attached to the earphones, but replacing it with the treble option squeezed out a little extra detail from quieter, acoustic tracks. The reality is that music sounds great with the T10i, irrespective of the filter you choose, but the fact RHA have gone the extra mile and allow people to tinker hands-on with its technology in pursuit of the perfect listening experience demonstrates the innovation and care at play. This is a product of which Glasgow, that great city of music, should be immensely proud.
Read the full article at Scotsman
First impressions count for a lot and the T10i's were terrific on every count -- bass, midrange, treble, low distortion, dynamics, stereo imaging. And the earbuds' clarity made us feel closer to the music.
The Good The well-crafted, uniquely designed stainless-steel RHA T10i earbuds sound great and come with an abundance of accessories, including three sets of acoustic filters, 10 different eartips and a carrying case. You also get an Apple-friendly inline remote/microphone for making cell-phone calls.
The Bad They're a little weighty for in-ears and may not fit everyone comfortably. Some of the inline remote's functions won't work with Android and Windows Phone devices.
The Bottom Line While the design may not work for everyone, the RHA T10i earbuds are great-sounding and well-built, with some nice extras, including three sets of swappable acoustic filters.
Earphones are made out of all sorts of materials, but it's not too often that you hear about metal injection-molded, stainless-steel ones, which is why RHA's T10i model piqued our interest. They cost $199.95, £149.95 UK or €179.95 EUR (they're not not available in Australia, but the US price translates to about AU$227.)
In case you've never heard of RHA, it's a Scottish headphone maker, though its products are produced in the Far East, as most headphones are these days.
RHA says the stainless-steel T10i model features a handmade dynamic driver (model 770.1) "engineered to reproduce all genres of music with high levels of accuracy and detail." It's also interesting to note that the earphones include a tuning filter system that allows for frequency response customization. It's a feature we've seen on a few in-ears in the past (the high-end Phonak Audeo PFE 232 comes with acoustic filters), but you don't usually see it in a $200 headphone.
verything about these seems well crafted -- from the housings to the reinforced, oxygen-free copper cable to the gold-plated plug -- and the sound is excellent, too. Factor in all the included accessories (RHA provides eartips in several different sizes and shapes along with a nice case), and you really feel like you're getting a lot of headphone for your money.
The only potential problem is the fit. The T10i earbuds are somewhat weighty for in-ears and the over-the-ear cable system won't appeal to everyone (I'm not a huge fan, while CNET audiophile Steve Guttenberg finds it more appealing).
I had a little trouble maintaining a tight seal, especially when I hit the streets and walked around with the earphones in. They were fairly comfortable, but I found myself regularly adjusting them in my ears. Also, the cords are fairly heavy, too. I was always aware the cord was there. Ideally, you want to forget you're wearing headphones.
Part of the cord weight is due to the inline remote. It's sleek and sturdy, but it's got a little heft to it. The remote works with iPhones, controlling music transport and volume; don't expect them to work with Android and Windows Phone devices. Note, though, that the RHA T10 is also available, sans remote, for $10 or £10 cheaper.
First impressions count for a lot and the T10i's were terrific on every count -- bass, midrange, treble, low distortion, dynamics, stereo imaging. And the earbuds' clarity made us feel closer to the music.
We felt similarly about another set of in-ears we reviewed recently, the Bowers & Wilkins C5 S2, so that's where we started our comparisons.
Drive-By Truckers' "Southern Rock Opera" album has some of the cleanest drum sound we've heard on a pop album in ages, and the T10i made that abundantly clear. The C5 S2 was close, just a little less transparent. The C5 S2's treble was brighter, so any harshness on Jack White's "Lazaretto" album had no place to hide. The T10i was highly detailed, but somehow made White's sound sweeter and smoother than what we heard over the C5 S2.
Before we go any further describing the T10i's sound we need to talk about the "tuning filters " that slightly alter the frequency response. Up to this point we listened with the flat Reference filters installed. Changing the filters is easy enough: you remove the eartips, unscrew the installed filters, and then screw-in one of the other two (Bass or Treble) filters.
We first tried the Bass filters, which RHA claims raise under 200 Hertz bass 3 decibels. When we listened to Jimmy Cliff's "Rebirth" album his deep reggae grooves didn't sound any different.
The Treble filters raise the sound of all frequencies above 1,000 Hertz three decibels from the reference level. With jazz trumpeter Jon Hassel's "Fascinoma" album the Treble filters definitely brought out more detail and air from the mix. After dialing up some more test tracks, we decided we liked the difference the Treble filters made with great sounding recordings.
As far as final comparisons with the Bowers & Wilkins C5 S2 go, the T10i was clearer than the C5 S2 with the Reference filters and pulled even further ahead in terms of detail resolution with the Treble filters installed.
Even so, the C5 S2 is close to the T10i and they're both superb-sounding. That said, the C5 S2 model is significantly lighter and arguably more comfortable. As always, getting a tight seal is imperative for maximizing sound quality with in-ears, and the C5 is probably the better choice for mobile use.
The T10i earphones are impressive and well crafted in-ear headphones that sound great. My only reservations are about fit and comfort level. My gut says that they'll be be a good fit for many people but not everyone, so if you can, try before you buy.
Read the full article at CNET
Yes, they sound exceptional...they were resonant, clear, rich earphones.
The first pair of RHA's headphones I reviewed I thought were good, but a bit heavy and brutal. The second pair were cheaper, lighter, less complicated and overall quite a bit better.
The third pair, the T10i, have gone in completely the other direction, philosophically.
Where the light, streamlined MA600i in-ears were aimed at combining high-level sound with an accessible price-point, the T10is are going after the premium market like a steel-moulded bull in an extremely high-end China shop.
These are £150, High Fidelity, Injection Moulded, Everything In Caps in-ear headphones which to be honest I found totally intimidating and left me whimpering in a corner.
The look of these headphones is… quite something. And a bit weird at first. They reminded me of the derelict space ship in Alien - all twisted tubing, strange, un-Earthly steel shapes and tuning filters that look like engine parts.
They are cold to the touch and heavy, and look striking in the same way as a well-designed missile or a shiny fuel pump. They are durable, clearly carefully-made and utilitarian. But they aren't comforting. Or really all that comfortable either. They are big in the ear, and the 'mouldable' hook design felt a little fiddly at first, and oddly loose after a few days' use. Not that the cable itself loosened, mechanically. They just didn't seem all that tight.
Of course you're not spending this amount of money on earphones that just look good. You're buying them for the sound. And yes, they sound exceptional. RHA recommends a 20 hour 'burn in' time to really get the headphones up to scratch. To be honest, we couldn't tell much difference before and after that time. But they were resonant, clear, rich earphones which seemed to benefit from the "handmade", "true-to-life" 770.1 model driver, and dealt handily with everything we threw at them.
As ever with RHA you get a full set of ear tips, of different materials, in the box. This is generous and a nice touch, as is the leather carrying case. New this time around - and arguably somewhat insane - is the inclusion of three sets of tuning filters -- the bit at the very end of the earphone, to you and me -- to help boost the low or high end, or stay the course with a "reference" sound. There is a slight difference to our ears, but it is slight - you might need to really APPRECIATE sound quality to understand what you're hearing here, and what you're not.
You're also getting a three-button iOS--optimised cable remote, a "multicore oxygen-free copper cable", a gold plated 3.5mm connection jack and a nice box to boot.
Overall, what you're in store for with the T10is is a very well made, substance-over-sleekness set of premium earphones, at a little less than you'd pay for the top-end bigger-name brands' equivalents. That's a good deal.
Subjectively, to us, the effect of the T10i earphones was one of confidence and precision, but also a vague sense of furiously optimised aggression, and an overall lack of warmth in the feel and shape of the product. They were easy to like, extremely impressive in an objective sense, but hard to embrace and love.
But that's the sort of sentiment these headphones, if they were a person, would laugh at, spit on, chew up and stamp all over. We remain terrified, then, but impressed. We promise.
Read the full article at Huffington Post
The build quality is top rank: they are machined from stainless steel and have the best type of springy, durable cabling, with no concession at all...
For years at trade shows, I have been passing the stand of an intriguingly subfusc British headphone company called RHA. I always note down the name, take its interesting, very black brochure and promise to get hold of one of its products – and then, well, I don’t get round to it.
RHA isn’t what you’d call pushy, which may sound nice, but its quietness works to the extent that nobody I know in techie circles has (until recently) a view of any kind on the brand. A search of its website doesn’t help a lot in establishing who it is or what it’s like, other than that it is obviously high-end. The website is remarkably spare on details about the company, its heritage, anything, and only a scan of the legal section shows its official name is Reid Heath. My own mini-investigation, however, reveals it to be a Glasgow company whose HQ is “in the shadow of the Finnieston Crane”.
This is odd because it sounds like the kind of background a company could make a great deal of. A few months ago, I finally made contact and asked for a sample of whatever it was currently most proud of. RHA complied quickly but, again, the beautifully packaged MA750i headphones it sent remained on my shelf unopened, as if the company’s shyness is shared by its products. They just weren’t shouty enough. Even the price (£90) wasn’t extravagant enough for me to want to tear them from their box and try them out.
Yet now I have finally got round to testing them, they are quite superb, especially – and this is an important point – when you’ve let them run in for a few hours, a common requirement with good headphones and loudspeakers.
The MA750i is an in-ear model, but one supported by a nicely springy ear loop, making the headphones ideal for the gym or running. The build quality is top rank: they are machined from stainless steel and have the best type of springy, durable cabling, with no concession at all to the middle-market price. Even the excellent carrying case and selection of alternative tips resonate quality. This product could easily sell for £150 or more – especially when you hear the rounded but still exciting sound. It has a design characteristic (who knew?) of RHA called “Aerophonic”, meaning it’s inspired by the airflow and the acoustic properties of a trumpet bell. I’m not sure if that would pass without comment from rival audio companies, but it worked for me.
The MA750i cans are also extremely comfortable and have a three-year guarantee (as if anyone will manage not to lose a pair of in-ear headphones within three years).
Oh, and on the shyness front, as I write this, by coincidence, a thick, tasteful invitation plops through my letterbox to the launch in Berlin of a new RHA product, promising to be a serious audio breakthrough of some kind. A quaint but effective marketing idea, using the post – and maybe a welcome end to RHA’s introverted phase.
Read the full article at Financial Times: How To Spend It
If you’re looking for a great set of earbuds at a very good price, then look no further. Comfortable and they come with a case.
These noise-isolating earbuds with inline controls and mic have a sound that belies their relatively low price. The bass could be a little crisper, but it’s certainly intense enough for the range of musical genres we tested. Overall, the MA600i offers a very complete sound that’s warm and rich and has very good detail. They come with a good range of accessories too, including a hard case, a cable clip and an excellent range of tips. They’re comfortable to wear too, and the robust cables won’t tangle easily. All in all, they’re great value for money.
Read the full article in the January 2014 edition of MacFormat
RHA have managed to make the stainless steel-bodied MA750i supremely comfortable and well-fitted, even under heavy action. In fact, RHA absolutely nailed it perfectly with these ‘phones in every single category that matters.
There aren’t many in-ear monitors made of steel. Aluminum? Yes. Plastic? Wads. But steel-bodied IEMs — now that’s a rare find. There’s good reason for this: Though the material is solid, hard-wearing and, according to some, produces a cleaner sound, it’s heavy — which can make steel-housed IEMs often uncomfortable and annoyingly ill-fitting.
But forget all that. Scottish-based RHA have managed to make the stainless steel-bodied MA750i supremely comfortable and well-fitted, even under heavy action. In fact, RHA absolutely nailed it perfectly with these ‘phones in every single category that matters, with only two or three minor trade-offs.
RHA’s flagship MA750 actually comes in two flavors: plain, and with a little “i” on the end. Obviously — and RHA clearly states this on their website — the “i” version of the MA750 is made specifically for the iPhone. But that’s not exactly true. While the volume buttons do indeed only work with Apple devices, the main button, with its play/pause and skip track functions, works perfectly fine with Android gear, and it has a microphone that can be used for calls. And since the MA750i is only $10 more than the version without controls, the choice seems like a no brainer — especially considering how excellent the controls are.
Arguably the most impressive characteristic of the MA750i is how almost unbelievably beefy the whole thing is. I raised an eyebrow at the extra-large carrying case when I first pulled it out of the package. Are you kidding me? I thought. This thing is huge. Then I understood why: The MA750i’s rubber cables are absolutely massive. They’re easily the thickest cables of any IEM I’ve ever seen; they’re more or less the same size as cables on many of the over-the-ear headphones I’ve tested.
Both the jack and the cable junction are sheathed in solid metal cylinders. The earpiece housings themselves are two mighty chunks of stainless steel, sculpted at one end to form a sleek, conical shape. I can’t attest to how much actual abuse these ‘phones will tolerate, because I haven’t tested them for long enough (here’s a hint though — RHA’s warranty on all their headphones is a pretty generous three years) but if I were forced to bet, I’d put my money on the MA750i to be the last one standing.
Another benefit of the anaconda-like cable: It simply refused to tangle. Also, the rubber sheath meant zero instances of occlusion — the sound produced when material (like a shirt) rub against the cable.
Usually a heavy set of IEMs means fit problems, as the extra weight can cause the earpieces to shift and create fit problems. Since a nice tight fit is extremely important for getting good sound out of almost any set of IEMs, makers generally try to keep weight low.
But RHA seems to have bypassed this issue in two ways: by packaging the MA750i with an excellent complement of ten pairs of eartips — two flanged silicone sizes, six smooth silicone sizes and two identical memory foam pairs — and by shaping the cables (where they join the housings) so that they hook over the ears. The result is one of the best-fitting and most comfortable sets of IEMs I’ve ever worn. I never felt any fatigue or irritation, even with lots of movement.
Surprisingly, the two included memory-foam tips aren’t actually from Comply, the famed tips generally included with better IEMs. They look almost identical to Comply tips, and feel very similar. But there were subtle differences in their texture that made me query RHA about their origin. Sure enough, the company confirmed that MA750i’s memory-foam tips aren’t supplied by Comply, and are instead made in-house by RHA. Y’know what was really surprising? They might have beaten Comply a their own game — that’s how outstanding RHA’s foam tips were at creating a tight fit that sealed in bass and sealed out noise.
Like the rest of the set, the metal-housed controls felt solid and very well-made, with operation resulting in easy crisp clicks. Up there with the best controls of any IEM tested.
Finally we tackle sound quality. RHA says the MA750i houses two handmade dynamic drivers that have been “designed to deliver a clear and natural sound,” and that sounds about right; for dynamic drivers, the MA750i’s speakers sound crisp and bright. The bass is even better: Instead of the overboosted, boomy, muddy bass exhibited by some of its contemporaries, the RHAs managed a thrilling, unusually distinct reproduction of especially low frequencies. The mid-range seemed somewhat compressed, muddied and cluttered, especially with more nuanced music. But this weakness is somewhat par for the course with dynamic drivers around this price-range, and the overall sound experience still tilted to strongly positive.
The bad stuff is almost nil, mostly tradeoffs and largely dismissible: Because the set is overbuilt, it’s somewhat large and perhaps not as pocketable as other IEMs; and the jack area protrudes prominently and sometimes gets in the way.
For about the same price or slightly less, there are purely better-sounding IEMs out there, and if you’re looking for the most petite set, this isn’t it. But with its excellent bass, excellent fit and robust build, I’m severely challenged to find a better all-round set.
Read the full article at Cult of Mac
But for when we're out and about, these noise-reducing in-earphones are our new favourite thing, reducing the bustle of the city to a distant hum and providing startlingly good sound, especially in the lower ranges
We've featured British headphone designers RHA before in this guide, and that pair is still going strong. But for when we're out and about, these noise-reducing in-earphones are our new favourite thing, reducing the bustle of the city to a distant hum and providing startlingly good sound, especially in the lower ranges. Since the last earphones we tried from this company, they've plasticised the stylish-but-scratchy mic cords (so we no longer get rope burns when idly toying with the lead) and the new remote is about the sexiest one out there.
Read the full article at Empire
These are outstanding IEMs at an even more outstanding price. For someone looking to venture into the high-end earbud universe, the MA750s would be an extremely safe choice. With a tough, rugged build and a respectable warranty, they're also pretty likely to last you a while.
I like headphones that sound good, and as such, I really enjoyed the RHA MA350s when I reviewed them about a year ago, especially given their extremely reasonable retail price of about $40. For the money, I'm still not sure there's a headphone out there that's going to clearly best them. I actually bought a pair for myself as my backup travel headphones, and they've held up admirably.
But while the MA350s are indeed a good headphone, they are still not truly great - compare them to good IEMs (in-ear monitors) in the $100-200 range, and the difference rapidly becomes apparent. Highs feel a bit empty and shrill, mids feel muddy and muted, and bass simply isn't very complex or tight. This is what I have a hard time communicating to people who don't believe there is a real benefit to be had with entry-level high-end IEMs (and trust me, $100-200 is entry level), in that they simply don't believe me, or don't believe that the difference is anywhere close to being significant enough to warrant the cost.
If I had to analogize it, I'd say the earbuds you find included with some smartphones are a bit like a VGA front-facing smartphone camera, the MA350s and similarly-performing headphones are like a decent point-and-shoot camera (yes, that big a difference), while getting into high-end IEMs is like buying a Canon T5i - minus the bulk. The variation in the quality of sound, assuming your source audio is at least of decent quality (196Kbps+ for an MP3), is completely real and audible to any ordinary human being.
To take this analogy further, there are obviously people out there who couldn't give a damn about having a camera better than the back of the one on their iPhone, and can't be bothered about all this 'image quality' business. Convenience and cost, for them, are factors above all else. The same goes for headphones. I cannot force anyone to care about sound quality if they do not want to care about it, or have decided that a certain level is "good enough" for them.
With this review, I hope I can at least give those who are curious about exploring the higher end of the in-ear audio world a product to consider - the MA750s are truly spectacular for the money - and perhaps even get a skeptic or two interested in the idea of that world.
The RHA MA750s are the flagship headphone manufactured by Scottish firm RHA. They're fairly new to the headphone game, but the one other product of theirs I've used used blew me away for the price, and 750s are no different in that regard. The MA750s retail for $120, which is the price you'll pay if you choose to buy them on Amazon.
They come with a total of 10 sets of eartips, utilize stainless steel driver housing construction, and have a 1.35m cable. Inside the box is also a handy carrying case. RHA includes a rather impressive 3-year warranty against defects with the 750s, too.
The MA750s share the "aerophonic" trumpet-shaped sound-hole and driver housing of their cheaper sibling, the MA350s, but little else carries over from RHA's more economical entry-level headset. The driver housings are made entirely of stainless steel, inside which you'll find RHA's range-topping 560.1 dynamic driver assembly.
As a dynamic driver headphone, the MA750s do have something of a character to them that entry-level balanced armature IEMs can lack, for better or worse. Where many balanced armature IEMs are capable of producing extremely flat, consistent sound across the frequency spectrum, dynamic drivers tend to have a more "shaped" response curve. You can even see the MA750's response curve as published by RHA, below.
Tuning a dynamic driver in an earbud to have a pleasing, detailed response is something of an artform, though, just as it is in over-ear headphones and loudspeakers. It is by no means an inferior technology to balanced armatures, just a different one. And to be clear, it is also entirely possible to utterly ruin a balanced armature earbud, so there's really no reason to go in with a preference for one or the other innately.
The character of the 750s is actually fairly subdued, a welcome change from the often over-tuned and over-excited earbuds catering explicitly to the hip-hop, electronica, and pop genres. The MA750s are perhaps a bit more bright and textured across mids than is 100% faithful to some music, but given this is an area so many other headphones ignore for the high and low ends of the audio spectrum, it provides a more balanced, interesting listening experience. Vocals truly shine on the 750s, coming through so clear and crisp you'd almost think you were the studio for the mix. Details are pulled out with care, though soundstage isn't terribly wide and instrument separation isn't fantastic, but this is an IEM, after all. It's about as good as you're going to get for something that goes directly into your ear canal. Switching into my over-ear Grado SR80i's, I am reminded that for as good an IEM as the 750s are, earbuds simply don't have the presence to draw out a beautiful instrumental arrangement in the way open-back headphones can.
I found the 750s shined brightest when paired with songs that emphasized bold textures. Alternative and indie rock fans - perhaps even electronica lovers - I think, will really get a lot out of the way the 750s sound. Classic rock was less interesting, though still admirably detailed and nuanced in a way that I, frankly, didn't believe was quite possible at this price. Make no mistake, they still sounded excellent. Classical and jazz suffered most with the 750s when compared to my open-back headphones, where the earbuds' soundstage and instrument separation simply couldn't offer the experience such genres really deserve for proper listening.
Bass on the 750s is extremely respectable, and I actually found that songs which laid on the lows thick had a lot of presence. The bass response itself also doesn't feel muddy or loose, it's extremely tight and has surprisingly good range for an IEM - I was genuinely impressed. Playing a few tracks from Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, which if you've listened to you'll know lays on the bass and texture gratuitously, the 750s remained very composed and listenable at volumes where other, cheaper headphones would be begging for mercy.
If I had to describe the listening experience with 750s in a word it would be "enjoyable." Nothing sounds bad on the 750s, most music sounds brilliant, and everything is just so pleasant. That may sound like something of an under-endorsement, but really, it just goes to show how truly effortlessly the MA750s produce outstanding audio - you forget that your music can sound worse at all.
Fit, isolation, and design
The MA750s are a rather modern, stylish headphone, and I think most people will be happy with the out-of-the-box fit of the single-flange silicone eartips. If you're not, though, RHA includes a total of 10 sets - 2 foam Comply sets, 2 double-flanged silicone, and 6 sets of single-flanged silicone (2 sets of each size if you include the ones the headphones ship with attached).
Getting the tips onto the earbuds is, if you'll excuse my crudeness, a royal pain in the ass. I have never had such difficulty attaching eartips to a set of headphones. I was nearly ready to throw them across the room - the openings in the eartips are just way too small. And, as usual, I ended up ripping one of the sets of Comply foam tips within about 45 seconds of trying to put them on.
The single-flange silicone tips fit pretty well but while walking around or otherwise being active, they lost seal pretty easily. That's primarily because the MA750s are quite heavy, and despite having a loop-over cable design (that is, the cable loops behind and over your ear when you seat the earbud), the heavily insulated cable is pretty noticeable. It's not unusually loud, however, which is nice.
What's not nice is that cord becomes tangled incredibly easily, particularly since the rubber-like coating on it is not glossy or smooth and easily gets stuck on itself.
The Comply eartips I was not a fan of, at all. I couldn't get a good seal in either ear with either size, and I'm generally of the opinion that Comply eartips are pretty much useless unless you have perfectly-shaped ear canals. To each their own, I guess. The double-flange silicone tips were the sweet spot for me, providing the best seal and the most protection against loss of seal during activity. Some may not enjoy their rather invasive feel, but I find it's pretty easy to get used to so long as you keep using them for a while.
Isolation with the double-flange tips was great, but with the single-flange or Comply tips I had sound leakage regularly from the right side, though I blame my ear for that in large part, and didn't feel particularly insulated from ambient noise. That said, the public safety factor is something to consider there - it's not necessarily a great idea to walk around in areas with traffic while wearing super tightly-sealed headphones.
Oh, and there's this wound-up little steel spring that comes out of the choke above the stereo jack on the headphones, and it just needs to go away. I already accidentally pulled out part of it, and it just feels like a not-great design decision. I get the purpose (preventing extreme bending of the cord), but wrap it in some silicone or something - it's kind of an eyesore, and I bet a lot of people are going to accidentally yank it out one day.
I really do like the 750s quite a lot, despite their occasional ergonomic quirks. They do tangle rather easily, and for my ears, the fit isn't exactly perfect. But the sound more than makes up for the issues, which simply melt away every time I play a track through these headphones. I've read reviews comparing the MA750s to headphones costing two to three times as much, and I believe them: these are outstanding IEMs at an even more outstanding price.
For someone looking to venture into the high-end earbud universe, the MA750s would be an extremely safe choice. Their sound signature is quite versatile, so they're unlikely to offend, and the aural advantages they'll offer over any sub-$100 headphone should be clear to anyone's ears. With a tough, rugged build and a respectable warranty, they're also pretty likely to last you a while so long as you don't abuse them.
Perhaps the next iteration of this headphone will iron out some of those issues I mentioned (weight, fit for some people, tangle-proneness), but I really doubt they'll be able to improve the sound noticeably without raising the price substantially. There are many headphones out there offering good value for money, but I believe the MA750s have set a price-to-performance bar that will be incredibly difficult for any manufacturer to beat.
Read the full article at Android Police
Audio sounded fantastic with the handmade drivers in these earphones. I was never disappointed with the audio quality, hearing the bass, treble, and details I expect in very expensive earphones.
For the last few weeks I have been living with the MA750i in-ear headphones from RHA and I am loving every minute of it.
Last year I checked out RHA's mid-tier earphones, the MA450i, and found them to be a steal at $50. The MA750i takes things to the next level, including the price at $129.95. However, I think you will find that they live up to this price.
The MA750i earphones are composed of 303F stainless steel, black plastic, gray rubber, and opaque silicone materials. The earphones feel very well constructed with the cable ends and connection points being of higher quality than anything else I have seen.
Starting at the earphone end, we see a stainless steel housing that contains a dynamic driver with a formed end that fits a silicone tip on the end. There is then about 3 inches of black coated cable that wrap around your ear to secure it in place. The only time I noticed the earphones slipping out was when I had a ball cap sitting low.
A black plastic piece transitions the wrap around black cable into a gray coated cable that runs down and meets up at the Y with the other earphone. Down about 5 inches on the right side cable you will find the three button remote and microphone for calls. Functionality of the buttons is dependent on the phone you have connected. There is also a MH750 model without the remote and mic that sells for $10 less.
A sliding adjust piece can be used to bring the left and right cables together under your chin. The stainless steel piece that connects these cables at the bottom of the Y is attractive. There is textured stainless steel at each end with a signature on the smooth central piece.
Below the Y you will find about three feet more of even thicker gray coated cable. The stainless steel 3.5mm jack at the end reminds me of the older large headphone stereo cables we used to plug directly into our record players and receivers at home. There is a wire reinforced section before the jack end that should help with longevity of the earphones.
The package comes with 10 pairs of earphone tips to choose from. There are three sizes of silicone tips with two pairs in each size. One pair of small and medium double flange tips are included along with two pairs of memory foam medium ear tips. This earphone tip storage mechanism is a stainless steel plate.
A carrying case is also included to protect your investment while it is in your bag or kit.
The first thing I noticed was the quality feel of the earphones when I pulled them from the package. The rugged gray coated cable seems to prevent cord tangling, but given the length they still do get bunched up a bit when you throw them in your bag.
The default mid size tip fit me well, but I switched to the memory foam tips since they were even more comfortable to me.
I primarily use an Android device and the remote worked well with Google Play Music to control play/pause, skip forward, and skip back. However, it did not control the volume on the Note 3 I tested. Pressing and holding the center button launched S Voice on the Note 3, but you still have to press the mic button on the display to activate S Voice functionality. I understand it is optimized to control Siri on iOS devices.
Audio sounded fantastic with the handmade drivers in these earphones. I was never disappointed with the audio quality, hearing the bass, treble, and details I expect in very expensive earphones.
Callers said I sounded just fine with the integrated microphone.
The RHA MA750i earphones seem to be extremely well constructed and look great. Audio quality was top notch and I didn't feel there was anything missing from the audio experience.
I was surprised that I could not control the volume with the remote on Android. I understand these are optimized for iOS devices and understand that using them with iOS will give you the best experience.
Read the full article at ZDNet
They are a fantastic buy for those looking to make the leap into higher end headphones. Think of them as the Aston Martin of headphones.
Let me start by saying, I know headphones. I have reviewed a lot, I own a lot, and my ears have endured a lot. Generally speaking, function comes before form in my recommendations. Do they sound good? Are they comfortable? How much do they cost?
Only after these questions are positively answered do I then I allow myself to get excited over how pretty they are. Rarely am I able to reach that glorious final stage. To be frank: most tech that focuses on form ends up lacking in function (I’m looking at you, Beats). But every once in a while, my inner geek gets her day, and today it’s thanks to the British company RHA’s 750i. Now, knowing the substance is there, just look at them. Sigh...Sexy, no?
They’re beautifully designed, with small details that are generally only seen in headphones far more expensive. Those silvery bits? 303F grade stainless steel. (A Google search informed me that 303 grade steel has a psi of 89,900! So, very durable.) Not only is the 1/8th-inch jack reinforced with this steel, but there is also a spring that gently keeps the cable from kinking at the connection point. The cable is oxygen free, and has a velvety rubberized texture that feels both flexible and sturdy. The junction from main cable to individual ear cords is steel reinforced. Even the Apple compatible remote feels luxurious, snug in a little steel jacket.
The in-ear buds are supported by the cable being worn over the ear, which historically speaking, I’ve disliked. Many headphones’ over-ear designs have cables that rub against and chafe the delicate skin between one’s ears and skull, especially when wearing glasses of some kind. Not so with the 750is. Somehow the texture and structure of the cord is such that I wore my test pair for several hours very comfortably.
Included with the headphones are tips of varying shapes and sizes, which are all housed in a genius little business-card-like caddy. The types of tips are single flange silicone (s,m,l), double flange silicone (s,m,l) and two sets of Comply. The caddy not only keeps the tips organized, but handy, as the card fits into elastic straps in the included faux-leather carrying case. The carrying case also has a little mesh pocket, perfect for holding the also-included shirt clip. It’s these small but thoughtful details that transform liking headphones into loving them.
What else is there to love? The sound. Exciting and clear, with emphasis on the upper mids and bass. While this isn’t by any means an even frequency response, it’s not a bad one either.
Rock, hip hop, and electronica sound intense and forward. Try listening to this: The Who’s “Baba O’Riley”: the electric organ sounds smooth and rich, and you can even hear the old strings on the piano vibrate in the intro. Once the guitars kick in and the layers of sound come at you like a crashing wave, you’re ready to kick some arse.
Or Radiohead’s “I Might Be Wrong”: deep low bass guitar with snares snapping on top. The 750i’s bass response is strong, but it doesn’t overtake the rest of the frequencies.
Or, Estelle’s “American Boy”: The thumping synth bassline never drowns out the buttery vocals. The sound profile reminded me of the AKG 376s, but in a far classier package. And although they lack the sense of sonic depth and space that the RBH EP2 or Bowers and Wilkins C5s have, they are also around $60 less expensive, and arguably more solidly built.
The writers at The Huffington Post and British Esquire like them too.
While I wouldn’t use the 750is for studio monitors in mixing, I do enjoy them for rocking out. The overall feeling is vivid and fun. Add in the consideration that you can get them for around $120, they are a fantastic buy for those looking to make the leap into higher end headphones. Think of them as the Aston Martin of headphones: stylish, classic, zippy, exciting. And bugger me, they sure are pretty!
Read the full article at Sound & Vision
It's hard to fault them - they're great value for money, and look like they cost twice the price.
Your first impression of the RHA MA750i earphones - once you've removed them from the ornately packaged box and marvelled at the oddly comprehensive selection of dual density silicone, double flange silicone and memory foam ear pieces included within - will go one of two ways.
Roughly half of you will be immediately impressed, and perhaps even intimidated, by the build quality. For these are extremely well-made, solid - and let's face it, weighty - 303F grade stainless steel headphones. The earpieces are individually machined, and feel like something you've pulled off the side of a space shuttle when no one was looking. The headphone jack is heavy and reinforced, and the three-button remote and microphone piece is also practical and strong.
Every other aspect of the build quality has been carried out with an eye to industrial brutalism. The cable is described as "steel reinforced" and "oxygen-free" while the range of 10 pairs of ear pieces are also designed to make you feel like an audio scientist - mixing and matching the constituent parts to make the ultimate audio cocktail.
That's how half of you will probably feel. The other half will be a bit disappointed. Because the result of all of that hardcore heft is a pair of headphones that are actually - in this reviewer's opinion - a little uncomfortable to wear. They're heavy, and the big remote pulls on the earpieces and gets caught in your clothes. They do stay in place - the over-ear style makes sure of that - but you're not going to want to wear them when running. They're just a bit unfriendly - like a very strong, but aggressive bouncer.
How do they sound? In general, extremely decent. Everything is crisp and clear, and there's no over-abundance of bass as you'd find in many poorer-quality, but more expensive competitors. The sound is just totally balanced, straightforward and clean. The noise isolation is also very good, with the memory foam ear-tips working particularly well.
The problem with these headphones is not the build, the sound or even the price - a very reasonable £89.99 for the level of tech involved.
The problem is simply that unless you've already tried them, and liked the feel, weight and sound style, it's hard to be sure that they're for you. If you're looking for something with outward quality, a 'premium' feel and reassuringly detailed tech specs, they may well be perfect. But if you get them and find they're either awkward to wear, too heavy or you don't like the wraparound fit, it's possible you might be disappointed. That said it's hard to fault them - they're great value for money, and look like they cost twice the price.
Read the full article at Huffington Post
The MA600i buds provide great sound quality across the range for most of the musical and gaming uses I put them through. I was particularly impressed with how rounded the sound was.
British headphone manufacturer RHA is known for producing high quality headphones that deliver excellent sound, but with its more recent releases – namely the MA600i, in this instance – the company has tried to bring a touch of the luxury to the mid-range model.
Priced at £59.95 ($89.95 in the US), the in-ear MA600i headphones come with six sets of different size gel ear buds to ensure you get the right fit and an in-line control that’ll play happily with your iOS devices.
Those multiple sets of ear buds aren’t just for comfort either (although it does help); the MA600i units have been specially designed to eliminate the noise of the world around you, but more on that later.
Also included in the box alongside the ear buds is a little carrying pouch for keeping the spare buds and the headphones together when not in use. There’s also a little clip for attaching the cable to your shirt or collar when you are wearing them, should you feel the need.
At just around £60, the RHA MA600i have a lot to live up to from more expensive competitors on the market, but with aircraft grade aluminium construction they certainly look the part – and it also helps to create a better sound quality. Additionally, they also have a 320.1 dynamic driver which provides a mostly balanced range with a slight emphasis on bass, which is a particularly nice touch as RHA doesn’t always create custom drivers for new models.
It seems to work too. The MA600i buds provide great sound quality across the range for most of the musical and gaming uses I put them through. I was particularly impressed with how rounded the sound was, including the bass, which can’t always be said for in-ear headphones. While it’s not a problem per-se, people that listen to a lot of spoken word, podcasts or other vocal-oriented material might want to opt for something a little less bass heavy, though.
Speaking of which, providing you choose the correct size ear buds the MA600i are really comfortable, with longer sessions not proving a problem. As mentioned earlier, the buds also help minimise noise around you; they’re not perfect, but do well enough to cut out most of the usual background noise you might expect while out and about – just don’t expect it to be a world of complete silence.
The ‘i’ in the model name indicates that the MA600i headphones come with an in-line control designed to be used with iOS devices. Controls include a function button for things like pausing music or answering incoming calls – or double clicking to dial the last called number and a volume rocker.
Even though they have been designed for use with iOS devices specifically, some of the functionality – although seemingly not volume control – worked on Android devices that were also tested with the MA600i headphones.
One difference from other models available from RHA is that this particular set come with a dual-insulated, oxygen-free copper cable. What this means is it’s well protected and tangle-free, in the most part. I’m not a particular fan of how it makes the headphones look, but it’s personal preference and if the choice is between how the cable looks and it breaking, I’ll take the slightly less pretty version.
Bang for your buck
Overall, I’m impressed by the RHA MA600i headphones. Without straying into premium territory, they manage to provide a well balanced, yet bassy sound. It’s an achievement to get that level of bass performance from an in-ear set without compromising the rest of the range.
Add in the fact that they’re pretty damn comfy too and come with an in-line control to save pulling your phone in and out of your pocket, then they start to look mighty appealing.
Are there better in-ear headphones out there? Almost certainly. Does the noise cancellation work perfectly? Nope, but it’s none too shabby, perhaps a bigger criticism would be that if there’s noise leaking in, there’s probably a little leaking out too – worth bearing in mind if you’re a commuter who likes to listen at full blast.
But while they’re not perfect, the RHA MA600i headphones represent a great performance/value for money balance – it’s easy to fixate on foibles causing them to fall short of perfection in some way or another, but for less than £60 they’re worth keeping in mind.
Read the full article at The Next Web
Number 1 on Esquire.co.uk list of '10 best In-Ear Headphones for 2013'
Engineered from individual stainless steel components, the in-ear headphones have been specially designed to produce a greater depth of sound and cut out background noise.
Read the full article at Esquire.co.uk
Using the MA750, I loved hearing things accurately represented, with a real clarity, depth and broadness....
A few weeks ago, RHA announced its new MA750i headphones (US$129.95). Last week I received a sample unit and have been testing them since. Having previously been really impressed with the MA150 and MA450i earphones and the SA950i on-ear headphones, I had high expectations for the Glasgow-based company's new premium-range hardware. And I was not disappointed.
From the onset of receiving the MA750 I could tell RHA has taken things to the next level. Even in the packaging a great amount of thought and detail has been applied. The box's window flap opens to reveal the immaculately-presented earphones. A magnet on the inside insures that it stays shut when closed, and a small, orange flap of material that's affixed to the interior makes removal easy and elegant. The "premium" is apparent even before you use the headphones.
The MA750i look and feel fantastic. The earphone heads are machined from stainless steel, with RHA subtly inscribed on the sides of each head. The cabling is reinforced with steel, oxygen-free with a gold-plated, quarter-inch connector. The cabling is thick and feels extremely durable. The connector end is covered with a protective spring connector, while the earphone ends benefit from RHA's over-ear cable supports, which offer a comfortable, secure fit. The cabling is a contrast to some other manufacturers, which try to make the cable as light as possible. While not overly bulky, the MA750 cabling brings a reassuring weight and robustness.
RHA MA750i Review
On the MA750i model there's a built-in three-button remote control and mic, designed to work faultlessly with iOS devices. This, too, feels really sturdy and well made, allowing you to take calls, adjust the volume and play, pause and change music tracks on your iDevice.
The handmade 560.1 drivers reinforce RHA's Aerophonic design, inspired by airflow and the acoustic properties of a trumpet's bell. There's a promise of "precise, balanced and articulate sound reproduction with a great depth of soundstage."
The MA750i come with an attractive carrying case and a collection of various ear tips to suit every size and preferred feel.
Of course, what really counts is how the MA750 sound. The 560.1 drivers are "...designed to deliver a clear and natural sound. With high levels of spatial separation and distance...capable of reproducing audio with exceptional power and precision." And in my experience, that's exactly what I found.
When I tested the MA450, I was really struck by the bass response and depth. And overall, the production of a full and enjoyable sound (especially for the price point). However, it's fair to say the sound was not the most nuanced or precise.
With the MA750, things are much more controlled. In fact, I found the MA750 to be extremely well balanced, able to reach detailed lows that weren't exaggerated, mids that were spacious, yet present and well-rounded highs.
I'm going through a Stevie Ray Vaughan phase, revisiting some of my favorite tracks of his. Using the MA750, I loved hearing things accurately represented, with a real clarity, depth and broadness. It's hard to explain, but a few examples are subtleties like a low bass note that's full, warm and deep, and yet you can hear the player slightly hit the fret. Or the very occasional guitar fumble in the heat of spine tingling solo (Check out Tin Pan Alley aka Roughest Place In Town, but get a high quality version).
Practically speaking, I found the MA750 to be extremely comfortable. The over-ear system works really well, keeping the in-ears right in place. Noise isolation was really good too. The case is a nice extra, which is more than just a pouch. It offers good protection as well as doubling as a place to keep your spare ear tips, which are conveniently stored on a steel-tip holder (no more rummaging around to find matching tips).
Once more, RHA have delivered a fantastic in-ear headphone experience. This time, a truly premier (consumer) experience that lifts RHA into a new league. The MA750i sits right at the top, rightly so, as the cream of the RHA range. And they are superb value for money, too. In years gone by, I've spent more on headphones and they've not come close to what the MA750 has to offer. At this price point, everything is right about these headphones.
The MA750i is priced at US$129.95 and comes with the built-in remote and mic. The MA750 (minus the remote and mic) is priced at $119.95. In the US, both will be available from Amazon today and Apple Retail Stores from November. In the UK and Europe, both versions are available now from the Apple Online Store and Amazon in the UK as well as Apple Retail Stores.
Read the full article at Tuaw.com
It has a slightly fun but natural sound, add to that great comfort and build quality you have a winner. They are slightly on the darker side of sound, but have enough detail to keep things interesting.
Packaging, Accessories and Build quality:
Packaging is simple, black box with a picture of the IEM's on the front, there is a tab that opens to show you the IEM's and all the tips through a plastic window. The IEM's are securely fixed in a plastic in tray. Underneath this you will find the carry case. Information and specifications can be found on the back of the box, and also on the inside of the front flap. These come with a 3 year warranty.
Accessories included are great, you get a wide array of tips included, and a carry case. Included are 2 pairs of S, M and L single flange silicone tips, 1 pair of S bi-flanges, 1 pair of M bi-flanges and 2 pairs of M foam tips. Very good array and quantity of tips to ensure all will get a good fit.
Build quality is top notch, stainless steel housings feel durable, with a thicker than normal cable, and excellent spring strain relief on the jack. These feel like they will last a long time, all strain reliefs are strong, the y-split and jack are stainless steel too, very well built.
Comfort, Isolation, Driver-Flex and Cable noise:
Comfort is excellent once you find the right tip and insertion depth, I like the small bi-flange tips as it gives me a great deep seal and the monitors sit fairly flush with my ears. The memory wire section is not stiff like most, it is soft rubber and has no wire inside so you cannot form it, but I find this much more comfortable and stronger.
Isolation depends on the tips you use, using the bi-flanges I get good isolation even though they are vented housings. Great for everyday use.
Driver flex is not present luckily.
Cable noise is not a problem as the cable goes behind your ear, but using the chin slider will get rid of any slack and potential cable noise.
Split in to the usual categories:
Lows: nice full bodied lows, lots of power and energy but with good control not warming the mids up. The lows have great extension and presence without being overwhelming, I would say that a little less quantity wouldn't hurt but as they are, they fair very well and are fun and pleasurable to listen to. The speed is very good however and they manage to keep up with fast music with ease. Very dynamic and articulate bass with good separation too, kick drums have great body and sound very realistic, bass guitars have perfect decay.
Mids: in quantity they are slightly behind the lows, but are not recessed, they are very natural sounding. These IEM's have a slightly thick sound, but the mids are not affected by this, sounding very clean and detailed. When multiple vocals are recorded you can hear each voice well separated. Vocals have no sibilance or harshness to them, and guitars retain great power and control.
Highs: the highs lack some presence, but what they lack in presence they make up for in control and detail. The highs are very crisp and controlled never becoming splashy, also the highs are well placed within the soundstage. You can EQ the highs up a little with good effect but I rarely use EQ. There is not a lot to say about the highs, they are detailed but don't have enough presence for my tastes, and the sound ends up sounding a little dark.
Soundstage is wider than average, and they give you a good sense of space.
Instrument separation is also above average with a well controlled sound and everything is easily separated.
Imaging is very good also, being very precise and coherent.
Overall a very good IEM for the price, it is definitely one of my favourite sub $200 IEM's, it has a slightly fun but natural sound, add to that great comfort and build quality you have a winner. They are slightly on the darker side of sound, but have enough detail to keep things interesting. I really enjoy this IEM when out and about.
Sound perfection rating: 8/10
Read the full article at Sound Perfection
Put together by small Glaswegian audio specialist RHA, the MA 600i headphones pack an impressive punch for the price.
Put together by small Glaswegian audio specialist RHA, the MA 600i headphones pack an impressive punch for the price.
Firstly, noise isolation is very good from the earbuds, so they are an ideal alternative to the stock headphones you get with something like the iPhone. You get also get a wide range of different bud sizes for a plush fit, as well as a nice carry case to keep them safe in your pocket.
What we like best about the MA 600i's sound quality is that it isn't overly fussy. Cheaper headphones tend to mask a lack of quality by using too much bass or treble.
These headphones have a nice clear and flat sound - which might not be the best, but is much cleaner than similarly-priced competition.
Read the full article at Digital Spy
Nice build, comfortable fit, an iPhone-friendly three-button remote and a very full-bodied delivery - and all for just £40.
Hailing from the not-all-that-sunny-climes of Glasgow, RHA has hit upon a winning formula here. Nice build, comfortable fit, an iPhone-friendly three-button remote and a very full-bodied delivery - and all for just £40. The bass can get just a smidge overbearing when pushed, but the RHAs still have the overall quality to push the E10s right to the wire.
If you need a mic and a remote, get the MA450i. If you don’t, then the MA350 is what you want. If you want a great commuting pair of earphones, the decision couldn’t be any simpler.
Recently, when I reviewed RHA’s MA350 earphones, I concluded that they were a perfect second pair of earphones that were great for commuting. I considered their $40 price a bargain. However, one major (for some) drawback was a lack of a mic for making and receiving phone calls – especially for any commuting. RHA has an answer for that with the RHA MA450i earphone with remote and microphone.
You might think that there would be an audible difference between the RHA MA350 and the MA450i. After all, the MA450i is 100 more something than the 350, right? If you think that, you would be wrong. There is no difference in construction or sound between the MA350 and MA450i. If you don’t need a mic, you can stop right here. I’m not going to bother with a review of the audio quality of the MA450i, because I would just be repeating myself. You can go here to read my complete review of the sonically-identical MA350.
But I will talk about the included remote mic. Boy, did RHA get this one right.
Many earphones I have reviewed include a mic option. Most of them work just fine, but I always ask the person I am talking with if they can tell whether it’s me using the mic or my iPhone directly. I always get the same answer in varying degrees: From “Yes I can tell, but it’s not too bad” all the way to “Yes, I can tell and you sound like you’re in a tunnel.” I get this responses no matter how expensive or cheap the earphones are.
Until now, that is. Everyone I talked with could not tell that I wasn’t speaking into my iPhone, but instead was using a mic. Not one. I don’t know what RHA did or how they did it, but it works. This is one of those things you take for granted until you experience a lesser mic. The tapered remote works well with the usual Pause, Forward and Skip functions, but it’s hard to get excited about that. The middle pause button is easy to feel, but the + and – buttons can easily be confused.
The MA450i’s construction is another match to the MA350. The same aluminum shell with its aerophonic-designed shape plus their fabric-covered cables. You do get a much more varied choice of tips, however. Both the MA450i as well as the MA350 come with a 3-year no-hassle guarantee.
It all comes down to this: If you need a mic and a remote, get the MA450i. If you don’t, then the MA350 is what you want. If you want a great commuting pair of earphones, the decision couldn’t be any simpler.
Read the full article at Gadgeteer
What really sets them apart from others in their price range is the sound quality. Testing the MA450i earphones, the high and low frequencies were nicely balanced without sounding flabby. There was plenty of dimension and detail, making it sound as though instruments were in distinct positions around the listener, and it was easy to pick out specific sounds like fingers plucking a guitar string.
They don’t carry a musician’s name, they don’t come in a dozen sparkly colors, and you won’t find them in many stores, so it’s easy to overlook RHA earphones — which is a pity.
These relatively inexpensive earphones offer an awful lot for the money — the money being $40 to $50.
Developed in sunny Glasgow by a division of Reid Heath Acoustics, the in-ear earphones come in two models only, the $40 MA350 and the $50 MA450i, which is available in either black or white. The “I” denotes it’s made for use with the iPhone and has a microphone built in.
Quality for the price is fantastic. The earpieces are made of aluminum, have fabric-covered cables that transfer much less noise than most, and come with seven sets of dual-density silicon ear tips.
A sure tipoff that these are well built is that they come with a three-year guarantee.
What really sets them apart from others in their price range is the sound quality. Testing the MA450i earphones, the high and low frequencies were nicely balanced without sounding flabby. There was plenty of dimension and detail, making it sound as though instruments were in distinct positions around the listener, and it was easy to pick out specific sounds like fingers plucking a guitar string.
While pleasingly lively, they do not have the kind of exaggerated sound that can be tiring over time. These are easy to use for hours at a clip. But they are not the best choice if you treasure hammering bass and screeching guitars.
The other pair in the line is the MA350, which lacks a microphone but is suitable for any device with a 3.5-millimeter phone jack. They should sound nearly identical to the 450s.
The 450s are available through Apple online and in stores, and the 350s through Amazon.
Read the full article at New York Times
The MA450s' sound immediately makes a strong impression. It's big, highly detailed, and the bass goes a lot deeper than most competing models
I haven't covered too many inexpensive earphones in this blog, mostly because I prioritize sound quality, and precious few under-$50 models cut it. The RHA MA450 really stands out in this crowded market, not just because it actually sounds pretty decent; the look and feel are outstanding and RHA sells the MA450 with a three-year warranty. Reid and Heath Acoustics products are designed at its research and development center in Glasgow, Scotland.
Build quality and features are exceptional for a $50 pair of in-ear headphones; the MA450 has machined aluminum earpieces, 10mm drivers, seven pairs of silicone eartips, an Apple-compatible mic and remote, fabric-covered wire, a small, black soft carry case, and a three-year warranty! Few headphones, including most high-end ones, come with three-year warranties, and RHA might be the only company providing that level of protection for affordable headphones (if you know of any others, please share that information in the Comments section). Warranty claims will be made through RHA's U.S. warehouse in Michigan. Following inspection, RHA will repair or replace the earphones, and proof of purchase or a sales invoice will be required.
The MA450s' sound immediately makes a strong impression. It's big, highly detailed, and the bass goes a lot deeper than most competing models. The sound is actually too bright, so if you listen to a steady diet of acoustic jazz or classical music, the MA450s probably won't make you happy. Subtlety isn't a strong suit, but rock, pop, and hip-hop fans will like what they hear.
I compared the MA450 with the Klipsch Image S3 in-ear headphones ($49.99). The red plastic S3s look and feel a little cheap next to the MA450s, and the S3s have a softer, more laid-back tonal balance. The treble is sweeter and less brilliant than the MA450s'. Listening on the street and NYC subway, the MA450s' brighter sound and punchier bass cut through the background noise better. Noise isolation capabilities are about the same from both earphones, but at home and in quiet surroundings, I preferred the S3s' more accurate, less hyped sound. There, the MA450s sounded too bright and overly detailed, and with older analog recordings the MA450 emphasized tape hiss. There's a lot of bass, but it can be a bit loose and fat for my tastes. Then again, if you crave bass impact, you'll love the MA450s' low-end. To finish up I compared the MA450s with the Velodyne vPulse in-ears ($89). The vPulses are sweeter and their bass output is just as potent as the MA450s', but the vPulses have much better definition, so it's easier to distinguish between bass guitar and bass drums. If you can afford the difference, the vPulses are superior-sounding headphones, but I still really like the MA450s; they're a lot of fun.
The RHA MA450s are available on Amazon for $49.95.
Read the full article at www.news.cnet.com
What's impressive is how well the sound sits together. It's a very natural, listenable audio.
RHA only has a single set of in-ear earphones in its range, but don’t assume they’re an afterthought. The distinctive shape – which reminds us a little of a B&O speaker, with its arching aluminum cone – is apparently based upon “the aerophonic design of a trumpet’s bell” while the fabric-braided (non-detachable) cable and gold-plated connectors are carried over from the headphone line.
Read the full article at http://www.slashgear.com/rha-sa-850-sa-500-and-ma-350-review-09170442/
The RHAs sing in a natural, unforced manner, and consequently remain an easy listen even through the entirety of a long haul flight.
Everything’s relative, of course, but the RHA MA-350 look pretty bulky. Fortunately, the big aluminium enclosures (shaped aerophonically, in the manner of a trumpet’s bell) are lightweight and a comfy fit.
And the MA-350s are a gratifyingly poised listen. The 10mm driver doesn’t place undue emphasis on any particular area of the frequency range, instead delivering an even, balanced sound – dynamism and punch are on the menu, certainly, but not at the expense of detail or subtlety.
The RHAs sing in a natural, unforced manner, and consequently remain an easy listen even through the entirety of a long-haul flight.
Read the full article at What Hi-Fi
Sound quality is pretty impressive. Bass is tight and unexaggerated; midrange is what headphone aficionados would likely call "recessed," but it's refreshingly uncolored for an in-ear in this price range.
Scottish headphone manufacturer RHA hasn't had much of a stateside presence, but this week marks their arrival in Apple stores, with the MA450i in-ear ($49.95) and SA950i on-ear ($59.95) set to appeal to budget-minded consumers looking to accessorize their iDevices. And appeal they may.
The in-ear MA450i, available in (of course) black and white, is very comfortable; the aluminum housings are quite tiny, and reassuringly solid in construction to boot, with beefy strain relief conveniently marked with L and R channel indicators. I'd have liked to see a right-angle plug in place of the straight one used here, and the fabric-wrapped cables seem overly prone to tangles.
But any way you look at it, for 50 bucks, with 7 pairs of ear tips included and an iOS-compatible mic/remote pod, the MA450i is really a fine deal — the question at this price point is always whether or not you're actually getting a significant improvement over the freebie earbuds (EarPods, nowadays) that shipped with your iDevice, and in this case you certainly are.
Sound quality is pretty impressive. Bass is tight and unexaggerated; midrange is what headphone aficionados would likely call "recessed," but it's refreshingly uncolored for an in-ear in this price range. The top end is a tad strident for my taste, but those looking for an affordable in-ear that offers a good amount of detail without sounding thin will want to investigate.
The little RHA offered solid performance on a wide range of tracks. The stereo effects on Peter Hammill's "The Institute of Mental Health, Burning" (from Nadir's Big Chance), with its mix of heavy guitars, processing, voices, and winds, was presented quite well here, the upper-register percussive guitar and electronics perhaps a bit forward, but a big step up from an earbud. The tone of the fretless bass on Bohannon's "Run it On Down, Mr. DJ" (from Stop & Go) was clear, and though the female vocals and snare had a bit too much of an edge, everything else sounded very nice; the organ and wah-wah-guitars sitting in the mix as they should.
Still, for the money RHA have done a solid job with these two phones, particularly so with the MA450i. You could do worse than give 'em a listen if you're in the accessory market after picking up your iPhone 5.
Read the full article at Sound & Vision Mag
The sound from the all-aluminum MA450i is downright phenomenal. Bass thumping in my ear, clear highs and mid-ranges, all without full volume.
Let me begin by saying that there is at least one Apple product I cannot stand. Despite their initial cool look, the original stock earphones were a literal pain in my ear. Even adding the mic and remote on the cord of the second generation couldn’t convince me to use them for any length of time, so they are a back-up pair for those times I need earbuds – say while traveling (or having your earbuds yanked from your ear by a lawn mower… don’t ask). While I don’t have the newest version of Apple’s Earpods, the first and second generation of earphones didn’t give me much confidence in trying them out.
Depending on your needs, the best earphones/earbuds I’ve recently been using had the ability to sequester external noise so the sounds from the ear-embedded micro-speakers are more effective. Britain’s RHA entrance into this field are exceptional with their strangely-named MA450i.
The MA450i, so named for “Micro Aural” 450i (for Apple’s iDevices), is the next in line for RHA, and upgrades their MA350 version, a well-liked item at Amazon.com. Since the MA450i is for idevices, it places a familiar, yet an ergonomically curved, mic/remote on the right-eared cord.
By comparison to most other earphones, the sound from the all-aluminum MA450i is downright phenomenal. Bass thumping in my ear, clear highs and mid-ranges, all without full volume. Oh yes, these quickly have become my default earphones – for running and exercising, for podcasts, and even for drifting to sleep – because of the diminutive size and comfort in my ears. I suppose that was my biggest gripe of Apple’s earphones: they were just too honking big for my ear canal. On the other hand, I can wear the MA450i earphones for hours without adjustment or major discomfort.
Besides the earphones themselves, RHA sends many different size silicon tips (for noise isolating in different size ear canals) and even a superfluous velvet bag. RHA clearly is sending a strong belief in their product as well since they advertise a 3-year parts and labor warranty.
The MA450i’s come with a harder-than-usual-to-tangle fabric covered 1.5 meter cord. Now, I’m 6’3″, and 1.5 meters is over 4 feet of cord! That means I can put an iPhone below my knee before the cord length is used up. Most of the time when I need earphones, the furthest away my device is in my pocket, so there is a lot of cord left to drape, dangle, and get in the way. When I move my iPhone to an armband while running, I have to put over 3 feet of cord in my shirt to keep it from flopping around.
While the microphone is acceptable for both indoor and outdoor use, the curved remote buttons don’t always function so well with my iPhone, iPad, and iTunes on my MacBook Pro. Fidgeting with the remote while running and exercising is a distraction I’d rather not have.
Compared to $29 for Apple’s version of earphones/earpods, these high quality earphones earn high marks for their relatively inexpensive $50 price tag. Heck the comfort alone is worth $20, and getting heavy duty bass without distortion in one’s ear is this audiophile’s joy.
Read the full article at iSource
The key to the MA450i's is balance. And richness within that balance. Bass will thrum and treble will sing, but these RHAs also allow you to hear all of the layers in a song.
RHA has had no shortage of praise from reviewers. Their products are wonderful. And, more importantly, affordable ... Since I'm pretty sure we're all broke.
From a design standpoint, the MA450i's are pleasantly minimalist. A soft black fabric-coated wire (which doesn't transfer much if any noise) splits into left and right wires and black aluminum earbuds with a silver trim. The wire leading to the right earbud includes a slim in-line volume control module/microphone. The earbuds themselves are remarkably light.
And, yes, the 'i' in the 450i means they're specifically tailored to Apple's i-devices.
From an acoustic standpoint, they're fantastic. Especially for the price: $49.95.
The key to the MA450i's is balance. And richness within that balance. Bass will thrum and treble will sing, but these RHAs also allow you to hear all of the layers in a song. These are not, I should point out, necessarily the earbuds to own if you want to drown yourself in brain-shaking bass or eye-melting high notes all the time. Again: They're balanced very well.
That's not to say I blew them out. They performed admirably during even my loudest death metal and soundtrack sessions (I've been using them, actually, to enjoy the Dredd 3D soundtrack -- which is a sort of industrial score). But they're not going to give you the kick you're looking for is you're all about bass. (See that pun? Good.)
The most important aspect of the MA450i's, for me, was the fact that I could wear them for more than an hour and not feel any discomfort. From my apartment, to my mile-walk, to the subway, to work. Their aforementioned lightness is a comfy blessing.
What we're talking about here is remarkable quality for not a lot of money. Which is, itself, a terrible sentence. But the thought is there. The MA450i's are superb and you're getting a lot at a low price.
I highly recommend them.
Read the full article at New York Post
With an all aluminum construction, 10mm driver, braided fabric-covered cable, and a compact and light-weight design, RHA thought about everything
The RHA MA350 headphones have, for me, redefined the $40 price point. With an all aluminum construction, 10mm driver, braided fabric-covered cable, and a compact and light-weight design, RHA thought about everything. While I found them too bass-heavy for my liking, they really don't have any downsides sonically. If you are on the market for a $40 earbud, these should definitely be on your list.
One thing I try to do as much as I can when reviewing a product, is to start the review before I know the price. As you might imagine, this isn't always possible. Most times, I've gotten some sort of press release about a product and decided to ask for a review sample. Invariably, those press releases list the price of the headphones. But when you do as many headphone reviews as I do, it is easy to get mixed up - to forget which headphones cost what. That said, The RHA MA350 headphones came and I really had no idea what they cost. All I had to go on was the design and how well I thought they sounded.
RHA (stands for Reid Heath...Audio?) is a UK company that prides themselves on audio quality.
Now, if that is not a mission statement, I don't know what is. Take out the Glasgow part and the funny spelling of center and this should be on the wall of every audio manufacturer.
The MA350 are some of the smallest earbuds I've ever reviewed. They look like a cross between those ones you get with your iPod that are meant to be just wedged in your ear and actual earbuds. What you end up with when you put them in, is a mix of both. They sit very flush to your ear and, depending on the shape of your ear, they may actually stay put a bit better than larger earbuds. They are extremely light. The specifications list them as 11 grams but that's with the cord and everything. Each of the earbuds weigh a fraction of that - which assists in keeping them in place.
The enclosures are machined from solid aluminum and they feature a fabric braided cable. The design is a standard black and polished aluminum which, while not all that exciting, has a sort of understated class. The only easily visible markings on the MA350s is the RHA logo on the back of the enclosure.
Taking in the weight, the design, the enclosure, the fabric cable...I made some assumptions about the price. I can say that I was very off the mark. I would have guessed by their design (and my early listening tests), that the RHA MA350s would have been priced around $100. I wouldn't have been surprised if you had told me $150. I was, however, shocked that they retail for under $40. Honestly, it made me rethink everything I thought I knew about headphones.
I have funny shaped ears. I'm now convinced of that. When I review in-ear products, I often have problems keeping them into place. Even the molded ones and I haven't gotten along very well. What I really want are headphones that will stay in place when I wear my motorcycle helmet.
Alas, the search is still on.
The RHA MA350s weight gives them a huge advantage over most of the competition. Being so light, they don't pull free nearly as easily as the rest. Like many earbud options out there, the MA350s use silicone tips. They offer small, medium, and large options. I've seen smaller (and larger) tips offered by other companies. They've also forgone the inclusion of the foam tip for maximum sound isolation - an odd exclusion considering RHA bills the MA350s as "Noise isolating aluminum earphones."
From a noise isolating standpoint, the MA350s work well. Just about the same as sticking your fingers in your ears. Add in some music and you can't really hear anything that's going on outside. This isn't all that different (and nothing in the MA350 design makes me think that it should be) than any of the other in-ear earbud offerings.
The fabric-covered cable has an adjustable choke at the Y-junction. The cable is the standard 1.2 meters in length and is tipped with a 3.5mm gold-plated connector. The end is straight instead of at a right angle. While I prefer a right-angled tip to the straight option (for in-pocket use), it really isn't much of a issue of contention for me. The only other accessory is a small velvet carrying case.
Not included is any sort of in-line controls or mic for use with your smartphone. At $40, that really isn't all that surprising. What is surprising is that RHA didn't include any way of attaching or securing the cable to your clothing. I realize that the adjustable choke can be used in a similar fashion, but I appreciate some sort of clip as I'm often wearing a single headphone when out and about.
The most egregious omission of the RHA MA350s is easily visible left/right markings. I've seen manufacturers that will use different color silicone tips, some that clearly mark the cable, but I've never seen anyone put a little, raised, black L or R on a little black cable. In bright light it is hard to read. Forget about it in dim light or in the dark. With markings this indistinct, I'm surprised that RHA didn't just put them in braille. That would have be just as useful to me.
f you are familiar with in-ear headphones, you will be familiar with the comfort level of the RHA MA350s. Because they sit in your ears so tightly, you might find them initially slightly more uncomfortable than other earbuds, but that quickly fades. Because they are so light, any weight-based fatigued is all but eliminated.
The last thing I will say about using the RHA MA350s is about the cable. Fabric cables are a bit of a fad in headphones these days and I really wish they'd just go away. While I understand that they usually exhibit less drag than rubber-coated cables, I believe the downsides outweigh the up. Sure, the drag is less, especially when you are using them when you are working out, but think about it. Fabric + sweat = stink. Add to that the fact that fabric cables are much more prone to kinking and give me a rubber cable any day. But, if you disagree, or just prefer fabric, feel free to dismiss my rantings as the ravings of the lunatic fringe. You wouldn't be the first (on this issue and many others).
The RHA MA350 earbuds use a 10mm Mylar driver with a specified frequency response from 16Hz to 22kHz. Many earphones brag such wide response numbers, ones that most speakers would give their bottom woofer for, but few actually live up to the hype. The MA350s have a trumpet-like shape that "naturally transfers sound from the speaker to the ear." RHA calls this an Aerophonic design. While I'm not going to debate the viability of this design, it does show that RHA is putting some thought into their design for reasons other than to make them flashy. If anything, the RHA design is too understated. With a design this low-key, the sound quality better be good.
Usually, when I finish my listening tests, I do a quick Google search to see what others (if any, I'm often one of the first to receive samples) say about the product. I find that, most times, my thoughts are at least in line with other, professional reviewers.
Not this time.
My experience with the RHA MA350 earbuds has been completely different than others. Working from the top-end down, I find the highs of the RHA MA350s to be well-extended and not at all fatiguing. I wouldn't call them a laid-back headphone but you certainly won't find them giving you a headache after a few minutes of listening. The midrange seems mostly okay except where it rolls into the bass region.
The RHA MA350 earbuds are one of the few headphones I've used where I wish I could turn the bass down. Usually, headphones, regardless of price, suffer from poor bass. They try to hit low but, too often, they either don't have the extension or the output. The MA350s have both. In spades.
This makes me wonder what is up with the other reviewers out there. Too often, reviewers are afraid to contradict each other for fear of either being wrong, or somehow disrespecting the other professionals.
Yeah, that's not me.
The general consensus from what I read was that the RHA MA350s have decent bass but the high end is a bit fatiguing. I didn't feel that at all. If you are a lover of bass-heavy music, you are either going to love these headphones or wish to turn the bass down as I did. With well recorded tracks, the RHA MA350s easily performed many times their $40 price point. Especially if the tracks had normal to light bass. But with bass heavy tracks like "Crazy" by Seal, and just about anything mixed in the last five years, the bass was so overpowering as to be muddy, distracting, and pretty much overshadowed the earphones performance.
I love to use the track "Junior B" by Yello for analyzing bass. It is a bass run at the beginning that will quickly reveal if a subwoofer has the goods or not. With the RHA MA350s, they laughed at this near-sub-sonic run and asked for more. For the first time, I felt like a pair of earphones really lived up to their 16Hz low-point.
With more recent recordings, specifically anything designed with heavy bass in mind, the RHA MA350s didn't fare as well. Because the bass was so prominent, it blurred the entire presentation, destroying any sense of imaging or soundstage. Without the overblown bass, the imaging of the RHA MA350s wasn't stellar but it certainly justified their $40 price point.
All in all, however, RHA has redefined the $40 price point. While they aren't flat, by any means, they are easy to wear for long times, they have prodigious amounts of bass, and they aren't at all fatiguing. The only physical problems I had with the MA350s is that the braided cable will transfer and noise from anything rubbing against it into your ear. This is a physical transference of the sound and can only be eliminated by decoupling the braided cable from the earphone. Depending on how you plan on using the MA350s, this may or may not bother you.
The RHA MA350 headphones have, for me, redefined the $40 price point. With an all aluminum construction, 10mm driver, braided fabric-covered cable, and a compact and light-weight design, RHA thought about everything. While I found them too bass-heavy for my liking, they really don't have any downsides sonically. If you are on the market for a $40 earbud, these should definitely be on your list.
The amount of detail able to be drawn out by these headphones amazed me - I've never heard something on this side of the $50 mark quite so able to extract the subtleties of a song.
The MA350 is an earbud produced by RHA, subsidiary of the UK firm Reid Heath Ltd., based in Glasgow. RHA currently manufacture only two models earbud, both of which use the same audio guts - one of them just has inline controls. The MA350's are the model without them. They retail for $40 (buy here). A small carrying pouch and three sets of eartips are included.
For $40, the RHA MA350's produce sound that is - I would argue - far more comparable to headphones of the $80-100 range. My primary point of comparison, therefore, were my trusty old Etymotic Research hf2's (equivalent to the hf5, which are $100 street price, $150 MSRP).
Being dynamic driver headphones, as compared to the balance armature Etymotics, there were bound to be major differences in the sound - and there are. Now, to be fair, I am comparing one headphone to another with a suggested price three times as high. So keep that in mind. I didn't have a pair of crappy iPod or in-the-box smartphone earbuds to put them up against.
The MA350's claim to fame is RHA's "reverse trumpet"-shaped soundhole which the driver sends audio through to your ear. They claim this produces a more balanced output across the spectrum of sound, which I'm not sure I really buy - but I'm not an expert on earbuds acoustics (or, as RHA calls it - aerophonics, which frankly has far more to do with instruments that headphones).
The sound signature of the MA350's is interesting. Bass-heavy, to be sure, but not to the point of sounding unnatural. They sound like a solid, powerful dynamic driver earbud. Bass also isn't so extreme that it overwhelms the decidedly gentler mids, and is fairly tight, with little muddiness. The mids feel a little too subdued to my ears, resulting in a somewhat "compressed" sound at times (like your ears need to pop), especially on tracks lacking much in the way of low-end. These wouldn't make great jazz / classical earbuds - strings and keyboards just don't have the depth of a good balanced-armature IEM like the hf2's.
The treble end of the equation is a mixed win for the MA350's. The amount of detail able to be drawn out by these headphones amazed me - I've never heard something on this side of the $50 mark quite so able to extract the subtleties of a song. The little, imperceptibly quiet things that you just don't hear on a cheap set of headphones without maxing the volume (and, as a result, destroying your ears). The drawback is that the MA350's are also very bright - without a heap of bass to balance out the equation, songs heavy on cymbals, snare drums, and other sibilant percussion can become grating and harsh. The same goes for very high vocals, or particularly shrill guitar squeals.
I found the soundstage a little wider than I expected, but nothing to write home about - which is to say, still a million times better than Apple earbuds. Instrument separation was solid, though I found this was one area where my hf2's very noticeably bested the MA350's.
Overall, the MA350's produce great sound for the price, though I'd advise you to explore other options if you're into classical, jazz, or mellower / classic rock. The MA350's are tuned great for modern rock, pop, and are plenty suitable for hip-hop. Electronica listeners may demand yet more bass, though I'd argue the MA350's have plenty for anyone who does not actively endeavor to distort their music.
I won't say the MA350's fit brilliantly - I lost seal at times - but they do fit very well. While walking, they didn't dislodge themselves. The only difficulty really stemmed from getting them in correctly in the first place, which I found was best achieved by lodging them unusually loosely into my ears, probably due to the interesting chopped-off-egg shape of the tips. Still, once they were in, they generally stayed in. The machined aluminum housing makes them feel rather durable, as well, and didn't cause my ears any discomfort (aside from the fact that they're icy-cold when you first put them on).
The cord is evil. It's a very light and narrow fabric-wrapped affair, and it gets tangled and knotted up like sewing string when left to move about in your pocket. That really annoyed me, but it's far from a dealbreaker. The cord also makes a fair bit of noise, though that's the tradeoff of fabric - you don't get the annoying reverberation when the cord strikes your body/clothing, but you do when it slides up against anything.
When it comes to earbuds, my judgment of fit is generally reduced to a binary result: good or bad. The MA350's fall squarely into the "good" category.
I really like the MA350's. These are the sort of headphones I'd recommend to my friends who aren't particularly interested in sound, but who suffer through overpriced products like Apple's god-awful earbuds (even the new ones sound pretty terrible), or whatever marked-up Skullcandy crap Best Buy puts in the smartphone aisle. For $40, you're getting an experience, I would say, that matches or exceeds many earbuds at twice that price.
I reviewed the MA350's because I find that many of our readers tend to think spending anything more than $50 on headphones is just excessive, so I wanted to showcase something a little more economical. While I still disagree vehemently and absolutely with the notion that something like the eargasmic $400 UE 900's simply "aren't worth it," I can understand wanting the most bang for your buck - who doesn't?
In that sense, I think the MA350's are an absolutely stellar headphone. I'd argue that, compared to numerous earbuds around the $100 mark that I've tried, you're getting 90% (or more) of the performance at around 50% of the price. That's serious value.
Read the full article at Android Police
The sound produced from these tiny speakers is stunningly clear. I’ve heard sounds in song backing tracks that I never knew were there before. It produces all the little subtle sound effects added in that you’d never notice without a great audio system.
When it comes to personal audio, looking for the perfect earphones is a seemingly impossible task. If you haven’t got more than $50 to spend, the choice is difficult. Do you go for something that looks really cool, but sounds awful, or do you go for Apple’s earPods? If you make the latter choice on purpose, there’s something wrong with you. Let me start off this review by making a confession: I really hate in-ear headphones. It’s not that I can’t appreciate their quality, it’s just that I don’t like having all the outside world completely blocked off like I’m in my own little bubble. I always sense that there’s no air movement and a lot of pressure inside my ears, making them quite uncomfortable to use. But, I will ignore my personal preference for the sake of this review, because this headset deserves to be praised for many reasons.
RHA’s ma450i set has impressed me immensely. A lot of work has gone in to the design, and 3 years of research in to the acoustics and sound. The earphones themselves have been designed to replicate the bell of a trumpet. They’re made from aircraft-grade aluminum, making them incredibly sturdy and resonant (also not likely to rust). The cable is lined with a weaved fabric to make them less tangle-prone. To top it all off, they ship with 8 different sized earbuds, so they’re bound to fit anyone’s ears, and the mini-jack is gold plated to increase connection quality. The only negative on the hardware side is that the plastic casings around the 3.5mm jack, inline mic and controls seem a tiny bit cheap. But, to create earphones this good for such a low cost was bound to have a few trade-offs, and this is one I’ll happily accept.
The most important thing about earphones is sound quality, and these have it in bucket loads. Without spending over $100 on a set of Beats/Bose/Sennheiser etc headphones, you’d struggle to find a better in-ear pair than the ma450i’s. The sound produced from these tiny speakers is stunningly clear. I’ve heard sounds in song backing tracks that I never knew were there before. It produces all the little subtle sound effects added in that you’d never notice without a great audio system. When considering sound quality, it’s not necessarily volume that should be used to judge (although these do pack a punch if cranked up to 11), it’s the breadth, and depth of sounds you can hear that’s surprising about this tiny set of earphones.
The earbuds also keep pretty much any exterior noise out: positively or negatively. I had them in my ears walking up my road (which has no pavement/sidewalk) and didn’t notice a huge truck driving past me until it had already gone. An unnerving experience – I’m sure you’ll agree – but, it did fill me with a huge sense of awe for the RHA earphones I was using.
On the sound side, the only disappointing thing is the same that comes with any in-ear earphones. I don’t feel like I’m immersed in sound, and bass/treble balance is swung a tiny bit more towards the bright/treble side, and with the aluminum earphones, it obviously tends to sound a little too clean and metallic at times. Not enough to put me off using them in favor of anything else. I’ve had plenty of in-ear sets before now at similar prices that concentrate far too much on bass, and drown everything out with a horrible indistinct drone. These pick up and isolate all the sounds within a track and produce them back with such clarity. If they’ve had to tone down the bass a tad to achieve that, again, I’m happy with that trade-off. What you’re left with in the end is a sound that baffles. How the heck could they achieve this for less than $50? Simply stunning.
Read the full article at Today's iPhone
Overall, these are very credible set of earbuds at any price and a bargain at £40.
RHA has a reputation for releasing high-quality audio products at very affordable prices, and the MA450i earbuds are no exception. Vocals are brilliantly realised, with crystal clarity and very good detail. Treble is well defined and lively too, though the bass could be a little crisper. They’re also very comfortable, have inline controls for iOS devices and an anti-tangle cord that does its job well. They come supplied with a carry bag and an excellent range of tips. Overall, these are very credible set of earbuds at any price and a bargain at £40.
If you’re still using the earbuds you got with your iPod or iOS device, we recommend you treat yourself to these.
They are a great choice at a very affordable price.
After checking out the Logitech UE 900 earphones a few weeks ago, I don't think too many other earphones can match their performance. Then again, they are priced at $399 so it isn't likely many readers are will to fork over that kind of cash when I hear people complaining about paying $50 more for a smartphone. There are some great alternatives and the folks at RHA, a British audio company, reached out and asked if I wanted to try a pair of their new MA450i earphones that they recently launched here in the US and Canada. It is MUCH easier to pay $49.95 for a pair of earphones and after testing these out with various phones over the past week I have to say they are a great choice at a very affordable price.
I'm not sure if the folks at RHA knew it or not, but orange is one of my favorite colors (brown and yellow too) and thus I was pleased to see the dark gray retail package with orange highlights. The package is long and rectangular with the earphones shown in a clear window while the replaceable ear cushions are shown in the left side of the package. You will find the following inside:
RHA M450i earphones
7 pairs of silicone ear cushions (2 each of S, M, L with one double flange)
The large size seemed to fit my ear the best and it is always great to have a spare of the size that fits you. I like that the orange highlight is part of the color on the piece that fits over the aluminum on the earbud itself.
My ear opening is too big to use the double flange pair (they look to match up well with the medium size). The standard soft ear cushions are very comfortable and do a good job of blocking out surrounding sounds while also helping to hold the earphones in place. This model of earphones includes a mic and media controls on the right cable. BTW, the cables are fabric coated which helps keep them nearly tangle free with the total length from your ear being 1.5 meters.
There are three buttons on the mic control unit. The upper is for increasing volume and the lower is for decreasing volume. The center button controls several things through a series of pushes and this is easily used thanks to the indented design so you don't have to look down and can manipulate it by feel. A single press answers or hangs up a call while also acting to play or pause media. Double press skips forward and a triple press goes back. A long press and hold launches Siri on my iPhone 5. Unfortunately, the mic is not supported on other devices and while the press and hold launches Google Now on my Note II, the mic is not picked up so it is worthless there. The retail package clearly states these earphones are made for iPod, iPhone, and iPad. They do work for enjoying audio on Android or Windows Phone, but there are some limitations.
I enjoyed using these earphones and found that I could wear them for hours on end without ever feeling any discomfort. They also stayed in my ears, much better than the earpods included with my iPhone 5 by Apple. The RHA MA-450i are also much easier to put in my ears than the high end Logitech UE 900 that I have to take my glasses off to wrap around my ear and secure. The volume really CRANKS and gets way too loud to actually be comfortable. I did find that there is too much treble at the upper volume levels so I changed my iPhone 5 equalizer to bass boost mode to try to reduce that.
The controller worked very well and thanks to the improved version of Siri in iOS 6 I found the overall package to be quite useful. BTW, you can also find the MA-350 without the mic and controller for $39.95. One of the rather unique features of these earphones is the three year warranty so RHA is standing by the product they created. If you are looking for a pair of earphones that are better than the ones from Apple, then I recommend you consider the RHA MA-450i.
Read the full article at ZDNet
They're the first earphones I've found that sound good, stay in my ears and are reasonably priced.
MA450i: To be sure, I'm not an audiophile, but I am discerning enough to know what headphones sound better than the ones I'm used to. I'm not a big fan of the new EarPods Apple released last month. While they are an improvement over the old earbuds, I've recently found a pair of earphones I like a lot better: RHA's MA450i noise isolating earphones.
I've been trying out the RHA MA450i earphones for a few weeks now and I'm happy to say they're the first earphones I've found that sound good, stay in my ears and are reasonably priced. The earphones are machined from aircraft-grade aluminum and come in black or white. Each pair also comes with a set of seven silicon ear-tips so you can choose the size that is right for your ear. And as is a must for any earphones used with the iPhone, the RHA MA450i has an in-line remote and mic so you can operate your iPhone without taking it our of your pocket. But what I really like about these earphones is that they have a fabric-braided cable -- meaning it's not cheap plastic -- so it doesn't get all tangled and it lasts a lot longer than normal earphone cables.
RHA is relatively new to the audio scene. It's a Glasgow, UK, company that was founded in 2008, but spent three years in research and development before launching its first products. Based on my usage, I think we'll see plenty of great audio products from RHA in the future. The RHA MA450i earphones are available in Apple stores and online at RHA's website for US$49.95.
Read the full article at Tuaw.com
RHA have released an earphone that can compete with anything in its price range- and above.
There are two approaches to reviewing earphones or headphones and which direction I take is determined mostly by price. Earphones that sell for less than $100 are judged on a different level than those costing double or triple. The market for the under $100 earphones is huge and only getting bigger, plus the sound quality in this price range has improved dramatically. And when you factor in the lousy audio quality of those trendy white buds, it’s not hard to see why the lower priced earphone market is exploding. A Scottish audio company has now jumped in the fray with some earphones and headphones. RHA (Reid and Heath Acoustics) has supplied their entry level dynamic speaker earphones for review, the MA350 noise isolating earphones.
Although tastefully done, the design of the MA350 earphones is not particularly exciting, just functional looking. Included in the box are three sizes of tips which should fit almost anyone – but not me. As I’ve said in many reviews, the seal that earphone tips provide means everything and the supplied tips just don’t provide the seal I need. No seal equals no bass. So, once again, I used tips from another brand of earphone that fit my ears, and I can now hear what the MA350s are supposed to sound like. The supplied tips will probably fit your ears, but a more varied selection would have been nice. Comply is a good source of replacement tips made of foam and they do have tips for this brand. Also included is a small, velour draw-string bag for carrying.
RHA calls the MA350 earphones “noise isolating.” While they will cancel out most external noise quite well, the isolation is passive, which means they work the same way as shoving fingers in your ears. Note: Active noise isolation requires microphones and a power source to work properly.
Interestingly, the MA350s lean towards the bright side. Bass is present and powerful, as you would expect from a dynamic type earphone, but the high frequencies remind me of an armature design. Weird. Note: dynamic speaker design simply means the speaker inside the earphone looks almost like a tiny speaker. An armature design is a totally different approach and borrows technology from hearing aids. Dynamic earphones are usually warmer sounding with powerful bass and armatures are more accurate and clinical sounding. There are pros and cons on each approach, and which is better is subjective, at best.
As I said earlier, the MA350s are machined out of solid aluminum. They are extremely light and feel very durable. I have worn them for hours with no discomfort. The cloth covered cord minimizes but does not prevent tangling. Cloth can also cut down on microphonics – that annoying thumping sound you get from scraping or tapping the cord, but does not eliminate it. I noticed that the cord can sometimes get folds and creases which can’t be totally removed. It’s not harmful to the wiring, but it also doesn’t instill a lot of confidence against future problems. Time will tell.
Did I say that the MA350s are only $40? One reason is that the MA350s do not have a mic or remote. If you wish to have those add-ons, RHA makes the more expensive MA450i, which I will review later. Other than that, the MA350s are a bargain and a half. Here’s a spoiler: the MA350 earphones sound as good and are as comfortable as many earphones I’ve heard – and liked – In the sub-$100 range. So how good does 40 bucks sound?
The MA350 earphones have a kick in volume and attack… not that common in this price range. Listen to Bryan Ferry’s “Valentine.” from the album, “Boys and Girls.” The percussion throughout the song is sharp and immediate. Attack (and decay) is when a speaker – whether it’s a headphone or earphone – can recover quickly so notes don’t bleed into one another. That’s a good thing. The MA350s recover quickly. No, they are not the most accurate earphones I’ve ever heard, but did I mention that they are only $40? Thought so.
AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long” is an exercise in production done exactly right. I am a huge fan of this group’s sound. It is clean, sharp and a kick in the teeth. The MA350s capture that power and reproduce it very well. When pushed to punishing levels however, distortion can and does appear. But by then, the volume has become painfully loud anyway.
“Raconte-Moi Une Histoire,” by the French electronic group M83, is a jaunty, upbeat song featuring a little girl’s vocals overlaid on a driving, synth beat. Some of the song gets muddled towards the end and the MA350s accentuate the highs a bit too much, but overall, the earphones help make the song a fun listen.
RHA have released an earphone that can compete with anything in its price rang – and above. Of course, there is no comparison when sampled against those free white buds from you-know-who. If you have the money and a discerning ear, look elsewhere. But if you are on a budget and/or need an inexpensive second pair of earphones for commuting or exercise, you can’t do much better than the MA350s.
Read the full article at Gadgeteer
An extremely capable set of headphones available at a very good price.
These earplug-style headphones are designed and sold by British newcomer RHA. They have a number of pairs headphones on the market, but these are the first in-ear designs, and very impressive they are too.
At this price these can't be described as high-end earplugs, but the audio quality leaves us with little to complain about. They are bassier than most earplugs using a 10mm driver; and while some may enjoy a flatter, more neutral sound, others will prefer the MA-350's richer deep tones. Despite this tendency to the lower end, it's not overly at the expense of other frequencies, so those with eclectic tastes don't have to worry. In fact, we found a pleasing warmth about the sound on orchestral pieces.
Read the full article at http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/headphones/1286452/rha-ma-350
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