Hearing What Your Headphones Have to Offer


Discovering previously unheard depths and layers in a favourite song when you play it through a new set of headphones is a great feeling, but how much more do your headphones have to offer?

RHA’s team have put together a list of tracks that illustrate the diverse capabilities of RHA products, including some tracks used for testing in our Glasgow research and development centre. So whether you’re inclined to stick to one or two genres of music for your listening pleasure, or fancy discovering something you might not have heard before, grab your RHA headphones and follow the links below.

Please note that song links below will default to a standard resolution bitrate and, for optimum results, RHA recommends seeking out at least 320kbps versions of the tracks for detailed testing.

1. Ralph Kirshbaum – Suites for Cello, Suite No. 1 in G Major BWV 1007: Prelude
Spotify / Tidal

An arpeggiated progression of chords makes this one of the most distinctive of Bach’s Suites and the diversity and intrigue of the piece is great for bringing out the depth and warmth in your headphones.  This prelude ranges from a C2 (65Hz) to a G4 (390Hz) and is, as such an excellent track for testing mid and low frequency capabilities. Listen out for the volume each note is played with; you should be able to pick out every soft note and every powerful note with ease and clear separation.  The drawback of the bow on those low bass tones shouldn’t cause distortion or discomfort; they should provide a sense of power and awareness.  Towards the end the track builds complexity, listen for clarity in the music. Whilst fast, each note should still be clear and precise.

Try with: T20 with treble filters

2. Led Zeppelin - When the Levee Breaks
Spotify / Tidal

An absolute classic rock song from a band famous for big guitar riffs and dense production, this track was only ever played live a handful of times due to its complexity. There is very little natural sound on the track outside of John Bonham’s famous drum track and Jimmy Page’s diverse vocal range. Listen closely for the reverse echo in the harmonica from the start of the track with the reverberated sound occurring before each note giving a slightly surreal effect. Despite the whole track being slowed from its recording volume in post-production giving a slightly murky overall production, the uninterrupted drum riff should sound clear and constant, with a slight airy echo generated by the recording method placing the microphone and kit at opposite ends of four flights of stairs.

Try with: MA750 Wireless

3. Justice – Genesis
Spotify / Tidal

This song is all about showing off how well your headphones can handle the low frequencies of bass-centric tracks. Many headphones feature artificially enhanced bass, but accuracy of reproduction is as important, if not more important, than simply being able to make your head thump. The song’s intro features a sample which can be bold and possibly overwhelming, but stay with it and wait for the massive bass to kick in, that’s where the excitement starts! Your headphones should have enough depth in the low frequencies to make you feel the bass, but not overpower you with it and of course, there should be no distortion and crackling from the headphones. Listen out for a riff playing alongside the rumble, it should be clear and offer a pleasant contrast to the expansive low end. The latter half of the track really pushes out all kinds of frequencies whilst maintaining the underlying bass, illustrating both the depth and dynamic abilities of your headphones.

Try with: MA650 for Android™

4. Nina Simone – Feeling Good
Spotify / Tidal

Nina Simone’s 1965 classic is the perfect track for showing off how well your headphones can handle tricky mid and low-range frequencies generated by brass instruments. Beginning with Simone’s unmistakable acapella verse, the soulful vocal of the track should sit just above the rest of the track though the orchestration should sound deep and detailed, with the piano riffs through the right channel playing off against the double bass and strings. As the track draws to its conclusion, Simone’s ad libbed vocal moves through a large number of frequencies, with the scat style singing  contrasting to the rest of the song’s slow paced, drawn out lyrics. That final note, despite the fade out, holds strong and should stay with you once the song concludes.

Try with: Universal Series

5. CHVRCHES – The Mother We Share
Spotify / Tidal

It seemed appropriate to represent the vibrant and ever-changing Glasgow music scene in our list; the entire RHA team are often attending gigs around the city. CHVRCHES are one of Glasgow’s hottest prospects and this track is a fantastic example of what your headphones can do with up-tempo, synth heavy tracks. If the immediate left-right interplay using sampled, retuned vocals doesn’t grab your attention, the high claps before the bassy synth kicks in at around the 12 second mark should do the trick. There should be a good amount of space between the underlying bass beat and treble vocals, although here there’s a substantial, swaying midrange in the chorus that gives the track a lush, multi layered feel. A fairly complex, highly detailed track ideal for showing off how highly produced, synth-laden pop songs can sound on good headphones.

Try with: MA650 Wireless

6. Nils Lofgren – Keith Don't Go
Spotify / Tidal

The quality of live music recordings can be very inconsistent, however a good recording, played through good headphones, can bring the feeling of live music to you anywhere, at any time. Taken from his 1997 Acoustic Live album, this track from E Street Band member Nils Lofgren is a truly fantastic example of live recording, great for testing clarity and mid-high frequency range in your headphones. Anyone with experience playing guitar will particularly appreciate the clean sound of the guitar strings and high detail of the recording, close listening using your RHA headphone should also reveal tiny details such as the guitar plectrum scraping the strings.

Try with: MA750i

So there you have it; six songs to give your headphones a proper audio workout. We’re proud that our products can represent diverse musical genres so ably, and hope you enjoyed a tour through their capabilities. For more about the flat response that all RHA products aim to achieve, check out the RHA blog article on Frequency Response that explains why RHA headphones are designed to let you hear music as the artist intended.

To read more about the tech behind RHA sound reproduction, check out our Discover Sound library.

Let us know what you think of this article, or what songs you think sound brilliant on your RHA product by visiting Facebook or Twitter.

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