Climbing up the audiophile chain reveals a wide array of unique headphone options. Many high-quality headphone manufacturers start off with humble beginnings and a vision to one-up the competition. If they do a great job, a fan base will grow and the word will spread. Like those in our 6 of the best in-ear headphones list.
RHA is one such underdog, specializing in audiophile-grade in-ear headphones. The engineering of its newest flagship, the T20, stands out in almost every way, from its all-metal earpieces to its DualCoil dynamic audio drivers. Continue through our RHA T20 Review to see if it deserves a consideration for your in-ear headphone upgrade.
Price: $239.95 on Amazon
Model: RHA T20
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Sweet all-metal design is effective and delivers audiophile-grade performance.
Summary: The T20 in-ear headphones make some worthy refinements to RHA’s already excellent top-end. Its signature metal-clad earpieces are the forefront where a high standard flows throughout the cable and into the user’s ears. It’s not a perfect sound, but is certainly fun and high quality.
What We Liked
- Durable and premium construction, from head to toe
- Unique tuning filter system that’s easy to change
- Engaging and detailed audio
What We Didn’t
- Version with 3-button remote/mic is only compatible with Apple devices
- Sound of “reference” filter isn’t necessarily neutral
- Mid-range is slightly recessed
RHA T20 Specs
Frequency Range 16 Hz - 40 kHz
Impedance 16 ohms
Type In-ear (over the ear wear)
Driver DualCoil Dynamic
Weight 39 grams
Cable Length 52 inches
Included Ear Tips 6 pairs dual density silicone
2 pairs double flange silicone
2 pairs foam
In-line Remote/Mic Separate model, the T20i, which only works with Apple devices
Carrying Case Removable Cable Price $239.95
There are a lot of earphones out there, but when you pick up the RHA T20 for the first time, it immediately hits you that these are not just another run of the mill offering. The company has its own distinct, high quality way of doing things. Take the all-metal earpiece build, for instance.
They’re fancily injection molded from stainless steel. RHA leaves the surfaces mostly raw and lets the metal speak for itself, resulting in both a unique and premium aesthetic. The T20’s packaging backs the standard that the earphones present. The unboxing additionally reveals a wide arrangement of ear tips, a soft-touch zipper carrying case, and interchangeable tuning filters (more on this later).
The shape of the T20 should be familiar to those who have dabbled in the world of high-end earphones, aka in-ear monitors (IEMs). The jellybean design allows the cable to route up and around the ear, instead of fall straight down like with most earbuds. RHA payed close attention to the fit of the “over-ear hook” portion of the cable. Despite being slightly thicker and stiffer than the primary cable wrapping, RHA says that specially designed for comfort and a secure fit.
The rest of the cable feels just as sturdy, but with a touch of finesse. The material is soft and rubbery (silicone-like), making the lengthy cable (~ 52″) exceptionally lightweight. It also does a great job resisting tangles. For icing on the cake, RHA tacked on a metal on the y-splitter and 3.5mm jack. There’s no angle in the T20 that isn’t exquisitely refined.
As mentioned earlier, the style of wear of the T20 is over-the-ear. That is, to don them, you stick them in your ear (cable pointing upward) and then guide the cable to rest around the ear and fall down behind it. Sure, there’s an extra step compared to the traditional earbud, but the benefit becomes clear in the first use.
You should have no worry about the metal housing possibly making the wear uncomfortable. The fit is impeccable and you barely feel anything is there. The memory wire guide around the ear is also well done. Its stiffness ensures that the cable does what you want it to, but it neither clamps down on the ear or rubs it the wrong way. RHA nailed the wear ergonomics in our opinion. We also had no problem finding an ear tip that provided an adequate seal.
Another benefit of this style is a secure fit, as pulling on the cable doesn’t pull the earpieces downward. This makes them a good work-out headphone.
The T20 includes a special feature that few earphones get – interchangeable tuning filters. Essentially, this allows users to either have a bass or treble favored sound signature. The third option is a neutral filter, if you wish to keep the T20’s true sound. One may ask “Can’t an equalizer do the same thing?”, but those who want to preserve the original music format don’t like to digitally mess with the audio signal.
RHA’s design of the interchangeable filter system is efficient and easy to do. The filters are within the nozzles, which can simply be screwed on/off with your fingers. The additional nozzles come attached into a metal plate (so you don’t lose them) and are color-coded.
By the time we get to the sound impressions, the T20 has positioned itself with quite the standard. It’d be a shame if it lets up in this area. Fortunately, that’s not the case. My ears contend that RHA delivers on its promises.
We’re looking at a superbly detailed and clear reproduction across the spectrum. I was particularly surprised at the treble, because the T20’s sound signature gives off a warm touch (using the reference filters). The strength of the mid-bass punch at first made me think I was looking at another bass-prominent headphone. But I would actually say that the brilliance of the treble more-so steals the show. You can really appreciate the crisp sparkle/ringing in instruments like cymbals, where such extended details just roll-off on many headphones.
The kick of the bass should satisfy most bass heads out there. It may a bit much for those looking for the “reference” sound that the filters suggest; you may have to actually use the treble filters to get what you’re looking for. My feeling is that RHA tried to hit that right balance between accuracy and fun.
My only complaint is that the bass and treble almost overshadow the mid-range. The fault is not severe by any means, but compared to the other impactful ranges, the mids are noticeably laid-back. This isn’t to say that they’re not well defined; the range sounds great, just not as strong as the rest.
RHA did an excellent job on its latest flagship earphone. There’s a lot to like about the T20, from its unique, high quality construction to its audiophile-grade and engaging sound. High-end earbuds can cost a pretty penny, but at $239, we totally feel like the T20 is worth it. Its package rivals some alternatives at even double its price. That’s why it made on our list of Best In-Ear Headphones.
- RHA T20 In-Ear Headphones Review
- Bose QuietComfort 20 Noise Cancelling In-Ear Headphone Review
- Zipbuds Ear Bud Headphone Review
- Bose QuietControl 30 Hands On: Most Advanced In-Ear Phones Ever?