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Climbing up the audiophile chain reveals a wide array of unique headphone options. Many high-quality headphone maneuvers start 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 the word going around about the dB Logic EP 100 earbud headphones or the Scosche REALM IEM856MD earbuds.
RHA is another underdog, specializing in audiophile-grade in-ear headphones. Very different from Motorola’s Verveones true wireless earbuds. 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 consideration for your in-ear headphone upgrade. If you want to be sure about your choice, take a look at our Wang Bud Earbuds by Fanny Wang review before you decide for sure. Alternatively, take a look at our best earbuds list for help finding something suitable.
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 at 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
What We Didn’t
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 to build, for instance.
Related: If you like these headphones, you should check out our Rha T20i review.
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 falling straight down like with most earbuds. RHA paid 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 a 3.5mm jack. No angle in the T20 isn’t exquisitely refined.
Related: Also check out our Pyle Sports Waterproof Mp3 Player review if you are interested in a water-resistance device.
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 behind it. Sure, there’s an extra step compared to the traditional earbud, but the benefit becomes clear in the first use.
You should not 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 nor 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 good workout headphones.
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 to 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 say that the brilliance of the treble more so steals the show. You can 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 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 it on our list of Best In-Ear Headphones.