“Let our rigorous testing and reviews be your guidelines to A/V equipment – not marketing slogans”
Facebook Youtube Twitter instagram pinterest

RBH EP-SB Wireless Bluetooth Earphones Review

by March 26, 2015
RBH EP-SB Bluetooth Wireless Earphones

RBH EP-SB Bluetooth Wireless Earphones

  • Product Name: EP-SB Bluetooth Earphones
  • Manufacturer: RBH
  • Performance Rating: StarStarStarStarStar
  • Value Rating: StarStarStarStarhalf-star
  • Review Date: March 26, 2015 08:00
  • MSRP: $ 149 (Free shipping)
  • Model Name:     EP-SB
  • Bluetooth Version:    Bluetooth V4.0
  • Bluetooth Profiles:    Earphones, Hands Free, A2DP, AVRCP
  • Operating Distance:    33 feet (10 meters)
  • Earphone Music Time:    Approximately 5 hours (17.5 hours with optional Fuel Can Micro-USB Charger)
  • Earphone Talk Time:    Approximately 5.5 hours
  • Standby Time:    Approximately 200 hours
  • Earphone Charging Time:        Approximately 2 hours
  • Color:    Black/Silver
  • Dimensions:    1.18" x .52" x .95" (30mm x 13.3mm x 24mm)
  • Weight:        .41 oz. (11.7 grams)
  • Warranty:    2 Years


  • Easy wireless pairing and connecting
  • Great sound quality from a unique blend of technology
  • Nice looking glossy earbuds and rubberized cable feels and controls feel solid


  • Price puts them in premium category for workout headphones


RBH may be best known for high-end speakers but they have recently built a niche for themselves with high-performance earphones. The company that has been filling custom home theaters with sound since 1976 has just launched its most ambitious earphones yet. These earphones combine an impressive array of the latest wireless technologies from aptX, CSR, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC and IPx4 – more acronyms than a brain surgeon’s business card. But most importantly RBH says they've tuned their new EP-SB earphones to create a wireless, mobile rendition of the award-winning sound that made RBH a force in home audio. RBH wants the EP-SB wireless earphones to be your go-to for sound on-the-go.

The RBH EP-SB packs an impressive list of Bluetooth and wireless technology into a featherweight package. Included with the earphones are a variety of tips that provide varying sonic performance depending on how you're using the earphones. From a fine-tuned listening experience on the couch to a tough companion at the gym or on the trails, RBH says these earphones are designed for active music listeners.

RBH Sound EP-SB Wireless Earphones YouTube Review

Water Resistance

PouchOne prominent feature of all earbuds is portability. The EP-SB fits snugly into a carrying you can easily toss into a gym bag. Just in case you forget to put them into the case, you'll appreciate that EP-SBs include high-tech water resistance. The phones are coated in Liquipel, a nanocoating that earns the EP-SB earphones an IPx4 rating for water resistance. This means they’re not going to be damaged by sweat, being splashed by a water bottle or a light rain. The water-resistance rating stops short at being dunked under water or directly sprayed with pressurized water.

Who knew there was a whole rating system for water resistance?

Water resistance is a convenience when throwing workout headphones into a gym bag with your sweaty clothes. While RBH can’t guarantee the smell, the electronics will remain pristine in the presence of moisture.

Wireless Tech

I admit that when it comes to audio through Bluetooth I’m always skeptical. Standard A2DP Bluetooth has been producing terribly sub-par audio for years. But recently there have been a couple of important developments in Bluetooth to vastly improve sound quality. Since the aptX audio codec has been available to wireless accessories Bluetooth has become a source for surprisingly respectable sound.

If you haven’t heard any Bluetooth audio in awhile you owe it to yourself to take a listen to equipment taking advantage of aptX. But the RBH EP-SB is further enhanced with the high bandwidth and efficiency of Bluetooth 4.0 and the CSR protocol (CSR8645 stereo ROM with aptX) working in conjunction with the aptX codec, the EP-SB can deliver four times the bandwidth of standard Bluetooth 4.0. 

ControlThe result of all that digital data is more fidelity, higher highs (rated to 20kHz) and more detailed sound than ever through a wireless format. This is the closest you’ll get to lossless sound through any wireless headphone to date.

The earphones are also compatible with NFC for easy pairing. In my own testing I never found pairing a problem between the RBH EP-SB and my Galaxy S5. Bluetooth pairing and connecting in the early days of the wireless spec was painful, but not anymore. 

After the first pairing all I have to do is turn on the earphones and if Bluetooth is enabled on my phone they connect instantly.

Wireless range is respectable. Using my Galaxy S5 I was able to exceed RBH’s suggested average range of 33-feet (10-meters). I have a habit of leaving my cell phone safely tucked away at the gym while it plays back music to my wireless headphones. I'm accustomed to infrequent cutouts when I step away from the bench or squat rack to get a drink from the fountain or walk off an intense set. I have yet to experience a cutout using the EP-SB's. Bluetooth connectivity has clearly come a long way in just the last year.

RBH EP-SB Form Factor

RBH has set a new bar for the kind of sound quality we can expect from a wireless product.

What of the earphone’s fit and finish?

Unlike full-sized headphones you’re probably not as concerned with appearance. They’re small enough to fit discreetly into your ears but are deep enough to pack a battery, all that wireless technology and somehow can still fit drivers inside those tiny earbuds. Each ear-piece is a mere 1.18" x .52" x .95" (30mm x 13.3mm x 24mm). They made way for all that aforementioned tech by using preposterously miniscule 6mm drivers. Consider RBH's wired earbuds, the EP2 have 13mm drivers, 6mm drivers in the EP-SBs seems weak by comparison. But, RBH assured us the small drivers enhance efficiency and they tuned those drivers with some Digital Sound Processing (DSP) magic to  extend the bass extension and make up for their diminutive size.

RBH Carry CaseA rubberized cable with a control stick to right side joins the two earphones, the cable is made run behind the back of your neck so it’s out of the way. The cable can be fitted to the back of your head using tiny folding grilles which go a long way in keeping them secure.

The control stick includes three rubberized buttons you’ll find just below your right ear that lets you adjust the sound and power on/off.

Built into the stick is a barely visible mic used for phone calls. On the right earpiece is a tiny groove that lets you crack open the back to insert a USB micro port to recharge the battery.

The battery will fully charge in about two hours and once charged provides approximately 5-hours of music and/or talk time. In my own testing I was able to take the EP-SB well past five hours of music playback before running out of power.

If five hours of music listening isn't enough RBH has an optional accessory you can buy for a reasonable $25. The Fuel Can Micro USB Charger is a portable battery with a male-side micro USB port that can quickly recharge your device. I've tested the gas can on a Galaxy S3 phone and it provided up 20% charge to the battery. That's a decent bump if you find devices are running on fumes. For those extended periods you find yourself without power but in need of a sonic barrier between you and the rest of the world, it's a huge boost to the EP-SB earphones.  A fully charged gas can can recharge the EP-SB 2.5 times giving them enough juice to provide music for extended cross country flights. The gas can is so small that you can recharge your earphones in the carrying case while stowed away in your pocket.

Tips for Every Occasion

One of the most important factors when using in-ear headphones are the tips. The fit of your tips inside your ear canal is critical to comfort, stability and sound quality. To balance these needs RBH load you up with a variety of tips that include the Comply brand.

RBH also includes three sizes of standard silicon tips in sizes small, medium and large. These are the most popular tips for in-ear headphones but I didn’t find them comfortable at all.

Full disclosure, I’m not really a fan of earbuds. I’ve long been of the opinion that there are two kinds of people in this world; those who would let someone (or something) invade an orifice and those who would rather die. I’ve always taken the hard-line of the latter. I've tested earbuds on for size and have sometimes been impressed with the sound quality. But they never felt comfortable.

You’ll get two sizes of Comply Active tips. These are the blue foam tips designed specifically for comfort and fit when you’re active and liable to sweat. They will allow your inner ear to breathe thus letting in some sound so you’re not engaging your outdoor activities in total acoustic isolation, which could be dangerous. The Active tips are far more comfortable than the silicone tips which are quite horrible. 

Combined with the included on-ear stabilizers, comfort level and fit made the Comply Active tips great for general use. I could do anything from run or do housework with them on. But even with the stabilizers in place the earbuds consistently fell out of my head when jumping rope, so there are limits to how much vigorous activity the earphones can handle.  

Comply Isolation T500 Tips

Easily the most important inclusion is a single pair of Comply Isolation T500 tips which provide absolutely the best sound quality. 

Although these tips provide almost total acoustic isolation they were comfortable and didn’t have the same sticky feeling I got from the silicon tips. The silicon actually created an uncomfortable suction in my head that made me feel like wax and a maybe a bit of grey-matter were being churned out of my ear.

The Comply isolation tips on the other hand didn’t feel like they were trying to create an impermeable seal inside my ear, instead they just blocked sound – comfortably. They were so comfortable in fact they had me rethinking my staunch hard-line on letting electronics become privy to my ear canal.

EP-SB Sound Quality

When it comes to the experience of just sitting in a chair and really listening to the sound I was suitably impressed. Of course, when you have the opportunity to idly listen you’ll want to use the Comply Isolation tips. 

You’ll be pleased to note that the EP-SB sound quality not only had me rethinking earbuds in general but also the capability of wireless audio.

I defy anyone to tell me they sound like wireless earphones

RBH has tuned the tiny 6mm driver to deliver extremely tight bass response when using the Comply Isolation tips. As expected, if you want to hear all that bass you’ll need to maximize acoustic isolation. The Active and silicone tips just can’t compete when it comes to the low lows. 

EP-SBBut the real strength of the EP-SB earphones is in the smooth midrange and middle-highs. The pure transparency while listening to high-bit, lossless FLAC files through this combination of state of the art DSP processing, aptX and CSR wireless technology presents uncompromised fidelity. I quickly forgot about all the technology, complicated acronyms and my previous cynicism toward the ability of wireless to produce beautiful sound soon melted away.

I tested a lot of upbeat and aggressive music that I might listen to while working out. But with the Comply Isolation tips on-board the EP-SB's seemed equally adept at any style of music. If I were to try and describe the sound the best compliment I can give is transparent. RBH has clearly tuned these earphones to behave as true monitors delivering a neutral sound all the way up the frequency spectrum. Even with the Comply Isolation tips which augment the bass response, it didn't seem to pump up bass at the expense of midrange which tends to suffer whenever headphones are designed with to exaggerate the low end.

I found the bass response smoothly tailed off listening to Another Eternity, the latest album by Purity Ring. This ethereal electro-band creates music that soncially toys with the contrasts between Megan James dreamy voice that lives in the middle-high range and Corin Roddick's power-electronica that frequently delivers jolts in the low frequencies. The RBH EP-SB sorted it all out and made me feel as if I were listening to much more expensive headphones tuned specifically for clarity and balance. RBH has set a new bar for the kind of sound quality we can expect from a wireless product. I defy anyone to tell me they sound like wireless earphones.


As a runner and no stranger to the inside of a gym I’ve always owned a pair of workout headphones. The last couple I’ve had were wireless and the best I could say about their sound quality is “pretty good” when I’m feeling generous. But the EP-SB did their job playing back the aggressive music that gets me pumped for a workout or run. But I'm a long-time headphone aficionado that owns many pairs of headphones for multiple purposes. I don't expect much from wireless, workout headphones.

What’s important about the EP-SB is that you don’t have to be runner or a gym-rat to benefit from their blend of ruggedness and bleeding-edge wireless tech. 

As the best-sounding workout headphone I’ve ever used the biggest praise I can give the EP-SB is that I’m comfortable pulling them out of the gym bag and using them for other purposes. These ‘phones easily pull triple-duty as workout headphone, working-at-the-office headphone and just laying-back-and-listening-to-some-tunes headphones.

No other workout or wireless headphone has ever provided the fidelity to make me want to pull them out of the gym bag for general listening.  Highly recommended!

About the author:
author portrait

Wayde is a tech-writer and content marketing consultant in Canada s tech hub Waterloo, Ontario and Editorialist for Audioholics.com. He's a big hockey fan as you'd expect from a Canadian. Wayde is also US Army veteran, but his favorite title is just "Dad".

View full profile