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RBH HP-1B Bluetooth Stereo Headphones Review

By Steve DellaSala


  • Product Name: HP-1B Bluetooth Stereo Headphones
  • Manufacturer: RBH Sound
  • Review Date: June 01, 2016 08:00
  • MSRP: $199/pair (free shipping)
  • First Impression: Gotta Have It!
  • Bluetooth Version:            Bluetooth V4.0
  • Bluetooth Profiles:           Headphones, Hands Free, A2DP, AVRCP, HSP, HFP
  • Charging Time:                Approximately 2 hours (You can use the Bluetooth function while charging)
  • Impedance:                     32 Ohms
  • Frequency Response:    10Hz-22kHz
  • Music Time:                    Approximately 16 hours
  • Talk Time:                       Approximately 16 hours
  • Standby Time:                Approximately 540 hours
  • Weight:                          8.9 oz. (252 grams)
  • Dimensions:                  7.87" W x 7.09" H x 2.56" D (200mm W x 180mm H x 65mm D)

HP-1B_Box_Front_LeftSide.jpgSince 1976, RBH has been designing and manufacturing high-performance audio products for residential and commercial applications.  We’ve reviewed many of their products including some of their top of the line speaker systems, and have always been impressed.  We were pleased when RBH decided to get into the headphone arena. They've thus far earned great industry accolades with their in-ear monitors like the EP-SB and EP-3s as well as their Beryllium over-ear headphones - the HP-2s. With the launch of their new HP-1B Bluetooth Stereo Headphones, they have rounded out their product line with a real winner at a very affordable, competitive price.  The engineers at RBH told us that they spent two years selecting the right drivers and electronics to create these headphones, and I have to say, their efforts have paid off.  RBH has created a well-balanced, lightweight headphone that provides deep, rich, low bass, with well-defined mids and highs.  The headphones feature Bluetooth 4.0 + EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) and aptX CODEC technology for CD-quality playback on sources with aptX Bluetooth.  The headphones can also be connected via a 3.5mm cable in passive mode when the rechargeable batteries have drained. I auditioned these headphones with a wide variety of music ranging from progressive rock, to jazz, to blues and to classical.  In all genres, the HP-1B performed well, offering amazing tight, deep bass, radiant highs, and stellar mids.  Vocals, cymbals, bass drums, guitars, violins, horns all came through with life, clarity and depth.  Live performances featured echoes from room acoustics that could be lost when coming from a pair of speakers or headphones of lesser quality.  My only regret with these headphones is that they do not come with noise cancelling, meaning I won’t be spending a great deal of time with them on airplanes.

RBH Headphone YouTube Video Discussion


There’s nothing extraordinary about the external design of the headphones.  There are no gimmicky marketing logos or catchy phrases painted on them, no fluorescent colors that “look cool” and no hard shiny plastic pieces that will crack when accidentally dropped.  Instead, they are fairly reserved in appearance in mostly black with metallic finished sides.  What’s worth mentioning is that they use quality hinges on both sides so the headphones can be collapsed for storage.  They also come with a sturdy case that fits well in a computer bag if you plan to take them when traveling.  The memory foam ear cushions fit well and block out a lot of outside noise, though not quite enough to cancel out airplane engine noise and screaming kids.  The ear pieces swivel and both sides slide to offer more flexibility in adjusting them for the perfect fit.  These headphones can be worn comfortably for a long time because of all the memory foam on the ear pieces and around the top.


bass was deep and rich with fantastic balance of mids and highs...

I ran these headphones through the gamut when it comes to music and sources.  I auditioned them via Bluetooth from an iPhone 6S, via 3.5mm jack to an iPhone 6S, via 3.5mm jack to my laptop and via a 3.5mm to ¼ converter to my Yamaha RX-V2600 using multiple HD audio formats.  Steely Dan’s Gaucho in DTS proved to be a good challenge.  This CD has always been one of my favorite from a sound engineered quality perspective, not to mention the great music.  Right from the gate with “Babylon Sisters” there was punch, tight bass drum with a surprising amount of low end.  The lead and background vocals sounded natural and were very up front while maintaining clarity without being boxy.  The cymbals and the chimes seemed a bit more reserved than I was accustomed to when listening through full-range speakers, but the good thing about the headphones is that the high frequencies did not sound harsh and mushy.  I also listened to quite a bit of streaming music from Pandora and iTunes with emphasis on bands like Umphrey’s McGee, John Mellencamp, Tool, Yes, King Crimson, Mussorgsky, and a host of others.  I started the streaming audition while connected via the 3.5mm jack and switched back and forth to Bluetooth.  Although streaming Bluetooth was great, being hard-wired to the iPhone seemed to offer a bit more dynamics to the soundstage.  Granted, I am using an iPhone 6S which is NOT compatible with aptX, so I’m sure the slight loss of dynamics and hint of distortion was due to streaming in Bluetooth and not a function of the headphones.  Through all genres of music, the RBH HP-1B performed wonderfully.  Classical music such as Pictures at an Exhibition’s horn intro sounded stellar and as the strings kicked in, it felt as though I was right in the middle of the orchestra on stage.  Bravo to these headphones for their soundstage, especially when hard-wired.   

Here is a quick and dirty way to measure over-ear headphones using a foam head at a Michael's, which is a local crafts store. Let's call him Mr. Bob.  The microphone was placed inside of Mr. Bob's ear while the HP-2s were placed over his head to conduct the measurements.


Mr. Bob simulated head for On-Ear Headphone Measurements

 HP-1B  FR Graph.jpg

HP-1B Frequency Response

With the exception to slightly less high frequency output, the RBH HP-1B measured similarly to the HP-2 Beryllium corded headphones we reviewed earlier this year despite that they both used slightly different drivers.  However, this is no surprise considering RBH voiced the HP1-B's off the HP-2s.


The RBHHP-1B are a good pair of headphones for travel due to their compact size, ability to fold, Bluetooth streaming and ability to use the short 4’ long 3.5mm jack that doesn’t get tangled around everything.  Since most of my traveling is by air, I really miss noise cancellation, especially since the sound of the jet engines are so easily diminished with even the most basic noise-cancelling headphones.  The sound quality of these headphones is also ideal for home entertainment use.  However, while it’s nice to have a short 4’ cable when traveling, since the source is typically in close proximity, it doesn’t work too well for connecting to a home theater since most people sit much further away than 4 feet.  If you plan to use these for home use, invest in a longer cable or use the wireless feature if you don't mind trading a slight penalty in sound quality for convenience.

There are controls for volume and skip; however, they only work when streaming in Bluetooth.  When connected to my phone and/or laptop via the 3.5mm jack, I was unable to change volume using the controls.

There is one slight issue worth mentioning.  The multifunction switch is easily depressed when stored in the case if any pressure is applied.  The case has a mesh storage compartment on one end. Even with it empty, when I stuffed the headphones in my computer bag and took them out later, the multifunction switch had engaged and the LEDs were flashing.  My concern is that if you’re heading out on a long trip and you open the case, the headphones may have been on long enough to drain the battery.  So, instead of streaming via Bluetooth, you will now need to be hard wired.  But as stated before, I believe the headphones sound better hard wired anyway, so it’s not the end of the world.

hp1bopencase.JPG     hp1bcase.JPG     hp1bcase comp.JPG

Open Case and LEDs are blinking                   Compact Ready for Travel                     Next To Large PSB Case         


For the first pair of wireless over-ear headphones from RBH, the HP-1B is top of the line when it comes to their introductory price of only $199.  The bass is deep and rich with a lot of bottom, while maintaining a terrific balance with midrange and high frequencies.  They never sounded boomy, whispy or crunchy, even with the most straining music from the hard rock band Tool.  Their compact size makes them great for traveling and their stellar performance makes them awesome for home entertainment use as well.  It’s unfortunate that I was unable to stream in aptX but using standard Bluetooth from an iPhone 6S sounded good enough for most daily use. 

They are very comfortable for long periods of time and it’s especially noteworthy that the earpieces pivot making for the perfect fit.  The HP-1B’s are certainly a worthy contender in great sounding noise-isolating headphones that offer high-end sound in a compact travel-worthy design at an affordable price.   

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.