RHA T20 In Ear Monitor Headphone Review
- Drivers - DualCoil Dynamic
- Frequency range - 16-40,000Hz
- Impedance - 16 Ohm
- Sensitivity - 90dB
- Rated/max power - 2/5mW
- Weight - 39g
- Cable - 1.35m, multicore OFC
- Connections - 3.5mm, gold plated
It has not been long since I last reviewed one of RHA’s products – the RHA T10 earphone. While the build quality and overall form factor impressed me very much the sound tuning did leave quite a bit to be desired on a relative scale.
With RHA being an incredibly attentive company, they have listened to feedback and have completely reinvigorated the T10s through new driver implementation to deliver a sound that matches its build. The end result being the T20 IEMs, which are priced at a modest $239.95 price mark. The T20s adopts the same build and design which has earned the T10 much praise and success throughout the globe. There is even the same filter system which seemingly makes the whole experience with RHA more customisable and tailored to the consumer experience. However, there is one fundamental change that distinguishes the T20 from the T10 and that is the driver configuration. Instead of the previously single dynamic drivers, RHA have now chosen to adopt a new technology – DualCoil Dynamic drivers said to produce an even higher level of resolution and detail than its predecessor.
The T20i counterpart has already been announced and will have a separate launch date to the T20 earphones. It will include a microphone and in-line 3 button remote compatible with Apple devices with a price of just $10 extra.
The Filter System
Like the T10 before it, RHA have stuck with the 3 filter options; a bass, reference and treble tuner. While the sound signatures do not completely differ from one another, there are subtle changes discerned from a base sound signature. As mentioned in my previous T10 review, RHA have implemented this system incredibly well. Compared to the Shure SE846s which have cumbersome tuning options, the RHA T10 have chosen a simplistic approach which in the long term will save time.
What you Get: the Box & Accessories
Packaging is excellent which is to be expected from a well-known company with points of sales across many notable retailers including Apple. Their box includes 6 pairs of dual density ear tips, 2 pairs of memory foam ear tips, 2 double flange ear tips, the tuning filters, a premium carry case and a stainless steel ear tip holder. All in all, the packaging is outstanding and downright classy – a trait which is slowly but surely becoming synonymous with the RHA brand.
Build Quality & Fit
The manufacturing process remains to be metal injection moulding – the same of which is used in the production of the Final Audio Heaven VIII. This form of manufacturing reigns supreme in building a body that accurately houses the sound components of in-ear monitors. It has certainly paid off with RHA, despite the high costs, for its valuable ergonomics and precision contouring.
On the surface, both the T10 and the T20 are virtually indistinguishable but on closer inspection, the T20 logo on the underside of the IEM reveals the difference. The build quality does not stop at the delicately crafted stainless steel body but extends across the whole product. Both the Y-split and the straight jack are also made from stainless steel and would look to survive just about any form of abuse from daily wear. The thick rubbery cord ties in neatly to the concept of durability and completes the overall T20 product.
Fit was excellent for me and although the T20 are a bit weighty, it feels that the weight is evenly distributed for a comfortable listening experience. Again, as with the T10, the ear hooks could be better implemented to hug the rear of the ear more tightly instead of this awkwardly loose departure to the Y-split.
Sound Impressions (w/ treble filters)
Immediately from the onset, bass levels are less bloated and more precise than the T10s though they still boosted to an extent. Nevertheless, lows are responsive, impactful and possess more sub-bass than mid-bass. The lows neither detract from the higher frequencies nor does it ever get to a stage where it is fatiguing. Instead, the bass is very pleasant and has a good texture across many tracks. Next to the DUNU DN-2000, the quantity of the T20 succumbs to that of the former but is unquestionably more intelligible. The DUNU DN-2000J’s bass however, is much more articulate than the T20 but again falls short of the latter in terms of sheer quantity.
Unlike the T10, the bass has minimal bleeding into the midrange frequencies which makes for a very enjoyable listening experience. The mids are slightly warm of neutral and have an incredibly natural tone which is a welcomed change after spending many hours with strident balanced-armature sets. Perfect for late night listening where you might not want an ultra-resolving pair of IEMs, these offer a smooth ride that is quite hard to fault. Next to the T10, the T20 present with a higher peak across the upper midrange frequencies which contribute to its more engaging and lively temperament. Though not as airy and spacious sounding as the Fidue A73, instruments that perform with the midrange frequencies offer very decent levels of separation. There is a slight U-shaped depression where the mids are less emphasised than the frequencies either side of it but that is not to say that the mids are lacking in quantity or distant from the overall sound signature.
With a surprisingly good top-end, the RHA T20 offers sparkly highs with great extension and air. What particularly impressed me was the tone with which the high frequencies were delivered; invariably smooth yet displaying a certain vivid and forthright character. The tuning here is something that is leagues ahead of the somewhat subdued treble of the RHA T10. In terms of comparisons, both the Rock-it Sounds R-50 and DUNU DN-2000J render a more resolving treble section but lose out on a fatigue-free sound that the T20 perfectly seems to encapsulate. A job extremely well done by the upcoming headphone brand.
Bass & Reference Filters
Usually when there is a customizable filter option, the bass option is the one I am usually first to abandon and the RHA filters are no exception to this rule. I feel that with this option, the bass becomes too bloated and detracts from the other frequency ranges.
The treble filters, on the other hand, does an exceptional job at keeping the bass at bay with minimal spillage which would otherwise affect overall performance. This coupled with the sparkling smooth highs really make the T20 a force to be reckoned with.
The reference filters offer a balanced sound which lacks the treble extension that treble-heads like me especially crave for. This is partially due to a more bass-dominant presence which is certainly boomier and less refined than its treble filter counterpart. Thus, of the three, the treble filters would be my go-to choice for daily listening.
Soundstage & Imaging
The soundstage is not as large as the DUNU DN-2000 or the DN-2000J for that matter, but it is respectably airy and spacious on its own accord. Vocals are more intimate than compared to the DN-2000 but there is a decent amount of separation that prevents the T20 from ever sounding congested.
I feel that RHA’s customer service deserves a separate mention as it is unequivocally the best I have ever dealt with. For example, when I initially noticed a missing reference filter the RHA team were more than happy to rectify the situation and immediately sent a replacement set. The generous 3 year warranty is also a testament to RHA’s trust in their product range. It is no wonder that Apple have chosen to sell RHA products in their stores since the company’s strive for perfection and customer relations comes from an all-too familiar place.
Overall, the RHA have really made an outstanding product in the T20s. From the design to the build to the sound performance, they have left no stone unturned. Whereas before, the sound signature mainly resided in the consumer-oriented category, the sound can now be attributed to audiophile territory. I am thoroughly impressed with this flagship and the sonic improvement it provides over its predecessor. The T20 punches well above its $239.95 price tag with an incredible build and a natural, vivacious and smooth tonality. While I can’t really fault the T20 for any inherent bad qualities, an even larger soundstage and detailing would push this model to compete with the very best. With that said, I very much look forward to their next release.
Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.