1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.

    Dismiss Notice

RHA T10i

Rating:
3.60714/5,
Tags:
  1. Brooko
    RHA T10i – Contender for best build ever (& worst "reference" tuning)
    Written by Brooko
    Published Nov 23, 2014
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Build, fit, comfort, accessories, design, sonic capability (after EQ), customisable filter system, warranty
    Cons - Default signature (extremely warm/dark/bassy), mic + icontrols too low on cable, cinch effectiveness

    For larger views of any of the photos (1200 x 800) - please click on the individual images

    INTRODUCTION

    The first I heard about RHA (or Reid Heath Acoustics) was a thread on Head-Fi calling for applicants for 3 reviewers to test their newest earphone - the RHA T10i. Some of the initial press was extremely encouraging, and the images being circulated looked downright gorgeous, so I quickly applied and waited to hear. Unfortunately I wasn’t among those chosen – but RHA arranged with David (lin0003 on Head-Fi) to stage an Australasian tour with another set. So here I sit, with the T10i in my ears, ready to give you my take on this IEM.

    Reid Heath Acoustics (RHA) is a Scottish based headphone company. Their core values (from their website) are described as follows:
    “We stand for true-to-life audio reproduction and lasting quality. With these values at our core, we work to deliver the most accurate, comfortable and unobtrusive listening experience possible. Every RHA product combines high quality materials, precision engineering and our fundamental commitment to design.”

    Their current product catalogues ranges from the budget oriented MA350 (~ USD 40) to the current flagship T10i (~ USD 200) which I have the pleasure of reviewing today.

    In the last 4 days I have tried to spend as much time as possible assessing the RHA T10i. In that time I have also listened to my Fidue A83, A81, Altone200 and DN-1000 so that I can reference differences, but the T10i has taken most of my listening time – and it has been a very different experience, as the T10i’s default tuning is not my preferred signature type. This T10i’s default signature disappointed me from first listen – but over the course of the week, and with some EQ applied, it has become an enjoyable IEM. I have some comments at the bottom of the review – and I do hope RHA taken them on board – as they have the potential for an absolute winner here.
    I’d estimate that so far I’ve logged around 20-25 hours with the RHA T10i to date.

    DISCLAIMER

    I was provided the RHA T10i (as part of a tour) from RHA and lin0003. I am in no way affiliated with RHA - and this review is my subjective opinion of the T10i.

    PREAMBLE - 'ABOUT ME'. (or a base-line for interpreting my thoughts and bias)

    I'm a 47 year old music lover. I don't say audiophile – I just love my music. Over the last couple of years, I have slowly changed from cheaper listening set-ups to my current set-up. I vary my listening from portable (Fiio X5, X1 and iPhone 5S) to my desk-top's set-up (PC > coax > NFB-12 > LD MKIV > HP). I also use a portable set-up at work – either X5 > HP, or PC > Beyer A200p > HP. My main full sized headphones at the time of writing are the Beyer T1 and Sennheiser HD600. Most of my portable listening is done with IEMs - and up till now it has mainly been with the Fidue A83 and A81, Dunu DN-1000 and Altone200. A full list of the gear I have owned (past and present is listed in my Head-Fi profile).

    I have very eclectic music tastes listening to a variety from classical/opera and jazz, to grunge and general rock. I listen to a lot of blues, jazz, folk music, classic rock, indie and alternative rock. I am particularly fond of female vocals. I generally tend toward cans that are relatively neutral/balanced, but I do have a fondness for clarity, and suspect I might have slight ‘treble-head’ preferences. I am not treble sensitive (at all), and in the past have really enjoyed headphones like the K701, SR325i, and of course the T1 and DT880.

    I have extensively tested myself (abx) and I find aac256 or higher completely transparent. I do use exclusively redbook 16/44.1 if space is not an issue. All of my music is legally purchased (mostly CD – the rest FLAC purchased on-line).

    I tend to be sceptical about audiophile ‘claims’, don’t generally believe in burn-in, have never heard a difference with different cables, and would rather test myself blind on perceived differences. I am not a ‘golden eared listener’. I suffer from mild tinnitus, and at 47, my hearing is less than perfect.

    For the purposes of this review - I used the RHA T10i straight from the headphone-out socket of my iPhone 5S, and also from the Beyer A200p when at work. I did not further amp them, as IMO they do not benefit from additional amplification. In the time I have spent with the T10i, I have noticed no change to the overall sonic presentation (burn-in), but am aware that I am becoming more used to the signature of the T10i as I use them more often (brain burn-in).

    This is a purely subjective review - my gear, my ears, and my experience. Please take it all with a grain of salt - especially if it does not match your own experience.

    THE REVIEW

    PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES

    The RHA T10i arrived in a reasonably large, but attractive black retail box (with orange highlights). The front flap is hinged to reveal the inner compartment - which really does look very spectacular, with a full window view of the IEMs, accessories and tuning filters.


    RHA T10i - front of retail box

    RHA T10i - rear of retail box


    The outer box holds a wealth of information including a frequency graph, information on the drivers, and also the moulding if the housing.

    The initial feeling I got on opening the flap – was “wow – this is a premium item”.


    RHA T10i - side of retail box

    RHA T10i - inside retail box front cover


    Opening the retail case reveals an open inner box with foam inset which holds the T10i (cable nicely wrapped around the foam), filters and tips.

    Lifting the foam inset out further reveals a lower plastic compartment housing the carry case, manual and a shirt clip. There are few companies to include this many accessories, and virtually none (I know of anyway) to present them in such a premium manner.


    Foam insert - holding the T10i, tips, and filters

    All of the accessories


    The user guide is a mini multi-lingual booklet and is superbly designed, and informative, including a response graph, and full information on everything you may need to know about the T10i – from cleaning to getting the proper fit. A lot of thought obviously went into this. Kudos RHA.


    Well designed manual

    Carry case - with tip tray


    The carry case is a large soft zippered case measuring approximately 125mm x 80mm x 30mm (at its deepest point) – so it’s not pants pocket friendly. It is well padded though, with generous inner pockets and a very soft outer covering which feels like soft Lamb Nappa leather – not sure if it is synthetic or not. The case is large enough to hold the tips in their steel display tray.


    RHA carry case compared to Brainwavz case

    Inside the carry case


    The tip selection is generous, and includes 2 pairs of dual flange silicone, 6 pairs of single flange silicone, and 2 pairs of foam tips. The mounting tray is stainless steel, and once again gives a feel of something upmarket.


    Extremely good tip selection

    Tip selection in profile


    Lastly there is another stainless steel plate which houses the metal filters. Like everything else, it is both functional and stylish – and clearly states (treble, reference, bass) which filter is which.
    Impression so far – 10/10.


    Filter system and holder

    Filter system and holder


    TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

    (From RHA)
    Type
    Dynamic Driver Inner Ear Monitor
    Drivers
    770.1 Dynamic
    Frequency Range
    16 Hz – 22 Khz
    Impedance
    16 ohm
    Sensitivity
    100 dB
    Rated / Max Power
    1/5 mW
    Plug
    3.5mm gold plated
    Cables
    1.35m reinforced OFC
    Weight
    41g
    IEM Shell
    Metal Injection Moulded (MIM) stainless steel shell


    FREQUENCY GRAPH

    At the time of writing, I’ve been unable to find a frequency response graph for the T10i – apart from the one included in the manual. The problem with the one in the manual is that the step are in 20 dB increments – so it’s really not much use. It portays things as flatter than they actually are. For the record – what I’m hearing with the reference filter is a very large bump in both the sub-bass, but especially mid-bass, a reasonably flat mid-range, and quite a steep drop-off in treble. If/when a graph is published (eg from Innerfidelity), I’ll try and include it.

    BUILD QUALITY / DESIGN

    The RHA T10i has a two piece injection moulded stainless steel body which is one of the smoothest, and well designed IEM shells I’ve ever had the pleasure of wearing. The shell is a shade under 20mm in length, 19mm in height, and 11 mm in depth (18mm if counting the nozzle length). So it is comparatively small. The nozzle features a threaded cavity to house the screw in filters for personal tuning. On the exterior of the IEM body, next to the “RHA” engraving is a small mesh covered port – I’m assuming this is to vent the dynamic driver.


    Steel T10i body - marvelously crafted

    Smooth edges a feature - for very good comfort


    The ear guides attach to the housing with excellent strain relief (blue for left, red for right). The ear guides themselves have been patented by RHA, and are formable, and appear to be spring steel with a soft and malleable protective outer sheath. I’m not sure what materials are involved, but they are the best example of formable ear guides I’ve encountered – and for me, are very comfortable. In case you haven’t noticed, the T10i are designed to be worn over the ear only (my preferred method).


    Formable ear guides

    Formable ear guides - bend to any shape


    The formable guides end with a strange 20mm plastic/rubber section which joins to the cable proper. I’m not 100% sure what the reason for these is – but sadly, they do detract visually from the overall look.

    On the right side of the cable approx 260 mm from the body of the IEM is an integrated iDevice 3 button control and microphone. I’m pleased to say that this works brilliantly with my iPhone and controls volume as well as play, pause, next, back. The strange thing with the T10i is the placement of the controls/mic as it sits about 60mm below my chin when worn (most other IEMs have the controls considerably higher. The issue with the T10i configuration, is that I can’t use the cinch all the way to my chin to tighten the cables.


    icontrols (mic is on other side)

    Mic (icontrols are on other side)


    Well below the microphone (another 240mm from the bottom of the control unit) sits a small Y split – with excellent cable relief, and an integrated cinch. The weird thing is that the apex of the Y-split sits just above my belly button (I’m 6 foot tall) which is really far too low. And of course the cinch doesn’t work 100% because of the mic/control. So some things for RHA to consider when they eventually design the successor to this IEM.

    The cable is relatively thick and sturdy, well sheathed, and best of all does not display any memory or kinking. It is virtually microphonic free below the Y-split, but there are some microphonics above. Of course use of the shirt clip, and keeping the cable underneath clothing relieves most of this.


    Y split and cinch

    4 pole plug - extremely good quality - note rubber protector


    The cable terminates in a straight 3.5mm stainless steel 4 pole plug – with once again excellent strain relief. One thing I did notice is that there is slight rubberised ring between the plug body and tip of the plug. Yet another example of RHA thinking outside the box. I can only assume this has two uses – to protect your device (and the plug) from metal on metal scratching, and also to accommodate plugging into your average smartphone (with case attached). Anyway – it works incredibly well with my iPhone 5S.

    So apart from a few design “misses”, the build quality and attention to detail is incredible.

    FILTER SYSTEM

    For tuning, RHA includes a 3 filter system on the T10i – bass (black), reference (white/silver) and treble (amber/gold). It is a very similar system to that used on Rock Jaw’s Alfa Genus IEM. The filters are very easy to swap in and out – utilising a simple screw in thread. They have a rubber washer to ensure a secure fit. The bass filter is supposed to bump the lower frequency response by 3db above reference, and the treble filter is supposed to bump the frequency above 1 kHz by 3dB. The reference filter is for their default or reference tuning. Looking inside each filter, both the reference and bass filters appear to have acoustic foam or dampening material. The treble filter has none.


    Filters (L-R) Treble, Reference and Bass

    Acoustic foam inside the reference filter


    I’ll leave the sonic effects for the sound section.

    FIT / COMFORT / ISOLATION

    I have one ear canal slightly different to the other one (my right is very slightly smaller) - so I tend to find that usually single silicon flanges don't fit overly well. I initially tried the included large silicone tips, and whilst they fit OK, I was unable to maintain a constant seal. I didn’t try their included foam tips, but opted instead for the large dual-flange tips, and they fit perfectly with a brilliant seal, and great comfort. The angle of the nozzle and design of the housing create the perfect angle for my ears, and I could (and have) used these for hours at a time. Despite their weight, I don’t think I’ve had the pleasure of trying a more ergonomically well designed housing – including the Shure SE series which I loved – or my current Fidues (A81 comes close though). I even put the small tips on, and asked my 11yo daughter to try them. Despite not being an IEM wearer, she also thought they were “pretty comfortable”.


    Ergonmically designed shells .......

    ........ are a perfect fit for both big and small ears


    Isolation with the T10i is better than average for me (not quite near Shure’s almost perfect isolation – but very effective), and I think they’d be good enough for long distance air travel (despite the vent). They do isolate better than my Fidue A83, and are probably on-par with my A81. Because of their flat profile (when worn they do not extend past my ear), I have had no issues at all relaxing or sleeping with the T10i. They would rank up there as the most comfortable IEM I’ve worn to date.

    There is no driver flex present.

    So what does the T10i sound like?

    SOUND QUALITY

    The following is what I hear from the RHA T10i. YMMV – and probably will – as my tastes are likely different to yours (read the preamble I gave earlier for a baseline). Most of the testing at this point (unless otherwise stated) was done with my iPhone 5S, or PC > A200p as source.

    Tracks used were across a variety of genres – and most can be viewed in this list http://www.head-fi.org/a/brookos-test-tracks.

    Thoughts on Default Signature

    I need to state this one early, so I can then concentrate on the positives. I really do think that RHA missed the mark completely when tuning these IEMs. If I was to describe the default signature in a few words – I’d choose the words “dark”, “bassy” and “fatiguing”. Their problem is simply that there is too much bass, it overpowers everything, and for me it simply becomes too fatiguing. Please remember though, that I usually prefer a neutral signature, or often a shade brighter than neutral.

    My issue with them is that I expect a reference signature to be reference – for the most part balanced, but clear. For example, I know my Fidue A83 are reasonably balanced but brightish. The Sony XBA4 I used to own were also reasonably balanced, but also very smooth – and if aiming for a smooth, and slightly bassy sound, this is the sort of reference sound I’d expect. My Fidue A81 are dark, and warm IEMs (quite bassy in fact), but even they do not have default bass, bass, bass emphasis that the T10i exhibit.

    Once I’d got the initial shock out of the way (from first listen), I immediately changed the filters – trying the bass filter (it was even worse), and then switching to the treble filter. The treble filter was better, but still had too much bass present.

    Dilemma – how do I review these, when I very much dislike the default signature, and listening for any length of time just brought on fatigue?

    Answer – Get used to the signature a little more, and then EQ the bass down.

    Over the next few hours I tried to spend as much time as I could with the T10i – but it was a very difficult experience. Bass heads might love these – but I really struggled. As I started to brain-burn into their default signature, I did start to notice quite a nice mid-range coming through – so there were encouraging signs that these drivers had potential.

    Using my iPhone 5S, I switched in the bass reducer preset EQ (and before anyone throws their toys out of the cot, the bass reducer does precisely that – reduces a lot of bass, and is one of the few useful presets included with the iP5). After the bass assault, it was almost too much (by then I’d acclimatised a little), so I gave myself 20 minutes to adjust, and then took more stock of what I was hearing. The first thing I did was switch back to the reference filter …… and …… OMG this is so much better, and it sounds “reference”. Bass is still slightly north of neutral, but rather than overpowering everything, it’s just providing good impact. Best of all, the vocals and mid-range are now crystal clear, slightly warm, very smooth. Treble is still a little subdued overall, but very enjoyable. These now remind me a lot of the XBA4’s default sound – and I really like the change.

    For others with a modern iDevice, if you have Accudio Pro – try the Sennheiser CX300 preset with flavour set to reference. It’ll give the T10i a big cut in the mid-bass, and is another way of applying simple EQ to reveal what this IEM is really capable of.

    From this point on – I’ve used my iPhone 5S with bass reducer. So all below comments should be taken with this in mind.

    Overall Detail / Clarity

    For this I always use both Steely Dan’s “Gaucho” and Dire Strait’s “Sultans of Swing” as there is a lot of micro detail in both tracks, and the recording quality for both is excellent.

    The T10i’s detail retrieval is now good on both tracks. With Gaucho, the sax intro is quite natural sounding and very smooth – and now the bass guitar is where it should be. I can definitely hear the bass guitar, and occasional thump of the kick drum coming through, but it’s not overpowering things now.

    Switching to Sultans of Swing, and it’s a really dynamic and fun listen. The constant background sound is the bass guitar, but it’s contrasted nicely with the bite of Knopfler’s guitar and the polite splash of cymbals. The bass is still very good overall, with a slight bloom but generally pretty tight. Vocals are really clear now – but Knopfler’s vocals definitely sit very slightly behind the bass guitar and his own lead guitar. Detail is mostly all there – but the subtle hits of snare and cymbal are quite subdued still. Separation of instruments is good, and there is no evidence of smearing.

    Sound-stage & Imaging

    For this I use Amber Rubarth’s binaural recording “Tundra”. I use this because it’s a pretty simple way to get comparative data on sound-stage.

    It’s usually difficult to get a reasonable stage size from an inner ear monitor. The stage is often quite small / close – with an average impression of space. The T10i has an intimate stage with this track, and with the bass reduced the imaging is OK (directional cues are there), but the sense of space is not expansive.

    I also used Loreena McKennitt’s “Dante’s Prayer” and the EQ’d RHA T10i gave a nicely smooth and cultured performance. The tonality of the T10i is still just a little darker than I am used to – but the vocal presentation is very clear, and although the stage I intimate, the overall cohesion / tonality works. In this track, the applause at the end is so well presented that with some headphones (HD600) I can actually close my eyes and imagine myself in the crowd. With the T10i, I was surprisingly getting some immersion – so this is better than expected.

    Genre Specific Notes

    Rock / Alt-Rock – The EQ’d T10i handles this genre well with good balance between vocals and bass line. Male vocals in particular are very good – and I found myself really enjoying most artists. Standouts among the artists tested were 3 Doors Down, Seether and Pearl Jam. It’s amazing how well this driver performs on vocals when it’s given a chance to shine. The only detraction was that some higher level details (cymbals) are very underwhelming still. Porcupine Tree’s “Trains” had good dynamics with the bass, but sadly for me Wilson’s vocals were just a little too subdued. Pink Floyds “Money” was a lot better though, with nice overall balance – but still losing that extra detail in the high end.

    Jazz / Blues / Bluegrass – Portico Quartet’s “Ruins” is always a first stop for me when testing a new IEM with Jazz, and the T10i expresses most of the dynamics well – but again the cymbals are just a little too underwhelming, and the sax is too smooth (no bite). Switching to female vocal jazz, and Norah Jones is actually really good – smooth, silky, husky – enjoyable (track was “Don’t Know Why”).
    Switching to Blues, and Joe Bonamassa’s “India/Mountain Time” was pleasant, but once again missing something. The normal “bite” from Joe’s guitar was the casualty this time. It was still enjoyable – but just seemed to be missing something. Vocals were really good though, and once again this EQ’d cut in the native bass I’m using is allowing male vocals to really shine.

    Rap / EDM / Pop – Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” is really good with the T10i – with bass hitting low and hard – and the vocals clear. I can see bassheads really enjoying this. Time to switch to some pop and this time Adele’s “Turning Tables”. The piano on this track was brilliant, and a really good portrayal of Adele’s vocals, smooth and enveloping. On to some electronic music, and here the T10i is shining really well – especially with artists like The Flashbulb. Great bass line – and although the overall presentation is different from what I’m used to, it is enjoyable enough to continue listening. I tried briefly some Little Dragon and Lindsey Stirling – but in both cases, even with the bass EQ’d down, I still found it quite boomy. Vocals good with the Little Dragon tracks – but still just too dark for my tastes.

    Classical / Opera – Kempffs Beethoven Sonatas were quite enjoyable, but anything else I tried just didn’t gel at all. And the attempt at opera (Netrebko/Garanca) was simply flat – no dynamics, no magic. Avoid.

    Indie / Female Vocals – Although this covers a couple of different genres, they make up a lot of my current listening, so it made sense for me to concentrate on these to see how the adjusted T10i handled things. I started with Agnes Obel’s Aventine, and although the T10i got close, the vocals sounded a little hollow. Switching to Angus & Julia Stone, and this was a lot better – probably due to the fact that the vocals are the main focus for much of the track (“For You”). Next up was Lianne La Havas – and once again impressed with how this driver can do vocals. This is really pleasant – very smooth, nice tonality – I could chill out to this with no problems. I briefly tried London Grammar, and while the presentation was OK, Hannah’s voice deserves an IEM with a little more upper end emphasis. I finished with Wildlight and Band of Horses. Both Indie groups were very good. Again darker than I’m used to – but different rather than better or worse. All in all, some hits, some misses.

    AMPLIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

    The T10i is easily powered straight out of the portable devices I have, and I haven’t experienced any issues with the iPhone 5S, or from my A200p (at work). With typical pop/rock songs on the iP5S I’m usually at a volume level of around 40%. So far I’ve had no issues with hiss.

    RHA T10i - SUMMARY

    When I first saw the T10i, I was immediately attracted to its build and simple good looks and design. Wearing the T10i continues the initial impression – these are superbly comfortable.

    However – that’s where the attraction for me ends.

    I have never come across an IEM (especially at this price point) which is as dark, bassy, and disappointing sonically. I’m also very surprised at all of the positive reviews around the net – especially the ones that call the T10i balanced. Thankfully the drivers used do have a very capable mid-range that can be unlocked / accessed simply by EQing down the sub and mid-bass. Doing so reveals the potential for an absolute winner for RHA. Sadly, with its current tuning – it simply misses the mark, and unfortunately the filters remain largely unusable – simply because the 3dB adjustments they make are lost in the continual bass.

    If you don’t mind tinkering with EQ or are a huge basshead, you might find some value in the T10i. Otherwise, I’d suggest there are much better options out there – especially with some very good triple hybrids now being priced around the USD 200 mark.

    I really struggled grading these for this review – because the build, fit, accessories, and design would all get very high marks. Sadly the sonics let it down – and the only reason these get a 3.5 stars from me is their potential if EQ’d. If you take the EQ out, they’d be much lower.

    Once again thanks to RHA and David for including me as part of the tour.



    RECOMMENDATIONS TO RHA


    • Cut the bass – by a lot. Reference should be reference, and your drivers actually handle vocals really well when they are allowed the freedom to do so.
    • Move the icontrol/mic further up the cable – this will also fix the cinch issue.
    • Consider moving the Y split higher.

    NOTE TO RHA

    I really don’t like giving overly critical reviews, and I do hope you take my comments on-board. You have incredible potential with this IEM, and if you could get the tuning right, I’d definitely line-up to buy one.
      WNBC, djvkool, H20Fidelity and 2 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Brooko
      I'll be interested to read your comments once you've had a chance to try them . And I really do hope that RHA do release a retuned model as everything else about the T10i is first class - except the current sonics.
      Brooko, Nov 23, 2014
    3. nmatheis
      In refererence to @getclikinagas - an improvement on MA750 was what a lot of us were hoping for. Instead, a lot of MA750 owners who "upgraded" to T10i on the T10i thread are returning them. Unfortunately, MA750 seems to be the neutrali-ish anomaly from RHA. At least they stick to their guns, right!

      @Brooko - The rubber ring on the headphone jack is a step-down to allow it to plug into your iPhone without removing your case. With the MA750 there is no ring, and you have to remove your iPhone case just to plug in the darn earphones. I (and I'm sure many others) brought this to RHA's attention, and I'm glad they responded by making T10i more iPhone-friendly than its predecessors. Now, they just need to bring out MA750's real successor.
      nmatheis, Jan 1, 2015
    4. Brooko
      @nmatheis - good to hear they were listening to their audience with the step-down. The funny thing is that I loved everything about the build and design of the T10i - just not the sonics. If they could release the next version with better tuning, I'd be all over them.
      Brooko, Jan 1, 2015
  2. Talai
    The T10i: Feel the bass
    Written by Talai
    Published Nov 13, 2014
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Very fun sound signature, excellent build quality
    Cons - Bass heavy sound isn't for everyone, no detachable cables
    First of all, here's my video review of the T10i:
    [​IMG]
    I'm quite happy with the way that the T10i performs, and I think it's in a good position to take the spotlight from the MA750i... the sound is far from reference or flat, and is instead almost an L shaped signature. The bass is always very present (and makes itself known right away), but it never really leaks into the mids much.
     
    They are extremely comfortable to wear (I almost fell asleep with them in, oops), and the metal injection molding process makes them look amazing. The ear hooks help to make them fit even better, though the plastic lump where they attach to the main cable seems out of place. Also, no detachable cable.
     
    As for isolation, they do a fairly good job (it depends on which of the many included tips you choose from), but some sound does leak in... not perfect.
     
    I think the bass focused sound and excellent build quality are going to attract a lot of people (Apple stores on the 18th... perhaps a Beats competitor?). I do want to point out though, these are so bass heavy that you have to be an extreme basshead to enjoy them fully. Just saying. Other than that, I only have minor complaints (isolation, cable) and I'm excited to see where the T10i goes from here.
     
    On a side note, I'd love to hear feedback on the video, as I had a lot of fun making it!
      warrenpchi and georgebuchs like this.
  3. Audiophile1811
    Cool on the Outside, Warm on the Inside
    Written by Audiophile1811
    Published Oct 22, 2014
    4.5/5,
    Introduction – Read Heath Audio (or RHA for short) are soon to release their latest and greatest earphone, the T10i.  Much like the rest of RHA’s products, the T10i’s were designed to offer premium portable listening for consumers and audio enthusiasts. Their new models features an all new handmade dynamic driver (model 770.1 compared to the previous 560.1 model in the MA750i) and interchangeable custom tuning filters not found in any other mid-tier IEM except the $300 Astrotec AX-60. Such a system is typically only found in top-tier universals costing nearly five times that of the T10i putting them in the likes of the Shure SE846 and AKG K3003i with that feature alone. It would be easy, then, to think RHA have tuned the T10i’s for a typical “audiophile” sound signature, but that wouldn’t entirely be true as  you’ll discover later. The T10i’s look very promising, then, but the question is, are they any good? Read on and find out. [​IMG]
     
    Disclaimer – These are demo units provided to me for the purpose of this review. I am not paid by or affiliated with RHA in any way. Big thanks to Iain Smith and the entire RHA Team for letting me be one of only three people to review your product before its release, I am deeply humbled by the opportunity. All images belong to me.
     
     
    _DSC4024.jpg _DSC4009.jpg

     
    Specifications:
    - Dynamic Driver (model 770.1)
    - Frequency range: 16-22000Hz
    - Impedance: 16 ohm
    - Sensitivity: 100db
    - Rated/ Max power: 1/5mW
    - Weight: 41g
    - Cable: Multicore OFC, iOS compatible remote, 1.35 meters/4.4 ft.
    - Warranty: 3 years

     
    Packaging & Accessories – In these past few years RHA have been busy working up the best solution for their higher-end IEMs (i.e. the MA750i and T10i) since both share the same assortment of high quality accessories. Inside are 10 pairs of ear tips in 3 varieties: 6 pairs “dual density” tips (S/M/L x2), 2 pairs double-flange tips (S/M), and 2 pairs of memory foam tips (universal) all held together in a solid stainless steel tray. Also included are a shirt clip, a heavy stainless steel tuning filter holder with indicators, and a soft leather carrying case with two straps inside that holds the tip tray securely in place.
     
    _DSC4020.jpg _DSC4017.jpg _DSC4063.jpg

     
    All of this is packaged within a relatively small box that’s covered in information about the earphone in both English and French and four other languages on the back. Opening the magnetized front flap displays the earphones, its cable, ear tips, tuning filters, and even more information underneath. As a whole, the packaging and accessories RHA have included is quite impressive. I can confidently announce that all the R&D RHA put into the T10i has definitely paid off.
     
    _DSC4065.jpg _DSC4069.jpg _DSC4099.jpg

     
    Build & Design – The stainless steel housings for the T10i were made using a metal injection molding (MIM) process that requires the housings be heated at 1300°C for “up to ten hours to ensure the steel is the correct shape and density”. The result is of this complex process is a housing that is stiff enough to withstand years of heavy use yet comfortable enough for long hours of wear. The design of the T10i’s, from the housings down to the 3.5mm jack, is durable and luxurious at the same time. Little details like the writing on the Y-split and 3.5mm jack are reminders of the attention the detail RHA put into the design and it ensures exceptional quality. The long, springy strain relief on the jack feels solid and bendable if a little long. The cable itself is very soft, never retains kinks and is just as well built as the earphones themselves. Overall, the firm, tank-like feel of the housings and their sleek, elegant design make the T10i’s a joy to use and admire. (You also wouldn’t bother being too careful with that 3 year warranty either). [​IMG]
     
    _DSC4109.jpg _DSC4106.jpg _DSC4104.jpg

      
    Comfort & Fit – With their over-ear design and Westone-like body, the T10i’s are incredibly comfortable to wear. The housings are a little on the large side in terms of width but won’t become a problem for most wearers. And though they are weighty, due to stainless steel comprising the entire housing, they never become fatiguing even for long periods of use. This combined with their narrow nozzles and large selection of ear tips means they should be easy for people with small ear canals. The ear-hooks are a little difficult to use, however, as they tend to do the opposite of what was originally intended. Because they retain their shape so well they also fall out of place when sitting down or when they haven’t been adjusted exactly for your ears. This means removing or storing them away will sometimes require you to adjust them all over again, which might become a problem for some.
     
    That is not to say they’re uncomfortable, because they’re not. This has been the only earphone I can comfortably wear to sleep. And despite the relatively large size and density of the housings they virtually disappear in the ear. With smooth, rounded edges they are always easy to insert and remove as well. However, the cable cinch is another issue with this particular model (i.e. the “i” model) as it only rises up to the point of the iOS remote and is just a little too low for me and doesn’t provide enough tension for a very secure hold. That said, the T10i has proven to be the most comfortable earphone I’ve used to date and is likely to afford anyone else the same ease of use.
     
    Isolation & Microphonics – The T10i’s provide surprisingly good isolation despite having a large vent for the dynamic driver. Users shouldn’t expect high levels of attenuation, just enough to keep background noises where they should be - in the background. Outdoor environments never become distracting and generally remain quiet when listening to music. I did notice, however, that low frequency noises like thumps, bangs, and even cars on the street were fairly noticeable. This may be an issue for those who want absolute silence but those looking for a safe commute should have no worries.  
     
    As far as cable noise in concerned, the T10i’s have as little cable noise as one could desire, that is, very little. The cable avoids sounding rough when rubbed and bouncy when moving or walking. This, along with their useful isolation adds to the desired portability RHA had in mind for the T10i’s.
     

      ----------
    Sound----------​

     
    Equipment & Background – For the sound portion of this review I will be using an Audinst HUD-MX1 amp/DAC combo as my primary “reference” source, a Topping NX-1 portable amplifier, and a Sansa Fuze as a portable source. All my impressions are done indoors with an over-ear headphone for added isolation resulting in almost silent listening with no audible distractions. My library consists of FLAC and high bit-rate MP3 files. The T10i’s have also received over 200hrs of burn-in before review.
    The following impressions were done using the neutral/“reference” filter. Comparisons with the bass and treble filters will be directly below.
     
    Bass – One word that can easily describe the T10i’s bass is POWER. The T10i utilizes a generally bass heavy, L-shaped sound signature overall and it becomes obvious upon first listen. It’s a heavy, full bass that acts as the primary driving force behind its sound and can dominate over the remaining midrange and treble. And while it never actually bleeds into the mids, it makes its presence known more than anything else. However, that is not to say the bass is low quality because it’s not. Lows are well-rounded with more mid-bass than sub-bass, impact is punchy and hard-hitting, decay is strong and reverberant, extension is limitless, and yet the T10i never sounds sloppy or excessively rich. There is a touch of boom at times but it depends entirely on genre and the bass heaviness of a song. This is likely due to the mid-bass lift that keeps lows from sounding consistent from top-to-bottom. But the impact it generates does balance well with the slow decay that follows powerful bass notes. The lows of the T10i are a crucial part of its signature since they’ll be the reason some users will be turned-off by their sheer weight and fullness while others will be drawn to them for their fun, engaging nature. (Some people might even become full-on bass-heads after they hear ‘em too). [​IMG]
     
    Midrange – The mids, unlike the bass, are much more relaxed and slightly recessed when compared directly next to each other. As I said before, there is no bass bleed into the midrange but the lower-mids do exhibit a thickness that follows the upper-bass quite well. Unlike some earphones that are slightly thin in this area (especially many neutral sets) the T10i’s mids are warm and smooth throughout. They don’t display any sign of harshness or edginess and stay relatively consistent and laid-back overall. Upper-mids are a little bit forward, however, which is a welcome coloration for such a warm signature. This (mild) boost in the upper-mids works hand-in-hand with the thicker lower-midrange making the T10i suitable for vocalists of all sorts. However, it should be said that female vocals are lacking in clarity (partly due to laid-back treble) and male vocals are lacking in detail (partly due to slightly chesty lower-mids). This isn’t a negative as much as it is a result of the general character of the T10i’s themselves, but it’s worth mentioning as some will appreciate (or at least accept) this coloration more than others. For what it is, the midrange is a very impressive part of the T10i’s frequency range as it is very engaging despite the bass being the main attention grabber.    
     
    Treble – The T10i’s treble shares a lot with the midrange, in that it shares more of the relaxed qualities that make the mids so easygoing. While it isn’t as present as frequencies below it (especially the bass), treble is equally rewarding in its ability to swathe the listener in smoothness. But because of this, the T10i loses out in detail and extension making it slightly dull at times. Sparkle and decay are not its strong suit, either, and this is especially apparent with rock and metal genres where cymbals are in need of a little more life. The upside to this is that highs never become splashy or harsh (ditto the mids). This may be taken as a negative for treble lovers, whom I do not recommend the T10i, but it will be satisfying enough for those who typically prefer softer, less dynamic treble and those who are overly sensitive to it. Now, it’s easy to get the impression that the highs on the T10i are boring or mediocre but that isn’t the case. Instead, they’re perfectly balanced with the midrange and simply present themselves in a more delicate than manner than most IEMs, especially V-shaped IEMs. So while they certainly won’t suit a classical/orchestral music lover they should be more than satisfying for anyone else.
     
    Presentation – This is definitely a strength of the T10i’s for a couple of reasons. Imaging, for a start, is very well executed and makes for easy  localization of sounds within music that never get too out of place. This is helped, in part, by the soundstage capabilities of the T10i. While not extraordinarily large, the soundstage is well rounded and consistent in both width and depth. Spatial cues are not thrown far outside the head but are kept relatively proportioned to depth and a good distance away from the listener, but again, not too far either. The result is an average sized soundstage with good imaging and decent layering to boot.
     
    As I mentioned earlier, however, detail and clarity are not particularly special areas of the T10i’s presentation. When coming from clearer, more linear IEMs the T10i can sound congested and a little uncontrolled at times. This isn’t much of a surprise considering this is a bass heavy headphone but the thickness of the mids and limited extension of the treble masks detail and dulls transparency. Therefore, those looking for a revealing headphone should definitely look elsewhere, but that’s to be expected with this particular sound signature.
     
    Bass & Treble Filters – This is a crucial area for the T10i’s because it’s a major selling point for the earphone and a statement for the brand. What I hear with the bass and treble filters compared to the reference filter is quite different than I first imagined - not bad, just unexpected. The frequency graph for the T10i is (conveniently) on the inside of the box and states that the filters only increase bass and treble frequencies by 3dBs each, starting below 200Hz for bass and above 1kHz for treble. My impressions proved that this is partially correct but doesn’t tell the whole story.
     
    With the grey bass filter on it’s difficult to tell the difference between them and the reference filters as they sound fairly indistinguishable at first. However, when listening more intently it becomes obvious that the bass has even more weight, thickness, and fullness than before, especially in the sub-bass region where decay and extension are limitless. The reference filter, on the other hand, focuses more on mid-bass than anything else and feels punchier as a result. That’s not to say that it’s as powerful as the bass filter, however, because it’s not. Instead, the bass filter simply outputs as much bass as the T10i can hurl at you without any EQ. But at the same time it loses out in detail and control which are handled better with the reference filter.  
     
    The yellow treble filter is completely different in terms of changing and adjusting the T10i’s sound. Instead of reducing detail (like the bass filter does) the treble filter adds extension, clarity, and sparkle up top as well as adding more presence overall. Cymbals become more lively, female vocals are clearer (something the bass and reference filters were lacking), and highs are more pleasant as a result. And this happens without sacrificing too much the smooth nature of the highs as well. Even down below, bass is just a touch cleaner and more controlled than the reference. This configuration is the most rewarding of all the filters as it brings out the best of the T10i’s as a whole, not just a mere 3dBs of treble presence.  
     
    Despite their names (and corresponding purpose) the filter setup of the T10i’s perform slightly different than RHA may have intended but it definitely works. Put simply, the reference filter achieves a sound closer to the bass filter but with less bass bloat and more control while the treble filter is the clearest, most balanced, and the most engaging from top-to-bottom. And since it’s possible to view the internals of the filters under bright light, there is proof as to why this is the case. Inside the two reference and bass filters is a soft dampening material that is present mostly in the bass filter, a little less in the reference, and missing completely in the treble filter. This explains why the first two are so similar and the last is so different, or at least, this is my theory. But despite these details, the T10i’s do have enough flexibility to please any user who desires to adjust the behavior (not the signature) of their earphone while not sacrificing quality. This is a testament to RHA’s efforts and development and a very good first attempt at such a design.
     
    Sensitivity & Source Performance –  RHA market the T10i’s as portable friendly and they’re right. Any source can power it well, be it a phone (don’t forget the remote), a dedicated amplifier, or DAP. There is little variation in sound quality between sources as well, which demonstrates their usability and general user friendliness. While the 16 Ohm impedance helps with sensitivity it doesn’t prevent hiss with noisier sources so be wary of high-output devices.
     
    Value – RHA have made an earphone like nothing else in the mid-tier category with their concept and design. The T10i is a very appealing earphone with beautiful housings, custom tuning filters, and good sound quality but isn’t without it faults. The ear hooks can become frustrating at times and its bass tilted signature will limit its audience. However, it makes up for this with outstanding build quality, an incredible 3 year warranty, a comfortable and luxurious design, an imperfect but still very useful tuning system, and a smooth sound that can put you to sleep or make you jam out to anything. All of this in a well thought out, beautiful package makes the RHA T10i’s a great competitor in today’s rough market and for that they get my full recommendation.  
     
    _DSC4102.jpg
    RHA T10i

     
    I hope this review will be useful to those who read it. Please leave any suggestions or advice you may have in the comments below.  Everyone’s input will help me improve my reviews and make it easier to adapt my reviews for as wide an audience as possible. Thanks for reading and happy listening! [​IMG]
     
      Carlsan, Anda, WNBC and 6 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. juliojlo
      hello guys, just peace.
      I am very happy to read the comments posted on the basis of comments'm thinking of buying a handset. more what? RHA T10I or Shure SE425 or kef M200?
      note: durability, ensuring technical support, sound quality - Which is better?
      Thank you for space
      juliojlo, May 10, 2015
    3. sanakimpro
      @juliojlo did you consider the ma 750i? I have both at the moment and I'd say the 750 would suit a wide genre of music while being very good for me in EDM, rock, metal, pop, etc. :wink:
      I'd pass on the t10i and probably consider t20is.
      sanakimpro, May 26, 2015
    4. juliojlo
      T10i or SE535 cl, which of the two is better?
      juliojlo, May 26, 2015
  4. dweaver
    A warm rich sounding IEM with near perfect comfort, above average isolation and microphonics and impeccable construction
    Written by dweaver
    Published Oct 14, 2014
    4.0/5,
    Pros - solidly made, extrememly comfortable to wear, extremely cohesive well thought out bass oriented sound signature, customizable sound through filters
    Cons - The initial sound signature is decidedly bass oriented and warm sounding. Those who dislike strong bass or require strong treble will be unsatisfied.
    First off I want to thank RHA for selecting me as one of their 3 reviewers here on Head-fi. I really appreciate being selected out of so many quality reviewers that replied in the reviewers wanted thread. I also would like to thank the people who posted their recommendation for me. I was touched by those posts more than you realize, as the process of writing reviews can at times feel like I am talking to myself. It was wonderful to see such positive feedback about my writing, making all the effort worth while.
     
    OK so enough fluff, lets get down to the brass tacks!
     
    RHA has created what I think is the best pizza I have had the pleasure of trying in quite a long time! Unfortunately it's not my flavour... But like a great pizza, this IEM is so well made it has made me stop and sample the flavor being offered and DARNED IF I DON'T LIKE IT IN SPITE OF MYSELF!
     
    So what makes this IEM so special?
     
    For starters BUILD QUALITY. The IEM body is beautifully made from stainless steel in a process that shows RHA's dedication to quality and willingness to go the extra distance to ensure their product is robust while esthetically pleasing to the eye. They then have used a slightly thicker than average cable that is subtle and not so big as to be considered overly bulky and have couple it with an excellent mic/controller. The microphone is good enough I was able to have a quality conversation with my wife for 15 minutes while walking on a busy street in downtown Calgary during lunch time! The cable also has an above average spring based strain relief at the I shaped jack. The Coup de gras of this IEM though is it's memory wire system, the spring coil wire is simply one of the most comfortable well thought out designs I have ever used!
     
    Build quality receives a 5.5 ot of 5! You heard that right, I'm cheating here because its that good :wink:.
     
    Then we have the accessory kit. This IEM offers a good enough selection of quality tips to satisfy any buyers needs. The tips seal well on the IEM and offer excellent fit (at least for my ears which are at times kind of fussy), as well as a nice system to display and hold all the extra tips. Then there is a decent soft square case for holding the IEM's. one might want a hard shell case but I think this IEM is robust enough it doesn't need one. Finally there is the filter system, but I think they deserve a paragraph all to themselves.
     
    Other companies have made filter systems in the past so RHA isn't necessarily breaking new ground here. But I have not seen filters as well designed and easily switched as these. From their aesthetic beauty, their details to little things like using a rubber seal, and most importantly their sonic changing abilities RHA has done this better than anyone to date. The bass filter takes an already bass oriented IEM and raises the bass stake significantly. The balanced filter offers a nice in between level of performance, while the treble filter increases the upper midrange and treble as advertised.
     
    Accessories score 5 out of 5. Some might think a triple flange is needed to achieve a 5 but this IEM is designed for comfort so I feel the dual flanges are enough to cover isolation and seal for those needing something other than a single flange tip.
     
    Speaking of isolation. This IEM is not quite on the scale of an Etymotic or Shure IEM for passive isolation but it is close. So I give it a score of 4.5 in this area. While I am on the subject of sound (outside of the music) I think the micro phonics of this IEM are also above average and again deserve a score of 4.5 ot of 5.
     
    Now let talk about how they sound. This is where it gets tricky.
     
    OK, let start of by establishing my position... TO HECK WITH WHAT I LIKE! So you might be wondering why I have taken such a stand. It simple really, this review needs to transcend my personal sonic likes and dislikes to do the T10i justice.
     
    So what are my sonic preferences? I like good solid bass but never at the expense of the midrange, I like neutral to slightly bright mids, and treble that has lots of detail without coming across as splashy or harsh. My personal headphone/IEM's I have enjoyed the most are Pioneer DJE1500 (an IEM with solid bass that never compromises the midrange, neutral mids, treble that highlights cymbals and highs with decent detail while never being harsh or sibilant), UE900 (solid bass that has the typical BA qualities, mids that are definitely peaked towards the upper midrange possibly a bit to much so, treble that is very detailed but again without being harsh or sibilant), AKG K712 Pro (bass that is very present but more on the punchy side that the heavy side, super detail midrange that is slightly tipped towards the upper midrange, detailed sharp treble that can be harsh if the original recording has sharpness to it). So there you have it, I am a mid/treble oriented head-fi'er who likes to indulge in bass. In this regard the T10i falls short and to be honest, based on my own posts, if someone else had written them and I was reading to decide if I would want the T10i based solely on my own preferences, I would end up taking a pass. But based on my actual listening experience I know this would be to my own detriment.
     
    So is there any group that should probably avoid this IEM? The answer is yes, there are two groups. If you find any bass heavy signature distasteful or if you live and die by sharp precise detailed treble you will want to likely take a pass on this IEM.
     
    For everyone else, depending on where you sit these will be either a must have IEM or one that might be an excellent alternate option for your stable or a possible number 1 choice based off all the reasons above PLUS a signature that is more enjoyable than it's signature placement might lead you to believe.
     
    I would rate this IEM as a 5 out of 5 for bass lovers and a 4 out of 5 for balanced signature lovers and a 3.5 out of 5 for treble lovers. But honestly think the bass signature is done well enough that it might skew those rating by half a point in the positive for both balanced and treble lovers. It can be even better if your willing to use an equalizer to help shape the sound. For my LG G3 I simply turn on the treble enhancement setting to satisfy my treble love. For anyone coming from stock ear buds that come with their DAP or lower entry level IEM's found in most retail stores the T10i will be all the upgrade they will likely want and without having to do all the head-fi tricks most of us on head-fi are used to such as resorting to tip rolling.
     
    Bass - The bass of the T10i is easily it's most defining aspect and one that will either win you over or possibly have you running away. The bass also seems to become stronger with most of the amps I have tried it with so does not seem to be improved by added current. On the flip side I have enjoyed the bass straight from every device I have tried which includes an iPad, LG G3, Dell Venue 8 Pro tablet, Lenovo Windows 8 touch screen laptop, so it really is designed for portable use requiring just a DAP. The bass is deep, slightly slow and thick with a great sense of fullness and completion. Out of the box it will feel to strong but does settle down after 20-30hrs of use. The bass affects the midrange but only slightly giving the lower midrange more warmth.
     
    Midrange - As mentioned the midrange is on the warm side leaning towards rich and luxurious. It is not recessed but errs on the side of relaxed rather than detailed and is lacking in urgency as compared to IEM's such as the GR07 or the DJE1500 in my collection. But while the midrange is on the relaxed side it also has an enjoyable aspect to it that is down right addictive for some genres such as early vocal jazz and to some degree even some rock genres or bands you would not think it would work with such as Led Zeppelin and Rush where it brings so enjoyable warmth to some of their songs.
     
    Treble - The treble of the T10i is probably it's most obvious Achilles heel based solely on an audiophile scale as it is very rolled off and laid back. This is great for people who are allergic to sharp treble but will be missed by anyone who is a lover of cymbals and intricate treble detail. This is not to say it doesn't have the detail it is just that it is to much in the back ground.
     
    I will close this review with two pleas.
     
    To those that know this will not be in your wheel house, if you can try a pair at a local Head-fi meet or work a temporary trade/borrow session with another head-fi member. Give this IEM a try as it might surprise the heck out of you.
     
    To RHA, please take your exquisite IEM design and simply build another flavour of driver. Since I am making the plea I would like an ALL DRESSED please! For me that would be one with slightly less bass presence that has more punch in the sub-bass and a bit less mid-bass with a bit more speed and texture. If the bass is fixed it should by design then leave the midrange untouched removing some of the warmth and make the midrange more dynamic and alive. For the treble if you could add more detail especially for cymbals allowing them to have more crash with decent decay. All of the above give better imaging and instrument separation to go along with the sound stage offered by your IEM shell design.
     
    Here are some pics I have placed in various posts already.
     
       
       
     
          
      Zoide, khbaur330162, Carlsan and 10 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. juliojlo
      Very good your analysis of the phone, congratulations.
      I wonder if Mr. indicates the purchase of Shure SE425 or T10i or RHA B & W C5 or Kef M200.
      I do not know which is best for purchase, in case I will use on day of service to home and home to work.
      What is the best?
      juliojlo, May 10, 2015
    3. sanakimpro
      I got my pair today. Reference filter was not properly cut I think, I have emailed the Customer Care for that. I certainly prefer my MA 750i though. Bass was kinda overwhelming everything else in my genre (pop, rock), with reference filters and bass filters.
      With the treble filter, it took out the warmth too much. Couldn't find a nice balance unlike the 750s. I am considering returning the t10i's them now, unfortunately. 
      sanakimpro, May 26, 2015
    4. sanakimpro
      update: kept the T10i instead. Loved the bass filter + EDM. Geez. Once I got used to it, it reminded me of my DT 770's. Very happy with it for bassy demanding genres. 
      With tracks which appreciate sparkly treble, I'm still left wanting. Looking out for a complementary phone for portability. Suggestions? :)
      (Waiting for T20 as well!)
      sanakimpro, May 30, 2015