RHA T20

Rating:
4.05556/5,
Tags:
  1. McSchnauze
    RHA T20 – Sonic Lushness Unveiled
    Written by McSchnauze
    Published May 24, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Warm yet detailed. Lively/Energetic. Lush & Natural… almost analog-like.
    Cons - Bass can be too prominent. On most tracks, just above-average soundstage.
    This is an encouraging tale of disappointment and an anecdote of the merits of patience -- an unveiling of sound that’s rich, lush and beguiling!

    RHA T20 by McSchnauze .jpg

    I quite recently purchased the RHA T20, as I was curious about the tuning filters (Bass, Reference, Treble) and the proprietary Dual Coil dynamic driver. I’ve heard a lot of good things about their MA750 (and mixed thoughts about their overly bass-focused T10). When I first put on the T20 at the store right after purchase and played some test tracks, I had the compulsion to immediately return the item. But after mustering some courage (and faith), I decided to keep them and let them run their course. So after about a week of (brain or gear) burn in, I’ve come to enjoy these sexy & robustly built IEMs (with a bit of tip-rolling).

    For this review, I won’t go over the packaging, build and accessories (as others have done a wonderful job with that already), but will focus on the RHA T20’s sonic qualities.

    ***PREAMBLE***

    I’m a 41 year old lover of all things sonic, with some classical voice training. I compose cinematic-inspired pieces & make choral arrangements in my spare time. I enjoy listening to a wide spectrum of genres, such as classical & cinematic scores, choral music, jazz, folk, world / new age, musicals/theater, pop, rock & alternative. I prefer a relatively flat signature, with some bass enhancement (but not bass-head levels), or presentations with a mild “u” signature (not an exaggerated “v”). I don’t consider myself as an “audiophile” but I am a self-professed music lover. Despite being new to this hobby, I believe I can discern tonal & pitch variances quite accurately. Nope, I am not getting monetary compensation from RHA for this review – this is simply an exercise of sharing my auditory experience regarding RHA’s in-ear monitor, the T20, with the hope that you may find it helpful (if not, at least entertaining). Just remember – my ears, gears & sensibilities. Your tastes and perceptions would most likely vary.

    Btw, do check out some notes at the end of this review for my thoughts on burn in (gear/brain), suggested product improvements, as well as RHA’s superb after-sales service.

    ***GEARS & MUSIC TRACKS***

    For this assessment, I used my Cayin N3 (warmish neutral tonality), gain set on medium for most tracks, volume primarily at 50%. The T20’s stock “reference” tuning filter was used. EQ was left untouched. Aside from at least 100 hours burn in (brain or gear), most importantly, I also used some spare wide bore / shallow tips I had lying around. Using these tips, instead of the stock tips, the sound opened up and the bass was tamed yet still commanding, while maintaining body of the mids, as well as the treble energy. I tried the “treble” filters, but found the overall signature became too “v-shaped” for my tastes, and the “bass” filter was just too bassy for an already warm default signature. No external amp was used.

    Below are the primary tracks (FLAC) used to evaluate sonic qualities & presentation, and the T20’s delivery of certain genres, instruments & vocal ranges:

    Jupiter: The Bringer of Jollity (Gustav Holst)
    Chasing Pavements -- Live at The Royal Albert Hall (Adele)
    Marche Royale (Igor Stravinsky)
    There’s A Small Hotel (Jane Monheit – soprano range)
    Anch'il mar par che sommerga -- Bajazet (Cecilia Bartoli -- mezzo soprano range)
    Breathe Again (Toni Braxton – alto range)
    Even Flow (Pearl Jam – baritone/high-baritone range)
    Believe Me Natalie (The Killers – high-baritone/tenor range)
    If Ever I Would Leave You (Robert Goulet – low baritone / bass range).
    Kadu Buva (Kenny Wollesen, Jonathon Haffner & Dalius Naujo)
    Young Hearts Run Free (Kym Mazelle)
    Tundra (Amber Rubarth)
    Sweet Georgia Brown (Monty Alexander)
    Pretty Piece of Flesh (One Inch Punch)

    …and some other music tracks, across different genres.


    ***THE MEAT***

    So here are my thoughts about the previous flagship offering from Reid Heath Acoustics – the T20…

    TONALITY & SIGNATURE

    INITIAL LISTEN:

    Bloom. Boom. Dark. Veiled. Aggressive. Congested.

    The lows were overly dominant, as if one was swimming in sub-bass. Vocals and mids sounded curtained off. Treble sounded muffled. Gasping for air.

    AFTER BRAIN/GEAR BURN IN:

    Detailed. Energetic. Warm. Rich. Expansive.

    The T20 follows RHA’s V-shaped house/signature sound with a stout low-end and pronounced highs, best paired with a neutral or slightly bright/cold DAP/DAC, in my opinion. I think my initial dismay was due to the fact that I’ve been using the Fiio EX1 2nd Generation on most days prior to acquiring the T20. The Fiio EX1ii is an IEM that is generally bright and somewhat balanced, with enhanced but controlled lows, superb soundstage / airiness / imaging, and with mids & treble that I enjoy. Also, I believe that my Cayin N3 (unfortunately) adds to that already warm & bass-heavy presentation of the T20 (the N3 is slightly warm to neutral).
    So yes, the sound did take some getting used to (or the drivers have finally flexed their muscles).
    Now the T20 is more enjoyable, offering a full-bodied, richer and impactful presentation.
    The T20 is not the most revealing, but in lieu of this, it enhances the sound making even some bad recordings/mixes sound quite enjoyable. The T20 is not ideal for reference/mixing but it is definitely crafted for music enjoyment, assuming you’ve taken a liking to its type of presentation.

    LOWS
    Sub-bass emphasis, with decent rumble & extension – a good backdrop to the rest of the higher frequencies. Emphasized but rendered like a sonic wall at the back of the stage.
    Mid-bass is punchy and quite fast, and surprisingly doesn’t intrude much on the lower mids.
    I would have loved the lows, if they were at least 2db lower. The bass can be a little too much for my tastes, thus, I had to tip roll as I don’t like touching the EQ on my DAP. The stock narrow-bore / low silicone tips further emphasize the bass, which may suit those who want heftier lows. I chose to use my spare wide bore / short silicone tips to lessen the funnel effect and tone down the bass – the sound becoming more balanced and enjoyable!

    MIDS
    Male Vocals are natural and full-bodied, though very slightly recessed and can get quite drowned out on busier tracks (especially baritone/bass voices). Eddie Vedder’s vocals in “Even Flow” was well rendered with ample grit but a little less so compared to how the Audiofly AF56 or iBasso IT03 does it. Still, alternative rock/grunge sounds great on the T20! Robert Goulet’s rendition of “If Ever I Would Leave You” was simply sublime, with sufficient body, emotion and warmth!
    Lower Female Vocals are more forward, slightly dry yet natural sounding – Tony Braxton’s vocals in “Breathe Again” had an enticing warmth & heft to it! Higher Female vocals have better imaging and ample airiness, and carries over some warmth of the lower registers, resulting in vocals that sound fuller despite the higher pitch.
    Good transience and micro-detail retrieval for instruments such as trumpets, horns, guitars – as long as the track does not get too busy.

    TREBLE
    Lower treble is prominent with decent clarity & detail retrieval, giving it energy & character. Violins are energetic, forward and detailed enough yet sound ever so slightly smoothed over. I actually find this treble rendition as one of the T20’s charms – energetic yet not grating! Btw, I could handle pronounced treble, so YMMV.
    Upper treble extends quite well. Cymbals and high hats have good shimmer without becoming splashy, though sound slightly fuller than they should. Sibilant-prone tracks are not as sibilant, due to the overall darker / warmer character of the T20.

    SOUNDSTAGE, IMAGING, TRANSPARENCY
    Quite intimate compared to the superbly staged Fiio EX1ii and the iBasso IT03, but still above average. However, I occasionally get surprised with the T20’s soundstage rendition – it can sound expansive, depending on the track (resolution, mix/mastering, etc.). The T20 has ample width, closely followed by height, and some depth. It has enough air, but is not as airy as the offerings from Fiio and iBasso. However, the T20 can still deliver exceptional directional queues, positioning & holographic effects despite its more intimate soundstage. Things can get quite claustrophobic on very busy tracks, due to the overall warmth – however, it barely shows distortion even in louder volume settings (an interesting finding!).

    DRIVABILITY & SENSITIVITY
    The T20 is quite easy to drive (16 Ohm impedance with 90dB sensitivity) on my Cayin N3 with volume averaging at 50% on medium gain. Its frequency range of 16-40,000Hz does hint at the impactful presence of lows & highs. It has an almost black background and an unnoticeable driver reflex (if any).

    BRIEF COMPARISONS
    As of now, I don’t have other gear in the same price range to directly compare with the RHA T20 (purchased at approximately US$200).

    So I’ll just make comparisons with some of my other IEMs:
    Vsonic GR07 Classic Edition (approx. US$100)
    iBasso IT03 (approx. US$300)
    Audiofly AF56 (approx. US$100)

    Hopefully these comparisons will help you get a better idea of the sound virtues (and cons) across the budget/entry/mid-level price ranges. Just note that the aforementioned prices were as of time & location of purchase.
    Comparison Guide:
    > is defined as “more but just by a little compared to…”
    >> is defined as “very perceptible variance; obvious difference”
    = is defined as “equal to; same as”

    *By the way, even if a certain IEM is positioned at the last rung, it doesn’t mean that that particular quality is absent or lacking, as it can still be average / above average. I will call it out if the model really suffers/shines immensely in a particular aspect.

    So here are the gears stacked against each other, exemplifying certain qualities, from the most to the least:

    Neutrality = GR07 > IT03 > AF56 > T20
    Timber/Naturalness = T20 > IT03 = AF56 > GR07 (upon further listening, I realized that the GR07 is the least natural sounding among this roster. However, the GR07 still has good timbre and doesn’t sound too digital / artificial / metallic, albeit sounding ever so slightly nasal in certain vocal renditions, compared to the other three)
    Detail/Resolution = IT03 >> AF56 = T20 > GR07
    Airiness & Clarity = IT03 > GR07 = AF56 > T20
    Imaging & Positioning = GR07 = IT03 > AF56 > T20
    Soundstage = IT03 = AF56 > GR07 > T20
    Dynamics = GR07 = AF56 > IT03 > T20
    Transience = IT03 > AF56 > T20 = GR07
    Bass Quantity = T20 > AF56 = IT03 > GR07
    Bass Quality = T20 = AF56 > IT03 > GR07
    Mids Quantity = GR07 = IT03 > T20 > AF56
    Mids Quality = T20 = AF56 = IT03 > GR07
    Treble Quantity = T20 = IT03 > AF56 > GR07
    Treble Quality = IT03 > T20 = AF56 > GR07
    Amount of Sibilance = GR07 = AF56 > IT03 > T20 (based on first listen, but all have tapered down after ample burn in, and clearly, the T20 wins here!)
    Comfort = T20 > GR07 >> IT03 > AF56
    Apparent Build / Durability = T20 >> IT03 > GR07 > AF56
    Immersion / Engagement = T20 = AF56 = IT03 >> GR07 (the GR07 is the most neutral of the four but still manages to be engaging. But the other three models have the upper hand with their own unique form of immersive presentation.)

    CLASSICAL/LIVE = IT03 > AF56 = GR07 = T20 (the enhanced lows of the T20 and AF56 balance the typical treble-centered classical genre, while the GR07 allows most, if not all, the voices & instruments to clearly assert themselves)
    ALTERNATIVE/ROCK= T20 > AF56 = IT03 > GR07 (the T20 really shines here, though the IT03 & AF56 are not very far behind!)
    R&B/JAZZ = T20 > AF56 > IT03 = GR07
    POP/EDM = IT03 = T20 > AF56 > GR07


    ***OVERALL***

    The RHA T20 is a commendable all-rounder and a good day-to-day music companion, excelling in studio-produced tracks (alternative, rock, EDM, pop), and genres that call for more pronounced lows. It’s satisfying enough for live or concert hall recordings that demand impeccable imaging, clarity and soundstage, while giving an entertaining and exceptional low-end balance to treble-focused genres such as classical/orchestral. The T20 is a looker with a luscious pebble-like solid steel injection-molded housing. It feels robust, with RHA’s standard three-year warranty adding to that confidence. Although the T20 can improve on staging, it delivers a cohesive sound with its Dual Coil dynamic driver. If you’re used to cold / neutral / flattish IEMs and are seeking an exciting yet warm signature, natural (almost analog-like) timbre and a robust bass, the T20 is certainly a viable option. What began as a dark & lackluster experience transitioned into a tale of delight, with Reid Heath Acoustics’ T20 eventually unveiling its charms – an immersive, lush and full-bodied life-like sound for sheer musical enjoyment! :)

    ***NOTES***

    1) WARRANTY
    Aside from the sexy & robust metal housing, and lively sound, I purchased the T20 due to the generous 3-Year RHA warranty. When my cable had some problem (it happens to the best of us) and the local retailer was less than engaged with my problem, I emailed RHA directly and they responded and acted fast, sending a replacement unit immediately. Thus, it’s easy for me to recommend the T20, and RHA as a company – buy with confidence!

    2) BURN IN
    I’m still on the fence regarding burn in. Do small transducers, particularly Dynamic Drivers, really change their sonic renditions in time, or is it just my brain becoming accustomed to the sound and/or has become selective to the presentation and frequencies to create a more enjoyable listen? Frankly, there’s not much change in my other IEMs after ample burn in, but with the RHA T20, it’s quite a "night & day" difference! So whether the T20’s dual-coil dynamic driver really flexed itself to sound better through use, or my brain and ears simply adjusted, I would still recommend these IEMs for that lush and natural sound (albeit sometimes too powerful bass).

    3) RECOMMENDATIONS to RHA
    I think RHA has something nice going on with the T10 and T20, particularly with the tuning filters. The T20 is simply bass-abundant, so whichever filter you use, the lows would still assert their undeniable presence. It would be nice if RHA could create some tuning filters that really enhance the mids (making them more forward) or one that truly tones down the bass. The over-ear hooks' sheathing could be improved, too, as they have started to crinkle a tiny bit. Length of the wire/cord could also be reduced for more manageability. But, please, do keep using that sexy injection molded stainless steel construction (which is surprisingly light!) to maintain the robust and premium feel of your products, as most plastic/resin housings can feel quite, well, inexpensive. Replaceable wires/cords would also be a nice touch, to lengthen use and enjoyment of RHA IEMs.
      voxie and DoctaCosmos like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. McSchnauze
      @svk7 The more I listen to the T20s, I noticed that the bass is not as overwhelming, the treble has become more articulate, the mids still amply bodied with much less veil. I think that there was less of a discrepancy/transformation of sound with the replacement unit as my subconscious had perhaps retained the signature (from the original unit), (taking my cue from @HeartOfSky ) -- a case of timing & sonic relativity (or memory, if you'd like).
      McSchnauze, May 27, 2018
    3. McSchnauze
      @svk7 After the burn in of the replacement unit, I'd say there is still a perceptible difference (bass quantity, clarity, treble quantity, etc.) but less glaringly so. But if you're asking me if it's true mechanical flexing or simply ear/brain adjustment, I am still bewildered (perhaps you're right -- 99% brain, 1% mechanical). I'm just happy that I get to immensely enjoy the T20s now, as a good complementary piece to my other IEMs (I've been using it daily, as of late).
      McSchnauze, May 27, 2018
      svk7 likes this.
    4. DoctaCosmos
      Oops I did mean ma750. The hooks don’t help. It’s the just the shape of the housing itself is horrible imo.
      DoctaCosmos, May 27, 2018
  2. Soham Sengupta
    A more balanced counterpart of their older sibling
    Written by Soham Sengupta
    Published Feb 23, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Well built, Great Sound, Good instrument separation
    Cons - Average Soundstage, No removable cable, Bass can be a bit harsh at high volumes, May take some time getting the fit right
    About Myself:
    I am just an average consumer who tries to listen to music just the way they are meant to be heard. I currently have a Sennheiser HD598SE, Fiio Q1 as an amp, and lz a4, rha t20i, rha ma390u and some other cheap in ears. My current favorite is the lz a4 and I will be writing a review for it shortly. Now onto the review.

    Preamble:

    I have the RHA T20i for about 4 months and I have burned it with my mixed tracks of pink and white noise for about 100hrs. In short they are quite good for their price and their filter system is just an icing on top of their cake.

    Box Contents:

    Now, this I must say at first. The unboxing experience of these were just one of a kind for me. I never thought someone could showcase their iems like this! This makes for a very good first impression. These iems contain everything that a man needs to fit them in their ears (but the sad thing is, even with that, it was kind of itchy inside my ears). The box contains 6 pairs of single flange eartips (s,m,l), 2 pairs of double-flange eartips (s,l) and 2 pairs of Comply foam eartips. They also include a carrying case, a shirt clip, a manual and of course the three tuning filters for the bass, mids and treble.
    IMG_0328.JPG IMG_0329.JPG IMG_0330.JPG
    Build Quality:

    These pair of iems have an outstanding build quality. They are built like a tank and are built to last. I think that there are hardly any iem manufacturer who uses injection moulded steel for their iems as it is a long and tedious process and also not much cost-effective. But these iems do not come with detachable cables which is quite a letdown considering the price of the iem. Should anything happen to the cable, you have to send it to RHA for RMA! But still, all jokes aside, this really is a major omission from such an expensive pair of iems. The cable is made of OFC and the outer covering is made of silicon.Also the cable feels rubbery and sticky to the touch which I don’t like much. But the cable is quite sturdy and should survive quite a while if handled properly. Also, I have never seen such a highly protected y-split and headphone jack. RHA has really taken it to the next level in the headphone jack department; the strain relief on the jack is the best i have seen and it feels really durable and premium.
    IMG_0331.JPG
    IMG_0333.JPG

    Comfort:
    Now this is one of those areas where YMMV. For me even after trying out all the tips including the foam tips, i could not find something that is both comfortable and isolating. The only one that at least was the least irritating to my ears were the small double-flange tips. They maintained a good seal but it still was uncomfortable for me. Also the shell of the iem often made contact with my inner ear and it was painful. But eventually, I adjusted with it and now, they don't bug me no more.

    Filters:
    Now, I am making a separate section for the filters as it is one of the main features of the iem. Now, I have read in some forums that people are telling that the filters are a gimmick so let me clear this once and for all - they are not a gimmick, they really do change the sound signature a bit which can be felt by any listener. Now, about the filters, there are 3 types of them included. The black one is for bass, the white one is for reference and the gold one is for treble. Now all of them changes the sound signature subtly without changing the actual sound signature of the iems.
    IMG_0332.JPG IMG_0335.JPG

    Sound:

    I am going to be using the bass filter for this sound review as I mostly listen to edm, rap, and also some acoustic songs. The sound signature on these iems is slightly v-shaped which means that there is more emphasis on the bass and the treble than the mids. The audio is going to be flac and they will be output from my pc via fiio q1.

    (i) Bass:
    Now obviously with the bass filter, the bass really pops out in most of the songs. At moderate volumes, the bass is quite punchy and enjoyable and most people will enjoy it. The bass is really tight and dynamic and it never bleeds into the lower mids. The sub-bass digs really deep and the the mid-bass is quite present in them. There is a bit of a peak near the 100Hz which gives it that "thump". All the edm and pop songs sound really nice with the bass filter on. But at times, it becomes a little harsh at higher volumes, But that's about the only con I could find at the bass department.

    (ii) Mids:
    The mids are clear and forward on these iem. Both male vocalists and female vocalists sound good on these earphones. Idina Menzel's 'Let It Go' sounds really good on them. Also vocals sound natural and intimate (That means that it seems as if they are singing just to you due to a narrow sound stage). You should give it a try!

    (iii) Treble:
    The treble is quite strong on this iem and you can literally feel the strings if the guitar in Stairway to Heaven. There is a slight peak at the 1 kHz range which provides a nice bite to guitars and other string instruments. Also the treble is not harsh at high volumes which is nice.

    (iv) Sound stage:
    Now, the sound stage is not that wide on this iem. It has depth but not width. Also, the instrument separation and detail is extremely good. The amount of detail this iem can replicate is simply amazing. You can listen to some of the tracks you hear almost on a daily basis and you can find something that you have never heard of in your songs!

    Now, on to the pros and cons:

    Pros:
    (i) Well built
    (ii) Great Sound
    (iii) Good Instrument Separation

    Cons:
    (i) No removable cable
    (ii) Bass can be a bit harsh at high volumes
    (iii) May take some time getting the fit right
    (iv) Average soundstage

    Conclusion: These are a great pair of iem but they do come at a cost of $200 which is not inexpensive for an iem, but still if anyone who has a budget of $200 for an iem, I would highly recommend them to at least give these iem a try, they won't disappoint you.

    images

    1. IMG_0336.JPG
  3. Nick Walters
    Great Earphones, solid all rounder.
    Written by Nick Walters
    Published Oct 18, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - amazing metal build, attractive, very good clarity of mids and treble, interchangable filters.
    Cons - cable can break very easily, cable frey in earhooks and jack. no detachable cable.
    I dont want to go on forever in this review, but these RHA T20's are some of the best IEMS i have ever used. But! there are always flaws that can be fixed.

    BUILD QUALITY AND DESIGN:

    - stunning metal finish. The housing is made by a metal injection moulding process, which is done hand made at RHA. There is no competitor in build quality for the buds themselves.
    - very good fit in most ears. There is plenty of included eartips to fit almost any ear. In terms of a universal fit, i would give the T20's full marks.
    - colour coded eartips. i know its a minor detail, but it makes putting on the premium IEMS more seamless.
    - the over ear/hook design provides very good isolation. but they are not as isolated as some balanced armature IEMS that I have used.

    Cons:
    - Cable is very likely to get "wear and tear". The first day i recieved this, the spring near the jack broke off. This meant that there was freying on the cables end.
    - There is no detatchable cable!!!. This is a huge frown on RHA, for selling premium and durable IEMS, but the cable is the bottleneck to its lifespan. Would like this on future revisions please.
    - Would prefer a lower profile jack. Preferably the T jacks that run along the side of phones. This the elongated end of cable , makes it bulky and orkward to fit in my pocket.

    SOUND QUALITY

    Very good sound quality, especially for modern dynamic drivers. The mids and treble are very crisp, while also having good punch to the bass. The mids and treble can be refined with the interchangable filters. The bass filters didnt do as much as expected, as i was impressed by the instant change in detail with the other two filters.
    I cannot speak much of the sound quality now, as the T20's are in for repair.

    Overall, the T20's have some solid features. They arent the best professional earphones you can buy for the price, but it has many unique features most IEMS dont. I currently have just recieved the Audio Technica ATH-IM02, and am starting to miss RHA's unique sound signature, good looks and charm. The RHA T20's are amazing in ear, with great sound quality, and can suite any audiophiles tastes, with adjustments in bass, treble and mids.

    EDIT: Extra star, the customer support is really good. If the cable breaks or anything happens to the device, they will gladly replace the earphones for you, this is thanks to their flexible 3 year warranty.
    1. voxie
      Thanks for sharing Nick. From personal experience RHA customer care is fantastic then again that is my opinion
      voxie, Oct 18, 2016
    2. pieman3141
      I agree. I had a pair of these, and went through two pairs. Fortunately, RHA's customer care was fantastic. I ended up selling my third (unopened) pair and buying the Mee P1, which had a removable cable and came with two!
      pieman3141, Oct 19, 2016
  4. RaoulRutnam
    Easily the best steal ever
    Written by RaoulRutnam
    Published Sep 28, 2016
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Great quality highs and low range, Build quality is exceptional and ergonomic, comes with customisable treble and bass filters
    Cons - Ear rest is tedious, tad bit heavy (but it grows on you), no detachable cable.
    I was lucky enough to get a pair of the T20 from a friend for a low price (less than half the retail price). Even Though I managed to get it at such a low cost this wasn't taken into fact when writing this review, it comes with a lot of different sized ear tips including comply. The RHA also comes with filters for Bass and Treble for when you prefer some boost on either end. 
     
    I would say overall it is by far the best earphones I have got my hands on yet, I haven't used the filters so I am not able to comment on them. The memory ear rest is not the best build, it is very clumsy and doesn't seem to properly fit the ear, needs to be messed with to stop annoying (Keep in note I have OCD). The weight could be an issue but as mentioned above, you tend to get used to it after a day or two. It tends to get twisted after the Y split but can be avoided at times by zipping it. Other than that, I enjoy it day to day. Overall good buy !
     
    I would recommend this product to anyone who reallys wants to enjoy good quality audio for a price. 
     
    PS: I am not affiliated with any brands, just my honest opinion

    Raoul
  5. Cinder
    Fun, Versatility, and Steel
    Written by Cinder
    Published Sep 27, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Excellent bass, premium feeling, good strain relief, good filter system, good memory wire, detailed treble
    Cons - Some build "fit and finish" issues, no genuine Comply

    [​IMG]

    -Introduction-​

    RHA is an interesting company. It has forged its own place within the audiophile world, making a name for itself based on the industrial design language of its products and the generous duration of the warranty that accompanies them. Today I have the privilege of reviewing the T20, RHA’s former flagship IEM. While it’s no longer the pinnacle of what RHA has to offer, it’s certainly still worth taking a look at.
    You can find the T20 for sale on RHA’s official website here, for $240.
    Disclaimer: This review is based upon a sample unit provided to me by a manufacturer or distributor in exchange for my honest opinion and un-edited words. I do not profit in any way from the writing of the review. I would like to thank Marina and Caroline at RHA for sending me this review unit.
    Preference and Bias: Before reading a review, it is worth mentioning that there is no way for a reviewer to objectively pass judgment on the enjoy-ability of a product: such a thing is inherently subjective. Therefore, I find it necessary for you to read and understand what I take a natural liking to and how that might affect my rating of a product.
    My ideal sound signature would be an extended sub-bass with a leveled, but textured, bass. The mids should be slightly less pronounced than the treble, but still ahead of the bass. I prefer a more bright upper range.
    Source: The T20 was powered like so:
    PC optical out-> HifiMe SPDIF 9018 DAC 3.5mm out-> earphones
    or
    AP100 3.5mm out -> earphones
    All music was served as MP3 @320Kbps or as FLAC.

    -Sound Signature-​

    Initial Impressions:
    Silver/Reference filter: Treble has a notable presence. It is transparent, but not biting, raw, or sharp. Mids aren’t too far back, and are rather dynamic within the mix. Bass is slightly boosted, giving the low end of the spectrum a nice weight to it.
    Gold/Treble filter: While the treble filter doesn’t actually decrease the amount of bass being produced, it does make it feel less forward by boosting emphasis to the treble and upper mids. This boost does make the T20 feel a little more precise, and opens up the sound a little bit more. It does not, however, make the treble sibilant or sharp. As a side effect, mids are also slightly pushed back.
    Black/Bass filter:
    The black filter adds a notable amount of sub-bass, with a slight boost to mid-bass. This makes drops deeper, drum kicks harder, and classical concerts more sonorous. While still not at bass-head levels of bass, the T20 does do a good job delivering in both quantity and quality of bass using the black filter, more so than many “warm” and “bassy” IEMs in this price bracket.
    [​IMG]

    RHA’s official frequency response graph for the T20.​

    Unless otherwise stated, the statements made in the following sections are made with regards to the neutral (silver) filter.
    Treble: Songs used: White FlagMidnight CityOutlands
    As I’d mentioned earlier, treble is quite nicely placed. It is very transparent and well-extended. Impressively enough, it is also very much not sibilant, sharp, or raw, instead adopting an bold, yet respectful presence. This manifests itself as a good level of retrieval and micro-detail placement in songs like White Flag. Treble layers well, and has it’s own dynamics and depth to it. Outlands fairs just as well, as the T20 does a very good job creating a sense of air, separating out the violins well from the rest of the song.
    Hi-hats decay well, and don’t smudge too much into the rest of the upper register.
    Mids: Songs used: Flagpole SittaJacked UpI Am The HighwayGood Life
    Evaluating the mid-range of an IEM is more often than not my favorite part of my reviews, and the T20 feeds my interest well. My songs really do come to life on the T20, as each instrument is distinct, with its own position and depth, which is likely due to the airy feeling the T20 gives to many songs. Interestingly enough, the T20 does not seem to have a large spike around the 1–2KHz range that many IEMs use to boost vocal resolution and clarity. While there is certainly a climb from 1–2KHz up to 5Khz or so, such a incline gently moves the vocals forwards, without making them too commanding of the song.
    Bass: Songs used: LightsGold Dust99 Problems (Hugo Cover)Leave Me
    Even with the reference filter, bass is not at “reference” levels of emphasis. Instead, RHA chose to give the T20 a small boost in mid and sub bass. While audio purists may disagree with that choice, I actually quite enjoy it. It allows songs like Lights to have a very satisfying level of depth and body, without causing songs like Gold Dust and Leave Me to become boomy and messy. In fact, the reference filter still manages to give said songs a meaty bass drop with some excellent sub bass extension.
    Clarity: Songs used: ThroneMap of The ProblimatiqueI’m Not Alright
    The T20 is developed using RHA’s proprietary “dual coil” dynamic drivers. While this may sound fancy (and likely is in practice), the theory behind it isn’t too complex. The “dual coil” refers to a 2-in-1 driver that’s split the transmission coil of the dynamic driver into two separate rings, allowing the driver to divide its workload among the two coils. Thusly, it functions as if it had two dynamic drivers inside, while maintaining a size close to that of single dynamic driver. This technology does show itself when the T20 is pushed quite hard, and it shows itself well. The T20 handled Throne without problem, as it did with I’m Not Alright. No distortion, no noticeable smudging. There was, however, a small amount of lost micro-detail, which is to be expected.
    Sound Stage
    Sound staging is precise. So precise, in fact, that I had what I’d consider to be my first true “3D” sound space experience with it during the intro of Soldier’s Poem by Muse. But further than that, as I’d mentioned earlier in my review, the T20 does a wonderful job creating an airy and spacious stage for the instruments of my songs to play on. Classical songs can take on a symphonic feeling, punk vocalists can scream their hearts out right next to you, and electronic bass drops can immerse you in the chaos that is the modern EDM scene.

    -Packaging / Unboxing-​

    My apologies for the slightly rotated pictures, as the rock I was taking pictures on was not flat.
     
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    -Build-​

    Construction Quality
    RHA did a very good job making the T20 feel sturdy and premium. The polished stainless-steel driver housings look like little metallic jewels, and have a satisfying clack when bounced against one another. The driver housings look to be comprised of two metal parts, joined at a seam roughly in the middle of the housing. While it’s an impressive feat, there seems to have been a slight misstep along the way when my particular unit was manufactured. The seam of my left driver housing is wider than the one on the right driver housing. My suggestion to RHA is to try an make the seam less noticeable, as it would greatly enhance the premium look and feel of the T20.
    However, for those of you who are nervous, fear not. RHA has great customer service and a heft 3 year warranty on their IEMs, so they’ve got you covered.
     
    [​IMG]

    Look at the difference in the width of the seams!​

     
    IMG_1123.jpg
     ​
    The cable is made from the typical RHA rubber, but is actually less finicky than the one used on the MA750i, which is a big plus for me. However, it is still quite bodied, and as such, is hard to coil up neatly. Luckily, the included carrying case is large enough to account for the cable’s bad manners.
     ​
    [​IMG]

     


    The T20’s cable terminates in a gold-plated 3.5mm jack, and is protected by a spring. This gives the T20 (and most other IEMs made by RHA) an industrial, but still premium, feeling. It’s not just a fancy gimmick either. The spring, as well as all the other stress relief systems on the T20, do a very good job protecting the cable from day-to-day mechanical stress.
     
    [​IMG]
     ​
    Controls
    While my unit does not have inline controls, RHA sells a version that does for $10 more called the T20i.
    [​IMG]

    Comfort
    Comfort is highly subjective. Everyone has a different bar that an IEM must reach in order to be deemed “comfortable”. Therefore, all I can say is that this section may not be representative of your experiences with this product.
    I find the T20 to be quite comfortable. The insertion depth of the nozzle is farther than the MA750i, and is a little longer than most IEMs I own in general. This lets me get a pretty good seal, even with the stock silicone. The shape of the T20’s driver housings is quite ergonomic, and doesn’t even feel like it’s there most of the time. The cable’s memory wire is also quite good, having an almost perfect balance between pliability and stability. It’s far superior to the implementation of memory wire on the MA750i.
    The memory foam eartips were, however, not very usable for me. It appears as if RHA chose to use generic memory foam instead of genuine Comply eartips. I had a hard time achieving any reasonable insertion depth with them, and found them generally uncomfortable.

    -Accessories-​

    In typical RHA fashion, the T20 comes with a plethora of eartips all placed neatly on a stainless-steel plate. A variety of nine extra sets are included, which encompass standard silicone, double flange, and memory foam eartips.
    I am confused as to why RHA chose to include these particular memory foam eartips, which are not genuine Comply, when lower tier IEMs in RHA’s product line, such as the MA750i, include eartips that are either genuine Comply, or very convincing generic versions. It’s pretty disappointment for me, as I absolutely love memory foam eartips.
    [​IMG]

    I mentioned earlier that the T20’s case is large enough to fit the unruly rubber cable permanently attached to the T20’s driver housings in it with no issues. Furthermore, there is plenty of space to throw in some extra eartips or the metal filter holder. As an added bonus, the case is a perfect fit for the Hidizs AP100, my current mobile workhorse.
    [​IMG]

    -Summary-​

    The T20 is a versatile, premium IEM. While fit and finish could use a little work, the T20’s sonic prowess is notable for its price. Listeners looking for a stylish, durable, and comfortable IEM with a small amount of bass emphasis should find great solace in the T20’s warm aural embrace.
      Rewkie, B9Scrambler and Light - Man like this.
  6. Currawong
    RHA's T20 are a robust and entertaining pair of IEMs.
    Written by Currawong
    Published Jun 21, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Very sturdily made. No micro-phonics. Excellent packaging. Switchable nozzles with different tuning. Good sound with fantastic bass.
    Cons - Plug sticks out quite far. Cable is very chunky. Getting a good seal can be troublesome. Not the most refined or detailed sound.
    [​IMG]
     
    At the 2015 Spring Tokyo Fujiya Avic Headphone Festival I had the pleasure of meeting Lindsey from Reid Heath Acoustics and talking to her about their new T20i IEMs. Lindsey was insistent that I try the new models and I almost forgot with the overwhelming number of products I was busy trying and photographing. On a Sunday afternoon at the end of the show is the hardest time to impress me after all that has been seen and heard, but the T20is didn’t disappoint, with some very punchy bass that I felt needed further investigation, so I agree with Lindsey to review a pair.
     
    The T20 use a very interesting and unique driver. Where a normal dynamic driver has one voice coil, the driver in the T20i has two, the inner coil producing the bass and lower mid-range and the outer coil producing the upper-mid-range and treble encased inside injection-moulded steel. The small casing is contrasted by the chunky rubber cable.
     
    RHA has also taken pains to ensure that the cable does not transfer noise to the earphones themselves. While thicker than regular IEM cables, it feels more robust and I didn’t find it uncomfortable, even with glasses on. The last 4 or so inches of cable is pre-shaped for comfort, and a choker is attached to the cable allowing it to be held comfortably in place under the chin. Topping it off is a shirt clip and a neat carrying case with space for spare tips and straps for the cable. The plug has a metal spring strain relief, making it stick out quite far when used with portable gear, something some people may not like. 
     
    The well-designed package includes not only a good selection of tips, including foam and two sizes of double-flange tips, in an aluminium plate no less!. Additional “Treble” and “Bass” filters are included, which allow a degree of custom sound tuning, each respectively boosting their ends of the spectrum slightly. A quick examination of these reveals that the "treble" filters is a pass-through, and the "reference" and "bass" filters have different foam in them. 
     
    Initially sounding a bit harsh out of the box, after a few dozen hours of use, vocals and instruments by themselves are wonderfully presented through the mid-range and the treble. Initially when I put mid-sized tips on them, I didn't get a proper seal, nor any significant bass response. The small steel casing for the T20s ensures that they should fit easily in most ears, though the "pill and nozzle" design doesn't work for everyone if deep insertion is required, and that is possibly what was happening with me. Putting large, or double-flange tips on them solved the issue, with the bass kicking in a serious way, sometimes too much.
     
    The default “Reference” tips give a presentation still with a considerable amount of bass and the highs slightly, but not excessively rolled off. The treble filter brings out the frequencies noticeably in the 5-10 kHz range, very often the upper notes of acoustic instruments. That sometimes leaves the mid range a little bit behind, along the lines of full-sized headphones such as the Foxtex TH600s and TH900s. Once I'd settled in on using the "reference" nozzles, I had a go using my favourite SpinFit tips, however the mid-range was pushed back a bit. Having a go with some Comply foam tips that I had handy, the treble ended up reduced too much for my liking. Handily, JVC's Spiraldot tips fit perfectly, their unique design improving things all around, which I felt gave the best results. 
     
    Detail retrieval doesn't appear to be the T20's strong point, and they still have something of what I call an "IEM sound" with treble that isn't as good as more expensive offerings. Given the accessories and the price, they give a solid and enjoyable performance. The bass punch of the dual-coil dynamic driver is simply a lot of fun. 
     

    For under US$300 (£179.95) is a quality product from this company from Scotland which is sure to gain a lot of fans with the quality presentation and excellent, if somewhat warm-of-neutral sound.
     
    The T20 was provided by RHA for this review. 
      Traveller, HiFiChris and SteveOliver like this.
  7. keanex
    A beautiful IEM that doesn't sound as good as it looks.
    Written by keanex
    Published Jan 25, 2016
    3.0/5,
    Pros - Excellent build quality; great warranty; huge choice of tips; fit.
    Cons - Recessed mids; sibilance; overly bassy for a general purpose IEM.

     
    Pros: Excellent build quality; great warranty; huge choice of tips; fit.
    Cons: Recessed mids; sibilance; overly bassy for a general purpose IEM.
    Tonal Balance: Bass heavy with recessed midrange, treble amount varies.
    Style: Over-Ear IEM
    Listening Set-Up: Clip Zlip (FLAC), Musicbee (FLAC) -> Matrix HPA-3U
    Cost at Time of Review: $240
     

    Reviewing Process

    I’ve had the T20 for at least a month and during this process I’ve used them for light exercise as well as home listening. I have spent enough time with them to feel comfortable sharing my opinion, but my experiences may differ from yours. It’s always best to demo a headphone before purchasing, but if you’re unable to I recommend at least reading other views in conjunction with this review.
     
    Thanks to RHA for the review sample.
     

    Build & Fit

    Build
    The RHA are wonderfully crafted in-ear monitors from top to bottom, coloring me impressed from the moment that they left the beautiful packaging. The housings are made of stainless steel with a barely visible line that joins the two halves. The nozzle is removable and unscrews easily by hand and is reattached smoothly in the same fashion. Each cable leaving the housing is clearly designated either blue or red for left or right, respectively, at the base of the memory wire. The cable itself is a tad bulky, but inspires confidence in the durability of it. Stress relief is adequate at the end of the durable looking straight plug, relieved by a metal spring rather than a rubber sheath. All of this is backed by a 3 year warranty, not too shabby.
     
    Fit
    I find the T20 to be very easy to arrange around the ear as well as with inserting the nozzle into a secure position. The IEM sits at a moderate depth, but manages to block out a good amount of noise passively, more than enough to use in crowded college hallways. Comfort-wise these are a notch above every deep insertion IEM that I’ve used, as well as much less picky about positioning to obtain optimal sound. I have these inserted and positioned in my ears in a few seconds per ear, with comfort and stability that allows me to wear these with no issues for the 2 hours at a time that I tend to wear them. The large variety of tips should ensure a secure and comfortable fit for most users.
     

    Sound Quality

    Overall
    Regardless of which filter was used sibilance is apparent, the midrange is recessed, and the bass is overly prominent. Sibilance varies with filter tips and despite the bass being prominent the low-end leans tight and controlled. The filters only affect the upper-midrange and treble, thus leaving the bass to have a heavy presence without EQ. The driver is relatively free of distortion and the bass carries quite a thump with an overall sound signature being decidedly V-shaped with the exception of the bass filter. Overall soundstage presentation lacks width and depth, but has good left/right panning and positional accuracy.
     
    Reference Filters
    I was excited to see the word “reference” as I have been looking for a neutral IEM to accompany my HD600. Unfortunately reference filters don’t equate to a reference sound. Outside of the common characteristics of the overall sound, the reference tips offer the largest amount of sibilance and a moderate upper-midrange boost that gives the reference filters a moderate v-shaped sound signature. The sibilance was so much that I found Glory Box from Portishead and I Can’t Feel My Face from The Weeknd to be completely unlistenable.
     
    I don’t think that RHA intended reference to mean “reference quality sound,” rather reference in regards to the variety of filters.
     
    Treble Filter
    I had reservations after listening to the reference filters. I was scared that these would be even more sibilant. Somehow that’s not the case, despite the treble being raised. This filter adds further presence in the upper ranges, further increasing the v-shape to a rather heavy v-shape. Sibilance is still present though and there’s a bit of grain added compared to the reference tips. Nothing else has changed, only the uppermids/treble are affected with the filter change so it’s not a shock.
     
    Bass Filter
    The bass filter offers the most linear midrange to treble balance of all of the tips while providing a large amount of bass. There is a slight veil due to the prominence of the low-end, but the driver controlls the low-end rather well. Sibilance is reserved, there seems to be some brightness inherent in the drive but I don’t find myself wincing on snare hits as I did with the reference tips. I find this filter to be the most enjoyable of the three, especially with hip-hop, due to the relaxed upper frequencies and powerful bass. Despite me enjoying this filter the most, it’s nowhere near an all purpose tuning. This tuning reminds me a bit of the HyperX Cloud and DT770 Pro 80ohm.

    Conclusion

    Overall the T20 is a v-shaped IEM that DT770 owners would want to consider for portable use. They offer 3 filters that change the presence of the higher frequencies for those that want a tweak to the sound without using software EQ. Build quality, a massive amount of tips, and comfort are the strong points here, all backed by a 3 year warranty.
  8. mark2410
    RHA T20 Quick Review by mark2410
    Written by mark2410
    Published Dec 4, 2015
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Construction is Magnificent. Looks magnificent. Sounds Magnificent
    Cons - Is somewhat unyielding. Can’t really do soft. Can be unforgiving.
    RHA T20 Quick Review by mark2410
     
    Thanks to RHA for the sample.
     
    Full review here http://www.head-fi.org/t/790030/rha-t20-review-by-mark2410
     
    Brief:  Timberal and tonal extraordinaire just got even better.
     
    Price:  £180 or about US$240 (plus about a tenner if you want the mic’ed version)
     
    Specifications:  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
     
    Accessories:  Tuning Filters with Holder, 6 pairs, dual density ear tips - S x2 / M x2 / L x2, 2 pairs, double flange ear tips - S x1 / L x1, 2 pairs, memory foam ear tips - universal fit, Stainless steel ear tip holder, Premium carry case, Clothing clip
     
    Isolation:  For a dynamic it’s actually really good.  Pushing towards BA levels, so it’s easily fine for on a bus or out and about.  Would do for flight or the Tube in a pinch.  Oh and easily sufficient to make you road kill if you don’t use your eyes when out.
     
    Comfort/Fit:  Despite the ear guides both were really good actually.  I’d probably have preferred without the guides but no problems, over and shove in to get the seated and then I was happy wearing all day.  Good stuff.  Oh and they must be worn up in case that’s an issue for you.
     
    Aesthetics:  They look outstanding.  Arguably the best looking earphones available at present.
     
    Sound:  All of the sound.  They are pretty damn awesome at everything.  You can nudge things about by using the filters that they come with but I’m sure you’ll play with them for the first day.  Then you’ll pick your favourite and never swap them again.  For me that was the Bass filter, though I came extremely close to going with the Reference filter.  I’m pretty treble sensitive and the Bass one mutes a bit so it won.  Not that I couldn’t have lived with the Reference if that had been the only option.  It’s labelled Reference but it’s still kinda slanted towards the bass over strictly neutral but it feels a very natural balance.  The Bass bumps the bass up by dialling the treble down, the Treble opens things up which dials down the bass.  The bass is lightning fast and it loves to punch, no, more like slap with you with a marble hand.  There is such rigidity and power yet it lacks any brutality.  Its marble like solidity yet so beautifully sculpted.  Its mids are wonderful too, a little cool perhaps but so well-articulated and tonally masterful.  Highs are cleanly metallic edged and can shimmer like nobody’s business with superb extension. 
     
    In short, the thing is excellent in every way, in tone, agility, potency are all impeccable.
     
    Value:  Well they aren’t cheap, but nothing at this audio quality level is.  With their insane build and warranty you arguably get a superb bargain, if you want top end earphones that is.
     
    Pro’s:  Construction is Magnificent.  Looks magnificent.  Sounds Magnificent
     
    Con’s:  Is somewhat unyielding.  Can’t really do soft.  Can be unforgiving.

  9. RedTwilight
    Solid IEM (literally) for a solid price
    Written by RedTwilight
    Published Oct 6, 2015
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Nicely bodied sound, tuning filters, extremely tough steel shell, excellent build quality, ergonomic shape, great accessories package, memory wire
    Cons - Slightly lacking transparency, a little costly, memory wire

    Preamble:

    Hi guys, I'm a budding audio-appreciator since starting on this journey about a year and a half ago. I just have average ears that like to listen to slightly above average music and so don't consider myself an 'audiophile' by any stretch. Please forgive any wrong use of terminology and lack of vocabulary yea. (I seriously cannot tell how 'extension' and 'warmth' are supposed to sound like..) [​IMG]
     
    Disclaimer: The T20 I received is the demo unit for the Asia arm of the T20 tour. I did not receive any benefits, monetary or otherwise from RHA, and I am in no way affiliated to to them. I wasn't aware of this tour initially but many thanks to RHA for conducting this demo tour and @Tobias89 for the invitation and heads up!
     
    Prior to this tour, I've not had any experience with iems from RHA (or Reid Heath Acoustics for long) so I'm unfortunately unable to compare the T20s to their previous offerings. I can however, try to give a fresh perspective from what experience I have so far.
     

    Tech Specs:

    First up, the T20 boasts steel shells made by a metal injection molding process and incorporates RHA's proprietary DualCoil technology whereby the inner and outer edges of the driver are separately driven, generating an effect that sounds something like having 1.5 drivers while avoid the phasing issues.
     
    Drivers: DualCoil
    Frequency Range: 16Hz - 40kHz
    Impedance: 16 Ohm
    Sensitivity: 90dB
    Cable: 1.35m Multicore OFC
    Jack: Gold plated 3.5mm
     

    Package:

    T20 in-ear headphone
    Tuning filters with steel storage plate
    Hybrid (different core material) ear tips - S, M, L x2 pairs each
    Double flange silicon ear tips - S, L x1 pair each
    Memory foam ear tips - x2 pairs each
    Stainless steel ear tip storage plate
    Zipper carry case
    Clothing clip
     
    DSC_0838.jpg
     
     

    Build Quality: 4.5/5

    Right off the bat I was blown away by the sheer quality of build.
    DSC_0832.jpg
     
    The driver shells are beautiful (how the heck do you even injection mold stainless steel anyway) and cable is beefy, smooth and untangly.
     
    DSC_0837.jpg
     
    There’s also an insane spring strain relief on the plug.
    The Y- split is a heavy duty metal cylinder about the same diameter but slightly shorter than the headphone jack. Strain reliefs aren't very long but in combination with the beefy cable, they look like they'll last a long time.
    It’s my first time using an iem with memory cable, the cable is quite pleasant, pliable but still holds its shape.
    There’s some minor microphonics from the slightly stiff cable, but managed to mitigate it by using the chin slider to touch the cable to my neck.
     

    Accessories: 5/5

     
    DSC_0835.jpg
     
    3x the filters, 3x the sound, 3x the review, ⅓ the buyer’s remorse though.
    The filters are solidly engineered, the knurled bit makes it easy to grip and twist, while the o ring ensures that it won't dislodge so easily.
    It was fairly difficult to get the eartips off and on to swap filters so I believe that they'll be quite secure.
    Also included is quite an impressive assortment of tips.
    I feel that the included pouch, while nice, has a small design flaw : as the iems and eartip holder are made of stainless steel, carrying them together in the pouch will cause them to scratch each other in the long run
     

    Comfort: 3.5/5

    Iem sits very comfortably in my ears, even though it's steel, I can't feel it there
    They  to worked their way out of my ears initially, but didn’t any more after some use.
    The issue disappeared entirely with spinfits, so I will be doing more of the latter part of the review using the spinfits to get a better feel of the sound.
    After using the T20 for a while, the memory cable has a tendency to make my ear a little sore at the place where it hangs over.
     

    Isolation: 4/5

    Isolation is above average, in spite of the rather large vent facing the outside.
     
    I did the listening via the Fiio X3 direct using high gain.
    Songs are mainly FLAC and MP3, with the occasional YouTube rip (lol).
     
    The T20s are fairly easy to drive, a volume level of 25/120 was enough, on the loud side even. In contrast, my Havi B3 requires 38/120 to reach decent volume.
     

    Test Songs:

    DragonForce - Through the Fire and the Flames (Bass speed)
    Chiaki Ishikawa - Ruisen (Soundstage)
    Nana Mizuki - Gimmick Game (Vocals)
    Wagakki Band - Nijiiro Chouchou (Imaging and attack)
    Wagakki Band - Akatsuki no Ito (Soundstage and imaging)
     

     

    Filter system

    This is probably the main selling point of the T20.
     

    Neutral filter

     
    Soundstage
    A little narrower than I’m used to, coming from the Havi B3, so about average width but above average depth.
     
    Imaging
    Imaging is pretty good, Wagakki Band has a lot of acoustic instruments and the instrument placement is fairly defined, though a little close together due to the relative narrowness of the soundstage.
     
    Treble
    Attack of plucked strings is fast, crisp, and had nice texture. Generally however, the treble is quite smooth and a little veiled sounding. However because of this it's not fatiguing. Female vocals can go up pretty high without becoming piercing.
    Not sure if it’s to do with the treble response or the DAP, but i feel that the sound is just a little lacking in transparency, as if there was a curtain behind the band playing, or in between the band and me..
     
    Mids
    Female vocals are sweet and articulate, fairly intimate.
    T20 is wonderful for acoustic tracks and live performances.
    Soundstage is of more than average depth and width, more than height
    Separation is above average, though slightly closer in for the left and right side as a result.
    T20 handles strings exceedingly well
    With spinfits on, it seems to even out the treble and bass, taming resulting in a very pleasant and balanced sound.
     
    Bass
    Bass is fast and punchy, can feel the thump in my ears, and I can differentiate between the taiko and bass guitar too. Quantity-wise, it strikes me as being more than natural, but not excessive. Decay is still fairly natural however, never felt like I was getting the short end of the ‘boom’
    Man the T20 is FAST! Even on Through the Fire and the Flames, the T20 easily kept up with the rapid guitar shredding and double pedal drum kicks. Seems like RHA’s DualCoil technology really does have substance. Is this really a dynamic driver??! (Comparing it amped and unamped though, the bass, while fast, does lose abit of punch at that speed, so it does take a bit more power to maintain the punch after all.)
    The bass does go down pretty low though, quite a lot of sub bass.
    Quantity of bass is rather more than I'm used to, even for the neutral filter but it doesn't bleed into the mids
     
    I did discover some subtle drums that I hadn’t noticed in tracks before though.
    Using Spiral dots, bass extension seems to increase, and I get that head-vibrating sub bass again, and the mids seem to recess abit. Wide-bore tips seem to open up the treble and soundstage width more as well. Of note is that the nozzle sits halfway up the bore of the Spiral Dots due to the thickness of the retaining ring.
     
     

    Treble filter

     
    All of a sudden the sound becomes airy and more transparent
    The soundstage widens
    The sound becomes considerably brighter and a little thinner
    Female vocals become more intimate as do stringed instruments, male vocals become slightly veiled.
    There's still plenty of punchy sub bass; just that it doesn't thump as hard.
    Never thought I'd say this, treble sensitive as I am, but I rather like this filter. Don't think I could listen to it for too long a stretch though, it's more fatiguing.
    With spinfits, the combination is quite nice, taming the treble slightly and boosting the bass a little by virtue of the better seal
    After putting some hours on it, I feel that for all its clarity and crispness, it lacks a bit of body (to me) as compared to the reference filters. Ear fatigue also begins to set in, but I must say that I'm a little treble sensitive. (I find the Noble 4 too hot up top so go figure )
     

    Bass filter

     
    When I first heard about the bass filter, the first thing that crossed my head was that it wasn’t going to be my thing. I do get bass induced headaches from boomy phones. After putting them on with the spinfits however.. They’re not all that bad actually. It’s like a subtle filling in of the lowest end of the spectrum, giving that extra ‘oomph’. The overall tonality of the sound becomes darker and warmer. The added boominess doesn’t affect the layering and there is impressively NO bleed into the mids whatsoever. The speed and punch is definitely still there, just with more power.
    Listening to Through the Fire and the Flames actually made me want to headbang in office.
    Treble is accordingly reduced, though I can still hear the occasional distant cymbals and triangles.
    Male vocals stand out a bit more.
    Transparency is reduced however, and to me it sounds a little closed in.
    Strangely enough, the sound of the bass filters with spinfits reminds me of the reference filters with the stock tips
     
    Some notes after extended burn in:
    I was 2nd in line to demo the T20 and at that time, it was probably not fully burnt in yet, hence leading to to feeling that while this is a nice iem, the sound was abit rough around the edges and didn’t sound particularly impressive. IMO, not exactly worth it’s price tag.
     
    After going full circle though, it arrived back in Singapore and I gave it a listen again (using balanced filters and stock tips) to see if there had been any changes to the sound. Interestingly enough it felt like the soundstage had opened up considerably, going from average to slightly above. The rough wooly wall defining the edges of the soundstage had become a silk curtain. The bass also seemed to have tightened up abit and didn’t pound my brain into a dull ache anymore (or maybe I had just gotten used to bassier iems than the Havi). The most marked improvement IMO however would be the transparency, that veil in between band and listener being lifted. So is it worth it’s price now? Hm.. I’ll say that the worth has increased significantly. It’s now a solid mid range performer in my book.
      earfonia likes this.
  10. earfonia
    Fun and comfortable IEM with excellent build quality
    Written by earfonia
    Published Oct 3, 2015
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Excellent build quality and comfort; Very good noise isolation; Tune-able; No driver flex.
    Cons - Bass a bit loose and less textured; Stereo Imaging lacks some spaciousness; 1.5 meters cable can be too long for portable use.
    Many thanks to RHA for RHA T20 Tour Program!
    The T20 unit in this review is demo unit from the RHA T20 Tour Program:
    http://www.head-fi.org/t/770875/rha-t20-tour-program-reviewers-wanted

    Product webpage:
    http://www.rha-audio.com/us/t20.html


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    Usually I need at least a month to properly review an earphone, this time I only had more than a week to review it, so not going to be a detailed review, but I'll do my best. I was the 3rd in the sequence, and the other 2 reviewers before me already burnt-in the T20 for a total of approximately 4 days. I did another 2 days of burn-in, and I don't hear any difference before and after the 2 days burn-in. So just a small note, that I have no experience of how T20 sounds before burn-in.

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    Summary
    As usual, I prefer to start my review with summary before going into detail.
    I would give 5 stars for the design, build quality, and the precision craftsmanship of the RHA T20. The stainless steel shell looks really nice and seems to be very durable. Cable and headphone jack were of good quality too. Comfort and fit were perfect for me, very comfortable for long period of use. Besides that, noise isolation is very good and effective, better than many other IEMs.

    Sound quality wise, in my opinion RHA T20 is more of a fun sounding IEM with excellent build quality and comfort for daily easy listening, and not for those who are looking for accurate sounding IEM for critical listening. T20 is quite enjoyable especially for slow to medium pace of music, but doesn't perform very well on fast pace music and complex orchestra. The tonality is mildly V shape with Reference filter and stock silicone eartips, but tune-able and can be improved to a certain degree by the combination of tuning filters and other eartips. I will describe the tonality in detail later. What I feel a little lacking is dynamic, tightness and control, mainly on the bass. Bass has good volume and body but lacking tightness, control, and texture. I also expect a more spacious and holographic type of stereo imaging, but probably it is not the T20 forte. Stereo imaging is more towards intimate presentation, not very spacious and lacking a bit of depth, but overall not congested and still acceptable. Overall sound quality is pretty good, big bass, fun and enjoyable for some music; just don't expect a giant killer IEM. Pop, EDM, and other modern genres with closed miking recording techniques are recommended for T20. But I don't recommend classical, binaural, and other natural, distant miking recordings. I honestly never been highly impressed by T20 and expect better sound quality from a flagship model, especially in this price category. It doesn’t mean that T20 sounds bad, because it is not. It is just that I expect more of it. Well, we all have different personal preferences, the fun and tune-able tonality of T20 could probably be someone else cup of tea, so YMMV. 


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    Pros:
    1. Excellent build quality.
    2. Excellent comfort and fit.
    3. Very good noise isolation.
    4. 3 Sound filters for tonality tuning.
    5. No driver flex.
    6. Very nice pouch and generous accessories.


    Cons:
    1. Bass tightness, resolution, and stereo imaging spaciousness are not great for the price category.
    2. 1.5 meters (measured) cable could be too long for portable use.


    Suggestions for improvements:
    1. Dynamic, resolution, and stereo imaging.
    2. To include SpinFit and Triple flange eartips as part of stock eartips.




    Build Quality & Comfort
    Build quality of RHA T20 is really impressive. The stainless steel shell, Y splitter, and headphone jack looks really nice, solid with precision craftsmanship. The shell feels so solid that it should be able to withstand daily usage with ease. Not only solid and excellent craftsmanship, T20 fit and comfort are excellent. I could use it for hours comfortably. It flushes nicely in the ear, so that it can be used on sleeping position. It fits really well on my ears that it always stay nicely in position even when doing a lot of physical activities or exercising. Practically T20 can be used for any activities. T20 is really one of the most comfortable IEM I ever tried. 


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    The cable also feels good, with the right thickness, it feels very durable. The cable jacket is the rubbery type, but it is not coiling at all. At approximately 1.5 meter, I feel the cable is a little too long for on the go, but just nice for desktop use. When using T20 for walking or jogging, I do hear mild microphonics (cable mechanical noise that transmitted to earphones when cable in contact / friction with shirt or other object), but pretty mild, below annoying level. Near the earphone housing there is memory wire for over the ear wearing style. The memory wire is quite soft, with just the right amount of stiffness to keep the shape. In general I prefer soft memory wire (or without memory wire), than the stiffer one.

    RHA T20 build quality and comfort are top notch! I would give 5 stars for build quality and comfort.


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    Tuning Filters
    Beside the generous eartips, sound tuning filters are probably the most interesting accessories of the T20. The tuning filters are replaceable nozzles with different density of foam damping inside the nozzle.
    Treble Filter: No foam damping.
    Reference Filter: Medium density foam damping.
    Bass Filter: High density foam damping.


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    Reference and Bass filters are generally my preferred filters. Treble filter has too much treble and treble sounds glaring to me. Performance of each filter will be elaborated in sound quality section.




    Sound Quality
    With only around 9 days of evaluation period, I couldn't do extensive listening for every filter and test it with various players and eartips. 7 days (9 days minus 2 days burn-in) is practically too short for me to do proper sound quality analysis, so please read it with a pinch of salt.


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    In my philosophy for sound analysis, I'm quite relaxed with various flavours of tonality, as long as it doesn't deviate too much from what I perceived as natural sound. I don't restrict myself to like only a particular tonality. I experienced that bright, bassy, warm, or neutral sounds signature can be musical and enjoyable in their own way, as long as it doesn't go too extreme, and the perceived frequency response is still perceive-ably a smooth curve or close to linear. What I hate most are annoying peaks and dips in the frequency response. If I detect any annoying peaks or dips in the frequency response, I will rate it below 4 stars. Beside the frequency response, there are other very important parameters such as: Perceived level of details, transparency and clarity, instrument separation, spaciousness (holographic imaging), and dynamic. Those parameters are very important and set apart great performers from the average ones. For those parameters, I have less tolerance and expect the best.

    In general T20 sounds better on slightly louder volume, as the dynamic improves slightly. Though I don't recommend listening music with loud volume (over 85 dB). With many combinations of sound filters and eartips, RHA T20 provides a wide gamut of sound signatures. It will take weeks to really get familiar to each combination. I've tested it with all the sound filters, the provided eartips, plus some other eartips of mine: SpinFit, triple flange, & Comply T500. Some combination sounds good, but unfortunately from what I've tried so far, I couldn't find any combination that I found highly impressive. Some combinations are quite enjoyable, but not at the level that in my opinion sounds really great. So from my limited experience with T20, honestly I have to say, T20 is not really my cup of tea. It doesn't mean it sounds bad, because it is actually pretty good and enjoyable, and I did enjoy some of my collections with T20, but I have other IEMs that I enjoy more.


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    Beside the various tonality it offers, the following are the general T20 performance for other parameters:
    Perceived level of detail & resolution are decent and not lacking, but I would say it is about average in this price range. T20 is not detail monster, and not for those who are looking to hear micro details. There are other IEMs in this price category that offer higher level of details, for example DUNU DN-2000. Please take note that some users might prefer smoother presentation without too much perceived detail for less fatiguing listening experience. So YMMV.
    Instrument separation and holographic imaging are ok, around average performance, and improved slightly when using better eartips such as SpinFit and triple flange. Instrument separation of T20 is not sharply focus and defined like what we hear from a good BA or Hybrid IEMs, but I would say pretty decent. Stereo imaging is a little narrow to my liking, but quite decent for a single dynamic driver IEM.
    Transparency and clarity are pretty good. Clarity is actually pretty high, but sometime doesn't sound very natural due to mild treble peak around lower treble area at 3 kHz - 5 kHz, but the upper treble extension that creates the sense of transparency and airiness is rolled off a bit too early, and slightly lacking. Treble filter unfortunately doesn't really help, only increase the lower treble peak that makes it sound less natural.
    Bass dynamic and texture is a bit lacking. Especially when using the stock silicone eartips, bass is lacking texture and sometime may sounds lazy, cannot cope fast pace bass. But it improves a little with other eartips such as SpinFit.

    The dual voice coils dynamic drivers seem need more improvement and tweaking to shine. At least on T20, I don't really hear the advantage of the dual voice coils over regular single coil dynamic. 



    Since the tonality differs by the combination of tuning filters and eartips, The following is the tonality observation based on some combination of tuning filters and eartips.


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    Treble Filter (Cooper color)
    Treble filter has no damping material in it, so basically just nozzle with no filter. It is the least favorable among the 3 filters. I couldn't find any favorable sound signature with the treble filter. As mentioned before, treble filter doesn't really help to make the treble sounds more linear, but increasing lower treble peak that to me is a bit annoying.



    Reference Filter (Silver color)
    With the right eartips, reference filter gives the most balanced tonality. Mildly V shape with some emphasize on bass and lower treble region. Bass level is good, mildly bassy with decent low bass extension. Bass is a little boomy and not very tight, as mentioned earlier. T20 is quite eartips dependent, therefore sound quality varies between eartips. The following is the list of some of the eartips I tried with the Reference filter, from the most favourable to the least, top down.

    Triple Flange Eartips (from Brainwavz S5)
    Best tonal balance, no annoying peaks and dips, smooth sounding, with pretty good dynamic. Slightly better than the stock foam eartips.
    Triple flange does magic again. I noticed triple flange eartips often give great improvement to the sound quality on some IEMs (tested on Brainwavz S5, DUNU Titan 1, and now RHAT20). But there is one problem, not many people find it comfortable to use triple flange. So practically it may not be a good option for some people.

    SpinFit
    SpinFit is my preferred eartips after triple flange. It mildly improves the treble in a nice way. Overall tonality is quite balance and mildly brighter in comparison to the triple flange eartips. I found SpinFit to be a better alternative over the stock silicone eartips. In comparison with stock silicone eartips, SpinFit moves the treble emphasize higher to probably around 7-9 kHz, improving transparency and reducing treble glares.

    Stock Foam Eartips
    RHA foam eatips is denser and a harder than Comply T500. Comply T500 doesn't sound as good as the stock foam eartips on T20, bass is leaner and overall tonality sounds thinner. Dynamic using Comply T500 is also not as good as stock foam eartip. The stock foam eartips has slightly better performance than the stock grey silicone eartips. Tonality is less V shape, more linear, slightly brighter, bass is more balance and less boomy, and the spaciousness improves slightly. Stock foam eartips is the better choice among other stock eartips.

    Stock Double Flange Silicone Eartips
    Pretty close to the stock silicone eartips with grey bore, only some minor differences, overall about the same performance, with a tad less sibilant.

    Stock Silicone Eartips (grey bore)
    IMHO the stock silicone eartips are not the most optimum eartips for T20. Mild V shape tonality, bass sounds full but a little boomy, not tight and lacking texture. Treble is emphasizes more on lower treble area and then started to rolls off at upper treble extension. Transparency is less than SpinFit, about the same as the stock double flange eartips. Treble may sounds a little glaring on some recording, and mild sibilant occurs on some vocal recordings.


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    Bass filter (Black color)
    Bass filter has the thickest damping material and reduce some of the treble energy. It improves the bass extension a little, and reducing the treble and the treble peaks, resulting a dark, smooth, and bassy tonality. Overall tonality with bass filter is smoother, less peaky around the treble area than other filters. For those who are allergic to treble peak would probably prefer the bass filter. I found the reference filter and bass filter are the 2 useful filters that I would recommend to use. The following is the list of some of the eartips I tried with the Bass filter, from the most favourable to the least, top down.

    SpinFit
    I like this combination of bass filter with SpinFit, creating a smooth, slightly darker and bassier tonality. SpinFit improves the clarity to the otherwise rather veiled and muffled signature when using the stock silicone eartips. And the bass filter improves the sub bass extension a little. A pretty good filter for those who prefer smooth and dark signature.

    Stock Foam Eartips
    About as good as SpinFit, the stock foam eartips is a good match for bass filter. Tonality is smooth, pleasing, and less bassy as other eartips.

    Stock Silicone Eartips (grey bore)
    Very smooth tonality, but also lacking some transparency and sounds rather veiled. Pretty good for bright recordings, but generally lacking in clarity.


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    Comparison with my reference IEMs
    Currently my reference IEMs are 1964 Ears V3 and DUNU DN-2000. Not really a fair comparison due to different technology and design, but those are my reference for evaluating other IEMs. T20 has more bass than those 2 IEMs, and that might be an important consideration for bass lover. But despite the differences in tonality, both 1964 Ears V3 and DUNU DN-2000 are generally less coloured with smoother, more open sounding, and more natural in tonality. Perceived detail and resolution, instrument separation, transparency, holographic imaging, bass texture and tightness, are better on both V3 and DN-2000. At slightly lower price than DN-2000, T20 is still performing quite well, but the technicalities are not yet at the level of DN-2000. 


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    T20 is best described as fun and comfortable IEM with excellent build quality. I hope the next flagship from RHA would maintain the excellent comfort and build quality of T20, with improved sound quality. It is probably the time for RHA to start exploring other design and technology such as dual dynamic drivers and hybrid design. Single dynamic driver without crossover technically is still one of the best approach, but it has its own limitation. Probably push-pull, one way dual dynamic drivers approach such as ATH-CKR series would be one of the better approach for crossover-less design. Whatever the design approach RHA will take, I'm looking forward to hear improvements on RHA future IEMs.

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    Specifications:
    Drivers: DualCoil™ Dynamic
    Frequency range: 16-40,000Hz
    Impedance: 16 Ohm
    Sensitivity: 90dB
    Rated/max powe: 2/5mW
    Weight: 39g
    Cable: 1.35m, multicore OFC
    Connections: 3.5mm, gold plated


    Equipment used in this review:

    IEMs:
    1964 Ears V3
    DUNU DN-2000

    DACs, DAPs & Headphone Amplifiers:
    Fiio X3 2nd gen
    Fiio E12DIY (Op-Amp OPA827 + Buffer LME49600)
    iBasso DX90
    ifi micro iDSD (firmware 4.06)



    Some recordings used in this review:


      Jeff Y likes this.
    1. Rearwing
      Some fantastic photo's and a very well written critique, thank you for taking the time and effort. I agree with quite a lot of your points, especially about their use in listening to slow to medium music; I find with aftermarket tips they are superb for low volume listening to very intimate recordings, the new Shawn Colvin album Uncovered really suits them for my ears, especially on the track "Gimme a little sign". 
      Rearwing, Oct 4, 2015
    2. earfonia
      @Rearwing Thanks for your compliment!
      I had mixed impressions with T20 when I had it. Sometime T20 does sound enjoyable, but sometime I felt it didn't perform very well. I guess once our brain adapted to its signature, T20 is quite enjoyable. But I found myself didn't have the desire to use it as compared to my other IEMs.
      earfonia, Oct 5, 2015