Whether you're sitting down for a game at your PC or are hopping the bus for your commute to work, having a great pair of headphones is important. Today, we're looking at the latest pair of bluetooth headphones from RHA Audio with the T20 Wireless. The original T20 in-ear headphones were some of RHA's most popular ever and one of my all-time favorites. With a detachable cable for wired or wireless playback, custom tuning filters, and a stainless-steel design, it looks good on paper but does it perform as well in the real world? Join us as we find out.
- Current Price: $249.99
- Key Features: Wired or wireless connectivity (bluetooth and 3.5mm cables included), high-resolution DualCoil drivers, detachable stainless steel housings, bass and treble boost via swappable tuning filters, 10 pairs of alternate ear tips (8 silicone, 2 Comply Foam)
- Frequency Range: 16 - 40,000Hz (wired)
- Impedance: 16 ohms
- Rated/max power: 2/5mW
- Sensitivity: 90dB
- Weight: 37g (wired), 48g (wireless)
- Bluetooth: Version 4.1, 10m range, aptX-compatible
- Remote & mic: 3-button, Universal
- Battery: Li-ion, 12 hours
- Included in the Box:
- T20 Wireless in-ear monitors
- Steel-reinforced 3.5mm - MMCX OFC cable
- aptX-compatible Bluetooth - MMCX neckband
- Tuning filters (bass/treble/reference) with holder
- 7x pairs dual density silicone ear tips (S/M/L)
- 2x pairs double flange silicone ear tips (S/L)
- 2x pairs Comply™ Foam Tsx400 ear tips
- Clothing clip
- Sports clip
- Neoprene carry pouch
- Manufacturer's Warranty: 3 years, international
It was just over a year ago that I reviewed the original T20 Noise Isolating In-Ear headphones for GameSpace Back then, I was newer to the RHA brand and was pretty much blown away at their sound and unique ability to customize the sound with its tuning filters.Even though they quickly became one of my all-time favorite IEMs, I didn't use them as much as I would have liked. I was one of the people silently keeping my fingers crossed that they would release a wireless version. In the meantime, the RHA MA-750 Wireless stayed around my neck literally every day for the next twelve months.
The T20 Wireless is an especially exciting Bluetooth headphone. If you're new to the RHA brand, you'll find a lot to love right off the bat. As a premium audio brand, it presentation and unboxing experience are excellent. I've always appreciated how nicely RHA showcases their products in their packaging; unboxing is a fleeting experience but goes a long way toward making you feel good about the money you just spent. Likewise, the included accessories are plentiful and include a bluetooth cable, a wired 3.5mm cable with stainless steel joints, ten pairs of differently sized ear tips (8 silicone and two pairs of premium Comply-branded foam tips), the charging cable, and a neoprene travel case to keep your gear safe on the go. It's a solid package, especially with the sheer amount of ear tips.
One of RHA's hallmark features is their use of stainless steel. Like the MA-750s, the houses for each earbud are stainless steel coated in a matte black finish. The replaceable tuning filters are also metal, as are the weighted ends on the bluetooth cable and the joints on the 3.5mm auxiliary cable. As someone who takes their headphones everywhere with them, this is a design choice I adore as it adds a tremendous level of durability to the buds. And when you're spending this much, you want them to last through anything life may throw at them.
While I'm unable to do long term testing on their durability, I feel confident in saying that they'll last through heavy duty wear and tear. The MA-750 Wireless headphones I wore every day saw everything from drops, scrapes, bumps, moisture, and dust. They never ever came close to breaking and are still as solid today as they were they day I opened them.
The second feature core feature is that the earbuds are detachable. If you're on the go, you can plug them into the bluetooth cable and enjoy a dozen hours of listening (I found this to be about 10 hours of listening time at 80% volume). If you're sitting down and want the best audio you can muster, switching to the wired cable is the way to go and will unlock the full frequency response range. This also means that if you ever lose or damage a cable, you can easily replace it thanks to the standardized MMCX connectors.
Compared to the MA-750s, pictured below, the T20 Wireless also offers a much better fit. They're oval shape nestles right in the folds of your ear to form a natural fit whereas the circle of the MA-750s caused them to become loose just from walking around. The T20 Wireless are very secure, though I would still recommend trying the different tips since achieving a comfortable seal is important for any in-ear headphone.
The only concern I do have is with the curved wire that fits over your ear. The MA-750s featured the same and, as you can see, after a year of use, they lost most of their memory and would poke out behind my ears. The T20 Wireless feel more rigid but I'd be lying if I said I could remember whether the MA-750s were any different.
Like the original T20s, the T20 Wireless are all about delivering audiophile-grade sound. When wired, they deliver the full 16-40000Hz frequency response range to deliver an excellent, distortion-free experience no matter what kind of music you're listening to. Over Bluetooth, the headphones take advantage of the aptX codec to maintain their detailed sound signature but do lose some frequency response by necessity. Whether wired or wireless, they still sound incredible and are easily the best bluetooth earbuds I've ever used.
When people use the term "audiophile-grade," they're usually referring to a few key elements: detail, soundstage, accuracy, and presentation. On each of these fronts, the T20 Wireless delivers. Using the default "reference" tuning filter, these elements immediately rise to the surface. Listening to Dustin Kensrue's Blanket of Ghosts, I was instantly struck by how well separated the instruments were. I could hear each acoustic guitar positioned on my right and left clear and spaced out from one another, the tambourine chiming in the background with its own unique position in the soundstage. As Dustin sang, his baritone welled over it all, sitting atop the instruments without pushing them down to take center stage. The stereo channels were clear and distinct, which really made the quality mixing shine.
Later, listening to Yosi Horikawa's Letter on Spotify's Headphone Tester playlist, that astounding presentation made me feel like I say on the middle of Yosi's desk, almost in the center of the page he was frantically scrawling upon. It's the kind of auditory experience that just begs you to close your eyes and be swept away into the soundscape.
Switching gears, I hopped in my time machine back to 2009 and put on 50 Cent's 21 Questions. Even without the bass filter, the low end is full but tight, never leaning too heavily on the middle-lows and mids. The sub-bass is understated on these headphones, so you won't feel a rattle on the deepest lows.
Finally, I put on Bullet For My Valentine's Suffocating Under Words of Sorrow, the guitars were sharp and detailed. It was a joy to listen to the harmony in the main riff come together. On most headsets, these two syncopated guitar lines blend together into a single tone. Here, I could clearly hear each note from both guitars. It was like hearing it for the first time all over again.
Early listening made it clear that RHA hasn't deviated from the tuning goals of the original T20. The mids and the highs are both slightly forward, really drawing out vocals and the texture of cymbals and high-hats. As a fan of those fine details, this is my personal favorite tuning, so I found a lot to enjoy without ever changing the filter.
But the selling point here is that you can customize your sound. Simply by unscrewing the filter (or nozzle, depending on which term you're familiar with), you can remove and replace the final tiny piece that customizes your sound. There are two alternate filters for bass and treble that are each color coded. Their enhancements are slight - think a few decibels - but present. If you listen to a lot of bass heavy music, you'll definitely want to use that filter. If, instead, you're listening to piano, jazz, or, yes, even using these at your PC for competitive games, you'll want to use the treble filter to bring out those details. If you're somewhere in between, like me, the reference filter is definitely the way to go. These filters won't change the overall tuning of the headphones, though... just tweak it. So, if you're going in looking for thumping bass that will rattle inside your ear or a wholesale midrange scoop, you'll still need to use a software EQ.
I'd been secretly keeping my fingers crossed that the T20s would receive a wireless version and now that they're here I really couldn't have asked for more. They offer some of the best bluetooth audio you can find under $300, have excellent battery life, custom tuning filters, and the unique ability to switch between bluetooth and wired depending on what you're looking for at any given time. At $249, they're expensive, but their versatility, durability, and outstanding quality make them one of the best sets of bluetooth headphones you can buy.
The product described in this review was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.