I am a big fan of RHA and their line of cost busting earphones. The MA750 single dynamic driver for under a hundred quid really upped the expectations of what a relatively cheap earphone could and should sound like and the packaging and accessories were way above anything else out there in the market. Their even cheaper MA-350 which we reviewed way back in 2012 still looks and sounds great for the price.
The pace of development in RHA is actually what is breathtaking, almost ‘FiiO-esque’ in their revamping, harmonization of design philosophy and shared R&D. Even as I write today they have a new budget busting S500i single dynamic driver unit coming out for £39.95 which I presume will take center stage from the MA-350. IN the short space of 3-4 years RHA are becoming the darlings of budget busting earphone tech in much the same way FiiO cornered the budget busting portable amp market.
The one slight road block they had was the launch of the T10i last year. I say road block more as a speed bump in taste rather than technical ingenuity because the T10i was pure eye candy at just under $200 and at that time the most expensive unit in the RHA range. Metal injected molding, 3 filters, the always excellent accessory package and indestructible cable – this seems a sure fire winner.
Technology wise, fit wise yes it won, it’s still one of the most handsome units in the market today but the sound signature polarized the audiophile community who felt the more balanced MA750 signature was the way to go. The T10i was a bass heads dream, even on the treble filter it spits out visceral bass. It was a bass head signature done very well indeed but nevertheless a consumer sound that alienated a few hardcore fans.
I was on the fence myself during the review and it wasn’t until I threw it into a Bakoon HPA-01M portable amp and a dose of Major Lazer did I get blown away by the sheer brute force and depth of the bass the T10i was capable off. But it was a lonely night in Georgia for everything else.
The new T20 is apparently RHA listening to their customers and deciding to launch a new T10i but with a more balanced and, dare I say it, more audiophile sound presentation. In theory whatever reservations I had about the T10i should be blown away by the T20’s revamped sound signature.
The New DualCoil™
It is also the first time RHA have shown to us their new proprietary DualCoil™ driver technology which separates the coils and focuses each one on different aspects of the frequency range response. The outer coil targets the mids and treble whilst the inner coil targets the bass. Both of these coils are independently powered voice coils designed to maximize the response from each so in theory it’s almost like a very well-tuned dual driver all in one.
Form & Fit
The T20 also sports the same Westone Sure Fit ergonomics from the T10i and is created using the same excellent metal injected molding (MIM) system. It’s still a looker, blemish free and a very robust earphone much like the T10i. It does weigh quite a bit more than conventional plastics molded earphones at 39g but slightly less than the T10i by 2g. It is probably one of the heaviest small IEM’s I have in the hand but the distribution of weight and small form factor means they sit flush and easy in my ear without any discomfort on the outer ear.
The seal of the T20 is just excellent at this price range, or at any price range for that matter for a universal IEM. There is no sweet spot hunting and they work straight out of the box on the pre fitted single bore silicone tips. The fit is even better with my usual double flange tips and the memory foams that come as part of the usual excellent range of tips RHA provide in their eye catching steel plate holder.
Not being part of the “i” series the T20 is missing the ‘Made For IPod’ controls on the T10i which lessens the bulk on the cable. The cable itself is the same 1.35m multi-core OFC cable they used on the T10i terminated with a gold plated 3.5mm jack in their usual attractively branded metal jack housing. The strain relief around the jack is also the same with the tightly coiled spring coil.
One small difference I did note on the T20 over the T10i was the memory wire which is now coated with the same sleeve materials as the rest of the cable unlike the T10i which had a more transparent plastic white coating. It looks better and more integrated on the T20 now. The T10i cable looks a bit messy side by side to the more monotone and subtle finish on the T20 cable.
The T20 also comes packed with the same filter technology of the T10i with a small metal silver plate holding the treble and bass filters in champagne (treble) and black colors (bass) and the reference filter pre fitted out of the box.
I had pondered during the course of the review if this is not a slightly missed opportunity to revisit the filter system and perhaps introduce something a bit different. Its nitpicking but it is a new earphone so perhaps some new filters? Perhaps RHA would consider selling filter packs and go modular much like Hifiman with their amp cards. Certainly a mid-range or vocal presence filter would come in handy as the “4th filter” just to give an added dimension.
The T20 packs the same accessory range as the T10i. That means you get the nice little leather case, a shirt clip and that excellent matching metal tip rack which slots in nicely under some nylon straps inside the holding case. The tips included are:
- 6 pairs, dual density ear tips – S x2 / M x2 / L x2
- 2 pairs, double flange ear tips – S x1 / M x1
- 2 pairs, memory foam ear tips – universal fit
All of this is backed up by that fabby 3 year warranty from RHA which by all accounts on the forums has been a pretty painless claims process for those who have tried it.
Page 2: Sound Impressions