Over the past few years, Hi-Fi+ has followed the evolution of the Scottish earphone specialists RHA Audio closely. Over time the firm has consistently shown that it knows how to make musically satisfying, well constructed, beautifully finished, and keenly priced earphones that stand as a reference standard in terms of value for money. First we favourably reviewed RHA’s MA750i (£89.95) and then the T10i (£149.95), keeping close tabs on the firm’s successive new flagship models. Now, we have the firm’s latest flagship earphone, the T20 (£179.95), which may well represent RHA’s greatest single leap forward in sound quality to date.
If you are familiar with typical earphones in the sub-£200 price class, you might picture them as comparatively generic and, frankly, unexceptional products—products built down to a price point rather than up to a quality standard. Happily, RHA’s T20 proves the exception to the rule. Instead, from the moment you first crack open the packaging, everything about the T20 exudes quality, refinement, and attention to detail.
For example, where some competitors might mould their earpieces from comparatively cheap-looking thermoplastics, RHA fabricates the T20’s earpieces from injection moulded stainless steel. Similarly, where competitors might provide flimsy-looking signal cables fitted with fragile connector plugs, RHA instead equips the T20 with multicore, steel reinforced, oxygen-free copper cables terminated with robust, gold-plated plugs enclosed in stainless steel housings. When you hold an RHA earphone in your hand, then, it has the unmistakable feel of something built with genuine care and precision.
RHA’s list of differentiators doesn’t end here. Where some competitors provide only minimal earpiece strain reliefs for their signal cables, RHA equips its earpieces with ingenious, mouldable wire guides that users can form into comfortable over-the-ear shapes (and that retain those shapes until re-formed by the user). While such guides are not a new idea, it is rare to see them so well executed on earphones as affordable as these. Over and again, one has the sense that RHA has found a way to serve up luxury-class products at near-utilitarian prices.