Like big headphones but aren’t too fond of the larger fit and how it covers your ear? A pair of in-earphones from RHA might just do the job, and they even cater to the pickiest of audiophiles, and people who are just dabbling.
Larger headphones aren’t for everyone, and if you like to walk around with high quality audio in your ears, your choices aren’t nearly as varied without larger cans that can ruin your hair, or make wearing a hat a little miserable.
Beyond this basic set of earphone bits, you’ll also find tuning filters for the T10i, little pieces metal that screw into place on the outside of the earphones that allow you to customise the sound, with either more treble or more bass, depending on which of the three tuning filters you use: reference (regular), treble, or bass.
The cable for the RHA T10i is reinforced and relatively thick, and the connections for the earpieces are designed to hook over and around your ear, doing so with a combination of metal and plastic that is, according to RHA, patent pending.
RHA includes a three-button remote with a microphone along the cable of the T10i earphones, though the remote has been designed for use with iOS device (iPhone/iPad), and as such may only pause or play other devices.
A case is included for both the headphones and the tuning filters, with the tuning filters screwing into place for safe keeping on a specialised metal holder designating what each filter does by colour, while a black pleather case holds the headphones.
For starters, there’s the design, which takes the generic in-earphone and basically enlarges the earpiece dramatically.
You might think a pair of earbuds can get big, but the pieces used for the T10i earphones are noticeably large, in that people who see you wearing them will probably wonder how you managed to fit such a large earphone into your ear.
Fortunately, these aren’t total canal-phones, and you only have to put the tip of the earpiece in, leaving the rest of the earphone to rest in the cradle that is the bit of flesh on the side of your head.
That said, they’re still large pieces of metal, with stainless steel casings protecting a handmade drive in a body that will be bigger than most of the earphones you’ve seen.
And this has to sit on the side of your ear.
To help with this, you’ll find a bit of strengthened cabling that you can wrap around the rest of the ear to let these hang down over your ear, dropping into place so that you don’t have to take the brunt of the weight, because even small things can make a difference.
At the first fitting, there’s a good chance you’ll find these a little uncomfortable, and most of that comes from the weight. All you really need to do is put the earpieces in your hand and you’ll feel at least 10 or 15 grams of something, and we suspect most of that heft is coming from the casing, though it will at least be highly resistant.
The cable is also relatively strengthened on the rest of the earphones, with relatively thick grey cabling used for most of the pieces, complete with a small remote that iOS owners will find highly useful, and Android owners will be left grumbling. This reviewer is an Android guy, so… grumble… grumble… one of the buttons pauses and plays… grumble.
Before we get down to brass tacks and test the whole thing, we need to point out why the T10i earphones are so special.
It’s not enough that RHA has provided a metal casing which should survive your life and backpack and pocket and things, and it’s not even enough that you have tips galore, with several silicone options and even some memory foam.
No, what makes the RHA T10i truly special are the filters at the end of the earphone piece, with three different options: treble, reference, and bass.
Think of these as custom tuning pass filters that sit on the end of the driver, just before the comfy tip made for your ear, interpreting the sound by way of some material, and sending that through to your ear drums.
And you get three of these, with each apparently made for slightly different styles of listening.
Out of the box, the reference filters are attached, and it is this pair that you’ll probably start with, because being reference, they give you a firm footing for how the earphones are going to sound for everything.
Over our test, however, we found the treble suited our ears best, with the least amount of bass running through these, but just enough for us to be comfortable. In fact, in our tests, the reference was fairly bassy, and the bass tuning, well… you can probably guess what these were like.
So for this review, we’ve gone with the treble driver, as these seemed to have a better balance, though the inclusion of custom filters is something new, and means you, dear reader and listener, now have the power back and can decide for yourself, which many will see as awesome.