- Very compact;
- Good sound quality;
- Rich equipment: 6 additional pairs of ear pads included, a bag for transportation, a clip;
- Premium materials were used in the manufacture: aluminum alloys, widely used in the aerospace industry;
- General thoughtfulness and durability of the structure: aluminum cups, braided wire, aluminum jack, and wire protection from kinking;
- 3-year official warranty;
- Stylish and unusual appearance;
- Thanks to their small size, the headphones are easy to wear under a hat in winter
- No foam earpads included;
- Bass lovers need to use an equalizer to get the bass level they want.
The RHA S500 comes in a stylish cardboard box with two side windows. In one, you can see the headphones themselves in the other – 6 pairs of additional ear pads. The manufacturer does not hesitate to show the trump cards of the headphones – an aluminum case, to attract attention and increase the chance that a person will want to listen to them. The packaging looks expensive and very nice. There is no doubt that there are excellent headphones inside. It is also important that the packaging is functional; it allows you to see the goods in a favorable light without opening.
The package is complete. There is everything you may need:
- Pouch for transportation;
- Clip for attaching to clothes;
- 6 pairs of additional ear pads;
If you find fault, then there are not enough foam ear cushions, but not all people like them, so their absence cannot be considered a significant disadvantage.
The pouch is breathable, layered, and extra spacious. It will fit 2 or maybe 3 pairs of RHA S500. I like this approach. The manufacturer is not trying to save 2 kopecks on sewing small bags but gives you comfort from using it. Headphones fit into a large bag without difficulty. They do not need to be cleverly folded or twisted. There, along with the headphones, you can put all the complete ear pads together with their lock, and even in this case, the bag can be closed normally.
The RHA S500 has many features that set it apart from many competitors. There is no one standard solution; every element is carefully thought out and tested.
Ultra-compact in-ear headphones in aluminum cases – this is the shortest and most capacious description of this model. However, the case is minimal; don’t let that fool you about these headphones’ musical capabilities.
The wires are symmetrical. From the headphones to their connection, they have a rubber coating, pleasant to the touch, not cheap. The wires’ junction is enclosed in a serious plastic casing, and from it to the jack itself, the wire is protected by a braid. Thus, the engineers took care to maximally protect the most vulnerable part of any headphones – the wire. The jack for connecting to a sound source, like the cups, is aluminum, with special notches for convenient use. An additional rubber sheath protects the wire outlet. Wherever you look – the design is made so that the headphones will serve you as long as possible. For this reason, the manufacturer gives 3 years of official warranty. He is sure that with normal use, the headphones will last much longer.
RHA S500 closed-back headphones that provide a high level of passive noise isolation. I try to walk at least 10,000 steps every day, which helps sedentary work like mine. Part of the route passes a bustling road – 4 lanes in each direction. When using the S500, I did not increase the volume of the music. I was comfortable listening to it. Of course, I heard that cars were driving past, but they did not interfere. The level of external noise was quite tolerable. There is no metro in my city, but I think that even there should be no listening problems.
There are 6 pairs of extra earpads included, and I highly recommend you try each one to see which is ideal for you. Properly selected ear pads are:
- Complete passive sound insulation;
- Maximum comfort from use;
- Highest possible sound quality.
The headphones weigh only 10 grams, length (without ear cushions) 1 cm, diameter 8 mm. These are some of the most compact in-ear headphones I’ve ever seen. If you have problems that ordinary in-ear headphones are too big for you and your ears start to hurt from them, I safely recommend that you try the RHA S500. I have regular male ears, and these headphones literally drowned in them. It’s an amusing feeling when you try to grope for headphones, but they are not there – they are completely inside the ear. You can easily fall asleep in them, lying on your side; they will not bother you at all.
The headphones seemed to be very comfortable. I listened to music for about 4 hours and did not notice the slightest discomfort.
The microphone effect is minimal, noticeable only at low volume, and only when the bare wires rub against clothing. The braided wire does not produce parasitic noise at all during friction.
If you are using headphones while walking, I recommend that you attach a clip to them and fix your clothes’ wire. Then he will not tug on the headphones, and you will not have to adjust them in your ear from time to time. I also noticed that when the wire is fixed with a clip, it rubs much less against clothes, and the microphone effect disappears completely.
The sound of the RHA S500 in games
I am an avid gamer. My gaming experience is more than 25 years, so I know exactly what the sound should be in the game to get the maximum possible pleasure and the rich information content of the sound.
I will tell you about the sound in music and its character in general just below. In this chapter, I want to focus on how headphones allow me to play and gain an advantage over my opponent.
I mainly play first-person shooters. This is the most demanding genre in terms of sound quality. Sound is special effects, but it is also information about what is happening around the character: where the enemy is, what he is doing, and where they are planning to go.
Therefore, I expect from the headphones as much information as possible about everything surrounding my character in the game.
The sound of the RHA S500 was tuned by the company’s engineers for a long time and meticulously. This is noticeable right away. It is fairly honest, almost colorless, only slightly raising the mids. In games, it gave me great spatial positioning, stage feel. I could easily determine where exactly the enemy was. I was ready to meet him in advance, which more than once saved my character’s life.
Many people think that gaming headphones should only emotionally and exuberantly reproduce low frequencies because the WOW effect depends on it. But I am of a different opinion. Bass is, of course, good, but the ears get tired from the abundance of deep bass, and then the head. RHA S500 skillfully reproduces low frequencies. At the right moments, there are enough of them but without excess. This is partly because there are modest-sized drivers inside, trying their best to achieve deep low frequencies.
In general, I rate the sound of the headphones in games at a high level, although I lacked the assertiveness of the sound in some games.
RHA S500 sound quality in music
The RHA S500 headphones are the youngest in the manufacturer’s lineup, but even they can give you real pleasure from listening to your favorite music. When I got the headphones, I started listening to music in various ways: mp3, CD, Hi-res and was very surprised that the headphones are sensitive to the data format. When switching from mp3 to CD, the playback quality improved. The sound acquired depth, purity, and, most importantly, density. Not all, even more expensive, competitors’ headphones can boast such sensitivity to the source material.
The headphones are clearly tuned to instrumental music, and they do a great job with acoustic guitar, keyboards, and brass. This does not mean that bass guitars or sonorous cymbals are too tough for them. They cope with everything, but instrumental music sounds most effective and pleasant.
I like it when a manufacturer is not shy about specifying a frequency response curve in their products, which means that they are honest with you as a consumer. RHA has indicated the frequency response right on the package, and it confirms what I heard. The middle frequencies are slightly raised above the rest.
The company uses a proprietary dynamic microdrive (model 140.1), which has a headroom at all frequencies relative to the factory calibration. This means that you can easily use the equalizer, and the headphones will instantly respond to the slightest changes. For the sake of the experiment, I turned on the bass boost function, and the headphones, like a fakir in a circus, showed me good, energetic low frequencies. Of course, the head does not vibrate from them, but more from this form factor’s headphones is not required. Simultaneously, while maintaining control over them at a high level, the bass did not begin to mumble. They remained fast and elastic. Amazing. The same goes for mid and high frequencies.
RHA S500 is sensitive to the quality of the sound source. I noticed a change like the sound when connected to my Xiaomi Mi5 phone concerning a quality source. When connected to the phone, the sound became sharper and sharper. When paired with a high-quality source, the headphones change the sound. It becomes softer, more detailed, and dense.
The headphones have a declared sensitivity of 100 dB, which is not a very high value. However, when working with my phone, there were no problems with the volume. It was already 80% deafening, and it wasn’t easy to listen to music for a long time.
The earbuds do a good job with bass. You don’t expect this level from them, given the cups and driver’s very modest size. The bass is detailed and elastic. Not very deep and comprehensive, but it cannot be called insufficient. The headphones retain good bass control in all genres of music. The driver responds well to the additional adjustment in the equalizer. You can easily increase the emphasis on the low frequencies.
The RHA S500 are tuned to reproduce the mids most effectively and cleanly. The vocals sound natural, clear, and deep. You can hear the slightest nuances of the voice, even in complex musical parts.
Instruments sound detailed, separate. The spatial soundstage is felt well.
The headphones do well with them. There are no sibilants. Cymbals sound crisp and detailed. The sound does not fall on squeals of incomprehensible noise. It is detailed, understandable, and clear. One feels that they tried very hard to adjust the sound and did everything possible.
Scene and volume
The RHA S500 does a good job of conveying the soundstage volume, thanks in large part to the excellent development of the mid and high frequencies. Instruments sound separate. Even in difficult moments, the sound does not fall into a mess. It remains detailed. When listening to special test tracks, closing your eyes, you can easily imagine yourself in a small music club. Before us is a stage, in the left corner is a double bass, on the right is a saxophone, and in the center is a singer singing in a languid voice. The sound is soft and pleasant.
Listening to music
I used most test tracks from two demo discs, recorded specifically for testing acoustics and headphones. One of the main features is that the music has not been overly compressed and retained its full dynamic range. This is a critical parameter, which is not always observed when mixing modern popular music. The full dynamic range allows you to fully unleash the capabilities of your headphones for incomparable listening pleasure.
The RHA S500 headphones made a great impression on me. They are very tiny, but at the same time, they cope well with any music, perfectly adapted to work with both portable equipment and a more serious sound source.
The driver’s factory calibration will allow you to hear the smallest details of the performer’s vocals and appreciate the depth of the music scene. Simultaneously, the headphones play out low frequencies well, although they do not emphasize them.
All in all – honest, balanced sound.
When connected to a smartphone, the headphones lose some quality. The sound becomes sharper and sharper. When connected to a good sound source, they start to sound more detailed, tight, and mellow.
Sensitive to the format of the music recording, the more detail in the sound you will hear. On some mp3 recordings, compression artifacts become audible, the sound becomes loose, and even a little rattling. When the same music is played in good quality, the negative effects disappear.
I recommend the headphones to those looking for very compact yet durable and good-sounding headphones for a reasonable price.
- Marshall Minor II Wireless Headphones: A Complete Review ★★★★★$59.99
- Sennheiser Momentum Free Special Edition: A Complete Review ★★★★★
- Pioneer SE-C8TW Truly Wireless in-Ear Headphones: A Complete Review ★★★★★$119.99
- Edifier TWS1 True Wireless Stereo Earbuds: A Complete review
- Beats Solo 3 Wireless Headphone: A Complete Review $179.99