RHA T20 / T20i In-Ear Earphone Review

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RHA T20

Brief: Latest flagship IEM from UK-based IEM experts RHA

MSRP: $239.95 (manufacturer’s page)  ; $249.95 for T20i w/mic & 1-button remote for iOS (manufacturer’s page)
Current Price: $240 from Amazon.com for T20; $250 from Amazon.com for T20i
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: 16Ω | Sens: 90 dB | Freq: 16-40k Hz | Cable: 4.4′ I-plug (w/3-button iOS mic/remote for T20i)
Nozzle Size: 5mm | Preferred tips: Comply T200, Stock double-flanges
Wear Style: Over-the-ear

Accessories (5/5) – Single-flange (6 pairs in 3 sizes), double-flange (2 sizes), and foam (2 pairs) eartips with stainless steel caddy, shirt clip, threaded nozzle tuning filters (3 pairs), and zippered leather carrying case
Build Quality (5/5) – The T20 is yet another in a long line of RHA IEMs with impeccable construction. It utilizes injection-molded stainless-steel housings and features three pairs of interchangeable sound-tuning nozzle filters, which are color-coded and stored threaded through a metal plate. Cables are of above-average thickness, tangle-resistant, and feature a rather beefy “memory wire” section in place of the flexible earhook found on RHA’s MA750 model. The cable terminates with RHA’s signature metal I-plug and the earphones are covered by a 3-year warranty
Isolation (3.5/5) – Isolation is quite good, on-par with the MA750 model
Microphonics (4.5/5) – The cable carries some noise but microphonics are generally not a problem due to mandatory over-the-ear fitment and the fact that the cord is thick and heavy, and doesn’t move around much
Comfort (3.5/5) – The ergonomic shape of the T20 makes it unique among the metal IEMs I’ve tried and is similar to what we typically see from Shure, Westone, and EarSonics stage monitors. However, the stainless steel shells of the T20 are also quite heavy in comparison, and a little less comfortable as a result. The memory wire helps, but during more active use it needs the cable cinch to stay in place securely

Sound (9.1/10) – The T20 is the third new flagship we’ve seen from RHA in about two years. The title originally belonged to the MA750, which impressed me enough to land a spot on my Earphone Buyer’s Guide upon its debut. The MA750’s combination of superb design and build quality with warm and pleasant acoustics remains difficult to beat – in fact, the T10 model that superseded it missed the mark for me thanks to its overly bass-heavy sound.

The T20 is very similar in design and construction to the T10, down to the three pairs of included tuning filters. However, while the T10 was very bass-heavy and ultimately not as natural-sounding as the MA750, the T20 reverts to a more balanced presentation.

The changes in sound brought about by its tuning filters are quite subtle, but a small amount of customization is better than none. The default “Reference” filter puts forward a mildly v-shaped sound not unlike that of the MA750, but with tighter lows providing a less warm and bass-biased sound and making the v-shape more audible.

The tuning of the T20 shares similarities with earphones such as the less expensive Alpha & Delta AD01 and the pricier, triple-driver Fidue A83, though both of these have slightly more pronounced “v-shaped” sound signatures. The AD01 is warmer and more bass-heavy than the T20 while the A83 has less bass with a slightly brighter and splashier top end.

The T20’s “Bass” filter cuts treble energy down slightly, biasing the sound of the T20 even more towards the low end. Though I consider bass impact and depth to already be plentiful with the “Reference” filter, I do like the smoother sound this filter provides. However, the T20 is not too heavy on midrange presence and detail in the first place, and using this filter dulls the sound further. In the interest of not losing even more fine detail, I ended up using the “Reference” filter instead.

The “Treble” filter of the T20 is actually the most mid-recessed of the three. It maintains the plentiful bass impact of the “Reference” filter but seems to re-balance the midrange and treble a little, with more bias towards the high end. Because the difference is again fairly mild, this filter is definitely usable and the resulting sound is still not as bright as, say, a DUNU Titan 1. However, the less mid-recessed “Reference” filter was again more to my liking. 

The presentation of the T20, which is fairly consistent between all three filters, is about mid-pack for a $200+ earphone. It’s not overly wide and out-of-the-head, instead offering a moderately forward sound. Earphones such as the VSonic GR07 and DUNU Titan 1 appear more airy and spacious in comparison, but also lack the dynamics and immediacy of the T20’s presentation. 

One last thing worth noting is that the T20 is quite sensitive to source noise – surprisingly so for a dynamic-driver earphone, especially one with such low rated sensitivity (per the manufacturer specs). In practical terms, this means the T20 will produce audible hiss and/or electrical noise with sources that don’t have an extremely low noise floor, and selecting the T20 as a “safe” choice for use with an imperfect source based on the rated sensitivity and dynamic driver may not have the desired results.

Select Comparisons

Below are several head-to-head comparisons between the RHA T20 and earphones that either perform on a similar level or have somewhat analogous sound tuning (or both). These comparisons may play a direct role in someone’s purchasing decision, but more importantly they help contextualize the earphone’s performance based on the other options currently on the market. The T20 tuning filter used for the comparison is noted as well

RHA T20 (Reference) vs RHA MA750 ($120)

RHA’s mid-tier MA750 model has been one of my favorite earphones in its class for a long time, and the T20 is arguably the closest thing I’ve heard to an MA750 upgrade. The biggest improvements are in clarity and soundstaging – the newer model sounds less veiled and has a more precise and well-defined soundstage. In addition, although the tuning of the T20 follows a more conventional v-shape, it has less overall bass bias than the MA750 and is arguably more balanced on the whole.

The bass of the MA750 is more intrusive and less controlled despite being no more powerful than that of the T20 in its “Reference” configuration.  As a result, the MA750 sounds a touch less balanced and detailed than the newer earphone. The T20, on the other hand, is more crisp and resolving, and carries a bit more treble sparkle. Both earphones have similar emphasis in the upper midrange, which is not entirely natural and can make them sound a bit “tizzy” at times, but on the whole the T20 is the one that presents a more dynamic and enjoyable listening experience.

RHA T20 (Reference) vs VSonic GR07 Classic ($100)

The VSonic GR07 is one of the most popular reference-class dynamic-driver earphones of the past decade. It’s interesting that both the T20 and the GR07 display some treble unevenness, but in different areas. As a result, both can be harsh in different ways – the GR07 tends to be more sibilant and the T20 – more “tizzy”.

The differences don’t stop there, however – the T20 boasts more powerful and impactful bass and follows a more v-shaped sound signature. Clarity is on-par but the VSonics tend to sound flatter and more accurate on the whole while the T20 is more mid-recessed. The presentation of the GR07 is wider and more laid-back while the T20 tends to sound more forward, but also has better depth and dynamics.

RHA T20 (Reference) vs Aurisonics Rockets ($250)

While the RHA T20 and Aurisonics Rockets differ tremendously in sound tuning and form factor, they’re priced similarly and both offer tough-as-nails build quality backed by lengthy warranties. The sound of the Rockets is much more midrange-focused, in stark contrast to the somewhat v-shaped T20. The Rockets’ bass quantity and impact are significantly lower but the bass is tighter and more controlled. The top end of the Rockets is much smoother while the T20 has more prominent – but also harsher – treble.

Clarity is about even between the two, and neither reaches the clarity and resolution of an ultra-flat earphone such as an Etymotic ER4 – the Rockets are slightly limited by their more laid-back treble and mid-focused sound and the T20 – by its heavier, less controlled bass and more recessed midrange.

RHA T20 (Treble) vs DUNU DN-2000 ($265 – $280)

Even with the “Treble” tuning filters in place, the T20 has a bit less energy at the top end compared to DUNU’s hybrid DN-2000 model. The greater treble presence of the DN-2000 gives it a brighter tone and a crisper sound while its bass has a more linear character that leaves the sub-bass more audible. The T20 has more mid-bass impact but isn’t as tight and controlled as the DN-2000.

The T20’s more recessed midrange and darker overall tone limit its clarity and detail resolution a bit compared to the DN-2000. Together with the more powerful bass, this results in sound that is a bit more veiled and muddy. The T20 is smoother, however, while the DN-2000 is more revealing and at times harsher, though it also boasts a more spacious and airy soundstage.

The Headphone List Recommended EarphoneValue (8.5/10) – While the RHA T10 was something of a departure from the superb MA750 model that preceded it, the new T20 takes a step back and delivers more of what made the MA750 great. It tackles the difficult task of improving on the MA750’s strongest points – its build and sound quality – and succeeds by combining a seemingly tough-as-nails construction with a slightly more exaggerated version of the MA750’s impactful, mildly v-shaped sound signature. It can be a little heavy-handed in the upper midrange and doesn’t have the most delicate, refined, or detailed sound, but rewards listeners with excellent dynamics and good clarity on top of impactful bass.

With its ergonomic shape, ultra heavy-duty stainless steel construction, and dynamic driver, the T20 is one of the more unique high-end earphones on the market right now, and while it may not quite deliver the killer value for money of the more inexpensive MA750, I’m glad to see RHA continuing to both innovate and improve on previous designs.

Pros: Extremely solid build quality; 3 year warranty; very capable sound with three tuning variations
Cons: Heavy housings; source-sensitive


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About Author

Living in the fast-paced city of Los Angeles, ljokerl has been using portable audio gear to deal with lengthy commutes for the better part of a decade. He spends much of his time listening to music and occasionally writes portable audio reviews across several enthusiast sites, focusing mostly on in-ear earphones.

69 Comments

  1. Matt C on

    With the bass filter the T20 sounded great. A clear step up from the M750s. Mids had great resolution and clarity, highs were crisp and realistic. Bass went low and was pretty smooth but could be a bit boomy. The bass on the Yamaha EPH100s is better, it goes lower still and is never bloated, has fantastic resolution and control with superb decay. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better IEM for bass, and only £70. like the t20 the bass doesn’t bleed or dominate over the other frequencies. Overall though t20 is a better IEM than the EPH 100s as apart from bass it does everything else better.

    The M750 in comparison is much smoother, with mids that can be too veiled at times. Where the M750s are better though is in it’s soundstage, probably as they are very V shaped. T20s mids are a bit more forward (although still slightly V shaped). the soundstage on the M750s is one of the best I’ve heard in an IEM. It is HUGE and makes them sound very big and grand. Very 3D like, great depth and width. They make my Dunu Titan 1s seem small sounding!

    They are similar in quality to other closely priced sets like Dunu DN 2000 and MEE Pinnacle 1s. Although they each sound different. If I had to choose one though I’d take the t20 as they have filters which each offer something different.

    • Savvas on

      Hello Matt and Ljokerl of course, I had Yamaha EPH100 but I lost. Which headphone should get that can be considered a true upgrade? My budget is £80-£130. Thanks!

      • ljokerl on

        If your primary draw to the EPH-100 was/were not 1) its smoothness or 2) its bass quality, the T20 can be a good step up as Matt’s post says. But if those two things are key criteria then you should be looking at something like the Sony XBA-H3 (not sure what these run in the UK) or another EPH-100. There’s really not a lot of things that can match it in those two respects – most of the good sub-$200 sets with enhanced bass tend to also sound brighter and harsher than the Yamahas. Someone else recommended the Sony XB90EX as a viable alternative too but I haven’t tried those myself.

        • SAVVAS on

          Thanks for the reply! I really enjoyed the EPH-100, what I would like maybe for an upgrade is a little more bass either quality or volume and maybe bigger sounstage. However, I am not an audiophile on the contrary I have really bad ears so maybe those things that I want are already perfectt on EPH-100! As for your recommendations, all of them except the last one Sony and are way more than my maximum budget £130. What I gathered from my research from some websites and including yours are the following:
          – RHA 750 £80
          – Dunu TIITAN 1 £90 OR FIIO EX1 £155
          – DUNU DN-1000 £130
          -Audio-Technica ATH-CKR9/CK9LTD £130
          What do you think? Or any other suggestion!
          Thanks again!

          • ljokerl on

            Not sure about those audio-technica models since I don’t have either one but the rest actually have less bass (or lower bass quality) than the EPH-100 so they wouldn’t be what you’re looking for. You can easily get more bass by moving to something like a Beats Tour 2.0 or Pump Audio Earphones, but then you’re sacrificing in both bass quality and overall sound quality compared to the Yamahas, as those models are a tier lower.

  2. Htcrx8 on

    Do these have a single dynamic driver? I’ve seen people on amazon reviews claiming they are dual driver and the listing states “dual coil”?

    • ljokerl on

      The T20 has two voice coils but only one diaphragm. By my definition, that’s still a single driver. Whether there are any advantages to this setup beyond marketing purposes, I’m not sure.

  3. amadeus on

    Would you list these in your Top 5? If not, which ones are your favourites? I’m looking to buy one that you would strongly recommend.

    • ljokerl on

      Top 5 for this type of sound and in a similar price range, perhaps, but not overall.

      My favorite earphones for each type of sound signature and budget, not including custom in-ear monitors, are compiled here: http://theheadphonelist.com/earphone-buyers-guide/ . Those are the sets I strongly recommend, but I don’t like to recommend things blindly so my guides are all organized by sound signature, budget, purpose, etc. You just have to figure out where you stand with these criteria to use them effectively.

  4. Eugene du Toit on

    Hi! I really like this and very pleased with them. These are rather suspect to wind noise though when for example jogging. I really like the form factor of the Shure SE215, but have noticed they sound perhaps to dull. On the higher end was looking a the SE425, but fear that might also be little to bass shy.
    How much of a compromise would a really cheapie like the the Philips SHE3580 / SHE3590 or Piston 3’s be for this kind of outside use. What is your thoughts about those?

    • ljokerl on

      A compromise to be sure, but should still be very much enjoyable especially in outside environments where there’s some external noise and your attention is perhaps not 100% focused on SQ anyway. The SE215 is still very much a compromise compared to the T20, and will cost you way more than a Philips or Xiaomi set.

      For a T20 owner the Philips would be my pick over the Xiaomis. Just a better signature match, never bass-shy and not as dull as an SE215.

      • Eugene on

        For the price it cannot be beat, I can even get both. I noticed you never gave a full review for the Philips? Why is that and what would its isolation and sound quality be?

        • ljokerl on

          Never got around to it, people usually trust me when I recommend them without a full review since they’re only $10 or so. Isolation is average to decent, 2.5 – 3 out of 5. Sound quality is the same, somewhere in the upper 7.x range.

          • Eugene on

            Thank you. Do you know if the SHE3595BK is the same,but only with microphone?

            • ljokerl on

              Yep, same thing but with microphone.

  5. Matt on

    Great Review. Have you tried the IM03’s? Right now i’m trying to decide between those and the T20’s. I want to be able to use these on stage and also for general music listening.

    Let me know your thoughts.

    • ljokerl on

      Nope, only the IM02. I can say that Audio-Technica’s form factor should be much better for on-stage use than the heavier, bulkier T20. It’s way more comfortable for long stretches of time, too.

    • Eugene on

      Hi!
      Would the Westone W40 be a stepup from T20’s in ergonomics and sound? I have noticed someone selling a pair of W40 for a good price and was wondering if it is worth considering.

      • ljokerl on

        Ergonomics – yes, mostly because the W40 is much lighter. Sound – I wouldn’t call it an upgrade, more of a very different approach. The T20 is more v-shaped, with more bass impact and more energetic and crisp treble. The W40 is warmer, smoother, more thick-sounding, with less perceived clarity than the T20 and more midrange focus.

        • Eugene on

          Thank you. Probably not worth it then for me, considering the price.

  6. GoodtoBeAGooner on

    Joker,

    I really appreciate all the research material you’ve provided me to make sure I’m investing my money properly. It had come down to DN1000, t20i or the IM02, but now that i’ve seen the t20i’s come in black – I think I know what I’m leaning to.

    Alternatively, I was really interested in the ACS T15 review , but they’ve changed their models; but after looking into these models I’m also very interested in getting an ACS Studio Universal but convincing information on them is quite scarce – any input?

    Cheers!

    • ljokerl on

      Unfortunately I’ve never tried those. There’s a pretty strong dichotomy among the IEMs you’re looking at, though, with the T20i and DN-1000 being much farther on the “fun” side of the spectrum and the IM02/T15 being much more on the “neutral/accurate” side. I would think it would make your choice easier if you decide which of those you’re going for first.

  7. Calidus on

    Hi Joker,

    Thanks for your very informative review as always. We seem to share something common with regards to our sound sig preference. I’d just like to ask you, currently DN1000 and T20 is in the same price in my country. Which would I choose between them if I’m looking for best balance between best SQ and durability? I’m particularly looking for imaging and musicality in terms of SQ.

    Thanks a lot!

    • ljokerl on

      Going to be hard to choose between them considering they aren’t tuned all that different and durability is not exactly a weak point of either set. Not sure if I’d pick this type of v-shaped earphone for musicality in the first place, but I can say that for sure that given the same price I’d go with the T20 – it just seems like a better value, you get a longer/better warranty, and so on.

      • Calidus on

        Thanks for the quick answer! Just one more last though, are they far off in terms of technical capability as an IEM? They share the same sig but is the triple-driver “advantage” of the DN1000 evident? This is really helping me a lot. Thanks |joker|!

        • ljokerl on

          Not very far – they each have some advantages over the other so it balances out. The DN-1000 is technically capable of more clarity and better detailing but the T20 has advantages in coherency, smoothness, impact, etc.

          • Calidus on

            Alright! Thanks a lot for your help!

  8. alex fan on

    Hi joker,

    Greetings from China by alex with paiaudio:)
    This is alex with paiaudio, we are looking for someone write our IEMs reviews on THL, Would you tell me who should i talk to or you are the right one ? thanks very much.
    i emailed THL media ,but there is no reply, pls recommend ,thank you:)
    here is our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/paiaudio/
    looking forward to hearing from you:) Cheers:)

    alex with paiaudio

  9. Arnstone on

    After years of use and abuse, my trusty MA750 is showing advancing levels of wear, and I fear they won’t last me much longer. Now I’ve really enjoyed the set, and though I might just get another one ‘just like it’, this is also an opportunity to move on and beyond I guess. Judging from the review, it would seem that the T20 would be my best bet, but are there other, possibly better contenders in that price range (or below)?
    I listen to a wide assortment of music of all genres, though I do tend to settle mostly on classical symphonies and metal (of the more melodic sort). I must admit, the MA750 was my first foray into higher-grade earphones, and I might be on the wrong end of the scale with how well it fits to my taste on music. I bought the MA750 based on my preferences with headphones, where I found bass and a wide soundstage to be two deciding factors.

    • ljokerl on

      There’s nothing that I’d personally tag as an upgraded MA750 in that price range aside from the T20 (not even the T10).

      With the looser requirements of something that sounds good with classical and metal music – and assuming you’re willing to venture away from the MA750’s tuning – you have more great-sounding options in that price range such as the Aurisonics Rockets and Audio-Technica ATH-IM02, both of which give you a more neutral/accurate/balanced sound.

      However, there’s no guarantee that this will be a step in the right direction – it could be that the RHA sound is already a great match for your preferences and you won’t enjoy the more neutral presentation of those, so it’s a bit more of a risk versus just sticking with RHA.

      • Arnstone on

        Thank you for your reply, Joker.
        I’ve been looking at the alternatives you offered, but the Aurisonics sadly aren’t available to me without raising my budget more than I’d like (import charges and shipping fees).
        While I tend to stick with the safer choice, there’s also the case that I might not know my preferences with earphones. With the import tax and shipping, the IM02 comes out to the same price as the T20. Which leaves me with the question – if not considering the price, which of these earphones would you say is the better?
        As a side note, I hate making decisions, so I’m leaving the burden with you, if you’re willing to take it!
        Anyway, thanks for your assistance thus far.

        • ljokerl on

          It’s not really a matter of which is better – they sound different enough that they aren’t direct competitors. The IM02 is much more neutral and accurate to the source/track, if that’s of interest to you. On the other hand the T20 has more bass (in any setting) offers a bit of variation with the three filters, and still has decently good clarity and detail.

          The T20 does come with a 3-year warranty, in case that has a bearing on your decision.

          If I were you and I really loved the MA750, I’d pick the T20 over the IM02. But if I were me (lol) I’d pick the IM02 because I do prefer the flatter and more accurate sound it provides.

  10. PhilipC on

    Hi, Joker. Do you think that the T20 is worth the price or is there another earphone that can compete with it below $200? I’m looking for an IEM that has good clarity, good soundstage and a somewhat V-shaped sound sig. I have an M40x from audio technica that I use a lot but I want to have something more V shaped.I am also considering the MA750 and I know that it has a slightly different sound sig from T20 but it is much cheaper. Thanks for any suggestions. btw, your reviews are great!!

    • PhilipC on

      Also, I want earphones that are durable and last long, I’ve heard that some IEMs that have good sq but tend to break easily, though i do know that the RHAs are very durable, which is a plus for them. Thanks tho!!

      • ljokerl on

        Well, I do think that if value is your top priority I’d just get the MA750. The T20 is more of the good stuff, but it’s 2x the price and definitely not 2x better (which is always how it works in audio, but still…). This is mostly down to what you’re comfortable spending as both IEMs are very good.

        Short of having detachable cables RHA earphones have fantastic build quality. If you treat them well, they should last years.

        • PhilipC on

          Thanks for your help, Joker. I think I will consider getting the ma750 for now. Cheers!!

          • PhilipC on

            Hey, Joker. Also what do you think about the DUNU 1000? I know that these have excellent sq but I’ve heard from some reviews that they tend to break after using for like months to within a year. Also I think the tips fall off easily. Do you have any suggestions about this? Thanks. I actually might get the DUNU if I can be sure that it is physically good.

            • ljokerl on

              The DN-1000 is also a very good IEM in its class. I think it depends more on which sound tuning and form factor you prefer, but if we’re talking strictly build quality and I was forced to pick one I’d pick the RHA.

  11. getclikinagas on

    Very good review ljokerl. Enjoyed reading.
    I recently auditioned the T20 and also noticed that the filters mainly changed the relative treble level.
    Bass impact is a little too heavy for my tastes but I can see the commercial appeal.

    The most impressive part was the feel of the thing. The build is impeccable.
    I did not like the memory wire though. It was a little too stubborn.

    How does it compare to the XBA H3 or XBA Z5?

    • ljokerl on

      That’s a good observation on the tuning filters – they are by their nature subtractive and can only tune the sound by attenuating certain frequencies. They are not able to amplify. Typically the maximum-treble filter will be the “natural” sound of the earphone (closest to having no filter at all) and the rest will selectively attenuate certain frequencies to various degrees.

      The Sonys actually have more bass impact and less of that upper midrange/treble energy that the T20 has in spades. As a result they sound significantly smoother and let you raise the volume more for even greater bass impact. It’s a different experience overall – sort of like an MH1C vs a VSonic product in the budget IEM realm.

      • getclikinagas on

        I agree that filters can’t amplify. But I started with the Basshead filter, and hoped that the Bass would be attenuated with the other filters.

        The MH1C vs Vsonic gives me a good perspective. Thanks

  12. Eugene du Toit on

    I received mine and very pleased with the purchase. No hissing problems with my Sony-A17. Very slightly perhaps, but in the same ballpark as the Shure SE215. Surprisingly they are not as insensitive as the specs claim. Same volume for SE215 and T20’s. The Steelseries Flux inear are requires quite a bit more volume to be on the same level as these. I was expecting a more unrefined sound, but these are pretty good. Exellent fit and finish. More comfortable for me than the SE215 and those I have been wearing for 3 years. Pit that the Shure Olives do not fit these as I prefer the foam to silicon tips. Definatly a stepup from the SE215 while maintain that juicy, fun sound.

    • ljokerl on

      Very glad you’re enjoying them!

      Also, great feedback for current SE215 owners (lots of ’em out there) looking for an upgrade. I think the included foam tips are not Complys so perhaps genuine Complys would be a worthwhile upgrade as far as eartips go.

      • Eugene du Toit on

        RHA recommended Comply T200’s for the T20.

      • Eugene du Toit on

        Actually I tested it and got the Olives to fit, was not even very difficult. Does not seem to effect the sound, perhaps a little smoother?

        • ljokerl on

          The stock tips aren’t a bad match so I wouldn’t expect huge improvements, except comfort for those who prefer foam.

          Getting the Olives on there seems like it would be a challenge.

          • Eugene du Toit on

            The stock tips are actually very good. I have just always had problem with seal, so that is why I wanted to try the Olives. The olives made the bass seem to boomy and dull the treble, after testing it a bit more so I am back to the dual flanges.

  13. Sil on

    Hi, ljokerl. Been a fan of yours for a while now.
    Stand on the point of “fidelity”, would you think this T20 deserves it? Cause I been looking for a true pair of Reference. And I want something really stands out at this price range (though I know it’s not really realistic).

    • ljokerl on

      The T20 is not so much a reference earphone so it doesn’t really make sense to get it for that purpose, not when there’s hundreds of other earphones on the market. For the same price you could get an Audio-Technica IM02, for example, which is a true reference monitor and is going to be a flatter and more accurate earphone by a good margin.

    • Sil on

      Thank you, ljokerl. That I have heard of. But something very strange happen with that IEM (negatively). How about the Hifiman RE-600, ljokerl? I see they just got some discount, and usulayy praised for considerable “fidelity”.

      • ljokerl on

        I always recommend the RE-400 instead. Near-identical performance, much lower price.

  14. Eugene du Toit on

    I was talking about the stage diver SD2 before with you, but now I think this might be more suitable.
    How refined do you think this is compared to the Phonaks PFE,SE215,or the Inear Flux?
    Does it have better impact than those 3?
    Does it have sibilance?
    Does it sound thin or more on the weighty side?

    • ljokerl on

      It really depends on what you’re after. The SD-2 has little in common with these – it is a fairly flat studio/stage reference monitor while the T20 is a fun-sounding consumer IEM with enhanced bass and relatively bright treble. Yes the T20 has more impact than those and other professional monitors and its sound is not thin, but it’s also not as smooth as something like an SD2 or SE215 (or Flux). Those types of pro monitors are usually designed to prevent listening fatigue altogether, while the T20 seems to be intended to just provide a dynamic and immersive experience for more casual listening.

  15. Long Nguyen on

    Hi Joker,

    Thanks for your advice!
    Actually, I quite interest about UE900s, SE 535 ltd and Ety 4PT. But the problem with Ety 4PT is it looks so bad and I dont think it is a good choice for the daily use because of its design. I agree with you about your idea of trade off between the treble and upper midrange between UE900s and SE 535, but I hear that SE 535 ltd doesnt have the roll-off problem. Did you try the SE 535 ltd before?
    Finally, is that the big different between the sound of T20i and UE900, SE 535 ltd?

    Cheers,

    • ljokerl on

      Perhaps that’s true, my SE535 was the regular (non-LTD) one.

      And yes, the T20i is not redundant with the UE900/SE535. One of those would fulfill your balanced/accurate quota while the T20 is more on the v-shaped/”fun” side.

      • Long Nguyen on

        Thank you very much Joker,

        I quite agree with you, I like T20i because of its design and sound. However, I really want to get a hybird or amature iem due to the fact that all of my iems are dynamic iems. Today, lendmeurear made a discount 25% for FLC 8s, just in today. Thus, FLC 8S is only cost $250, I actually think it is a great deal even you say that I may not like it. If I get the FLC, I will review it soon. If not, I think I will get UE900/SE535 ltd in the christmas. Anyway, I very appricaite your help. I have done a great job and your reviews will be the references for many audiophiles for a long times.

        Cheers,

        • ljokerl on

          It’s a great deal, no question. FLC8 and T20 for $500 all in would be quite a fun stable.

  16. Listener on

    The measurements for this on Inner Fidelity look outstanding in all respects but one. They show that these have a response that is a a little high, and even forms a peak, between 4 and 5kHz. I guess the result of this peak in that sensitive area is what you describe as being “a little heavy-handed in the upper midrange.” For me, that disqualifies them, though as I said they look great in all other respects. The Velodyne V-Pulse measurements look quite similar in the midrange and treble, but are smoother and don’t have this peak; however, this RHA measures better in other respects and looks like it would be a little clearer and more detailed.

    • ljokerl on

      Yeah, subjectively the vPulse lacks a big chunk of fidelity compared to the T20.

  17. Long Nguyen on

    Hey Joker,
    I just bought this IEM some days ago. In my opinion, I think it is better than both MA750i and GR07. I dont know why you made its mark lower than both Dunu 1000 and Dunu 2000. I feel the sounds of Dunu 1000 and Dunu 2000 are more V-shape, less balanced and less accuracy than T20i.

    • ljokerl on

      I didn’t find the DN-2000 to be more v-shaped than the T20 but regardless of that, if I gauged every new earphone based purely on how close it is to my personal definition of flat/accurate sound I’d have to be extremely biased towards a certain subset of balanced armature IEMs which sound much flatter than the T20, MA750, DN-1000, DN-2000, etc.

      Ultimately there is a place on the market for many different sound tunings, so something being more v-shaped doesn’t automatically make it worse*. It’s just one property, out of many, to consider when making a decision on which IEM is right for you.

      *Admittedly there is a limit to my personal tolerance of this. The unique melody 3x, for example, is just too v-shaped to be enjoyable

      • Long Nguyen on

        Thanks Joker,

        Actually, I felt hard to understand when you gave the mark for Dunu – 2000 higher than T20i. I think Dunu – 2000 is worse than T20i, we can compare it with T10i but not T20i. The newer version Dunu – 2000J is more suitable than to compare with T20i. They are both good but the T20i is smoother and warmer, in the other hand, the Dunu – 2000J is brighter than in treble.

        Anyway, they are yours feeling so it doesn’t matter. I want to ask you one more thing. This Christmas, I am going to buy a new iem. I am considering between Fidue A83, FLC Technology FLC8S and Etymotic Research ER4PT. Can you give me some advices? and which one do you think it is the best between three of them. Finally, how are their sounds in compare with T20i.

        Thank you very much. I hope you have a nice weekend.

        • Long Nguyen on

          Hi Joker,

          I just found out that the UE 900S is only around $290 on the amazon rightnow. What do you think about its sound quality and value in comparison with Ety 4R, FLC 8S and SE 535?

          Cheers,

          • ljokerl on

            Those are kind of all over the place in terms of sound signature. I can’t tell you which is the best because it will depend on what you’re looking for – it it’s a flat, detail-oriented sound, then the ER4 (discounting the FLC8 here because if you found the DN-2000 too bright these will probably sound too bright as well). If it’s a balanced sound that’s a little more fleshed-out and smooth, but a little less resolving end-to-end than the ER4, the UE900 and SE535 would be good options . I tend to prefer the UE900 because I’d rather have an upper midrange dip than a treble dip, but it again depends on your needs. The A83 I think would be redundant if you own the T20.

  18. Phillip on

    Waiting on your review on the Aurisonics Rockets :).

    • ljokerl on

      I wrote one for InnerFidelity a little while ago but circumstances conspired against it being published. I plan to re-write it and post it here.

      • SCIDmouse on

        On a similar note, still waiting for your review on the ATH IM02s ! Was really curious about your detailed analysis on it

  19. Guy on

    Thanks for the review, it inspired me to pick up both the T20i and the ma750. I hope to be discerning as you have been.

    • ljokerl on

      Great stuff! Planning to keep just one or both?

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