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RHA T20 / T20i In-Ear Earphone Review


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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 for T20; $250 from 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design and build quality with warm and pleasant acoustics remains difficult to beat – in fact, the T10 model that superseded it missed the mark for me thanks to its overly bass-heavy sound.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



Picture of ljokerl


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.


82 Responses

  1. Hi all; hi ljokerl

    I’ve been consulting your list for many years now, and today I need some advice.

    I got the RHA T-20i a couple of weeks ago. It was on sale here in Canada, and I paid ca 160$, witch is about us123$ at the time I am writing. Tax and shipping included. I could not let that pass, after reading your review.

    Anayway, i really enjoyed them, but an issue arose and one side and the control box stopped working, so I have to send them back.

    The reason I’m telling you all this, is that I am wondering if should consider an exchange for something else. So let me lay down, as best I can what I liked and what could be better.

    Headphone I enjoy : Philips SHP 9500s, Final Audio E2000

    My comments about the T20 :

    The first thing that strucked me, is a sort of immediacy, or closeness of the sound, that was new to me, like I am in the middle of the musicians. I read about that audible caracteristic in reviews, and before actually hearing it I thought I would not care for it. Turns out I really enjoy it; probably in part because, the stage not being that big in iems, it seem to me sort of a way of giving space to music by briging parts of it closer subjectively. Stage is not big per say, but I get a better sense of layering, even than the open back SHP 9500

    These are the iem with the more clarity I’ve tried. More to my ear than the E2000, witch on certain tracks sound a bit more veiled, or dark, to my ear, like bass colours other part of the spectrum, or said differently: making my ears feal like they are a bit stuffed. On certain tracks anyways.

    The great majority of female voices on songs were full, intimate, emotionnal to me. Just lovely
    Male voices were more of a mixed bag. Some are just a tad behind, or a little thin compared to what I am used to. Nothing too distracting to me; I just kind of noticed at times. Maybe this is a price to pay for that extra clarity I percieve (compared to my other head/ear phones), some sort of dip in the hi bass-low mids… I don’t know; then again, voices on the SHP 9500 are somewhat fuller, and they don’t lack clarity. I guess on these mids are more in line with the rest of the spectrum,

    Even if I could really enjoy the neutral filter, it could become tiring. Not necessarily harsh, just fatigue. My prefered filter was the bass filter. I did not find it killed or even affected at all all the other fun characteristic of the sound : space, separation, clarity, layering, details less in your face, but still very discernable. I guess my old ears are dead to the sense of air of the high frequencies.

    I ended up really liking the big low end. It seems clean to me, not darkening the voices and instruments. Low-mid bass can be a bit too much. Generally fine, but can be distracting in darker/bassier mixes. I dont get so much the stuffed ear feeling, more like a distraction. I fiddled with the Equalizer app on my iPhone, and so far, before the T20 broke, I was really enjoying a -2db dip at 130 hz, with a q=0,7, and a 0,5db rise at 750mhz, with q=0,5.

    So.. knowing all this, is there a model for more or less the same budget you would recommend more than the T20?

    In the hope you get to answer quickly, as I got to start the process for replacing my broken T20 sooner than later.

    In any event, thank-you for your amazing work.

  2. HI;

    I am looking for an IEM with similar sound signature and price range with T20, but with replacement cable and which would you recommend?


  3. Thanks for your answer.
    I am looking forward to trying the RE-400 and see how I like them.
    I also had the finger on the buy button for the VSonic GR07 but couldn’t decide if I should buy the classic or the bass version.
    Is it a big difference or could I go with whatever version of them?
    Sorry, but I don’t quite understand, do you mean that the MA750 and T20 would be more like the neutrals or more like the T10?

  4. I haven’t tried any NAD headphones personally, but the T10 is about as far as you can get from neutral sound in a mid-range IEM. 99% of other IEMs would get you closer to a neutral sound than the T10, so you kind of have your pick of the litter. MA750 and T20 both fit that description as well.

    RE-400 might be a bit of a shock at first – it leans towards the opposite side of “flat” with its slightly mid-centric sound. Very different from what RHA earphones sound like. I probably would have gone with something relatively neutral but with a bit of added bass and treble, like a Philips Fidelio S2 or a VSonic IEM. That said, if you have the chance to at least try the RE-400 it will definitely help you make a more informed decision for your next step – if you like it better than the T10 but just want a little more bass or a little more energy, that’s one thing. If you totally hate it, that’s another.

  5. I read some reviews of the NAD HP20’s saying they are considered fairly neutral in sound, maybe I am looking in the totally wrong direction with the choices above and no wonder I am having problems with the RHA T10’s?
    Just ordered a pair of Hifiman re400 to try, but they feel a little cheap 🙂

  6. I currently am using the RHA T10i’s and find them a little tiring to listen to for longer periods, I think it is due to too much bass in them.
    I like the sound though in other respects but feel that I really needs to get something else.
    I have been considering both the T20i and the MA750 but also the Vsonic GR07 BE, I just want a tad lesser bass.
    I have owned the NAD Viso HP20 that I really liked and maybe it is something like that that I really want again.
    What would you advise and what would be similar to the NAD’s?

  7. The used market actually opens you up to a lot of options, and I can see where you’re coming from with the T20 and W40 both. The tricky part will be balancing bass and clarity, because while there are tons of IEMs that combine a smooth sound with good clarity/lack of veiling, once you start narrowing it down to sets that have W40 (or greater) levels of bass enhancement, it becomes tough.

    For example, the Aurisonics Rockets are one of my favorite IEMs that combine smoothness and clarity – they are extremely smooth, and yet have no veil whatsoever. However, the bass enhancement is low – not at the W40 and certainly not at the T20 levels. I still very much recommend these for a smoother alternative to hyper-accurate BA IEMs, but it just don’t have the bass quantity you’re after.

    Once you start looking at IEMs that have T20-ish levels of bass but smoother sound – for example the Yamaha EPH-100, Sony XBA-H3, and Sennheiser IE80 – your clarity drops to a level between the W40 and T20, and to bring it back up you’ll need to risk harsher treble again. The Earsonics Velvet is probably the best balance of this – it has some of the best bass I’ve heard from a BA earphone while keeping the resulting veiling to a minimum. It also keeps clarity high with fairly prominent upper mids, but without the “twang” of the T20. From a smoothness standpoint it’s not quite as “safe” as a set of the Rockets, the IE80, etc., but might be worth a risk if you can find one for a good price…

  8. Jim, I had same sense with the T20 (being slightly to bright and a bit harsh), but I experienced quite a difference by using the bass filters and swopping the tip for the large double flanges (or one size bigger than I would normal use for the siliconetips. The T20’s seems much smoother with this shallow fit than with the deeper insertion. Could be worth a try…

  9. Hey Joker,

    I currently have the T20’s and the Westone W40’s and neither have been what I am looking for, so I was going to see if you might be able to help me out a little. So my issues with the T20’s is that I find the bass bleeding a little much for me and more importantly the upper mids and highs can be a little too much for me. Long story short, I had a couple crainiotimies that have left me without a somewhat especially unique sense of sound. Anyhow, they are just a little too forward or bright. Whereas the Westone’s I find to be inoffensive, they sound very veiled to me. I was really surprised by this as I read so much about them being so clear and reference driven, but that isn’t the case for me. I like most everything else about them. I could maybe use a little more bass, but really what I am looking for is a very clear, yet inoffensive and relaxed sound with great bass, not necessarily overwhelming or muddy, but clear. I was looking at the Shure 846’s, but I have never listened to any Shure’s and don’t know. Price is not the biggest deal. I would like to stay around the $600 range used if I could on Head-Fi, but like I said, finding the right IEM ( AND HEADPHONE FOR THAT MATTER, IF YOU HAVE ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDATIONS) is my goal. I would really appreciate your help with my search, and hope to hear back from you! Thanks for all your reviews!

  10. If you liked the SE215 you should be fine with any of the ergonomic IEMs you listed except the SD3, which has a different shape. I would stay away from the SD3 if comfort is the priority. For me personally, SM64 and the Westone shape are the most comfortable. ES3 and SE535 (and SE215) a little less so, and the SD3 significantly less so.

    However, ranking them in sound is not that easy because they don’t all follow the same flat/balanced sound tuning. If the main criteria is clarity/no veiling, the ES3 and SE535 are going to edge out the slightly warmer/bassier SM64 and UM PRO 30. ES3 is a little more boosted in the bass and laid back in the midrange, SE535 is more midrange-focused, but compared the more v-shaped T20 and the treble-shy SE215 they will both sound very well-balanced.

  11. I have been enjyoing the RHA T20 , but have noticed that these pic up windnoise (probably the port on the side).The sound is fun and bouncy and smooth enough with the bass filters and slighly bigger silicone tip to have a more shallow fit.
    Now I am looking for something more comfortable. Sound- qaulity is not the main focus here, but something that could be worn for hours during outside activities. (Excellent isolation would be a bonus and have no little windnoise). So far for met the Shure 215 has been the most comfortable I have owned.
    Between the Earsonics SM64, ES3, Westone UM Pro 3 and Shure 535, you would rate them in which order sound wise? You have mentioned before that you find the Westone veiled. Veiled like the Shure S215 or even more thick sounding? I could also look at the Stagediver SD3 as an alternative, but not sure how the bulky shape will be with windnoise and comfort.
    Any thoughs? (I am looking at these, because offers a 3 year warranty on them)

  12. I have been enjyoing the RHA T20 , but have noticed that these pic up windnoise (probably the port on the side).The sound is fun and bouncy and smooth enough with the bass filters and slighly bigger silicone tip to have a more shallow fit.
    Now I am looking for something more comfortable. Sound- qaulity is not the main focus here, but something that could be worn for hours during outside activities. (Excellent isolation would be a bonus and have no little windnoise). So far for met the Shure 215 has been the most comfortable I have owned.
    Between the Earsonics SM64, ES3, Westone UM Pro 3 and Shure 535, you would rate them in which order sound wise? You have mentioned before that you find the Westone veiled. Veiled like the Shure S215 or even more thick sounding? I could also look at the Stagediver SD3 as an alternative, but not sure how the bulky shape will be with windnoise and comfort.
    Any thoughs? (I am looking at these, because offers a 3 year warranty on them)

  13. 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.

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

  16. 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!

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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”?

  20. 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.

  21. 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?

  22. 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: . 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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?

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

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