LINK: Reloop RHP-15 product page | PRICE: €69/£55
I quite like reviewing headphones. There’s a sort of Zen-like feel to it. Unlike controller or software, which can be complex but have very little differences, DJ cans have a succinct role to fill and using them all day means you get to know the product easily. As with anything audio-related, a lot of it is down to personal preference. What needs reviewing is fairly simple, but even things like over or on-ear, foldable or not, replaceable parts can be a matter of taste.
With this in mind, when I spotted the new(ish) Reloop RHP-15 DJ headphones on the ‘to-be-reviewed’ pile in the studio, I gladly slipped them into my laptop bag to get this review done.
IN A NUTSHELL
The Reloop RHP-15 headphones are budget cost over-ear DJ headphones from Reloop featuring a 50mm driver, over-ear cups, and a fold up design.
IN THE BOX
Along with your headphones, manual and replaceable cable, you get a nice big bag to keep your cans safe. It’s actually a pretty impressively designed bag, with a silky outer fabric and a mesh inner layer along with a lockable draw-string to close it. Even my trusty Xone headphones only have a cheap pleather bag.
While Reloop aren’t exactly known for their award-winning industrial design, they’ve made good progress in recent years to not only create a cohesive brand across all their hardware, but keep it tasteful. I’ve always found their headphones a bit lacking in this department though. The company tried to break from this with the RHP-20 and RHP-30 which take their cues from the ‘trendier’ end of the market, but apart from these, Reloop headphones tend to be more practical.
The RHP-15 cans are no exception and look like what can only be described as ‘workhorses’. Apart from the large shiny logo on the side, the RHP-15s are as basic in form as they come. There’s a lot to be said for utilitarian headphones, though. These look like DJ headphones through and through, and while we all hate to admit it, what you look like while DJing goes a long way towards your credibility with the crowd and your friends.
The RHP-15 frames are made almost entirely of plastic. The plastic feels lighter than you’d expect, and these have a bit of a hollow sound when they move. The hinges and cup clasps are normally the weakest parts of headphones, and while I gave them a bit of aggressive twisting to see how they fared, I’m not convinced they’ll survive being sat on or having equipment dropped on them.
There’s been some thought put into keeping incidental noise from moving around to a minimum, as well as avoiding wear. Each of the cup clasps has a small soft rubber pad to prevent the cups themselves from bashing into the frame. This goes a long way towards preventing parts from knocking each other too hard.
I found that the adjustable head strap notches were nice and strong, meaning that once you’ve found a setting you are happy with, there’s a good chance they’ll stay that way. The detachable, single-sided 3 metre cable gives plenty of slack, and should you run out of cable, it can snap out. It’s a bit of a shame there’s no option for coiled cables (older models came with an assortment of accessories, including different cushions and cable options… all for a similar price), which are less cumbersome and easier to pack away without getting tangled. As a compromise, they included cable comes with a little ‘hook and loop (AKA Velcro)’ strap to bind your cable together.
Audio quality is always a contentious point within reviews since it’s so subjective. Some people prefer more bass, some prefer more high end. What’s ‘better’ is so difficult to pinpoint that it’s easier to agree on the quantifiable aspects of the sound, so to start, I’ll cover what’s there and what isn’t
The thing that stands out about the RHP-15 headphones is just how loud they are compared to others I have to hand. I found that I needed to turn the volume down a few notches on tracks. This is quite possibly because the large 50mm drivers can push out a wider frequency range at consistent volumes.
To my [arguably less-qualified] ears, there’s a good spread of audio frequencies which not only make low-bitrate music files obvious, but mean that the sound is fairly even, if not a tad bassy. As a DJ, I tend to prefer more high end in my headphones, as using hats and claps for beatmatching can be easier than using the kicks, particularly in a loud environment. For day-to-day listening, the RHP-15 cans are decent enough and the lower volume means less ear fatigue.
I used these headphones for a variety of day-to-day listening activities, including for gaming, watching movies/TV shows, general listening to different types of music, and pretending I’m busy. I found the RHP-15s better suited for general use than DJing.
Short of noise-cancelling headphones, good sound isolation is the best way to keep your music at reasonable levels regardless of what’s going on around you. These headphones, while having a snug fit around the ears, provide a bit of isolation. The large cushions do mute your surroundings, but not as much as other headphones I’ve used. To be honest, with the larger drivers pushing out more sound, it’s not so much of a problem and the soft cushions have an added benefit…
Both Mark and I have similar problems with headphones: tighter fitting ones can cause discomfort when wearing glasses, or can squeeze glasses out of position on occasion. Worn for a long time without glasses, the ear cups never cause any problems… I found the softer cushions meant they also interfered less with how my glasses sat.
Even with the lighter plastic, the RHP-15s are a bit heavier than I’m used to so there can be some discomfort along the headband after a full day’s use, but that’s still pretty good going. Regardless, it was inevitable that would happen given the extra bulk you’re carrying.
- While large and bulky, the construction feels like it could be a bit flimsy.
- The lack of coiled cable isn’t ideal, but Reloop give you plenty of length. These are definitely no-frills workhorses.
- 55 quid is definitely edging into the budget zone, but you get some decent cans for that price range, even if there isn’t as many bits included in the package as they’ve had in the past.
THE BOTTOM LINE
While I might not be a fan of larger headphones for DJing, I can certainly see the benefits of larger, softer cushions and the extra kick from the Reloop RHP-15 headphones. Personally, I’d prefer a more compact pair of headphones for DJing as I tend to be quite active in moving them around my head, which is less useful with a larger set.
At this price point, you shouldn’t expect headphones to compete against the likes of the Sennheiser HD-25s or Pioneer’s range. The frames won’t hold up to nearly as much abuse, and they don’t have the most comfortable headband around, but they look the part, and offer a lot at a reasonable price point for those on a budget. Ultimately, there are a few issues like the lack of coiled cable and unimaginative looks, but as long as you’re willing to look after them, you could do a lot worse than these.
Based on the build quality, price and sound quality, the Reloop RHP-15s really do a better job as your general day-to-day cans sitting in front of your computer, also doubling as DJ headphones should you need them. If you treat them well, and use them like this, you’ll get a good bang for your buck.