Link: Reloop – Price: $179/€149/£99
It’s not too often these days that a product comes through that utterly captivates me. It’s even more of a surprise that said product is a pair of humble headphones. But that’s exactly what happened when Reloop dropped a pair of their pretty unique RHP-20s off for review.
As you’ll doubtlessly appreciate, I’ve reviewed just about every pair of DJ headphones in the world over the last couple of years. Granted they’re all at least good, if not excellent at what they do. But with some notable exceptions, they’re much of a muchness. And then the RHP-20s arrive, and all preconceptions of same old same old are gone.
In The Box
As with almost every headphone review I do, this section is almost redundant as in almost every case, you get the same contents. In this case, it’s suede-ish bag with a silky interior, a 2m coiled cable and an adaptor. The special stuff comes later.
Like nothing else in the DJ scene. These are seriously sleek looking and obviously thought about. I can imagine the designer sitting down with a piece of paper, drawing a wide headband, popping a couple of earpieces on the end and working from there. And they did so with a minimum of fuss too. They are however bulky, and despite the minimal design styling, they look large on your head.
The RHP-20 headphones are a mixture of aluminium and plastic, and really do feel the business. It’s normal practice in headphones to have a lot of movement combined with a lot of plastic hinges to achieve it, which in turn breeds weak spots. These headphones however have limited movement backed up with mostly bolted metal mechanism. There’s always a weak point on headphones, and normal abuse will find that out quickly. I did the usual stress testing, and bar an obvious extra stiffness of the headband, I can’t see an obvious weak spot. Even the headphone cable connects with a mini XLR, which should be stronger than conventional mini plugs.
As a subjective assessment, I need benchmarks, and those are the Pioneer HDJ-2000s and Sennheiser HD25-IIs. Both offer different sound characteristics but at the same time superior sound to my ears. In a test spanning classic vinyl through a Rodec mixer, and plugged into my iPhone checking out MP3s, there was the same conclusion – warm and beefy in the bottom end, but somewhat lacking across the top end. Just goes to show that despite the incredibly wide 3Hz-30kHz range, it really is about your ears. But again, from a DJing perspective, they’ll work without issue.
So they’re not going to be worrying Sennheiser any time soon in this department. On my head, I found that they worked just fine. The vice like grip on my head helped with this, but I do not recommend them for public transport. People around you might admire the sleek minimalist looks, but they leak audio like mad. But they are DJ headphones, and for this they’re really good.
Comfort and Stability
And here we have the real beauty of the RHP-20 headphones. The moment I slipped them on my head, I knew I was in love. They seem to stick to my head like limpets on a ship, which is largely achieved by the extra stiff and wide headband, as well as the soft memory foam filled protein leather (aka not really leather) pads.
As mentioned previously, there’s little actual movement with the cups themselves. But thanks to the pivots above the cups, you do get some sideways movement that allows you to keep the full grip on everything but the one cup you choose to keep on your ear.
Note: I have a quite a large skull, and these fit me when fully closed. Even with an inch per side of adjustment, people with small heads may need to try them out first.
Considering the overall bulk of the RHP-20s, they do fold up into the headband quite effectively. They’ll still take up some space in your bag, but surprising a similar amount as Sennheiser. Go figure.
Face with an onslaught of amazing headphones, I’m quite smitten with the RHP-20s. The sound is good but not outstanding, and the external isolation is so-so. But the build is stellar and the comfort is up there with the “head sex” that are the Pioneer HDJ-2000s. But here’s the best part – they’re just £99/€149. For what you get, I feel this is an absolute bargain.
Comparisons can be drawn with the Pioneers, perhaps with looks but certainly with comfort. If you find yourself really wanting a pair of HDJ-2000s, but simply cannot afford the price tag, you’d do well to look at the RHP-20s. I think I’m a little bit in love with them.
Great: Price, comfort, quality, looks
Grate: Isolation, sound for just listening