RHA S500 Best Headphones Review
While wireless headphones and true wireless earbuds are taking over the market, there are still plenty of reasons to go with a wired pair of headphones over wireless. Wired headphones work without fussy pairing sequences and don’t have to be charged to use.
However, the biggest reason to go with wired headphones is the price. I recommend the excellent Optoma NuForce BE2 is the cheapest wireless headphones. They cost around $50. If you go any cheaper than that, you will be disappointed in the sound quality. The RHA S500u may be the best value out of all the wired headphones
Despite costing $40 (£30, AU$52), you get a pair of in-ear headphones that sound great, are built like a tank, and can easily stand up against headphones costing twice as much.
The RHA S500u has a straight 3.5mm jack and aluminum driver housings. This is an unexpected bonus in a headphone of such a low price, and RHA even engraves the word “aluminum” on the headphone jack itself.
The headphone cable is braided nylon, which will provide durability but also create a lot of cable noise. Since the Y-cable is long enough, listeners can wear the headphones over their ears since RHA includes a shirt clip for reducing cable noise. As for the Y-cable, it is not shielded with nylon, which may be a weak point over time.
The RHA S500u comes with a mic and a single-button remote that can be used with both iOS and Android devices. Unlike 1MORE’s Triple and Quad Driver headphones, RHA doesn’t have volume and playback controls for both platforms. It is not a deal-breaker by any means, but it is annoying having to reach into your pocket to adjust the volume.
It includes a carrying pouch and 7 pairs of ear tips, including a pair of double flange tips for better isolation. Due to its small drivers, the RHA S500u seal very well without the double flange tips.
As a result, the S500u is extremely comfortable to wear, and since the driver housings are so small, you can even sleep with them on.
This RHA S500u has no business sounding so good at this price. RHA was immediately impressed by the neutral presentation and although they’re not the best in terms of resolution, the RHA reproduces voices and strings in a pleasing timbre.
The bass is balanced, with good extension and excellent impact. Thankfully, the S500u does not bleed into the midrange because of a slight mid-bass emphasis.
In terms of mids, the RHA S500u has balanced mids that are not hidden by bass or highs. Cello has a satisfying timbre and female vocals are well represented. Those who are treble sensitive will want to look elsewhere, such as the 1MORE Triple Drivers, for their sparkling, sometimes sibilant highs.
In terms of the sound, we thought the RHA S500u was too narrow in the soundstage, which means you won’t get a good sense of where instruments are coming from or the acoustics of specific rooms.
In addition, the headphones have a forward, but exciting presentation. In comparison, the 1MORE Triple Drivers (which cost twice as much) are more laid back and forgiving.
|Tons of tips included||Narrow soundstage|
|Balanced, rich audio||Cable noise|
|Excellent build quality||Sibilant at times|
The RHA S500u is a great value if you’re prone to losing or breaking headphones, but values sound quality as well. For the price, these headphones sound remarkable.
With a slight mid-bass bump, the sound quality is balanced. Despite being slightly emphasized but not egregiously, the bass has a good impact while maintaining good control. There are times when the highs can be sibilant, which can be exciting but also tiresome for those with treble sensitivity.
Comparatively to the 1MORE Triple Driver headphones, which cost twice as much, the RHA S500u comes out on top when it comes to sound and build quality. Both sets of earbuds have metal construction and nylon braided cables. In terms of sound, the 1MORE features a laid-back presentation that is more forgiving of highs.
However, we found the 1MORE’s highs to be a little too rolled off for our liking, though many listeners will enjoy the Triple Driver’s thicker bass and wider soundstage. For us to even compare the RHA S500u to the Best-In-Class 1MORE Triple Drivers is a testament to how good these headphones are.