Two of the earphones that have made us go from clean wireless to the wired hassle are the RHA T20 and the Shure SE425, and they have quite good reasons for that. But which of the two stands out the most and provides the ultimate premium music experience?
Well, let’s find out.
Let’s jump to the specs first. As you can see it’s hard to find a clear winner from the papers; but the Shure SE425 has some features over the RHA T20.
RHA T20 vs Shure SE425: Which one to go for?
Design and build quality:
The RHA T20 has 10 additional ear tips along with the earphone out of the box. The earphone has a solid design and build quality. The housings are made up of metal injection moulded with stainless steel.
You can switch between Bass, Treble, and Reference filters according to your own preference or in other words you get 3 high-end earphones for the price of one. It sports a Y splitter, and a 3.5 mm termination with a spring to take the stress off the cables.
Shirt clips are provided to hold the weight of the headphone. Due to the weight of the earphones they heavily depend on the cable to stay firm behind your ears.
Being an over-the-ear headphone the design generally cuts down the cable noise, but it’s not that phenomenal during a workout or a commute.
The Shure SE425 is a sound-isolating in-ear earphone. To add comfortability and fit Shure has provided detachable and Kevlar-reinforced cables which enable easy replacement.
The sleeve kit comes from Sensaphonics which has awesome fit and an ambient noise cancellation of 37db.
Shure has included cleaning kit and soft-zip compact carrying case. The Y junction and L-plug housings are rugged and durable. The design is no longer modular.
Comfort and Practicality:
If you are purchasing a premium earphone, the comfort and practicality factor must be looked at. The RHA T20 driver has a bullet proof feel to it, which takes the comfortability factor of the RHA T20 to a sky-high level as you can blend them to fit around your ears and stay there.
The in-line mic has been partial to iOS users as it still doesn’t have a remote control for android devices. The ear-tips are in profusion and can help you find the perfect fit for your ear.
As opposed to the T20, the SE425 sports a lightweight, low-profile shape with a nozzle that fits comfortably in your ears.
A premium feature that T20 has is the detachable cables. However Shure has provided cables that are detachable and is tangle free.
Being a in-ear headphone the ear tips fit firmly, but take a well-deserved time to eliminate that annoying feel in your ear-canal. Result is a splendid noise isolation. The Shure SE425 doesn’t have a remote control or mic unit but it can be purchased separately.
As opposed to popular opinion, I would go with the se425 in-ear in the comfortability segment.
These can be a bit annoying to put on at first, but after the brain/gear burn in it becomes very evident that the little struggle is really worth it as you get an out of the world premium music experience.
Sound quality and performance:
Now let’s get into the technical and most important part; the reason why you’ve invested your money, the factor that decides the ultimate fate of the earphones in the market: The sound quality and performance.
The T20 flaunts a unique USP, that is the easy-to-use sound filters. The Bass, Treble and, Reference filters make subtle but perceptible differences in the headphone’s sound quality and balance.
RHA has put in dual coil dynamic drivers in the earphone which takes the sound quality to another level.
The perfect fit set gives you an exceptional tight bass experience with no distortion. The sound quality is extremely immersive and astonishing.
Thanks to the dual coil dynamic drivers and the additional voice coil mounted in the housings. The T20 provides powerful lows even with the flat filters. When the bass filters are switched in, the lows are even more boosted and ground shaking. Still the lows never feel over-amped or muddy.
The in-ear design of the SE425 packs as much of a punch in the lows as of the T20. The tight fit gives a sense of isolation resulting in the extension in the lows too.
A stout low bass and a tilt towards high bass gives the SE425 an extended and not-so overemphasized lows.
The RHA T20 mids are natural and open with low mid-depths. The mids have good transience and are detailed until the track gets busy. The mids has no dips, but a bump around 1.8-2.2 kHz makes them excellent for alternative rock music.
The SE425 gives you a solid mids. It packs nuanced vocals and fairly elaborate elements that never conflict with each other. The flat response almost keeps the mids untouched, however with the isolation and seal, the mids are just phenomenal warm and rich.
The highs in the T20 are nice and clear. Flat filter produces a fairly flat highs but never “boring”. The bass filter boosts the lows and the treble filter boosts the higher-mids and the highs. Overall the RHA T20 gives a fairly neutral and warm sound.
With a very delicate lid on the highs, the Shure SE425 output is never too booming. There is no loss of details. You will hear elements that you didn’t know whether they were on the tracks you know inside.
Soundstage and imaging:
The soundstage is excellent and is very open sounding in the T20. The T20 has ample width and fair amount of height and depth. It’s not that airy and can deliver exceptional holographic effects and directional queues.
The SE425 soundstage takes the openness factor very seriously. Amazing would be an understatement for the positioning and holographic effects given by the SE425.
The imaging curve is also very expansive in the bass range but fairly stable in the mids and treble range.
Pros and Cons:
- Customizable sound quality, interchangeable tuning filters
- Exceptional build quality and durability
- Comfortable, warm and detailed sound
- Cable is not detachable or replaceable
- No remote for android devices
- A little Cable noise
- Excellent sound quality, immersive sound experience
- Solid mid-range, phenomenal noise isolation
- Detachable cable, can be replaced
- No remote control (sold separately)
- Average bass output, Average Comfortability
The RHA T20 has a very impressive sound quality, design and accessories. It has a mid-centric balance and sound signature. The tuning filters make subtle changes in the sound quality, staying loyal to the overall quality of the headphones.
The frequency range is really vast i.e. from 16Hz-40kHz. The raw frequency response is quite impressive in the lows and mids.
It gives you a very warm and detailed output. The frequency range is not as wide as the T20, but that doesn’t make a significant difference either.
As you most certainly have guessed by now it’s a really tough judgment to make in the RHA T20 vs Shure SE425 comparison. Both the earphones take the premium sound quality, comfort and, practicability factor to impressive heights.
Each of them have been in the bestsellers and top 10 list of many reviewers.
The T20 sports a neodymium magnet and has the highest frequency at 40kHz. That’s all that the T20 has over the Shure SE425. However the cable detachability and replaceability factor really comes into handy in long-term use.
The sound quality is not specific for one type, output is satisfying for all genres and equipment and compositions.