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Style and customization come together in the RHA T10i Noise Isolating High Fidelity In-Ear Headphones. These earbuds have a weighty, stainless-steel design and three interchangeable tuning filters to bring out bass, treble and reference-grade audio quality. With numerous ear inserts, the $199 T10is can provide more personalized sound than most in-ear buds, but their fit, volume and inline remote leave something to be desired.
"Industrial chic" comes to mind when you look at the RHA T10i headphones. The buds are made of metal injection molding and stainless steel, giving them a smooth exterior and satisfying weight when you hold them.
The part of the cord closest to the buds is pliable, letting you bend and shape it to fit around your ear securely. The rest of the wire is soft and jumpy, like a piece of thick spaghetti, with metal connectors and an inline remote that lets you play/pause music and take calls on Apple devices.
The T10i's replaceable tuning filters are the most unique thing about these buds. It comes with reference, bass and treble filters that you can screw on and off the buds' tips to customize the sound you want to hear. It's an intriguing feature to have in higher-end earbuds, especially since others like the Shure SE315 don't let you have that level of personalization.
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Comfort and Fit
The T10is come with 10 different ear inserts, including silicone and foam pairs. The largest foam pair was too hard and dense for my liking, and didn't mold to fit my ear canal as well as the foam inserts on the Shure SE315s. I then switched to the largest size silicone inserts, and found these to be more comfortable and secure.
I'm not a fan of the over-ear wire design, but many high-end earbuds, including the SE315s, sport this type of fit. However, this is where the RHA T10i headphones have a slight advantage, thanks to the bendy part of the cord closest to the buds. I pinched them until they outlined the back of my ear, which helped them stay put.
Katy Perry's "Dark Horse" resonated with deep bass and clear vocals on the RHA T10is, though the entire track was soft. Overall, the T10i's sound is well-rounded like the Shure SE315, but the Shure headphones played the same track louder with slightly more powerful bass.
I listened to the same track using the treble and bass filters that come with the T10is, and heard nuanced differences. The treble filter played more crisp highs but soft lows, and the bass filter played sharp and punchy drums, however, they lacked depth.
These differences remained consistent in other tracks. With the bass filter, the drums were more pronounced in Carlos Baute's "Amarte bien," featuring Juan Magan, and vocals were more robust with the treble filters. The reference filters had the best of both worlds with deep mids and lows, with pronounced yet soft highs.
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Compared with the Shure SE315s, the RH T10is are just as accurate, but don't have as much oomph. Latin pop songs like Baute's had me nodding my head to the beat, but the same songs played on the SE315s made me want to get out of my chair and dance.
With their stainless steel design and trio of tuning filters, the RHA T10i Noise Isolating High Fidelity In-Ear Headphones immediately give you the feeling that they're worth their $199 price tag. Once you listen to them, their solid audio quality proves that they are.
However, they could stand to be louder - for $199, I prefer the Shure SE315's more balanced and booming sound. But if you want top-tier earbuds that allow for easy audio customization, the RHA T10i headphones are a great option.
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Valentina is Commerce Editor at Engadget and has covered consumer electronics for a number of publications including Tom's Guide, Wired, Laptop Mag and Ars Technica, with a particular focus on wearables, PCs and other mobile tech.