Bluetooth earphones are among the most popular products in personal audio today. This trend has emerged thanks to Apple’s decision to build smartphones that no longer include 3.5mm headphone jacks—a step that made traditional wired earphones seem obsolete and gave rise to a generation of earphones that connect to smartphones wirelessly. In response, many manufacturers developed ‘neckband-style’ wireless earphones, which feature traditional wired-type earphones tethered to neckband-style, battery-powered Bluetooth modules.
However, since Apple’s release of its ingenious AirPod-series earphones so-called ‘True Wireless’ earphones have become all the rage. Unlike neckband-style Bluetooth earphones, ‘True Wireless’ earphones have no wires whatsoever. Instead, their earpieces contain not only the requisite earphone drive units, but also miniature, Bluetooth transceiver/amplifier modules complete with rechargeable batteries. The earpiece electronics are designed to ensure the earpieces stay in sync with one another, meaning there are no discernible time delays between the left and right channels.
‘True Wireless’ earphone carry cases serve double-duty as fast chargers that can recharge earphones multiple times before the cases themselves must be recharged. The draw, obviously, is that this solution gives listeners complete freedom of movement, although the challenge for manufacturers involves fitting an awful lot of technology (plus drive units) within the tight confines of an earpiece enclosure. One of the most attractive and appealing ‘True Wireless’ models we have encountered to date is the RHA TrueConnect earphone ($169.95 or £149.95), as reviewed here.
We have covered RHA’s wired earphones extensively in the past and two consistent threads we have observed is their emphasis on ‘musicality’ (a warm, natural, and musically engaging sound that works for all genres of music) and ‘value’ (offering noticeably higher build quality and accessories, plus better sound quality than many like-priced competitors). Happily, these traits carry forward into the TrueConnect earphones.
The TrueConnect earphones feature 6mm dynamic drive units, Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, simple-to-use control buttons and monitoring lights, and—of course—a hard‑shell, swing-open carry case/fast-charger. Fully charged the earphones offer five hours of playing time, while the carry case offers another 20 hours of charging time. RHA advises that 15 minutes of fast charging can bring the earphones up to 50% playing capacity, while a full recharge takes one hour and 40 minutes. The TrueConnects come with an extensive set of ear tips and an ear tip carrier: seven pairs of silicone TrueConnect ear tips (S/M/L), and three pairs of Comply™ Foam TrueGrip ear tips. A USB charging cable completes the package. TrueConnect earphones are offered in matt-finish white, black, or navy blue.
From the moment I first heard them, I was struck by how similar the sound of the TrueConnects is to that of RHA’s wired earphones—in particular the well-rounded MA750 models. While close comparisons would likely show up at least some sonic advantages of the wired models, the TrueConnects manage to capture much of the warm, natural, and inviting feel of their wired brethren. Much like the MA750s, the TrueConnects are also surprisingly revealing (though never cold or analytical), especially in the midrange and on vocals. A great example would be the manner in which the TrueConnects capture the dry, sardonic humour in Elvis Costello’s voice on ‘Don’t Let Me be Misunderstood’ from King of America [Hip-O Records, MQA Master].
Another area where the TrueConnects excel is throughout the bass region, where they show exemplary depth and weight. To hear what I mean, try focusing on the potent, descending synth bass passages found on the choruses of the title track from Maroon 5’s Girls Like You [Interscope, Tidal]. As the synth dips lower and lower the TrueConnects track right along, exhibiting exuberant qualities of dynamic ‘bounce’ and punch. The top-end and upper midrange of the TrueConnects is arguably slightly recessed, but offers admirable clarity without edge or glare.
RHA’s TrueConnect earphones have become my favourite go-to recommendation in their price class. This is because they look good, feel good, and sound good, honouring the music—all for not a lot of money.
Type: ‘True Wireless’-type Bluetooth earphones
Driver Complement: 6mm dynamic drivers
Bluetooth Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0
Bluetooth Range: 10m
Battery Type: Lithium Ion
Playing Time/Charge: 5 hours
Charging Times: 15 min. = 50% recharge;
1 hour40min. = Full recharge
Carry Case Charging Capacity: 20 hours
Accessories: 7 pairs of silicone TrueConnect ear tips, 3 pairs of Comply™ Foam TrueGrip ear tips, USB charging cable
Weight: 13 grams (earpieces only), 91 grams (earpieces plus carry case/fast charger)
Price: £149.95, or $169.95 US
69 Haugh Road, Glasgow G3 8TX, United Kingdom
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