RBH EP2 Earphones

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RBH EP2 Earphones

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RBH-EP2-headphone-review-small.jpgRBH has been a manufacturer of speakers for both residential and commercial uses since 1976. RBH is well known for its utilization of aluminum cone drivers in reasonably-priced speakers with good results. RBH introduced its first earphones, the EP1 and EP2, at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show. The EP2, reviewed here, offers the same sound performance as the EP1, but adds a microphone/button module for smartphone functionality. The retail price is $179, which includes large and medium Comply ear tips, as well as large, medium and small silicone ear tips. A cord clip and a storage case are also included.

Additional Resources
• Read more headphone reviews from HomeTheaterReview.com's writers.
• See a review of Astell & Kern's audiophile portable player.

The EP2's reproduction of bass and midrange was balanced and accurate. Male vocals sounded much as they did on my reference audiophile system. The RBH earpieces, their fit in particular, have a lot to do with obtaining good performance at low frequencies. They have to be in the ear correctly for maximum sound quality. Proper placement of the EP2s within the ear canal, including the compression of the Comply earpieces, makes for a good fit. In some situations, the EP2's upper-frequency reproduction could be a bit harsh at very loud volumes, revealing a brassy, smearing sound to cymbals and an edge to female vocals. Some of this has to do with the type of music and quality of the recording. I noticed the smearing of cymbals in particular when listening to Seal's self-titled album from 1991 (Sire).

Comfort is another important consideration that one should not overlook, and the EP2 did not disappoint. Many in-ear products in this category irritate my ears. I found the EP2 to be among the most comfortable earphones I have used with the Comply earpieces attached. During extended listening auditions, I experienced no ear pain or fatigue whatsoever. I could absolutely live with these.

Sound isolation was effective and in large part a function of the Comply earpieces. I was listening while watching children swim in my backyard, and I could see the kids' mouths moving but could not hear them talk. At first I thought they were gaming me, but then my dog started doing the same thing. For a moment I thought, "How did they get the dog to do that?" Then I realized the sound isolation was, in fact, working.

The smartphone functionality was decent, except I could not get the mic/button to go back to a previous track; only pause and track-forward worked when connected to an iPhone. The RBH instructions indicate that previous-track functionality exists, but left this open with the statement that overall functionality will vary depending on smartphone. The microphone offered good clarity with phone calls, and I was able to easily answer and end calls with the microphone button.

Read about the high points and low points of the RBH EP2 on Page 2.
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