“Nice sound and a singular form are held again by a weak battery and a excessive worth.”

Full, wealthy sound

Responsive, customizable controls

Ergonomic design

Tons of eartips included

Costly

Mediocre name high quality

Poor battery life

On the excessive finish of the true wi-fi earbuds class, you’ll discover some excellent merchandise just like the Sennheiser Momentum 2 True Wi-fi, the Grasp and Dynamic MW07 Plus, and the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds. So if an organization desires a seat at this desk, it’s going to must deliver its A-game.

That’s RHA’s aspiration for its new $300 TrueControl ANC, a set of noise-canceling earbuds that defies standard considering of their form, their contact controls, and their charging case. However are these improvements sufficient to earn the TrueControl our suggestion? Let’s test ’em out.

What’s within the field?

Simon Cohen / Digital Tendencies

Aside from just a few very tiny plastic protecting stickers, the TrueControl’s packaging is 100% recyclable paper and cardboard, which I believe is very commendable.

Contained in the field, you’ll discover the TrueControl ANC earbuds already of their charging case, a USB-C charging cable, and a record-setting 10 pairs of eartips, three of that are reminiscence foam, made by Comply.

Design

Simon Cohen / Digital Tendencies

Sometimes, true wi-fi earbuds are in-built such a manner that you just insert the tip into your ear canal after which twist the earbud forwards and backwards till you discover that magical mixture of consolation, safety, and seal. The RHA TrueControl ANC take a unique method. Constituted of a grippy, matte black plastic, the earbuds are asymmetrically formed and contoured in order that they’ll solely be inserted straight into the ear.

The contact controls are among the many greatest I’ve tried.

As soon as seated, that form prevents any twisting or turning. It’s a little bit of a dangerous design determination given how in a different way everybody’s ears are formed, however RHA believes it has designed them in such a manner that they’ll match “wholly within the ear.” Although they stick out a bit out of your ears, they’re no bulkier than the Sennheisers and significantly much less cumbersome than the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds.

The contact controls are additionally a departure from the norm. They appear like bodily buttons, however they’re truly tiny gesture-based touchpads that may be swiped or tapped.

The charging case is similar to the one RHA used for its TrueConnect and TrueConnect 2 earbuds — a shocking and distinctive rotating barrel with a black aluminum body — however this time it options wi-fi charging. A tiny, three-LED battery life show on the barrel lights up once you open the case. Sadly, the bizarre alternative of design and supplies makes the case huge and heavy — with the earbuds, it weighs three.eight ounces, versus solely 2 ounces for the Jabra Elite 85t.

The sides of the aluminum body might scratch different objects should you’re not cautious with the place you stow it. One other peculiarity of the case’s design is that should you open it with the plastic barrel dealing with up (the one manner to take action if you need it to take a seat flat on a floor), the earbuds are swapped — the left one sits on the fitting facet and vice versa.

Take an excellent, lengthy take a look at the earbuds and case once they’re new within the field — it is going to in all probability be the final time you’ll see them with out fingerprints. The marginally rubberized matte plastic is an absolute fingerprint magnet.

The earbuds are straightforward to take away and change and are held of their charging sockets by sturdy, however not overly highly effective magnets.

Consolation and controls

Simon Cohen / Digital Tendencies

Due to their uncommon form, the TrueControl ANC have a big contact floor. Which means they’ll in all probability really feel like they’re “filling” your ear greater than different earbuds like Apple’s AirPods Professional, which have a a lot smaller profile. When you get used to it, nevertheless, it’s surprisingly snug. It’s additionally very safe, eliminating the necessity to depend on earfins or different help buildings like the sort you’ll discover on the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds.

RHA’s inclusion of an enormous array of eartip sizes and kinds is a giant cause why I used to be capable of finding an excellent match, and it needs to be the business normal. After utilizing the default silicone eartips for just a few hours, I ultimately swapped them for the biggest dimension of Comply foam ideas, which I discovered offered even higher consolation and a lot better sound high quality (extra on that beneath).

I can’t inform you with 100% confidence that the TrueControls will suit you, however given what number of ideas you may select from, your odds are much better than they could be if RHA had merely provided the identical three sizes because the overwhelming majority of true wi-fi earbuds. Sure, having a bunch of additional ideas that you just’ll possible by no means use is a bit wasteful, but it surely’s higher than deciding to return the earbuds as a result of you may’t get them to suit.

The contact controls are among the many greatest I’ve tried, in all probability as a result of — not like different so-called contact controls — they use a capacitive contact floor, not a movement sensor, to detect once you’re utilizing them. This not solely makes particular person faucets straightforward (since you by no means have to fret about how onerous you’re hitting them), but it surely additionally permits the TrueControl’s swipe-based gestures.

Skipping ahead a monitor takes a ahead swipe on the left earbud, and skipping backward takes — intuitively — a backward swipe. Quantity management follows the identical course of however makes use of the fitting earbud.

As soon as you discover the set of eartips that offer you an excellent seal, the TrueControl ANC sound superb.

Undecided you just like the swipe methodology of management? The RHA app allows you to customise it, with the flexibility to decide on swipe or faucet gestures for quantity, monitor skipping, and ANC mode, in addition to which earbud is used to carry out these duties.

The infrared put on sensors additionally work very nicely at detecting once you’ve eliminated an earbud, shortly pausing the music and beginning it once more once you reinsert the bud.

Sound high quality

RHA

As soon as you discover the set of eartips that offer you an excellent seal (another excuse why I like that RHA contains so many), the TrueControl ANC sound superb. Utilizing the manufacturing facility EQ gives a really satisfying stability of frequencies, with loads of heat low-end bass, detailed midranges, and clear highs. The RHA app allows you to regulate these settings with an extra 4 presets, however there’s no solution to create your personal — a stunning omission given how normal this function is on so many different high-end fashions (and even just a few budget-friendly ones).

Voices, greater than music, might be drowned out by autos and the TrueControl handily stored these interruptions at bay.

Stereo imaging is well-rendered, and I particularly benefit from the bass response’s resonant and authoritative really feel. However nearly as good as they sound — and I do assume most individuals will completely get pleasure from them — I don’t assume they carry out fairly in addition to a few of their direct rivals.  The $230 Jabra Elite 85t and $230 Sony WF-1000XM3 each provide a wider soundstage and higher total readability, particularly for vocals. To be clear, it’s not an enormous distinction, and also you’d must hearken to the identical tracks time and again, swapping forwards and backwards between these fashions as I did, with a purpose to pick the subtleties.

Should you’re an Android consumer, you get the additional advantage of the aptX Bluetooth codec, which may — below the fitting circumstances — provide higher audio high quality than SBC or AAC, although this distinction is negligible when streaming very high-quality sources like Tidal HiFi.

Noise cancellation

The RHA TrueControl ANC do an excellent job of canceling out exterior sounds. Certainly one of my favourite torture assessments is to wander busy streets listening to podcasts. Voices might be simply drowned out by passing autos extra simply than music, and the TrueControl handily stored these interruptions at bay. When sitting in an setting with persistent noise like a loud fan or vacuum, they don’t exhibit the astonishing cone-of-silence impact that the AirPods Professional ship, however I’ve but to come across one other set of ANC buds that may. Excessive-frequency sounds can nonetheless push their manner in, however low frequencies are very successfully nullified.

Curiously, the TrueControl do such an excellent job of passive noise isolation (particularly when fitted with the Comply foam ideas), chances are you’ll not really feel the necessity for ANC. However you’ll really feel the necessity for the ambient mode, which could be very nicely executed. This may be chosen as at all times on, or just for a brief interval by tapping and holding the left earbud for quick-ambient mode. You’ll be able to regulate how a lot sound will get in inside the RHA app.

Battery life

Simon Cohen / Digital Tendencies

ANC appears to pose a significant issue for the battery lifetime of true wi-fi earbuds. RHA’s non-ANC TrueConnect 2 get a wonderful 9.5 hours of playback and 44 hours of whole battery life with the included case, however the TrueControl barely meet what I’d think about the minimal for stamina, with solely 5 hours per cost and 20 hours whole with the case. RHA doesn’t say how for much longer they are going to final should you disable ANC.

By comparability, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wi-fi 2 get seven hours per cost and 28 whole with the charging case.

On this worth vary, solely the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds flip in a worse efficiency, with six hours per cost and simply 18 hours of whole taking part in time.

A 14-minute quick cost will get you an additional hour of life, which is about common.

Name high quality

Name high quality on the TrueControl ANC is sweet, however not nice. Callers have been capable of hear me with acceptable readability, however background sounds — even reasonably loud ones — tended to intervene.  If name high quality is a high consideration, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are a a lot better alternative.

Curiously, I couldn’t get the microphones on the TrueControl to work with voice-recording apps on both iOS or Android.

Our take

A strong set of options matched with nice sound high quality and good ANC make the RHA TrueControl ANC an incredible set of noise-canceling earbuds, however their uncommon form and excessive worth would possibly hold them out of the working for some people.

Is there a greater different?

Due to the TrueControl ANC’s $300 worth, most of the high noise-canceling fashions might be sturdy options, particularly if worth, battery life, and name high quality are amongst your chief issues. This contains the $230 Jabra Elite 85t, $230 Sony WF-1000XM3, $280 Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, and should you’re an iPhone consumer, the $249 AirPods Professional.

How lengthy will they final?

The RHA TrueControl ANC and their charging case are super-solidly constructed and I anticipate them to final a few years. RHA backs them with a three-year guarantee, which is definitely the longest manufacturing facility guarantee within the business. With an IPX4 score for water-resistance, they need to be capable of address a average quantity of sweat with no issues.

Do you have to purchase them?

Sure. Although costly when in comparison with the competitors, the TrueControl ANC sound nice, provide a really safe and shut match, and do a good job of noise cancellation.

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