RHA SA-500 review

These closed-back headphones produce a well-judged, balanced sound Tested at £35

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Pipped to the five-star post by the amazing Panasonic RP-HTX 7s, these are nevertheless a fantastic buy at the money


  • +

    Good, balanced sound


  • -

    Don't fold

  • -

    need positioning carefully

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The RHA SA-500s don’t fold, so they’re not too handy for travel, but the fabric headphone cable is detachable so it needn’t get tangled up in your bag.

The earpads slide up and down a simple rail system. They’re on the small side, so require more in the way of positioning to create a decent seal. But it’s hardly a flawed design…

The sound is open, clean and inviting. For the money, only the Panasonic RP-HTX 7s dig up more detail.

Simple but effective
Still, these produce an admirably well-judged, balanced sound. They’re a little lightweight, but this lack of heft doesn’t mean they sound thin or tinny.

The low frequencies you do hear are detailed and defined, with no real trace of distortion, and high frequencies don’t get sharp, edgy or brittle, which is a result.

For the money, these headphones provide a simple yet extremely effective solution.

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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