The RHA SA-500s are a relatively simple pair of on-ear headphones which pack some serious sound in an affordable package. Produced by British audio company Reid & Heath Acoustics, the SA-500s feature a removable braided fabric cord, a lightweight design (105 grams), and 40mm mylar drivers.The RHA SA-500s may appear larger in images, but the ear cups are about the size of a large ear, and shaped like one too. Unless your ears are very large, they should just cover your entire ear with the comfortable foam-padded ear cups. Each earcup is attached to an adjustable metal slide. The headband is cushioned and wrapped in (faux) leather. The headphone cable is just a straight cable that comes out of the left earphone. The cord is made of braided fabric and does not easily tangle. Unfortunately there is no control button or microphone included. The cable, however, is removable and will break free from your headphones if the cord gets caught on something. The standard 3.5mm plug is gold plated.
The SA-500s have a very minimalistic look to them; they’re not as flashy as most of the headphones reviewed here, and maybe that’s part of the appeal. They’re available in all white or all black with metal sliders.
The SA-500s sound surprisingly good. The audio is very balanced, the bass is very solid, and the clarity is definitely present in the mids and high ranges. Music sounded pretty good across the board, with the exception of low-bit-rate audio, which was expected. The sound is usually quite warm. While they sound good, they may not be super efficient as a regular listening volume was about 60-70%. For affordable headphones, we were impressed.
We found these headphones to be quite comfortable, we can wear them for a couple hours before we feel them pressing against our head. Their lightweight design contributes to this, as they only weigh 105 grams (3.7 ounces). The RHA SA-500s are currently available from Amazon for £34.95 ($54). Unfortunately for us Americans, they ship from UK which will set us back an additional £11.95, bringing the grand total to about $73. At $73, the RHA SA-500s would probably satisfy most users, though we would probably re-evaluate the options and consider Urban Ear’s Plattans for a lower price with sound quality that’s on par.
Good: Comfortable, balanced audio, good bass, minimalistic design, and removable braided cable.
Bad: Don’t fold, appear larger on website/catalog, expensive to ship from UK, no ControlTalk Button, low bit-rate audio does not sound good.