Published on September 30th, 2015 | by Greg0
RBH EP-SB: Ultralight Wireless Earbuds
With the holiday season fast approaching- and we’re only talking about Halloween, no need to jump the gun- it’s certainly time for electronics companies to begin the annual blitz of new gear. Every firm is anxious to find new and unusual markets and we’ll field hundreds of pitches from various manufacturers. The vast majority are brands that you’d recognize, but it’s always important (and fun) to find others, since plenty of great equipment flies under the radar.
The RBH EP-SB Bluetooth Stereo Earphones probably fall in this category. Even though they’ve been making speakers since the mid-1970s, many people aren’t familiar. And if you look at their website, you can get a sense of their style- nothing fancy, a little old-school, traditionally aimed at audiophiles. But these earbuds break the mold, and aren’t at all what we expected. You can safely ignore the alphabet-soup name, give these a shot, and appreciate one of the few sets of ultra-light wireless headphones we’ve seen.
There is a downside, to be clear- the battery life is pretty poor, only a few hours between charges. But that’s a fair price to pay for the portability and the quality. Weighing in at only 11 ounces, the EP-SBs include the latest Bluetooth 4.0 with aptX support for higher-resolution audio, and even NFC pairing. They also, somewhat unusually, are IPX4 rated, which means that you can take them out in the rain (or get them sweat-soaked during exercise) and not have to worry. Most headphones use silicone tips, which are fine, and RBH included them here in three sizes too- but they also packed in a pair of Comply foam tips, our favorites for most music styles and outdoor environments.
Pairing is as easy as it gets, and the onboard controls are decent- they are protected from the elements, so tended to be a little less sensitive than some and it might take a couple of firm button presses for them to respond. But the audio was uniformly excellent- well-balanced, with a very solid low-end and only a little sharpness up high. There’s plenty of oomph for a set this size, and no audible distortion- in fact, we couldn’t tell that they are wireless. Charging them up is interesting- you might have trouble finding where they hid the battery, as it’s embedded in the earbud and the port is tucked behind a cute rotating flap. Available now, online and in stores, the RBH EP-SB a reasonable $150 now.