The Reloop RHP-30 DJ headphones are utilitarian, minimalistic and yet comfortable at the same time. They sound great, and their chunky design is going to appeal to some DJs strongly. They are also more comfortable in use, both on and off ear, than you might expect.
First Impressions / Setting up
hey’re beautifully packaged, the main box slipping out of its protective sleeve, opened by pulling a material tab that releases a magnet that holds the box shut. Inside, though, once you’re past the foam packaging and plastic protective cover, you’ll find just a standard material slip bag, the headphones themselves and a box of cables – as with most headphones. So here’s the first surprise: there are actually three different cables. As well as a standard three-metre DJ cable (coiled) with an 1/8″ to 1/4″ adaptor, there’s a 1.2 metre smartphone-friendly cable with a microphone/remote control built into it, and a flat straight cables, of the type which is starting to make its way into DJ booths as an alternative to the coiled variety. This one, however, can’t be converted with the 1/4″ adaptor, so its use in the DJ booth would rely on the gear having an 1/8″ headphones socket. It’s also 1.2 metres long. The remote control on the smartphone cable can answer calls and play/pause the music, and can also skip forward and back a track (iOS devices only).
So to the headphones themselves. The first thing you notice is that the earcups don’t rotate at all; there’s a small amount of hinged up/down give, but they don’t move on the forward/backward axis at all, which is highly unusual for a DJ headphone, where for both one-ear cueing and compfort when they’re dangling round your neck between mixes, roatating earcups are generally preferred. You also notice the multi-stitched and deeply padded earcup foam, which looks awfully comfortable and is equally unusual on DJ headphones. Deep padding under the headband, generous use of metal in the headband itself, metal-pinned hinges and a pleasing rubber-type material on most of the other exposed surfaces make them feel expensive, although the earcups themselves are plastic. Where the earcups touch the headband top and bottom are small, glued-on foam protectors, and I do wonder how long they’d last when they headphones got used and abused in sweaty clubs. While they fold quite small into the headband, overall these are a wide, loose design, that feels substantial and chunky – as I say, they’re quite unusual, and I have to say quite pleasing – as long as you’re not scared of a big headphone, that is!
First, the sound quality. The thick padding offers decent isolation, which you can improve by holding them over the ear with a little pressure. The sound is engaging, with a real decent bass thump, very clear, smooth highs and a bouncy, bright mid-range. At higher volumes the sound quality holds up great, with no hint of any struggle. Basically, for DJing they sound fantastic – no complaints here.
Comfort-wise, despite the earcups not really moving much, they’re pretty good. Firstly, when they’re on your head, they are exceedingly comfortable thanks to the deep padding and wide headband. When it comes to single-ear monitoring, as long as you don’t mind doing so by moving one of the earcups to behind your ear, they’re fine; if you normally monitor by having your headphones around your neck and moving onve of the arcups up to your ear, they’re not so good thanks to that fixed design. One of my pet hates with headphones, especially certain chunky DJ models, is when you feel like you’ve got a neck brace on when they’re round your neck (let’s face it, that’s a lot of the time when DJing). I thought these would feel like that due again to those almost completely fixed earcups, but they’re not. The reason is that they’re wide, so they in face sit easily on the front of each shoulder, feeling actually pretty good – I ended up quite liking this, even though I thought I wouldn’t.
Clocking in at arond £160 (no US price details), these are certainly at the top end of the mainstream DJ headphone spectrum (they’re Reloop’s top DJ model), but they do feel good quality. As with all headphones, I simply can’t comment on longevity in a review of a brand-new pair, but I can say the metal hinge pin looks promising for a long life.
What they undoubtedly are is a distinctive headphone, with a design that’ll appeal to a certain type of DJ pretty strongly, I’d say. The “bigger” build, the chunky, utilitarian metal hinges, the thick padding (and, indeed, the choice of black and silver as reviewed, or all black) all help to stand these out from the competition, and furthermore the folding down small into a bag plus the three cables add to their appeal if you’re going to want to use them away from the DJ booth on your travels. A hard case would have been nice as the slip bag isn’t going to really protect them at all from drops or bumps, and it’s not as if they fold flat. Also it would have been better if the adaptor for 1/4″ worked with the flat cable as well as the coiled cable. But these are quibbles: I ended up growing fond of these after using them at a couple of gigs. If you like the look of them and are in the market for a premium DJ headphone, you should definitely check the RHP-30s out.