RHA TrueControl ANC Review: Modern features, poor execution
Reid & Heath Audio (RHA) is an audio company based in Glasgow that was founded in 2011. They have been one of the premier audio companies coming out of the UK. They are known for their CL2 Planar wireless earbuds which won the Red Dot award for product design in 2019. The RHA TrueControl ANC is their latest product in the truly wireless space. After testing them for a week, I can safely say these are not ones I can recommend.
Disclaimer: I purchased all devices reviewed in this article. I did not receive any review units from RHA. I am NOT sponsored or affiliated with RHA in any way. I do not accept copy approval from RHA or any other organization. All opinions are mine and mine alone.
- 🔋 Up to 5hrs with ANC
- 🎨 Black
- 🎁 Active noise canceling, Wear detection
- 🔌 USB-C, Qi Wireless Charging
- ⚖ 8g earbuds, 94g charging case
- 💸 $300 ($299.95)
- 📅 2019.12
Good Build Quality
The RHA TrueControl ANC comes with a well-built case. The housing that the earbuds sit into charge seems to be made of silicone and plastic (unverified, this is just what it feels like to me). The cover that pivots to open and close the case is made of anodized aluminum. The cover is hard enough that when I made the unfortunate mistake of putting my keys in the same pocket as the charging case, the marks left on the case by the keys were easily wiped off.
The case itself is one of the larger sizes. Volume-wise, it is around 1.5 times larger than the Galaxy Buds+ and closer to the Sony WF-1000XM3s. It does still fit into the pocket of traditional jeans, but it would be hard to fit them into slim jeans or the typical jean found in female clothing stores these days.
I am not a fan of the design of these earbuds. They remind me of water caltrop. I would have much preferred that these were a more rounded design like the Sennheiser’s or Samsung’s. The shape of the earbuds designed to match the shape of your ear. They do fit nicely for me. But given that takes up the entire concha of my ear, I suspect a lot of people will have trouble with the fit of this device.
The sound quality is okay but the connection is bad
I expected a lot more when it comes to the sound quality of the RHA TrueControl ANCs. Especially given that RHA is known for HiFi sound quality and the $300 price tag. The sound quality is on par with the Galaxy Buds+. The base can sound kind of mushy for certain songs. My biggest issue was with the hissing and audio skipping that happened very often. I often had to disconnect and reconnect the device before being able to resolve the issue. The reconnection process is a hassle. It requires the user to put the earbuds back into the case, hold the touchpad of one of the earbuds for 5 seconds, and wait for the flashing blue lights to turn on. Once that occurs, the device is in pairing mode.
ANC is decent
The Active Noise Cancelling on the RHA TrueControl ANC is decent. They can lower the ambient noise around you and the effect are noticeable. Just don’t expect them to drown out all the sounds around you. I could still hear people talking to me as well as the water running from the sink.
Touch controls are sensitive
The touch controls on the RHA TrueControl ANC are slightly too sensitive. My hair was able to trigger the pause and play taps a couple of times while using the device. My hair was slightly wet at the time, which might contribute to the cause. Just something to note if you have long hair and are planning to use this right out of the shower or if you sweat quite a bit.
Brand new app
RHA released a brand new app just to support the TrueControl ANCs. It all the basic functionality that you would expect of a truly wireless earbuds with ANC. Touch controls are customization in the controls section of the app. You can choose between 5 predefined EQ settings. Ambient levels can be adjusted to your liking. The only thing lacking is the option to create a custom EQ setting.
USB-C Charging is finally fixed
I used to own a pair of RHA MA750 Wireless back in the day. They had support for USB-C charging but it would only work if you had a USB-C to USB-A cable. USB-C to USB-C cable would not charge the device. I am glad to see that RHA was able to fix this in the RHA TrueControl ANCs.
Odd UX decisions
Earbuds are backward in the case
Perhaps I am just using the case upside down, but I would expect the part of the case with the logo to be at the top of the case. Even the promotional photos on their website have them situated that way. The odd thing is that the left and right earbuds are switched. Generally, I would expect that the right earbuds are on the right side of the case and the left earbud is on the left side. This was hard to get used to the first couple of days, but eventually, I got used to it. I am just not sure why they decided to design the case this way.
Cannot use the left earbuds independently
These earbuds seem to have a main and secondary design. The right earbud can operate independently of the left earbuds, but the left earbud will not work if the right earbuds are in the case. You have to either leave the right earbud on a desk or keep the case open with the right earbud in them for the left earbud to work.
ANC is turned off by default
Another odd decision I found is that these earbuds have their ANC turned off by default every time you take them out of the case. You have to double-tap on the earbuds every time you take them out. I know some people prefer this. But I would have liked it to retain whatever previous state the earbuds were in.
The biggest deal-breaker for me is the hissing and connection issues of the RHA TrueControl ANCs. I would expect those to be the very basic criteria wireless earbuds need to perform well in before being considered. These do not meet that mark. Unless RHA can fix those issues, I won’t be recommending these or using them myself.