Gear Review: Equation Audio Headphones RP-21 and RP-22X

Gear Review: Equation Audio Headphones RP-21 and RP-22X Brought to you by: guitar.com

Listening.

It’s an essential element in music, as important in learning an instrument as it is in setting a compressor level or deciphering a favorite guitar lick.  It’s something we all do 24 hours a day, every day of our lives. And if any of those hours in your life are spent with a set of headphones on, your focus on listening allows you to notice the differences in various headphone models and styles, from iPod buds to expensive in-ear monitors to studio “EarTools”, as Nashville-based Equation Audio labels their line of ‘phones.

I tested the Equation Audio modelsRp22x Jpg 20048Rp21 Jpg 87003

RP 21 and RP 22X in the following manner:

1)   Listening to familiar music in MP3 format on my Mac laptop, from Porcupine Tree to Christopher Parkening to Joe Zawinul to Led Zeppelin to Stan Kenton.

2)   Tracking music in Cubase and Pro Tools using the PreSonus Central Station headphone amp

3)   Overdubbing vocals using the Samson Q5 headphone amp via the analog outs of my M-Audio ProjectMix

4)   Listening to my favorite tracks on un-compressed .wav files on my iPod

5)   Listening to an instructional DVD on audio mastering. The DVD brings in and out EQs, limiters, clipping and compression on the source material, giving a great opportunity to hear A/B details of a mix changing and progressing.

These are real-world applications, using readily available gear, giving me the best chance to hear the headphones in the fashion most buyers will use them in.

The RP 21 are closed, on-ear headphones. They have an attractive copper/black color scheme and are very comfortable to wear. Included is a detachable straight 3 meter cable with a 1/8” end and ¼” screw on adapter. The cable took a while to relax and never quite straightened out entirely.

The 50mm drivers have a nice, balanced blend of lows, mids and highs. The imaging was realistic and reverb tails faded off nicely on my test tune,  Alison Krauss’ “New Favorite”. Isolation was great. I frequently got lost in the music and did not hear any intrusive noises form the outside world. There was no discernable headphone bleed while recording a dynamic vocal passage.

The low end was tight and punchy, with kick drums having a snap and boom and bass guitars fat and warm on some original music I am working on. Mids were present and pleasant, no harshness or barking. Highs were smooth and airy, with no crunchiness on fiddles, reverb tails or acoustic guitars. Jerry Douglas’ Dobro on the Krauss track  sounded as amazing as it actually is.

Overall, I loved the RP-21 headphones: comfortable, great sound, detailed enough to edit audio with and very nearly enough to mix with.

The RP-22X is an extended bass version of the RP-21. Perfect for drummers, bass players, hip-hop producers and iPod users who need to squeeze every last dB of low end from an MP3. The RP-22X has a 3 meter coiled cable.

The following specs are from Equation Audio’s website. Not only do they make some fine headphones, they have a great sense of humor, too!

 

RP21 Real and Imaginary Specs!

 

Sensitivity: 100dB ±3dB
(1mw @ 1kHz)
Frequency Response: 10Hz - 22kHz ±3dB
Fantasy Response: .001Hurts - 12GHurts
A Good Caning
Transducer: 50mm Dynamic
(Neodymium)
Impedance: 32 Ohms ( 15%)

Cable: Detachable – 3m (9.8'),
(tangle resistant jacket)
* Plutonium free polymer
Connector: 3.5mm (1/8") stereo
(1 right angle/ 1 straight)
6.3mm (1/4") adaptor
Cup Type: Circum-Aural, (user
replaceable cushions)
Style Type: Fully adjustable, head-
strap, swivel cups (90º)
Weight: 350g (12.3oz.)

 

RP-22X Real and Stupid Sensitivity: 106dB 3dB
(1mw @ 1kHz)

Frequency Response: 10Hz - 20kHz 3dB
Bass Enhancement 5Hz - 200Hz +5-10dB

Fantasy Response: 1Hz– 100kHz Whatever!

Transducer: 50mm Dynamic
(Neodymium)

Impedance: 32 Ohms ( 15%)

Cable: Detachable – 3m (9.8'),
Coiled (straight optional)
* Plutonium free polymer
Connector 3.5mm (1/8") stereo
(1 right angle/ 1 straight)
6.3mm (1/4") adaptor

Cup Type: Circum-Aural,
(user replaceable cushions)

Style Type: Fully adjustable, head-
strap, swivel cups (90º)

Weight: 350g (12.3oz.) 

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