With some 32 years in the car audio industry, Scosche should know a thing or two about sound quality. The company has recently branched into gadget accessories however, including the Reference Grade Realm RH656md headphones. Can expertise in speakers for cars be transferred well to personal headphones? We sought to find out.
The Realm RH656mds are described as being ‘Reference Grade’ by Scosche, and therefore we would assume they offer a natural quality that reflects the way in which artists want their music to be heard. Do they? Dive in to our review to find out.
We had a little trouble from the off with these headphones, we won’t try to hide it. It took us a good 3 minutes to actually get inside the box – the outer sleeve is extremely tight to the box itself and even the bright yellow pull tag didn’t help! Inside the headphones are well packaged, with a very nice matte black carry case bundled in to keep your headphones in when travelling.
These headphones have a very understated design, with no flash colours or shiny stuff in sight. They’re small, light and understated – a far cry from the current trend of brash styles found in certain manufacturers’ product portfolios. They’re on-ear headphones, and the cups do actually sit on your ears rather than forming a suction cup around them. As such, we found that after an hour or so of use our ears started to feel a little squished and we wanted to keep re-adjusting to relieve them.
The materials are slick, with brushed metal frames connecting each ear cup to the headband on an adjustable slider. The ear cups are finished in a slightly glossy black/anthracite grey, with a central exit hole and a white Scosche logo above. The headband is rectangular and finished in a soft black material with ‘Scosche’ branded across the top. We would have preferred a little padding in the headband as there’s virtually none, although the lightweight nature of the product means you don’t notice them too much after a while.
You have an inline control box and microphone (separate) that make these headphones iPhone and iPod friendly. Unfortunately on other devices only the central button will work for the play/pause function, but on iPhone you’ll also be able to skip tracks back and forward. We tested with various Android phones and the central button works to answer calls.
We mentioned that the RM656mds are advertised as being ‘Reference Grade’, and in the traditional sense we don’t think this is quite right. The sound stage isn’t quite ‘reference’ in terms of offering a representation of a song that’s close to how the artist recorded it. Marketing spiel aside, we really like the sound quality that these headphones offer. Bass is tight, punchy and not overpowering, whilst the mid-range and treble seem to be well balanced and placed.
These headphones have plenty of detail, with the finer background details often very easy to pick out, which isn’t something we expected to find with a set of headphones at this price. If you’re looking for a set of loud, bass-heavy headphones then these won’t be for you, but if you’d like something that offers detail and a balanced sound that’ll suit all sorts of music types, these fit the bill.
Thanks to an inline microphone and remote controls, these headphones can be used as hands-free for a mobile phone. Overall the sound quality was good during calls, although we had to turn up the volume on our handset as it seemed quieter than usual. Those on the other end reported that we sounded loud and clear, so the inline microphone works nicely.
The Scosche Realm RH656mds are a great set of headphones for the price, offering a stylish design matched by excellent audio quality for the money. If you’re not fussed about following the trend of offensively bright and ostentatious headphones, these are an excellent option. They’re not perfect, however, and we would prefer a little more padding in the headband for comfort and perhaps slightly larger ear cups. Headphones are definitely a personal preference affair though, so you may find them to be much comfier than we did!