A good audio product is not just about good sound quality. During the 2-day CanJam Singapore 2019 held at Pan Pacific Singapore, we spoke to Colum Fraser, Marketing Manager for RHA and listened to some of his insights on the brand’s direction.
Could you share the RHA brand philosophy and how it is evolving?
RHA is established in 2011, and are an audio brand based in Glasgow, Scotland. When we started, we made over-ear headphones, on-ear headphones and in-ear headphones. But now we focus on in-ears because we found we are good in designing them which increased our sales.
We are a brand that is focused on what people do every day, which is connected to your phone and your digital assistant. What you are listening to is not just music anymore, it might be spoken word, or podcasts. So RHA aims to create earphones that do all of those things very well. Good product design is finding a problem and solve it.
So RHA approaches their products from the users and not audiophiles?
Yes, but I don’t think they are mutually exclusive. For instance, for our RHA CL2 Planar which uses planar magnetic drivers, we want to replicate the distinctive planar sound in a closed-back in-ear headphones which have not been done before. We don’t want to create a bulky product just for a home setting, as people might want to bring it out. We shouldn’t be confined to good quality audio in the house, so we combined the audiophile premise of the planar driver with wireless neckband, and now you can enjoy quality music even on the bus.
We challenge and ask ourselves: how can we make good sound and add something better than the competition? The result is about improving and inventing new things to solve common problems to make life better.
When you design RHA products, do you have a specific audio signature in mind to achieve?
It varies product by product. RHA has a reputation of having a V-shaped sound, it’s not neutral, we don’t think about perfectly recreating every single recording ever, but it is sound that is engaging, and that brings out the details in the music that you might not have heard before, whether it’s the slap of the finger on the bass guitar or deep sub-bass.
RHA has just launched a true-wireless earphone, the RHA TrueConnect. Can you share with us on your journey to true wireless earphones and why RHA took so long to launch?
It’s about this time last year that true wireless flipped from being a novelty to something that you see everywhere – in a subway, in a bus, on a plane. We definitely planned to join the market, but part of the lengthy development process is how we ensure the build quality that RHA is known for is not compromised too much. It’s such a new segment that combines the best of technology, miniaturisation, transmission, yet making sure connectivity is excellent, making sure it sounds as good as possible for the person listening to it.
How is RHA doing globally, and is there any region that it wants to focus on?
It’s a global business, and as we learn about the different markets, we take on different approaches to the different audio tastes. The UK is our primary market, and the US is doing great. Singapore and the Asian region like Japan see a high level of engagement with the audio sector, as the listeners do extensive research on the products. RHA will try as far as we can to be number one in every country, though we understand the challenges as the market sees new audio products and new smartphone models everywhere, and these two go hand in hand.