I have an ambivalent relationship with audio products made for training. On the one hand, it is very nice with gadgets that can withstand a noise, and which do not break due to a little sweat. On the other hand, it is annoying that someone has meant on my behalf as an exerciser (to the extent that a sofa pig can call himself that), that when you train, it is very important with lots – and bad – bass. And it should sound so stuffy, that singing voices sound like they are suffocated by a damp mitten of sour wool. So sorry I did not dance with enthusiasm when I saw that the editor had put a box of Adidas headphones on my desk. Specifically RPT-01.
But it is obviously still possible to be surprised, something we will return to soon.
The Adidas RPT-01, as they are called, is in fact made by Zound Industries, headquartered in Sweden. The company also produces Marshall and Urbanear headphones, so it does not rely on the knowledge here.
Fit and connection
Most training headphones are of the plug type. But personally, I think the range of compact watches could have been larger. It is simply much easier to put on a pair of earbuds than to fiddle with earplugs. The prerequisite must of course be that they are small and light enough not to become a nuisance. And that they do not slip around the ear when they sweat, but on the contrary breathe and sit well.
The Adidas RPT-01 belongs to the small and light category (just over 200 grams), and is of the on-ear type. So they lie on the outside of the ear instead of encapsulating it. Then they had to be bigger, so this is a sensible choice.
To turn them on, hold down the square button on the right clock, which is also a lever for maneuvering through songs and adjusting the volume. A bass beat is heard, then you find them in the Bluetooth list on your mobile. Play your way.
The headband is flexible and can be rotated around without breaking. It is also clad in removable fabric, with a removable and washable rubber strap between it and the scalp. The inner, fabric-covered part of the earbuds can also be removed by turning it a little to the left. A delicate washbasin should work fine.
Adidas does not get clammy
The bells sit as if cast on the outside of the ears. They will never fall off when you run, and the fabric means that they do not slip if you start sweating. The fabric also means that you do not start sweating around the ears in the same way as artificial leather. But the cooling effect is still limited, because it does not take long before my ears feel slightly warm. But I can still listen for a long time without it getting too clammy. Here, Adidas / Zound Industries could still learn from Philips, which has cooling gel in its ear pads on its much cheaper TASH402BK.
Ease of use
With the Adidas Headphones app, you can choose which functions the button on the left earpiece should have. The basic setting is that you call on the voice assistant with one tap, while two taps start a training playlist on Spotify, which is probably a little too “youthful” for my taste. A triple click should start a hit playlist, but I have never achieved this.
In the app you can also select sound setting (EQ), but here I prefer the one called Adidas, which is the flattest. Pop gets too little bass and a lot of midrange, Rock sounds flat, and none of the settings do anything at all. Only use Adidas mode.
The headphones have a slight sound delay, which means that the sound of car and shooting games lags a bit in relation to the picture. Slightly annoying, although it’s probably only about 200 milliseconds. Many video apps on mobile now automatically sync with audio over Bluetooth, so no problem. I do not feel there are any problems with lip sync on either YouTube or Netflix.
The sound of the Adidas RPT-01
As I mentioned in the introduction, the Adidas headphones managed to surprise me positively, when it comes to sound quality. Contrary to prejudice, the music is clear, catchy and solid. The bass is not oversized at all, but also not slim. Instead, the bass drum beats both hard and firm, while there is always a focus on the voice, whether it is a dark male voice or a lighter female vocal.
The bass guitar on Pearl Jam’s Dance of the Clairvoyants groover is good, and the snare drum sounds delicious in the ear. While the guitars are crisp and tough. Much better than expected.
The brand new song Safe and Sound from The Sounds also sounds better than expected. Had almost forgotten what it was like to listen to danceable party music again! But now I have a party in my own head, where I run up the slopes in the neighborhood. In fact, listening to acoustic music is no problem either – including classical. Only you can live with the piano being a bit like an electric piano. Still much better than other sports I’ve heard.
Alternatives to Adidas
The aforementioned Philips TASH402BK, for example, is much more swollen in the bass, and sounds more stuffy. Beats Solo3, which has the same type of form factor but is not certified to withstand water and sweat, is also significantly more woolly in sound than the Adidas.
As for my experiences with headphones for training, I have to refer from here to plugs, where the sound is similarly confined and bass-heavy with Jaybird Vista, and although the Kygo E7 / 900 was more impressive and also boasted AAC sound over Bluetooth, so is The adidas are more balanced in sound. They might have raised the bass a bit in the lower frequencies, but the attack and the energy in the sound offset.
There is no point in applying bass when training – the rhythms of the music you are training for are most likely audible enough in themselves. Instead, it should sound good, and here’s the adidas RPT-01 in its ace.
Where most other sports watches sound in a way I would never use for anything other than training (too much and woolly bass), the Adidas RPT-01 is balanced and dynamic enough that they can be used for a lot of different things. They sound lively, but with a nicely tuned bass compared to the rest of the soundscape. Which makes singing voices and instruments stand out well.
The fit is firm, so RPT-01 never falls off when running. They can squeeze a little hard, but stay just within the limits of what I would call comfortable. Then they have a great sense of quality.
They could have sounded even more airy and resolved if they supported AAC and aptX for better audio on Bluetooth. Then they would hardly be able to boast over 40 hours of battery life, but who really needs more than 20?