RHA MA750i Review - PREFACE
Glasgow in Scotland is one hell of a town for music and growing up here I have seen some of my friends and acquaintance's go on to be major worldwide stars such as the Fratellis, Yashin and Travis. Of course you might have also heard of Primal Scream, Mogwai, Del Amitri and Deacon Blue. This musical influence runs though the town with a number of legendary venues such as the Barrowlands and King Tuts Wawa Hut as well as equally important instrument makers such as Jimmy Moon of Moon Guitars. Its in the blood, something in the Clyde water if you will, so it makes sense that eventually one company would try its hand at making a set of earphones. RHA (Reid Heath Acoustics) is a special company that much is true and in my opinion their MA750i represents unparalleled value in the high end Audio game. Read on to find out more on why this headphone has dethroned the Shure 215 as king of our top earphones under $150 list.
THE MEAT OF THE REVIEW
RHA MA750i - Earphone Packaging (8.5/10)
Packaging is excellent there is lots of information displayed on the box which I love and they even include a frequency response chart for their custom 560 driver. Theres a magnetic flap on the front which when opened reveals a viewing window where the earphones and tip holder are displayed beautifully. Quit cleverly they also have a QR code on the box that will take you directly to the reviews of their products, something that screams confidence and very useful as these earphones are available on the high street.
RHA MA750i - Earphone Accessories – (8.5/10)
Simply put. Outstanding, especially considering the price point. There are 2 key components to the RHA MA750i’s accessory set and that is the large carry case and the tip holder. Firstly the carry case is excellent, its nice and big so will easily accommodate a player and earphones. I have been using it to carry around the MA750 and a Colorfly C3 in combination and it offers a good level of protection to both. It is a black unit and made out of pleather, (real leather would have been a nice touch but unrealistic at this price point) a secure zipper and is branded nicely with the RHA logo. We love when a company includes a case and with this one RHA have nailed it. Second is the tip holder. Maybe its just me but I have so many earphone tips lying around usually stuffed in a tiny ziplock back, then I lose a tip from my earphones I have to go digging around searching for a size match. RHA has cleverly solved this by providing a tip mount of sorts that allows you to keep your tips ordered by tips and size. Whilst here we should also talk about the tips themselves. The company provides you with every option from comply style foam to multi flange and regular you would have to have some crazy ears to not find a comfortable fit.
RHA MA750i - Earphone Looks and Build Quality – (8.5/10)
These are a cool looking set of headphones and the attention to detail is again highly impressive. The earphones themselves are machined metal and were much smaller than I had expected from the photographs. Each bud is engraved with the RHA logo. From there you head down to the ear loops which help guide the cable for use over the top of the ears, I have had some issues with this stuff in the past but thankfully RHA have opted against a heavy memory wire.
The cable itself is not great out of the box it will hold the shape of the packaging at first but having had previous experience with this style I know it would settle down and soften in the coming days which thankfully it has and now performs perfectly, its thick and solid so I have no reservations about long term reliability. On the cable there sit the volume and voice controls for when using with a smartphone and yet again its of very high quality with robust clicks and 100% accuracy, call quality was excellent when tested and subjects said that they had no problems hearing us and there was a low presence of background noise. Sitting just bellow is the cable join and adjustable sliding cinch and again it follows the metal theme seen through out, not though that the slider will only come up as far as the inline volume control.
Finally we have the jack, and what a jack. There are companies out the charging upwards of $500 that don’t have a setup as good as this. It’s a machined stainless steel piece that seems to be unique to RHA and has knurling either side of the logo for added grip. The cable stress relief is on of the coolest I have ever seen and uses a spring system to prevent breakages.
RHA have without a doubt set the bar for how an earphone should be built and everything seems to be a product of function. From the ergonomics of the buds, the placement of the inline controls to the ridiculous high level of attention on the jack there has been some serious work put in. As a result the form has followed suit and these are an incredibly good-looking set of earphones that stand out in a crowded marketplace and look classy not garish and flashy.
Oh and did I mention RHA offer a 3 year guarantee. The fact that they manage to include that (something I can’t say I have seen before) is testament to just how well these earphones are made.
RHA MA750i - Earphone Isolation (8/10)
Isolation on the MA750i is fair for a set of earphones; they do not inset too deep and are vented so some sound intrusion will always be present as it is with most dynamic drivers. You can however increase isolation by a few decibels if you are using the foam or multi flange tips
RHA MA750i - Earphone Fit (8/10)
Fit and comfort is excellent. As mentioned the tips should ensure that any size or shape of ears would be catered for. Over ear cable designs (our preferred option) are well implemented and the driver housing sits comfortably in the conch of the ear supported by the tragus and anti-tragus. The cable is longer than most consumer earphones and this means its great for taller users as well as use at a desk plugged into a computer. Sometimes you can find weight imbalance issues on phones with in line controls but this wasn’t an issue due to the over ear design.
RHA MA750i - Earphone Sound Quality (9/10)
Slightly warm, perfect bass, airy openness all lead this to be a thoroughly enjoyable set of earphones to listen to (in fact I have not changed to any other earphone since I received them such was my enjoyment). We found they were not source dependent at all and sounded great out of phones, ipods, amps and the all mighty Colorfly C3. There was no discernable change in presence from a burn in of 100 hours.
Highs– Highs are having more than enough sparkle to be able to compete with the strong lows present in the MA750’s although not so much as to allow it to emit ear-piercing results that a few other mainstream competitors are guilty of. The overall tightness of the phones result in a pleasant although not overwhelming upper region.
Mids– Mids are very clear when you put it up against almost anything available on the high street and would only lose out to something like a GR07 (but in that case you would have lesser bass. There’s far more clarity than our other top under $150 performers the MH1C by Sony and Shure’s SE215 and for a dynamic driver the MA750i performs very well indeed. Vocals are smooth and guitars are plucky even if not razor sharp. If I was using one descriptor for the mids of these earphones it would be lush.
Lows– Lows are amazing, providing good quality with excellent clarity and oodles of quantity. On tracks Blackmill’s Evil Beauty you can really hear both the pop and rumble that makes this a great set of earphones for bass lovers. It has the ability to go low whenever it needs but the diaphragm never seems to lose control. The bass doesn’t tend to bleed into the other spectrums and whilst the dominant feature it blends very well with the mids and highs.
The sound displays a great air about it making a lot of songs sound open and somewhat grander than you may be used to. In this price bracket you could put the MA750 up against the Shure SE215 and I would take the MA750i every day of the week due to better bass and cleaner overall sound. They flat out murder the likes of Beats and Skullcandy’s in ear offerings and for those that like electronic, rap, R’n’B pop and rock then these should be highly considered as a first choice.
RHA MA750i Review CONCLUSION
When you go through as many headphones and earphones as I do then its sometimes hard to get excited by earphones that are just usually more of the same in different oddly designed packages. However, and this is quite the statement, the RHA MA750i is the best earphone I have reviewed all year. Put the price aside for a second and see what you are getting:
- Outstanding build quality rivalling earphones 3 or 4 times the price
- Well thought out functional design
- Very good looks
- Excellent sound quality that is not picky on sources
- Great accessories
- 3 year guarantee
Now throw in the fact that these retail for £89.95 ($129.95) and then pick your jaw off the floor. To me there is no other option but these for the price and its very hard to justify spending even more or something else as well.