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Review: RHA's new MA750i in-ear, noise isolating headphones

RHA MA750i headphones

A few weeks ago, RHA announced its new MA750i headphones (US$129.95). Last week I received a sample unit and have been testing them since. Having previously been really impressed with the MA150 and MA450i earphones and the SA950i on-ear headphones, I had high expectations for the Glasgow-based company's new premium-range hardware. And I was not disappointed.

Design

From the onset of receiving the MA750 I could tell RHA has taken things to the next level. Even in the packaging a great amount of thought and detail has been applied. The box's window flap opens to reveal the immaculately-presented earphones. A magnet on the inside insures that it stays shut when closed, and a small, orange flap of material that's affixed to the interior makes removal easy and elegant. The "premium" is apparent even before you use the headphones.

The MA750i look and feel fantastic. The earphone heads are machined from stainless steel, with RHA subtly inscribed on the sides of each head. The cabling is reinforced with steel, oxygen-free with a gold-plated, quarter-inch connector. The cabling is thick and feels extremely durable. The connector end is covered with a protective spring connector, while the earphone ends benefit from RHA's over-ear cable supports, which offer a comfortable, secure fit. The cabling is a contrast to some other manufacturers, which try to make the cable as light as possible. While not overly bulky, the MA750 cabling brings a reassuring weight and robustness.

On the MA750i model there's a built-in three-button remote control and mic, designed to work faultlessly with iOS devices. This, too, feels really sturdy and well made, allowing you to take calls, adjust the volume and play, pause and change music tracks on your iDevice.

The handmade 560.1 drivers reinforce RHA's Aerophonic design, inspired by airflow and the acoustic properties of a trumpet's bell. There's a promise of "precise, balanced and articulate sound reproduction with a great depth of soundstage."

The MA750i come with an attractive carrying case and a collection of various ear tips to suit every size and preferred feel.

Performance

Of course, what really counts is how the MA750 sound. The 560.1 drivers are "...designed to deliver a clear and natural sound. With high levels of spatial separation and distance...capable of reproducing audio with exceptional power and precision." And in my experience, that's exactly what I found.

When I tested the MA450, I was really struck by the bass response and depth. And overall, the production of a full and enjoyable sound (especially for the price point). However, it's fair to say the sound was not the most nuanced or precise.

With the MA750, things are much more controlled. In fact, I found the MA750 to be extremely well balanced, able to reach detailed lows that weren't exaggerated, mids that were spacious, yet present and well-rounded highs.

I'm going through a Stevie Ray Vaughan phase, revisiting some of my favorite tracks of his. Using the MA750, I loved hearing things accurately represented, with a real clarity, depth and broadness. It's hard to explain, but a few examples are subtleties like a low bass note that's full, warm and deep, and yet you can hear the player slightly hit the fret. Or the very occasional guitar fumble in the heat of spine tingling solo (Check out Tin Pan Alley aka Roughest Place In Town, but get a high quality version).

Practically speaking, I found the MA750 to be extremely comfortable. The over-ear system works really well, keeping the in-ears right in place. Noise isolation was really good too. The case is a nice extra, which is more than just a pouch. It offers good protection as well as doubling as a place to keep your spare ear tips, which are conveniently stored on a steel-tip holder (no more rummaging around to find matching tips).

Conclusion

Once more, RHA have delivered a fantastic in-ear headphone experience. This time, a truly premier (consumer) experience that lifts RHA into a new league. The MA750i sits right at the top, rightly so, as the cream of the RHA range. And they are superb value for money, too. In years gone by, I've spent more on headphones and they've not come close to what the MA750 has to offer. At this price point, everything is right about these headphones.

The MA750i is priced at US$129.95 and comes with the built-in remote and mic. The MA750 (minus the remote and mic) is priced at $119.95. In the US, both will be available from Amazon today and Apple Retail Stores from November. In the UK and Europe, both versions are available now from the Apple Online Store and Amazon in the UK as well as Apple Retail Stores.

Pros

  • Balanced, nuanced sound with depth and control
  • Durable, well made and full of attention to detail
  • Comfortable, with plenty of ear tips in various sizes and forms
  • 3 year warranty

Cons

  • None to speak of

Who's it for?

Audiophiles on a limited budget

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