Pros: Build quality, aesthetics, sound quality when EQ'd
Cons: NEEDS equalization to sound good
RHA MA-600 Review
I was given a sample of the RHA MA600 (Thank you RHA!) to review. They arrived on Monday of Thanksgiving week with the request that I get some impressions up by Thanksgiving…so here are my initial impressions.
I received the MA600…not the iPhone version, but the standard version without iPhone controls. Price from various online retailers is $79 ($89 for the iPhone control version)
They arrived well packaged and undamaged. The packaging is very nicely done and well thought out…
Included is a hard leather(ette) travel case and a large selection of nibs in various densities, shapes and sizes. As it turns out, the ones that came installed on the IEM’s were an ideal comfortable fit for me, but those with larger or smaller ear canals should have no fear…they have a nib for you!
The build quality is excellent, the cable is sturdy and attractive, the metal bodies are solid without feeling heavy. There is an overall feeling of quality.
There is no 1/8 to 1/4 adaptor, so most of my listening is directly from the iPhone or iPad with some additional time spent running them through the ibasso DB2/PB2 combination.
Before listening, I ran them in at medium to high volume for 5 hours.
RHA bills these as a bassier alternative to their more neutral MA750’s and I have read other comments that suggest it is a very ‘V’ shaped sound signature. While I found there to be plenty of bass, I wouldn’t necessarily call it V-shaped. There appeared to be a major trough in the vocal range that extended upward into the lower treble such that voices and snare drums were not just recessed, but suppressed. Further, the sub-bass wasn’t as well represented as I would have liked. I’m spending most of my time with the LCD-X’s recently, so I have an expectation of outstanding bottom end that wasn’t being met. Out of the box and un-equalized, I couldn’t recommend these.
That said, I thought I had a feel for what was missing, so I picked up a free EQ app for the i-devices and started playing. Within 10 minutes, I had them sounding pretty damn good! The vocals and drums were back as was the sub-bass. The highs were tamed a little and I found my feet tapping again. Here's a graph of the custom EQ I applied:
You can see that they required some pretty aggressive equalization, but it worked well.
The remaining impressions are all made with the EQ in place…
Classical…the Yo Yo Ma interpretation of Dvorak’s Cello Concerto in B was well rendered. The warmth of the cello came through and the imaging was solid, tho not holographic. There was decent soundstage depth, though not as much height or width.
Rock…Radiohead’s Lotus Flower features loads of bass that can overwhelm even the best headphones. The MA600’s handled it all and deftly. The vocals were solid and well placed. The treble sounded crisp without being too fatiguing. These are still a bit bright even after the EQ, but not piercing by any stretch.
Jazz…Miles Davis’ So What is a track I’ve heard a thousand times and on the very best equipment. The MA600’s did the track justice. Miles’ horn had good texture and timbre.
In conclusion, If you are using a source that doesn’t afford you the chance to EQ them, I would not recommend them, however if you are willing to EQ these, you have the opportunity to get sound worthy of 2-3x the asking price.
I will give these a proper 40 hour break in and revisit them...and I'll update this review accordingly.