Pros: Soundstage, detailing, clean bass, separation, comfort once you get used to it, accessories, build quality, customer support.
Cons: Bad recordings don't sound great, comfort in the beginning, some QC in regards to package cleanliness.
This is my first review on Head-Fi, so forgive me for my trip ups and lack of jargon, as I simply do not have the knowledge or experience to accurately describe everything I hear and feel.
That being said, I deliberated over my purchase of these IEM's for quite a while. For a few months, I had a toss-up between the GR07 BE, Sennheiser CX985, Rock-It R50 and RHA MA-750i. Any one of these purchases would be my 'step' into new territory: triple-digits audio gear.
Before I go any further, I'll describe my previous collection, to provide a little context to the rest of the review. Almost 2 years ago, I was running a pair of MH1's, which I bought when my original Sony Ericsson IEM's were lost. At that point, sound quality was the least of my concern: I just needed a mic and something to hear music with, and most importantly, wasn't expensive. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the MH1's were actually not bad at all, and was raved by many Head-Fier's, as it would seem.
A year later, I bought a new laptop, and since I needed to do quite a lot of Skyping on it, I intended to use my MH1's. To my disappointment, the connectors weren't compatible, so I went out and deliberated over another set of earphones. My eye caught on the Ultimate Ears 500vm, which in addition to having support for my phone (due to an included adapter), also worked with my laptop. My opinion on the 500's were a bit more mixed compared to the MH1: bass was weak-ish for my taste, and it was somewhat hard to drive. Nonetheless, its excellent isolation was incredibly favourable to my daily routine of public transport, so it wasn't a total loss.
When I had a bit more money, I finally decided that I would properly venture into the territory of high-end audio, but baby steps first, I thought. These RHA's, I had hope, would be a successful first step. I would not be wrong.
I don't think I need to go over the packaging in too much detail: countless other reviewers have taken pictures of the packaging, and it is indeed excellent. One problem, however, was pinching from packaging, which somewhat left marks that, thankfully, fade away in time. In addition, some of the tips I got were dirty, and the tip holder was mildly scratched. I was a bit annoyed, but it's not a deal-breaker, considering that everything else was nicely preserved.
One reason why I chose the MA750i's over the others was its apparent build quality. In one word, it's a tank. Cables are as thick as some headphones I've seen, and most impressively the spring on the ends of the connector which act as a strain relief. It works, a little too well at times, but I'll rather have inconvenience than the earphones breaking any day of the week.
The MA750i's came with 10 pairs of tips: single-flanged SML, double-flanged SL and 2 foamies. Of the silicone tips, only the largest of each fit me, and the foamies were unbearably painful for the first few days, in which they softened enough to not destroy my ears.
In addition, the MA750i's also came with a shirt clip (hint: don't hook it to the main cable) which has a 360* swivel on it, and a soft pouch. The soft pouch was a bit underwhelming, but since, in my experience, most earphones break through snagging and not crushing, it's suitable enough. From my personal experience, I would not hold the tip holder in the pouch: the headphones actually scratched the tip holder quite a bit until I realised. Again, this is my vanity sneaking in, so it's not that big of a deal.
I won't lie: these IEM's are heavy. How heavy? Well, when I was turning my head quickly, the IEM's which were hanging off my ear (since I was talking to someone) flew off them and hit my mate's glasses with enough force it knocked them from his head.
That being said, the over-ear design works, to an extent. Since I have don't have large ears, the curve doesn't hook onto my ear perfectly: I compensated by pulling the hook taut then holding them in place with my glasses. Once done, it's incredibly comfy.
That being said, it takes quite a bit of getting used to in the beginning. I thought they were exceedingly painful at first, and it's only after a few days which they became comfy. A word of warning, though: in winter, especially for those living in below-zero (Celcius) temperatures, the housing is freezing, since it's steel. Warm them up in your hand first or else your ears will want to kill you.
This is probably the area where I can either agree with some people here, or piss them off, so I'll try to be compromising here.
Compared to my MH1's and UE500's, the sound quality was initially bland. I was actually a bit bummed at first, noting how the mids were a bit too overbearing, and the bass did not have a certain 'punch' to it. In addition, the IEM's were either bloody painful or too loose: I opted with bloody painful. Over a few days, however, I gave my MA750i's a chance, and here's where things get interesting. I have no idea if it's my ear getting un-stretched back to its normal size (since my UE500's have quite a deep insertion), my brain got attuned to the earphones or it got burned in, but the MA750i's over time actually became decent.
I listen to a wide variety of music. If anything, I listen to everything besides house music (which is, IMO, a bit of a stretch to classify as 'music' more than 'noise'). The great thing about these is that, while it's not particularly excellent for one genre, it's great for all genres.
For pop music, vocals can shine without being too harsh or sibilant. Female vocals are particularly intimate with these: I am particularly fond of listening to Celtic Woman through these, as the MA750i's can accomplish both intimacy of the solo vocals and exuberance of the accompanying orchestra at the same time.
Classical music is probably my favorite with these: with decent, modern recordings, soundstage and separation is excellent. Piano solos sound decent, no obvious highs poking out anywhere, but orchestral music is where it truly shines for me: the soundstage can be shown off through this. Beethoven's 9th Symphony is particularly impressive on these, with the vocals in the 4th movement synergising well with the sheer energy of the orchestra.
Soundtracks are much the same story with classical: excellent soundstage and separation. More synth-based soundtracks, such as Mass Effect 3's, can show off the MA750's control of bass.
Hip-hop/rap is probably the weakest genre for the MA750i's: not saying they are bad, but they lack the other strengths the other genres display. However, hip-hop/rap does exhibit a quality of the MA750i's: its ability to control bass without feeling like a truck ran over you, and spilling over to the vocals.
The low-mids are one area which, I've realised over time, I don't like quite that much, so a simple EQ fix bumping down the 125 Hz range was more or less the only EQ I did, besides a little bass boost (coz I happen to like more bass :) )
With a few exceptions, the majority of my friends spend ~$20 on their head gear maximum, with some going a bit more for earPods. When they realise how much my MA750i's cost, there first question, usually following their prompts of 'WTF', is, 'why did you spend that much?' In the beginning, I thought this is the same question as asking why your handbag costs more than my phone, or why your phone costs more than double mine. In other words, if you asked me before I bought these, I would not have known the answer.
Now, I think I do.