Pros: That bass (warm and round, it's a massage to my inner ear), detailed, no edges, technically fantastic, relaxing
Cons: Where have the mids/treble gone? No edges, polite, not exciting
Contrary to my intentions of reviewing these when I first got them (similar to my other reviews), I was forced to wait 2 months from their date of arrival. I've found this to be ideal, as it kept me from writing before getting to know the headphones first, especially since I was coming from a longtime close friendship with the RE0s. Here goes...
2013-10-23 – Initial unboxing and first listen
For the next week, casual listening, walking through city streets, metro, bus lines, in home.
No music for 1.5 months (bricked source)
One week ago, started listening to these headphones and then brought the RE0s back out.
Apple iPod Touch 3rd Generation unamped, no EQ adjustments
RHA750 with default singleply size small tips attached
As many have commented, the packaging is superb. RHA has taken the Apple elegance of the personal computer world and presented it to the personal speaker world, and yet maintained their own feel. I was somewhat obsessed with the magnet on the front cover of the box, the one that allows the opener to check out what's inside. It was just the right amount of strength to cause me to do a double-take of whether I was ripping the box or not—and then suddenly break free. Here are the contents.
Immediately upon opening I noticed some flaws in the cord, somewhat disappointing.
In addition, I dislike the cord on these phones. The rubber makes it tedious to untangle and feels weird to me. I was also disappointed when my RE0s returned to me with this type of cord the first time the cord broke. After the most recent repairs, the RE0 cord has been updated to a hard plastic shell and works well for me. At this point I thought the cablephonics must not be too nice due to the cord, and after listening to and walking with them in, I concluded the same thing.
The plethora of tips is always daunting to me because inevitably only a few will fit. I wish consumers could choose their tip sizes they want included with their phones but I understand this is unfeasible for prepackaged IEMs.
The Over-the-ear assistors are awesome. This is something I've always wanted on my other IEMs as I normally wear them over the ear. On these it's built in, and totally worth it.
Initially, I was awed by the bass and disappointed by the mids and trebles. After my break, I re-examined the RHA750 in a less biased light and have come to enjoy their sound more. I hear accurate renditions of how instruments sound acoustically as well as many details in songs I hadn't heard before, including reverbs, echos, and undertones. One of the aspects I like most about the RHA750 is their ability to push sound through my ears for long listening periods before me feeling fatigued; in fact, I have yet to feel fatigued from them. This is not the case with other IEMs I have. The soundstage is bigger than the RE0, getting both closer to the center of my head as well as wider than my ears.
Though the RHA750 do not have an exciting sound signature, there is nothing technically wrong imo. They are comfortably balanced, and do shine in various songs/genres as I describe in my notes below. I initially felt the mids and trebles lacking; but I realized it was due to the bias from the RE0's shimmering mids/trebles. After the month break, I rather enjoyed the natural balance of the RHA750s and clean, clear sounds from the instruments on my recordings. The RHA750s excel with ambient, post-rock, chillout, funk, piano solos, jazz, and small orchestra. I found them not exciting enough for trance, country rock, house, classic rock, or orchestral music.
The non excitingness is ultimately how I decided on 4.2 stars and the school child metaphor. The RHA750 is technically fantastic. They have a generally safe, reliable sound with no surprises, much like that school kid who did the minimum to get A's. The kid doesn't wow you, but they follow all the rules and do enough to get top marks. Except the bass. I have never heard bass from an IEM like the RHA750s do bass. Warm, round, making my inner ear smile, and perhaps bleeding a bit into the lower mids. Contrast this to the RE0 which I feel surprises me all the time and punches me in the face when appropriate. With the RE0, I want to dance. With the RHA750, I want to sit and listen.
Notes (apologies for lack of variety, as my library is inaccessible right now)
Chris Malinchak - So Good to Me (mp3 320kbps)
Low mids active and present, highs not sparkly
Arty & Mat Zo - Rebound (alac)
That bass, separated instruments, detailed. I'm intrigued how the sound seems to be coming literally from behind the center of my eyes. Then the mid and high riffs comes in, sort of. It's there but, I'm not sure it really wants to be.
James Levine Conducts Mahler 3 - Mov't VI (alac)
The inconsistencies in the recording quality show up. The orchestra is in the distance, instruments are clear, warm. The entrance of the timpani in the final 3 minute cadence doesn't make me jump, as with the RE0s.
Kenny Loggins - Return to Pooh Corner (alac)
Mr. Loggins hits his low note at about 1 minute and I hear all of it, unlike the RE0s.
Phil Vassar - Little Red Rodeo (mp3 256kbps)
Mr. Vassar's reverb, never heard that before that clear. The intro guitar riffs don't punch me like in the RE0.
Ratatat - Loud Pipes (alac)
Bass Line sounds very smooth, handles the bass effect well. More texture than RE0.
The American Dollar - The Slow Wait(1) (mp3 320kbps)
Sound signature of these earphones match this type of music well: long periods of listening, not much edgy, dance motivation. Good pure sound, clean, comfortable, relaxing.
Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers - Caravan (alac)
Is the piano really sitting beyond my left ear?! The drums perched on the outside of my right ear? Piano sounds warm.
Ne-Yo - Sexy Love (mp3 128kbps)
Bass is round, deep, and warm. Mids are right there, unlike in Rebound. Vocal balance blends well.
Pretty Lights - Out of Time (alac)
This sounds good. These are the phones I want to listen to this music on.
Mat Kearny - Hey Mama (alac)
Too much bass. Other than that, the sound is...polite.
Max Richter - Vladimir's Blues (mp3 320kbps)
Ethereal, I can literally play the air piano and this is how it would sound.
Maroon 5 - Just A Feeling (alac)
First song where I felt the headphones were really there. Details really come out, and the crash cymbals shimmer, finally.
Johnny Clegg & Savuka - I can never be what you want me to be (alac)
The title says it all. When listening with the RE0, it's exactly how I want it to be: unrestrained, mids and trebles singing.
Air - La Femme D'Argent (alac)
I feel like this is how the song is intended to sound. I can see the studio engineer sliding up the gain in the intro and sitting back to give a listen. In contrast, the intro rain has much more energy in the RE0, everything is 'harder', and I want to dance instead of chillax to the music.