Here in the US, the MA-350 can be purchased directly from RHA on Amazon.
Special thanks to RHA for the review sample, and to Head-Fi’s own warrenpchi for initiating the review process.
Before I start the review, I must once again remind readers that the many factors contribute to the preceived sound quality of earphones and IEMs, including source (the Sansa Clip+ in this case), musical genre preferences, fit and tip choice of IEMs, among various other factors. As always, your mileage may vary.
PACKAGING AND BUILD
The packaging of the MA-350 is simple and no-frills. The box includes the earphones, two additional pairs of tips (small and large), and a felt carrying pouch.
The MA-350 packaging includes extra tips and a felt pouch for transport.
Build quality is solid. The housings made of aluminum are solid and well-finished. Strain reliefs appear to be more than adequate as well. I’m not the biggest fan of the fabric-covered cable, mainly due to the noise that results when rubbing against clothing and skin. Fortunately, RHA equipped the cable with a slider which, when adjusted properly, does minimize most of the rubbing-induced microphonics. To the cable’s credit, the fabric coating does reduce tangles, which is nice considering I often used the MA-350 while lying down in bed before sleep. Certainly, the horn-shaped housing contributes to a very comfortable design that adds to its suitability for in-bed use. The housing also allows for good attenuation of noise for a dynamically-driven, shallow-insertion IEM.
RHA MA-350 cable and housings
The sound of the RHA MA-350 is pretty straightforward and very likeable. It is certainly V-shaped, with strong bass response, clear but recessed midrange, and accentuated treble. However, I found the tuning very well-executed, especially considering the low cost of entry. Though the lower frequencies are quite abundant, they rarely muddy up the midrange, all the while providing a punchy foundation to the sound signature.
The midrange is crisp, mainly due to what I perceive to be as a lack of relative midbass, and thankfully avoids graininess or over-done thickness that’s usually present in lower-priced models. The only issue I have with the midrange is this lessened midbass makes the mids seem even more recessed than they really are, which makes some vocal- or string-centric music have a bit less presence than I would prefer. Still, the fact that the MA-350’s have as much bass as they do while keeping the mids clear is quite a feat at such a low price.
The treble of the RHA is crisp and bright with good detail. The solid high frequency extension aids in creating an open soundstage, though the soundstage itself is average in overall size. Still, creating an open sound on a bassy earphone is worth noting. I do detect a bit of sibilance in some tracks, but it’s controlled enough at lower volumes. Other than that, I don't detect any other odd peaks or resonances which can lead to harshness.
A closer look at the MA-350's unique trumpet-bell inspired housings
I’m actually quite impressed by the package RHA has put together in the MA-350. The sound, while certainly catering to the mainstream, is at the same time very competent and fun to listen to. Combine that with the good build quality and generous three-year warranty, and the MA-350 becomes a very easy recommendation to family and friends looking for a well-built, good-sounding in ear that doesn’t break the bank. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for RHA's other wares if the Glasgow-based company continues to engineer acoustically-pleasing, competitively-priced headphones and earphones.
Edited by kjk1281 - 2/18/13 at 1:15pm