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RHA SA950i review: My new favorite Grab 'N Go headphone

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

Hey guys, so I recently had the pleasure of receiving a review sample of the recently released RHA SA950i (can be found at Apple stores and online for only $60) and wanted to share my thoughts on this can. Here are some impressions:

 

Bass: Starting with the low end, these give a nice tight bass response without being overpowering at all. Plenty of punch, impact, and decent extension/articulation also. Not on the level of a DT 1350 extension-wise, but for a can that cost 5x less, I was pretty impressed with the SA950i and how they do quite a great job of delivering some nice detail and texture down low. I'd say it's the right amount vs. something like the K81DJ/K518 which I feel overpowers mids and highs a bit. In comparison, SA950i sounds fun, textured and more controlled. I was pleasantly surprised to find how good drums and piano sound on these. Very nice sense of decay and power. 

 

Mids:  My favorite part about these headphones. The mids on these are smooth, lush and full-bodied. Vocals sound very rich and there's very good detail/layering in the mids. I find that strings sound great and fairly natural with no fatigue. Love these with rock and acoustic especially but I feel these are a good all-rounder with just about any genre.

 

Highs: So while there is decent extension up top (I can hear cymbals and other high frequencies quite clearly), there is a bit of roll-off which might give a slight sense of murkiness/lack of air. I find it quite acceptable however because I can still hear plenty of detail up top. I normally never EQ my headphones but just for kicks while they were plugged into my iPod, I boosted the treble a bit and found that the 950i responds very very well to EQ. Plenty of air and sparkle up top. 

 

Soundstage/Imaging: Again, very impressive for a small portable. They've got better soundstage than the HD25 - very similar to the M-80 in this respect. Imaging is pretty decent as well to my ears as I have a pretty good sense of instrument placement around my head. 

 

Isolation: Doesn't deaden outside sound like my DT 1350, but I have to say they isolate pretty well. I would say they isolate a couple of notches below them, which is good so you're also aware of your surroundings. I can easily wear them out and about, on trains and buses and still be able to enjoy my music. The impactful bass also helps in those environments.

 

Comfort: Very, very comfortable for an on-ear. Probably the most comfortable on-ear I've tried since the M-80 and ES10. They have the right amount of clamp and I can easily wear these for a couple of hours. Not bad indeed. The only gripe I can see people having with the ear cups however, is that they don't really swivel horizontally. This doesn't bother me in the slightest though.

 

BQ/Style: I think these look and feel more expensive than they are. These could have been priced much higher to the consumer public and I think this is where RHA makes a big statement about what they're about. Not only does the SQ impress at the price point, but it's in an elegantly stylish portable package and looks way better and more luxurious than a lot of headphones at this price point. The only quibble I have that reveals that it could be less expensive are the ear pads. The quality is pretty cheap - it would have been better if they used some better-quality pleather pads. Otherwise though, I could care less. They look great, sound great, and feel great with good isolation. Not bad at all. 

 

So overall, I can't tell you how impressed I am with this little sweet portable that sounds pretty balanced across the spectrum with pretty natural timbre. I think the titanium-coated drivers make a substantial difference in the lush, natural tone. I call it my favorite grab n go can 'cause I constantly find myself reaching for them around the house. They're just so easy to handle and throw in a bag. For a mere $60, if you're looking for a can with great features (detachable, iPhone cable really comes in handy and those features usually tend to come with more expensive headphones) without breaking the bank, that's light, comfy, and stylish (I find them very elegant-looking and I have ALWAYS been a fan of a head-conforming, understated black/silver or plain black cans) then I really feel these will be your best bet. To my ears, these sound better than headphones like the K81/518, RP-HTX7 and the more expensive Philips Downtown just to give a few examples. Obviously, at the price tag these are not going to be the most refined headphones you've every heard but I find myself grabbing these more often than some of my more expensive cans just because they're a lot of fun to listen to while also remaining comfortable, uber-portable and light.

 

Now for some photos:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading and feel free to share your thoughts or impressions of your own. beerchug.gif


Edited by roma101 - 5/5/13 at 3:32pm
post #2 of 25

Thanks, I'd never heard of these, but it's obviously worth checking them out.

post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 
Yeah I hope people get to check them out, I'd love to hear other impressions. I also forgot to put in my review that the 950i comes with a 3-year warranty with just makes the deal for them that much sweeter. I look forward to what else RHA will have up their sleeves with upcoming headphones.
Edited by roma101 - 5/5/13 at 5:21pm
post #4 of 25
Nice review Roma!
post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks Tom!
post #6 of 25
great review, that puts these right on top of my to buy list. thank you!
post #7 of 25

Thanks for the review Roma!  smile.gif

 

You know what's really surprising about these?  Their toughness.  When I first pulled it out of the box, I thought it might be a little fragile.  I don't know about you, but these have wound up being some of the most durable portables I've ever had.

post #8 of 25
i wonder how they compare to the new zoro hd.
post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 
Hey Warren thanks!! They sure are. I mean they don't have V-MODA military grade build but for the price, I didn't even expect to be this durable. They kind of resemble Skullcandy Aviators but are more durable than those IMO. I never feel the need to baby them. Also, the warranty is very convenient in case you do have an accident with them.

Sofa, never heard the Zoro HDs but I'll look into them.
post #10 of 25

Tangentially, we seem to have had a lot of the same cans at one time or another:  SA-950i, M-80, modded T50RP, K81DJ/K518, HD 218, PRO 650.  Weirdness.  smile.gif

post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 
lol Yes I meant to comment on that! That is quite the coincidence - either that or it just means I can neither control my wallet and/or my curiosity with just about any/every can. smily_headphones1.gif I am still hoping to try several more cans but definitely don't have the funds right now. That said I am just going to enjoy the collection I have as well as my music as much as possible. I feel really lucky to have the SA950i - I briefly considered selling a couple of my other supra-aural portables and just keeping this one but there is no way I can do that right now as I have a big attachment to those cans and their sonic qualities. The SA950i is just a lot of fun though with pretty good detail and separation for a budget can. They're pretty handy and I was just thinking today how they have a similar sound sig to the UE6000.
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by roma101 View Post

lol Yes I meant to comment on that! That is quite the coincidence - either that or it just means I can neither control my wallet and/or my curiosity with just about any/every can. smily_headphones1.gif I am still hoping to try several more cans but definitely don't have the funds right now. That said I am just going to enjoy the collection I have as well as my music as much as possible. I feel really lucky to have the SA950i - I briefly considered selling a couple of my other supra-aural portables and just keeping this one but there is no way I can do that right now as I have a big attachment to those cans and their sonic qualities. The SA950i is just a lot of fun though with pretty good detail and separation for a budget can. They're pretty handy and I was just thinking today how they have a similar sound sig to the UE6000.

 

I'd be willing to bet that we were stalking the deal threads around the same time.  wink.gif  While we're on the subject of selling off stuff and keeping just the SA-950i... if you could only have one headphone....or two. What would you choose?  Would the SA-950i be one of them?

post #13 of 25
Thread Starter 
For sure I'd keep the Yamaha PRO 500 if I was held at gunpoint lol. As for my supra-aural portables it's too tough to choose as I love them all for different reasons.
post #14 of 25

I had the Yamaha Pro 500 for a period of about a week.  Never even opened the box, and then it was gone.  The reason?  It was part of a trade with my buddy Beagle, and I was insistent that he get a fresh box free of my molestation.  smile.gif

post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 
Haha that's awesome. It was specifically his impressions that led me to purchase my pair. I had a good feeling it had the kind of sound I was looking for: natural and detailed all-around. It exceeded my expectations actually. Would love to know your impressions if you ever get ahold of them again.

Otherwise, how are you liking your SA950i?
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