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UPDATE: RHA has released a new revision of their MA150 IEM

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

A few months back, I had a chance to audition the RHA MA150... billed as a bassier and more affordable entry level IEM to their MA350.  What I found was ONE OF THE BASSIEST IEMS I'VE EVER HEARD.  eek.gif  And I was not alone in that impression.

Armed with that feedback, RHA has gone back to the drawing board and re-tuned the MA150, resulting in a completely new revision (sound-wise).  This new revision is now out on the market, and I was happy to check it out.

In terms of appearance, both the initial version and the new revision look the same.  So how can we tell which version is which just by looking at them?  Well, that's tough because they both look NEARLY identical.  The new revision does have a thicker and better reinforced cable.  But if you don't have both on hand to compare, it can still be a little tough to eyeball one and make a determination.  The easiest way to tell is to look at the box that it came in.
 


The initial version (left) comes in a paper box with a top-opening flap.  The new revision comes in a corrugated paperboard box with a side opening flap.  Of course, this also means that if you're buying it used and without packaging, you're out of luck as far as identification goes.  Go ahead and guess in that case, you got a 50/50 shot.  tongue.gif

So how does this new revision compare to the initial version?  I'm glad you asked!

 

 

MA150

(Initial Version)

MA150

(New Revision)

MA350

(for comparison's sake)

Sub-Bass Very good sub-bass extension, though it can be fatiguing for long periods. Good sub-bass extension, very squarely between the old MA150 and the MA350. Reasonable sub-bass extension, certainly nothing to smirk at.
Bass Pronounced, warm and gooey mid-bass that oozes into your aural orifices. Pronounced and warm mid-bass with faster decay charateristics than the old MA150. Bass - while abundant - is not nearly as thick as the MA150s; kinder, gentler, more refined.
Lower Mids Noticeably recessed, to the point where lower mids are almost obscured by bass bleed. Lower mids care still somewhat recessed, but noticeably more forward than before. A much better bass-to-midrange transition than the MA150s; not a steep shelf or drop-off.
Upper Mids Heavily-veiled, soft and splashy; pretty dull and lacking in crispness and snap. A soft peak in the upper-mids adds snap, with no hint of sibilance, though there is a bit of noise. Much more peaky, snappy, crispy and crunchety than either MA150, and cleaner to boot.
Mids (overall) Blanketed midrange presentation, further compounding the already V-shaped signature. The mids are much more forward.  The signature is still V-shaped, but now the blanket is gone. Slightly more forward and less veiled than the new MA150; definitely more forward vs the old MA150.
Highs Decidedly rolled-off and lacking in air; can be quite suffocating at times. A smooth/gradual tapering off starting from the upper mids; not airy, but not stifling either. A VERY smooth roll-off; still not airy or breathy, but highs are not offensively absent in any way.


My verdict?  I like this new revision MUCH better.  Let me repeat that, MUCH better.  etysmile.gif  It is still bassier (and slightly darker) than the MA350, but in speaking with RHA, that was their intended goal right from the start... to offer a good value consumer IEM one step down from the MA350.  So if you're looking for something akin to the MA350, and don't want to spend more than $20, this is definitely worth taking a look at, and listening to.

BTW (and this just between me and all of you guys so don't go spreading it), I personally think that they should re-release the initial version as a dedicated basshead IEM.  I dunno, call it the MA50 or something.  But that's just me.  wink.gif

And one last note, I'd like to thank RHA... not only for providing me with an evaluation sample (which they did)... but for paying attention to community feedback and boldly changing their products to better suit us.  Not all manufacturers do this, so the ones that do deserve some recognition for it.  smile.gif

 

ERRATA:  Oops, apparently there is a visual difference between the initial version and the new revision.  Corrections made above.  redface.gif

post #2 of 9
Has anybody compared these to other budget favorites (SHE3580, FX40 etc.)
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

I haven't had a chance to as I don't have any of those.  frown.gif  Maybe I should pick up an SHE-3580?  Not like they're expensive or anything... smile.gif

post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by warrenpchi View Post

I haven't had a chance to as I don't have any of those.  frown.gif  Maybe I should pick up an SHE-3580?  Not like they're expensive or anything... smile.gif

Its not like you can ever have too many headphones... biggrin.gif.
Do these have a good seal? I am trying to find a pair of headphones that I could use while working out. I was going to get the M6, but many say they aren't that great sounding anymore, so I was looking for something that has slightly more fidelity. But whenever I find something better sounding, something like poor build quality, or comfort gets in the way. 

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prakhar View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by warrenpchi View Post

I haven't had a chance to as I don't have any of those.  frown.gif  Maybe I should pick up an SHE-3580?  Not like they're expensive or anything... smile.gif

 

Its not like you can ever have too many headphones... biggrin.gif.

 

True dat.  My non-Head-Fi friends are astounded that I have as many as I do.  Personally, I find my own collection lacking.  I'll need much more before I am satiated.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prakhar View Post

Do these have a good seal?

 

Yes!  On that note, I'd like to mention that RHA makes some of the best tips I have ever tried:  http://www.rha-audio.com/intl/accessories.html.  They call them dual-density tips, but they're essentially similar to Sony hybrid tips.  The dual density tips come free with their MA450i, but are also easily affordable otherwise.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prakhar View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by warrenpchi View Post

I haven't had a chance to as I don't have any of those.  frown.gif  Maybe I should pick up an SHE-3580?  Not like they're expensive or anything... smile.gif

 

I am trying to find a pair of headphones that I could use while working out. I was going to get the M6, but many say they aren't that great sounding anymore, so I was looking for something that has slightly more fidelity. But whenever I find something better sounding, something like poor build quality, or comfort gets in the way. 

 

Hmm... if a tad more fidelity is needed, I would still advise going with the MA350.  The new revision of the MA150 is a very noticeable improvement to be sure.  However, an MA350 - with maybe just a tad bit of bass boost if it's really not enough - would suit you well.  smile.gif  If you want iDevice controls on top of that, the MA450i fits the bill.

post #6 of 9

I liked the tips that came with my MA-350, which as I gather it were supposed to be the "lower line" ones. I've still got to get back to Isabel about replacing my set of those tips after they had their unfortunate accident. I'm using Hybrids on my MA-350 right now (literally right now), but the originals were nicer. I'd love to try these "dual density" ones as well.

 

And as far as the new MA-150? It's always a great thing when a company revises a product in light of community concerns. I don't really see myself getting one (in either incarnation), since the MA-350 is already the absolute limit of "bass enhanced" sound that I can stand, and I already think they're a bit laid back in the upper mids. But it's great that there's a competent bass-oriented entry in the lineup, and that, rather intelligently, RHA made it the cheapest model. Entry level consumers are going to be expecting more bass than the MA-350 provides, IMO, and it sounds like the MA-150 will be a better fit. The higher-end models will be there for them for when they've gone through their bass monster phase and start wondering about this "midrange" and "treble" the hipsters are all talking about. biggrin.gif

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Argyris View Post

I liked the tips that came with my MA-350, which as I gather it were supposed to be the "lower line" ones. I've still got to get back to Isabel about replacing my set of those tips after they had their unfortunate accident. I'm using Hybrids on my MA-350 right now (literally right now), but the originals were nicer. I'd love to try these "dual density" ones as well.

 

The dual-density ones are terrific!  Amazon sells a dozen of them (six pair) for $10.  I think I'm going to get a pack of the smalls and put them on all of the IEMs I have in rotation.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Argyris View Post

 

And as far as the new MA-150? It's always a great thing when a company revises a product in light of community concerns.

 

I think so... especially when so many companies DON'T do that.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Argyris View Post

 

The higher-end models will be there for them for when they've gone through their bass monster phase and start wondering about this "midrange" and "treble" the hipsters are all talking about. biggrin.gif

 

Some people never leave that phase though... sadly... frown.gif

 


 

Whoa!  Your MA-350 review is finally up!  biggrin.gif

post #8 of 9

I really liked the chart in the first page of this thread.  It's an impressive break down and comparison of products.

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deviltooth View Post

I really liked the chart in the first page of this thread.  It's an impressive break down and comparison of products.

 

Thanks!  I just thought it'd be cleaner and more efficient than making a wall post.

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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › UPDATE: RHA has released a new revision of their MA150 IEM