[Review] RHA MA350 – Reid Health Audio Enters the IEM World with a Splash
Aug 17, 2013 at 3:03 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 5

HideousPride

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Note: Pictures can be deceptive. Trip to Cabo San Lucas not included with the purchase of MA350s.
 
[size=10.0pt]About the Author[/size]
[size=10.0pt]I’ve made peace with my home setup and am fairly certain that the TH-900/HP-A8C pairing I have offers me the best “value” at a price point I am happy with. Since earlier this year, I’ve been focused on gaining more experience with IEMs to find my ideal portable setup. From budget universals to TOTL goodies (Ocharaku Kaede, FitEar 334 & Parterre), I’m currently undergoing the process of finding an IEM I would enjoy living with. [/size]
 
[size=10.0pt]This review was one of the stepping points along the way in the value IEM category, and it was probably the most pleasant surprise of the bunch under $100. For the sake for transparency, please note that this is a review pair of MA350s. The author was not compensated in any other way for the review.[/size]
 
[size=10.0pt]I don’t necessarily prefer a certain sound signature, rather my favorite headphones are those that allow me to really get into and enjoy the music; both bass heavy (TH-900) as well as bass light (Sennheiser 598) headphones have made a fan out of me. Take everything in the review as IMO.[/size]
 
[size=10.0pt]Introduction[/size]
[size=10.0pt]In the value category of IEMs, it’s quite difficult to find many earphones with a sound signature that attempts to faithfully recreate my recordings. Bass boosted IEMs seem to be all the rage these days. As such, I was a little skeptical when I received a request from an RHA representative to give their “true-to-life sound” MA350 earphones a listen – this skepticism was only heightened when I received the MA350 only to read in bold on the front of the packaging “Dynamic speaker for high definition sound with full bass”.[/size]
 
[size=10.0pt]Oh dear. [/size]
 
[size=10.0pt]I plugged them into my Iphone5 for a listen and took them with me on my evening walk. And then… it happened. Akdong Musician’s song “I Love You” came on; a little head bob here, a little skip in my step there, and soon I found myself completely immersed in the song. Took them on the treadmill. Played a live show of Big Bang’s. Found myself really into it and “dancing” along to the songs on the treadmill.[/size]
 
[size=10.0pt]Wow. RHA is definitely on the right track in their initial foray into the earphone world.[/size]
 
[size=10.0pt]Packaging and Build Quality[/size]
[size=10.0pt]Packaging is not really the strong point of the earphones. The box feels quite cheap and flimsy, but at the price the MA350 is selling it ($39.99 MSRP) I’m glad they’re putting the money where it matters (sound and build quality) as opposed to fancily dressing up a mediocre quality product. Accessories are limited. Three sets of silicon tips and a carrying pouch, but it’s all you should need. The MA350 feels durable and built to last – classy looking and not cheap to the touch.  [/size]
 

 
[size=10.0pt]Comfort, Microphonics and Areas of Use[/size]
[size=10.0pt]The silicon tips included were very comfortable to my ears. The fabric cable would tangle, but was easy to unravel and able to withstand some rough usage. I took it out and about, getting it caught on several edges – the cable held up just fine. Unfortunately, the fabric cable was very much on the microphonic side for me. The only time I could stand wearing it straight down was when I was sitting down and not moving in any way. Otherwise, even with gentle walking, the cable would rub against my shirt and cause significant noise. This is significantly alleviated by wearing the cable over-the-ear. By the end of the first day, I had already given up wearing it any other way. [/size]
 
[size=10.0pt]The earphone performs well for all physical activities that don’t involve brisk movement. I used it while lifting weights, hiking, and brisk treadmill walks with positive results. When I tried running and jogging, the cable noise was a bit too loud for my tastes to enjoy the music. The MA350 isolates well but does not block out all exterior sound, a great positive in my opinion as completely isolating earphones are not ideal in most conditions. I was able to hear announcements on the plane, my phone ring at work, and most loud noises. [/size]
 
[size=10.0pt]Sound[/size]
[size=10.0pt]This is bass done right. Impactful and clean, the IEM hits low without having the loose, wobbly boom most value IEMs seem to struggle with. To my pleasure, the transition to the mids was done rather well. There’s warmth to the sound because of the bass emphasis, but the sound signature does not sound overly muddy. Both male and female vocals sound pleasing and convincing, if slightly in the background. Highs are a strong point in this IEM for me. Some of the value IEMs completely lack treble, but the MA350 receives high marks in this regard; very smooth to my ears without any sudden peaks.[/size]
 
[size=10.0pt]It is worth mentioning that they seem to pair very well with mainstream music players. They sounded fantastic out of my Iphone5 – I much preferred it to my AK100. It sounded fine out of both my laptop and desktop setups without any external add-ons. [/size]
 
[size=10.0pt]I can happily take back the skepticism I initially felt in regards to the RHA representative’s words. Maybe “true-to-life” is still an overly confident description of the MA350, but I can definitely hear that RHA is aiming for such a reproduction of sound and am very impressed with their efforts. Well done![/size]
 
[size=10.0pt]Closing Thoughts[/size]
[size=10.0pt]I’ve actually kept this review sample for myself thus far, which speaks volumes as to what I think about it. Most value IEMs and headphones I receive are passed off to friends and family, but I really do like the MA350 as a cheap, portable and sonically acceptable earphone for times when more expensive IEMs will not do (imagine taking $1k IEMs to the gym or to seedy travel places). The highest compliment that can be paid to these value IEMs is that they made me want to groove and dance to the music – there have been many more expensive headphones and earphones that have fallen short of what the MA350 has accomplished. At the retail price of $39.95, I think these are a very solid purchase indeed.[/size]
 
Aug 18, 2013 at 10:00 PM Post #4 of 5

slowpickr

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Good review.  Can you make any comparisons with other "bang for buck" IEM's such as the Sony MH1C?
 
Aug 19, 2013 at 10:26 AM Post #5 of 5

HideousPride

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Thanks! Unfortunately, most of the other IEMs I've tried at the <$50 mark failed to leave a very memorable impression. For $99, I liked the tuning of the RE-400. Not much else jumps out to me at this moment for solid recommnedations.
 

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