- Jul 12, 2012
REVIEW: RHA MA350
(From RHA-Audio site)
Driver: 10mm, 130.5 Dynamic
Frequency range: 16-22,000Hz
Rated/max power: 3/10mW
Cable: 1.3m, fabric braided
Connections: 3.5mm, 90°, gold plated
3 years warranty!!
MSRP: £29.95 / $39.95 From RHA.co.uk (only to UK and the channel islands) or Amazon (UK ,US, FR, DE, ES)
3 pairs of hybrid-style ear tips - S x1 / M x1 / L x1 -. Their quality is quite good. The form and texture are different in from the Sony's or Dunu's tips, as the RHA's are thicker, longer, with wider opening and have a more spherical design for a more secure fit. Extra eartips are sold separately which is a plus.
There's also a fabric carry bag and a shirt clip.
Build & Design:
The build quality is pretty good. Housings are made of aluminum, very lightweight and yet feel very sturdy. The "aerophonic trumpet's bell design" means they're wide at the rear part where the driver is placed and narrower up to the nozzle. Whether it improves the sound reproduction or not I can't say, but they do sound very good for the asking price. The fabric braided symmetric cable is of nice quality too. The good side is that it's soft and very easy to wrap and store to avoid tangling, but being a fabric one makes microphonics more noticeable. Not a serious issue as the included shirt clip helps a lot, and I mean a LOT. Alternatively, they can be easily worn over-the-ear. The cable is well relieved at the housing entry and the 90° gold plated plug feels very sturdy too.
The MA350 may not match Dunu's top-notch build quality, but are definitely on the same level of pricier sets such as Hifiman RE-400 and Hisound Crystal, and above the Vsonic lower models.
Fit, Comfort and Isolation:
Great! The earpieces weight nothing and are very comfortable for prolonged listening sessions. The hybrid-style stock tips provide and instant fit. Even though I tried other aftermarket tips the stock ones still gave me the best results.
Isolation is quite impressive. On par with the RE-400 which is above most other IEMs I've tried (of course not at Etymotic level). They do a nice job to block most of crowded areas noises (So be careful!).
First of all, I must note that the version I got seems to be a newer one as it differs from the ones I've seen online. The box is different, the plug is angled and not straight, the nozzle filter is black and the included eartips are "hybrid-style" ones. So please take this into consideration as my impressions might be quite different, and so it seems, from previous MA350's reviews.
There's a lot to like about these RHA model, and it's hard to find a weak point on them. The overall sound is on the warm side, rich and fun, and full through all the frequencies, with a slightly lively presentation.
Bass is strong and punchy, but not lacking control. Sub-bass manages to reach deep and offers a fun rumble. There’s an extra mid-bass lift which makes the 350 sound fuller, but not overwhelming to offend the lower mids. Not as powerful and thick as the heavier sets such as the Dunu DN-23 and, fortunately, don't have the Brainwavz M5 annoying upper-bass 'hump'. Of course, there's no need to mention they're far from AF45 bass levels. A good comparison should be the VSD1-S, as both are very close both in quantity and quality terms, being the RHA just slightly boomier on times, but do share a very similar presentation.
Midrange is very slightly forwarded at best, not recessed for sure. Neither dry nor too sweet, but do have a decent sense of fullness. Not as effortless as the above mentioned VSD1-S though, but yet a bit thicker than the ATH CKM500 (which have the edge when it comes to overall clarity and openness - not very surprising considering the open-design of the AT). Vocals are more forwarded and nicely positioned. Female ones aren't as sweet as with more mid-centered in-ears, such as the VSD1-S with their special coloration, but on the other hand, both male and female vocals are evenly positioned (something that the Vsonic were really lacking). However, both RHA and Vsonic are far from to the pricier RE-400, which offer a much more intelligent, coherent and, mainly, beautiful vocals reproduction. Anyway, considering the stronger bass and added highs, the MA350's midrange was nicely made and won't dissapoint with most genres.
Following the lively signature, the highs are more prominent, very crispy and sparkly with a nice extension and very good clarity for the asked price. They are less forgiving than the smoother RE-400, and in a lesser degree, than the VSD1-S (which are already smoother within the Vsonic's budget line), but not sibilant or harsh unless used on higher volumes.
Soundstage is quite good, wide and open with a right sense of air and separation. A very enjoyable and catching sound, indeed.
I really like these small IEMs. They have everything and more you could ask for an entry-fi pair; build quality, comfort, good isolation and nice sound. The included eartips are great and have become one of my favorites ones. And the unbeatable 3-year warranty only sweetens the deal even more. If this shows what RHA is capable of for the $50 and less range, their higher products should be pretty intriguing.