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REVIEW: RHA MA750 - Flawless Victory!

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  1. Zelda
    REVIEW: RHA MA750 - Flawless Victory!
     
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    Specifications:
     
    Driver: 560.1 Dynamic
    Frequency range: 16-22,000Hz
    Impedance: 16ohms
    Sensitivity: 100dB
    Rated/max power: 1/5mW
    Weight: 35g
    Cable: 1.35m, reinforced, OFC
    Connections: 3.5mm, gold plated
     
    And of course, there's a 3-year warranty!
     
    Price: £79.95 / €89.95 / $119.95 - or £89.95 / €99.95 / $129.95 for the "i" mic' versions.
     
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    Accessories:
     
    6 pairs of single ear tips - Sx2 / Mx2 / Lx2
    2 pairs of double flange ear tips - Sx1 / Mx1
    2 pairs of memory foam ear tips - 1 size
    Stainless steel ear tip holder
    Carry case
    Clip
     
     
     
    For full info, please refer to the product page:
    http://www.rha-audio.com/intl/headphones/ma750.html
     
     
    Build & Design:
     
    The MA750 are built to last, made of machined stainless steel material everywhere possible, the housings, the Y-split and the plug. The cable is very thick, doesn't show any memory effect and doesn't tangle either, but it isn't the softest one, and actually rather long, too (1.35m). Well relieved at both ends too; spring device (about 2cm) at the straight plug, and long earhooks (with no memory-wire) at the housings end.
    These are probably the best built earphones. The only ones that come close are the Dunu DN-2000, and even those aren't as special as this RHA's model.
    The design is also too awesome; shiny, sleek (and a bit flashy), and really well thought for a comfortable fit. Both DN-1000 and DN-2000 which are excellently built are only average in design and comfort. The MA750 excel in this regard for sure.
     
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    Fit, Comfort, Isolation:
     
    Again, everything here is pretty much perfect. Despite having an over-ear design, the MA750 are very easy to fit, and the earhooks help to keep them secured. With the "Aerophonic" design (as RHA refers to it), they provide a very comfortable fit for long listening periods without causing any discomfort, and even though the metal earpieces feel a bit heavy on the hand, they are surprisingly light when worn. I'd say they're only second to the Rock-It R-50M which are super lightweight, and on par with the Ostry bros. (and probably better), and better than both Hifiman's last models, RE-400 and RE-600 or Brainwavz S5.
    Isolation is really good as well, among the most isolating in universal fit IEMs (excluding the Shure and Etymotic stuff). The R-50M are just a tad better. Aftermarket eartips also help to achieve even higher level of isolation for daily use.
     
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    So far so good, but let's get into something even more special, the Sound...
     
     
    Sound:
     
    The MA750 are already too impressive in build quality, design and package, but they manage to impressive even more when it comes to sound performance. Not everything tastes as it looks or smells, and especially in the sound gear world, most products don't sound as they look. The RHA MA750 earphones are probably an exception to this. It could be said that this model sounds as it looks and designed; a very 'healthy' sound with solid sonic characteristics, beautiful balanced presentation that manage to impress from the first listening and just gets better as time goes by. The sound signature is very comfortable from lows to highs without showing too much emphasis on a certain frequency, not lacking anywhere either, and surprisingly keeps a very well achieved 'fun' factor but in a much more refined way than mid-tier earphones tend to show.
     
    The overall signature is of a very, very wide U-shaped form, with equal and excellent extension on both ends. The bass is very special and takes a really different form than the MA350, RHA entry-fi previous model, and many other mid-fi earphones that the MA750 compete against. Instead of focusing on a strong and thick mid-bass centered low-end, the MA750 offer a flatter response at the mid-bass section. It's still rather strong as dynamic drivers can get, but doesn't show a certain lift or peak. On the other hand, what the MA750 really have is an impressive sub-bass response, with definitely more emphasis than the rest of the bass making it a more refined and less tiring earphone. As such, the bass is deep with a very good rumble quality, well bodied and layered, and yet fairly quick with a natural sense of decay. Not a bass cannon by any means but capable of showing more than enough power when needed. Both the Dunu DN-1000 and Brainwavz S5 have a much mid-bassy signature what might be more 'fun' for some, but this RHA set is more refined and better controlled over those ones.
     
    The midrange of the MA750 is something unique. Neither forward nor recessed, but pretty much neutral in position. It's very clear and open, carrying a fair sense of warmth yet clean of bass bleed, though it does need some period of burn-in to bloom and achieve a perfect weight and dynamics. Even though it's already very impressive from the first listening sessions, personally I found that it took about 200 hrs to settle down and finally show the real strengths. The midrange it's not only well balanced with the lows and highs, but also intelligibly textured and bodied for excellent instrumental and vocal performance. Overall midrange clarity is at least on par with the RE-400, though both single dynamic models differ in flavor; the RE-400 giving higher priority to more forward, effortless and sweeter vocals, while the MA750 is emphasizing instruments a bit more and a bit drier in the vocals dept.
     
    Treble is pretty much a mirror to the bass response. Transition from upper mids to lower highs is very smooth and main treble is relatively flat, or at least doesn't show certain peaks. What the MA750 really have is a stronger emphasis at the upper treble region for better extension and wider stage. With the stock single tips, the MA750 could classify among brighter IEMs; not a 'hot' treble set but yes a sharp one. The R-50M, DN-1000, Altone200, or even the DN-2000, all TWFK dual BA based phones, are expectedly hotter on the mid-treble, more tiring, and probably more prone to sibilance (with exception to the DN-2000 which is surprisingly smooth for a TWFK hybrid phone). The RHA MA750 are not lazy either, but are just more focused at the upper treble. Overall micro-detail is very good, though not as microscopic-detailed as the above BA variants, but really well done for the asking price and higher. Instead of being frontal and analytical, details come in a more dynamic way which requires some time to truly appreciate them.
     
    So far so good, and this RHA model excels in every region. And yet, where I find the MA750 to really shine is in stage and instruments, and especially in timbre. Soundstage is rather big and very spacious as usually proud good dynamic drivers IEMs can get. It's wide with equal sense of height and depth, giving a very good 3D surrounding effect. The MA750 sound is bigger than the Altone200 and R-50M but not as huge as the Dunu DN-1000, not to mention the enormous sounding DN-2000 with their much out-of-the-head sound. Actually it could be similar to a balanced well driven Hifiman RE-600. Instruments are way awesome, both in separation and quality. They have the detail, the texture and the weight, and also a very natural decay and right timing. Be it drums, strings, horns or cymbals, all of them are presented in an engaging and immersive way.
    And finally, the timbre is "perfect", and personally the best characteristic of the MA750. Not even the hybrid DN-2000 has this beautiful natural tonality, despite their higher detail; but the hybrids' disadvantages are hard to totally avoid. The only set that could really beat the MA750 in this regard is the RE-600, and only when the strong AMP-S amplifier is used (and we're talking about $600+ setup here). Still, all this comes under one condition, the eartips. I tried different tips, including the RHA self MA350 tips, and found that the MA750 stock single tips provided the best sonic results and this great timbre, tonality and imaging.
     
     
    Amplification:
     
    With both reference Panda AMP-S and (fairly) reference Cayin C5 portable amplifiers, the results were pretty much as expected. Starting with the Cayin C5, the MA750 is taken a half step above with a bit more extension, clarity and more effortless sound overall. The bass boost wasn't really needed and personally not recommended in this combo as it tends to lose the sub-bass greatness and focus much more in mid bass regions.
    With the AMP-S the MA750 is definitely taken to a higher level. Extension, clarity and speed are some keys of this strong amplifier, and are well proved when combined with the MA750. Bass is even cleaner with fantastic sub-bass rumble and control. Treble is more refined and delicate, brighter yet comfortable. Midrange gets very effortless and very open achieving greater balance with the other freq.
    And yet, despite the nice improvements, I could easily still prefer the unamped sound of the MA750 for its engaging sound and immersive timbre.
     
     
     
    Selected comparisons:
     
    VS The Dunu Bros. DN-1000 & DN-2000:
     
    Despite using a very similar hybrid driver configuration, both Dunu's (previous and current) flagships already differ from each other. And so, they're also different to the RHA MA750 model. These hybrids have a much stronger focus in the mid-bass region, whereas the MA750 gives higher priority to sub-bass response. Treble is similar in extension, even though the Dunu's models both utilize a TWFK BA driver, but they do differ in treble presentation. The DN-1000 model is the hotter one and first to show sibilance, the DN-2000, while still bright, is smoother in comparison and better balanced, and the MA750 bright with a hint of sharpness. Midrange is differently flavored in each model, more recessed in the DN-1000, forward and very engaging in the DN-2000, and more neutral with the MA750. Clarity and micro detail is higher on the hybrids because of the balanced armature part, but the RHA sounds more coherent than the DN-1000, with more convincing dynamics and that special timbre. One thing is for sure, these are 3 of the best built models.
     
     
    VS Hifman Bros. RE-400(B) & RE-600:
     
    Build quality and (probably) QC issues aside, the three models are among the more comfortable ones, and some of the best dynamic driver sounding earphones. Both Hifiman options offer a smoother sound even when balanced driven, while the MA750 sound livelier due the more emphasis on both far ends. Mids are always the strength of the Hifiman IEMs and are obviously more forwarded, with higher priority to vocals texture and sweetness. The MA750 is somehow opposite to the RE-400, caring a bit more to instruments than to vocals. The RE-600 will still win in SQ alone, but balanced driven mode would be necessary.
     
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    Conclusion & Value:
     
    Well, it's no secret I find the MA750 to be a great performer, right? The best built earphone yet, with thoughtful, beautiful and sleek design, and nicely accessorized as well. It's also very well isolating, low in microphonics and very comfortable for daily use. And if this wasn't enough, the RHA MA750 really shines in sound quality. A made of steel in-ear, that is a 'steal' for the just $120/130 price with a 3-year warranty. Simply, a flawless victory!
     
    bridgestone likes this.
  2. DannyBai
    Good review Zelda.  I dug the sound and build but as you mentioned, the cable was too long and thick for me.  Bass was quite big too but thankfully stayed in the sub-bass region.  I am still curious how much better the T10i will sound.  Hope you get one to review.
     
  3. kjk1281
    Thanks for the review, Zelda! Even though they didn't quite work out for me, I still feel that the RHA MA750 remains one of the better "full package" earphones in its price range. Very solid packaging and presentation combined with great sound and superb build quality make it an earphone that can be appreciated by audiophiles and the general music listening public alike.
     
  4. Zelda
    ^ Thanks! The MA750 is definitely one of a kind earphone. luckily enough i had no comfort issues and found the 'right' tips. 
    really liked the entry 350 model. and now this 750 is one of my few favorites
     
    don't know about the T10, but looking forward to next RHA releases.
     
  5. jnorris
    After years of buying and trying and returning headphones from Martin Logan, B&W, TDK, Sony, Monster, JBL, and others, with prices ranging from $30 to $200, I found the MA750's. I stopped searching. These are the best.
     
  6. Zelda
    Thank you very much![​IMG]
    +0.5[​IMG]
     
  7. hakushondaimao
    After a month of ownership, these have become my de-facto go-to IEMs. I used to juggle between my XBA-H1s and SE-215s, but the 215s are now confined to the bench (just in case) and the XBAs only get an occasional listen. SQ is fantastic, from low to high, and I find the soundstage excellent. They have really opened up since I first got them (they were a bit veiled when they first arrived), so if you have a new pair and are at all disappointed, just give them a little time. "Flawless victory" is a spot on description.
     
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  8. randomhfier
    Just got these & they're very nice! The only issue I have is that the provided tips aren't great for my ears. The foam are too large & the double flange fall out, the only that fit are the normal small ones. Does anyone use the sony rubber tips with these? I'll either get those or Tx-200
     
  9. Zelda
     
    I used the single ones and worked fine, but the large bi-flanges are even better. couldn't use the foam ones either. 
    the sony hybrids were fine like the included silcone ones, but the 'fake' ones from ebay were much better. can;t comment about the TX as i usually can;t get good fit/seal with Comply
     
  10. Zelda
    just saw this photo. Very nice! [​IMG]
     
  11. randomhfier
    Hey, thanks for the reply [​IMG] Do you have a link for those 'fake' ones? These?: http://www.ebay.de/itm/Official-SONY-Noise-Isolation-Ear-Piece-Size-S-EP-EXN50S-/321357916441?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4ad26ca919
     
  12. Zelda
    Nope, those are the original Sony ones, with Foam.
     
    These ones, http://www.ebay.com/itm/3-Pairs-Hybrid-Replacement-Ear-Tip-Headsets-Earbuds-For-Sony-XBA-MDR-DR-Series-/311167794103
    just search "Sony XBA" and you'll see a list of those. not that they're really XBA related, though. just a way to find them
     
  13. hakushondaimao
     
    Glad you like it. I like the Comply tips with the MA750, but far prefer the Sony foam tips.
     
  14. randomhfier
    Ok thanks [​IMG]
     
    So you prefer the ones I linked to? 
     
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