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article imageReview: RHA-Audio shows promising results with MA450i Earphones Special

By Milton Este     Apr 11, 2013 in Technology
RHA Audio, a division of Reid Health, is a small research and development company of audio equipment located in Glasgow, UK. They specialize in cutting edge sound technology and current have a small earphone and headphone product line worth checking out.
More specifically, this review focuses on one of their higher end product line, the MA450i ear phones, black edition to be more specific. While earphones are not too expensive ranging from $5 to $10 cheaper ones to $25 to $50 more expensive ones on average, it is important to find a good set that is built to last. The RHA-MA450i sells for $49.95 in the Apple Store, slightly on the more expensive side, but definitely worth looking into and here's why.
Appearance does matter! When it comes to the packaging, RHA-Audio does a great job with the packaging outlining all the key features, specifications, and company profile. A first look will make you want to learn more. Depending on how detailed you want to go, the specifications consists of a frequency range from 16Hz to 22,000 Hz with impedance of 16 ohms, ma power 3/10 mW, and a sensitivity of 103dB.
Not to worry if these specifications don't mean much to you, rest assured that these are standard earphone quality, but weighted more to the higher end side. As a potential buyer, you're probably more interested in the features. It's time to be surprised because RHA is really changing things up!
Forget your standard silicone based cord because RHA has decided to go with an 1.5 meter fabric braided cord instead. As they state, this is to prevent tangling and eventually contribute to a longer usage lifetime. After my own usage, I can fully stand behind this statement. After wrapping this 1.5m cord around my iPod for about 24 hours, I noticed only a mild formation of the cord wanting to take the form of my iPod. Compare this to regular silicone based cord, I found no need to stretch it out and deal with the fact that the cord is constantly trying to recoil itself. Speaking of stretching, it is not possible to stretch this fabric braided cord like with the silicone ones, which also protects the internal workings of the cord.
As for the gold plated 3.5mm connector plug and aluminum build, this will not be a noticeable feature. This mainly serves to improve the sound as it bridges over the device to the actual ear piece.
Finally, with every package comes six additional earphone tips for comfort optimization and a carrying pouch for safe storage. Just to clarify, there are a total of seven sets of earphone tips with one set already on the ear buds with six in a storage container. The great thing about this is that all of these components fit nicely in the pouch.
Provided this brief overview of what to expect in every box, let's move on to the actual review. The first impression is very important and provided that everything was in place and well stored, any purchaser would be pleased to buy.
Starting with the already attached ear buds, I did not find them a comfortable fit and as a result removed them and switched to a smaller set. As it appears, the earphone's strength also happens to be its weakness as well. While the user doesn't have to worry about the ear-buds falling off, it is also near impossible to take them off and put another set on the earphones. There is no simple way to go about this other than to spend a good ten minutes trying. RHA can really ease off on this design and offer a better attachment solution, but for those that are lucky enough to like the default fit, there's no need to ever take them off again. For those that are worried about the ear-buds falling off during intense physical use, there is absolutely no need to worry about this.
As for the earphones, the first notice of the eerie feeling occurs when actually putting on these earphones. A simple push into my ears reveals a crackling sound of the possible poor attachment of the front speaker and back cover. Although not sure what to make of this, so far no signs of wear and tear so this issue can be disregarded for now.
While RHA does not touch upon sound quality and affects with the different ear-buds, this is definitely noticeable. The pre-attached set delivered a more focused sound as the ear-buds were pressed right up against my outer ear canal. After switching over to the smaller set with less resistance, the sound produced felt more "external". The effect felt more as if one were listening to a pair of external speakers, which provided me with greater comfort. With that said, there is no worry for discomfort. There are seven different sizes to choose from fitting everyone's need.
However, I should mention one key aspect RHA failed to mention. When taking into the pre-cautions and features on their manual, they did not touch upon cleaning and maintenance. This isn't just an issue associated with this particular set of earphones, but with all in-ear earphones in general. The ear-buds are like dust magnets. Ear wax, lint, dust, flakes, and anything small you can imagine will stick to the ear-buds. To clean the insides of the ear-buds, dabble a Q-Tip in water and run it through. Perhaps for sanitation purposes, use very small dosages of rubbing alcohol. As for cleaning the outer shell of the ear-buds, they must be taken off and rinsed under tap water. Some mild scrubbing with the tips of your fingers will be required. Afterwards, let dry before re-attach.
Unlike the lower generation, the MA450i features a smart remote. Unlike any other three button remote, this one is capable of operating eight features. The top and bottom buttons are responsible for volume control - volume up and down respectively. As for the center button, this serves multiple features. One click either plays or pauses music when the device is playing media while also serving as call accept and call end when used to handle incoming calls. Two rapid clicks track skip forward while three rapid clicks resets track and eventually re-play track. Holding the center button handles the microphone.
Note: some of these features may not work if you are attempting to use it on a non-Apple device.
This earphone is certified made for the Apple iPod, iPhone, and iPad. In fact, it is possible to purchase these through the Apple Store, whether online or in-store. However, the full fledged functionality of the remote will take time to get used to.
So so far throughout this review touched mainly on features and advantages, but after persistent usage in the past few days, I've begun to notice a drawback especially associated with the fabric braided cord. Meanwhile, the ear-buds filter out noise quite effectively, the fabric braided cord actually causes disturbance. Whenever the fabric braided cord from the V-splitter and above to each individual ear-bud comes in contact with anything, I can actually hear it through the ear-buds. The disturbance varies depending on the impact. This is a moderately severe drawback for users, especially those using it on the run whether just traveling or participating in active exercising. The ear-buds essentially amplifies the noise caused through the contact of the fabric braided cord, which will impact the clarity of the sound whether communicating with someone else over microphone or listening to any form of media. This can be a major drawback for some while just a minor inconvenience for others. Other than this issue, the RHA-MA450i performs quite well and definitely falls in the top tier earphones collection.
For more information, please visit RHA-Audio's website:
For more information on purchasing, please visit the Apple Store: Apple Web Store
More about rha, Audio, Earphones, earbuds, Sound
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