RHA is a British (well, Scottish) audio manufacturer that aims to revise our thinking on what a genuinely modestly priced pair of earphones can be and do, both in terms of sound and build quality. As a case in point, I would cite RHA’s flagship model, the MA750i which sells for $129.95 (US), £89.95 (UK), or €99.95 (EU). If you stop to think about it, you could easily go out with your mates, spring for some delectable pub grub and a few pints, only to find you’d actually spent more for the evening than RHA’s top-flite MA750i would have cost you. In my book, this math makes the MA750i a potential bargain (or what we Amurricans might call “a screamin’ good deal”), provided the earphones sound good and are well made. But is that the case?
Yes. Full stop.
We could pretty much end this review right there, but it would hardly seem sporting of me. After all, surely Hi-Fi+ readers are eager to learn how and why a British earphone is acquiring a bit of a reputation as a giant killer on both sides of the Atlantic and on both sides of the English Channel. I generally prefer to leave discussions of sonic character for last, so let’s begin by looking at what your £89.95 will buy you if you invest in a set of MA750i’s.
When you open the box you’ll discover the MA750i is beautifully made. For starters, its earpiece enclosures are made of machined 303F-grade stainless steel, which creates a strong, positive first impression. Nothing—absolutely nothing—looks cheaply made, here. The ‘phones are supplied with a large diameter set of smoothly-jacketed, steel reinforced, oxygen free signal cables that terminate in a robust, knurled metal mini-plug fitted with a gold plated, four-conductor plug tip. The “four-conductor” bit refers to the fact that the MA750i is fully iPod/iPhone/iPad compatible and accordingly comes with a machined metal in-line three-button remote/mic module (with soft rubber button surfaces for better ergonomics). Sturdy strain reliefs are fitted where the signal cables enter the earpieces and where the signal cable routes into the connector plug. Even the “Y-yoke” (the joint where the left and right earpiece leads join the main signal cable) is handled via a knurled metal connector whose fit and finish mimic those of the main output connector.