RHA MA450i full review
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The MA450i, built by British specialists RHA, is a classy looking set of in-ear headphones. Finished with glossy black plastic and aluminium and with a gold-plated 3.5mm jack at the end of a 1.5-metre, fabric-braided cable, these are headphones for those who don’t need to shout. Also see: 6 best budget headphones
See also: The best headphones of 2014
The fabric-braided cable isn’t just for show. It’s harder to kink and bend than traditional rubber casings, and that means these should survive being stuffed in a pocket a few times. The metal and plastic construction of the earbuds themselves is convincing too. The box also contains a mesh pouch with a drawstring, giving you another way to protect the MA450i when not in use.
The bundled accessories don’t stop there: everyone has different shaped ears, and the RHAs come with no fewer than seven pairs of rubber ear grommets, allowing you to find a setup that fits snugly and comfortably. The MA450i is topped off by an inline remote on the right speaker cable. Three buttons mean you can send the volume up and down, as well as being able to start and stop playback on compatible phones. The integrated microphone is a further plus, and we found the system worked well and delivered phone conversations extremely well on an iPhone 5c.
A big advantage of earphones which fit in the user’s ear canal is noise isolation, and the MA450i is a great choice for anyone looking for passive noise cancellation: hearing the outside world is all-but impossible with them on. Press play and the impressive performance continues: the MA450i produces a spacious, detailed sound whose rich, clear bass belies the small size of the dynamic driver.
Unlike other budget headphones the bass isn’t simplistic, boomy noise but crisp, detailed and dynamic, which means electronic music sounds as good as traditional rock or cello notes. They sounded excellent no matter what we put through them, effortlessly distinguishing between instruments in complex rock arrangements, and underscoring their suitability for those who don’t restrict themselves to a single genre of sound.
Some may complain the MA450i isn't 'budget' enough, but you get indisputable benefits for the extra money. Sound quality is the biggest plus: these sounded superb no matter what we through at them, and the generous supply of different-size earbuds meant they were comfortable as well. The inline remote is a plus for anyone who listens while they roam, but the biggest plus is audio quality, which is deeply impressive for the cash.
RHA MA450i: Specs
- In-ear headphones
- Frequency response: 16-22,000Hz
- Nominal impedence:16 ohms
- Sensitivity: 103dB
- Extras: 3-button in-line remote and microphone, 6x pairs of grommets, carry case
- Cable length: 1.5m (braided)
- Weight: 14g
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