Music is a thing of beauty. It can make you feel elated, sad or any of the emotions in between. The one thing that music requires however is a decent way of transmitting the sound to your ears. From large floor standing speakers to headphone to earphones, the quality of the music always relies on the quality of the delivery system. The poorer the system the less effect the music will have.
A company with a burgeoning reputation for quality products is RHA, a small Scottish company based in Glasgow. One of their latest products off of the production line is the RHA MA-600i in ear headphones which they have kindly supplied to us for a review.
If the quality of the packaging is any indication of the product inside then the MA-600i’s should just go straight to the top of the class. Supplied in a solid box, the flap on the front is secured magnetically. Once opened, the flap reveals bits and pieces of information about the headphones and a window to the actual product.
Inside the box is the actual headphones, a hard carrying case, a stainless steel ear tip holder and eight sets of interchangeable ear tips. There is also a cable clip and instruction manual.
As the “i” at the end of the product name indicates, the MA-660i’s are made for iPhone, iPod and iPad and as such have an inline remote with volume controls as well as the play/pause button. The remote also includes a 360 degree microphone. It should be said that they also work with devices with other operating systems however not all functions may work such as volume controls.
Now for the technical bit.
The RHA MA-600i’s have a 320.1 dynamic driver, a frequency range of 16Hz to 22kHz, Impedance of 16ohms, a rated power of 1/5mW, sensitivity of 100dB and are supplied with a 1.35m cable.
As with other in ear headphones in the RHA range, they are machined from aircraft grade aluminium and have RHA’s signature aerophonic design.
The entire look and feel screams quality. The cable is reinforced and made from oxygen free copper, the aluminium earpieces feel solid and the 90 degree 3.5mm jack looks like it could survive the worst of batterings. So sure are RHA in the quality of the MA-600i’s that they come supplied with a 3 year warranty.
Based on look and feel as well as construction quality they are already a winner but the real question is, how do they sound? Are they all style and no substance?
I tested the MA-600’s on a number of devices. An iPhone, my Samsung laptop, through my stereo amplifier and connected to my Nexus 4 and Nexus 7. I listened to music played from a variety of sources including CD’s, streaming over Google music and stored in .mp3 format.
I also listened to a variety of different music genres as well as several different podcasts of differing recording qualities.
Fleetwood Mac’s Beautiful Child, Emeli Sande’s Suitcase and Sarah McLachlan’s Angel all display the same haunting type vocals – listening to them through the MA-600i’s gives an aural experience that is second only to listening to them live. The nuances of the music are faithfully reproduced, the music has feeling and the emotion portrayed by the singer is relayed effortlessly.
A slightly different tack led me to Chase & Status’s Lost and Not Found where the speed and movement of the music was handled with ease. One track that really stood out for me was Pink ft Nate Ruess’ Just Give Me a Reason. When you hear instruments being played that you haven’t heard before on a track you have listened to over and over then you know that you have a quality bit of kit.
To be frank, the music genre is irrelevant, the track doesn’t matter. The MA-600i’s perform no matter what.
Design isn’t an issue then, sound reproduction is superb which leaves the issue of comfort.
I am fortunate enough to work in a job where earphones can be used for a good part of the time that I am working. This means that I can be wearing them for up to 6 hours at a time with only short breaks inbetween which also means that what ever earphones I am using must be comfortable. How did the MA600i’s fare? There are two ways of wearing them, either over the ear for greater stability or in the more conventional way which places the microphone in the optimum position.
The over the ear fit definitely is not for me however in the more conventional position comfort is not an issue, the dual density silicone tips do their job in providing an adequate seal and comfort at the same time. Extended usage is not an issue and the fact that there are 8 differing sizes of tip to chose from means that every eventuality is catered for.
Lastly is the cost. I personally am a heavy consumer of both music and the spoken word and have long had my eyes on a rather expensive (£300) pair of earphones. The RHA MA-600i’s cost £59.95.
In summation, there is a new favourite on the block. £59.95 buys an awful lot of headphone for a relatively small outlay. Exceptional sound and build quality are in abundance and there is nothing not to like.
Put simply, try them – I guarantee you’ll love them.
The RHA MA-600i’s can be purchased for £59.95 from Amazon