First, I’d like to thank the folks at RHA for sending me a pair of the MA-350 to review.
RHA is a name I’ll admit I’m not immediately familiar with, so when an email fell into my inbox, offering me a chance to review their MA-350 model IEM, I admit I was a bit skeptical. But nonetheless, I accepted the offer and a couple days later the package arrived in my mailbox. So, does this upstart have what it takes to box with the best in the budget class? Read on to find out.
Packaging and Accessories: Comes in a simple paper/plastic box with three pairs of single flange eartips and a drawstring carrying case.
Design and Build Quality: Solid metal shells made of machined aluminum feel exceptionally sturdy without being heavy. The cable is well relieved at both ends, features a nice chin slider and a cloth weave covering. Overall, I’m impressed with the tank-like build and RHA backs these up with a rather impressive 3 year warranty, not something you see often.
Comfort and Isolation: The bell shape surrounding the 10mm dynamic drivers was most comfortable when I wore them over the ear, due to the long strain reliefs pressing lightly against my outer ear when I wore them straight down. Throughout most of my listening sessions I barely noticed they were in my ears, even over fairly long periods of time.
These isolate well for a dynamic driver IEM but can’t compete with the balanced armature IEMs in my collection in that respect. Microphonics were surprisingly quiet, in spite of the cloth covered cable, which I’ve found exacerbates these noises on a number of IEMs.
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Burn in: The RHA MA-350 IEMs were given upwards of 50 hours of burn in time prior to review. No significant changes were heard.
The low end is…peculiar. I’d hesitate to call them neutral but they’re neither bass light nor heavy so I guess I’m going to have to. The bass boasts impressive depth and very good texture and refinement in a way that will never creep up on the mids or muddy the sound but has the ability to step forward when a song calls for it. The bass is also less punchy than it is textured, with a full weight and body but doesn’t punch as hard as many dynamics I’ve reviewed. Personally, I’d say it has more similarities to balanced armature bass than that of dynamics, which was peculiar at first but is nonetheless great for a wide range of music.
The midrange is slightly cold in tone as well as linear and smooth. Vocals are nicely defined and everything sounds as it should. The micro detail retrieval is impressive, thanks to a slightly thin note presentation, which again makes me think of balanced armature based IEMs in a positive way. The high end is similarly detailed and airy.
The most immediately striking aspect of the MA-350 is the clarity and openness of its sound. It surprises with the depth of its soundstage and its ability to image properly, with a good sense of space between instruments and vocals and makes for a coherent and enjoyable presentation.
Just about every aspect of the RHA MA-350’s sound signature impressed me, especially since they retail for about $40 and sound like they’d cost much more. It’s clear, detailed, engaging and refined to the point that it can box above its price range with ease.
So, yeah, I recommend the RHA MA-350. It’s quite the impressive performer for $40 as long as you’re into a neutral sound that emphasizes clarity and detail above boosted bass and treble. It seems the budget IEM set has yet another very competent challenger in RHA.