Saturday, 23 November 2013

RHA MA750: My 2013 Choice of IEM


 


When I was first contacted by RHA to review this unit about 3 weeks ago, I have to say that I have not heard of the name RHA.  So, I googled it and saw a few pictures and reports of RHA participation in audio shows. And its based in Scotland. After a quick read through of the company's portfolio, I really did not know what to expect of its sound characteristics.

RHA is a specialist British headphone company which takes true-to-life audio reproduction and long lasting quality as their core values. More read up of their range, I came across their mid range MA600i model which offers 'aircraft grade aluminium'. Got me a bit excited to really sample their unit. To my surprise, RHA decided to send me their top end model MA750 instead which made me even more excited. MA750 is relatively the same as their MA750i model but without the iPhone talk-through function. This model however is a stainless steel unit as oppose to the aircraft grade aluminium.

After a few emails, the MA750 sample unit arrived at my door step within 4 days of its being dispatched from Scotland. This made me feel more confident of RHA services which also offer delivery for those that opt for online purchase.

FIRST IMPRESSION

Impressive packaging. Some marketing thoughts have been put into the packaging design which was fully secured and yet wasy enough to un-box the unit. Truth be told, Apple can learn a thing or two from RHA with regards to packaging. I truly dislike how Apple package their products. 

I didnt actually bother to check the content at the beginning as I just took out the IEM unit and plug it into my iPhone 5. First track played was Iron Maiden's Can I Play With Madness... (Yes... I was  in a frenzy mood and needed some adrenalin flowing).. And the MA750 really got my juice flowing... 

This IEM delivered a very clean and natural sounding character. BUt at the same time, the low end frequency sounded full and bold. Mcbrain's awesome drumming was really revealing and the MA750 delivers this with high precision. Only after this track, I started to explore whats inside the packaging :)

WHATS INSIDE AND BUILT QUALITY?


  1. The MA750 IEM itself
  2. Leather pouch
  3. Nine (9) different ear tips, locked into a neat metal plate. Comes with dual density silicone, double flange silicone and memory foam ear tips.
  4. Manual
  5. Cable Clip

I particularly like the material of the cable used. Its somehow manage to avoid cable entanglement even without having a clip. The cable is steel reinforced, oxy-free and comes with a gold plated connection.

The stainless steel housing gives it a sleek and luxurious look and its already pre-contoured with the cable to go around the ear.




This IEM is a noise isolating unit. Using RHA's aerophonic (TM) design, it was contructed from individual machined stainless steel componets.

Top notch built quality at this price range.

THE EXTENDED LISTENING SESSION

I used this unit DAILY..... yes DAILY for a straight 3 weeks. Thats how much the first impression impact is. The listening session was done via iPhone 5 and Musical Fidelity M1 HPA headphone amp.

Tracks chosen are as below. All of which are 48kHz 320 kbps MP3 files:

  1. Can I Play With Madness - Iron Maiden
  2. The Pink Panther Theme - Henry Mancini
  3. Perfidia - Andrea Bocelli
  4. Siboh Kitak Nangis - Zee Avi
  5. My Hero - Foo Fighters

Isolation Quality: I find the double flange tip provides me the most comfortable experience with the best isolation level.

As mentioned earlier, Can I Play With Madness.... was indeed madness :). Bruce's vocals was full of energy and although the drums was really evident, it did no overshadow the heavy guitar solos and riffs. The MA750 presented the song with such high level of detail but still clean and balanced. No issues of bloated bass or high pitch treble.

Now, very recently, I got more serious in listening to Mancini's work. So The Pink Panther theme is a perfect track to test this IEM. And yes, it got me more excited with the legend's musical arrangement. All the wind instrument on this track was presented in a very bold but relaxing tone. The percussion also was very bold but was never exhausting even with the high pitch ride cymbal playing. Using the wrong IEM for this track can make this track sound loud and tiring to the ears due to the way the percussion and trumpet were recorded.

Perfidia... although its about one partner deceiving another, it is still such a beautiful tune. The classical guitar solo on this track sounded very lively with the right amount warmth injected from the MA750. And Andrea's vocal was presented in his most melodious tone but still as uplifting as his other tracks.

Through this IEM, Siboh Kitak Nangis gave me the emotion of how beautiful my nation's music and lyrics can be. The soundstaging on this track was well presented by the MA750. Zee Avi's vocal was very crisp and emotional with the beautiful sound of ukulele and double bass overhanging behind her, as if I was listening to her live performance. 

When it comes to heavy and complicated music, I always listen to My Hero. And yet again, the MA750 had no issues to deliver such a high level quality music reproduction. The drums on this track was presented with such detail and definition. The heavy bass drum gave me the urge to start banging along on my Yamaha DTXplorer drum set. And that what I did. Grohl's high strung vocal was also the highlight of this IEM. No fatigueness experienced even with such a high screeching vocals. All well balanced.

CONCLUSION

As the title suggest, this is my 2013 choice of IEM. Yes, its November... but I doubt I would get to listen to another pair in this next month that can compete with the MA750. I have actually listened to a few this year in the likes of Shure, Senns, MF although may not be reflected in my blog.

If you need clean, natural, balanced sound with good noise isolation, please audition this IEM. It is not for those who are looking for heavy bass boom. Not a Beats definitely but it does give enough to make you want to shake your head in excitement. And at this price range, its definitely can be a good Christmas present....:). Go on then.... put a smile on the face of your loved ones....

Do visit www.rha-audio.com for their full model range and specifically for this unit, click here

I was also informed that there are a few other products in their plan, to supplement their existing high quality product.

A BIG THANK YOU to RHA for the review sample. 

For those interested to purchase one, you can order it from Amazon:

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