When it comes to in-ear headphones, many of us play it safe. Walking into your local Target, you’ll find a display case of in-ear headphones ranging from $10 to around $50 for wired versions and virtually all of them have the same limitations: slanted sound, limited frequency response, and a cheap, plastic build quality. Today, we’re looking at the MA650 Hi-Res In-Ear Headphone from RHA Technologies. If you’ve been craving something more from your in-ears, look no further because these are definitely worth considering. This is our review of the RHA MA650 Hi-Res In-Ear Headphones.09
- MSRP: $59.95
- Drivers: Custom Dynamic (Model 380.1)
- Sensitivity: 100dB
- Cable: 1.35m, dual material, OFC
- Frequency Range: 16 – 40,000Hz
- Rated/Max Power: 1 / 5mW
- Connections: 3.5mm, gold plated
- Impedance: 16 ohms
- Weight: 15g
- Manufacturer’s Warranty: 3 Years
In the Box
Right from the outset, it’s clear that the MA650’s are a higher class of in-ear headphone. The packaging is substantially more elegant and well presented than most of what you’ll find in this price range, unfolding like a book and giving a nice close up of the driver housing and a breakdown of the key features, including the custom-made drivers, noise isolating design, aluminum build, Android compatibility, and three-year warranty.
Taking it out of the box, you have the headset itself, a set of seven multi-size earphone tips on a nice metal retention plate, and the carrying case.
The headset has an elegant, refined look to it thanks to the brushed aluminum finish and half-braided cable. Both the driver housings and the in-line remote are finished in the aluminum, which presents a nicely modern vibe. I also appreciate that the cable braiding is only on the lower half, where the wires join and lead down to the phone. This keeps the wires leading to the housing from dragging on your shirt and wiggling free. It’s an example the kind of consideration RHA has put into this product, really making it feel high-end in a way other headphones in this range typically don’t.
It also means that the MA650s are far more durable than the average all-plastic set of earbuds. I would have no concern about dropping these in-ears or even having them stepped on by mistake (life happens – especially with little kids in the house). I wouldn’t go soaking them in water, but the remote also seems nicely sealed outside of the microphone port, so going for a run in a drizzle with this shouldn’t be much of a problem.
Before getting to how they sound, I also want to touch on their noise isolating qualities. With the proper tip for your ear, they do a good job of blocking outside noise. Included in the package is a pair of Comply Premium Earphone tips. These foam tips are similar to earplug and expand to block off your ear canal and provide exceptional noise isolation. With these tips, you’re alone with your music, even in a noisy environment. Considering their standalone cost of $19.99, they make for an excellent value add.
The frequency response range on this set is an expansive 16 – 40000Hz and a sensitivity of 100 dB/mW. Compared to the average 20 – 20000 Hz found on many mainstream headphones, the RHA-MA650s are in a much higher class of frequency response and will accurately recreate any sound within the range of human hearing. This range will also ensure clarity for the increasingly complex soundscapes of even the most complex music. The headphones also have a low impedance at 16 ohms, ensuring that virtually any device in your home could run them.
The sound signature here is more neutral than you’re likely to find on many consumer-grade in-ears. There’s a slight boost to the low end which helps music to feel full and rich, but RHA has really brought out the details in the high end. As a budding audiophile, I enjoy this sound signature because it provides that extra level of clarity to some of the small details and grace notes that often get lost in more bass-heavy sets.
I listened to everything from rock, to EDM, to rap, pop, acoustic folk, and chillstep. Out of the box, they don’t provide the bass punch R&B fans may crave but they definitely give you a better appreciation of the entire soundscape. In Rihanna’s Love the Way You Lie, I could hear the intricacies of the synth and background guitar in a way I’d missed with my last pair of SkullCandys. The same was true in PVRIS’s White Noise from the Empty Room Sessions. The bass steps back but gets wide to support the larger picture of the music.
After using the RHA MA650 for the last week, I’ve officially set my SkullCandys to the side. They’re easily the best built, classiest, and best-sounding set of in-ears I’ve ever used – even compared to my much more expensive set of Shure on-stage in-ear monitors. They’re slightly more expensive than the average pair of earbuds you might pick up at Target, but what you’re getting in improved sound, construction, and an excellent set of additional ear tips more than makes up for the cost.
The RHA MA650s are an easy recommendation to make to anyone looking for a pair of wired headphones and are willing to spend just a little bit more for something of quality.