Hands on ... RHA MA350 Head­phones

The Herald Magazine - - FASHION -

What is it? Bud­get in-ear head­phones How will it change my life? I re­viewed Glas­gow-based RHA’s T10i not so long ago and was hugely im­pressed by their value for money. When I heard that their orig­i­nal MA350 was still do­ing a roar­ing trade three years on and had un­der­gone a re­fresh, I had to give them a blast.

I like to think I’ve per­fected the art of dis­sect­ing au­dio equip­ment to its bones. I view it as be­ing akin to the 12 Tri­als of Her­cules. Any­one who has bought an ex­pen­sive MP3 player or phone will know that the de­fault head­phones that ar­rive with them are a se­ri­ous chink in the ar­mour which should be dis­posed of im­me­di­ately and re­placed with some­thing of the stan­dard of the MA350.

Vo­cals can be use­ful but only for pitch and un­less your MP3 player is dom­i­nated by Nina Si­mone then you’ll want to delve a bit deeper into the ear­phones’ ca­pa­bil­i­ties. The ul­ti­mate chal­lenge, the MA350’s Cer­berus and one that in­vari­ably downs most con­tenders, is Orion by Me­tal­lica: del­i­cate tran­si­tions of heavy bass, drums and gui­tar that this set of head­phones han­dles with ease. Good points? Qual­ity sound is some­thing RHA is syn­ony­mous with and the MA350 is no ex­cep­tion, com­bin­ing crys­tal clear har­mon­ics with ro­bust ma­te­ri­als that won’t fail af­ter a few months. Noise iso­la­tion is a term banded about by most au­dio out­put com­pa­nies but you only get a sense of what this ac­tu­ally means when you try lower-end prod­ucts first.

To de­rive the same ef­fect from poorly man­u­fac­tured equip­ment you need to ramp up the vol­ume which de­grades the qual­ity. The MA350 achieves this at re­duced sound lev­els mean­ing those around you are not sub­jected to your mu­si­cal tastes. Bad points? Not a lot. Best for ... Achiev­ing a sound to ri­val head­phones that cost four times as much. Avoid if ... You are look­ing for bling. Score: 9/10, an ideal gift to gain brownie points or sim­ply treat your ears to rock bliss.

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