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RHA MA350 Review

RHA MA-350
Added Jan 2013

Details: First in-ear earphone from Scotland-based Reid & Heath Audio
MSRP: $39.95 (manufacturer’s page)
Current Price: $40 from amazon.com
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: 16Ω | Sens: 103 dB | Freq: 16-22k Hz | Cable: 3.9′ I-plug
Nozzle Size: 4.5mm | Preferred tips: Stock single-flanges, Sony Hybrid
Wear Style: Straight down or over-the-ear 

Accessories (2.5/5) - Single-flange silicone tips (3 sizes) and drawstring carrying pouch
Build Quality (4.5/5) – The MA350 boasts solid-feeling machined aluminum housings, metal nozzle filters, and fabric cables with flexible strain reliefs. The cable is a little tangle-prone but the overall feel is one of a higher-end product. The 3-year warranty is very impressive as well
Isolation (3.5/5) – The housings are narrow at the front, allowing relatively deep insertion with good isolation
Microphonics (3.5/5) – Moderate in the cloth-sheathed cable; can be greatly reduced with over-the-ear wear
Comfort (4/5) – The earphone housings have a familiar flared shape a-la Dunu Trident but are compact and light. The small diameter at the front affords a comfortable, unobtrusive fit

Sound (6.8/10) – The MA350 pursues a consumer-friendly sound and delivers on its promise of “a deep, full bass response” in spades, pumping out plenty of powerful sub-bass. It delivers more low bass than either the Brainwavz M5 or Dunu Trident, two solid and bass-heavy sub-$50 in-ears. Though the sub-bass is not very informative, the low end of the MA350 genuinely impresses with its depth and rumble. The response stays strong well into the mid-bass region, resulting in a warm—but not overly so—tone.

The powerful bass of the MA350 makes the mids sound slightly overshadowed and at times a touch muddy. This is far from uncommon for bass-heavy entry-level earphones – there are a few that manage better overall clarity (e.g. VSonic GR02 BE) and many more that can’t compete with the MA350. Note thickness is good and the overall sound is rich and full.

The treble is in balance with the midrange and generally smooth. At reasonable volumes the top end is very inoffensive. The MA350 is smoother overall than the popular VSonic GR02 BE and doesn’t introduce sibilance to a track. A little grain can become apparent at higher volumes—the Dunu Trident behaves better here even though it is not as crisp and extended as the MA350. Top-end roll-off is present, but gradual. No surprises for an entry-level set.

In terms of presentation, the MA350 is again par for the course. It is not the most spacious earphone and, like most budget sets, generally has an intimate, in-the-head presentation. It can get a touch congested but is more than acceptable for the asking price—better, for example, than the more closed-in sounding Dunu Trident.

THL Recommended Badge 2014Value (9/10) – RHA’s first in-ear earphone is a solid entry-level offering. There is quite a lot to like here but ultimately the RHA MA350 stands out in two ways – excellent build quality and deep, subwoofer-like bass. This is definitely the one earphone to show those claiming that in-ears can’t deliver adequate bass across the spectrum and, hopefully, is just the first of many in-ear products from RHA.

Pros: Solid build quality; 3 year warranty; powerful subbass
Cons: Cable noise can be bothersome unless worn cord-up

About ljokerl

Living in the fast-paced city of Los Angeles, ljokerl has been using portable audio gear to deal with lengthy commutes for the better part of a decade. He spends much of his time listening to music and occasionally writes portable audio reviews across several enthusiast sites, focusing mostly on in-ear earphones.

6 comments

  1. Hey Joker,
    I’ve spent the day googling and searching and reading reviews, at one point I always end up on head-fi and subsequently your reviews, now this site, so, before I ask anything, big respect for the work and thanks for all the info and guidance you provide.

    Now I’ve read your buyers’ guide and many other reviews, I am a little overwhelmed by the selection and, for added difficulty, I live in Germany and some of your advised models arent available over here (NarMoo S1, for example). I can use ebay, amazon.de, another german search engine, and mp4nation.net if I want to have warranty.

    I’ve googled with the requirements that I’m a basshead, I don’t want to spend more than 60€ if possible, rather a little less. My Brainwavz m5 broke down the other day, I really liked their sound, but my only experience is Klipsch S4 (mk1) and MEelec ccp51 (these bass-bullets or something, which I really didnt find comfortable at all, too long housing). The Klipsch were good bass but a little “not clear” in highs/mids, from what I recall, and right now the M5 were my go-to model.

    Here’s the thing, I abuse my headphones, and please don’t judge me for it. I toss them in my front pants bag, I don’t use carrying cases, I wrap them around my sansa clip+, I have them on basically every day on the bike, or running, or the subway. And I don’t do over-the-ear-wearing, I just don’t like that feeling. :/ So I was excited by the reviews saying RHA 350 have superior build quality and warranty, but on amazon.de many users said theirs broke within 2 months or 3.
    So build quality and warranty is an issue.

    So what I found, what’s available in Gemany, etc., is this selection – and what’s been recommended for more or less some or all parts of my requirements:
    soundmagic e10 42€
    RHA MA-600i 70€, MA-600 60€ (Maximum budget!)
    RHA MA-350 35€, but too much cable noise?? Build quality issues?
    RHA build issues? many complaints, broke units
    VRsonic GR06 55€ ebay, slow shipping (possibly warranty issues)
    Audio-Technica ATH-CKX5 36-47 depending on microphone
    Audio-Technica ATH-CKX9IS for 80€ (only if they are some sort of black magic deluxe IEMs, otherwise out of budget)
    dunu detonator 45$ (mp4nation)

    I know it’s a lot to ask and a long text but if you have any advice I’d be very grateful – which of these could be my golden ticket? or is there any model I’m absolutely missing out on? The JVC in your buyers’ guide are hideous, no offense. ;)
    If there’s a paypal donate button somewhere, please provide a link, I’ll send a beer or two your way!

    Thanks
    Moritz

    • I can’t say much for the real-world durability of the MA350 but I haven’t had any issues with mine. That said, if you use them the way you described (no carrying case, daily use, etc) then you’ll probably have to rely on the warranty to keep them going. Very rare to see earphones actually designed for that type of use.

      The MA600 is not something I would recommend due to mediocre overall performance for the price, and if you’re a basshead I would stay away from the E10 and GR06. Except for the old GR02 BE, VSonic doesn’t really make basshead earphones.

      As far as I know NarMoo does ship internationally from their website, but if mp4nation is an option (you can definitely get global warranty on their merchandise), I would consider the Brainwavz S1 as well. I thought it sounded like an improved Klipsch S4: http://theheadphonelist.com/headphone_review/brainwavz-s1/ . It’s $60, so well within your budget. Both the NarMoo and the Brainwavz S1 are better than the MA350 and Dunu Detonator in my opinion.

      P.S. you definitely can buy us a beer – thanks for asking! Or you can just to use our links when you buy something from Amazon.de, mp4nation, or certain other retailers. You can find out more here: http://theheadphonelist.com/about/support-headphone-list/ .

      • Awesome info, thanks!
        I was under the impression the MA60 would be a sweet-spot between the 350s and th 700s, which you praised in your buyers guide.
        The S1 seem really nice, I just ordered some off mp4nation. I am a little unsure how they would be worn down the ear, as I really don’t like the OTE style (or do flat cables help? Never had those). Other reviews point out they cannot be worn down-style, but I’ll trust your word on it – since from all the other descriptions, they sound exactly like what I’d need, enforced build quality and the like. But with the angled design, won’t they stick out awkwardly out the ears if I wear them down the ear, ie in reverse angle? The similar sounding Narmoo S1 are not cheaper when you include shipping, (and ship really slow as well) and may have issues at the cable with sweat (I use headphones for running and outdoor exercise a LOT), so I’m not sure they would actually be competition for the Brainwavz.
        used your referal link and will follow up on that support page. Thanks so much!

        • Unfortunately the MA600 is more bloated than both the MA350 and MA750 so not really worth recommending.

          Unless you have very large ears it should be possible to wear the S1 cable down – kind of like you would the Klipsch S4. They aren’t as tiny as the Klipsch units, but they’re smaller than the dual-driver NarMoo.

          Thanks for your support!

  2. Hi joker.
    Comparing the rha 350 to the meelec m6, which one do you think is better in delivering micro detail and spaciousness of sound?

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