Details: Flagship in-ear from Scotland-based RHA
MSRP: $119.95 (manufacturer’s page) ; $129.95 for MA750i w/mic & 3-button remote (manufacturer’s page)
Current Price: $120 from amazon.com for MA750; $130 from amazon.com for MA750i
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: 16Ω | Sens: 100 dB | Freq: 16-22k Hz | Cable: 4.4′ I-plug
Nozzle Size: 4.5mm | Preferred tips: Stock single-flanges
Wear Style: Over-the-ear
Accessories (5/5) – Single-flange (6 pairs in 3 sizes) and double-flange (2 sizes) silicone tips, foam tips (2 pairs), shirt clip, stainless steel eartip caddy, and zippered leather carrying case
Build Quality (5/5) – As with RHA’s lower-end models, the construction is impeccable. The MA750 boasts machined stainless steel housings, metal nozzle filters, and thick, rubbery cables. At the earphone end there is a molded “earhook” section about 4” long. It’s not memory wire, but it’s a lot more comfortable than the earhooks I’ve come across in the past. The cable is thick and tangle-resistant, and all of the hardware is metal, including the 3.5mm I-plug with a long “spring” strain relief. The 3-year warranty is very impressive as well
Isolation (3.5/5) – The housings are narrow at the front, allowing a good insertion depth and good isolation
Microphonics (4.5/5) – The cable carries some noise but microphonics are generally not a problem due to mandatory over-the-ear fitment and the fact that the cord is thick and heavy, and doesn’t move around much
Comfort (4/5) – The earphone housings have a familiar flared shape a-la Dunu Trident and RHA’s lower-end models. The earpieces of the MA750 made of stainless steel, though, so they are a little heavier. The small diameter at the front nonetheless affords a surprisingly comfortable fit considering the weight
Sound (8.9/10) – The previous RHA earphones I’ve tried left me impressed with their bass power and clarity, but the new MA750 is a strong performer all around. Its signature is predicated on enhanced bass, but less so compared to the lower-end models. It has a strong emphasis on sub-bass, and a little less on mid-bass. The bass quantity is not at what I would consider “basshead” level – deep bass presence is good with the MA750 but there’s not too much mid-bass punch compared to some of its competitors. On the other hand it is a lot bassier than the HiFiMan RE-400, which sounds more controlled but appears deficient in subbass in comparison the RHA unit.
The MA750 is warm in tone, but not overly so. It has decent enough treble presence to balance out the bass, though it is certainly is not a neutral earphone. The midrange is rich and full-bodied, with very decent clarity considering the sound signature. Clarity is better than with many other stereotypically “warm” earphones, such as the Sony MH1C and Dunu Trident. The RE-400, on the other hand, is more mid-centric, but still sounds more neutral and is a little clearer through its midrange. The pricier Dunu DN-1000 hybrid, too, is clearer, making the MA750 sound veiled comparison.
The upper midrange of the MA750 is energetic but emphasis diminishes before getting into the regions that typically cause harshness and sibilance. The MA750 is brighter overall compared to the Sony MH1C and Dunu Trident and has a slight tendency to sound “tizzy”, especially at high volumes, thanks to the lower treble emphasis. It isn’t bothersome, however, and I definitely would not call the treble energy excessive. On the other end of the spectrum, the Dunu DN-1000 has treble that is brighter and more revealing of artifacts, making the MA750 sound quite smooth in comparison.
Presentation-wise, the MA750 performs well for the price. Its soundstage is larger than those of the MH1C and Trident, and separation is better as well. The Trident especially sounds more in-the-head and congested in comparison. Aside from the enhanced bass having the ability to throw a slight veil over minute details and take away from its imaging ability, there is not much to complain about with the MA750 here.
RHA’s $40 MA350 is one of my favorite budget-friendly sets for enhanced bass, but while the flagship model does command a healthy price premium, it also offers up a significantly more refined sound. The MA350 has strong, domineering bass, but the MA750 manages to sound rich and full-bodied while maintaining lower overall bass quantity and better bass control. It’s more balanced, as well as smoother and more refined. The treble of the MA350 is a little grainy in comparison, and more prone to harshness. The MA750 sounds more natural and enjoys a larger presentation with better depth and separation, making the MA350 appear congested in comparison.
Onkyo IE-HF300 ($129)
The IE-HF300 couldn’t be more different from the RHA MA750 in design, but sonically both earphones tend towards a warm, enhanced-bass sound. The RHA unit boasts bass that is both more extended and more powerful overall. The HF300, meanwhile, has less bass quantity with a focus on mid-bass. This results in mids that are a little more veiled compared to the MA750. The MA750 sounds clearer and more crisp, though it is a little more laid-back at the top end compared to the Onkyos. Both earphones boast above-average soundstages, with the HF300 being a little more open-sounding.
Yet another enhanced-bass, consumer-friendly earphone in the sub-$150 range, the EP1 nonetheless offers a sizable contrast to the MA750. Both earphones have a strong emphasis on bass but the MA750 is a little more powerful here, which gives it a warmer and more full-bodied sound. The RBH earphones place more emphasis on the midrange and sound a little clearer as a result. The MA750, on the other hand, has a thicker midrange presentation and a smoother and more forgiving sound. The RHA also boasts a slightly wider presentation and tonal character that, to me, is more natural overall.
This earphone’s “Bass Edition” moniker is only true insofar as it is more bass-heavy than the regular GR07. Next to the MA750, however, the GR07BE sounds rather balanced. The RHA unit has more bass and a warmer tonal character while the GR07 is closer to neutral. The bass of the MA750 is boomier and results in more veiling of the midrange. The GR07BE lacks some of the full-bodied character of the RHA, but remains clearer, especially in the midrange. Up top, the MA750 is a little smoother where it counts while the GR07 is more sibilance-prone.
Value (9/10) – The RHA MA750 has a lot going for it – a warm and lush sound, spacious presentation, and good bass presence. No less important is the construction quality, which features stainless steel housings and thick cabling. The earphones are comfortable, too, thanks in large part to the over-the-ear fit and molded earhooks, and isolate surprisingly well. Most impressively, the MA750 is not at all exorbitantly-priced – it’s extremely comfortable just north of $100. Early last year I found myself impressed with the entry-level MA350 and hoped to see more great things from RHA, and this year starts off with another hit from the Scottish manufacturer.
Pros: Extremely solid build quality; 3 year warranty; warm sound with excellent bass presence
Cons: Housings a bit on the heavy side