After spending more than three months thoroughly testing the MA450i’s on a daily basis, it is clear that RHA has designed a superb pair of in-ear earphones.
Many in-ear earphones can quickly cause irritation and discomfort; not the MA450i’s. Using the pre-applied pair of ear tips, I didn’t experience any discomfort or irritation over the entirety of my lengthy test period. The soft silicone material is comfortable and has a friction factor that is capable of cementing the MA450i’s in one’s ears for extended periods of time.
The MA450i earphones’ sound quality is very good. A wide range of diverse tones is effectively produced by the 10mm Mylar drivers – a clear strength when listening to classical and instrument-filled music. Even at high volumes, the RHA MA450i’s still exhibit strong audio playback performance, outputting high-quality music.
As far as in-ear earphones go, the bass levels achieved by RHA’s MA450i’s are excellent. R & B, rock and hip-hop music thundered through the MA450i’s tiny ear buds to deliver a powerful punch. But it’s the balanced nature of the bass that had us impressed. Even at painfully-high volume levels, the low-pitched thuds were kept at a level where they wouldn’t overpower and drown out a song’s lyrics.
And on the topic of volume, if it’s loud music that you like, you’ll have no complaints about the MA450i’s maximum level. Any more than a few minutes at maximum volume and a headache will inevitably ensue. We tested some everyday-quality 128 kbps MP3 tracks at maximum volume and found the experience to be bearable for no more than a few seconds – a testament to the MA450i’s power output. Audio quality was still high, so the option of a painfully-loud listening experience is available.
With the microphone positioned no more than a few inches in front of one’s mouth, there shouldn’t be any problems having a clear conversation, even outdoors on windy days. As soon as the microphone drops out of line-of-sight of your mouth, the quality of speech reception plummets. While this is to be expected, to a certain extent, a slightly stronger receiver would help eliminate reception drops. This is perhaps being a little picky, but it did catch us out on a few occasions.
Noise-isolation performance is average. Without audio being output, the MA450i’s struggle to drown out low-level noises such as a computer fan or birds singing. As soon as audio starts flowing, low-level background noises quickly become imperceptible. This seems to be the norm for many mid-range sets of in-ear earphones.
One slightly negative aspect arises due to the fact that a large amount of ‘rogue’ noise can be transmitted to one’s ears when using the MA450i earphones on the go. This is due to the cable’s fabric material rubbing against clothes and transmitting the vibrations towards the aluminium ear bud area.
We wouldn’t call this a huge negative, or a deal-breaker, but it is slightly annoying when having a conversion or listening to medium-volume music when out-and-about. Increase the audio volume and the vibrations are wholeheartedly overpowered by the MA450i earphones’ impressive performance.
Another criticism comes in the form of the removable silicone ear-tips. While we feel that the tips are a worthwhile, comfort-enhancing addition, attaching all but the double hemisphere tip is a painstaking process. A subtle design change should help to make the process far more simplistic.
Priced at £39.95 from Amazon, we have no reservations about recommending the MA450i earphones. If you can tolerate the occasional transmission of cable noise into your audio playback, and have the patience attach the silicone ear-tip of your choice, the RHA MA450i earphones are a great option that don’t break the bank.
- Very good audio playback performance.
- Strong bass.
- High volume levels.
- Seven unique silicone ear-tips.
- In-line microphone and remote.
- 3 year warranty.
- Cable can cause additional, ‘rogue’, noise to enter the audio.
- Attaching the ear-tips is a difficult procedure.
KitGuru says: Deep bass, a wide variety of tones, and a thunderous maximum volume level combine to create a set of earphones that is a great choice for a number of usage scenarios.