RHA MA-350 review
These earplug-style headphones are designed and sold by British newcomer Reid and Heath Acoustics. They have a number of pairs headphones on the market, but these are the first in-ear designs, and very impressive they are too.
At £30 these can't be described as high-end earplugs, but the audio quality leaves us with little to complain about. They are bassier than most earplugs using a 10mm driver; and while some may enjoy a flatter, more neutral sound, others will prefer the MA-350's richer deep tones. Despite this tendency to the lower end, it's not overly at the expense of other frequencies, so those with eclectic tastes don't have to worry. In fact, we found a pleasing warmth about the sound on orchestral pieces.
The physical design is also good, though not without its own foibles. The 1.2m braided cable has a smooth finish that doesn't snag in use, and the gold-plated 3.5mm jack is pleasingly small. There's no in-line control, but a sturdy plastic piece protects the split to two cables. The top part of this slides upwards to act as a cable tidy and keep the left and right cables running together for as far as required.
Our main criticism of the headphones is the incredibly subtle left-right markings on the earplug themselves - tiny black-on-black lettering on the rubber sheath where the cable enters the earplug. L and R should have been marked in white on the back, beside the RHA branding.
The actual earplugs are made of aluminium and feel incredibly sturdy. There are three sets of silicon tips supplied, so anyone should be able to get a comfy fit. Though RHA describe these headphones as noise-isolating - a trend popular with many manufacturers now - the tips don't have multiple flanges, or expanding foam, to achieve a proper seal against outside noise.
In terms of audio quality there's little to complain about here, and if your musical preferences tend to bassier tracks then you should seriously consider buying a pair. The lack of obvious L/R marking and proper noise isolation are both minor down points (unless of course you commute on the tube), but generally these are a good pair of earphones that are well worth the asking price.
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