RHA MA750i Headphones
(Have a butcher's at these!)
Let me start by saying, I know headphones. I have reviewed a lot, I own a lot, and my ears have endured a lot. Generally speaking, function comes before form in my recommendations. Do they sound good? Are they comfortable? How much do they cost?
Only after these questions are positively answered do I then I allow myself to get excited over how pretty they are. Rarely am I able to reach that glorious final stage. To be frank: most tech that focuses on form ends up lacking in function (I’m looking at you, Beats). But every once in a while, my inner geek gets her day, and today it’s thanks to the British company RHA’s 750i. Now, knowing the substance is there, just look at them. Sigh...Sexy, no?
They’re beautifully designed, with small details that are generally only seen in headphones far more expensive. Those silvery bits? 303F grade stainless steel. (A Google search informed me that 303 grade steel has a psi of 89,900! So, very durable.) Not only is the 1/8th-inch jack reinforced with this steel, but there is also a spring that gently keeps the cable from kinking at the connection point. The cable is oxygen free, and has a velvety rubberized texture that feels both flexible and sturdy. The junction from main cable to individual ear cords is steel reinforced. Even the Apple compatible remote feels luxurious, snug in a little steel jacket.
The in-ear buds are supported by the cable being worn over the ear, which historically speaking, I’ve disliked. Many headphones’ over-ear designs have cables that rub against and chafe the delicate skin between one’s ears and skull, especially when wearing glasses of some kind. Not so with the 750is. Somehow the texture and structure of the cord is such that I wore my test pair for several hours very comfortably.
Included with the headphones are tips of varying shapes and sizes, which are all housed in a genius little business-card-like caddy. The types of tips are single flange silicone (s,m,l), double flange silicone (s,m,l) and two sets of Comply. The caddy not only keeps the tips organized, but handy, as the card fits into elastic straps in the included faux-leather carrying case. The carrying case also has a little mesh pocket, perfect for holding the also-included shirt clip. It’s these small but thoughtful details that transform liking headphones into loving them.
What else is there to love? The sound. Exciting and clear, with emphasis on the upper mids and bass. While this isn’t by any means an even frequency response, it’s not a bad one either.
Rock, hip hop, and electronica sound intense and forward. Try listening to this: The Who’s “Baba O’Riley”: the electric organ sounds smooth and rich, and you can even hear the old strings on the piano vibrate in the intro. Once the guitars kick in and the layers of sound come at you like a crashing wave, you’re ready to kick some arse.
Or Radiohead’s “I Might Be Wrong”: deep low bass guitar with snares snapping on top. The 750i’s bass response is strong, but it doesn’t overtake the rest of the frequencies.
Or, Estelle’s “American Boy”: The thumping synth bassline never drowns out the buttery vocals. The sound profile reminded me of the AKG 376s, but in a far classier package. And although they lack the sense of sonic depth and space that the RBH EP2 or Bowers and Wilkins C5s have, they are also around $60 less expensive, and arguably more solidly built.
While I wouldn’t use the 750is for studio monitors in mixing, I do enjoy them for rocking out. The overall feeling is vivid and fun. Add in the consideration that you can get them for around $120, they are a fantastic buy for those looking to make the leap into higher end headphones. Think of them as the Aston Martin of headphones: stylish, classic, zippy, exciting. And bugger me, they sure are pretty!