IMG_2807
RHA designs and engineers their audio products in Britain and prides themselves on honing in on the small details of a product and making them great. Prior to testing their headphones, I had never heard of RHA (they’re a division of Reid Heath Ltd.), but the fact that Apple retail carries their products coupled with their sharp industrial design made me want to check them out.

As quick as Apple can give me new set of headphones with each iDevice, I somehow find a way to misplace, break, or water (OK, sweat) damage them. I am assuming many of you are just like me in that regard and, as such, prefer a pair of solid earbuds under the $50 mark. At first glance, it seemed that the RHA M350 noise-isolating aluminum headphones would the fit the bill, so I decided to give them a test drive.

Packaging/Design

The MA350 earphones come in a compact box broadcasting a few key features (dynamic speaker, fabric cable, etc) and even their 5 star score from What-HiFi. On the back, RHA continues with a full list of specs and features – nothing out of the ordinary here. The earbuds themselves are a different story. The first thing you will notice is the machined aluminum housing, which really stands out against the rest of the black body. Apple fans are sure to love how the MA350 ‘buds look next to a Mac or iDevice.

The next most striking element on these earphones is the fabric braided cable. It feels terrific in between your fingertips and more importantly it doesn’t easily tangle like rubber (Hello, Apple earbuds!). But this luxury comes at a cost – more on that later.

It may be a bit nitpicky, but the ‘L’ and ‘R’ signifiers on the buds are a bit tough to discern at a quick-glance. I would probably put a touch of nail polish or a quick Sharpie dot to make them more easily identifiable. Again, not a big deal but I thought it was worth mentioning.

Fit/Sound

IMG_2811
Each pair of earphones includes three different sized silicone tips so you can find the perfect fit for your ears. I recommend taking your time when swapping out the tips. It took me a couple tries to fit a new tip on the ‘buds as they are super tight. Once I worked the opening of the tip a bit to loosen the silicon they slid on pretty easily. After finding the correct size tip, the MA350s fit well and were very comfortable.

Now on to how these stylish ‘buds sound. Keep in mind, sound quality is extremely subjective and is heavily influenced by the music you listen to. In my opinion, the RHA M350 earphones sound great. Especially when you consider that they retail for only $40. I tested them with several genres of music and found that they are extremely balanced. Don’t expect overbearing bass (Monster Beats) or overly high acoustics. They are a nice mix of both. I was impressed that I was actually able to decipher new sounds and instruments in songs I’ve been listening to for years. As mentioned above, the fabric braided cable proved to be a double-edged sword. It’s great aesthetically and for avoiding tangles, but creates some unexpected feedback (microphony) if jostled or rubbed during audio playback.  Not a big deal, but something you should be aware of if you plan to use these for running or working out.

Wrap up and 20% discount code

The RHA M350 earphones look and sound great for a pair of $40 headphones. The only major feature I wish these headphones included is a remote and mic for better smartphone compatibility. Other than that, I think they are perfect for people looking to upgrade to better sounding earphones at a reasonable price. RHA even includes a 3-year warranty on every pair sold.

For the next week, 9to5Mac readers can take 20% off a pair of these headphones when purchased at Amazon (must select RHA as the seller) with coupon code 9TO5MAC2.