There are plethora of aftermarket headphones and earphones available for the iPhone these days. If you're looking to spend some of that hard earned Christmas cash, you may not need to look any further than the RHA-ma450i earphones. If you haven't heard of RHA Audio, they're a Glasgow, UK based company that recently launched their products in North America and simple trip to the Apple Store will reveal their very affordable $50 price tag.
What's in the Box
The RHA-ma450i come with seven (yes, 7) sets of ear inserts including a set of double coned tips in their own box, plus the headphones themselves and a soft classy carrying case. The tips come with 2 pairs each of Small, Medium, and Large so regardless of ear size, you should be able to find the right fit. The earphones are machined of aluminum, which makes them very attractive and much more durable than your typical plastic ones. The earphone cable is a braided fabric cable to reduce tangling and prolong cable life. If you're anything like me, and you could probably tangle a 2x4, then these cables are for you. My days of tangling cables were over once I starting using these. They are compatible with any iPhone & iPod touch that supports inline mic/volume controls.
The RHA-ma450i had some big shoes to fill, as my regular earphones are the audiophile oriented $400 Westone 3s. The earphones were very straightforward to use, offering much better than average sound quality. The bass is controlled and tight, with the right amount of midrange. My only complaint in sound quality was a little too much treble, not necessarily a bad thing, but it required an adjustment of the phone's equilizer settings.
On the Phone
The inline mic offers good sound quality, even on a crowded subway; the recipient at the other end of the phone call could hear me just fine. There were no complaints of sounding distant or muffled conversation. While not a true noise cancelling headphone, a good fit with the correct ear tips provides excellent isolation from unwanted outside distractions and offers little to no sound leakage, another plus for those of us who like to travel.
Controls & Features
A note for Siri lovers: a long press will bring up everyone's favourite voice assistant. The inline mic offers volume control, with one click offering pause, answer and hang up. A double click will skip to the next song while a quick triple click will take you back to the beginning of the last song. The mic also has a small indent in the center, making it very easy to locate the different controls. No fumbling in the dark or when you're in a hurry to pick up a call. It would seem that the engineers and designers at RHA Audio thought through these very well.
RHA Hits MegaTechie Home Run
RHA claims to create unique, high specification audio products and everything they make is engineered to deliver professional grade, cutting edge sound. Each feature, detail and component is the result of extensive research and their uncompromising commitment to innovation and quality. In every aspect, the RHA-ma450i hits the mark. They are the perfect combination of price, sound quality, and performance.
The sound quality is on par with earphones costing a $100 more and the build quality is first rate. The inclusion of a 3 year, no questions asked warranty should seal the deal for anyone that is still on the fence. The only drawbacks I found with the headphones were the slightly higher treble than I would liked and the lack of replaceable cables. Now, for $50, I'm not going to argue about the cables.
Whether you're a student on the go or an executive working out at the gym, the RHA-ma450i should be at the top of a very short list for anyone in the market for some new earphones.