Tech, Autos, & Gear in Layman's Terms Since 2006

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December 13, 2012 • Reviews

RHA MA450i Noise Isolating Aluminium Earphones with Remote and Microphone Review

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Back in August, we took a look at $35 MA350 Noise Isolating Aluminium Earphones. I liked them, but I didn’t LOVE them. My conclusion read,

What I Like: Good build-quality; Decent sounding; Fabric cord; Surprisingly low price for what they offer

What Needs Improvement: Lacks in-line microphone and controls

Recently the company was kind enough to send a pair of their RHA 450i Noise isolating aluminium earphones. Why are these different? Simple, they bring everything I liked about the MA350 and added in a remote and microphone. Even better, they managed to keep the price below $50. Let’s take a closer look.

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From RHA:

The MA450i is a high spec earphone that combines RHA’s renowned sound quality with an inline remote and microphone for seamless control of your music library and calls.

Gear Diary RHA 57 001

Features:

Dynamic speaker for high-definition sound with full bass

Machined from solid aluminium

A choice of seven pairs of soft silicone ear-tip for a secure, comfortable fit

Fabric braided cable for reduced tangling and prolonged cable life

iPhone/iPod/iPad remote and microphone

3.5mm gold plated connections

Carry case and ear-tip storage box

Machined from solid aluminium and housing a 10mm driver, the MA450i offers music-lovers effortless control without compromising on acoustics. RHA’s signature aerophonic design delivers an impressively detailed, well-balanced sound experience.

The inline remote and mic controls calls, music and volume on your Apple device.

The dual density ear-tips are constructed for optimum noise isolation; soft silicone on the outside provides a comfortable secure fit and keeps external noise out, while firmer silicone on the inside produces a tighter seal to prevent sound leakage. A 1.5m shielded fabric braided cable produces less friction than a normal rubber cable which helps reduce tangling, prolonging product life.

Gear Diary RHA 55

The actual earbuds appear and sound the same as the 350s. That’s not a bad thing, since they sound good (not great, but good), and they seal into the ear quite comfortably. The company notes that the 350s and 450s offer noise isolation, and they do a decent job of it. The inclusion of six additional eartips – making a total of seven — certainly helps guarantee the best comfort and isolation. As the company explains,

a high specification earphone machined from solid, aircraft-grade aluminium. 10mm drivers are housed within unique, aerophonically designed earphones engineered to produce outstanding audio.

I do, however, find it amusing that the company refers to a “carry case and ear-tip storage box”. The carry case is a cheap cloth bag. The ear-tip storage box is a… cardboard box. Neither is really worth using to advertise the earphones.

Gear Diary RHA 06

Like the MA350s, the MA450i have a 5′ fabric braided cable. I love the heft of it and the fact that the cable is tangle free. I did, however, notice a bit of noise coming into the line that traveled up to my ears when I moved (presumably caused by friction). In my experience this is not all too uncommon when dealing with earbuds that have a heavy cord. It is, in my opinion, worth the trade-off.

As noted, the MA450i come equipped with an Apple specified three button in-line remote. It works well, is positioned at a proper distance from the actual earbud, and it has a nice curve that allows you to easily control your music by touch. That means there is no need to look down at the controls when controlling your music. And the nice curvature, in addition to the black and silver color, looks rather classy.

The fact that these sub-$50 headphones come with a three-year international warranty simply impress me to no end. The MA450i are a solid pair of earbuds that, considering the price, should be on your short list if you are in the market for new earbuds to use with your iOS device. You can learn more or order yours here.

MSRP: $49.95

What I Like: Seven different ear tips included; Inline controller and microphone; Tangle-free cloth cord

What Needs Improvement: These won’t blow you away with their sound but for under $50 it is hard to find fault with anything about them

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample

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