Gadget review: RHA MA350 earphones

Glasgow's RHA makes headphones with a stylish, industrial design. Picture: Contributed
Glasgow's RHA makes headphones with a stylish, industrial design. Picture: Contributed
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Scotland’s RHA show how quality earphones can be affordable

Gadget review: RHA MA350 earphones

£29.95

SCOTLAND’s RHA have been diligently carving out a niche in the premium audio market for several years now, impressing with their blend of idiosyncratic design and top grade performance. When we reviewed their T10i earphones last year, we were taken by their bold aesthetics superb sonic output. The company’s MA350 range, now available in the same sleek, industrial packaging as the T10i, ticks the same boxes.

Designed to resemble a trumpet’s bell, they are constructed out of material that is hard to find in most earphones that sell for less than £70, let alone £30. The metal is solid aircraft grade aluminium which has been sandblasted and partially anodised in matte black. The resultant look is effortless stylish and gives a distinctive appearance while also making it feel reassuringly sturdy.

The bass is deep and controlled and the sound retains its clarity at high volumes

For in-ear phones, the MA350s are capable of deep and controlled bass notes that many over-ear sets would struggle to emulate. Tested with Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti, the warm low frequencies gave the music drive and impact without muddying the rest of the sound signature. Even at high volume, the sound retained its clarity and sharpness. We’re talking quality you would expect from earphones retailing at three times the price.

Promises of noise isolation are kept thanks to great design and materials

Equally surprising for in-ear buds is RHA’s claim of noise isolation, a promise many manufacturers make idly only to fail to deliver on it. But RHA make good on their vow, thanks in large part to the premium materials and the build quality. The machined aluminium and metal driver grille ensure that sound does not escape, while the rubber tipped ends (RHA provide a range of sizes in the box, along with a drawstring carry bag) provide a complete seal in the ear canal.

While the design of the MA350s is near faultless, one decision we took issue with was the use of a fabric braided cable. Granted, this is a far more sturdy material than plastic and it does not impact adversely on the sound, but finding the odd little kink proved annoying given the clean, refined look of the earphones. Some people might not even notice, let alone complain, of course.

The MA350 earphones could easily sell for £100

Designed for an entry level audience, RHA have produced earphones that could easily warrant a £100 price tag. Combining original design, premium build quality and excellent sound, the Glasgow firm has impressed us once again. If you’re a Scottish audiophile, why scour the rest of the world looking for earphones that pack style and substance when you could pick them up on your doorstep?