The Good: The RHA MA450i’s have fairly good audio quality, are pretty comfortable (especially with Comply Foam Tips), and come in at a mere $49.95 USD (about £33). They also come with a full 3-year warranty.

The Bad: The fabric cable is very prone to tangling, the remote feels very cheap, and the life span of the speakers is not extraordinarily long.

The Bottom Line: They’re worth the money if you’re looking for a nice set of earbuds. The issues with remote and/or short life span aren’t too bad considering the excellent warranty.


I had a pair of Logitech UE600 earbuds for about a year before they finally gave out. And, luckily, Logitech stopped manufacturing them right about that time and couldn’t offer a replacement {insert sarcasm here}. What had been my favorite earbuds of all time were now dead, and the quest for a new favorite began.

Design & Functionality

cable ma450i

Sleek & Unique Design

The MA450i’s are machined from aircraft-grade aluminum. The “trumpet bell” style tips not only improve sound quality, but also give the earbuds a very unique look. The back of the tips are black, and have the company’s logo printed on them. Past the tips we have a fabric braided cable, with feels nice and creates an attractive look, different from the usual cheap silicone cables. Unfortunately, the fabric is incredibly prone to tangling, and I’d dare to say it’s worse than the Apple earbuds – a feat I never imagined a set of earbuds could accomplish. On the right-side cable, about 4-5 inches down, there’s a remote with up/down volume and play/pause controls. They work perfectly on my iOS and OS X devices, but I did not have the opportunity to test on Android (they are MFi, so I wouldn’t expect them to work very well with Android anyways). Lastly, the MA450i’s use a 90° jack – my favorite! I wouldn’t expect it to short out after everyday use. Neither pair of mine have broken yet (after ~5 months use).

Accessories

accessories ma450i
Included with the Earbuds

Accessories are generally a minor thing in reviews, but in my opinion are worth mentioning – especially in this case. Included with the earbuds are  7 (seven!) sets of silicone tips — 6 sets of your standard dual-density tips and 1 set of double-flange tips — for you to choose from. This is truly incredible, seeing how most other manufacturers only include 1-3 different sized tips. Also included with the earbuds is a nice carrying case that can hold the earbuds and a few sets of tips.

Comfort

Comfort is a huge factor when I’m searching for headphones. If they aren’t comfortable, what good are they? The MA450i’s included tips were pretty comfortable, but unfortunately, none really suited me. Several of them fit and were very comfy, but they had a tendency to slide out of my ears on their own when I was walking around (and sometime when just sitting still).

Because of this, I bought a pair of Comply Foam Tips – they are custom foam tips that expand/contract to fit your ear canal perfectly. They’re available in sport, isolation, or comfort (I opted for isolation as they are comfortable and, well, isolating). In the end, the comfort level is really up to the individual wearing them.

Audio Quality

I’m not a true audiophile, so I can’t give you all the audiophile-y details that someone else could. However, I can give you my overall opinion. For earbuds, the bass was very strong; crisp, not muddy, and sounded great. The highs sometimes sound a tad bit distorted, but not anything major, especially to your average consumer (or even low-end audiophile, I’d say). These earbuds sound great for all the genres of music I listened to; dubstep, rap, hip-hop, classic rock, and more. RHA lists the specs to be:

  • 130.5 Dynamic Drivers
  • 16-22,000Hz frequency range
  • 16ohms impedance
  • 103dB sensitivity
  • 3/10mW rated/max power
  • 3.5mm gold-plated 90° jack

Also something that RHA does not advertise is the noise-isolation, which is actually one of the first things I noticed when I got them. These earbuds block out much of your surroundings, even so much that I once had 5-6 people yelling at me and couldn’t hear them.


The Verdict

final ma450i

Great Earbuds at a Low Cost

Despite the short life span and remote issues, I’d recommend these earbuds to anyone searching for a low-cost, on-the-go audio solution. Sure, they could be better, but keep in mind the affordability; I’d venture to say these are some of the best in the price range.

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Buy the RHA MA450i In-Ear Monitors here:

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