Last time I wrote a headphone review, I swore off doing more, given that I’d used up what I had to say about headphones. But RHA (a division Reid Heath Ltd.) intrigued me, especially as they were a small company and they’re located in the UK. I wondered if there would be any serious design differences between United States and British companies.
The first thing I noticed when I unpacked the SA950i headphones that RHA sent for review was that they were the lightest headphones I’d ever felt. Usually with headphones, the choice is between heavier noise-canceling features or a lighter structure that lets in more ambient noise. These headphones, according to RHA, are only 105 grams.
Two other features I liked about the SA950i headphones were the chrome sliders to adjust fit and the fabric-braided detachable cable. Fabric cables tend to last longer than the plastic-coated cables on some other moderately priced headphones.
Style-wise, they pass the looks test. They perform well, though perhaps not up to the higher end sound of $200-$300 headphones. Then again, they’re not designed to compete with those. They work well as headphones with a PC device but the remote and microphone will only work with iPhone/iPad/iPods. I would put these in the same category as the sturdy Urbanears that my youngest daughter is still wearing, with bonus points for being more comfortable and with slightly better sound.
The MA450i earbuds also are comfortable to wear and produce excellent sound for earphones. They come with a carry-case and ear-tip storage box, always handy, and also have a fabric-braided cable. Some mid-ranged priced electronics look cheap or plasticky. These look like quality right out of the box. Again, they’ll work as earphones for any device but the remote and microphone only work with Apple products.
According to Lewis Heath, the director of RHA, the headphones, priced at £49.95 at Amazon UK, will be available for pre-order on the American Amazon next week for the retail price of $59.95. The headphones are definitely worth it.
The earbuds are comparable with devices of similar price though I can’t say they are better. But for a small, specialty company, RHA products compete nicely with the big guns.