Pros: Approachable balanced sound, good bass quantity for on the go listening, Bluetooth range, 9-10 hour battery life, convenient & comfortable—I really like the neckband, magnetic ‘clasp’ earpieces are useful, IPX4 water resistant, excellent call quality with the microphone, less prone to interference from electrical sources than other Bluetooth headphones I have, 3 year warranty
Cons: need to re-pair from time to time, forget that I’m wearing the neckband and leave calls hanging, neckband does not compress for storage well, included case could be improved substantially
List Price: were £149.95 (now £99.95 on Amazon.co.uk)
Rating Disclaimer: ratings are subjective. Audio quality and value do not mean the same thing across all prices. A headphone with a 5 rating on audio at $5 does not have equivalent sound quality as a 5 rating at $500. Likewise, value at $5 is not the same as value at $5000 dollars.
I’m a big fan of RHA. They produce nicely finished gear with tuning that I’ve generally liked. The company is a Scottish firm based out of Glasgow. They design in Scotland and build in China, replicating a business plan used in a substantial number of British audio firms. This allows them to use labour connected to their firm’s heritage to do their research and development while bringing the peerless manufacturing expertise, efficiency, and price of Chinese manufacturing.
RHA asked me to do this review, and life got in the way. I’m a hobbyist, not a full time reviewer, and my daytime job and family workload as well as trying to get one more comparison in to really elevate the review delayed this review to the point that it’s now moot. Because…
All my favourite RHA models are discontinued
I’ve reviewed the following RHA gear:
- MA750 [still kickin]
- s500i [new version 1 year-ish after review, because Apple screwed them, now dead]
- CL750 [still purchasable, but not listed on RHA website]
- CL1 [dead within a year]
- DACAMP L1 [dead within a year]
The MA750 is the most approachable RHA IEM, which is why it has survived so many line-up changes. Some other RHA headphones that have died: MA390 Wireless (under £60 Bluetooth); T10; T10i, s500, MA350, MA600i, MA450i, and I’m sure I’ve missed some.
I get all the deaths. MA350, first ever IEM, replaced by MA390. Why the MA390 wireless is dead makes no sense to me. MA600i, MA650 got this covered. The s500i had a polarizing sound that was a bit metallic in parts and needed to be played hard to wake the microdriver. T10 and T10i were improved upon by the T20, so became superfluous. CL1 needs a mighty amp, has polarizing sound, is very pairing dependent (I actually love it after writing a neutral/negative review—it’s gorgeous with the QP2R). The CL1 is harder to drive than many full-size planar magnetic headphones, that’s a niche product there. It was also made to pair best with the DACAMP L1 and is the only IEM ever made with a mini 4-pin XLR balanced connector—too bad too, I bet the female jack takes up less board space than the 4.4mm jack does, and it is super secure. CL750 is the best overall IEM that RHA has ever made—the last of them (on RHA’s site) were sold at 50% off last year because RHA doesn’t sell to people who have an okay amp effectively. MA750 Wireless; killed with a combination of their TWS, the TrueConnect (£149), the MA650 Wireless (£99.95), and the T20 Wireless (£199.95)—they really didn’t plan that stuff out, too many IEMs competing in the same price arena.
DACAMP L1, flexible, but attempting to make a new standard connection (4-pin mini XLR—really good connection by the way) just as the 4.4mm was starting to make its move and when the 2.5mm (soon to be RIP when Astell & Kern stops being stupid? Maybe never?) dominated the market. All the deaths make sense.
Pour one out.
So why the heck am I even bothering writing this review so late in the game? Because I’ve been wanting to write a love letter of sorts to these IEMs for a bit and the shame of not writing that review is worse than irrelevance. They’ve been my companion and daily driver. As a reviewer, a lot of headphones are like one night stands, these have been like a long-term partner. I’ve got flashy flagship IEMs and silver super cables, but I can’t use those when I’m cycling in the rain/snow/sleet/hellfire and brimstone.
Usability: Form & Function
RHA has really levelled up their packaging design on the MA750 wireless. The box has a clean aesthetic with a good mix of matte and glossy elements, exciting graphics, specifications, and a nice magnetic clasp and symmetrical display of the IEMs once the clasp is opened. The packaging does a good job of attracting your attention and keeping it by giving you all the information you need to make a purchase. The place I’ve seen RHA sold in retail the most is in British airports, and I must say that they are generally a better option than most of the IEMs you see there.
The headphones are presented in a beautifully symmetrical foam inlay behind a plastic window with built in security seal that shouts the desire of these to be bought in retail shops. Many inexpensive IEMs come in a plain black box that fits with their intention to be sold primarily online. Engineers will tell you that packaging doesn’t matter. Consumers will tell you otherwise. RHA isn’t making these a fashion accessory, but they are making these have magnetic retail appeal.
Aesthetics & Build
The RHA MA750 Wireless has rugged build quality. The stainless steel and thick rubberised construction has held up to being my daily driver IEM on my 30 minute cycle commute to work for a year without missing a beat (except when COVID-19 derails everything). I’ve ridden in rain, sleet, and even snow and I’ve never had any issues. These are rated at IPX4, which is only splash resistant, but these haven’t died yet. An IPX6 rating would be ideal. I’ve thrown these into my backpack or left them hanging around my neck and there are no scratches on the stainless steel. The thick rubberised neck band is durable and comfortable. I like the fact that the two earpieces stick together via magnets, as this allows me to easily leave the IEMs around my neck when not in use. The other side hears me well when I use the microphone and I have good sound quality on my side. The neckband even vibrates to tell me when a call is coming in. It was (COVID-19, alas) common for me to be walking around my office with them around my neck. I’ve recommended them a ton of times—probably even after they were discontinued. I very rarely use the included case, as it is just a mesh bag of modest size, and the thick rubber neckband doesn’t fold easy. Throwing them in my backpack without a case is much more common as putting the IEMs in the case is too much trouble.
Bluetooth performance is excellent. I get between 9 and 10 hours’ battery (I might have got 11 out of the box, but not 12) and the range extends to between 50 and 60 feet depending on obstacles and electrical interference. Like other Bluetooth headphones, it does get interference from tram lines but not to the level of the Flares Pro. The performance of the Bluetooth is equivalent to the CL2, I expect they have the same Bluetooth chip, but may have different power in their amplification. The inclusion of USB C is a real positive and these charge pretty fast (1 to 1.5 hours, never timed it). I would have liked to see more codec compatibility, but LDAC in-ears just don’t seem to be around much. Can’t blame RHA for that when nobody else seems to be doing it either.
There are some difficulties when pairing both the MA750 Wireless and the CL2. If connected to one source, it doesn’t automatically switch to a different paired source. I have to manually connect the new source or turn the MA750 on and off again. I had minimal difficulty pairing across devices, except for the aforementioned issue, but this is something for people to watch out for when using the MA750.
The MA750 has slightly elevated bass, balanced mids and enough lower treble energy to keep things fun. They are not hard or sibilant to my ears. The signature is energetic because of both frequency response and the stage dimensions. The MA750 Wireless isn’t a huge performer when it comes to depth, but exhibits good stage width and average height. It’s a solid performer in the wireless arena.
Tech Radar said these didn’t have enough bass and that the treble was harsh. Apparently they don’t know how to try all the tips in the box, as neither of these is true with a proper seal. Tech Radar even shows a picture of the dude (John Porter?) wearing the IEMs with a clearly too shallow fit. Always ensure you have a proper seal. Don’t be an fool, like John Porter. RHA supply enough tips to find a good fit. RHA should never send that buffoon another review unit. That review alone might have killed these units, as Tech Radar is prioritised by Google over reviews like the excellent Soundguys review.
Volume matching was done using white noise and an SPL meter. Bluetooth would likely be better sounding than it is if it didn’t have such lossy volume controls most of the time. For the comparison to the HiFiMAN CWS600 I used the LG V30 as my source, as the CWS600’s best codec supported is AAC and the Opus #3 does not support AAC.
|Opus #3||RHA MA750 Wireless||Stock (Bluetooth)||—||High||28/Max||78.3|
|LG V30||RHA MA750 Wireless||Stock (Bluetooth)||—||NA||11||78.2|
|Opus #3||Flares Pro||Stock (Bluetooth)||—||High||51/Max||78.1|
|LG V30||HiFiMAN TWS600||Stock (Bluetooth)||—||NA||9||78.1|
Flares Pro (version 1, was $349 I think)
Build and feature comparison
With regards to Bluetooth performance, the RHA M750 Wireless is superior. It has just as much range, and just as much battery life, but it doesn’t have as much problem with electrical interference. I find the neckband of the RHA MA750 wireless more comfortable and convenient than the clip design of the Flares Pro. USB-C is appreciated on the RHA MA750 Wireless, because it allows me to have one cable to charge my headphones and source(s). Both are fast connections to my LG V30. Accessories with the Flares Pro (and it’s newer versions) are nicer: real semi-hard case, even better tips, superior unboxing experience.
On Kometenmelodie 2 the Flares Pro is clearer with a more neutral tone. The drum thumps louder on the RHA MA750 Wireless because it has some emphasis in the bass drum area of the frequency response. The tone sounds muffled in comparison with the RHA MA750 at volume matched levels. The difference in stage depth is immediately noticeable. Both do a good job at representing a relatively wide stage. The Flares Pro has superior stage height. The sound just feels right out of the Flares Pro on this track compared to the RHA MA750 Wireless.
On the MA750 Wireless the sound stage is a touch wider and bass has more emphasis. The violins lack the sharp incisiveness of the Flares Pro and the sound is less balanced due to the bass emphasis. Stage height isn’t as tall as the Flares Pro, but is good. Stage width is good at £150.
As previously mentioned, one of the weaknesses that me and some others have commonly observed in Bluetooth headphones is thinness or tinnyness in cymbal strikes, so I decided to test this out with Billy Cobham – Quadrant 4 which has lots of cymbal strikes. The RHA MA750 Wireless sound pretty engaging, but they lose on micro-details on the speedy cymbal tapping in this track to the Flares Pro. The Flares Pro is clearer, with a far blacker background. Instruments have more distinct placement, especially on the percussion and guitar. The instrument separation within the stage is far superior on the Flares Pro. The cymbals sound good, not too thin on either of the in-ears, but the resolution on the Flares Pro far outshines the MA750 Wireless on this challenging track.
RHA CL2 Planar ($899)
Build and feature comparison
This comparison isn’t really fair. The MA750 Wireless is(was) RHA’s mid-level wireless offering. At the same time, I feel fairly certain that the cable on the MA750 and the cable on the CL2 share everything except detachability, same goes for the T20 wireless and the MA650 wireless; both of which are still in production. Both the MA750 Wireless come with fairly useless cases, whether mesh or neoprene. An appropriately sized clamshell would have been nice. RHA has always been weird on their cases. I’ve never understood it. Both come with tips stored on a metal plate, as if your going to carry around 6 different tip profiles. I would personally just put the tips in a plastic baggy inside a nice semi-hard EVA case and stop screwing around with not big enough zipper cases, and not protective enough neoprene and mesh cases.
Slayer – Necrophobic (Vinyl Rip) sounds a touch slow with the MA750 Wireless with the cymbal strikes a bit back. The MA750 Wireless has a bit smaller soundstage, more forward vocals than the CL2. Both IEMs smooth over treble a little bit, but the mids resolution is better on the CL2. Speed is better on the CL2. Vocals are more crisp and precise on the CL2, with the MA750 Wireless sounding comparatively cloudy.
Yoni Wolf has nice silkiness to his vocals on Why? – Strawberries (16-44) when listening to the MA750 Wireless. The MA750 Wireless gives an engaging sound with some good twinkle to the percussion, though it sounds a touch busy, requiring some effort to keep up to speed with the twinkling percussion. The CL2 has a similar signature to the MA750 wireless, but has a wider and taller soundstage with more effortless treble presentation. The bass is tighter and more impactful on the big beats dropping on the track. Yoni’s vocals are similarly silky.
The violins on Tori Amos – Silent All These Years (Vinyl Rip) are smooth with the CL2. Sharp instruments like violins should have some sharpness to their peaks, but the CL2 rounds these off a bit. Tori’s voice sounds a touch restrained on the CL2. The layered vocals on the refrain don’t have quite enough air around for good separation. Tori’s voice is actually better on the MA750 Wireless with a smoother quality to it and a more natural timbre without getting nasal. Violins are a touch sweeter on the MA750 Wireless. Tori’s vocals are a bit more forward on the MA750 Wireless, actually, all frequencies are more forward due to less stage depth. Air between the vocal iterations in the refrain is a push between the two.
Saturday Looks Good To Me – Sunglasses (16-44) just makes me want to clap hands and dance. The MA750 Wireless comes out with some thick bass and a somewhat busy sound to the stage. The synth bass drop comes through really well. Carol Catherine’s laid-back vocals are infectious on the MA750 Wireless. Initial synth bass is more focused with the CL2. Mids are less forward, it’s a bit less fun sounding. Bass doesn’t have as deep a groove, instead going for more precision. Carol’s vocals do well on the CL2 and benefit from the additional air and stage depth from the CL2. The CL2 sounds more effortless presenting the stage with less conflict between instruments due to better instrument separation.
HiFiMAN TWS600 ($199, seeing $79 on Amazon now)
Build and feature comparison
TWS vs. neckband is an interesting comparison. They are both IPX4 rated, so no advantages there. Both are comfortable enough, but the RHA MA750 Wireless is more comfortable in the ear due to the more ergonomic shell design. If you don’t like earhooks on top of your ear, you may prefer the ergonomics of the TWS600. I had no problem finding a good tip fit with either of the IEMs. From a convenience perspective, there are competing factors for the two IEMs related to their essential nature. As a TWS the HiFiMAN TWS600 can last an extremely long time on battery. I don’t usually listen to IEMs for 5.5 hours straight very frequently, so the single charge factor doesn’t come into my consideration unless I’m on a trans-Atlantic flight. The TWS600 easily lasted me the whole week in the office on the 38.5 hours of charge split between it and it’s charging case. The battery is functionally infinite in normal usage with a 1 hour full charge time for the IEMs and 1.5 hours for the charging case.
The RHA MA750 Wireless gets 9 to 10 hours battery, on average, but the neckband means that it is a doddle to put to use. I can leave it on and around my neck and if a call comes in it will vibrate and I can swing right into action. The TWS has to be put back in its case and then the case has to be put somewhere. On a full tram, fiddling with the TWS case while trying to hold onto something is not an easy operation. Overall, I think the TWS experience is less convenient than the neckband experience, but there are advantages to both.
Buildwise, the RHA MA750 Wireless is nicer looking, feeling, and has better materials. The all plastic construction of the TWS600 doesn’t inspire much affection. Both have easily adjustable volume, but pressing into your ear on the TWS to adjust the volume is less comfortable than using the remote. I’ve always found that best sound quality on Bluetooth headphones is when the phone is used as the volume control and the headset amplifier is maxed, so the volume control aspect only matters when I’m not caring about sound quality as much or paired with a non-portable device like my living room set-up.
With the TWS600 the bass doesn’t quite thump with the amplitude it should on Daft Punk – Aerodynamic (16-44). The treble elements on this track or on the metallic side naturally, but this characteristic is accentuated on the TWS600. The mids are nicely balanced and there is a good sense of depth when we get into the part after the second bell in the track (about 2:20). Bass character is natural and well-controlled. It is not quiet, or majorly de-emphasised, but is just a few dB off of neutral. Stage width and height average, at best, but layering and depth are not bad. The stage is almost a cube, with a sleight bit more width than depth or height. Bass on the MA750 Wireless is slightly louder, but a bit less textured. It has a more tubby presentation. The guitar riffs sound more natural on the MA750 Wireless with less sharpness on the edges of the notes. Perceived stage depth on the MA750 Wireless is less due to increased perception and body of the ethereal vocal in the background just after 2:20. In the intro, the RHA MA750 Wireless gives more emphasis to the spacey trebly sounds than the TWS600 does. The guitars on the TWS600 just don’t sound quite right, they lack the fluidity of the MA750 Wireless.
The guitar advantage of the MA750 Wireless comes into play again on Metallica – Master of Puppets (24-48). On the MA750 Wireless the guitar riffs just sound more natural. The bass groove is also a little more pronounced. James Hetfield’s vocals have good texture on the MA750 Wireless. I could use a little more energy in the treble for cymbals. Bluetooth (short of LDAC) frequently does a poor job with cymbals, it is one of the main disadvantages of Bluetooth—the other is poor volume controls. The TWS600 has more air and echo in the mids, but less impact on James Hetfield’s voice and thinner, edgier guitars. The slow guitar solo with accompanying violins is a better show for the TWS600, but it doesn’t edge out the MA750 Wireless for sound. Both have thin sounding cymbals, but the cymbals on the TWS600 are slightly better than those on the MA750 Wireless. Menace in the track just isn’t conveyed by the TWS600, while the slightly elevated bass of the MA750 Wireless brings this to the fore. The increased body in guitars and overall integration in the mids makes the MA750 Wireless sound fuller and more integrated. There is a slightly disembodied feel to the mids of the TWS600 on this track with uneven integration between the bass, mids and treble. It doesn’t flow with the TWS600, it does with the MA750 Wireless.
This is going to be a test. Macy Gray – The Heart (24-192, binaural) has big spacing in the stage, a sultry, well-bodied singer, and speedy cymbal work that will blend together if the treble performance isn’t fast enough. Surely enough, that treble blending is already apparent on the MA750 Wireless, but we can’t feel too badly about that as more high-end IEMs can have trouble getting all the little trills of the cymbal-work. Macy’s vocal is represented with good body and sultriness. The MA750 Wireless doesn’t take anything away and doesn’t add anything to her vocal, it comes across naturally. The stand-up bass comes across a bit thick on the MA750 Wireless, though not as tubby as on Daft Punk – Aerodynamic (16-44). The recording is a binaural recording, so there is a little bit of expansion of the stage compared to the other tracks that have been played, with this observed in all dimensions, but most notably in width and height. The guitar has a disconnected and somewhat muffled presentation on the TWS600. Macy Gray’s vocal sounds thinner and raspier and has lost some of the sultriness. There is some added reverb in the mids that sounds out of place. Similar to the RHA MA750 wireless, the treble trills of the cymbals are blended, but they are further back in the stage on the TWS600. I prefer the sound of the MA750 Wireless on this track.
Yosi Horikawa – Wandering (16-44, binaural) has a big ol’ synth bass hit and some dispersed staging elements. On the TWS600 that synth bass hit has the right texture, just not quite the right amplitude. The percussion elements have extra reverb on the TWS600 which gives a somewhat hollowed out feeling, instead of representing solidity with each strike. The stage is well-represented by the TWS600, with all the elements placed with good dispersion. The track sounds a touch busier than its best representations. This is due to the noted extra reverb and some harsh elements of the bird sounds. The bird sounds are bit amplified and a bit edgy. That big bass hit is much more prominent on the MA750 Wireless. Bird sounds are not overly amplified and they sound like sweet bird calls rather than hoarse bird shouts. The extra reverb exhibited on the TWS600 is gone. The soundstage is much smaller than the TWS600, though. Personally, I’ll take the far better tonality of the MA750 Wireless over the extra soundstage of the TWS600. The MA750 Wireless sounds integrated between its frequencies and the soundstage, though smaller, doesn’t feel as busy as the TWS600’s representation of this track. RHA wins again here.
|Driver type||Single dynamic driver (Model 560.1, apparently)|
|Frequency response||16Hz to 22kHz|
|Bluetooth||aptX, AAC, SBC, 10m range (confirmed)|
|Accessories||Mesh bag, 2 sets S/M/L silicone eartips, M/L TSX-200 Comply foam eartips, M/L silicone bi-flange eartips, 0.5m USB C cable|
|Construction||Stainless steel housing, IPX4 water resistant,|
The RHA MA750 was provided to me as a review sample from RHA. I have received no compensation for this review. All thoughts in this review are my personal opinion.
The RHA MA750 Wireless is a good Bluetooth IEM. It has a nice full-bodied sound with bass that will satisfy the masses. It has a nice integrated presentation of bass, mids and treble with naturally flowing elements in the soundstage. I’ve found the IPX4 splash and sweatproof implementation to work for me, having rode my bike in all kinds of inclement weather with these. The battery life is good (though not the advertised 12 hours) and the usability of these is excellent with good resistance to signal interference, excellent comfort, convenient magnetised shells and neckband, a good clear microphone, and useful battery reminders every 20% of battery life drawn. I can heartily recommend these. I only wish RHA would have continued to do the same.
Leave a Reply