RHA MA450i review

Satisfying dynamics and rhythm, but tiring to listen to Tested at £40

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Satisfying dynamics and rhythm, but treble is tiring to listen to


  • +

    Good insight

  • +

    satisfying dynamics and rhythm


  • -

    Harsh and tiring to listen to

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RHA MA450i

With a fabric-coated cable and a lovely, ergonomic remote control unit, these RHA MA450i in-ear headphones feel like a premium product. That impression is only reinforced by the strong build and comfortable fit.

Sonically, however, the experience is disappointing. RHA has put an emphasis on the treble, perhaps in an attempt to achieve a higher level of detail. And, in this way the MA450is are a success: there is a plenty of fine detail at the top end.

But it is coupled to a persistent sharpness which makes for uncomfortable listening with much commercial music. The experience is acceptable with good recordings and a limit on the volume, but poorer quality tracks are hard work.

RHA MA450i: Sound quality
Things don’t improve even with extensive running-in. This is a shame, because otherwise the MA450is are accomplished earphones.

Treble apart, the sound is full-bodied, with great energy and precise instrument placement. There’s a good degree of insight, and vocals are expressive. Bass is strong, supple but very tidy, which creates a controlled sense of power. The spectrum is nicely separated, and there is a solid grip on rhythm and dynamics.

The RHA MA450is score highly in most areas of sound, and their build quality is very high. But we can’t get over that harsh, occasionally piercing high end, which represents a significant flaw. Three stars it is, then.

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What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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