One of the most important aspects of reviewing consumer electronics devices is separating your biases and delivering an objective critique. That is fairly easy when you’re evaluating, say, a television or graphics card, where performance and quality are absolute and can be quantified on a universal scale. Evaluating earphones, however, is quite tricky. Spend more than a thousand rupees and a pair of modern earphones are guaranteed to deliver distortion-free sound.
Everything thereafter is competent enough to dial the choice down to a matter of preference and the sort of music you like. Some earphones are tuned to sound better with certain types of music that accentuate bass, whereas others are designed to suit genres that demand more details in the vocal range, for example. But although there is no one-size-fits-all solution, the true measure of quality, in my book, is how well an earphone goes about its intended purpose — that is, accurate sound reproduction.
While most consumer-centric earphones are coloured to go well with certain genres of music, discerning audiophiles tend to prefer products that lay greater emphasis on accurate sound reproduction. Such audio devices exhibit bass response that isn’t overemphasised or overbearing, but with the right amount of presence and a great deal of tightness and control. Even the mids are designed to sound natural, with an emphasis on reproducing vocals faithfully. The highs, again, aren’t overemphasised, but these aren’t rolled off prematurely either, while carrying plenty of detail and spatial information to noticeably enhance the soundstage.
What I’m trying to say here is that if you generally listen to rap and prefer sexed up bass, stop reading right now and head over to the nearest Beats by Dre showroom. However, if you prefer accurate rendition of vocal-centric, rock, jazz, or western classical genres, the RHA MA750 and RHA MA650 should interest you.
Enclosures That Don’t Colour the Sound
Priced at ₹8,000 and ₹12,000 for the MA650 and MA750, respectively, I can’t possibly call these RHA Bluetooth wireless IEMs expensive given the pricing of the competition. You know, the sort of competition that gets away with cheap plastic enclosures and less-than-stellar drivers. The RHA MA-series of wireless IEMs are a cut above the rest and incorporate the same premium design and build quality found in the acclaimed wired versions. The best part is that you get the same high-quality machined metal enclosures whether you buy the MA650 or the MA750 (which is dearer by ₹4,000). The only difference is that the MA650 is machined in solid aircraft-grade aluminium, whereas the MA750 sports a steel enclosure.
These enclosures are claimed to incorporate RHA’s proprietary Aerophonic design that’s touted to improve noise isolation mechanically while also delivering better acoustics. That’s a tall claim indeed, but one that I will verify wholeheartedly. As someone who finds his open back Alessandro Grado MS1i headphones hard to replace with anything with a close back design, I can vouch for the natural sound signature of both the MA750 and MA650, with the more expensive former variant exhibiting a surprising ability to deliver sound devoid of any colouration.
Almost all IEMs (which usually sport sealed enclosures) and closed back headphones tend to colour the sound, but RHA’s Aerophoic design delivers (particularly in the case of the MA750) a more natural sound that retains the original timbre and tonality. This was amply evident in the orchestral and piano arrangements found within the Alan Parsons & Stephen Court – Sound Check album that I prefer as the touchstone to evaluate the timbre and tonal accuracy of all audio gear that comes to our labs. Great stuff.
Handmade Drivers Tuned for Tonal Accuracy
Yet again, unlike other expensive Bluetooth wireless IEMs, both the RHA MA650 and MA750 come with bespoke, handmade drivers. This includes the highly-acclaimed Model 560.1 dynamic driver in the MA750 and the similarly dynamic type Model 380.1 driver in the MA650. The former is larger, but the actual diameter is missing in RHA’s spec sheet, whereas the Model 380.1 driver in the MA650 is slightly smaller, as evidenced with the smaller enclosure.
However, these numbers are moot considering the impressive aural performance of the IEMs. Both the RHA MA650 and MA750 wireless IEMs offer accurate sound reproduction, with an emphasis on tighter bass and preserving the authentic timbre and tonal signature of the recording.
Many years of evaluating audio products using the same reference material (Alan Parsons & Stephen Court – Sound Check) in addition to listening to reference acoustic instruments such as the piano, violin, and cello at some of the best auditoriums such as the NCPA clues one into exactly how a specific instrument or track should sound. I’m pleased to report that the RHA MA750, while not accurate to a fault like most of Etymotic Research’s offerings, is the rare wireless Bluetooth IEM that delivers sound with the sort of accuracy that simply isn’t evident in its peers. And it does so while striking a good balance between accuracy and musicality that makes it more accommodating even with mainstream music, which is often poorly mixed and recorded.
Bass Extension is Overrated
The MA750 has been tuned to reproduce accurate bass that is more tight than eager to overwhelm the lower frequencies like its peers. The lows are restrained but accurate, with the drivers also being delightfully devoid of the mid-bass hump that most commercial IEMs tend to possess. What you’re looking at is as flat a frequency response as you’ll get from a Bluetooth wireless IEM. Being a dynamic driver, the highs don’t roll off premature, which adds a spectacular amount of detail to any recording. That means you get the tell-tale sparkle and hear cymbals and other details that even more expensive IEMs find hard to reproduce. And the RHA MA750 does all this without sounding too forward or bright.
An impressive soundstage is another delightful consequence of the high-frequency prowess of the Model 560.1 driver. Much of the spatial information lies within the higher reaches of the sound spectrum, and the MA750 impresses with its positional accuracy, wide soundstage, and instrument separation. Compared to Jaybirds and their ilk, neither the RHA MA750 nor the MA650 show any signs of bass distortion at higher volumes. This is a problem that plagues most wireless earphones, but it isn’t evident here.
MA750 > MA650
The MA750 is by far the best option in the wireless Bluetooth IEM space, provided you’re looking for accurate sound reproduction. Bassheads, rap, and EDM fans are better off sticking to offerings from Beats by Dre, JBL, and the likes.
Just make sure you use ear tips of the right size, or the ensuing lack of seal will make the lower frequencies sound muddy and anaemic. The three extra sets of flanged silicone and softer comply foam tips also help increase bass extension and add more warmth (comply foam) to the sound signature. Although, I personally prefer the regular silicone tips with these IEMs, but make sure you try out all of the options and figure out which works the best for you.
The RHA MA650 too sports a balanced accurate sound signature of its more expensive sibling, but the difference in performance is too conspicuous to ignore, especially when you’ve heard these IEMs in an A/B comparison like I have. Make no mistake, the RHA MA650 is a brilliant IEM and considerably better than anything in its price range, but it still has highs rolled off earlier compared to the MA750. The bass response is great, but it isn’t as tight as that of the MA750.
You get the general idea — the MA650 great, but the MA750 is noticeably better. If you can muster up the extra ₹4,000, I would wholeheartedly recommend the MA750 over the MA650.
The Less Important Stuff
Now that we have done with the important stuff, let’s get back to the less important order of business. Both the IEMs are sweat resistant, but I won’t recommend taking these to the gym or even for a run, because the relatively heavy neck band will uncomfortably sway and tug away at the IEMs. This is just a minor annoyance with the MA750, where the IEMs wrap around your ears for a more secure fit, but the MA650 lacks this wrap-around luxury and is prone to being yanked out of your ears, provided you get carried away during spirited runs or sit-ups at the gym.
The aptX and AAC compatible Bluetooth hardware is rock solid and provided a reliable connection at all corners of my house. Unless I played a ridiculously large (80MB to 100MB) FLAC file, both the MA650 and MA750 worked really well with high-bitrate audio delivered through my phone, TV, or the PC. What’s more, I didn’t face any lip-sync issues on any of these platforms, including macOS, which frankly cannot be said even for more expensive Bluetooth earphones and headphones.
Battery life is more or less close to what RHA claims, with the MA750 delivering roughly 12 hours and the MA650 lasting for 8 hours. You’re definitely not going to run out of juice anytime soon unless you listen to music for most of your waking hours. The inline remote has a mic that’s surprisingly decent and makes for fairly pleasing voice recordings. The same can also be used to trigger voice assistants (Siri and Google Assistant), play/pause tracks, adjust volume, and even skip tracks using a rather convoluted multi-tap approach. This is standard stuff that works. Nothing particularly remarkable or terrible about it.
Verdict: The RHA MA750, if Your Pockets are Deep Enough
The bottomline is that both RHA MA750 and MA650 deliver flawless Bluetooth connectivity, acceptable ergonomics, best-in-class build and material quality, and almost all the features that you’d ask for in a wireless Bluetooth IEM. However, unlike any of its competitors, the RHA MA750 and MA650 offer the sort of performance and authentic sound reproduction that simply isn’t available in this space.
If you seek a balanced and faithful aural signature in a Bluetooth wireless IEM, look no further than the RHA MA750. And while the RHA MA650 is great for its price, I’d recommend spending the extra ₹4,000 for the MA750 which is a definite upgrade in terms of audio quality.
RHA MA750 Wireless₹11,999
Design & Build Quality9.5/10
Fit and Comfort7.5/10
Value for Money8.0/10
What Is Good?
- Balanced and faithful sound reproduction
- Solid build quality
- Low latency wireless connection
- Great battery life
- Sweat resistant
- Convenient NFC pairing
What Is Bad?
- Neck band is unwieldy