RHA MA650 Wireless review: Earphones that sound pleasant, for the most part
The Scottish audio company RHA might not be the first brand you think of when considering splurging on wireless earphones, but we would recommend that you do. We are at such a juncture in the evolution of earphones that after years of sameness, we suddenly have a variety of form factors for wireless earphones. There is the Apple AirPods style complete wireless setup in each ear, and then there is the neckband based one which the RHA MA650 Wireless uses. Each have their advantages, and depends on an individual’s preference too.
RHA MA650 Wireless is priced at Rs7,999 (headphonezone.in) and is going into competition with the Bose SoundTrue Ultra (Rs11,138) and the Sony MDR-XB80BS (Rs8,199).
In terms of design, the MA650 Wireless is an all-aluminium finish on the earpieces and have a slightly angled design to improve the in-ear fit. RHA claims they use the 6063 aluminium, which is aerospace grade aluminium. There are no bright and shiny colour options, but this silver finish does generate a rather pleasant reflection when the light falls on it at certain angles. Around your neck sits the neckband, through which goes the wiring from one earpiece to the other. It isn’t overly flexible, and retains shape well, but also allows enough flex so that you can wear and remove it safely too. There is some amount of ruggedness ticked off too on the checklist, with the IPX4 water resistance rating.
Unlike a lot of neckband based wireless earphones which integrate the mic and volume controls into the band, RHA has instead done a much better implementation by adding an in-line remote which is easier to access and use. Also, an improvement over many of its rivals is the universal controls capability—this works well irrespective of whether you have an Android phone or an iPhone—while a lot of earphones you buy these days are specifically made for either smartphone platform. The MA650 Wireless will also work with whatever virtual assistant your phone has—Siri on an iPhone and Google Assistant on an Android phone.
Bluetooth pairing with your phone or PC is a breeze, and what you get is support for the aptX streaming standard, as well as the capability to play back AAC codec music files. In terms of the sound, the RHA MA650 Wireless sound quite vibrant from the outset. Bass is adequate, while not being overly powerful. Vocals are clear, and mid-range frequencies are handled fairly well. However, it is a bit perplexing that the MA650 Wireless doesn’t really have a specific sound signature that one would normally expect. It sounds fairly soft and dynamic depending on what you are listening to, but also sounds tad rough with boxed in frequencies in some music. These are not the top-of-the-line audio drivers at work, and it becomes clear when a variety of music is tested out. Having said this, if the music you are listening to isn’t usually up-tempo with focus on mid-range frequencies, these will be quite up to the task.
The fact is that the RHA MA650 Wireless aren’t exactly the most versatile headphones in the price range they sell in—but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the build quality and design are impressive, and the sound is powerful for the most part. However, these audio drivers do have their limitations, which could be a slight drawback if your music library is all about genre diversity.