The MA600i (US$89.95) noise isolating in-ear headphones are Glasgow-based RHA's upper mid-range offering. The premium top-end MA750i headphones ($129.95), which I reviewed last year, have become my everyday headphones and are an absolute pleasure to use. I've been truly thrilled by them, so trying RHA's MA600i headphones meant the benchmark was already set pretty high. Of course, the MA600i are $40 cheaper. So how did they fare against the more expensive sibling? Read on to find out.
Cosmetically, the MA600i drivers are machined from the same attractive aircraft-grade aluminum as the MA750i. They both have the same 3-button remote and mic compatible with iOS devices. Both cables are oxygen-free and the connectors are gold plated. However, the cabling on the MA600i is not steel-reinforced and it's not nearly as thick and robust as what the MA750i offers, though it's still really durable. In fact, it will appeal to those who prefer a lighter touch when it comes to cabling around the neck and ears. Also, there's a right-angle quarter-inch jack instead of the traditional straight one found on the MA750i. That's not a bad thing, just different.
Finally, the MA600i don't have the contoured over-ear cable supports that the MA750i do, though they can still be used in traditional or over-ear fashion. I love the over ear fit, but that may just be because I'm really used to it. Either way, they fit really well and stay in place provided you've got the right size ear tip on each bud.
Of course, what counts most is the sound quality, and I was pleased with the MA600i performance, especially in comparison to the MA750i, which use RHA's 560.1 drivers. The MA600i use RHA's 320.1 custom drivers. Those 320.1 drivers provide a compelling sound that's full-bodied and detailed. I'd say the MA750i trump the MA600i dynamically in breadth and depth of sound. Sound on the MA600i seemed a bit more in your face, particularly on the higher frequencies, whereas things are more evenly presented and balanced on the MA750i. Still, I was pleasantly lost in the sonic wonders of Dennison Witmer's Born Without The Words, a newly discovered, slow-burning treasure for me.
In terms of accessories, the MA600i come with a compact case to store them in as well as a selection of ear tips.
There's a quality high-end feel to the MA600i, it's just not the premium feel the MA750i offers. RHA has managed to really make that distinction without making the MA600i come across as cheap or tacky. In fact, the MA600i are quite the opposite; they look and feel like a quality set of headphones.
The MA600i are light, durable and stylish. Sonically, there's plenty to please your ears with. And the remote and microphone work seamlessly with iOS devices, which is a plus. In short, if you're looking for a sub $100 set of in-ears with quality looks and sound, absolutely consider the MA600i.