This week’s tech column:
It’s a long way from Glasgow, Scotland, to your Apple Store, but it shows how far RHA has come since it started making value-priced earphones and headphones in 2011. Here’s a look at three models:
Inline remote/microphone: No.
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Construction: Plastic earpieces, 10 millimeter Mylar drivers, rubber cable.
Comes with: Three sizes of silicone tips, gold-plated 31/2 mm connector.
Compatibility: Any device with a 31/2 mm jack.
Comment: The MA150, which weighs only 7 grams, is RHA’s no-frills earphones priced like disposables — except these are keepers. They’re $10 less than Apple’s Earpods, though Apple’s stock earphones come with an inline remote and microphone.
RHA designed the MA150 with Mylar drivers like those used in its MA450i, cutting costs elsewhere with earphone material (plastic instead of aluminum), cabling (rubber instead of cloth) and the thickness of the silicone eartips (single layer instead of dual-density). It provides no carry case, with plain-brown “eco” packaging made from recycled cardboard.
RHA says its earphone shape was derived from a trumpet’s bell — it uses a word associated with a wind instrument’s sound production, aerophonic, to describe the design. For less than $20, the MA150 earphones produce a generous midrange and excellent clarity not often heard at this price point. It overemphasized Marc Johnson’s bass on “Moments,” ultimately losing control, but these are inoffensive earphones with an overall balanced sound. For the money, it’s the best buy in this group.
Bargain rating: 9 out of 10