Glasgow-based RHA's MA750i in-ear headphones cost £89.95 and can be bought now from the Apple Store.
"Using RHA's aerophonic™ design, the MA750i is constructed from individually machined stainless steel components. The handmade driver and over-ear fit ensure remarkable sound reproduction and a comfortable, noise isolating fit."
- Handmade 560.1 driver for articulate sound reproduction with a great depth of soundstage
- Noise-isolating design with contoured over-ear cable
- 303F grade stainless steel construction
- 3-button remote and microphone
- Dual density silicone and memory foam ear tips
- Premium carry case and stainless steel ear tip holder
Your first impression of the RHA MA750i earphones - once you've removed them from the ornately packaged box and marvelled at the oddly comprehensive selection of dual density silicone, double flange silicone and memory foam ear pieces included within - will go one of two ways.
Roughly half of you will be immediately impressed, and perhaps even intimidated, by the build quality. For these are extremely well-made, solid - and let's face it, weighty - 303F grade stainless steel headphones. The earpieces are individually machined, and feel like something you've pulled off the side of a space shuttle when no one was looking. The headphone jack is heavy and reinforced, and the three-button remote and microphone piece is also practical and strong.
Every other aspect of the build quality has been carried out with an eye to industrial brutalism. The cable is described as "steel reinforced" and "oxygen-free" while the range of 10 pairs of ear pieces are also designed to make you feel like an audio scientist - mixing and matching the constituent parts to make the ultimate audio cocktail.
That's how half of you will probably feel. The other half will be a bit disappointed. Because the result of all of that hardcore heft is a pair of headphones that are actually - in this reviewer's opinion - a little uncomfortable to wear. They're heavy, and the big remote pulls on the earpieces and gets caught in your clothes. They do stay in place - the over-ear style makes sure of that - but you're not going to want to wear them when running. They're just a bit unfriendly - like a very strong, but aggressive bouncer.
How do they sound? In general, extremely decent. Everything is crisp and clear, and there's no over-abundance of bass as you'd find in many poorer-quality, but more expensive competitors. The sound is just totally balanced, straightforward and clean. The noise isolation is also very good, with the memory foam ear-tips working particularly well.
The problem with these headphones is not the build, the sound or even the price - a very reasonable £89.99 for the level of tech involved.
The problem is simply that unless you've already tried them, and liked the feel, weight and sound style, it's hard to be sure that they're for you. If you're looking for something with outward quality, a 'premium' feel and reassuringly detailed tech specs, they may well be perfect. But if you get them and find they're either awkward to wear, too heavy or you don't like the wraparound fit, it's possible you might be disappointed. That said it's hard to fault them - they're great value for money, and look like they cost twice the price.
Philips' M1BT headphones are almost flawless. With excellent, deep, rich sound - even when connected wirelessly to your media player or phone - they perform brilliantly in almost any situation. With very decent battery life, simple on-board controls and luxurious construction (with a full leather headband and soft memory foam ear pieces) they're really hard to fault. And for less than £200? You'd be hard pressed to find anything as good, or as versatile, anywhere near that price.
Bowers & Wilkins P3
These headphones won <a href="http://www.t3.com/reviews/b-and-w-p3-review" target="_blank">T3's music gadget of the year award</a>, and if you try them out you'll see why. The sound is beautifully rendered, while the build quality and styling is pretty flawless. (£169)
RHA make great headphones right here in Britain, and while we were generally fans of their more-expensive 750i in-ear phones <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/09/26/rha-m750i-review_n_3995780.html">we found them a bit heavy and 'brutalist' for our taste.</a> The <a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/RHA-MA600i-Isolating-Headphone-microphone/dp/B00ELAM8M8/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1383836542&sr=1-3&keywords=rha">MA600i variants</a> are better overall. They're lighter, smaller, cheaper and still have great sound-quality with excellent noise isolation.
Sol Republic Tracks HD
Sol Republic's 'Tracks' headphones (£79.99) are solid, well-designed, powerful -- and totally overshadowed by the fact that they're <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/02/15/sol-republic-tracks-v8-review_n_2695230.html" target="_blank">virtually unbreakable, and thus impossible to stop fiddling with.</a>
Bose QuietComfort 20i
These in-ear headphones are among the best we've ever tested - and you'd hope so, <a href="http://www.bose.co.uk/GB/en/home-and-personal-audio/headphones-and-headsets/acoustic-noise-cancelling-headphones/quietcomfort-20i-headphones/" target="_blank">because at £259 they aren't cheap</a>. What you get for your money is a combination of great, rich basic sound, brilliant noise-cancelling tech and the most comfortable fit you can find without involving a custom-made solution.
These unique headphones are not only designed by Philippe Starck, and as such gorgeous, but are also wireless, have touch controls on the ear piece and are NFC enabled - meaning you can transfer music to them with a single tap. They also know when you've taken them off, and automatically pause when you do. (£250)
These headphones have won fans all around the world for one simple reason: for this price (£50) <a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/AKG-K451-Foldable-Mini-Headset/dp/B005LBQ7BY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1383837172&sr=8-1&keywords=akg+headphone" target="_blank">you can't do better</a>. They sound excellent, fold up neatly to stow away in a bag, come with a basic cable and a cable with a built-in three-button remote and won't leave you bereft if you lose or break them.
Marshal Major 50
These <a href="http://www.marshallheadphones.com/headphones/major/major-50-fx" target="_blank">limited-edition Marshall headphones</a> come with all the unique styling and sound engineering you'd expect for the amp masters, along with some extra design touches for good measure. They include gold-rimmed pads, inscriptions on the inside of the headband and a remote/microphone control on the cable. For £140 they aren't cheap - but there're no other headphones around with this kind of rock pedigree.
Jaybird Freedom Sprint
These resilient, water-resistant Bluetooth headphones are designed for exercise, and come with a set of neat ear-moulding foam inserts to keep them tightly in place when you're running. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/24/jaybird-freedom-sprint-headphones_n_2009106.html" target="_blank">For £105 it's hard to find a better pair of sport earbuds.</a>