08/11/2013 10:39 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

RHA MA 600i Earphones Review: Lighten Up (REVIEW)


RHA's MA600i earphones are British-made, naturally sound-isolating earphones available now for £59.99 (with remote and mic).

When we reviewed the MA 750i earphones from British sound experts RHA earlier this year, we gave them a positive overall review: we liked the sound-quality and build, but found them a bit unwieldy, heavy and difficult to wear for long periods.

That was not enough for RHA. In short order they dispatched us a pair of the lighter, and slightly cheaper MA600i earphones, and are now presumably waiting with baited breath by their laptops for the verdict.

And yes, we like them. So calm down, guys: it's going to be fine.

Which is not to sound facetious - because these earphones really do make a great first impression. The natural sound isolation is exceptional, creating a tight fit in the ear and pumping the sound directly into your brain, with a quality that like the best earphones is deep and thick, without sounding like a booming giant at the end of a dark cave.

The earphones are powered by something called a 320.1 driver, which promises clarity and natural sound and totally delivers. They also come with an extremely generous selection of ear tips, with a variety of fits and styles.

The build quality of the 600is strikes a nice balance between the industrial brutalism of the 750is and an overall lower weight and more comfortable fit. The earpieces are still stark and crisply machined from aluminium, but don't drag on the ear like the more expensive pair. The remote is still over large and heavy, and the dual insulated, oxygen-free copper cable feels a little plasticy (even though it's clearly well-made). But it's hard to argue with the overall build quality here - you can pay a lot more for less careful design and poorer materials.

The 600is we tested came with an included three button remote and mic, optimised for use with an iPhone, but a straightforward earphone edition is also available for £10 less.

In all it's hard not to heartily recommend the 600is - for the price they deliver great sound, comfortable fit and a pleasing, black-and-silver Bond-esque style which speaks of quality, not ephemeral fashion.

Giving five stars to any pair of headphones feels wrong, somehow - there's no one-size fits all solution (no matter how many pairs of ear-tips you stick in the box) and with so many options, price-points and dubious tech claims muddying the waters, what does a 'perfect' score really mean? Well, there's no such thing really.

But what the hell. These would be great earphones at twice the price, and you can't really ask for more than that.