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Sunday
Oct142012

RHA SA950i On-Ear Headphones Review

Not everyone here can afford professional grade studio headphones that will rock your wallet up in the high hundreds, but I could be wrong. However, what I can promise is that nobody is coming to us to find the cheapest and worst quality headphones available. Now here's the twist: RHA's new SA950i offer surprisingly amazing audio quality for an even more amazing price point. Head on past the cut to check out our full review and if these are worthy of your ears. 

Presented nicely, the SA950i's come in a subtle packaging, without any high quality materials to make itself flashy and known, because it knows that it has got one hell of a punch to throws once it gets on your ears. The perforated edges could have been better cut because I still ended up ripping away at it, but that's not even worth talking about right now. 

RHA incorporated a retro but classy design for these cans and did an excellent job of it. The ear cups are wrapped in a comfortable leather with a good amount of padding to encourage long durations of use, especially while you're on-the-go. To make things even more satisfying, the headband adds additional padding, but not as much as you'd find on the heavy duty over-the-ear headphones. This isn't a problem for the SA950i's considering it's extremely lightweight. Weighing in at 105g, these are an excellent choice to take with you in a hurry or for a long trip. 

Even after a couple of hours of use, these didn't feel uncomfortable to wear. They just sat on my head and they didn't put so much pressure that my ears hurt but they also stayed on without falling off all the time. 

By going the lightweight route, RHA had to sacrifice in its other departments. The materials used on the overall headphones aren't anything to be excited about. The leather, which is in no way premium quality real leather, wraps around the top half of the headband and while it doesn't scratch easily or present any obvious wear and tear issues, it is still something to think about. Along with that, the ear cups are constructed out of a glossy plastic which is prone to fingerprints and the chrome wire frame may seem a little more on the flimsy side. 

This was something that I enjoyed seeing here and would prefer every headphone maker do: detachable cables. The 1.5m long 3.5mm gold plated connector cables are removable for when they're not in use, but most importantly, if you were to ever lose or damage your cable, you only have to replace it on its own instead of purchasing the entire headphones again. On top of that, the cable is a fabric braided which reduces tangling. 

As denoted by the i in SA950i, these are designed to go with your Apple device but it is also compatible with Android devices. The inline remote and mic works very similar to what Apple's EarPods do with a volume up and down buttons, and a center button for a number of functions. You can pause your music, answer or end a call with just one click, or skip to the next song with a double click. The mic delivers clean and clear sound to the other end without any significant audio degradation. 

The RHA SA950i's come packed with 40mm titanium drivers that are made to pump out audio quality that will put even some of the 100 dollar range headphones to shame. Taking advantage of every mm, RHA was able to create a pair of high quality headphones that blows away all previous expectations and sets the bar high. 

Right off the bat, you hear the bass. It doesn't have the rattling you might here in a lot of bass-happy headphones nor is it overpowering to the point that that is the only thing you can hear. It has a wholesome and healthy thump for when it's required and it lets off just as well to make sure it doesn't compete with the highs and mids. This definitely makes for a comfortable listening experience. If your favorite song, Gangnam Style is on, feel free to turn it up. The quality stays clean and it'll go way beyond a reasonable listening level, even with the volume set at 75%. 

The highs are also clear to the point that you know its there and the mids aren't trying to be intrusive either. The overall listening experience fits well with a wide variety of genres, however, if you wanted to practice for any raves coming your way, the SA950i's might not be able to help you out. Once you try and slap some electronic or techno tracks on, they have a hard time sounding as clean and crisp as they did with say, hip hop or pop. 

Now, don't get me wrong and say I told you these will be the best cans you'll ever find, because, that is far from the truth. However, considering the astonishing low $60 price point, you can't go wrong, especially the audio quality. I can't emphasize how surprised I was by what these pair of headphones pumped out. RHA has definitely done an excellent job with both the  design and quality on this one. On top of that, they offer a no questions asked three-year warranty, and come on, nobody can argue with that. 

We highly recommend this pair of on-ear headphones to just about everybody, because frankly, you can't be disappointed with the price. For $59.95, there really isn't anything out there right now to compete. These will be available at your local Apple Retail Store by the end of October and trust me, you don't want to miss out. This one has gotta receive our Editors' Choice Award. 

RHA-audio.com

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