The headphone market is an interesting one. Headphones can range in price from 'too cheap to be good’ to 'London house prices’, so the average consumer can find themselves spun out by thinking a higher price range obviously means better quality. Or that in-ear headphones are the cheap version of over-ear headphones. This is not the case, so at The 405 we want to explore the headphone market to find you the best aroung. We’re not going to rate them, we’re going to let you know if they’re the perfect fit. We might even try bone conduction headphones.

RHA put incredible care and consideration into their headphones. All it takes is a look at the plaudits for the high-level CL Series to understand the company's standing in the audio market. RHA make extraordinary headphones for the luxury market (CL1 in-ears cost £249) whilst also creating affordable headphones (S Series). The MA series of headphones feels like a range designed to appeal to those wanting ‘something more’ from their headphones.

The RHA MA650 in-ear headphones retail at about £49.95 and promise sound that has been certified by the Japan Audio Society. This certification is all fair and well but what does it mean to the general layperson who doesn’t know the JAS from say, Adam. The JAS require any product submitted for certification to pass their standard which you can find more about here. What it means for the consumer is that the headphone they are buying produces a consistent sound across all frequencies including down to 16hz, which is outside of what a human can hear.

When listening to music through a new pair of headphones, you expect to be wowed by a distinct change in audible quality. The MA650’s provide that ‘wow’ factor through the incredible clarity of each individual note; there is no sound left behind which ends up being the MA650’s blessing and curse. Blessing in that every sound is discernible yet individual notes, especially at bass frequency, lack the punch that you would expect when paying near £50 for a pair of headphones (the drums in 'Africa' by Toto proved this).

If you’re a bass fan, then steer clear, but if you place 'complete noise cancellation’ above all on your headphones checklist, then for the price, the MA650’s knock it out of the park. External sounds on trains, buses, and in freelancer heavy cafes are all suppressed by the headphones. It’s quite impressive how well they work; they give you that ‘so that’s what the world sounds like’ experience when you remove them.

Light, durable (aluminium build), and made for Android, the MA650’s are well worth a shot if you’re thinking of upgrading your in-ear headphones. They would make a great Christmas present for the audiophile in your life.

Good for:

- A clear, delicate, crisp sound.
- Incredible noise reduction for the price.
- Those with weirdly large ear canals; the ear-tip holder is great.

Not the best for:

- Both ends of the frequency are poorly represented. Sound is clear but bass and treble are nothing special.
- The audio controller is too close to the ear bud.