RHA MA390 Wireless Review & RatingJune 25, 2018 1 By admin
Glasgow-based RHA has made a name for itself delivering quality audio performance in affordable in-ear designs. That holds true for its latest, the MA390 Wireless, a pair of Bluetooth earphones with an exercise-friendly, sweat-resistant design for a reasonable $69.95. That said, this price range has seen an influx of quality in-ears with even more exercise-focused builds in the last year or so. Luckily, the MA390 earphones manage to hold their own with excellent audio performance.
The look and feel of the MA390 Wireless is spare and minimalist, with a black, flexible, rubber-coated neckband and small aluminum earpieces. The tiny earpieces make for a lightweight in-ear fit, but there are no stabilizing earfins and the earpieces don’t rest against the ear in any way—most models we test tend to include some sort of fin or a larger earpiece in order to create a more secure fit during workouts. The neckband at least eliminates cable tug, but if in-ear security is a top priority, these are not quite as secure as most gym-focused in-ears we test.
The right end of the neckband houses a power/pairing button and a covered USB-C port for the included charging cable. There’s an inline remote control and microphone compartment along the right earpiece’s cable. The remote has three buttons—a central multifunction button that controls playback, call management, track navigation, and voice assistance, along with outer plus/minus buttons that control volume levels.
The inline mic offers solid intelligibility. Using the Voice Memos app on an iPhone 6s, we could understand each word we recorded easily. The mic has a crisp quality to it, but there are some typical Bluetooth mic audio artifacts—a little fuzziness here and there that’s par for the course, and doesn’t impact the overall audio too much.
It’s important to understand IP ratings. The MA390 Wireless, for instance, carry a rating of IPX4. It means the earphones can withstand liquid spray or misting from any direction, but cannot withstand much, if any, water pressure. Therefore, running the them under the faucet to clean them off is a gamble—and don’t wear them in heavy rain.
The earphones ship with six total pairs of semi-transparent silicone eartips in various sizes. There’s also a cable cinch included in the packaging, though the neckband design means there’s no cable slack to manage. You also get a padded drawstring pouch the earphones fit into.
RHA estimates battery life to be roughly eight hours, but your results will vary with your volume levels.
On tracks with intense sub-bass content, like The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” the earphones deliver a powerful low frequency response that will appeal to those looking for some added bass depth without sacrificing balance. The deep lows are strong, but they’re well matched with the higher frequency content on this track—things never sound overwhelmingly pushed into the overly bassy realm.
Bill Callahan’s “Drover,” a track with far less deep bass in the mix, gives us a better sense of the overall sound signature. The drums on this track have a lovely roundness to them through the MA390 Wireless—there’s definitely some added bass presence, but it’s added in tastefully, and with plenty of high-mid and high frequency presence to balance things out. Callahan’s rich baritone vocals get solid low-mid richness here, as well as the treble edge they need to retain their clarity and detail. You could argue this is a bass-forward sound signature because the lows are boosted, but the overall sound represents the entire frequency realm quite fairly—the highs are crisp, clean, and sculpted slightly.
On Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild,” the kick drum loop gets enough high-mid presence to accentuate it punchy attack, while the vinyl crackle in the background gets pushed forward a bit by a slightly sculpted higher frequency presence. The sub-bass synth hits that punctuate the beat are delivered with power, but nothing that’s too exaggerated—the sub-bass doesn’t overtake the mix, but it still sounds plenty ominous. The vocal performances are all delivered with excellent clarity that doesn’t seem to add any sibilance to the equation.
Orchestral tracks, like the opening scene from John Adams’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary, receive added bass depth, which might upset some purists, but the bass is delivered in a subtle manner, and this only adds body and dimension to the lower register instrumentation. The higher register brass, strings, and vocals retain their bright presence in the mix, and the recording sounds crisp, rich, and full of life.
If you’re looking for excellent exercise-focused in-ears, we’re a little hesitant to suggest the RHA MA390 Wireless, as opposed to a more workout-friendly pair. That doesn’t mean you can’t exercise with them, it just means they’re probably not going to be as ideal for intense exercise and running as some of the competition. If exercise is your top priority, consider the Jaybird X3, the JLab Epic Sport Wireless , the JBL Endurance Sprint, or the JBL Reflect Mini 2. If audio performance is your top priority, however, RHA’s MA390 Wireless will not disappoint. You can easily find the same level of audio performance among pairs that cost almost twice as much.