With the number of smartphones with a headphone jack slowly decreasing (thanks to Apple), we are seeing a large number of new wireless earphones and headphones every day. That’s not really a bad thing though, talking about the wireless earphones i.e. They’re super convenient and allow for increased mobility without tethering you to your smartphone. Also, not to forget, products with the latest Bluetooth technology and AptX sound as good as a wired pair of earphones, so the excuse of sound quality is pretty much out the window. Keeping that in mind, let’s have a look at two of my favourite wireless In-Ear options available right now.
If there’s one thing about RHA that is completely certain, it is their top notch build quality and their dedication towards keeping it consistent across the range. Whether it be the humble MA350 or their beast of a flagship, the CL1, the build is undoubtedly the best I have ever seen from the bottom of the range to the top.
The new MA750 Wireless is no exception to the norm. The product itself is the wireless version of the regular MA750, hence the earphones themselves have essentially stayed the same, which is great, as I love the build on them. It is the same aircraft grade steel housings and the thick rubberized wiring. What’s new is the magnetized housings(to keep them secure around your neck when not inserted in your ears) and the neckband, which houses the battery and the wireless chipset. The neckband is thick and rubberized and flexible enough to sit comfortably on your shoulders and behind your neck. It bulges towards each end, one of the ends contains the NFC chip for Near Field pairing, which is marked by the NFC logo, and the other end has the power button and the USB-C port for charging. It is good to see them adopt the USB-C standard as all smartphones from now will be featuring the USB-C port and it won’t be long before we have Type C cables everywhere and the Micro USB(B) cables will be mere relics. There’s also a metal ring at the ends of the neckband, the use of which seems to be purely for aesthetic reasons.
Now, as cool as they look and feel, it won’t be any good if it isn’t any comfortable, is it. However, you need not be concerned as they fit really well and are pretty darn comfortable. The housings themselves are pretty unobtrusive and the tips can be changed as per your needs. Just like the regular MA750, these also come with a good selection of extra tips: 1 pair of medium silicone installed, 5 pairs of silicone tips, 2 pairs of Comply foam tips and 2 pairs of dual flanged silicone tips in the box. The rubberized neckband and the over-the-ear hook style also makes it easy to use when working out, which is also facilitated by the IPX4 certification which means that it is also sweatproof. I even wore them and ran around for a bit to make sure that it doesn’t bounce around while working out. Overall, the design, build and fit feels super solid and it does not seem like it will be beaten by any other product at this price.
RHA BRINGS A GENEROUS USE OF METAL AND RUBBER TO V-MODA’S MILITARY STRENGTH AND STEALTH
Since its inception, V-MODA has strived for beautiful designs and solid build. They have probably made some of the most stylish headphones on the market over the last few years. Normally their headphones are pretty bold in design, with some sleek angles, good use of shiny metals and use contrasting colours, though you could opt for a matte, stealthy look as they are easily user customisable. However, the Forza Metallo line is super stealthy. They still incorporate an angular design and good use of premium materials but are so tiny and the colours are more from the same palette rather than heavily contrasting. This is in no way a bad thing though. I personally quite liked the stealthy look. The buds themselves are super tiny and the wires are pretty thin. Thin, but still not flimsy feeling as the rubberized outer layer feels pretty solid.
The earphone housing is made of titanium and is hexagonal in shapeand (as mentioned before) is TINY. But it being V-MODA, you still have endless options to customise. They provide you with silicone earhooks that slide over the housing and are meant for making the earphones sit extra secure when working out or performing other activities that require movement. You can also get custom, 3D printed caps for the earphone housing to change the look to what you want. As a matter of fact, you can even choose the materials. The base being acrylic, which is an extra Rs.1500-2000 per cap, regular metals like brass or bronze or with precious metal plating, which would cost about an extra Rs.15-20000, or even solid precious metals like gold, rose gold, white gold or even platinum, which cost an extra few lacs if you really want to indulge yourself. Personally, the standard housing is a bit too thin and thus more intrusive than I am comfortable with, but it turns out none of my colleagues mind its size. The isolation is also pretty damn good with the right size of tips, of which you have a choice of 4 different sizes.
The controls are pretty conveniently placed too, with the volume and track controls on the right side of the neckband and the power and pairing button on the left. It is also sweat and water resistant, but they do not state the IP certification anywhere, so it’s best not to expose it to torrential rain or drop it in the pool or a puddle. The one thing I did not like though, was the elongated hexagonal mass that sits behind your neck. It’s the unit that houses the battery and the wireless chipset. It feels solid in hand and is pretty comfortable as well when just sitting still or walking around at a regular pace. However, while running or other activities, it flops around everywhere and can be pretty annoying. This could’ve been avoided if the rest of neckband was proportionally thicker, thus balancing its mass. It also still uses type B Micro USB, which is pretty much going to be a relic in the near future and the decision to not adopt USB Type C baffles me. It also does not feature NFC pairing, which would have made pairing a whole lot easier, and battery unit is big enough to accommodate as well.
The regular MA750 was probably one of the best sounding In-Ear Monitors in its price category. It had a good stage, excellent linear imaging, great frequency extension on both ends and well balanced with a rather energetic sound. For the quality of build it offered, paired with the sound, it still probably is the best all rounder IEM under the Rs.10,000 mark. The MA750 Wireless is practically the same, but wireless. For those who have heard the MA750, that will be enough of a description for them, but if you haven’t and are in the market for a wireless earphone, I will try my best to describe it for you.
In straight up technical terms, it’s a V-shaped sounding IEM. However, that does not do these justice. It is more of a super shallow U than a sharp V. Imagine a straight, horizontal line, with a very slight depression in the middle, that’s what it is. A very well extended line as a matter of fact. Usually, Dynamic Driver IEMs have a great bass impact but don’t resolve very well or have great extension in the lower frequencies. The 750s however, have great extension and also manage to retain the impact and energy of good Dynamic Drivers, with some pretty darn good resolution. The mid frequencies sound pretty accurate, with some sweet timbre and great depth. On some well-recorded tracks, you can even hear the breath of the singer and the guitarist’s fingers sliding on the fretboard of the guitar. The higher frequencies are aggressive but not fatiguing or annoying.
The soundstage is not super wide but seems to have great depth. Still great for an IEM however. Though the most impressive part is the imaging. They seem to have some great linear imaging but also some vertical depth. Listening to the intro bit of Money from the Dark Side of The Moon album by Pink Floyd sent shivers down my spine. It was like it was tickling different parts of my head in a rather sensual manner. They were so good that I almost forgot that these are wireless. When I put these down it was almost like stepping out of a GT3 racecar after being driven around by a pro drifter like Ken Block, it is an experience. Do not expect it to resolve like a Rs.30000 IEM, but it will certainly resolve better than most IEMs under the Rs.20,000 mark, AND IT’S WIRELESS!
WHILE RHA HAS A SUPERB, BALANCED PRESENTATION, V-MODA HAS SOME IMPRESSIVE EXTENSION AND DETAIL
The V-MODA house sound has been described as energetic bass without compromising clarity. They have had this signature sound since their first product and they have been tweaking it and making minor improvements iteration after iteration while maintaining the overall signature. Since they have been known for this house signature from the very beginning, I kind of already had an assumption of what it would sound like and usually, I wouldn’t be completely wrong to do so, but this time I was pleasantly surprised. They do not sound like what I expected them to. It’s not the big, energetic, slamming low end, but that isn’t really a bad thing. These earphones have some surprising top end clarity and detail, the kind you never hear on a V-MODA and certainly not on wireless earphones. Even the upper midrange sounds super clean, making the sharper female vocals and acoustic guitar strings sound super sweet.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the frequency graph, the bass is super tight and controlled, well extending and impactful. However, the upper frequencies of the bass do not have the same energy as the other V-MODA headphones and thus lack the slam that the mid-bass provides. It feels very uncharacteristic of V-MODA. This dip continues into the lower mids further which really sucks out the slam and energy from the drums. This issue can be easily fixed with some digital equalisation but it still isn’t as good as the earphone natively performing well in those departments. It still is an incredibly enjoyable earphone, just missing a little something over there.
The performance in the lower bass and the upper mids to treble is really beyond what you pay for and listening to some well-recorded Pianos is still an incredibly enjoyable experience. The staging is not super wide, but the depth is incredible. It gives you a great sense of spatial awareness. This is a great earphone for detail junkies, who don’t mind the minor dip in the mid-bass to lower mid frequencies.
From the variety of Bluetooth earphones available in the price range, RHA has made the highest battery life claim among all of them. They claim the MA750 Wireless will deliver continuous playback of roughly 12 Hours and Boy, have they delivered. After testing them on intermittent use and then once on continuous playback, the MA750 Wireless has consistently performed to its claim. I have had it function for a few minutes more than 12 hours in my period of testing these. It also has a USB-C port, which supports much quicker charging than regular Micro-USB. As is, the battery life on these is exceptional!
On the Bluetooth front, these earphones have High Fidelity AptX and support full bitrate AAC streaming. At no point during my testing did I think these were wireless. It sounded like a wired pair of MA750 connected to a decent player. In terms of connectivity, they worked perfectly fine when I left my phone at one end of our office and walked to the other end, which is roughly 33-34 feet. There was interference when I walked into the washroom, which is a given as there was a solid brick wall in between. They also feature NFC, which makes life so much more easier as you can pair your smartphone with a single tap (your device must have NFC) and you don’t have to go through the settings on your smartphone. It’s surprising most other wireless earphones don’t support this feature.
THE RHA MA750 WIRELESS OUTDOES THE V-MODA IN BATTERY AND BLUETOOTH PERFORMANCE
V-MODA has claimed that the Forza Metallo Wireless has a battery life of 10+ hours and it supports rapid charge. In my testing, it performed easily above the 10-hour mark, going about 10 and a half to 11 hours on a single full charge. The rapid charge feature is also pretty convenient as it provides 2 hours of battery life on a 15-minute charge.
These earphones support AptX and claim a range of 30-33 feet. AptX delivers some pretty audio good quality over Bluetooth and the quality is identical to a wired in-ear, it is nice to see more companies adopting this technology. The range is also pretty good and it lives up to its claim, our office is approximately 33-34 feet in length and it was working fine, without any interference. However, there was an issue of random signal drops while moving around, this is a bit annoying as during working out it can interrupt your music. This was not a constant issue but it is a point to be considered. I would have preferred the use of NFC as it is just so convenient. So the issues are pretty minor and overall they do manage to live up to their claims.
The RHA MA750 Wireless is for someone who wants a superb balanced sound with some impressive dynamics. It also has an excellent build and great battery life. Its design allows for a great range of mobility and is pretty comfortable all around. It is one of the best options available for a wireless earphone in its price range.
The V-MODA Forza Metallo Wireless, is however, a pretty good alternative. It lacks some of the Low to Mid frequency energy that the RHA has, but it certainly has some crazy detailing in the Mid to High Frequencies, without being harsh or fatiguing to listen to.