A third pair of audio device from RHA has arrived! After the impressing Craving Tech reviews with two pairs of in-ear headphones, this time RHA has brought us an on-ear model.
The RHA SA950i retails for about USD60 on Amazon at time of writing, so it seems to be aimed for music listeners on a budget.
RHA SA950i Review – at a glance
These headphones come rather beautifully packaged. The front cover unfolds to reveal the features of the device as it shows off the headphones themselves through a transparent window. Below are the device’s features and specifications according to RHA.
RHA SA950i Features
Adjustable padded headband for comfort
Contoured ear cups for minimizing internal sound distortion
Professional grade 40mm titanium coated Mylar drivers for clarity and depth
Neodymium magnet and CCAW voice coils
1.5m reinforced, fabric braided detachable cable for less tangling and improved durability
In-line remote with microphone providing volume control, call answering and track selection for Apple devices
Gold-plated connectors for contact efficiency
RHA SA950i Specifications
Frequency range: 16-22,000 Hz
Impedance: 32 ohms
Rated power: 30mW
Maximum power: 100mW
Weight: 105 grams
As I open the box and take the SA950i out of its holder, I’m happy to see that the headphones are detached from the cabling. While many other headphone cables are attached and prone to snapping off when pulled with strong force, the cables on the SA950i will simply disconnect on such occasions. It’s pretty cool to have this feature on a budget headphone.
In all, the box packs the headphones themselves, its cables and a small user guide, but that’s pretty much it. The SA950i does not come with a carrying case, but at this price range I’d be even more surprised had it came with one.
RHA SA950i Review – Hardware
I looked at the SA950i photos on RHA’s website before I actually got my hands on the actual thing. It gave me an impression that these are large, heavy headphones. They really aren’t. To my surprise, they are compact and surprisingly lightweight. Very, very, lightweight.
The earpads are not even big enough to cup over your ears – they’re actually about the size of the outer ear, and simply rest on them as you wear it. You might as well forget that you’re wearing them because of how lightweight they are. Nevertheless, due to the compact size, I start to doubt they can fit in all heads. My head size isn’t particularly large, and I keep finding myself extending the SA950i’s headband to the maximum length every time I wear it.
They are comfortable to wear too. Although they don’t enclose your outer ear, the weight and shape of the earpads naturally rested against my ear, barely putting pressure on it.
To be honest, the first time I saw the pair before I touched it, my expectations wasn’t high in terms of build quality. They don’t particularly look strong. However, once I grabbed them by hand, I realize how they really don’t feel weak at all. The RHA SA950i doesn’t scream durability, but they do feel pretty solid in hand. When you need to adjust the headband size, the chrome sliders simply get the job done. Moreover, the ear cups easily swivel 360 degrees for added comfort, but they do not tilt forward or backward, nor are they able to fold for portability.
When it comes to aesthetics, the SA950i doesn’t look like premium headphones –but they really aren’t anyway. The outer sides of the ear cups are almost entirely made of plain-looking plastic. An RHA logo is fitted on each end of the headband. Although several parts of the headphones and the inline remote seem to be made of chrome, they still don’t look pricey. The shape itself, however, stays very simple, and the design gives a classic look to the device.
The cable is fitted with a remote with mic, and it feels strong and durable. The buttons on the remote are somewhat stiff to press, and the volume control buttons are noisier than I would have liked. Nevertheless, they get the job done. The convex shape on the middle button makes it easy to know exactly which button you’re pressing without even having to look at the remote.
In terms of hardware, the SA950i is well-designed. It’s probably not meant to be a looker, but it provides comfortable wear and seems more than capable of withstanding day-to-day use.
RHA SA950i Review – Sound Quality
For me, when it comes to audio devices, it’s the sound quality that really counts, and I find the RHA-950is to sound very good, although not entirely impressive. The frequency response is quite balanced – the RHA SA950i doesn’t accentuate lows or highs, and they’re actually strongest at the midrange. Personally, I love bass, and the SA950i is capable of pumping up plenty of lows, without ever being bass-heavy. Then again, I wished they pumped punchier bass.
Higher frequencies aren’t their strongest point either. Highs are definitely there, and by all means the SA950i doesn’t sound muffled at all, but highs could have been brought clearer. I would have loved to hear more transparent sound from the headphones. I also found a bit of a hollow sound to the audio, and the strong midrange can get overwhelming when listening to music at higher volumes.
Listening to the SA950i outdoors, the pair managed to isolate quite some amount of noise from the streets, but overall noise isolation is just average. Since they simply rest on the ears, they don’t really create a tight seal.
RHA SA950i Review – Conclusion
The RHA950is are compact, light yet sturdy earphones with a classic look and well-balanced audio.
They pump out decent sound for their price range, and overall frequency response is good, but they probably won’t impress audiophiles.
Note: The RHA SA950i review sample was sponsored by RHA for the review. Opinions are 100% mine.