review

RHA MA650i Earphones with Apple Lightning Connector

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

The discontinuation of the iPhone 6S and iPhone SE in 2018 marked the end of the era of iPhones with a headphone jack. That same year saw also the removal of the lightning to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter that used to come inside every Apple iPhone box.
Without a headphone jack and adapter included, there is no direct way to connect 3.5 mm jack earphones to an iPhone.
Luckily, there are Apple-approved earphones for iOS devices thanks to Apple's MFi Program which means third-party manufacturers such as RHA Audio can design wired earphones like the RHA MA650i using Apple's proprietary Lightning connector; hence the "Made for iPhone/iPad/iPod" logo on the packaging.
Made for iPhone/iPad/iPod means the RHA MA650i earphones work with iPad, iPod and iPhone devices such as the iPhone 7, iPhone XS and iPhone XR and have Apple's certification proving that the RHA MA650i earphones meet Apple performance standards.
The benefit of having a pair of RHA MA650i lightning earphones is that you no longer need Apple's lightning adapter nor are you longer limited to Apple's AirPods wireless Bluetooth earbuds which are known to be "quiet" even at full volume!
With the RHA MA650i though, you get very good volume levels so you can take them out with you on the underground or railway and hear your music (not the train sounds). Unlike the AirPods which sit outside of the ear canal, the RHA MA650i lightning earphones insert inside the ear canal creating the same passive isolation you get with earplugs.
The RHA MA650i lightning earphones are modeled after the MA650 Android version but have slight design modifications including the obvious lightning connector and the plug which is made of aluminum alloy so you get a durable plug.
Alloy 22 integrates chromium which enhances corrosion resistance
The body of the MA650i earphones is the same identical cylindrical cone shape that you get with other RHA earphones, featuring machined aluminum alloy for a smooth finish. There is also a tiny port hole on each earbud that increases airflow to help the bass response.

Other features include thick rubber strain reliefs joining the earphone housing and earphone cable which is both rubberized and braided unlike the MA650 Android version cable which is entirely braided.
In terms of sound quality, there is a notable difference of sound quality between lightning connection and 3.5mm audio jack connection from an iPhone and that is because Apple's software caps the sound quality resolution coming out of the 3.5mm headphone audio jack to 24-bit/48kHz even though the iPhone's internal DAC is capable of outputting 24-bit/96kHz.
If you have an iPhone with both lightning port and headphone jack (i.e. iPhone 6), you are better off using the lightning connection to benefit from hi-resolution audio.
one pair of Comply Foam Tsx400 ear tips included also
The audio quality of the MA650i lightning version is better than the Android version and closely matches the sound quality of the MA650 wireless neckband version which supports aptX and AAC high resolution codecs.
Saying this, the MA650i treble frequency range is strangely lower at 20,000Hz than the MA650 wireless neckband version (22,000Hz) and the MA650 Android version (40,000Hz).
drawstring mesh pouch
In terms of comfort, the MA650i lightning earphones have a similar comfortable fit to the MA650 Android version though the MA650i lightning version is 2 grams heavier at 17 grams.
The microphone is also built-in to the back of the 3-button remote which controls the audio playback and phone calls.
The voice quality of the microphone is loud and clear although doesn't integrate noise cancellation technology to suppress background sounds.
3 years manufacturer's warranty

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