PerformanceRHA's budget friendly MA350s definitely push the boundary for what a sub $40 earphone can achieve in terms of overall performance. As RHA proclaims on the box, these in-ears do feature a rich natural sound. They are definitely voiced for fun rather than precision, but they maintain enough clarity in order to be listenable to for non-bass heads and bass heads alike. The fit is really good considering its huge housings and the stiff cable. These are not quite on the same level with the much more expensive HiFiMAN RE-400s or Sennheiser CX300s in terms of comfort.
The tips supplied give a nice and tight fit in our reviewer's ears as well as a few others. The tips are part of the trick for the RHA MA350s. They are quite a bit thicker near the inner sound tube and get progressively thicker towards the canal piece, which I suspect to help with both the fit and the sound quality. They are often overlooked by in-ear developers, but it is nice to see that RHA has stepped up the game by offering good tips with even their $39 in-ears!
The bass is the main thing here and the MA350s have plenty, even for bass heads. The bass extends deeper than that of the CX300 bass monsters. The bass and sub bass is elevated a lot in this design, which is great for many types of contemporary music. Even though the bass is very dominant, the midrange is still clear enough to satisfy you on the go. The midrange is a lot warmer than that of the RE-400s. The treble extension and precision is not that good, but the same can be said of many of their rivals in the sub $40 class. If you spend $10 additional dollars for the HiFiMAN RE-0s, you will get a much better midrange and treble performance; however, the amount of bass will be much lower. The bass is not the punchiest we have ever heard, but it is fast enough not to sound overly muddy which is nice, price considered.
The overall tonality is warm and forgiving, which is great for most modern recordings that are poorly mastered. There is absolutely no sibilance on these in-ears, even with tracks where it is very annoying. The upper midrange and treble region is pushed back into the mix, which is alright. That RHA labels these as rich sounding is accurate, since the emphasis is on bass and warmth rather than on tonal accuracy. This brings up the fun factor, and the midrange presentation is more than defined enough to be apt for a casual commute. If you are really into heavy guitar music, the forgiving upper midrange will make you miss out on some of the bite that the guitars can have. The finer upper midrange details also suffer quite a bit.
These in-ears are ideally voiced for bass heavy music genres like R&B, hip-hop, techno, and trance. It is alright for rock and absolutely horrible for classical music.
The richness comes at the expense of detail and openness. These in-ears sound more congested than, for instance, the OVC TC20s or the Brainwavz Alphas, but not in a way that is overly annoying.