Life is better with great headphones, but some of us—especially those who tend to lose or break things—just need something that's cheap and good enough. For those listeners, the RHA SA950i headphones deliver a level of quality, design and portability that's way out of proportion to the product's pricetag.
What Is It?
A $60 pair of iPhone-optimized headphones from a quality audio manufacturer.
Who's It For?
Someone looking for decent pair of headphones that won't cause bankruptcy (or even tears) if they're lost or stolen.
Retro, combining glossy plastic cups, chrome wire frames, and leather. Classy, if not the most original looking headphones out there.
Extremely comfortable, thanks to the light weight and just the right amount of clamping force. They don't feel wildly durable or brittle. They sound a bit dark and muffled, but the level of detail and the width of the soundstage is impressive for a $60 headphone.
The Best Part
The sound quality you get for the money. Sure, more expensive headphones sound better, but it's not a difference that's shocking (or even immediately apparent). You won't find a better pair for $60, and even when you start looking in the $100 range, few pairs can extract the same detail and fidelity from a smartphone.
The earcups have a tendency to become detached from their metal rods, and then those rods scratch the hell out of the cups. Ugh.
This Is Weird...
Digital and electronic music in particular does not shine on these cans.
- Used primarily with an iPhone 4S. Also a 13-inch MacBook Pro.
- Tested against the Bowers & Wilkins P3, Harman Kardon CL, and Sol Republic Tracks headphones.
- Used cached and streaming tracks from Spotify at both 320kbps and 160kbps.
- Used at home, outside, on the train, for varying periods of time (0.5-3 hours).
- These small, lightweight cans make impressive use of their 40mm drivers.
Should You Buy It?
Definitely. If you're not looking to spend a lot of money, but still want something decent, give these a whirl. They're pretty good in every aspect, even if they're not necessarily amazing. And since they'll only cost $60 when they arrive at Apple Stores at the end of October, they cost a fraction of the money you'd spend on some other cans we love.
That said, if you're an audiophile type on a budget, you can get a lot for your money with some of the more expensive pairs we compared these against, like the B&W P3, or the Harman Kardon CL.