We’ve recently tested Creative’s HS660i2 earphones and were quite impressed with its balanced tonal performance, although the build quality left a lot to be desired. Today, we have a new contender from their recently launched Hitz range. The MA350 is designed to work with your smartphone's music player and also double up as a hands-free for calls. The Hitz range is available in a selection of bright, funky colours targeted at youngsters. But is it all show and no go? Let’s find out.
Design and Features
The MA350 comes with minimalistic packaging and in the box, you’ll find two extra sets of silicon ear tips that are translucent and thick enough to comfortably seal your ear canal without being obtrusive. The MA350 features the flat-type cable which doesn’t tangle easily. The rubber feels soft, yet durable so damages due to cable snag is less likely to happen. At 1.2m in length, it’s long enough to be comfortably used with your phone or PMP in your pocket.
Funky looks and good build
The chamber for the drivers is made of plastic and has a gloss finish to them. The chamber also features a sawed-off design which sits flush with your ear when you wear it. Inside, we have a 9mm neodymium magnet with a frequency response of 6Hz to 23KHz. The microphone is sensibly placed on the right cable, higher up from the remote control. This makes it easier for the other party to hear you without you having to shout. The remote only has one button for receiving calls and controlling your music while the volume adjustment is left to a slider rather than buttons. This analogue adjustment gives you a more precise control over the volume. The build quality of the remote feels a little cheap however and could have been better. At the other end of the earphones, we have an L-type gold plated 3.5mm connector. Overall, the MA350 scores high in terms of aesthetic appeal and build quality(save for the in-line remote). The built-in microphone and remote control for volume rounds up the feature set pretty nicely.
Remote offers complete control of your music
First and foremost, the earphones offer a good seal and manage to block out a fair amount of ambient noise. While they sit snugly in your ears, we did experience slight fatigue after extended listening. We started the tests after a 24-hour burn-in and were pleasantly happy with what we heard. We started off with some classics like Hotel California in FLAC format which sounded good, albeit slightly bass heavy. The mids weren’t very well defined but it wasn’t a complete wash-out either. The bass is tight and has a good slam to it which makes hip-hop and trance genres sound good. The MA350 also handles low frequencies like a champ and faithfully delivered Flo Rida’s Shone, which has some really low bass towards the end. Just like the EP-630’s however, the MA350’s are a bit bass heavy but thankfully, not overpowering. Compared to the Cowon EM1, the MA350s are unable to reproduce the subtle details in FLAC files as well as the former. You won’t notice this deficiency too much with MP3s however.
Available in multiple colours trims
We tested the remote with a Galaxy Nexus and Poweramp and all the functions worked very well. For some reason, we couldn’t resume playing when the screen was off but it did work with the screen on and a pattern lock. Two presses skips to the next track while three presses will take you to the previous one. The microphone is very sensitive and works well even in noisy environments.
Verdict and Price in India
With a retail price of RS 2,299, the Creative MA350 is slightly expensive for the performance it offers. Having said that, it’s easily a much better buy compared to the Tekfusion Twinwoofers M we recently reviewed. The MA350 prides itself with very good build and ergonomics and a handy remote which gives you complete control over your music without having to remove your phone from your pocket, a boon for those who travel by public transport. Audio quality is also very good and if you’re a bass head who also appreciates detail, then these do a decent job. Not great, but decent. If you can find the MA350s at Rs 1,500, then we recommend them. Anything more feels a bit much.