11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2012
SoundMagic E30, A Great Budget IEM For the Bass Lover
This review is written from the perspective of the E30 stock, no external amp or DAC, to give readers an idea of what to expect if they buy these without an amp/DAC. I wanted to thank Tony at SoundMagic for the chance to review these wonderful IEMs!
Pros: Sound is phenomenal for the price, packaging is great.
Cons: Build quality is lacking, comfort is an issue, slight microphonics
The SoundMagic E30 come in one of the best packaging jobs I've ever seen. This is before I'm even able to see the packaging mind you. The E30 came securely wrapped with a brown cardboard box wrapped tightly around the actual package with either end having a label telling the user to fax a picture to SoundMagic if it had been tampered with or opened. With all of the fakes around SoundMagic is definitely making it almost impossible to replicate these and I find that to be amazing.
After opening the authenticity wrap I was greeted with a white cardboard box with a somewhat minimal design. On the front the user is presented with a window to view the IEMS. Above the window there is a SoundMagic logo. Below that is a quick description of the E30. On either side of the packaging there's not much, one one side a slogan, "Listening magic sound, feeling SoundMagic" on another side it shows the IEMs in other colors. The back has specifications such as driver size, frequency range, impedance, cable length and accessories. On the back on the bottom there's also a authenticity seal and inside the box a thick paper sleeve has a serial number, which includes manufacture date. When you buy these new, you will be absolutely positive that they are authentic, which I like. I really like the box, it's pleasing to the eye and neither tacky or gaudy.
Inside the IEMs are held carefully by clear plastic and included is a pleather pouch with a nicely designed SoundMagic logo. Three pairs of mushroom tips are included and a pair of bi-flanges. The accessories are definitely a nice addition and I feel that SoundMagic is slightly above average with the packaging.
Design and Build Quality:
My first thought is that these are tiny. I thought the tips that came on the E30 were just for show they were so small. It turns out they're actually the small. I normally wear medium tips on every other IEM, these I was forced to use the large. The IEMs themselves are very tiny which makes them a bit difficult to get them in at first, but once you get used to it there's no problem at all. They sit securely and rather comfortable in the ear. Each IEM is marked with blue or red to indicate left or right, red is right, blue is left, to let users know which side goes where!
The IEMs seem rather sturdy themselves. I feel like they are built well, the cord is a bit stiff but I feel like it will hold up through some wear and tear. There's a shirt clip to help with microphonics, which works sort of, but it made the IEMs feel a bit awkward when walking around so I opted out.
Isolation is decent at best with them. I definitely hear outside noises rather clearly with no music playing, it's blocked out slightly of course, but due to the shallow insertion there's not much. With music playing it isolates decently, I couldn't really hear much on the outside when driving or walking, but I definitely could hear some slight noise. I feel this would be fixed though with a deeper insertion provided with tri-flanges or bi-flanges. Unfortunately no tri-flanges are included and the bi-flanges didn't fit me.
Overall they have a decent build quality to them, but they are too small for my liking and the cable feels a bit cheap. I would put them on par with similarly priced IEMs for this section, nothing spectacular either way.
I want it to be known that these headphones blew my mind the second I heard them. The clarity has me thinking of my Ad900s. The sound actually reminds me slightly of them. I'll try to explain without sounding ridiculous. These headphones have a fantastic mid-range, slightly forward, clear and very musical. The highs are clear and extended without being fatiguing, though some sibilance is noticeable. Now here's the part that differs from the Ad900 and may even sound silly. The bass is definitely pushy, it lacks some impact, but is definitely quality. It extends well, but sometimes over exerts itself into tracks making it the main focus. I know I said the mids are slightly forward and that these are relatively balanced/neutral headphones, so how can the bass be slightly pushy/prominent? Well overall the miss and highs are well tuned to work together, neither pushes the other out of the way, and they both sound wonderful and present. The bass though is definitely pushy. It doesn't muddle up the mids like one would expect, but it makes itself a prominent feature in most songs, sometimes a bit too much.
The soundstage is typical of an IEM, nothing special. The sound is a bit congested at times, but overall it sounds great.
I hope that makes sense. Overall though these headphones are hard to beat for the price. If the A151 were similar to the HD5XX series, then the E30 are similar to a bass heavy Ad900. Funnily enough though, as much as I love my Ad900, I think I prefer the A151 over the E30 overall. These are definitely top notch headphones though that bass lovers will love, without messing up the other frequencies or sounding muddy.
Rage Against the Machine - Renegades of Funk
I chose this because there's a reason many professional audio companies use this to set up speakers. Rage has amazing mastering and production value while hitting every frequency area while being very balanced. The vocals come in crystal clear with the high frequency guitar being very present, but not pushy. The drums come in and I feel like I'm in the room with them as they're recording, the bass is slightly pushy but clear and quality. The crunch of the distorted guitar comes in with amazing clarity and impact. I may eat my words, but I'm not sure I've ever heard a guitar sound this good. Overall the bass is a bit prominent over the rest, but not enough to ruin the song, not even close.
Sara Bareilles - Between the Lines
It's no secret I love female vocalists. I chose this track to test for sibilance and to see how the E30 handled an acoustic piano. The piano sounds lovely and warm, the vocals do as well, but unfortunately there is some sibilance. It's not terrible, but it is turning me off of this song. The bass sounds warm and lovely, the piano and guitars sound a bit congested, but good overall. Unfortunately though the sibilance turns me off too much for this song.
James Blake - Limit To Your Love
I chose this because of the deep bass, it will more than likely be my track to forever test bass because of the quantity. The vocals and acoustic piano sound fantastic off the bat, but let's see the bass. The wobbles come in and it's definitely well extended, I even feel it. It's not rattling my head, but I feel this amount of bass would suit any bass head. The bass is strong and I feel it. In some tracks the bass has a problem being a bit pushy, but here it's very welcomed.
Brazil - We
I like to pick Brazil when I look at a headphones instrument separation capabilities. This song and album has fantastic instrument separation with any instrument being able to be picked out at any given moment. I also like to choose this album because many songs are fast paced and have a lot of attack to them. Right away the dual guitars are easily separated from each other, with the drums and bass easily discerned as well. Throughout the song I'm easily able to pick out anything even the subtle piano riffs. The distorted guitars sound crunchy and these IEMs definitely keep up with the quick pace of the song. The bass is a bit pushy though again. It doesn't ruin the song, but it's definitely present.
Radiohead - The Bends
I chose this because I love alternative rock and this is a classic alternative rock song. The guitars are crunchy, clear and sound fantastic. The bass is slightly pushy again, see a trend? The vocals sound wonderful no matter what range Thom Yorke hits. The drums have a nice sound and impact to them. This track sounds wonderful with these.
For $40 these are very hard to beat. They have great clarity and each range of frequencies sounds wonderful. Unfortunately the bass is a bit too pushy at times and there's some sibilance. The comfort issues also are a concern. Even with that said, for $40 I think you'd be hard pressed to find a better IEM. I highly recommend these, especially for those who want strong quality bass.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2012
I use headphones for in ear monitoring on a weekly basis and have gone through several pair of quality earphones. Most recently I have been using shure e2 (the older model of their single driver, $100 new) and loved the fit and sound but the cord went bad after about a year of constant use. I can't afford to shell out that much money to replace earphones so I decided to investigate more affordable but quality options. I ordered MEElectronics M6 and Klipsch Image S2 in addition to these earphones. I won't go into detail about the other two (they both have good and bad but are decent for the price). So, I had side-by-side comparison and LOVED the sound of these earphones. I would compare the sound to the Shure earphones...very balanced with good strong volume across full spectrum of sound. I play guitar and sing and use the earphones to make sure I hear what I need to hear to perform well. The high end is present but not harsh, the mids are clear and vocals stand out (which is my only complaint about the Klipsch...no vocal presence), the lows are solid but not overly "boomy".
The fit and design are great! They are very light weight and low profile in the ear. I am a bit concerned about the durability if the cord because it is thin and delicate looking...only time will tell. It comes with several different ear tips. I can't stress enough that FIT IS VERY IMPORTANT! The tips that were on the earphones out of the box were too small for my ear and didn't get proper seal for good bass response and they sounded flat...changed the tips out a few times and found the one that worked for me...WOW what a difference!!!. It seems like there may be a vent hole in the casing of these earphones which is good for allowing pressure to remain natural in your ear canal but you pay for that in a little less bass and less sound isolation. The other two earphones I tried had excellent bass and sound isolation but I really had to wiggle and adjust to get the pressure in my ear canal right for the best sound.
Overall, if you are looking for great quality, balanced sound on a budget these are your best bet...my opinion of course. I did a ton of research on earphones before I bought these and I am glad I did...don't be fooled by name brand, these are legit.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2012
Have had these for almost a week so I can't say anything about longevity, but I was definitely impressed with the sound. Punchy bass, forward mids, and smooth highs that can be a little sibilant sometimes - overall a slightly aggressive, forward sound signature. The big part on these IEMs is that the bass is NOT overwhelmingly loud like a lot of the mid-quality headphones around this price I'm mostly comparing these to the Klipsch Image S2s which I owned directly before these, a decent pair of IEMs that unfortunately suffered from very, very loud bass; in comparison to another pair of IEMs that I liked, the Etymotic ER6is, the bass isn't lacking either.
One thing that is especially important to get the most out of these earphones is to wear them at a proper angle and find the right size/type of tips for your ear. Unfortunately the double flange tips seem to only fit larger ear canals; I use the medium size ear tips with the larger driver opening instead and they perform very nicely. Pretty pleased with this purchase so far, I will see how it treats me in the coming months.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2012
My first listen to the Soundmagics had me wanting a little more bass. However, when it came time to take them out of my ears to compare them to another pair of earbuds, I found I was enjoying them so much I couldn't bring myself to do it: I discovered the instruments and the vocals both sounded extremely realistic and true to life. I also discovered my initial impression of bass shy was due to the bass heavy earbuds I formerly used (CX-300s). I found myself wanting to listen to all the songs on my ipod again through these Soundmagic earbuds just for the shear musical enjoyment they were delivering. I heard nuances I had never heard before on many songs and in general felt like I had gotten much closer to the thrill one experiences when attending a live performance. I'm a big Sennheisser fan, but these Soundmagics delivered the musical goods, hands down, better than the CX-300s. They also outperform my Bose earbuds (first generation). I took them on a 4 mile run and not once did I have to re-insert as I often had to do with the CX-300s. As the run went on, the Soundmagics became even more comfortable rather than less, until I could barely feel them in my ear. I don't think these can be beat for the price. I'm pretty sure you'll be happy with the purchase. They come with a wide variety of rubber pieces that go in your ear.... just make sure you experiment with those until you get the fit that provides the bass, snug fit, and comfort that you want and you'll be thrilled with these earbuds. I was a little skeptical when I learned these were designed and made in China, but I took a chance and I'm very happy I did.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 19, 2013
I am not an audiophile in the least, my hubby bought these for me as I just wanted a decent pair of earphones that would block out the outside sounds, be loud as I am a bit on the hard of hearing side AND I have freakishly tiny ears. After a couple days of researching earphones, I knew that these earphones met my criteria and little did I know I would find them for less than $40 :)
I used to buy the cheaper $5-10 earphones and had issue after issue with them not blocking the outside noise or one speaker is louder than the other, or falling out ALL the darn time. If you are looking for a pair of earphones that are not overly expensive but give you the sound you need, these are it. I am not a bass person in the least except for the Black Eye Peas that is about as much bass I can handle. However I had no idea my eardrums could vibrate from the amount of bass being produced by these little suckers!
I really like the fact that the actual cord can wrap around your ear so it really holds the phones in place nice and secure without using the plastic piece to cover over it so the cord is not bulky and it's hard to tell they are wrapped behind your ear. The earphone itself ergonomically is a very smart design when you compare it to the standard design. Our ear are not straight but curved so this makes more sense. I used the small rounded covers as it seemed to be better at blocking out the outside noise. Buy these, you won't regret it! :)