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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2012
Forgive the pun, but it was too convenient to ignore. It's been a while since I've been this excited about a pair of headphones. I've owned over sixty different pairs of headphones in the last several years, and I'm continually on the hunt for the next great thing in personal audio--with a relatively modest budget, due to income constraints. Right now, that means something to the tune of $200-$250. My path to the HP100s started, actually, with a friend asking me for advice on a good pair of headphones. I'm an active member of Head-Fi so I posted a thread asking about suggestions for the friend. A fellow member suggested these and I was instantly intrigued, and a little surprised that they had escaped my attention, since I spend too much time on Head-Fi. SoundMAGIC makes plenty of in-ear models, but I'm not too keen on those, so I hadn't paid much attention to the company. I'm not sure that I was of much help to my friend, but a couple weeks later I had these in my hand. I've only owned them for a little over a week, but I'm not much of a believer in burn-in, so we're going from there.
The first thing that hit me was the clarity. Rarely have I heard such a clean sound. Though they're closed, there's no sense of congestion whatsoever. They're extremely clean and uncluttered, and have a spacious and airy sound to them. Vocals are a bit forward, but not really aggressive. Despite the astonishing clarity and cleanness of the sound, there is no hint of harsh or edgy highs. I'm not sure how SoundMAGIC did it, but they were um, clearly successful. I'm coming from Philips Citiscape Uptowns, and for a long time (read: five months) they've been my go-to for doing a lot of things right. I thought they were pretty clean and clear, but there is a dramatic difference between them and the HP100s. The Uptowns have a warmer sound signature, which in some cases implies better bass impact, but I've found them to be similar in that regard. While we're on the subject, these are not for bassheads. They're pretty close to neutral in my estimation, and have a very linear and clean bass. Fans of Sony XB500s and Denon D1100s need not look into these. However, with my relatively modest budget, I think I'd be hard pressed to find what I deem to be the perfect sound in a pair of headphones. These come really close, though. The sound of the HP100s is simply seductive.
A word on comfort. Initial comfort of the HP100s is very good. The pads are large, definitely circumaural (these are large headphones), and pillowy soft. However, the pads are not extremely deep, and I do find that the drivers press against the outer parts of my ears. This becomes an issue for me after about an hour and a half to two hours. Some adjustment can alleviate the issue slightly, but I usually end up removing them after that time. I would like to note that comfort is also a very high priority for me; in some cases it's as important as sound quality. For many people the comfort may not be an issue, and indeed that appears to be the case, from reading all the reviews I could scrounge on the Internet. So, YMMV. And this wasn't enough of an issue for me to dock stars from the rating.
Regarding aesthetics, accessories, et cetera. The HP100s come in a very compact case. I was actually a bit surprised at how small the shipping box was. The semi-hard case does remind one of the V-Moda cases in many respects: the color scheme, setup, etc. But it works well and holds the adapters, detachable (nice!) cable, and cleaning cloth in an efficient manner. The zipper feels decent, too, which is a small but important detail, for those of you who will be transporting the headphones often. I've read a couple reviews about how the outer metal cups are prone to scratching and fingerprints, and that may be true, but I tend to baby the headphones I own, and I keep these and others suspended from a headphone stand, so I haven't run into any blemish issues. I've also read of issues with sound cutting out, since they cable is on a single path and it has to run through all the hinges which allow the headphone cups to fold and rotate. That has not been my experience, but it's been only a short time, and I will probably update this if events warrant.
In sum: if you're looking for an incredibly clean sound in a pretty package for engaging, lovely listening sessions at home or on the go (perhaps in quieter places; passive noise attenuation is not extreme), I recommend these strongly. The beautiful sound signature lends itself well to all but the most bass-heavy music genres. I find myself staying up late just to hear the next song. Some headphones are doors to the music, and others are windows. The HP100s tear down the whole wall.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 6, 2013
There is really very little I can add to some of the excellent reviews already written. I will say that I have been very satisfied with the sound quality and construction of the headphones. I cannot offer fair comparison to other makes and models as all of my other phones are earbuds and there is simply no comparison between the two types.

I opted to go for the closed headphone arrangement over some open back Sennheisers because I didn't want to disturb my wife or others while listening in the same room, or perhaps at the airport even though I don't listen at a high volume. I did opt to add a digizoid subwoofer Digizoid ZO 2 Personal Subwoofer and Headphone Amplifier to give the low end a bit more punch after reading several positive reviews of the combination.

As a 50+ year old it is a much easier headphone to live with than some of the Dr. Dre Beats and Sonys I tried at my local Best Buy. The HP100s are under $200 and I respect amazon's liberal return policy. So far I have zero complaints, but admittedly am no expert nor do I claim the experience of some of the other reviewers
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2013
Well-constructed headphones which fold up nicely in the included travel case. Finish is mostly understated save for the somewhat flashy cups.

Comfort is quite good for sealed cans; earpads are soft pleather with some sort of memory foam inside that conforms to your head - a bit too much, actually, since eventually your ears touch the inside of the phones which is slightly irritating. The foam on the headband also tends to compress too much and migrate to the sides. But all in all these can be worn for extended listening sessions without becoming uncomfortable or overheating the ears.

They are quite efficient and can be driven by portable devices easily. However, like most high quality headphones, they benefit from a good amplifier.

The sound has been well-tuned - they are consistently musical across the spectrum without any of the artificial hype that afflicts so many headphones in the $2-400 range. They are not bass-heavy, not mid-forward, not hot in the treble - what they are is nicely balanced. Not that they are uncolored - they have a benign dose of typical closed-can "cuppiness" and smear which robs them of the last degree of transparency; also, the soundstage is nothing to write home about. But they are one of those headphones you reach for over the better-known brands because they are just so listenable.

For $200 you can't do better.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2014
Out of the box the HP100's sound is bright and detailed. As a matter of fact and according to my ears it has been factory engineered to possess a slight 2-5K bump which articulates the sort of detailed overall clarity that treble junkies love.
This headphone's sonic signature is (bright) clarity for miles and miles and miles.
This company has made "better" Beyer headphones and i can hear it in the HP-100s crisp and detailed factory sound.
The only other headphone that ive heard which possesses this kind of treble clarifying sound is the Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay H6, tho the B&O H6 is a superior sounding gear.
So, how's the Hp100's bass?....Well, its articulate vs huge, and its accurate vs slamming.
These are not for the Beats or V_Moda crowd.
If you like the bright Beyer DT series sound then you will perhaps like this headphone.
It reminds me most of all of the Bang & Olfusen H6, but it has less accuracy in the mids and not as much bass impact or depth of bass .
The sonic signature of this headphone is BRIGHT, and its designed this way to offer you the max amount of clarity.

Headphones come in 3 (general) varieties of sound.
1. Warm and bassy
2. Scouped mids
3. Treble spiked

This headphone is #3, and the designers were very careful to bump the high frequency in such a way that they left out the harsh sizzle and created ultra clarity instead.
Its not a warm sounding headphone, and its certainly not a dark sounding headphone.
If treble clarity at the expense of the bass is your preferred sound in Headphones, then the HP100s will sound like home.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2015
I was thoroughly impressed with the sound quality of this headphone for the price. They have a fairly even sound; the mids are pulled back just a touch, but not noticeably. I've read mixed thoughts about the bass, and compared to the likes of the VMODA M100 and Audio Technica WS99 they aren't extremely bassy, but they have good bass. It's very textured and snappy. It hits powerful when the song calls for it.

Unfortunately, after having these for only three days, the right driver appears to be going out. I noticed it after I got home from the gym, where I was wearing them while I went for a 2 mile jog on the treadmill. The volume level of the right driver is less than half of the left driver. I've tried swapping around the RCA channels on my amp to see if it was somehow the channel balance was messed up on my computer, but that didn't amount to any change. I also tried plugging it in to my PC directly via 3.5mm jack, and to my Fiio X5, the results were the same.

There is the possibility of the cable going bad, but it is a proprietary cable, so I am unable to test another one. Maybe it is related to jogging with them on. The cable is coiled, so it is very heavy and swung around madly as I ran. Another possibility, is that an internal connection somewhere went out. However, they were working fine when I put them away after my jog, so I'm not sure what changed between then and when I got home.

Filed for a refund, and ordered another pair with one day shipping to arrive Friday. I will update with the results of the second pair.

My replacement pair has been in for a few weeks. So far it is working perfectly, and sounds just as good as the first pair. I mostly listen to metal and rock. These headphones keep up will and have good instrument separation. Running off of my Fiio X5 I get probably 90% of their full performance, while off my Magni 2 Uber I get the last bit. It's not huge, but noticeably better.

From what I understand, the HP150 is the same drivers, just a different design that is supposed to not have as many failure issues. I really love the way these ones look, so I went with them being they are almost the same sonically. However, if this one fails me I will go with the HP150 next.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
There have been many reviews on Amazon and elsewhere on the Internet praising the Soundmagic HP100's audio quality, and in that respect I have no complaints: it represents a great value and there are few worthy competitors in the same price bracket.

The same can't be said of the headphone's build quality and design, however. I encountered the same problem described in Mr. Elahi's review: breakage of the earpad swivels after a few months' use, and Soundmagic's customer service was extremely unhelpful in facilitating returns.

Given my experience with the company and its products, I would therefore suggest current owners to be careful with what they send to Soundmagic for repairs or replacements, and for prospective buyers to look elsewhere.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2014
i've owned a small collection of headphones: vmoda m80, grado sr60, sennheiser from 1985 ( don't remember the model) . these are to date, the best cans i've owned / listened to. they are well made, come with a convenient case and are very comfortable to wear long term.
the sound is neutral balanced and clean
they produce deep bass that is clear and tight
the treble sings without being harsh or too bright
they are better with decent amplification, so get an external amp or fiio x5. great combo.
overall, these headphones are a bargain for the $.

negatives: the proprietary cable. you can't do an aftermarket cable and if this one breaks, you are forced to buy their cable.
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on December 9, 2014
Damn these are some good headphones!

SoundMagic is a brand that was brought to prominence with their E10 and E30 in ear monitors. The HP100 represents their first attempt at a full size headphone. And I have to say they did pretty well.


The headphone is very well built. The head band itself is wrapped in a very soft plastic leather material similar to the ones used for the ear pads. The cushions on the underside of the headband are cushy and there really isn’t anything wrong with them.
The headphone is expandable and you can make it bigger by pulling each ear cup out. As you do, you’ll notice that the cups are connected to the headband through a metal band that has notches on it with numbers. This is incredibly useful. No longer do you have to worry about any imbalance. I use mine at a 6 and I have a very big head even though it can expand to a 9. Even with my big head, there is little clamping force and is very comfortable.

The ear cups themselves are moderately big and are connected to the band through a series of joints that allow it to fold into many various shapes. I really can’t describe how it all folds but you can find pictures of them. The most useful one allows the cups to rotate and fit flatly against your head. Unfortunately, the joints don’t allow the cups to actually fold flat and so you can’t wear these around your neck.

The outside of the cups has a plastic/metal cover that is shiny. It looks very nice! It isn’t the kind of flashy shiny you would expect but it has a very stylish brownish tint to it. I like the look and can definitely say it is not a flashy pair of cans.
The ear pads are ridiculously soft. The only problem that I have with them is that they are a little shallow so your ears will touch the inside of the cup. That does cause mild pain but is tolerable. You can always angle the cups so that they don’t put as much pressure on your ears.


The sound is amazing. There is very little wrong with it. One thing I do want to point out is that on the package, the frequency response looks very linear. It’s not. If you check the scale, you’ll realize that each band is 10 db. That’s huge. Most frequency response graphs have a range of 30db to -30 db. These have a range of -15db to 185db. How can headphones even produce negative decibels? If you stretch out the provided graph, you’ll find that the headphones are not as neutral as you thought. There is quite a big dip around the 1k-2k frequency range. Fortunately, I can’t really tell.

North of neutral. They have that nice kick you want when you want it giving songs a nice beat you can rock out to. At times it does feel too loud but for the most part, it gives me what I want. The sub-bass is perfect. Just has the right amount of rumble without detracting from the overall experience. Definitely a warmer pair of headphones.

When I first listened to the HP100, I thought that some vocals sounded weak. It just felt like they were being overwhelmed by the rest of the song and that really upset me. But after some time, I got used to it and don’t notice that issue anymore. There isn't anything wrong with the mids but I wish they were a little more forward.

The highs are dangerous. If done poorly, they hurt your ears and no one likes that. These fortunately sound perfectly fine. I can guarantee that these won’t fatigue you. I’ve been listening to six hours of music per day for two weeks and have yet to experience any fatigue. The highs have that nice sparkle and really helps compliment the rumbling bass. Sibilance is slightly there but if you don’t pay attention, it’s not. Perfect balance

So I’ve been using these headphones on my phone and on my computer and I can say that they sound rather consistent. They are very efficient and don’t need a lot to drive them. So from that, I’m guessing that an amp will have minimal impact on the sound.


I use these at home and when I’m on the go. One gripe I have is that these are not very good on-the-go headphones and that’s simply do to their size. If they folded flat, that would help the issue. One great thing is the case that is included. It is perfect. It really makes these otherwise at home headphones become mobile ones. I take these with me with confidence knowing that the hard-shell case will protect them. Its very form fitting and easily fits in my pack.

The cups do get warm after a bit but my ears don’t get sweaty. After about several hours, I sometimes take a break because my ears get a little too hot. I think that is normal for a pair of closed back headphones though.

The cable is fine. Some people really hate it but the coiled cable isn’t heavy and is easy to use. One gripe that I have with the cable is the locking mechanism. Its useless. I don’t twist it because it already requires a lot of force to pull out. If something pulling on it that hard, I don’t want the cable to stay it.


Great pair of headphones that are just good all-rounders. They don’t really excel in any one place but that is why I like them so much. Everything about it is simply good and these really should be the standard for all headphones.

Short and Scrappy comparison with ATH m50x and m50
I’ve listened to both and the differences between the m50x and m50 are almost nonexistent sound wise. Between the ATH and the HP100, the HP100 has more sparkly treble making it more balanced. The bass is much better controlled and doesn’t have as much sub-bass. The HP100 is also FAR more comfortable and that’s because of the large cups. One good thing about the ATH is that is a portable and a good on-the-go pair of headphones. Between the m50(non x) and the HP100, I think both are a really good deal and would recommend either on depending on how much portability you want. I don’t recommend the m50x because it’s not worth it.

Sorry about the huge-monga review

PS. For 180, these are a good deal.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 24, 2013
Well worth the money! I am a photographer who spends at least 4 hours at a time editing photo's on my computer, I wanted a pair of headphones that are not only super comfy but sound amazing!

I highly recommend this set to everyone!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 23, 2014
Very nice and very neutral sound. I also like the accessories – case and adaptor for airplanes comes in very handy when travelling a lot.
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