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PL50 In-ear Headphones


Pros: Comfortable (incredibly so), small profile, excellent imaging, no microphonics, decent build

Cons: Mediocre isolation, best with after market tips

Note: the star ratings are not absolute, but instead relative to its street price at this time (~$55)


The pl50 represent a good value in budget IEMs, provided you like its particular sound signature and quirks.


The pl50s have a tiny form factor. They are easy to insert and remove, and are more than flat enough to lie down in. Needless to say, they are among the most comfortable IEMs available on the market.  Build quality is also fairly good. The strain reliefs are well made, and they actually included one on the Y-split. They are durable enough to take to the gym, although I still wouldn't abuse them. There are a lot of accessories thrown in, but the stock tips aren't great. I recommend purchasing some sony hybrid tips (EPEX10A). Also, unlike the previous reviewer, I found this earphone to be virtually lacking in microphonics (cable noise).


The sound signature is mid-centric, and is one typical of balanced armature IEMs - namely, a lack in bass quantity. Bass quality is good, although the pl50 won't hit the low 20Hz notes. The mid range is this product's strong point. It is clear, articulate, and very forward. Treble is extended, but completely lacking in shimmer or sparkle. Whether this is a good thing or not will depend upon one's own taste. There is also a bit of warmth to the sound, and the soundstage isn't particularly great.


The pl50 is best with vocal centric music, as well as folk or country. At these genres, it excels, and by a fair margin. Especially for vocals, I doubt you will find a better IEM at this price point. On the other hand, bass heavy music is not this IEM's forte. Also, I will say that at times, the pl50 sounds a bit thick, so music that requires alot of air and space, such as classical, is not reproduced well. And like most balanced armature IEMs, the pl50's reproduction of timbre is not perfect.


Try to think of the pl50 as a very polite and inoffensive sounding earphone. I imagine that if you enjoy the sennheiser sound and don't mind and/or want less bass quantity, you will like the pl50. Their ability to stay out of the way makes them a great earphone for reading or studying. If, however, you are enamored with a more energetic presentation a la grado, you will likely find listening to the pl50 a rather boring experience.


So, in short, the pl50 is a well designed and built, supremely comfortable IEM. The sound is very good - for particular genres, and for certain tastes. But if you listen to lots of folk and vocal centric music, this is probably the overall best in ear monitor available at its price point.


Pros: fit

Cons: sound

I love soundmagic e30's. They have a full, natural, dynamic balanced sound but these pl50, like several BA's I 've tried, just sound wrong. There is not nearly enough meat on the bone for my taste. I am not a basshead but c'mon, I need something to hang my proverbial hat on. An upwards eq did not work in my attempt to fill these out. The upper end was nice though and the size and fit spectacular. I must not be a balanced armature kinda guy but for those who are, these are probably a great value and worth a try


Pros: Great overall balance, comfort

Cons: build quality

Firstly i would like to thank Tony at SoundMAGIC for supplying me with this sample, I will try and write as honest a review possible.

All opinions expressed are my own, this is a subjective review, and others may not agree.

I used the PL50 with small Shure Olive tips, as i find them more comfy.

Gear used:
IPod Classic 7G 160gb > SoundMAGIC PL50



Transducers: Micro balanced armature
Frequency range: 15hz-22khz
Resistance: 25ohms
Sensitivity: 109db at 1khz/mw
Max imput power: 20mw
Cable length: 120cm
Weight: 8g

Pros: Comfort, overall sound balanced
Cons: Not the most realistic tone, build quality may be an issue in the future.

Packaging, Accessories and Build quality:

Very simple white packaging from SM, a clear window on the front to view the IEM, and specifications on the back.

A fairly decent array of accessories from SM, S, M and L foam tips, S, M, L and XL single flange silicone tips, a cable clip, a soft carry case (shame they got rid of the hardshell case from the older PL50) and ear guides. All the necessary is included, but some dual or triple flange tips would have been nice, and the older hardshell case too.

Build quality is nothing special, the housing is plastic but very small and light, which helps with comfort, the cable isn't very thick, and quite thin from the y-split up, the cable is rubbery, the strain reliefs are good on the right angled jack and the y-split, the cable going in to the housing could have better strain relief though.

I prefer the Red for right, bLue for left colour strain relief to tell the channels than an L or R.



Fit, Isolation and Microphonics:
These are fairly shallow fitting IEMs which makes them very comfy, i find the stock foams to be fine and very comfy, but the Shure foams provide a better fit and comfort for me.

The housing is very small and fits flush with your ears, so it is easy to sleep with these in, and they are very discreet, also i can wear them for hours with no discomfort as they are so light.

Isolation is very good, considering they are shallow fit the isolation is excellent. They are perfect for public transport and the likes.

Microphonics are non existent as the cable is worn behind the ear.




typical BA in speed and resolution, but unlike a few others they can actually produce a little bit of rumble down low. The impact isnt huge, but very tight, the extension is very good for a single BA driver, with dubstep actually being enjoyable with these. They dont have huge amounts of bass but the speed and detail of the bass makes up for the quantity and separation in the lows is really very good.

The best bit, very airy and detailed, but a little dry in presentation. The mids are slightly forward and are very detailed. Guitars have power, vocals have great presence and never sound shouty or harsh, with little sibilance in the upper mids. They link the lows and highs perfectly.

Not very present but with good enough detail as to not sound boring. They dont extend very well, and this is where they fail a bit, but what do you expect from a single BA driver. I think the highs do sound good but could do with a bit more presence. At least like this they never sound bright or harsh. Bad recordings will sound bad, but well recorded cymbals do sound very good.

Instrument separation, Imaging and Soundstage:
Instrument separation is brilliant, with a slightly airy presentation, everything is portrayed in the right places.
Imaging is done very well too, and never sounds detached from the center image.
Soundstage is nothing special, fairly narrow, with width and height not very good either. But they do sound good like this, not aggressive but more engaging and not laid back.

For the price i think these are still a great buy, i know they have been out for a while, but i think the get left in the shadows a bit, they are truely great if you want detail but not a harsh presentation. They are balanced but not neutral, with pretty good extension on both ends for a single BA driver. The comfort is a big plus, and the presentation is fairly airy.

These are fairly forgiving of bad recordings, but they will bring out the best on good ones.

Amping does not bring a worthwhile gain, as these are very sensitive and dont really gain much from amping, they are driven fine from a portable source.

One thing is that these do not have the most natural sound to them, with a slight mettalic tone to them, i dont find it too distracting, but it is there.

I would still recommend these if you know what sound you want, i think they do very well for their price range.

I would take these over the Etymotic HF5, and their rival the MEElectronics A151 dont come close, the SM just sounds so much more detailed and balanced, the MEElecs are way too dark in presentation, with very little high frequency extension or presence.




Tracks Used:

Skrillex – First Of The Year (Equinox) (320kbps MP3)

Paramore – Franklin (320kbps MP3)

Diana Krall – The Girl In The Other Room (FLAC)

Deolinda – Passou Por Mim E Sorriu (live) (ALAC)

Suicide Silence – Unanswered (FLAC)

Massive Attack – Angel (ALAC)

Eat Static – Dzhopa Dream (ALAC)

The XX – Crystalised (FLAC)

Funeral For A Friend – Bend Your Arms To Look Like Wings (ALAC)

Mumford & Sons – Little Lion Man (FLAC)

The Scene Aesthetic – Humans (259kbps MP3)

A Hero A Fake – Swallowed By The Sea (254kbps MP3)

Vivaldi – The Four Seasons, Spring Allegro (ALAC)

Johnny Craig – Children Of Divorce (161kbps MP3)

Deadmau5 + Kaskade – I Remember (Caspa Remix) (320kbps MP3)

Black Uhuru – Utterance (ALAC)

We Are The In Crowd – Never Be What You Want (226kbps MP3)

Silverstein – Discovering The Waterfront (320kbps MP3)

Concept Of Thought – Our Thought (FLAC)

Nirvana – Something In The Way (Unplugged) (ALAC)


Pros: Cheapish

Cons: Terrible quality


These and the PL30 are terrible quality buds, I went through both of them in less than 8 months. Both times they failed they left me in an awkward position where I really needed earbuds for working. Thus I would rate these as highly undesirable as I prize reliability and quality most. 


I would not waste your time with these..



Highly disappointed




Pros: Mids and imaging, lovely vocal sounds

Cons: Not so much of the mainstream bassy sound

pl50s were actually my first pair of proper in-ears and I love them very much! There was one point when I was disappointed about its bass cause I got myself a pair of sennheiser hd202, but then little fiiO amp gave it life again


I like the comfort especially, wear them before sleep and often find myself tangled by the cable the next morning haha. They never break tho - unlike others said. I guess I am amongst the lucky users


OK something that might sound funny but definitely worth a try. Put the foam tips on oppositely, I read this in another forum. I want proof of this too but to me they sounded a lot better suprisingly! You HAVE TO TRY IT. then let me know how did it go




In general, very happy and proud of having the PL50s :-)


Pros: Very Comfortable, Decent Sound.

Cons: Not very durable, bad customer support, Ugly.

I've seen three pairs of these earphones in one year and each pair has been faulty. The first pair lasted a few months until one of the speakers suddenly decided to stop working.


I made the mistake of contacting customer support to get a replacement. After a couple of weeks they sent me a replacement which was faulty out of the box. One of the speakers simply did not work.


After a few weeks managed to get a hold of customer support and explained to them what happened. They said they will send me another replacement once they receive the faulty set they sent. So I sent them back and I had to wait for a couple more weeks until they received the earphones, constantly having to ask whether or not the earphones have arrived or not. Eventually I was told that they received the earphones and that they will send me a replacement.


Two months after my initial contact with customer support, I receive a working replacement. Unfortunately, they only worked for a couple of weeks until one of the speakers, once again, stopped working.


In conclusion, I'll just say this. These are fine earphones while functional. They are comfortable and audio quality is decent, but I cannot bring myself to recommend these to anyone after my horrible experience with the product. The customer support is ridiculously bad. I ended up wasting more money and time, running back and fort to the post office trying to get a replacement than if I was to simply buy a new set of earphones.


Avoid these.


Pros: cheap, astonishing sound for price, reasonable isolation

Cons: isolation middling, odd tip size, reasonably microphonic

These are astonishingly good value for the price. Build quality is much better than you have a right to expect, and the sound is equally so - though mids are promoted at the expense of highs and bass. Great phone as a gift to someone getting into iems, a back up pair of phones, or for phones in high stress situations (gym etc) that you can't expect to last.


Be aware that the tip size is a bit funny - smaller than UE's, larger than Shures. Isolation is reasonable, not fantastic.


Update: I have now used my Shure olives w/ PL50, rather than the supplied foams, and microphonics have markedly decreased.

PL50 In-ear Headphones

PL50 in-ear earphones are the first armature product from Soundmagic.

FeatureGold plated jack
Package Quantity1
Product GroupCE
TitlePL50 In-ear Headphones
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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