Pros: large soundstage; engaging sound; price
Cons: stiff cable
Soundmagic is building up quite a reputation for budget-fi products. Their latest entry into the fray is the E10. It is a barrel styled dynamic driver offering at just $35. Is it a giant killer? How good can a $35 phone be? Let’s find out…
Soundmagic seems to have phased out the hard case they used to include and instead offer a pleather pouch with drawstring. While I know many prefer hard cases, I really like nice pouches for toting in a jacket or jean pocket. This pouch is very nice but a little larger than necessary, so I plan on using it with my new custom Merlins when they finally arrive. Also included is a nice selection of various tips. For most IEM’s I’ve found larges to give me the best seal but with both the new E10 and my old PL30, the mediums work best to give me a deeper fit and better bass response. I’ve yet to try any different tips. The cable is the standard SM offering. It is pretty stiff and rubbery feeling and tangles fairly easily but at this price and with the kind of sound quality the E10 offers, I’m not complaining.
Bass is nothing short of spectacular for its class. It’s the perfect blend of mid bass punch and sub bass rumble. Kicks sound off with authority and bass guitars thump their driving beats. The bass is tight and extended, if a bit on the soft side with respectable speed and nice decay; which works really well with the overall sound signature. I find it just right for my preferences.
The midrange is pushed forward of neutral. Bass does not bleed into the midrange, leaving you with a nice and clean vocal. Distortion guitars have nice forward bite (nowhere as good as the GR07 or FXT90 but good in their own right). Pianos sound very good and are placed forward in the mix.
Treble has very nice sparkle but does take a slight backseat to the bass and midrange. However it isn’t what I’d call recessed or laid back. I’d say its presence is somewhere between the Atrio MG7 and GR07, leaning much closer to the Atrios. Perhaps slightly relaxed with sparkle is good descriptor for the treble.
Soundstage is pretty wide and depth is good. Dynamics are very good and the E10 sounds great for low level listening as well as ‘rocking out’ levels. Instrument realism isn’t on the level of my favorite JVC offerings but it is no slouch considering its class bracket. Clarity is great for such an inexpensive, bass oriented phone.
The E10 just sounds great with any recordings I throw at it, from classic rock, metal, pop and country. It has a fun, punchy and clear sound that is certainly better than anything at $35 has a right to be! I cannot recommend the E10 enough. This one is a keeper.
Meelectronics extra long single flange. They come in Meelec's M11+ 10 pack but if you contact Meelec, they will sell them in 4 packs.
See link for a picuture: http://www.meelec.com/MEElectronics_Original_Eartips_for_M11_Earphones_p/tipset10-m11-bk-mee.htm
I get a deeper fit and better seal, resulting in better sub bass response while maintaining maximum clarity.