Pros: Price, audio quality
Cons: None at this price point. Sacrificed cord/housing quality for better drivers at a cheaper price point.
This is my first review in the past year of getting in to audio as a hobby. My roots started last year around April when I purchased the SoundMAGIC PL11. I heard my father's various Bose products, which introduced me to the world of high(er)-end audio equipment. Directly comparing The PL11 to the Bose Triport made me realize that my $16 PL11 were nearly as good as my father's $130 Triport, and it lead me to Head-Fi.
The SoundMAGIC ES18 use the same drivers used in the higher end E10. This is a budget-minded 'phone, sacrificing build quality to bring a higher quality sound to the lower income crowd, and they did a marvelous job of doing so. The 'phones aren't as machine-perfect as their higher-end models, but it's still far better than american bang/buck contenders such as Skullcandy, and other cheap low-end in ears saturating the consumer market. Mine shipped with some of the wire insulation stripped at the L plug, but not wire was exposed. No biggie.
The sound is identical to that of the E10. It's perfect for long-term listening. Gently emphasized Low-end, and Mids, slightly recessed highs. I notice a dip around 8khz, and it rolls off gently as it gets higher. Little sparkle, but absolutely no piercing, harshness, or sibilance.
Overall it sounds better than other Head-Fi favorites, such as the PL30/PL50, being newer, better technology, but it lacks the wow-factor that the PL30/50 have with their INCREDIBLE airyness and treble extension.
Comfort is above average, but don't take my word for it. My ears are weird. I owned a pair of Klipsch Image X10 that caused me unnatural amounts of pain, and I'm probably the only person on the planet that had that issue. Fit is just like any other straight-barrel in-ear around the same size as it.
A quick summary of the sound:
well-extended bass with great impact, and attack/decay, and well controlled. Full-bodied mids. Recessed highs around 8khz, and 16khz.
Soundstage is average.
Lacks the clarity, positioning, and treble extension of the older PL models, specifically PL30/PL50, but overall sounds technically superior due to using newer/better drivers.
320kbps MP3s using Voodoo mod SGS. Genres include Progressive Metal, Power Metal, Freeform Hardcore, Hard Trance, DNB, Hard Trance, Classical (Baroque concertos, 19th, 20th, and 21st century Minimalist)