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SoundMAGIC HP100 Premium Over-the-Ear Folding Headphone

100% Positive Reviews
Rated #28 in Over-Ear


Pros: Soundstage, Detail, Bass Extension, Layering, Genre Versatility, Comfort

Cons: Not entirely a con but source dependant, Shiny cups



Where I stood when I got these: I was using the AKG K141 MKII's. The source for these had been gradually improving for the approximately 18 months I'd had them, going from a EU capped iPod Nano 2nd gen, adding a cMoyBB v2.03, then as My academic year started, being that I was constantly with my laptop I went with the ODAC-cMoyBB-K141 until I got the iBasso DX50 (Very good synergy with K141). Not wanting to have to play at ear-damaging levels to drown out commute noises, I wanted a closed design and, after scouring the Head-fi reviews and FS forums, decided to go with these (2nd hand).


Initial Impressions


Being 2nd hand these were already burnt in, so I went ahead and gave a quick 2 minute listen and was...... very underwhelmed. At this point it is worth mentioning that my previous upgrade had been from Skullcandy Aviators to the AKG's, which had a massive "stepping up" factor. As I was expecting a repeat of this experience I was let down.


Fast forward a few hours and I begin my more serious evaluation using the iBasso DX50 as the source and this tracklist plus a few more. It took about 10 minutes to be reminded how silly a 2-minute listen is as an evaluation tool, and a further 10 to realize that this pair of cans and I were to form a beautiful friendship, in which would get to know each other very well.


Now that I've had them for a While


Well, I've had them for long enough to have a well formed opinion now so Here it is:



I find the numbered clicks for each can dead handy. Just pop it to your required number on either side, and you're good to go. No fiddling to find your size every time they come out of the carrying case.

They fit snugly over my ears, and the faux leather seems to me to be of decent quality, more than good enough for me, if a bit sweaty in the subtropic summers I endure.

I was fortunate to receive them with both the HP200's straight cable, and the HP100's coiled one. I found the original cable annoying at times bearing a wee bit too much weight on the ear and making the headphones feel slightly uneven. IMO, you should go with the straight cable if possible.

I was slightly concerned that some reviews said they were just that little bit too shallow as I have smallish but sticky-out ears, but I found no issues, and should you find that your ears are too big for the cups, there are some remedies for that in this thread.



I'm no expert on how these things work, but I'll combine what I've understood from reviews with my experience, so some of this is to be taken with a pinch of salt:


32 Ohms, as I gather, is a lowish impedance, and should not present much of a problem to drive, but the rather large 53 mm drivers detract from the lower impedance. All this makes for a "not completely easy to drive headphone". I don't have that many possible sources, but I wouldn't recommend these for smart-device users who plan on having just the one device.

With a clean source (so no double amping) a cMoy will drive them well enough to my taste, but I can easily say I prefer the DX50 for sound. (Sending DX50 for repairs soon, Fiio E18 on it's way here, shall update with side by side comparisons along with the Serato Itch DAC/Amp/DJ controller and ODAC with various amps and a Galaxy Note 8.0).



These won't drown out everything, and sitting on the back of a bus you can still hear a slight drone of the engine, but I am satisfied with their Isolation properties. They will drown out most noises, and once you "get into" your music the extraneous noises that do manage to seep through are not loud enough to be a factor.




With no bleed whatsoever into the rest of the frequency range these deliver a clean, well detailed bass. Present when needed, never overbearing, these cans will give basshead cans a run for their money because they deliver all the bass a basshead might need, without messing up, well, everything else. For music which does not require major bassness, the base is tame and controlled. This is highly evident in older recordings. A much deeper bass extension than the AKG K141's, these can pack a punch but it isn't "in your face". I think a good analogy would be a well trained guard dog. It knows when to attack, but isn't always aggressive.



Beautiful. Highly detailed. On a well recorded track you can hear the pops and sighs of singers, the thump of the guitar pick, and as a once-violin-player I'm pretty sure I heard a lack of resin on the bow in an Anomie Belle track.



This is where I have trouble giving a proper review. My upper register is very slightly impaired. But I shall do my best do give a decent point of reference. It seems to me that the AKG's have slightly more detail, at the cost of being slightly brash, and somewhat sibilant - hence fatiguing. The HP100's do not have that issue, but have my a smidgeon less detail.



These rival a few open-backed headphones that I have heard in the sense of pure "distance", but the lack of airiness that comes with a closed headphone detracts from that "it's not really on your head" feeling that you can get with opens. That being said these have the best soundstage I've heard in a closed can. Truly spacious. Very surprising.



These provide great instrument separation allowing you to focus on a great variety of different sonic elements in your music




I would be comfortable recommending these to anyone with a dedicated DAP, DAC/Amp, or amp. The really do envelope you in the music you're listening to no matter the genre. I use them at home as well.


Hope you like the review, hope it helped!


Pros: Great, Clean Sound, Good Bass Hit & Treble Spark, Rich Vocals, Clarity, Instrumental Separation, Isolation, Comfortable, Good Build

Cons: Coiled Cable (YMMV), Fingerprint-Magnet Ear Cups, Proprietary Cable Entry

Review on the SoundMAGIC HP100

Due to this review section, some of my images and text have been cut in half and what not, so I have posted this review in the forum section. The full version can be found here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/714125/review-soundmagic-hp100-the-natural-all-rounder-headphone) Apologies for the inconvenience.


It's been a while since my last review, but I'm back with another one on the closed-back, SoundMAGIC's HP100. I bought these headphones as an alternative to my HP200's and as an upgrade to my formerly owned, MrSpeakers' Mad Dog 3.2, as an open-back was not convenient for me as I had originally thought, and that the Mad Dog's were too veiled and dark sounding for my taste. Anyways, not long after selling the Mad Dog's, I decided to pick up these from my local, friendly audio store, Noisy Motel, and I haven't looked back ever since. 


(Usually I have a "Pictorial Unboxing" section, but I decided to cut that out since they're almost identical to that of the HP200's, which can be found in my review, here. Aside from that, I'll incorporate some of the main accessories that were exclusive to the HP100 and not the HP200. 


***NOTE: Pictures in this review are of the HP100's with Fischer Audio FA-003 pads on top of the original pads. It should be noted that the sound analysis was done with stock pads.***





Box/Packaging Shots (Click to show)

(Front of Box)


(Back of Box)



  • Transducers: Dynamics, 53mm, Neodymium
  • Frequency range: 10Hz-30KHz
  • DC resistance: 32Ω+-10% Ohms
  • Sensitivity: 95±3DB at 1KHz/mw
  • Maximum input power: 100mw
  • Cable length: 1.2m
  • Connector: 3.5mm, gold-plated
  • Weight: 288g

(Source: http://noisymotel.com/product.asp?ProductID=486)


Build Quality & Design/Function Analysis




The HP100's overall build and presentation is rather elegant in the sense that it has the basic looks of your standard headphones - not too flashy. The build in general is of a sturdy construction, made of high quality plastics with rubberized and high-gloss surfaces, along with a thick, rubber-coated cable. It does not feel flimsy, nor does it feel of bad quality, so one would assume it would last a long time, if taken care of properly. Now, time to break it down into smaller chunks.


(Bird's-eye view of the HP100)


Headband: It has a thick, solid core, presumably, consisting of mostly plastic and a thin piece of metal that runs through the headband from/to the height adjusters. It feels bulky in width, which to me, is a good thing, as now I know it won't snap due to flimsiness. Under the headband is a nice, plush strip of cushion that makes the comfort all the better. All of this is wrapped in a very soft and pliable pleather, which is very smooth, and feels superbly comfortable on the head. 


Height Adjuster & Swivel Mechanics: The adjustment per side of the headphone can prove to be stiff at times in terms of its sliding ability, but it does make solid clicks per increase/decrease in height, and does not move up and down from strong movements, so it can be said that it's firm and will stand its ground. The swivel also makes strong clicks, and maintains its position with each click. The slide and swivel is in no way loose. 


Ear Cups & Ear Pads: The ear cups are of a nice, high-gloss plastic, with a grid design on it. Not much to say on it besides that. Although, as it is high-gloss, it does attract fingerprints very easily, so SoundMAGIC provides a cleaning cloth specifically for this issue, as shown below.


(Included VIP card from SoundMAGIC for purchasing their higher-end products & cleaning cloth)


The ear pads found on the HP100 are very plush, and soft and are made of a pleather material. They are an over-the-ear design, and fit right around the ear. What I despised about these ear pads, is that although they are incredibly comfortable, the depth of the pad is not so deep. You'll often find the drivers touching your ears, which in no way affects the sound quality, but it does become bothersome. What I did was overlap a set of Fischer Audio FA-0003 pads on top of the stock pads to improve comfort, seal, and pad depth. Did this alter the sound? Not much at all, to be honest. 


Cable Entry: The cable entry into the headphones is single-sided, and it utilizes a proprietary cable. The cable entry is an "insert and twist" (locking) mechanism, which to some, is okay, but for me (and many others, I'm sure), this means it'd be harder to replace the cable if it ever becomes damaged. 


(The cable entry)

(The cable entry jack with it's "insert and twist" (locking) mechanism)

This brings me onto the cables...


Cable: The cable is a 1.2 meter coiled cable. It comprises of a thick, rubber outer-coat, and terminates in a 3.5mm proprietary jack, and a 3.5mm jack that has a screwing mechanism for a 6.3mm adapter. The cable as a whole, is rather stiff, and the coil section is a bit too sprung together which it requires more than usual effort to stretch out. I found this cable to be annoying at times, as when sitting at a table and having the cable hang down, the top of the coil tends to get caught under the table top's edge, and hence, pulls your head down. 


(The coiled cable)


Case: A hard case with a reptile pattern, that uses a zip, and has a carabiner loop at the top for attachment of the carabiner. Not much else to it.


(Bird's-eye view of the case) (Zoomed-in shot of the 3D bevel of the company's name)



Sound Quality Analysis



The following analysis of the HP100's sound quality is done from this setup: iBasso DX50 > Pure Silver Interconnect > Neco Soundlabs Portable V4



It is a neutral-toned headphone, and is not as bright as it's sibling, the HP200 (Brighter in terms of clarity in the vocals and higher extension in the treble, but I wouldn't consider it an overly bright headphone as a whole). The audio produced from these headphones sounds very clean, and there is no presence of a veil blanketting the mids and highs. 


The level of detail of this headphone is rather high for a headphone of this price range. The micro-detailing, especially of the female vocals, where the ending of each line is made, and the background instruments are accentuated with ease, and it doesn't require much effort with these headphones to make out the detailing in general. 


The HP100's are very clear in sound. There are no low frequency sound leakage nor are there any audible hisses in the high frequencies, which might make them sound veiled/muddy like in the darker/warmer sounding headphones. The clarity of this headphone in a way, helps enhance the level of detail, as it makes the micro-details more distinguishable.



The separation of this headphone is also rather good. It has a layering effect in between instruments as well as vocals, where each instrument or vocalist can be easily distinguished, and singled-out. This is good, because it prevents congestion, which usually results in muddiness. 


For a closed-back headphone, the staging on this headphone is pretty big. It is comparable to that of its sibling, the HP200, although the HP200 only pulls away by a bit due to its open-back design. An analogy of this could be like comparing from being in a room with all windows closed (HP100) to the same room, with one window open. This difference is only just the addition of more air, as opposed to size. Airiness, to me, does not always equate to a wider soundstage (although in this case, it slightly does), but more so, just a more realistic vocal, and a more defined mid-bass, as opposed to one with a slight vibration in the background - less congestion by the slightest.


The imaging of this headphone has good 3D placement of instruments and vocalist(s). Although not as accurate as open-back headphones, it is still pretty good in the respect that it's a closed-back. Instrumentals may not be positioned pin-point accurate, but I feel the vocals are pretty dead on as to where they stand - center stage.  


The bass of this headphone, although it is not something that is emphasized, hits pretty hard when it needs to. For songs that revolve around vocals, the low-end doesn't become prominent, but for songs, such as EDM tracks, the bass will definitely hit harder, and make sure its presence is noticed. Not to say they hit as hard as basshead headphones, but the bass does become more vibrant and textured. So really, I would say the bass of this headphone is rather controlled, as it is not all over the place like most basshead headphones. The rumble of the sub-bass, I found to be pretty smooth, as it doesn't sound grainy, muddy nor earth-shattering.


The vocals sound pretty realistic to some extent. It is rich and full-sounding, so it is far from a thin sounding vocal. It is smooth overall, and aids in the flow of the song - musical as some might put it. Such things as the guitar strumming, sounds very sweet and full, whilst in reality, it may not be as smooth (This may just be me, but sometimes I find an electric guitar to sound a touch harsh, whilst when heard through the HP100, it settles the harshness). In comparison to something like the HD600's, I found the mids of the HP100 to not sound as natural as it would on a set of HD600's, but it is relatively close. When compared to the HD600's, I'd say the HP100's vocals may sound a touch hollow, as the HD600's have one of the creamiest vocals I've ever heard.  


The treble of this headphone extends pretty high up. With something like the cymbal clashes, it sounds very crisp out of the HP100's. It doesn't sound too harsh either - it's just right. It's not veiled so the detailing is still very good, and the harshness is tamed by the treble being smoothed out by a tiny bit to prevent this. I'm a fan of brighter tonality, and even though I wouldn't consider the HP100's treble-happy, I was very satisfied with the highs. 



The SoundMAGIC HP100 was a headphone I thoroughly enjoyed for what it was - a neutral sounding closed-back with amazing musicality.  If you're looking for a headphone to use in noisy environments, or just to enjoy in your own time, this headphone should be on your list of considerations, with it's great noise isolation, and superb sound in general. An amp will be needed to drive them to their full potential, but it is totally worth it. It has my recommendation (if that matters), and to me, it's a gift that keeps on giving. (I say this because I've noticed slight improvements over the period of time I've owned them, and I have yet to be bored of it)
The small company of SoundMAGIC, when in the big headphone world, has often been overlooked. I personally think this shouldn't be the case as they're headphones are one of a kind! I'm in no way affiliated with them, but I think they deserve more attention. Much more. 

Over & Out,



Pros: Wide Soundstage, Clarity, Great Bass Response that doesn't drown out highs and mids.

Cons: Pads can get sweaty on my ears after a couple hours, but the pleather is primarily to blame.


After enjoying my re-branded Brainwavz HM5s for around 6 months, I decided that it was time to move onto the next best thing. Not that I got tired of my HM5s, but I just knew that there was something better out there. After looking around on Amazon, Head-Fi and a couple other websites and stumbled onto the Soundmagic HP100s. The looks really impressed me and although the headphones had very few reviews, every review that I read stated that they were one of the best headphones (if not, the best) within their price range. After doing a little bargain hunting for these headphones, I managed to find a deal on MP4Nation selling these headphones for $189 plus 2 day shipping. I'll post the link for the website right here --> http://www.mp4nation.net/soundmagic-hp100-closed-back-hifi-headphones-free-fedex-2-day-to-select-destination#review-form


First Impressions/Opening 

My first impressions of these headphones after opening them were that they looked incredible. The carrying case that the headphones themselves came in was very high quality and to me vaguely reminiscent of the case that V-Moda packages their headphones in. After opening the case, one would see the headphones, a cleaning cloth for the earcups, a warranty card, along with a little fishnet back strapped to the inside of the case by velcro that contains a 3.5 to 6.3 adapter, an airplane adapter as well as a carbiner for use with the carrying case. As for the actual headphones, the construction looked top-notch (quite a bit better than my HM5s) and the earcups with their mirror-like glossy plastic and their beige checkerboard-esque printed lines truly gave me a feast for my eyes. The company logo and the headphones model number are placed seamlessly at the center of the earcups. The earcups also rotate which means that they can be used as DJ headphones or in the instance that one would want to hear something that someone said, instead of taking the entire unit off, one could just swivel the cups. The headphones also come with a lock mechanism for the earcup plug to prevent removing of the plug in the instance of turbulence on the cable. One final remark I would like to mention about these headphones is that they come with a coiled cable. I know that some have problems with coiled cables because they add weight to the headphone and may hamper portability but to me, coiled cables are a Godsend as they save me the extra effort of having to switch between cables when I want to use my headphones with my PC or with my phone (something that I found myself doing quite often with my HM5s).



Now the part that is most important, the sonic capabilities of  these headphones. To be honest, I am not much of an audiophile so I cannot explain in detail every achievement or shortcomings regarding how these headphones sound, especially when the only other real headphones I've used were my HM5s and the V-Moda M80s which I've since sold. And while I cannot compare them to other headphones within their price range, what I've decided to do was to pick a total of 6 songs from different genres and state what my feelings where on how the headphones reproduced the sound. In addition, at the end of that segment, I will compare both the HP100 and my HM5s and they to elaborate more on the differences between the two headphones. As a point of reference, I have had my HP100s for around 2 months and any burn-in that will have been required to get the best sound out of these headphones has been completed. In addition, all audio for this test has not been amped and is coming straight from my PC.


  • Tremonti - Proof

Track 8 off of Mark Tremonti's debut album captures the essence of sorrow and the hope to rebuild and I'm happy to say that the HP100s capture this feeling wonderfully. Everything from the bass guitar to the crystal clear hit of the cymbals in the background and Tremonti's amazing 20 second solo were reproduced beautifully without fail.  Each hit on the bass drum was felt on my eardrums and never at any point cluttered the rest of the song. The amazing soundstage really helped to put together everything in this song as well.


  • Johnny Hammond - Lost on 23rd Street

Off of Johnny Hammond's 1975 album Gears, this song has instruments from all over the sonic spectrum to truly put to the test the HP100s claim to being a neutral can. While listening to this track, every single instrument that I heard came in and clearly played their part without stealing another another one's show or being themselves overshadowed. Bells, the saxophone, the keyboard, the bass guitar; you name it. Each was portrayed in their full integrity and the fact that these headphones were able to perform such an act to me is astounding.


  • Origa - Inner Universe

With a mix of opera elegance and modern electronic elements, Russian singer Origa's voice is brought to life by the HP100s. Each drop by the synthesizer is felt as the vivid bass is portrayed so naturally. Origa's voice, sounding so fully bodied and clear echoes and creates the illusion that you are listening inside of a concert hall, thanks to the amazing soundstage. This song is truly a treat to be listened to on these headphones.


  • John Horner -  A Kaleidoscope of Mathematics

This beautifully composed piece off of the soundtrack of the critically acclaimed movie "A Beautiful Mind" is reproduced wonderfully by the HP100s. Flutes sparkled, drums resonated, vocals mystified and string instruments danced elegantly as each instrument culminated to produce an overall wonderful listening experience. I realize that some say that closed back headphones don't have the soundstage to do classical music justice but to those I say this: Even if classical music can be reproduced better on open backs, these headphones do one hell of a job still giving you an experience that feels as though you are at an orchestra.


  • Dj Nat -  Theory of Everything 2

A nice dubstep song with a fair amount of drum and bass as well as some electronica thrown in for good measure to test the HP100s' bass response and its clarity as a result of its bass. I can honestly say that anyone looking for a decent amount of dubstep in their musical diet will not be disappointed. The bass response, while strong, does not drown out any other part of the music. Each drop was full,  presented wonderfully and eloquently followed by the electronic piano in the background. In my opinion, this headphone would be enough for any basshead (this also being confirmed by a couple of my friends who are bassheads who tried my HP100s and feel in love with them).


  • Nas - You Wouldn't Understand

As I end my song review, I thought I'd conclude with my favorite rapper Nas and one of my favorite tracks off of his latest album, Life is Good. All the wonderful things that I stated about the bass on these headphones on the dubstep song carries over to this song. Although there are many more elements in this song especially in the vocals, the bass is still wonderfully portrayed. Percussion elements and vocals come in loud and clear and as the vocals fade out at the end of the song, I get the feeling of wanting 4 more minutes to give the song a listen again. 



Finally, compared to my HM5, the Soundmagics blow them out of the water. Practically anything pro you can think of in the HM5s is multiplied by 10 in the Soundmagics without any of the cons. The very first things that I noticed were much better in the Soundmagics than in my HM5s were the soundstage and the bass response. The soundstage in the HM5s to me was like listening to a 2.1 speaker system compared to the Soundmagics which were like listening to a 5.1 speaker system with a subwoofer. In addition, with my HM5s, I could at times enjoy rap and dubstep but always felt that there was something missing as the left earcup on those headphones is almost entirely devoted to treble and is almost completely devoid of bass. This was one thing that I enjoyed about my M80s when I had them; I very easily enjoyed the above two genres because they gave me the bass that I needed. The Soundmagics take it a whole step further and in addition to better bass, adds an amazing soundstage to complement the bass. 


Final Thoughts/Conclusion


Overall, I am very pleased with these headphones and their functionality. In every single genre that I have thrown at it, these headphones have managed to reproduce the sound effortlessly and mystify me into listening to more and more genres to see how these headphones will rise to the challenge. If this review is any indication of how these headphones will handle other genres, then I am sure to enjoy these headphones for many years to come. At an MSRP price of $199, you are getting one hell of a deal that you will not be disappointed in. My only regret is not getting an amp to pair with these headphones as I can only imagine how much more impressed I will be when I find a great DAC and amp.




For those reading, this was my very first review of a pair of headphones and I welcome any criticism to this review. If I left anything out of this review that you would have liked me to answer, a comment helping me to improve on ways to become a better reviewer would be amazing. Thanks in advance!



UPDATE - 12/04/2016


             Over 3 years later, I can truly say that my Soundmagics have served me well. Every single headphone I've purchased in the last 3 years have been compared to the HP100s and each time, my Soundmagics still seems to give me the best sound and bang for my buck. Unfortunately, damage to the hinges of the earcups on both sides have rendered my current pair nigh unusable. I'm firmly convinced that this is due to the tension on the earcups caused by the straight cable replacement that I received around 6 months earlier. The coiled cable that I so loved with these headphones saw a slow but steady decay over the period of the first 2.5 years I owed my Soundmagics. By the time I finally convinced myself to pay up for another cable, I was very disappointed to learn that SoundMAGIC was no longer making the coiled cable for their headphones. I contacted SoundMAGIC and they promptly had one of their distributors in Minnesota send me a replacement cable with the extension, free of charge (Mad Props to SoundMAGIC!). I like to move around when I listen to my music but because the straight cable had no flexibility to move with me like the coiled cable did, the straight cable would often pull on things around my desk and would pull HARD on my headband in extreme cases. Finally, about three months ago, when I was putting on my pair to listen to some tunes, I noticed that the left earcup was sitting slightly lower on my head then the right earcup. Upon investigation, I found a significant fracture on the earcup holder right below the hinge; a similar but less severe crack was found in the same place on the right earcup holder. Prior to this, I had absolutely NO problems with the build construction and after 2.5 years at the time, they were still running strong with no visible damage. The final straw came a couple weeks back when I accidentally stepped on the extension cable while I was walking and the earcup holder on the left headband snapped clean off. I tried supergluing the broken part back to its original position to no avail.


So after 3 years of wonderful listening experiences, I was torn; do I move onto another headphone that could offer me better or worse performance to what I had been used to for so long or do I purchase another pair of Soundmagics but stay closed off to opportunities that could be better than what I've heard? As tortured as I was to move on from what had given me so much joy for such a significant period of my young audiophile life, lack of American distributors and a refusal to tolerate the straight cable that cause the downfall of my beloved HP100's from the HP150 forced me to look elsewhere for a period of time. After on and off searching for headphones, I happened upon the British SoundMAGIC division and saw that they had the HP100s, new in box and at a fraction of the price I originally paid for my pair. I ordered them about a week ago after an anxious, week long wait, got them in the mail yesterday. Now, honestly speaking, listening to the new pair and my old pair I can truly say they sounded pretty much identical, which is a VERY good thing. I've never really been one to believe in burn-in so YMMV but I'm happy I have another chance to listen and cherish one of the most important things that I've been able to experience in my entire life.  


For anyone wanting to find the link for the deal I got, here's two links that I found. They are named differently, but they are both the same distributor: --> http://soundmagicheadphones.com/collections/pro-headphones/products/soundmagic-hp100-closed-back-headphones-with-replaceable-cable

--> http://www.hifiheadphones.co.uk/soundmagic-hp100-foldable-closed-back-dj-monitoring-headphones-with-replaceable-coiled-cable.html


Pros: everything

Cons: not much

We are all different, and thus we all like different things.  But there are likely only so many possible combinations in the world. So if you happen to be like me and like sleek, low profile, comfy, feature filled, well deigned, well made, amazing sounding shiny bits… Then maybe these will also be your new favorite cans? 


Lets start with the physical, as eventually you will have to admit this is where all love starts. Attraction. The box, like any first date is somewhat interesting, but really gives away nothing but a graph of presumable truths supported by a couple of obvious lies. Moving past the exterior is where the interest lies, inside the box.  Inside I found a great little low profile hard case reminiscent to (or the same as) the Vmoda case. How could it be the same? Well you may not have heard of Soundmagic, but you certainly have heard Soundmagic, they have been producing headphones for the big companies (even Byer!) for donkeys, In the shadows and without a word…Until now!





Unzipping the case to reveal a familiar red lining I find the cans rested around a centrally located pouch on the inner case, my breath bated, heart a mess. I went into this expecting mid priced Chinese takeout and a movie. Before even hearing these things I’m thinking of taking them home? For good?!? I shook the thought and got realistic; this is a review not a purchase.  Picking up the cans I notice there is no attached cable, but a simple and unobvious jack input and locking mechanism.  I gripped them in one hand to open the pouch to get the cable out and noticed immediately the finishes were for real… If they ever make cars solely out of plastic, this is the kind I hope they use. And someone please tell my wife I want my coffin lined with this memory foam! In the pouch I found one of those silicon style cables, with a neat little termination and its curly, but light- not what I was expecting again.  Also inside can be found a nifty airplane adapter, gold jack adapter, and cool caribeena.





Before I plugged it into the C421 and iphone I was using, I inspected a little further, unable to hide my grin.  These cans are portable, they are compact, and come with a case. But they are also sleek, low profile (the cups that hold those huge stonking drivers are somehow so narrow they almost disappear on the head!), and flexible! They do that DJ foldy thingy where they twist and flip and contort smoothly and comfortably, eventually spooning the headband in a tiny bundle of cool- presumably a useless mating dance, but never the less a big turn on. That’s not all… they have a trick Im not overly familiar with, they are double jointed? This classy, hot, little contortionist can pivot att the headband joins to angle the cups for any head- possibly even alien. And where’s the cable in all this? I don’t know? It certainly doesn’t hang out of the top of the cup and try to slip under the rug unnoticed as it were with most other cans. Its absent. Hidden somewhere in that aluminum and plastic I cant stop touching, then polishing, then touching (it hold fingerprints for ransom). Even hidden in the aluminum arms that only show when extended, hidden still impossibly inside that vastly rotating join? Amazing.





I popped them on coyly. So light, so comfortable, so slim lined, it felt sinful.  There are adjustments every which way, and all incremental and firm. Not firm on your head at all, these are effortless, but the mechanics are firm. Each adjustment stays as you left it. More impressive still those aluminum ride height adjustments have an etched scale of numbers along them. I found myself toying with the cable while they were on my head, like a girl with something wicked on her mind, I knew I had to take this to the next level.


Cable>C421 OP2227 [no boost]>Iphone 4s>Trentemoller rework with Thom York>eargasm.

Im no cheap or easy date, which sounds presumptuous after the aforementioned audio quickie, but I must say I was far more than my usual brand of impressed. I paused not a third into the very first track, pulled my wallet and paid Billy (Noisy Motel). These were mine.


Rock, jazz, electronica, hop hop, female vocalists of all sorts and eras, male crooners, 50’s radio jingles, Russian klezmer, death metal, The Beatles remasters…It doesn’t just handle them all, it renews them all! The name, which at first seemed a little less than cool, now seems completely accurate! A descriptive of the product or more precisely what it actually achieves.

The signature glows in every respect, the perfect EQ for every genre you throw at it. As if theres a tiny man in there somewhere watching which track your about to select and then quickly adjusting the EQ to suit. The more I listened, the more the ridiculous idea of the tiny EQ man become plausible. So much so I found myself desperately trying to trick him.


Ludacris. How can something with SO MUCH BASS for electronica (destroys any Beyer on the market), behave itself so well with other genres? How can every other aspect of the sound spectrum be so even-tempered and full? A perfect example is going from say any high quality bass heavy track you have, the biggest, the baddest you got, then switching over to The Bicycle Race by Queen… Odd I know, but if the constant kick drum in this track still sounds like an actual organic kick drum via bassy cans- you’ve got a miracle! This is seriously a new benchmark for headphones everywhere, in any price point.

If you like that BIG bottom bass in the Beyer DT770 or DT990, but don’t apreciate the scooped mids. If you prefer an even and relatively “flat” (such a subjective term) sound signature but want a little more texture, detail, and bottom end in the mix. If you like “fun” headphones, but want something better- much much better. If you just crave an improved more modern and forward thinking sound in general. If you want all of the above in a sleek package that’s well made, beautifully finished, feature filled, uber comforatable, and comes with accessories and a free case…Your asking a bit much of any headphone on the market. Any headphone other than the Soundmagic HP100- my favorite cans, by a country mile in a hovercraft piloted by Swedish models in fluro body paint smoking cigars.





Not trying them would be the worst move you ever made. Not buying them after you’ve auditioned the hell out of them would annoy you the next day- and every day after that. Trying them and then acting all cool like you didn’t like them, would make you look like a wanker to everyone else whos experienced them.  Don’t deny yourself happiness, don’t go against the grain on this one, resistance is futile.




Pros: Neutral and detailed, wonderful warm punchy accurate bass that behaves very well, very comofrtable

Cons: None that i can think of

These are easily the best headphones I have. They are a strange set in that they have a nice flat neutral sound signature that gives great detailed mids and highs, but have great sub and mid bass, that is so accurate and warm but doesn't effect the neutrality of the other frequencies. Bass has a slam and presence that make them so much fun to listen to. It at no point though takes over, this is not a set with just bassheads in mind (even though they'd be more than happy with them), it is for those who like to hear the music as produced, possibly even to analytical stage.


The HP100 just does everything right. For me they easily outperformed my Senn HD650 and AKG K550. They are equally as detailed but with much needed bass presence that they both don't have. 650 users will dispute this, but it's what I hear even amp'd properly. They are also easier on the ears than the Grado sr80es I had, but again with similar detail and resolution. Everything just falls into place no matter the genre.


Highs - crisp and cymbals and drums have an attack and decay a little similar to HD25ii's.


Mids - Vocals are great, they sit nicely in the centre and have great tone for both male and female singers. Guitars have energy and can be mildly aggressive but not in a bright fatiguing way.


Lows - The bass on these as i said is just remarkable imo. I'm hearing bass in a way I never have before, hearing the bass cords in Queen songs that I've only faintly heard even though i've been a mega fan since i was a teen. It is so much fun. Bass at no point bleeds into the mids as it behaves itself.


Soundstage - Widest I've heard in a closed back. Great imaging and placement. Great depth. Those who enjoy hearing big orchestras will enjoy placing the various instruments.


These are fantastic for movies, watching the new Star wars is a joy. You can follow those Tie-Fighters as they zip across the sky and those light saber battles you'll watch over and over again. I'd guess gamers will love them too for similar reasons, very 3D.


Vs HP150s


I've had the HP150s too, anyone that says they should sound the exact same since they use similar parts need to actually judge them side by side. The HP150s are aggressive up top and sibilance is a major problem. Bass is done better on the hp100s too, much better. They are similar in the mids though and in soundstage. Comfort wise they are both super comfy and you can wear them for hours on end without distraction.


Pros: Clarity, Detail,Highs,Mids, are very amazing. as well as serious headphones

Cons: not fun headphones (not for bassheads), Recommend for recording/beat makers., sometimes its boring,

Bought these cans on sale, once i put the vocal/dubstep/beats tracks on, i was extremely amaze. These headphones is way to balance yet its not really fun like v shape cause there not balance. but you'll love hearing it on and off. the bass is perfect where it is, like other reviews. if its bass song, then it will turn into its full potential, but if its not, then it will have a decent bass, had the ath m50 and the m50 has a little more punch than the soundmagic but does not beat in its details. love these headphones even if i broke it in like three months, going to buy for my collection though whenever it come on sale.


Pros: Soundstage, Beautiful Highs, Deep Bass

Cons: Bass is not deep enough and is less in quantity,neutral(not necessary a bad thing)

 had promised to review my Soundmagic HP100s (though I don’t quite remember whom I promised that :) ). To hell with my memory! I have learnt a lot here at Head fi and would like to give something back to Headfi as well. Now they have had enough of time for burn in and should now be sounding their best. They were very good out of the box as well.


The Soundmagic HP100s are great over ears and if you can afford the inevitable stares they would be great for the commute as well. There is a lot to love about this headphone when paired with an amp that has tame treble with a pronounced low end. I used the Matrix M-Stage HPA-2 and was very happy. I even plugged into an Onkyo TX SR804 receiver and was very, very happy.


 A receiver is an alternative to amps that people don’t consider and sometimes they work really well. To begin with there are so many things that you could change about the music (a proper EQ for one) and different sound modes.  And once you get used to it, it just seems more rewarding. But headphone amps have their own advantages, portability and the ability to directly connect to your PC(most of them) being an advantage. Some headphone dac+amps are indeed better than recievers they are intended for that purpose, listening to the music you like on the headphones you like and they can be cheaper.


Back to what I wanted to tell you about, the Soundmagic HP 100.


Read the complete review here:




Pros: Great balance between lows, mids, and highs. Good comfort and build quality, detachable cable, sound quality is musical w/ good separation

Cons: A bit bright up top, though not as bad as DT 990pro, and a little lean in the lows

  This is a review of the SoundMagic HP100 over the ear full sized closed headphone. I received this as one of my first mid-fi headphones about 6 months ago, and I have to say though I had just received the DT 990 pros a day before these I was undoubtedly impressed with the sound quality and comfort of the headphone. This headphone is top notch and one of the best closed headphone options you can choose under 300$. I had spent a few months with it, and my preferences being on over the ear open headphones I was surprised how much time I spent listening to this headphone. Let me get into a bit more details on why that was, at least for myself and what I heard and felt about this phone.




      Top notch, in the sense that these definitely feel like a 300$ headphone in comparison to what is out there currently. The design is made of a mixture of plastic and metal, but the plastic is higher quality and holding them in hand, though they are not too heavy, they feel sold and that they have a nice finish. Their is aluminum underneath the headband but it is a flexible source of design where one can extend this band very far given one's head width. I have a larger skull and these headphone never caused me pain for long hours of use(long is generally 6hours+) and the ear pads though they were my lesser desired pleather  material they had a very soft and high quality texture. Some owner's complained about the depth of the ear cup with the current stock pads, and I understand that perhaps for some ears that would be a less comfortable scenario. I have decent sized ears, and I have never experienced discomfort, and I remember putting velours on this phone and I have to say with them they become the most comfortable over the ear headphone I have ever worn let alone owned. I do believe the gripes about comfort or only ever about ear pads depth which can be easily remedied for a much more comfortable headphone than one would expect. As far build design only gripe is the detachable cable being custom to their own design with a locking mechanism, and this making it more difficult to get a custom cable for the headphone of higher quality. Minor gripes all in all, this deserves a 4.5/5  For comfort and build


Sound quality:

    Sound stage: Decently good especially considering this is a closed headphone, which tend to lack stage and excel in something like more bass impact. But this headphone does well in having a decent sound stage, granted nothing like DT 990s or even better a AKG K701's.. but come one this headphone cannot have it all. 4/5 (for a closed headphone)


    Lows: Very well controlled, with nice tight percussion, which I prefer. It does have decent extension in the low's as well but one thing it may be lacking in body and warmth when it comes to the bass I like control, impact, body, and extension. With this phone you will find almost all of these acquired but the body really.   4.5/5( overall very enjoyable lows)


   Mids: Now I think this headphone excels in this as far a bit more forward mid range, and  while listening to something Counting Crows I was kind of dumbstruck about how much I felt him singing in the same room as me. I have read that some one thought them too dry at times, and I will be honest I did not hear that if anything they are slightly warm and have a fuller more forward sound. 5/5


   Highs: There is solid detail retrieval in all three ranges, and highs are no exception of this. I would say they have a brightness, and this grants detail and a bit of energy at the sacrificing of being a little to bright at times. Where you will here harshness listening to something like a modi and magni coupling. I do believe it is not near the level of the DT 990s and some other like headphones. But I did not want to leave it out in case someone bought them after reading this. Highs are well done none the less 4/5


 Now when it comes to taking the small sections I had wrote about and putting the information together I can honestly say this is one of the best headphones I have used in the sub 300$ pricing. I am comparing this too hp's like DT 770s, Shure 440, 840, ATH M-50s, and others that have slipped my mind. This headphone does not disappoint and I ended up selling my own at my great dismay due to health issues and struggling finances. I will be honest for a closed headphone it is fantastic in all aspects that I prefer and desire. I am not going to say that I am going t buy it again soon, but that is because I am buying it's open brother  the HP200 which I know wills suit my preferences even more. I will say however that if I end up needing and having to purchase a closed headphone again, this is with out a doubt the one I am buying. That should say something being that I am stingy when it comes to making purchases for myself.


Pros: Bass, midrange, highs are all good. Isolation both in and out is also decent. Pretty flat frequency response considering the -25 dip in the mid range.

Cons: Comfort, coiled cord.

I've had these now for about 2 weeks now. I got these for a good price on ebay, they were open box, meaning the box was all beat up but the headphones were fine and in new condition, it's a win-win! :D I'm not as experienced as some members on here so if you'd like, take my review with a grain of salt. I also won't go into much depth as some reviewers do. My sources are Laptop>FiiO E10 and an ipod nano 5th generation. All music i listen to is mostly 320kbps with a few flacs and ogg vorbis. I also like to listen to my music at moderate to high levels, mostly electronic, synth/pop and some odds and ends like rock, rap and classic.


Comfort and Build Quality: 7/10 

When i first got them i was surprised on how comfy they looked and feeled, very squishy ear pads. I was also surprised how much they weigh. After a few days, the cons in comfort started to show. I can only wear these for about 90 minutes and then i have to take a break. First, my ears started to touch the drivers, the ear pads have flattened out slightly, but even before that, my ears were touching them. I even removed the foam that covers the drivers to get more depth for my ears, that only worked for a day or two and my ears started to touch again. I'm also not a fan of leather ear pads, but that's personal preference. I'm in the process of ordering some thicker velour ears pads. The other issue with comfort is that these things are heavy, especially with the coiled cable attached. They feel about twice as heavy as my HD 558's when they're on my head, hell, even when i'm holding them in my hands they feel that heavy. I don't have a accurate small scale so i can't give you facts. So that's comfort, i would give my HD 558's a 9.5/10 for comfort, so there's a comparison if you already have some comfy sennheisers. But then again, maybe your ears don't stick out as much as mine and you like heavy headphones with leather earpads, you'll love the comfort then. The build quality kinda ties into that stuff i mentioned, but other then that, this headphone is well built and will probably last me many years, as long as i don't toss them out of an airplane. 


Sound: 9/10

For the price of these, they are really good. I did notice some burn-in changes, whether it be from the drivers or my brain getting use to the sound, i don't know, all i know is that there was some slight changes. The sucked out lower mids some people talk about, i did hear in some songs. After a few days though, the sucked out lower mids seemed to disappear. That or i just got use to the sound signature. I switched back to my other headphones though and i couldn't pick it up, where as at first, i could. The bass might have gained a little power with burn in, the mids didn't change, the highs did get a little more clear.


***The sound stage, imaging and separation is decent compared to my HD 558s (558's being the best in the category) and is great compared to my MS-1's... lol, I don't really know what is good for a closed back headphone so i won't really touch on this. Although the sound stage and imaging is almost comparable to my modded 558's, it's more of the sound separation that's a little lacking. This could be an illusion, maybe from the resonating sounds coming back from the ear cups makes it cluttery at high volumes sometimes, i'm not sure, i'm not really the best person to ask about the sound stage and separation, i have a hard time picking up on it, probably because the music i listen to isn't full of dynamics like classical and jazz.


Sound isolation is good on these. They leak almost no sound at moderate levels, they will leak a little a high volume though. Although they do leak sound in a little bit. So if you're walking down the road with these on, you will definitely hear a car horn, i'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing -_- lol.. for example, most IEM will give you better sound cancellation. I don't know the specifics, but if i would have to guess, they cut down around 60% of the sound around you. Does that make sense? arghh, moving on..


Bass: The bass is pretty good and extends very low. It is a strange phenomenon, the songs that were made with bass in mind, have bass, while the songs that focus more on the midrange and highs, don't really have any bass. I almost always have bass boost switched on with my E10, and it does make a world of a difference. That's with just a $60 amp, who knows what other amps are capable of doing to these :P You can also EQ the lower frequency quite well with these. If i had to describe it, the bass is more thump and less kick and peppy. It's boomy, but not a sloppy mess, it's accurate, but not too accurate. It's like the bass is more focused on the lower bass frequency (80hz-120hz), the mid and high bass isn't as strong (150hz-500hz), maybe this is the mid bass/low mid suckout? I'm not sure, but it's hardly noticeable, some people were blowing it way out of proportion in my opinion.


Midrange: Very good midrange like my 558's, not much to say here, they're not laid back nor forward.. although for my tastes i think they're a little harsh, nothing the EQ won't handle though.


Treble: Not much to say here either, pretty flat frequency response. The vocals are not too forward or laid back, i would personally like them to be a little more forward, but that could be my amp and EQ settings too. Oh, when i removed the foam that covers the drivers, the treble did brighten up a little bit, just how i like it. The treble is never harsh or fatiguing. It has really good extension for a closed headphone, i can hear all the way up to 16khz. Nothing really drops off anywhere. 


Also, the speed/attack of these headphones (is that a thing?) is moderate. They're not laid back, nor too fun, they're balanced in this regard. Which is great because fun headphones do get fatiguing after a while and laid back gets boring after a while, for me anyways.


Overall, the sound is really good and flat. I had a hard time EQ the sound because it's already pretty much perfect (for me), most of the time i just left the EQ on flat. The midrange can get a little "in your face" and fatiguing i found. So now i have a very slight v-shaped EQ in winamp, it suits my preference better. Everybody is different though.


I like what some other reviewer wrote a while back. Something along the line of "For the $200 price tag, it's a great all rounder, there are better alternatives for specific genres of music, but the HP100's does pretty much everything well." It's a jack-of-all-trades kinda headphone, although i also think this jack-of-all-trades is also an expert in a few genres like electronic, rock and rap/hip-hop. 


I know my average makes the rating 4/5 stars, but i'm going to give these a 4.5/5 stars because most people think these headphones are really comfortable, i must be the odd ball out or something. Plus lets be honest, it's all about the sound, amirite? The sound these produce for $200 is really good. I'm still a little confused about the frequency response chart, i can't find any frequency response graphs on headroom or golden ears. I don't hear the dip in the midrange except for the mid-high bass a little. I actually tried to EQ it flat (looking at the frequency response on the box and then doing the opposite) and it sounded horrible. I think there's some sort of illusion soundmagic is pulling with these, the frequency response is outta wack but the perceived response is actually quite flat with a little emphasis on the lower bass. 


Anyways, this is my first review on here, if i missed something or if something doesn't make sense, feel free to let me know! I wanted to write this before a start doing anymore mods to these (currently just the foam removed). I'm getting new ear pads to see if that helps with the comfort factor. I also might try some damping in the back of the ear cup. I don't modify because i'm not happy with the sound, it's just the potential is all, there might be potential, every headphone can be improved with some mods, in my opinion.

SoundMAGIC HP100 Premium Over-the-Ear Folding Headphone

The SoundMAGIC HP100 is a premium quality full size headphone specifically designed for audio enthusiasts with a taste for exceptional musical performance. Specifications - Driver: Dynamic 53mm Neodymium Drivers - Frequency range: 10Hz~30KHz - Impedance: 32Ω (±10%) - Sensitivity: 95dB/mW @ 1KHz (±3dB) - Maximum input power: 100mW - Cable length: 1.2m (3.5ft) coiled - Connection: 3.5mm gold plated plug - Weight: 288g

FeatureHigh Fidelity sound reproduction - neutral tonal balance, extended bass and treble response Excellent detail resolution and musical definition, wide and accurate sound stage Over sized 53mm Dynamic drivers with over-the-ear design and sealed-back construction. Unique 3-way pivoting yoke design with ultra-soft ear pads and headband for comfortable extended use. Foldable design and high quality rigid carrying case for compact portability.
TitleSoundMAGIC HP100 Premium Over-the-Ear Folding Headphones (Black)
Item Weight0.63 pounds
Package Height4.75 inches
Package Length9.25 inches
Package Weight1.5 pounds
Package Width6.75 inches
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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