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SoundMAGIC HP100 Premium Over-the-Ear Folding Headphones (Black)


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!


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: 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 is a quite well-known Chinese IEMs and Headphones manufacturer, founded in 2005. Over the years, SoundMagic was known for their cheap bang for the buck IEMs, such as the PL50s, the E10s and others.  Earlier this year, a new model in their website caught my eye; it was called the HP100, and it was SM’s first full-sized headphones. Knowing that SoundMagic’s products are said to be of very good quality, I was immediately interested in reviewing the HP100s. Apparently, SoundMagic made some changes in this model since January, and the finished HP100s were finally released to the market at June’s-end. They retail for around $200, which is a pretty competitive price-range, as there are lots of headphones which retail around the same price. Let’s see if SoundMagic’s first full-sized headphones offer as good bang for the buck value as their IEMs.

Before we’ll start, here are the technical specifications of the SoundMagic HP100s:  

Driver: 53mm Dynamic Neodymium

Frequency Range: 10Hz ~ 30KHz

Impedance: 32Ω+-10%Ohms

Sensitivity: 95±3DB at 1KHz/mw

Maximum Input Power: 100mw

Cable Length: 1.2m

Plug: 3.5mm, L style plug gold-plated

Weight: 288g

Packaging: The Packaging is a white cardboard box, which looks quite simple but does its job quite well. It has a picture of the HP100s on its front, a frequency response graph on its side, and a few drawings of its positioning options on the other side, while its back has some technical specifications, explanations about the product and drawings of the accessories.

Accessories: SoundMagic provides a quite solid pack of accessories. First, is a hard shell-case, which looks a bit too-similar to V-MODA’s “exoskeleton” case, both in the shape and the color-scheme. It protects the headphones very well, and has an inner-pocket to store the accessories in. A small metal Karabiner, which can clip the case to your bag, is included too. There are two kinds of adapters provided too; one is a flight adapter, and the other one is a screw-on 3.5mm to 6.35mm plug adapter. Because the HP100′s cups are quite glossy and shiny, they’re fingerprint-magnets, but fortunately, a cleaning cloth is included too. Last but not least, a 1.2m long detachable cable (3.5mm to 3.5mm with lock mechanism) is provided either. It would’ve been great if another cable, a straight and not coiled one, would’ve been provided, as some people do not really like coiled cables. Also a replacement pair of ear-pads could’ve been nice, though in my opinion, another cable would’ve been more important.  The rating is 9/10.

the cable and the included adapters

Building Quality & Design: The HP100s are very well-built, and they feel quite tough and sturdy. The quite flexible headband is covered with a thick pleather layerwhile plastic ear-cups which feel quite strong and tough, are covered with shiny metal-plates, with SoundMagic’s logo on it. The cups can fold to 90 and 180 degrees, and they can also be rotated a bit on their pivots. The fold-hinges are very tough and strong, and they integrate nicely with the extending arms, which have numbers up to 10 on them, that help a lot with the headphones’ positioning. The user-replaceable ear-pads are made of the same-material as the headband’s coating layer. There are big left and right markings printed on a plastic-piece which connects the extension-arms to the headband. The cable is a detachable one, which connects and locks into a single-sided 3.5mm connection-point in the left headband. Unfortunately, due to the use of a locking-mechanism, only the supplied cable can be used. The coiled-cable has strong and big strain-reliefs on both of its sides, and overall, it feels quite durable. Overall, the HP100s are not as tough as the TMA-1s, but they come quite close, and their construction and build quality are very satisfying. The rating is 9/10.

the cable’s locking mechanism

Comfort & Fit: The HP100 is one of the most comfortable pairs of full-sized headphones that I ever had a chance to use, due to a few reasons: Their clamping-force is very low, which makes them a lot less fatiguing than some of the other headphones that I’ve tried. I know that a strong clamping force can sometimes ruin an experience with a good-sounding pair of headphones, but well, this isn’t the case here. The second reason is that the HP100s are very well padded. The ear-pads and the headband are both padded with a thick but quite soft pleather, which is very pleasant to touch. The ear-pads are pretty deep and they can easily fit my ears inside them. The next reason is that their weight (about 280 Grams, not too light, but not too heavy either), is very well divided, so it isn’t too felt. The fit is secure and the headphones don’t feel like they’re going to fall from your head at all. Overall, the comfort is a very strong point of the HP100s, I was very happy with it. The rating is 9.5/10.

Isolation: As the HP100s are mostly intended to be used at home or indoors, the isolation isn’t the most important thing, but they do isolate quite decently. They isolate better than Audio Technica’s A700s, but worse than AiAiAi’s TMA-1s. The rating is 7/10.

Sound Quality: The HP100s were given a burn-in time of about 70 hours, no noticeable changes were detected.

The HP100s utilize huge 53mm drivers, which produce a quite natural, balanced accurate and smooth sound-signature, and overall, an un-fatiguing one. It should be noted that an iPod might struggle a bit driving these headphones due to their low sensitivity (95 dB), so I do recommend pairing these headphones with an amp. I personally paired them with the GoVibe Mini-Box MKII, which managed to drive them quite well.

the HP100′s frequency response graph (pictured from their packaging)

The Bass: I was quite surprised that headphones which utilize a 53mm sized driver produce such a light and tight low-end, but it is by no means cold, thin or weak, vice versa, it feels quite full, it has a nice body to it. Quantity-wise, it’s about neutral. It’s very clean and quite clear, and it doesn’t bleed to the mids at-all. I find it’s detailing to be great, but it doesn’t throw the details “to your face”. The bass’ speed is decent, but nothing more than that. It extends quite low, a bit less than V-MODA’s M80s, but its resolution in the lowest-regions is quite better than the M80s’.

The Midrange: The HP100′s midrange is not forward, but it is not recessed either, apart from its upper registers (around 900 to 2k), which feel a bit “hidden”, missing and overshadowed by the other frequencies. The midrange has plenty of details in it; even the smallest and most minor vocal nuances can be easily heard due the drivers’ great detailing. As the bass, also the mids have a great clarity and cleanness. Smoothness can be found over the whole midrange, and because of that, I wasn’t really able to detect any sibilance in the vocals.

The Treble: The highs extension is great, one of the best things that these headphones do in terms of sound, though some of the highest notes are placed in the background, rather than in the front. The treble is never harsh; actually, it is very smooth. The treble has a nice amount of sparkle, and the detailing is as good as in the other frequencies.  The timbre feels quite natural and realistic, every guitar note sounds very good.

Sound-Stage & Imaging: The HP100s definitely have a great sound-stage, it is quite bigger than the TMA-1′s and M80′s sound-stage, depth, height and width-wise. Imaging feels quite realistic and true, overall, it’s above average. Instruments separation is good enough, but it does lack some airiness.

The rating for the “Sound-Quality” section is 9.5/10. It is given in ratio to the headphones’ price-tag at the time of writing this review.

Final Conclusions

SoundMagic’s first full-sized headphones are great, a solid first attempt for the company in the full-size market. The HP100 is a great all-rounder headphones, and they have no real weak points, they do everything well, and they’re even better when considering their value for the price. Their sound-signature is quite versatile, and it fits easily almost any music genre; from classic music & jazz to techno, rap & mainstream music, they do justice to each one of these genres. Comfort, which is sometimes an “Achilles heel” within some headphones, is great and non-fatiguing. The final rating is 9.6/10.

Where to Buy? The MSRP of the SoundMagic HP100s is about $200. It can be purchased from SoundMagic’s authorized dealers, which a list of can be found here.

This review was re-posted from my reviews & news website "It's A Headphones Thing". Check it out for some more IEMs and Headphones reviews. http://iahpt.wordpress.com/


Pros: Comfort, isolation, carrying case, detachable cord, clean sound, wonderful sound stage

Cons: lack of lower mids and upper bass [easily fixed by the w1000x Pads], also needs to be modified for bass improvement,

Sound Magic HP 100 ($165 Used)  


Personal Back-Story  


In the search for a can with the dt 880 sound and the isolation of a closed headphone I came across the sound magic hp 100!


Pros: Comfort, isolation, carrying case, detachable cord, clean sound, wonderful sound stage


Cons : lack of lower mids and upper bass [easily fixed by the w1000x Pads], also needs to be modified for bass improvement


Build [5/5]




Closed operating principle

Driver: Dynamic 53mm Neodymium Drivers
- Frequency range: 10Hz30KHz
- 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


Ease of Use [Comfort/Fit/Isolation] [4.5/5]

Perfect, fit’s like a glove. The comfort is wonderful and the isolation is impressive!

Price to Performance : [5/5]

For the price it performs just as well as the K550, not to mention a New Sound Magic costs the same as a Used K550. Either way it’s a great bargain!


Complimentary Genre:  None, works equally well with all genres


Sonic Test Process


Source Win 7[Foobar2000 WASAPI] -> oDac -> MonoPrice Premium Coaxial Cables -> Matrix M Stage [Lme 49990 OpAmp]


Headphone reference notes- I like to demo all headphones against my Beyerdynamic Dt 880, as they are a well know reference can.  Reference notes will always be in italics, and are included in the Video Reviews and Head Fi review posts.


Reference points, will be in bold italics.  In each of the seven reference songs I will specify what parts of the song I am listening to, to evaluate the 3 parts of the spectrum.  In addition to other aspects of the overall sound presentation.


           In addition, I always like details  presented in all frequances

Highs- looking for and evaluating air, nice extension and good energy and placement within sound stage

Mids- looking for and considering weight, body and tone

Bass- listening for, control, texture and punch/impact


          Sound Stage- reported after listening to all tracks

          Imaging –Track #3 and #4 are well mastered for 2D and 3D imaging

          Instrument Layering-reported after listening to all tracks

          Timbre- realism of sound, fun versus real

          Speed- ability to retain mirco-details  in ultra fast tonal shifts

Music Auditioned [All Lossless quality, tracks vary from 16 to 24bit]


Lisa Ekdahl [Sings Salvadore Poe] Of My Conceit {16bit 44100hrz sample}

          Vocal Jazz track,

Highs-  The upper range of the vocals and guitar notes

Mids- Lisa’s vocals, along with the lower notes on the guitar and piano

Bass- a touch of bass in the vocals and the lowest guitar  notes.


Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile [The Goat Rodeo Sessions ] Where’s my Bow? {16bit 44100hrz sample rate}

          This song is a new age classical composition.

Highs- upper most range of the stringed instruments, primarily of the, Viola, Violin

Mids- presented by all the stringed wood instruments

Bass- focus primarily on the Cello 


David Chesky- [Jazz In The New Harmonic]-Transcendental Tripping 

          New Age Jazz, Binaural  

Imaging- a binaural recording, a wonderfully real 3D presentation

Overall Balanced Sound Response  {Percussion}- looking for balance

Highs-drums, cymbals,Brass horns

Mids-Brass Horns,  upper mids of Double BassPiano 

Bass-Double Bass


Kenji Yamamoto-[Metroid Prime Sountrack[-Chozo Ruins {16bit 44000hrz sample} 

              Ambient Orchestral Sound Track 

Sound Stage- a very high energy and multi layered track, with so many individual pieces working together a large sound stage is crucial. In addition the tracks features a lot of fading sounds  

Balanced Frequency- The mood of the track set by the balance of frequency, any coloration takes away from the collective beauty of the track as a whole.


Benga [Invasion EP] Evolution {16bit 441000 hrz sample}

          Good ole Dub Step, -Will be Eq’d to determine how headphones handle eq

Highs- all about the cymbals,

Mids- Playful Brass horn like intro and outro, only notable mids

Bass- the Bass Wobble is the focus here

Metallica [Master Of Puppets] Welcome Home (Sanitarium) {16bit 44100hrz sample}


Speed- this track features a very simple layering of instruments, but the mirco details in the guitar solo's make or break the track. 

Highs- guitar, cymbals classic metal tune, smooth sweet highs in the guitar

Mids- guitars, vocals, also looking for speed in the quick tactile hits of the guitar riffs

Bass-Bass Guitar R.I.P Cliff, only the best quality for his bass lines!


Matisyahu- [Live At Stubb’s]- Exaltation

          Live Reggae –listening for the little bits of extra noise that are often present in live music [detail retention]

Highs- Upper range of the guitar and the cymbals

Mids- Vocals, guitar and upper range of the Bass Guitar also taking note of the drums

Bass- all about that bass guitar and Kick Drum




          Sound Signature- Very clean, a slight tilt towards the central and upper mids. A very nice Sub Bass extension, but lacks a little mid bass. Overall very crisp clean headphone with nice mids.   Very Lean yet Lusher than Neutral

                             Again, adding the W1000x Stock pads, add a little meat to the sound, giving you fuller mids and bass with a slight increase in sound stage width and height!


Dynamics- Excellent, quick and effortless

Timbre- Very accurate, but a slight lack of mid bass… leads to an overly tight bass and mids. Low end sounds lack weight, leading to a leaner than life like timbre… but still very accurate. Not fake nor thin.

The addition of w1000x Pads leads to a slight boost in the Mid bass, giving the bass a much more real timbre!

Speed-  Very lean and quick, plenty of speed for metal! Yet lacks a little weight behind it’s speed.

          Sound Stage: 2D  image is very nice, instrument layering is good, nice sense of air in between instruments, how ever can get a little over whelmed with grandeur or elaborate tracks, anything featuring upwards of 8 or so instrumental layers. Lacks slightly in 3D space as well. 


Highs- Excellent, great airy presentation and energy, very detailed as well.

Mids-  Very smooth and detailed, vocals are silky smooth, yet very detailed, Guitars maintain a nice rich sound as well, although acoustic instruments can be a little too lean at times, still very pleasing.

Bass- VERY Deep and tight sub bass, mid bass lacks ever so slighty but still has plenty of attack, just needs a little more body.

[Modified with ATH w1000x Stock Pads] {+$50}

          Modification Improvements- The Stock W1000x Pads bring;

  1. a little more focus to the entire sound stage
  2. improved 2D and 3D imaging and instrument spacing
  3. Slightly forward yet magically delicate mids
  4. A gentle boost to mid bass body and attack  


Amplification Need or Suggested – These do not need an amp, but they pair nicely with a warm solid state or hybrid tube.  


Check out my Mid Fi SHOOT out thread for song by song Reviews, and check out my Blog for pictures :3 


Pros: Sound Quality, Comfort, Build, Accessories, Style, Portability

Cons: Fingerprint magnet, Ears may get sweaty after 2-3 hours of listening, sound leakage

I'm just going to jump right into the review. 



Driver: Dynamic 53mm

Frequency response: 10hz-30khz

Impedance: 32Ω

Sensitivity: 95db at 1Khz/mw

Max input power: 100mw

Cable length: 1.2m (4m extended)

Price: Around $200

Build Quality: These headphones are built very well. The headband is a very strong, and slightly flexible. It is made up of a metal and plastic. it is about 65% metal, and 35% plastic. The hinges on the cup are plastic, and are held together by metal screws. The headphones are easy to adjust, with up to 9 different sizes. They do require a little effort though, but it helps the headband not change size when you are wearing them. The cable is a coiled cable. It is nice and thick, and is firm enough to hold its shape, and not become tangled with normal use. The cable is removable. The headphones do fold up, making them portable. 

Comfort: These headphones are very comfortable. I have worn these headphones for over 8 hours, and have not have to adjust them at all. The pads are nice and squishy, using pleather for the pad material. The headphone pads themselves are a little shallow, but the extra padding inside the cup eliminates any discomfort from the ear laying against the driver grill. 
The seal on the headphones is a bit above average, but these headphones do leak noise. At 85% volume, my brother could hear the music from 6 feet away, while watching T.V. At around 2 hours of listening, my ears did become sweaty, as the pads don't really allow ear flow. I used these to mow my lawn, and my ears were pretty sweaty. The pads just don't allow much air flow. Very little. The headband pads are nice and squishy as well, and form nicely to the top of the head. 

Style: When you first look at these headphones, one may think "These headphones look silly." or "I would not want someone to see me with these on!". But when you put them on and look at them through the mirror, they look pretty nice. But the looks are subjective, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. The ear cups themselves are a glossy black color, with lines tanish color lines running through them, forming a grid. The SoundMAGIC logo is displayed, showing 2 quarter notes facing each other above it, and below it, the HP100 model name. (HP100) On the headband, you can see a blue square with an L in it, marking the left side, and a Red square with an R in it, marking the right side. On the inside of the headband, to the left, there is writing that says: "Designed and Manufactured by SoundMAGIC" To the right, it has an CE marking, and it says "Made in China". The cable is coiled, and black. 

Accessories: In the box, the headphones come in a hard shell case, a carabiner, a coiled cable in a nice mesh pouch, a cleaning cloth, warranty card, an airline adapter, a 6.3mm jack screw-on and a VIP card in almost all chinese letters. The case is black, and slightly reflective. It has gray lines running through it, forming a grid-like pattern. The zipper is black, with 2 red lines running through it. The inside of the case is all red. The carabiner can be clipped on to the case, so you could clip the case onto a backpack or something. Being hardshell, it protects the headphones well. The cleaning cloth is brown, with the SoundMAGIC logo on it. It works like any other cleaning cloth. The warranty card is needed if you need to send the headphones back for a replacement. I'm not sure what the VIP card is for. All it says is which number model your headphones are. The mesh pouch holds the cable in it, and the cable stays in it nicely. The mesh pouch velcros onto the inside of the case. 

Sound Quality: Overall, these headphones are pretty neutral, with a slight emphasis on the bass. I'll start with the bass. 
The bass is nice and punchy, with great sub-bass performance. If the song calls for a little bass, only a little bit of bass is present. If the song calls for a lot of bass, the bass comes out. I find it very interesting, and I think it is great. 

This isn't a bass head can, so bass heads may need to look elsewhere.
The mids are not recessed, nor forward sounding. They represent female and male vocals both very well. 
The soundstage is very wide, and while listen to orchestras, it sounds like the instruments are playing all around me. 
The headphones are nice and detailed, clearly representing each instrument/ sound. 
The treble is nice. It isn't too bright. There isn't really any syllabence, making it nice and easy to listen to. 

They do not need an amp to be driven well, but will improve with one. 

Overall, these headphones are a great pair of portable headphones, and I would highly recommend them. 


Pros: Soundstage, detail, and balanced sound that isn't bass shy.

Cons: none that I can find. Difficult to find.

Read all the reviews here on headfi and you'll get a very accurate idea of what you'll hear.

I have been buying portable earphones since the early 90s, mostly Sony and their $100 models.In the past several years I've gathered Klipsch S4(great budget gear) then the V moda M80 for my first headphone and its great in a warm smooth way with plenty of great bass for my taste, and because it was on sale the Klipsch X5 which opened my eyes with the astonishing detail it relayed, and this made me want an over ear that was somewhere between the M80 and the X5. I wanted detail but also deep bass and something neither had, soundstage!

Like many, I was looking around the $200 level and the real contenders were the AKG K550, Beyer 770LE and Quart 8.35D oh and these of course. There just wasn't much written about the 8.35 and there were issues with comfort and soundstage so that was scratched. the Beyer was sounding appealing but it has scooped mids and harsher highs scratch. The AKGs have got real good reviews but that would depend if your head was huge because they are big and the bass, which isn't strong in the first place , disappaers without a good seal. I chose the Soundmagic after reading almost no negative feedback except one guy in Portugal that says they have a upper bass suck out, so I went for it.

These are much more neutral than warm like my M80s which was what I wanted because while warmth is smooth and all I wanted to hear more fine detail and these deliver without being harsh at all. They are actually quite smooth considering their sound. The soundstage is huge compared to anything I've owned. Having everything seperated only aids in being able to detect finer sounds and layers. I read allot about how the M80s have "polite" treble and I can understand that description but frankly they need more sparkle and with the HP100 you get that. I can clearly hear the splash and crash of cymbals whereas before they were buried behind the warmth. The mids are neither forward or recessed and are crisp and sharp and not at all interfered with bass. The bass is awesome. Listenig to a song that isn't bassy and you get the impression they wouldnt be bassy because these are a bit on the clinical side, but the moment bass enters it is there in great proportion and again in a very detailed manner. You can here exactly how the bass sounds rather than just a oomph. Somehow these manage to deliver very deep bass that makes electronic music fun, literally vibrating the cups on your head!

Bottom line is I am very happy. I think its difficult to pull off cans that have this kind of detail yet still can have incredible rumble. This is what I wanted and I am very pleased. Oh and the build seems solid with plenty of comfort and adjustments. They feel solid and the pivots aren't wimpy. The looks are neither here nor there for me as I buy them for sound, besides my M80s will be my portables. I'd put these against any headphone of this class.


Pros: comfort, great build quality and sound

Cons: a bit heavy, scratch easily

SoundMAGIC HP100 review


I would like to thank tony at soundmagic for asking me to review their First full size circumaural headphone, and I must say they have done a very good job.


I will try and write as honest a review as possible, and any opinions expressed are my own and others may not agree.


These have had 100 hours of burn in, as suggested by soundmagic, and differences were noticed, so do not judge them straight out of the box.


Gear Used:

IPod Classic 7G 160gb (rockboxed) > HP100

IPod Classic 7G 160gb (rockboxed) > Fiio L3 > JDS Labs C421 (AD8620) > HP100





Transducer: Dynamic 53mm

Frequency response: 10hz-30khz

Impedance: 32Ω

Sensitivity: 95db at 1Khz/mw

Max input power: 100mw

Cable length: 1.2m (4m extended)

Weight: 288g

Price: $200




Packaging, Accessories, Build Quality and Comfort:


Packaging is quite attractive, with a simple white box with a picture of the HP100 on the front, a frequency graph and some info on one side, and various positions you can use the headphones in (folding, one ear etc…) on the other side. On the back it has the specifications and some more info.


Accessories are very good, a nice hard case, for transportation with a clip to clip it onto your bag, a flight adapter, a 3.5mm to 6.3mm screw on adapter and a cleaning cloth. Overall a very nice package, not missing anything, I do love the hard case.




Build quality seems very sturdy, the headband is very flexible and is covered in pleather, the cups are plastic but the shiny plates are all metal. The extender arms are reinforced with metal and the single sided cable is detachable via a 3.5mm lock in plug (so no aftermarket cables I’m afraid). The cable is coiled but not particularly bulky or heavy and perfect size for portability, the strain relief on both jacks are very good and made of flexible rubber, the cable is medium in thickness. The pads are pleather and very soft, and also replaceable, I want to try some Beyerdynamic DT770 velour pads one day.


(One thing that bothers me is that the metal cup plates are like the backs of iPods, easily scratched, I mean very easily. I keep them in their case and baby them but they still have some minor scratches)




Comfort is amazing, so many companies get it wrong and make uncomfortable headphones, these are fairly heavy but well padded, the headband has very soft padding and the pleather ear pads are super soft too, but soft in a comfy way and not compressed so you feel the plastic way. These rival the Beyerdynamic DT770 in the comfort department. My ears only get sweaty after long listening sessions


The isolation isn’t great but good enough for walking about with, but I don’t think these were made to be particularly portable.


The whole headphone kind of reminds me of the DT770 in style, with the circular cups and pads, and general shape. These can fold inward neatly (like the audio technica ATH-M50 and Shure SRHXXX), and the cups can rotate 90 degress to the back so you can use them on one ear, dj style. All hinges are metal and sturdy.






Heres the part you’ve all been waiting for:




Not bass monsters, so bass heads need not apply, but the bass they do have has very good puch when needed and extends low with great control and detail. The bass is full bodied but not extremely fast in recovery, I think the full body of the bass helps as like this they don’t sound cold or thin and give an overall great body to the sound. I find the amount of bass perfect, if slightly above neutral. They handle EDM and Dubstep very well in my opinion and the bass does not bleed into the mids.




I find the mids on these very transparent in the way that on some tracks the mids sound slightly behind, but not exactly recessed, but on others the mids are perfectly balanced between the lows and highs. The mids are detailed but never harsh and they don’t throw detail in your face. The mids are very smooth with only the slightest hint of sibilance (mainly on bad recordings). They portray vocals very naturally but electric guitars do lose some power.




Great is a good word to describe the highs, never harsh or bright, with the right amount of presence (a little bit more forward wouldn’t hurt though). Details in the highs are easy to pick out and they extend very well with a good amount of sparkle. The decay and shimmer is perfect for my liking. Every tap and crash of cymbals can be heard with great detail and never become splashy.


Soundstage, Imaging and Instrument Separation:


The soundstage is one of this cans strong points, it reminds me of the DT770 with great width, depth and height.


Imaging is also done very well but not quite as good as my Shure SRH440.


Instrument separation is good, there is enough space between the lows, mids and highs, but these don’t have an airy presentation so the space between the instruments isn’t that big.




I think soundmagic have done a marvelous job with their first full sized closed cans. There are a lot of options in the sub $200 zone and these do a great job at fitting in. I think depending on your preference there are better options, but for a great all rounder that you can throw anything at and it will sound great, then these are very good. They are easy to listen to and have no real weak points, with a smooth no fatiguing sound with amazing comfort you cannot go wrong.


They are balanced, but not neutral with a sense of warmth and thickness to the sound, but they just sound very natural playing whatever genre you like. I cannot hear any major dips or peaks in the frequency response.


I must say I can’t think of a better option for music, gaming, movies or TV, they out do the DT770 in my opinion.




These really do benefit from amping, as i find them to sound flat and boring just driven from my iPod, adding an amp brings out the bass, and widens the soundstage and just brings out the best in them. Also they are not very sensitive so you will have to crank up the volume of you portable source to get decent listening volumes.




I hope you enjoyed this review, any comments are welcome with tips to make my reviews better


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)


Oscar Stewart

SoundMAGIC HP100 Premium Over-the-Ear Folding Headphones (Black)

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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