Highly Satisfied (my first review)

A Review On: SoundMAGIC HP100 Premium Over-the-Ear Folding Headphones (Black)

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

Rated # 31 in Over-Ear
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Audio Quality
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Design
Value
MrLazyAnt
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Pros: Soundstage, Detail, Bass Extension, Layering, Genre Versatility, Comfort

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

Intro

 

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:

 

Comfort/Design:

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.

 

Drive-ability:

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).

 

Isolation:

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.

 

Sound
 

Bass:

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.

 

Mids:

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.

 

Highs:

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.

 

Soundstage:

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.

 

Layering/Separation:

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

 

Summary

 

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!

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