Bigsby’s top cans for 2013: ep1 Soundmagic HP100- The Beyer Slayer, The Mid Monster, The Detail Demon

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

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

Rated # 27 in Over-Ear
See all 11 reviews
Recent Pricing:
Review Details:
Audio Quality
Comfort
Design
Value
Purchased on:
Price paid: $249.00
mrbigsby
Posted · 9674 Views · 4 Comments

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.

 

 

4 Comments:

Nice review :)
If you havent tried the HP200 you probably should.
Certainly have. Not sure why they sounded so drastically different, but they seemed no where near as good as the HP100. WHich is a shame as an open 100 would be awesome! Perhaps the drivers are different? Flabby bass and quite a closed sound in the two different examples i tried.
Ya, I got these after MUCHO reading reviews on various closed cans around this price. Having a set of V moda M80s, I was looking for something more "audiophile" but not lacking in bass because I've heard real high end audiophile stuff seriously lacks oomph. I was really tempted by the AKG 550 but read too many issues with fit /seal / bass and chose these relatively unknown cans. Boy am I happy with my choice! Nearly every review praised these things and it wasn't just fanboyism-these are the ral deal and at a great price. Way more detail than M80s. I'm hearing sounds unnoticed before due to the warmer sound of the smaller cans. The sound stage is massive, which only helps to serate and better hear all the different instruments. Perfect treble that is endless and easily heard but also not harsh. The mids are easy to make out, not being interfered with the lows at all and clear as crystal. The bass, as you mention can be thunderous when called for yet is completely free of bloat with plenty of definition. There is no upper bass emphasis that my M80s have(that I admittedly don't mind because I like that hard kick in the uppers but its atrade off for clarity and detail.), these have a very even bass responce but with one trick-it goes VERY deep, so electronic music isn't flat and boring. I'm listening to some DnB now and they literaly rumble the ear pieces! I still love my M80s, they are more sensitive, requiring less power and are a great balance of great bass, warmth, smoothness, looks and build but simply cannot compete on a pure serious listening experiance.
 Indeed, I like these over the K550, the K550 [with a good seal which is hard to KEEP] is more intimate than the K550, but it lacks the treble energy
 
The Sound Magic while not as intimate [or having as much Mid bass] is more enjoyable. Smoother, the ePads are not so sweat induceing and they have a nice balance of sound! 
 
:D wil be recommending these to every one now xD [along with the K550 for those who want that slighty more intimate sound]