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Soundmagic PL-50 Review

post #1 of 216
Thread Starter 
Soundmagic PL-50 Review










First impressions:

Hmm, this box looks so tiny, it looked bigger in photos. OMG the PL-50’s are soooo tiny, I don’t know why but I expected them to be bigger and oh my god they are so thin and two dimensional looking. Pictures really don’t capture how small these are in real life. Okay stick them in the ears time. OMG I like these, I really like these. The sound signature is pretty much exactly how I like it. This is really not what I was expecting, they sound so much fuller than I thought I would be getting from a low end BA IEM and god especially since its soooooo teeny tiny.





Okay I have a complaint; the tips are a bit hard to get off. Quite how hard I don’t really know as I tried for about 20 seconds and decided why am I bothering the tips that were on them fit me absolutely fine and stuck them back in my ears. Actually the tips all look really nice, the ones that were on them are some waxy type foam things. Olive like but slicker, I like them. Soft but not too soft and most important effortless to stick in and get a nice fit. Actually all round these have got to be one of the most comfortable IEM’s I’ve used they are just so bloody tiny. Oh and even better, the ear hooks are spot on. They are a soft rubbery material and they are fantastically comfortable. With every other IEM I don’t bother with these things and I’m not usually a fan of them but I stuck these ones on and instantly I like them.




This is going to be a recurring theme in this review btw. I like these and I like pretty much everything about them. So far my only complains about them are that the box, the flap on the front doesn’t have a bit of Velcro to make it recloseable, why Soundmagic??? I know it’s not a big deal damn it I want that little bit of Velcro. The other nitpick fault is id like the strain relief where the cable attaches to the ear piece I’d like to be a little longer. They are so tiny there isn’t a lot to grab, a longer relief would make that easier.



Amp use: Well yes amping does make a difference but it’s nothing significant. The highs got a fraction better with the icon, the FiiO didn’t really do much except with bass boost on which actually I quite liked. The boost wasn’t huge but if you like bass then yeah why not but this isn’t a bass monster, balanced armature IEM’s practically never are so hardly a shocker.



Lows: The bass is nice, but there isn’t a vast amount of it. What is there is done nicely, its smooth reasonably deep, can give a bit of punch when demanded and mostly it just feels right. It feels just maybe a hair under the ideal amount making these feel a fraction thin but I really do like the bass quality and quantity on these. I do recognise that for a lot of people and compared to most dynamic driver earphones in this price range these are going to be bass light. The FiiO E5 makes a nice little boost to the low end but CX300’s these are not. However id take the bas son these over the CX300 any day.



Mids: Well the mids are just great. Better than on the Klipsch custom 2, better than the Shure E3c and SE210’s I have. I really like the mids on these to the point I think I’m not really being objective about them. I can pick fault with them being a tad peaky and shouty on some tracks at certain notes if played loudly and then I remember these are not £100+ IEM’s. The mids for the money are just so clear and clean. They are a bit forward, very Shure like in that regard just a bucket load cheaper. They are fluid with a hint of graininess to stop them from being too wet sounding, smooth, crisp and just really how I like vocals to be. Lily Allen and Kate Nash just sound perfect on these as do practically every voice I’ve heard on them, I know I’m rambling but just oh the mids are so good these little babies most certainly make me smile.



Highs: This is perhaps the biggest surprise for me, the highs are really quite un armature like. The highs are there, reasonably abundant and really rather clear. I’m really quite impressed with how well this deals with the highs in a way the SE210 just doesn’t even pretend to attempt and the Custom 2 likewise utterly avoids. I, as a rule am not a treble lover but the highs on here are I think remarkably well done for an armature IEM and particularly so for one at this price point. Shure and Klipsch, go hire who ever designed this.



Soundstage: The stage is out of head but nothing really spectacular going on here. Yes it is nice and well done, certainly bigger than the Custom 2 and the SE210 but no challenge to the soundstage masters like the triples and the IE8.


Comfort: Bang on. Comfort is really very good with or without the ear hooks but I have to give particular praise to the material of the ear hooks. Soft, rubbery and flexible, Soundmagic would do well to sell these separately so they could be used with other IEM’s. Tips are also very nice but I must confess I haven’t used anything but the tips that were on them when they arrived. The comfort with their strange waxy foam tips is faultless for me however as always tips can vary for each person. The rest of the IEM is so tiny and light I really can’t see them giving anyone any bother and their thinness is freakish. If you want something that would be comfortable to sleep in these would have to be a great choice.




Fit. As always this is dependent on your ears but fit with the waxy foamies was instantly great. They are a fraction on the small side of things as I’m using the medium foamies and they are just large enough for me and I almost always use other makers small tips (usually small olives) so if you have big ear canals the foamies may not do you. Included in the box are 6 other tips and the rubber silicon ones are much bigger and id expect should provide a good enough selection for everyone.



Cable: Nothing noteworthy about the cable. It’s pleasant with a nice rubbery texture. The hp jack is fine too nothing special either way. No microphonics coming through the cable but I’ve had the ear hooks on most of the time but I don’t recall any without them.






Value: Outstanding value. No question, if you like the sort of sound signature these offer (mid centric) then I don’t know of anything that sounds as good for anywhere near the money. If you do then please by all means tell me.


Final Conclusion: I like these, I like basically everything about them. They are cheap, sound wonderful, comfortable, teeny tiny and come with a great bunch of accessories. The ear hooks are great, the tips (the foamy things) are great, the little case they come with is great. I like that the ear pieces have a little bit of red or blue to distinguish them. I like the sound signature. I like how every frequency is dealt with. If anything I find it hard to listen to these with a critical ear as they just are so enjoyable and fun to listen to for me. Yes there are things acoustically they don’t get utterly spot on but nothing that bothers me in the slightest especially so given their price point. I do recognise that the sound signature on these will certainly not be for everyone as many like mids to be much further back where I like them to be more upfront. I know that there could be more detail and subtlety but these just push my buttons and make me start bobbing my head and rocking my shoulders to the music. If I had been designing an IEM at this price point this is how I would want it to sound so kudos to Soundmagic for this wonder of engineering and cheap Chinese manufacturing. This ought to decimate Shures lower end sales

Edit: Isolation is reasonable, not quite up to shure levels but i suspect a larger and more snug fitting tip would have provided more however it was easily enough for me to be out and about with them. on the bus and walking along a busy street nothing bothered me, maybe not something id want on the tube but for normal things was good at giving enough isolation unlike say the IE range from sennheiser.
post #2 of 216
very well done mark - thank you. the pictures are great too!
post #3 of 216

Nice Work Indeed

Quote:
Originally Posted by shigzeo View Post
very well done mark - thank you. the pictures are great too!
I concur. Very clear pictures, that really let you know, notably, how the PL-50 fit in the ear.
post #4 of 216
Just out of curiosity, Mark, what is the serial number on your PL-50?

Thanks for the review btw.
post #5 of 216
I do agree with every word, well except for not being fussy about the non-recloseable box
post #6 of 216
great mind taking a picture of it in your ear?
post #7 of 216
Nice. I think I've found my new headphones. I would order them right now if I could , if the $55 price is correct.

I actually like that the tips are hard to get off since I've lost numerous tips pulling 'phones out of my pocket in the past.
post #8 of 216
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClieOS View Post
Just out of curiosity, Mark, what is the serial number on your PL-50?

Thanks for the review btw.
10090 if im looking at the right number
post #9 of 216
Quote:
Originally Posted by tman1 View Post
... if the $55 price is correct. .
It is. I have confirmed the MSRP with Tony @ SoundMAGIC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mark2410 View Post
10090 if im looking at the right number
Thanks. Mine is 58 btw.

Since the first batch seems to have sold out already, I just wonder how many SoundMAGIC had produced. My guess is it seems to be around one hundred or so judging from the limited supply . They were probably trying to test the market first before going full swing. I hope the next batch will be more since I am thinking about a 2nd pair already.
post #10 of 216
57 here
post #11 of 216
Thread Starter 
a hundred would be a nice round number however i cannot imagine they wont be able to shift these in bigger numbers particularly at that price point
post #12 of 216
Thanks for the review. Glad that you and ClieOS agree on the main points. These sound like my sort of signature. Just waiting for mp4nation to get them in stock...
post #13 of 216
Damn I need a pair of these...
post #14 of 216
how do these compare to the ne-7m? i've always thought the ne-7m were the best bang for buck around $50
post #15 of 216
Quote:
Originally Posted by koven View Post
how do these compare to the ne-7m? i've always thought the ne-7m were the best bang for buck around $50
Those and the RE-2 seem to be the closest competition and I'd also like to hear about a comparison between either of those and the PL-50 - not sure anyone has both (unless someone posted and the brain cells holding that memory were destroyed over the holiday).
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