SoundMAGIC needs no introduction as they have a well established reputation for inexpensive, well thought out, and good sounding earphones. As you may already know they have introduced a new range of products earlier this spring including the E10, E30, P30, and the EH11.
Thanks to Michael Lin from SoundMAGIC, I have a pair of EH11 on hand. The EH11 come in in blue, orange, and green color schemes. Mine are the green.
Here they are...
The small and handsomely designed box houses the EH11 phones, 3 pair of standard black tips, carry pouch, and cable clip.
The EH11 as you know by now, are a pair of earphones designed for running, cycling, or other sports/exercise activities you may engage in. They are a second generation product replacing the EH10. The main difference is that the EH11 have a sound tube and use standard tips instead of the previous design that funneled sound into the ears through rubber caps on the front half side of the driver housing. This moves both the driver and arms away from the ear canal. No chance the arms(the parts with EH11and SoundMAGIC printed on them) will rub against any ear parts causing discomfort. More importantly the driver housing is moved out and away from the ear helping to protect them from sweat.
The overall design contains a metal capped plug and Y-joint. Also a nice amount of metal with the bendable metal clips, adjustable sliding metal posts, metal mesh screens and vents, and metal connecting the housings to the posts. Reliefs all around are well done and the cable seems robust. It is a more rubbery cable then a plastic one. Nor shiny and the sheathing seems thick and sturdy. Only longer term use will show how is stands up to sweat, skin contact, weather changes etc. The build inspires confidence to me.
The fit goes like this. The clips rotate so they go on the ear first then the driver swings on into the ear canal. you can of course bend the clips to the shape you desire and the sliding posts move up and down to account for differences in ear size between the canal and top of the ear. It becomes an easy two step process after some practice. Hang the clip on the ear and swing the drivers in. Really no more time than standard in-ears that you wear over the ear. With the EH11 you can now use tips from other phones for tweaking the comfort, isolation, and sound a bit. Any microphonics is controlled by use of the cord slider and the included clip.
Sound-wise they are also well thought out for their purpose. Straying little from what I remember the PL30 being, the EH11 are an open and airy phone that deliver the promised excellent soundstage and fairly balanced sound with the right amount of extra warmth and focus down low. Very good height, width, and depth make for a more natural presentation of the stage. Fairly accurate imaging/positioning and a nice amount of air in the separation make them 3-D sounding, more life-like and engaging. I come from using the Pioneer CLX60 as an exercise phone. The CLX have a unique and well separated presentation with good imaging. I also a bit anal, rejecting earphones that don't present well for sports talk radio and podcasts. The EH11 pass the test. If a phone is too 2-D or don't present correctly for either music, sports talk, or even podcasts they don't help motivate and help give you that puch. They should sound correct or natural and sort of disappear.
The basic signature leans a bit toward the bass with a bit off roll off in the treble. This makes them smooth and work well with podcasts and radio reception. Quite forgiving for sibilance or radio hiss and they have virtually no fatigue.
The bass is well done since it is fairly tight and has good energy. Much better for exercise than slow plodding, bloated bass due to the quicker pace. The bass stays down low which again is good for ball games, sports talk, and podcasts more so than big bass which intrudes into the mids and can sound unnatural.
The mids are well separated and layered out. They have good intelligibility and vocal sibilance is kept in check. Mids have the right thickness and good tone and timbre. Nothing special but no flaws and fairly natural sounding.
The treble doesn't draw attention to itself and does not have the extension of more expensive earphones. For serious music listening adding some treble through EQ gives some added treble, sparkle, and detail. For their intended purpose though it is just right. Not recessed nor is the treble forward. No sibilance, no fatigue, and stopping just short of any sparkle the treble is also not subdued or dull. Just right for an active phone. The treble is also well separated out and positioned and the tone is ear pleasing. Not metallic or tizzy but natural with good decay. More like well done treble tuned down for the purpose than a phone that just happens to lack treble extension and emphasis.
Overall the EH11 has a very good signature for an active phone. Open and airy with very little bloat and a natural sound that is easy on the ears and never harsh. Very cohesive and balanced yet a slight emphasis on the low end. Fairly tight and up tempo and enjoyable sound that can be motivating help you push through a run, ride, or workout. The design is also well thought out. Highly adjustable, well built, and meant to stay in place with the ear clips and out of the way with the cord slider and shirt clip. To use a couple of sports puns, the EH11 "has all the bases covered" and is a "top contender" if your looking for an active phone. Another solid entry from SoundMAGIC.