Once again I would like to show my gratitude to Michael Lin from SoundMAGIC whom without this review would be impossible. Also thanks to Liyan for the great costumer service.
As you may already know, Soundmagic is no unknown brand to audiophiles who are on a budget. This company success goes way back, beginning with the success of the bang for the buck headphone, the PL30.
The E30 was released in this year’s spring, along with other products, including the E10, the Eh11 and the P30. The E30 is the natural evolution of the known P30. As I said in my former reviews, my primary musical choices are electronic music, dance, drum and bass and some dubstep. Due to former reviews about these, my expectations were quite high with these.
“SoundMAGIC E30 Pro-Fit IEM Earphones
For those who are serious about their portable listening the E30 in-ear monitor (IEM) features pro-fit over ear cabling and a robust metal jack plug. Why compromise with audio quality when listening to music on the move or on the stage, when you can enjoy a high definition audio experience with the SoundMAGIC E30.
The E30 is compatible with MP3 players, computers, mobile phones and all portable audio devices fitted with a standard 3.5mm jack socket.”
Driver: Dynamics 9mm Neodymium Driver
Frequency range: 15Hz~22KHz
DC Resistance: 12±10% Ohms
Sensitivity: 94±2 dB at 1KHz/mW
Cable length: 1.2 m
Connection: Stereo 3.5mm, I style Gold-planted plug
Weight: 10 g
As said in previous reviews, the packaging presented in this product goes within the same line of the newer packages of Soundmagic. The white cardboard box along with a plastic window, that allows to see the phones themselves, is simple and sleek. Also the box comes with a seal that certifies this product as genuine, in order to prevent fakes. Also the packaging of the product is one of the best I’ve ever seen with great attention to detail, like the circular plastic “hooks” in which the earphone comes around.
When we open the packaging, we slide the earphones out in order to reveal a cardboard box that contains 6 pairs of tips, 2 pairs with a narrow tip opening, 3 pairs with a wider tip opening and one pair of bi-flanges. Each type of tips (excluding the bi-flanges) comes in 3 sizes (S/M/L). Alongside the tips, you can found a carrying pouch and ear hooks that allow for a better guide along the ear (due to their over-ear design). On the IEM cable you can find a shirt clip to use.
At first glance we can spot the shiny metal plug and the housing with a dual tone plastic. Starting from the top, we can see a black housing with silver applications. Also, on each housing, we can see a color coded stress relief, which indicates the side of the driver (being red for right and blue for left). Going down towards the cable, we can feel the rubbery nature of it. It seems that the cable could be capable of taking some abuse without failing. On the Y-splitter we can see a stress relief and a metal coating on the splitter. The clip, just below the Y-splitter, is made from plastic and is easily removable. Last, on the plug, we can see a nice metal coating on the jack, just like the one on the splitter, and a gold plated jack. The ear hooks are made from plastic, nothing special.
Like their “parents”, the pl30, these are lovely in what concerns to comfort. Due being extremely lightweight, and due to their over-ear design, you can almost forget you’re wearing them. Unfortunately, if the included tips provided a better fit, this comfort feel, would have been a lot better. So they still don’t beat my current comfort benchmark (the RE-242), but they’re almost there, perhaps with better tips they’ll feel more comfortable.
On isolation, due to their over-ear design, they don’t allow a deep insertion, but more so of a shallow fit. Also, if the tips provided a more secure fit, they would have been a bit more isolation. But still, they provide just a little bit lower than average isolation, nothing you’ll worry because if you’re “blasting” your music through them, you still can’t hear much of the outside world, just the louder noises.
To finish this chapter, the microphonics is almost non-existent due to the included shirt clip and over-ear design. SoundMAGIC really exceeded on designing an IEM which doesn’t have the dreaded enemy of much of us.
Source – Rockboxed Sansa Clip +, laptop (LG R400), TMN A1 (Huawei Pulse)
Files Used – 256 to 320 kbps and FLAC
I haven’t noticed any huge difference before and after burn-in, but maybe these IEM just need a more extended burn-in period or maybe just don’t almost change. One small change, was a little bit more control on the lower-end and a little bit more of detail.
My burn-in consists in pink noise along with a playlist that is composed of the songs I usually hear on my daily basis.
When you first put these on, after you feel all comfy and stuff, and press play in one of your favorite songs, you would be amazed how can such tiny pieces, produce such a spacious sound. The sound signature of these is almost natural, with a small emphasis on the lower end (I think they introduced this lower end “bump” to respond to the complaints that were made to his older brother the PL30, of not having enough lower end). Also they have the ability of going low and up high, reproducing well enough both parts of the spectrum.
On the lower end, we can feel a bass that is present, capable of going low, and hitting when needed. It’s a controlled bass, that hits hard when it’s prompted. But mostly, it gives a good vibe to the songs, and it doesn’t obstruct other frequencies. On a short note, it does what you ask him to, well and clean.
The mid-range is clean, producing nice vocals, but maybe a little bit nothing recessed. It reproduces well both types of vocals, and it’s “not-so-in-the-face” nature, provides a more relaxed hearing style.
On the upper range of the frequency range, the treble manages to keep up with the rest of the frequency providing nice sounding cymbals, for example. In terms of presentation and comparison with the rest of the frequencies, the treble manages to keep up with the bass and the mids, providing a natural sounding sound signature.
On an overall note, the E30 present the music with a natural sound which has and added warmth, due to the present lower-end. It’s this natural presentation of the sound that allows to put the E30 in the category of the almost studio monitors. The only thing where they fail to be in that studio monitor category, is their lack of detail (not comparing to similar price range, but to actual monitors) a little bit all throughout the spectrum. But this lack of detail is also what makes the E30 a fun sounding IEM, one that never fatigues the user, which enjoys its sonic capabilities, because if they had that little bit of detail that is missing, maybe, perhaps, they could become fatiguing. On comparison to the Meelectronics CC51, the CC51 have better overall detail, and in presentation they would be even. But due to their driver flex(on the CC51) and vastly superior comfort (on the E30), the E30 is a no brainer choice between these two (my opinion).
If you’re looking for a natural sounding IEM with an added touch of warmth (because you don’t know when you want to start headbobbing to the bass) within a budget, the E30 are your perfect choice. Looking for comfort, no microphonics and a fair isolation? SoundMAGIC E30. If these had come with a hard clam shell, they would be perfect in terms of accessories and for usual listening. But don’t be cheap, and buy one yourself. Also while the quality of the housing may have been decreased, the increase in sound quality was worth it. SoundMAGIC hit big some time ago with the PL30, but the recent addition lives no shorter to its bigger brother. SoundMAGIC has done it again in the sub 50 $ tier.
Price: about 40$ (MSRP)
Link to the manufacturer’s site: Soundmagic E30
Manufacturer’s warranty : 1 year
Edited by kiler - 11/14/11 at 1:02pm