Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › [REVIEW] SoundMAGIC HP100
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

[REVIEW] SoundMAGIC HP100

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
I have had this pair of headphone for a couple of months now but the process of reviewing is quite a slow going, mainly because I was trying to find a really good setup to bring out the best of HP100. As the first pair of full size from SoundMAGIC, they have chosen to go for a more neutral and analytical sound. Though I personally consider myself a neutral and analytical lover with IEM, I tend to opt for something more warm with supra-aural and circumaural to compensate for the lack of isolation. After flittering with different setup, I think I have found my favorite combination and it is time to give HP100 its long delayed review.

HP-01.jpg

Spec
Driver: Dynamic 53mm Neodymium Drivers
Frequency range: 10Hz~30KHz
Impedance: 32Ω (±10%)
Sensitivity: 95dB/mW @ 1KHz (±3dB)
Maximum input power: 100mW
Cable length: 1.2m (3.5ft) coiled
Connection: 3.5mm gold plated plug
Weight: 288g
Price: $200

HP-04.jpg
The hard case looks like a turtle shell.

HP-05.jpg

HP-06.jpg

Packaging, Accessories and Build Quality
From the outside, HP100’s box sure doesn’t look like much. Open it up and the only thing inside is the odd looking hard case – but don’t let it fools you. It was designed so well that it has all the space for the headphone and its accessories. It is really nice for SoundMAGIC to include the hard case as most other only comes with soft pouch, if anything at all. The mesh pouch in the hard case contains the detachable curly main cable, an airplane adapter, a screw-on 3.5mm-to-6.3mm convertor and a carabiner clip for the hard case.

The build quality isn’t top-of-the-line, but still really good. The construction is mainly plastic based with metal parts here and there. The back of the ear cup looks to be steel or iron based alloy. The only thing I dislike is the detachable cable – not on the cable itself, but where the input jack is located. It is on the right side of the headphone instead of the more common left side. [UPDATE] I learned that they have switched the side from right to left in the production model, so it practically renders this a non issue. The input is a 3.5mm stereo jack with an extra lock on the outside so the cable will not get unplugged easily. However, the locking mechanism won’t allow for other 3.5mm plug to be used, so the stock cable is the only option. It would have been nice if they had included a headset cable as well. The ear pad are quite soft and HP100 doesn’t have a lot of clamping force, so overall it is quite comfortable to wear even in long hours.

Overall, the build quality of the H100 is easily above Fischer Audio FA-002/FA-003, but not quite as delicate as big brands like Audio-Technica or Sennheiser.

HP-07.jpg

HP-08.jpg

Sound Quality
Well over 100 hours of burn-in was given to the headphone though I didn’t notice any noticeable change.

HP-02.jpg
The officially published FR curve, printed on the box.

HP-100 is easily one of the most linear sounding headphones I have heard, from bass to treble. It is bright for sure, and on the leaner, colder side of the presentation. Treble extends as far as I can heard, very crisp and sparkly, but doesn’t have any harshness. Then the frequency response extends downward in a fairly neutral fashion from mid to bass. It is precise and clean, and in a way perhaps too clean to a point of almost sterile. I’ll rather it is a bit warmer so to add back a bit of fun to the sound. It would be the equivalent of Etymotic ER4S in a full size form factor with soundstage – or rather good soundstage in that matter, open and transparent.

In term of overall texture and detail, HP100 doesn’t lacking any. If you are an analytical listener, HP100 will pretty much do everything right out if the box. But if you are like me who prefers a bit of warm in full size, HP100 might be a bit too clean and lean for your taste. So what is my solution to this? Bass boost. More specifically, a digiZoid ZO2.3. I pretty much paired HP100 to all the warm sounding amps I own, and quite a few of them has bass boost as well. SoundMAGIC’s own A10 actually work very well with HP100, so are FiiO E11 and JDS Labs C421. But the one that really hits the spot is ZO2.3, at maximum level of bass boost no less. Maybe it is just synergy, but it is with the warm of ZO2.3 that I find HP100 to have the best balance between being analytical and musical, especially the lower end body and rumble that only ZO2.3 can bring to HP100. It is almost a total transformation to me, not just a small scale-up.

As for how HP-100 compares to other full size – I don’t really have an extensive collection of full size to compared to - but with ZO2.3, I’ll say HP100 is nothing less compared to the Fischer Audio FA-002 and FA-003, and easily above Grado SR-325i.

HP-09.jpg
The 53mm dynamic driver.

HP-10.jpg

Verdict
HP100 reminds me of the time I listened to K701 and DT1350, which are sort of belong to the same sound signature if I remember them correctly. For its first full size debut, SoundMAGIC has done a really good job. Though I think the analytical nature of HP100 might not be the best choice as a consumer product, which SoundMAGIC’s usual market is, the headphone itself does have plenty of room for tweaking around. With the right tweaking, a ZO2.3 in my case, it really becomes one of the most enjoyable headphones I have listened in recent time, right after DT1350.

A thank to SoundMAGIC for the sample.
post #2 of 25

what about isolation?

post #3 of 25

Has anyone seen a replacement cable that is 1.2m and not coiled?

post #4 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sofastreamer View Post

what about isolation?

 

Pretty good actually. I'll estimate it to be around -23dB or so.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Szadzik View Post

Has anyone seen a replacement cable that is 1.2m and not coiled?

The locking mechanism on the headphone won't allow for normal 3.5mm plug to be used though.The only way seems to be a full mod where you cut away the whole plastic locking mechanism and replace it will a normal 3.5mm jack.


Edited by ClieOS - 11/28/12 at 9:03am
post #5 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClieOS View Post

Pretty good actually. I'll estimate it to be around -23dB or so.

 

Great, exactly what I wanted to hear.

 

 

 

Quote:
The lacking mechanism on the headphone won't allow for normal 3.5mm plug to be used though.The only way seems to be a full mod where you cut away the whole plastic lacking mechanism and replace it will a normal 3.5mm jack.

 

I have contacted SoundMagic as seemingly HP200s use the same connector, but a straight 1.2m cable and if possible will purchase that from them.

 

If not, I will try to cut a deal with some HP200 owner :)

post #6 of 25

i wonder if they have as much sub bass as my k701 bass heavy version.

post #7 of 25

I posted similar statement in the AKG 167 Tiesto forum but I'm in the market for a closed circumaural and both these and the AKG get excellent reviews. If anyone has listened to both please share your thoughts.

post #8 of 25

Got mine today. I bought them as a cheap replacement for T5ps to see if I can use something like that for travelling.

 

Very comfortable. 

Earpads a bi shallow, but foam on the speakers helps with ears being in pain.

Sound great from my laptop. No hiss as with my ear buds and IEMs.

They are very detailed and not at all muffled.

On my A867 they sound a bit harsh/ bright with some music, but I think I will need to give them time to see what the real sound sig is.

 

Overall for the money they cost SoundMAGIC did a great jjob.

post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Szadzik View Post

Got mine today. I bought them as a cheap replacement for T5ps to see if I can use something like that for travelling.

 

Very comfortable. 

Earpads a bi shallow, but foam on the speakers helps with ears being in pain.

Sound great from my laptop. No hiss as with my ear buds and IEMs.

They are very detailed and not at all muffled.

On my A867 they sound a bit harsh/ bright with some music, but I think I will need to give them time to see what the real sound sig is.

 

Overall for the money they cost SoundMAGIC did a great jjob.

I was wondering exactly how deep are the earcups of these headphones? if someone can measure that for me, it would be much appreciated.

post #10 of 25

~30 milimeters from the point where the earpads attach.

The back of the drivers won't be more than 20 mm away from the cup wall... more likelly 8 - 15 mm.

Earpads are ~20 mm deep.

 

If you're worried about enclosure echos you have good reason to be worried.

The large soundstage people have been impressed with, is an ilusion imparted by the enclosures echos and ressonances and upper bass suckout.

If this was a deliberate tunning decision by Soundmagic or not is open to debate...

 

There's no transparency, compared to a good open headphone it's very noticeable and it sounds a bit incoherent and panned out.

There's an obvious upper bass suckout, around 100 - 250 Hz, which comically devoids the sound of fundamental impact and body, negativelly affecting the timbre of voices and most acoustical instruments.

The sub bass comes forward in the presentation due to the suckout and the stock earpads impart a warm tonality to the sound which, to small degree, 'fools around' the thinned out timbre.

This upper bass suckout probably also enhances the perception of soundstage.

I would expect to see a drop in a FR graph around this area with a corresponding % rise in a THD plot.

 

These sound much better (less bad) at lower volume where the shortcomings are less noticeable.

At louder volume this headphone is a shouty and distorted mess.

IMO, just what can be expected from a budget closed headphone.

It makes the DT880 sound good despite the stronger brightness.

I feel like I could easily modify it, in some way, to improve it, but I don't have the stuburness right now...

 

But don't take my sonic impressions as literally applicable to your hearing!

 

The Soundmagic is the first closed headphone I've listen since long time ago.

It just reminds me why...

 

If you've been accustomed to closed headphones, you might not be bothered by these sonic peculiarities the same way I am.


Edited by kkl10 - 3/21/13 at 11:53am
post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by lumberjake View Post

I posted similar statement in the AKG 167 Tiesto forum but I'm in the market for a closed circumaural and both these and the AKG get excellent reviews. If anyone has listened to both please share your thoughts.
I own the hp100 and have listened to k167 vs dt770pro80 vs k271 in a shop about a week ago. The k167 is a strange headphone. It has two priorities: beat and voice, and not much else, lacking lower mids and treble. The dt770pro80 was imo a much better headphone with its clear and fun sound. Strangely the k167 sounded more bassy than the pro80's, I guess that is because k167 lacks so much lower mids that the bass seems more prominent. I haven't compared it directly to hp100, but my overall impression of the hp100 is that it's a very complete sound in all frequencies and that was definitely not my impression of the k167. I think the k167 is a pro dj tool, not a music-for-pleasure kind of headphone.
Edited by Dafo - 3/22/13 at 1:33am
post #12 of 25

How this headphone compare to the Sennheiser Amperior? are they good for Techno music (EDm)?

post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by kkl10 View Post

~30 milimeters from the point where the earpads attach.

The back of the drivers won't be more than 20 mm away from the cup wall... more likelly 8 - 15 mm.

Earpads are ~20 mm deep.

 

If you're worried about enclosure echos you have good reason to be worried.

The large soundstage people have been impressed with, is an ilusion imparted by the enclosures echos and ressonances and upper bass suckout.

If this was a deliberate tunning decision by Soundmagic or not is open to debate...

 

There's no transparency, compared to a good open headphone it's very noticeable and it sounds a bit incoherent and panned out.

There's an obvious upper bass suckout, around 100 - 250 Hz, which comically devoids the sound of fundamental impact and body, negativelly affecting the timbre of voices and most acoustical instruments.

The sub bass comes forward in the presentation due to the suckout and the stock earpads impart a warm tonality to the sound which, to small degree, 'fools around' the thinned out timbre.

This upper bass suckout probably also enhances the perception of soundstage.

I would expect to see a drop in a FR graph around this area with a corresponding % rise in a THD plot.

 

These sound much better (less bad) at lower volume where the shortcomings are less noticeable.

At louder volume this headphone is a shouty and distorted mess.

IMO, just what can be expected from a budget closed headphone.

It makes the DT880 sound good despite the stronger brightness.

I feel like I could easily modify it, in some way, to improve it, but I don't have the stuburness right now...

 

But don't take my sonic impressions as literally applicable to your hearing!

 

The Soundmagic is the first closed headphone I've listen since long time ago.

It just reminds me why...

 

If you've been accustomed to closed headphones, you might not be bothered by these sonic peculiarities the same way I am.


Don't sugar-coat it man tell us how you really feel.  Before snobbing up the post, realize that 200 bucks isn't considered a "budget headphone" to a lot of people like me. Some people don't have 1,000+ dollars to spend on something trivial. 


Edited by Anewills - 4/3/13 at 8:12pm
post #14 of 25

Hi ClieOS,

 

I was wondering if you could give your impression of how these headphones sounded with the A10 amplifier that you mentioned. Given its very warm nature, I was wondering if it would add more vitality to the HP100s.

post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by posteriorpounde View Post

Hi ClieOS,

 

I was wondering if you could give your impression of how these headphones sounded with the A10 amplifier that you mentioned. Given its very warm nature, I was wondering if it would add more vitality to the HP100s.

 

Yes, A10 does add more vitality to HP100. Any warm sounding amp will pair well with HP100, and bass boost will add more lower end texture to the sound as well. Overall, it is more musical and dynamic with A10.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphones (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › [REVIEW] SoundMAGIC HP100