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

post #1 of 94
Thread Starter 

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. Soundmagic.

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…Now you're 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.

 

 


Edited by mrbigsby - 3/1/13 at 1:54pm
post #2 of 94

Nice review! I too relly enjoyed them, and am looking forward to the Wooden back HP300 :)

 

Finally these get some attention, after about 8 months in the dark!

post #3 of 94
Thread Starter 

Wooden back Waaaaa?!?!?1 tongue_smile.gif *drools*

 

Bit of a shame on the HP200, i honestly thought they sucked pretty badly. Apart from the quality construction and nice plastics used, they seem completely unrelated to the HP100. They really shouldnt have released them- there was no need as they dont sound open at all and the HP100 sound infintely better in every regard.

post #4 of 94
HP200 was brighter with more detail, but not as natural as HP100
post #5 of 94
Thread Starter 

i found the bass also flabby, and just generally no where near as good.

post #6 of 94

Excellent review!

 

I was unaware that these existed, but now I certainly do! They sound very promising...

 

Have you ever heard modded D1001 or D2000? From what you described, I would assume they sound a bit similar (at least to my D1001).

post #7 of 94
Thread Starter 

Unfortunately i havent as yet, but ill try to find someone in Australia who has some that is happy to share the love. I really am floored by these cans. I mean i love a few cans, and i hate a few cans, but these are something else for me. As i said we are all different, but these are so good i cant possibly fathom someone not liking them for any tangible reason other than spite. Super highly recommended, 2013's top of the pops for me.

post #8 of 94

I think they're very, very good and have been listening to them every day since I got them

a few weeks ago.  The only closed headphones I like more are my Sony Z1000's, and

I paid quite a bit more for those.  And still, the Soundmagic''s even hold their own next to

the Sony's.  Great sound, nice price, well made, and very comfortable.  A rare and

welcome combination!

 

To me, they sound better than many if not most of the usual suspects, i.e.

 

ATH M50

Shure 840

Shure 940

Sony MDR 1R (too much bass for my taste)

Beyer DT 770 (ditto)

ATH A900

post #9 of 94

mrbigsby,

 

To which other cans did you compare these? (I only see the DT770 and to tell you the truth, I even liked the V-Moda M80s over the DT770s...). There's a lot of competition in the $400 and lower market (Yamaha Pro 500s, Mad Dogs, V-Moda M100, PSB, Focal, Shure, etc. etc.), what makes these shine over the rest?

 

 

Thanks.

post #10 of 94
Thread Starter 
Compared to FA-011, dt770, dt990, FA-004, FA-002w, FA-002w HE, AIAIAI TMA1 studio, K167, Vtrue, senn 650. And from memory only, every other headphone I've ever heard including all the beyer lineup, lcd2, ultrasone lineup from pro750 to editions, akg k267, etc, etc, too many to realistically list them all.

Again it's all personal opinion, but I highly recommend trying them, for me they soar impossibly higher than the rest!
post #11 of 94

.


Edited by MacGruber - 3/2/13 at 8:46pm
post #12 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbigsby View Post

Compared to FA-011, dt770, dt990, FA-004, FA-002w, FA-002w HE, AIAIAI TMA1 studio, K167, Vtrue, senn 650. And from memory only, every other headphone I've ever heard including all the beyer lineup, lcd2, ultrasone lineup from pro750 to editions, akg k267, etc, etc, too many to realistically list them all.

Again it's all personal opinion, but I highly recommend trying them, for me they soar impossibly higher than the rest!

 

Thanks for the great review !

 

I see that you happen to have wrote us another review on the Fischer audio FA-011, which apparantly you also have a favorable opinion. I used to have an older iteration FA-011 but not thick much of it. After reading your review want to try another pair, speculating that Fischer audio might have addressed the QC issues previously existing. Now I have second thoughts of going the Soundmagic.

 

Would you like to elucidate on the timbre and tonality of these phones, and whether you found open phones have any decided advantage over these.

 

Thanks again.

post #13 of 94

I completely agree with this review.  I am still in love with my HP100s.  They do everything right.  I recommend them anytime I can to anyone looking for a closed can.  

post #14 of 94
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greeni View Post

Thanks for the great review !

I see that you happen to have wrote us another review on the Fischer audio FA-011, which apparantly you also have a favorable opinion. I used to have an older iteration FA-011 but not thick much of it. After reading your review want to try another pair, speculating that Fischer audio might have addressed the QC issues previously existing. Now I have second thoughts of going the Soundmagic.

Would you like to elucidate on the timbre and tonality of these phones, and whether you found open phones have any decided advantage over these.

Thanks again.
Hey Greeni, Yeah the FA-011 are very nice, but after further exposure to these and many side by side comparisons i have to admit they are too different a beast to compare. Two cans couldnt be more unrelated. One open, one closed, one wood, one plastic (no major sonic difference there really), one with firmer wool twill style pads, the other with soft leatherette and memory foam. THe driver sizes are different from memory, the headbands, the feel, and most importantly the sound. As per my review, I found the FA-011 to be a darker overall signature, with lightly rolled off highs but an overall pleasing sound with surprising bass response from an open can. I did buy both as i wanted cool looking open cans, but the HP100 to me and for my purposes is a far more sophisticated and accomplished sound over the whole frequency spectrum. Without raving on and on about it suffice to say that if i could only have one pair of headphones ever, thus far i can say with confidence that it would be the Soundmagic HP100 without doubt or need for further comparisons to any of my past favorites. I would like to have someone A/B these with the Sig DJ as from memory alone they have a similar signature in that they are so even and dynamic (odd i know), yet both have a full bass that isnt overshadowed by any of the other equally as impressive sound components.
Quote:
Originally Posted by draven5494 View Post

I completely agree with this review.  I am still in love with my HP100s.  They do everything right.  I recommend them anytime I can to anyone looking for a closed can.  
The review does seem a little mad and one-sided, but i didnt know how else to write it, im over the moon really. If i were a billionaire id buy everyone on the forum a pair.
Edited by mrbigsby - 3/2/13 at 8:54pm
post #15 of 94

Great review! I'm still looking for a closed can to settle on, this seems like an excellent prospect.

 

I wonder how it compares to the FA003/HM5 as far as balance/neutrality. Hated the HM5's echoey soundstage.

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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Bigsby’s top cans for 2013: ep1 Soundmagic HP100- The Beyer Slayer, The Mid Monster, The Detail Demon.