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

[REVIEW]: SoundMAGIC HP100 - The Natural All-Rounder Headphone

post #1 of 89
Thread Starter 

Review on the SoundMAGIC HP100


Introduction

It's been a while since my last review, but I'm back with another one on the closed-back, SoundMAGIC's HP100. I bought these headphones as an alternative to my HP200's and as an upgrade to my formerly owned, MrSpeakers' Mad Dog 3.2, as an open-back was not convenient for me as I had originally thought, and that the Mad Dog's were too veiled and dark sounding for my taste. Anyways, not long after selling the Mad Dog's, I decided to pick up these from my friendly, local audio store, Noisy Motel, and I haven't looked back ever since. 

 

(Usually I have a "Pictorial Unboxing" section, but I decided to cut that out since they're almost identical to that of the HP200's, which can be found in my review, here. Aside from that, I'll incorporate some of the main accessories that were exclusive to the HP100 and not the HP200. 

 

***NOTE: Pictures in this review are of the HP100's with Fischer Audio FA-003 pads on top of the original pads. It should be noted that the sound analysis was done with stock pads.***

***NOTE: I don't mean to post this into the forums, as I did post this review in the review section. However, when posted in the review section, half of my text and pictures got cut off, so I had to resolve to this for my proper (full-sized) layout. Apologies.)***


 


Review

 

 

Box/Packaging Shots (Click to show)

(Front of Box)

 

(Back of Box)

 

Specifications

  • Transducers: Dynamics, 53mm, Neodymium
  • Frequency range: 10Hz-30KHz
  • DC resistance: 32Ω+-10% Ohms
  • Sensitivity: 95±3DB at 1KHz/mw
  • Maximum input power: 100mw
  • Cable length: 1.2m
  • Connector: 3.5mm, gold-plated
  • Weight: 288g
  •  

(Source: http://noisymotel.com/product.asp?ProductID=486)

 

Build Quality & Design/Function Analysis

 

 

 

The HP100's overall build and presentation is rather elegant in the sense that it has the basic looks of your standard headphones - not too flashy. The build in general is of a sturdy construction, made of high quality plastics (along with a few parts made of metal) with rubberized and high-gloss surfaces, along with a thick, rubber-coated cable. It does not feel flimsy, nor does it feel of bad quality, so one would assume it would last a long time, if taken care of properly. Now, time to break it down into smaller chunks.

 

(Bird's-eye view of the HP100)

 

Headband: It has a thick, solid core, presumably, consisting of mostly plastic and a thin piece of metal that runs through the headband from/to the height adjusters. It feels bulky in width, which to me, is a good thing, as now I know it won't snap due to flimsiness. Under the headband is a nice, plush strip of cushion that makes the comfort all the better. All of this is wrapped in a very soft and pliable pleather, which is very smooth, and feels superbly comfortable on the head. 

 

Height Adjuster & Swivel Mechanics: The adjustment per side of the headphone can prove to be stiff at times in terms of its sliding ability, but it does make solid clicks per increase/decrease in height, and does not move up and down from strong movements, so it can be said that it's firm and will stand its ground. The swivel also makes strong clicks, and maintains its position with each click. The slide and swivel is in no way loose. 

 

Ear Cups & Ear Pads: The ear cups are of a nice, high-gloss plastic, with a grid design on it. Not much to say on it besides that. Although, as it is high-gloss, it does attract fingerprints very easily, so SoundMAGIC provides a cleaning cloth specifically for this issue, as shown below.

 

(Included VIP card from SoundMAGIC for purchasing their higher-end products & cleaning cloth)

 

The ear pads found on the HP100 are very plush, and soft and are made of a pleather material. They are an over-the-ear design, and fit right around the ear. What I despised about these ear pads, is that although they are incredibly comfortable, the depth of the pad is not so deep. You'll often find the drivers touching your ears, which in no way affects the sound quality, but it does become bothersome. What I did was overlap a set of Fischer Audio FA-0003 pads on top of the stock pads to improve comfort, seal, and pad depth. Did this alter the sound? Not much at all, to be honest. 

 

Cable Entry: The cable entry into the headphones is single-sided, and it utilizes a proprietary cable. The cable entry is an "insert and twist" (locking) mechanism, which to some, is okay, but for me (and many others, I'm sure), this means it'd be harder to replace the cable if it ever becomes damaged. 

 

(The cable entry)

(The cable entry jack with it's "insert and twist" (locking) mechanism)

This brings me onto the cables...

 

Cable: The cable is a 1.2 meter coiled cable. It comprises of a thick, rubber outer-coat, and terminates in a 3.5mm proprietary jack, and a 3.5mm jack that has a screwing mechanism for a 6.3mm adapter. The cable as a whole, is rather stiff, and the coil section is a bit too sprung together which it requires more than usual effort to stretch out. I found this cable to be annoying at times, as when sitting at a table and having the cable hang down, the top of the coil tends to get caught under the table top's edge, and hence, pulls your head down. 

 

(The coiled cable)

 

Case: A hard case with a reptile pattern, that uses a zip, and has a carabiner loop at the top for attachment of the carabiner. Not much else to it.

 

(Bird's-eye view of the case) (Zoomed-in shot of the 3D bevel of the company's name)

 

 

Sound Quality Analysis

 

 

The following analysis of the HP100's sound quality is done from this setup: iBasso DX50 > Pure Silver Interconnect > Neco Soundlabs Portable V4

 

Tonality

It is a neutral-toned headphone, and is not as bright as it's sibling, the HP200 (Brighter in terms of clarity in the vocals and higher extension in the treble, but I wouldn't consider it an overly bright headphone as a whole). The audio produced from these headphones sounds very clean, and there is no presence of a veil blanketting the mids and highs. 

Detail

The level of detail of this headphone is rather high for a headphone of this price range. The micro-detailing, especially of the female vocals, where the ending of each line is made, and the background instruments are accentuated with ease, and it doesn't require much effort with these headphones to make out the detailing in general. 

Clarity

The HP100's are very clear in sound. There are no low frequency sound leakage nor are there any audible hisses in the high frequencies, which might make them sound veiled/muddy like in the darker/warmer sounding headphones. The clarity of this headphone in a way, helps enhance the level of detail, as it makes the micro-details more distinguishable.

 

Separation

The separation of this headphone is also rather good. It has a layering effect in between instruments as well as vocals, where each instrument or vocalist can be easily distinguished, and singled-out. This is good, because it prevents congestion, which usually results in muddiness. 

Soundstage

For a closed-back headphone, the staging on this headphone is pretty big. It is comparable to that of its sibling, the HP200, although the HP200 only pulls away by a bit due to its open-back design. An analogy of this could be like comparing from being in a room with all windows closed (HP100) to the same room, with one window open. This difference is only just the addition of more air, as opposed to size. Airiness, to me, does not always equate to a wider soundstage (although in this case, it slightly does), but more so, just a more realistic vocal, and a more defined mid-bass, as opposed to one with a slight vibration in the background - less congestion by the slightest.

Positioning/Imaging

The imaging of this headphone has good 3D placement of instruments and vocalist(s). Although not as accurate as open-back headphones, it is still pretty good in the respect that it's a closed-back. Instrumentals may not be positioned pin-point accurate, but I feel the vocals are pretty dead on as to where they stand - center stage.  

Lows/Bass

The bass of this headphone, although it is not something that is emphasized, hits pretty hard when it needs to. For songs that revolve around vocals, the low-end doesn't become prominent, but for songs, such as EDM tracks, the bass will definitely hit harder, and make sure its presence is noticed. Not to say they hit as hard as basshead headphones, but the bass does become more vibrant and textured. So really, I would say the bass of this headphone is rather controlled, as it is not all over the place like most basshead headphones. The rumble of the sub-bass, I found to be pretty smooth, as it doesn't sound grainy, muddy nor earth-shattering.

Mids/Vocals

The vocals sound pretty realistic to some extent. It is rich and full-sounding, so it is far from a thin sounding vocal. It is smooth overall, and aids in the flow of the song - musical as some might put it. Such things as the guitar strumming, sounds very sweet and full, whilst in reality, it may not be as smooth (This may just be me, but sometimes I find an electric guitar to sound a touch harsh, whilst when heard through the HP100, it settles the harshness). In comparison to something like the HD600's, I found the mids of the HP100 to not sound as natural as it would on a set of HD600's, but it is relatively close. When compared to the HD600's, I'd say the HP100's vocals may sound a touch hollow, as the HD600's have one of the creamiest vocals I've ever heard.  

Highs/Treble

The treble of this headphone extends pretty high up. With something like the cymbal clashes, it sounds very crisp out of the HP100's. It doesn't sound too harsh either - it's just right. It's not veiled so the detailing is still very good, and the harshness is tamed by the treble being smoothed out by a tiny bit to prevent this. I'm a fan of brighter tonality, and even though I wouldn't consider the HP100's treble-happy, I was very satisfied with the highs. 

 

Summary/Conclusion

The SoundMAGIC HP100 was a headphone I thoroughly enjoyed for what it was - a neutral sounding closed-back with amazing musicality.  If you're looking for a headphone to use in noisy environments, or just to enjoy in your own time, this headphone should be on your list of considerations, with it's great noise isolation, and superb sound in general. An amp will be needed to drive them to their full potential, but it is totally worth it. It has my recommendation (if that matters), and to me, it's a gift that keeps on giving. (I say this because I've noticed slight improvements over the period of time I've owned them, and I have yet to be bored of it)
 
 
The small company of SoundMAGIC, when in the big headphone world, has often been overlooked. I personally think this shouldn't be the case as they're headphones are one of a kind! I'm in no way affiliated with them, but I think they deserve more attention. Much more. 
 
 
 

Over & Out,

SkyBleu-

 

Edited by SkyBleu - 4/14/14 at 6:37am
post #2 of 89
Very nice review, spot on for every thing I feel about this phone. For fans of grainless very clear phone, I don't think there's anything that can beat this phone for the price point or even well above it.
post #3 of 89

I'm curious, has anyone compared this to the NAD HP50?

post #4 of 89
Nice review. Interesting how you found the HP200 to be warmer than the HP100. Just goes to show how people hear things differently.
Also the cups are metal not just polished plastic.
post #5 of 89
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by laon View Post

Very nice review, spot on for every thing I feel about this phone. For fans of grainless very clear phone, I don't think there's anything that can beat this phone for the price point or even well above it.

Thanks:)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Za Warudo View Post
 

I'm curious, has anyone compared this to the NAD HP50?

Don't own them so can't compare; Sorry!

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ostewart View Post

Nice review. Interesting how you found the HP200 to be warmer than the HP100. Just goes to show how people hear things differently.
Also the cups are metal not just polished plastic.

Thanks. Yeah, I know! I remember some people telling me the HP200 were the brighter of the two, but after some A/Bing, that's the conclusion I came too. Metal? Alright, I'll go change that. Cheers for the heads up!

 

EDIT: I should mention it was only a touch warmer due to the harder hitting bass of the HP200. 

EDIT2: Altered the review at that part to show that I didn't mean it in that sense:)

EDIT3: I only say warm because after speaking to people here and there, I've picked up that warm is now a term used in relation to the lower bass..To me it was always about congestion and veiled sound.


Edited by SkyBleu - 4/11/14 at 1:09am
post #6 of 89

Nice review SkyBleu, the HP100 was on my list of to-buy headphones and was overtaken by the Yamaha MT220.  A comparison, if possible would be much appreciated. From your review I see that it HP100 may be too similar to the MT220 and may not warrant a purchase for me.

post #7 of 89
Uh HP100 cup is definitely not metal, go hit it (gently) with your key or some metal and it will not sound like one, it also won't turn as cold as metal does.
post #8 of 89

DT 779/880/990 PROs vs this?

post #9 of 89
Quote:
  the bass will definitely hit as hard as a basshead headphone. So really, I would say the bass of this headphone is controlled, as it is not all over the place like most basshead headphones.

 

I heard these and tested them with a Cowon and an e12. BBE+8 Mach3Bass+8 5 Band EQ flat.

 

Used this track

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fgVXZHVOfQ

 

I would disagree with saying these hit like  basshead cans.

 I would strongly disagree with saying definite without giving a comparison set of cans and track and settings. I thought these sounded great at the price. Nice balance and very comfortable but I never considered them like basshead cans.


Edited by Hawaiibadboy - 4/11/14 at 10:57am
post #10 of 89

These were my first pair of cans on my journey to the audiophile world and I do not regret it one bit. I still absolutely love them :)

post #11 of 89
Great review! Very informative and detailed.

Question: how do they compare against other closed back phones in its price range (dt770, srh840, m50)?
post #12 of 89

I understand that HP 200 is open-backed and HP-100 is closed, but it sounds like the signatures are not much different.  Is that the case?

post #13 of 89

First of all, Great Review, I agree with you on all points of it as I myself am also an owner of a pair.

 

I have owned a pair of ATHM50's and the 100's have blown them away!

 

My only issue with them is as you mentioned, the earcups, it's not a dealbreaker, but I just wish they were deeper, it looks like you might have provided me a solution though!

So now I have to find out where to get some Fischer Audio FA-003 earpads!

 

Thanks a ton for the review and getting these underdogs out there Sky!

post #14 of 89
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bala View Post
 

Nice review SkyBleu, the HP100 was on my list of to-buy headphones and was overtaken by the Yamaha MT220.  A comparison, if possible would be much appreciated. From your review I see that it HP100 may be too similar to the MT220 and may not warrant a purchase for me.

Thank you, thank you. 

 

Hmm....Between my friend and I, we found to hear things very similar in terms of sound quality, and the identification of the tonality of a headphone/IEM...You don't have to take my word for it, but this is an improvised comparison.

My friend, when he owned the MT220 for a few months, had told me that its overall sound is somewhat dark-sounding (he emphasized this quite a lot actually), so that's why he sold them. Now if we put that into my perspective, that would make the HP100 a bright sounding headphone (for you. To me, it's neutral, and the MT220 would be considered dark) that won't have that smooth vocals that the MT220 has (as in, the HP100 doesn't sound as veiled). 

 

So to cut to the chase, I wouldn't say the MT220 is too similar to the HP100. :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by laon View Post

Uh HP100 cup is definitely not metal, go hit it (gently) with your key or some metal and it will not sound like one, it also won't turn as cold as metal does.

Yeah, that's what I was thinking... I'll make sure to change it back, haha!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mantalic View Post
 

DT 779/880/990 PROs vs this?

I don't own any of those units sadly, so I can't compare for you:( 

I believe other HP100 reviews have compared them to the DT-series. (Don't take my word on that)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawaiibadboy View Post
 

 

I heard these and tested them with a Cowon and an e12. BBE+8 Mach3Bass+8 5 Band EQ flat.

 

Used this track

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fgVXZHVOfQ

 

I would disagree with saying these hit like  basshead cans.

 I would strongly disagree with saying definite without giving a comparison set of cans and track and settings. I thought these sounded great at the price. Nice balance and very comfortable but I never considered them like basshead cans.

Yeah, I just tried out that track. I still hear a good rumble every time the sub-bass hit?

 

Anyways, I just had a fresh morning retry of some EDM tracks, and yeah, I guess they don't hit THAT hard, so I'll go alter it in the review, although I still find the bass to be rather present as opposed to lacking. All good? :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by RainHeaven View Post
 

These were my first pair of cans on my journey to the audiophile world and I do not regret it one bit. I still absolutely love them :)

Great way to start off! They're a great all-rounder headphone, and it's definitely worth owning, even for a short while. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by xkonfuzed View Post

Great review! Very informative and detailed.

Question: how do they compare against other closed back phones in its price range (dt770, srh840, m50)?

Cheers:) 

 

As I mentioned earlier, it's probably best to check out the other HP100 reviews as they might have those comparisons, OR you could ask some of the guys who commented here who own both? Either works, I guess!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ibs63 View Post
 

I understand that HP 200 is open-backed and HP-100 is closed, but it sounds like the signatures are not much different.  Is that the case?

I remember reading somewhere, where someone said that the signatures are more similar than they are different. And for most parts, I'd say that is the case. The bass on the HP200 may sound more textured, and the treble may extend a bit higher, and obviously the soundstage/airiness is affected, but that seems to be about it for me. Oh, and detail on the HP200 is more easily picked up than it is on a closed can like the HP100. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noizlanif View Post
 

First of all, Great Review, I agree with you on all points of it as I myself am also an owner of a pair.

 

I have owned a pair of ATHM50's and the 100's have blown them away!

 

My only issue with them is as you mentioned, the earcups, it's not a dealbreaker, but I just wish they were deeper, it looks like you might have provided me a solution though!

So now I have to find out where to get some Fischer Audio FA-003 earpads!

 

Thanks a ton for the review and getting these underdogs out there Sky!

Thanks! 

 

Perfect, you own a pair of M50's! If it's not too much to ask, can you compare the bass on the HP100's to it?:) 

 

Yeah, I found the ear pads to decompress over time, and hence makes the depth shallower, which is not so good for our ears as it is too close to the drivers.. Certainly, try out the FA-003 pads or the Brainwavz HM5 pads (they're almost identical in every way). The Brainwavz are probably much more easy to find, as you can find it on MP4Nation for a mere $8 per pad (around that price). 


Edited by SkyBleu - 4/11/14 at 5:28pm
post #15 of 89

Thank you for the review. I thought the aesthetics were cool but wanted to get an idea of the sound before considering them. 

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 - The Natural All-Rounder Headphone