Hi there, my first review will actually be a comparison. I will do my best not to do too many mistakes but please note that english is not my native language. I'd rather tell you, even if you might already have notice by now :-)
I am not going to analyse the sound in every detail of its spectrum. There are two good reasons for this: first of all I don't think my ears are “calibrated” to a universal reference and to be that trained and sharp to detect each little accentuation or issues on the frequencies spectrum ; then, when I listen to musique, I listen to all the frequencies together so the feeling I get from this global impression is more representative of how the headphones/IEM perform than analysing their FR curve.
I will present my feelings in three parts:
1/ The unboxing/built quality/comfort/noise isolation
2/ The sound
3/ The experience. This part will contain my feeling using the headphone/IEM, if it made it to become a new member of my collection/family, what I liked and what I didn't.
So, let's start...
1/ The unboxing/built quality/comfort/noise isolation
I use the MH1 + EC250 adapter. For info, these headsets exist in two version, the older ones are called MH1 and have a “silly” cabling order so to be used properly (at least as IEMs) you need two keep the central button pressed down or to use the EC250 adapter.
There is a more recent model called MH1C that exist and that doesn't require the adapter. I went for the model with adapter because they are dirt cheap and at the end I appreciate the little bit of length extention it gives me.
UNBOXING. They were sold with Sony-Ericsson mobile phones so they are usually sold in a transparent plastic with two little bags containing the tips. I had a green set of these tips and a green one.
The tips are basic silicon ones and come in four sizes. They also come with a little “tie pince” that will be quiet useful to try to reduce the noise in the speakers due to the contact between the cable and your clothes.
BUILT QUALITY. The built quality is really good. They are small, light, metal construction and feel solid... but the cable is bad. It is a flat cable, the 4 button controls are close to the left “speaker”,
and it is awfully noisy when you walk. I managed to minimize it and to “learn to live with it” but it is annoying.
COMFORT. I hated them the first day, but once I found the proper tips it just went fine. I really like the fact that they are long enough to be put deep in the ears. They are also thin and light.
ISOLATION. The isolation is really good. It will not completely cut you from the outside world but it makes them usable without pushing the volume up much even in the metro. I was impressed.
UNBOXING. First disappointment: I saw several people getting a circular semi-hard case for their tips with these phone, but nothing in the box for me :-(
They came with two sets of tips (1 silicon set and 1 foam set, both in 3 sizes) + over ears cable guides + a nice fake leather pouch.
1-0 for the PL30s here, but that is pretty logical as the MH1 was ment to be stock headsets for Sony's phones.
BUILT QUALITY. The built quality is not as terrible as some people pretend but for sure they don't feel very solid. They are light, they are plasticky, they definitly feel cheap, but at least the cable is ok :-)
I still have to give this one to the Sonys: 1-1
COMFORT. The big “body” of the phones makes them jump out of your ears quiet easely but using the over ear system, it is quiet ok. The over ear system works fine even though I am wearing glasses. I use the foam tips and I find them comfortable.
The PL30 stay in place better then the Sonys, but comfort is ok on both without being outstanding. No winner here.
ISOLATION. The isolation is REALLY good. Of course the foam tips are probably a big part of this result but I compare what I can, and Sony did not deliver foams tips so the results are what they are... The PL30 with the foams almost completely isolate you from the outside world.
PL30 leads 2-1.
2/ The sound...
Describing a sound is a very interesting exercise. If I should explain you the difference between the MH1 and the PL30 with one word (+1 ponctuation :-) I would do it this way:
The MH1's sound is gentle, liquid, it comes and whispers to your ears, and it does it with a sweet, sexy, slightly intimate and perfectly balanced voice.
The PL30 has a bigger voice. It is louder and less intimate. It is not here for joking. It tells you everything it has to tell you and it says it right in your face.
Here I suppose that it all depends on taste but it is not easy for me to give my opinion based on tastes I do not have, so...
I usually love headstage above all and the PL30 have definitely a larger headstage than the MH1... but it sounds fake to me. As if there was some low quality reverbe effect going on (I have the same feeling with the JVC HA-S680 for example). I can somehow here that the sound bounces against cheap plastic before coming bach to my ears. Therefore the larger headstage is not a plus anymore. For the rest, the Sonys are just more pleasant to listen to. They do not play as loud as the Soundmagics, but they play better.
3/ The experience:
How is it to live with these. The PL30 are probably better phones for “on the move”: they stay better on your head, they play louder, they isolate better AND they don't have a stupid noisy cable...
… but love is blind.
And I am completely in love with the MH1's sound. They are THE sound I love: good bass, never boomy, well balanced, laid back but not veiled with a little bit of treble roll off making them amazing easy-listening phones. You'll never take them off because you need a break. Actually, when I take them off... it is because I am arrived.
One last word about the usage: the fact that the PL30 isolates better can also be a negative. The thing is that even they stay on my ears nicely once I have them on, it always takes me a while to do so. So when I meet someone I know or when someone asks me a question on the way to work (the bus controller, a lost tourist, and so on...) I have to remove them as stopping the music is not enough to hear them, and as I know it will take me some time again to put them on, it somehow makes me love the MH1 even more. I use the clip to fix them to the collar of my shirt and if I need to take them away, I just let them hang, then I put them back on in an eye blick.
Well, well, writing this first review/comparison post was a nice exercise. It was fun for me, I hope it might be interesting for some of you too. See ya...