Soundmagic E80 in-ear monitor headphone

Average User Rating:
4.65/5,
  1. zackw419
    5.0/5,
    "Simple Review"
    Pros - Durable/Well Rounded/Fun/Powerful
    Cons - Possible Con: Bass isn't as punchy as it could be. Highs may be slightly emphasized
    I've had these for almost a year or so now I think.

    If durability is your number one priority look no further. I've washed these by accident twice and they were in the drier once and work perfectly. The first time I washed these without drying, I used them when they were wet, the sound was messed up from the water in the driver, but when they dried they were 100 percent back to normal. The cabling is really, really sturdy, they don't tangle much and they are metal.

    When I first got these I felt the high end was harsh and over emphasized. I've gotten used to these over time. I love them now. Its not that I am trying to love them, but I actually love them. I got used to the high end. The mids are super super smooth and clear and organic sounding. The bass is powerful and present without sounding bloated. Its really well controlled and its smooth but not punchy or fast. Yet I think it will satisfy most people. These manage to be somewhere between fun and nuetral. The high end once your adjusted to it, actually makes music more insatiable and more fun. Its not super super over emphasized or siblant, but when you first get these if your used to a darker sound, everything sounds kind of veiled by the high end. Everything sparkles. I would describe these as bright, but the mids and the low end is equally there. Its just the sparkle of the high end sticks out most on first impression. Over time, the sound seems to make sense. I mean I really do like these and after comparing them to some full sized cans, IMO these sound better. In fact, I am currently looking for full-sized cans that have a similar sound.

    I just think these are hard to go wrong with if your someone who leans more towards a balanced sound but want something with great soundstage.

    I first started using these with an iphone 5 and then switched to an iphone 7 and I definitely noticed a difference in quality. I don't amp them...but source does matter with these. They sounded much smoother on the iphone 7 and a bit more "tame".
  2. AzimAkbar
    5.0/5,
    "All in the details"
    Pros - Comfortable for all day use, suitable for most music genre, adequate amount of accessories, above average isolation, excellently balance sound quality
    Cons - That 45 degree jack
    I still have Soundmagic E10M which I bought many years ago. It still sound phenomenally good and overall it only few notch lower in overall sound quality when compared to my current favourite Audio-Technica CKR9LTD, Onkyo E700M and Audio-Technica CKX9. So it is just natural for me to get this current Soundmagic in-ear flagship the E80. They has 3 variant E80 without volume/mic like I have on this review. The other 2 versions are E80C with volume control/mic and E80S with mic/single button remote control. I prefer one without volume control/mic unless there is only one version like my Onkyo E700M.

     


    Brand new in sealed box for 58 USD? Yes with full accessories as shown below.

     

    Come with hard case, shirt clip, SML size T400 comply foam ( I use M size) and the usual sets of silicone tip if you prefer that over foam tip. Not so lavish but more than adequate for most user.
     
    Built quality;
    Somehow the twisted cable and Y splitter on this E80 and other Soundmagic (E10,E50) look exactly like my old Boarseman CX98. Maybe coincidence or maybe they have same manufacturer. It has fully functional cinch/ chin slider. Both Y-splitter and jack are made of silver colored metal. But the 45 degree jack is not my favorite. I prefer it to be completely straight or completely L -shaped.Just personal preference. Other user will find it otherwise. Housing and nozzle are made of metal too and strain relief on housing and jack are made of of firm but still slightly flexible plastic. So full mark for built quality.


    Almost completely sit flush in ear. So comfortable for all day use and even to sleep on one side. The 'small' 10mm driver does really help .

    Too many? Yes way too many but all earphones here cost 60USD and less each.

    Direct/ closest competitors. CKR9LTD, E700M and old E10M.
     
    Sound quality;
    Initial sound out of the box is totally unremarkable, that mean it really need a burn in. Now it has more than 60 hours of burn in period by continuous music playback on my Lenovo A397i.
    The most prominent feature in its sound for me is the airiness, and big sound stage. Just below Audio-Technica CKS990 but above Audio-Technica CKX9. The details is very impressive, even better than E700M and CKR9LTD. Not by much but still noticeable. Bass amount rated at 7/10 but it has proper impact and fast enough for even dance/EDM song. Song like 300 Violin Orchestra and Taylor Dayne's Tell It To My Heart did bring out the extra amount in details and really setting it apart from the already excellent E10M. Treble amount at 8/10 with some noticeable coloration but no sibilant at all. So E80 has huge sound stage and airiness of sound, with a lot of details and noticeable instruments separation, above average bass with proper impact and fast response, and some smooth treble. Very much balanced sound indeed.
     
    Comparison with Onkyo E700M;
    Simply put , I prefer E80 sound quality overall. Just wish that I bought E80 earlier , but I got E700M for a good value so all is not loss here. E700M is more in look and style department. The 1/2 in ear design with oval nozzle make it harder to stay in ear and big driver make big and heavy housing too. Overall soundstage and and bass is on E80 side while other aspect like vocal, treble  and detail are almost equal.
     
    Comparison with Soundmagic E10M;
    No competition . E80  is better in sound quality and built quality to. E10M has more V-shaped sound to it but still very fun to listen to.
     
    Conclusion;
    Obviously this E80 is my new best earphone. It is not the best in all frequency/sound quality wise. Soundstage/ bass king is still belong to Audio-Technica CKS990, while details and treble are actually belong to my old Sony EX650 and Audio-Technica CKX9. I pefer vocal on Audio-Technica CKR9LTD. But collectively as 1 package this E80 is unbeatable both in sound quality and built quality. If you can find a BNIB with excellent value please go for it. It is easy to recommend this as compared to other earphones like CKS990, CKX9,CKR9LTD or even E700M.
  3. NewbieSteve
    4.5/5,
    "The mids, my god, the mids"
    Pros - The mids, low end, build quality, comply tips included
    Cons - Springy cable
    Cue the Intro:
    Soundmagic has created a name for themselves for budget IEM such as the E10 and the PL30s. I was one of the early adopters of the E10 and it was my first step into the quality IEM world. Unfortunately, the E10 broke after a year, and me wanting to try other IEMs, I went on to buy the sennhieser CX300 II, the Fiio ex1/Dunu Titan 1, the Vsonic GR07, and finally the Soundmagic E80.
    The CX300 II were great earbuds for bloated bass that bled into the mids and highs. The Fiio EX1 were awesome sounding earbuds that lacked any isolation and was unusable in the office. While the Vsonic GR07 classics provide excellent SQ that is clearly better than the E10 and the CX300 II, it was extremely balanced, which lacked any ability to "wow" me. Enter the E80.
     
     
    Build Quality:
    Build quality is above average. The headphone jack is a 120 degrees ish, and seems to be quite solid. While the cable is sturdy, however, I feel like it's a bit too springy. It doesn't like to straighten up and tends to coil around by itself. It's also noticeably microphonic, but that's fixable with any wire clip. The housing seems to be metal/aluminum, so it should be able to take a decent beating. 
     
    Comfort:
    They are relatively comfortable, and these can be used over ear which allow you to use them while exercising. There are plenty of tips included for you to find one that fits. I prefer the included comply tips for maximum comfort. The are relatively light weight, so they don't pop out as long as there's a good seal. Unfortunately, they stick out too much to be used while sleeping. 
     
    Sound Quality:
    These sound very good to me. The low end reaches well into the sub-bass region, while the mid-bass gives my ears a very nice slam for electronic and EDM tracks. These are nowhere near basshead level though, however they do hit lower and harder than the GR07 and the EX1. The midrange is where these shine. They remind me of an improved version of my E10. Vocals are smooth and organic, but most of all, very natural. The mids are forward sounding, reminding me of my HD598. I would put the mids slightly ahead of the GR07 and quite a bit better than the EX1. The highs are detailed and clear, yet not sharp or piercing to my ears. The imaging is accurate and the soundstage is decent, but losing to the EX1 in terms of wideness. In terms of SQ signature, these are closer to the GR07 rather than the Fiio EX1. I prefer the E80 to my GR07. The E80s are definitely more engaging, yet does not overly present any frequency that makes it fatiguing to my ears. 
     
    Value:
    The soundmagic E80 can be had for around $50-70, in the same price range as the EX1 and quite a deal cheaper than the GR07. I feel that these are severely underpriced for the performance. Of course, that's not saying much since I only had a few other IEM to compare, but I don't even want to try any other IEM while having the E80. These are a significant upgrade for the E10s, while costing only $10-30 more than it's little brother. 
     
     
    TLDR:
    Build Quality:
    Fiio EX1 > E80 > GR07 = CX300II > the average earbuds

    Bass Quantity:
    CX300II > E10 > E80 > EX1 = GR07
     
    Bass Quality:
    GR07 > E80 = EX1 > E10 > CX300II 

    Mids:
    E80 > GR07 > EX1 > E10 > CX300II

    Highs:
    EX1 > GR07 > E80 > E10 > CX300II

    Soundstage:
    EX1 > GR07 = E80 > E10 > CX300II

    Isolation:
    E10 = CX300II = E80 =  GR07 > EX1
     
    Comfort 
    E80 = CX300II = E10 > GR07 = EX1

    Value (in my opinion):
    E80 > EX1 = GR07 > E10 > CX300II

    Overall, these E80s are great value for the price, and I can see why many others like them as well.
  4. HiFiChris
    4.5/5,
    "a grown-up E10 with more (esp. upper) treble and better mids"
    Pros - really good soundstage, overall good resolution, price to performance ratio
    Cons - bass could still be a bit faster, springy cable, upper treble could be either higher resolving or a tiny bit more tamed, L/R markers a bit hard to see
    Preamble:

    Before I begin with my actual review, let me say thanks to SoundMAGIC (http://www.soundmagic.com.cn/en/home/Default.html) and especially their European distribution, the KS Distribution (http://www.ksdistribution.co.uk/), for providing me with a sample of the new E80 for an honest, thorough evaluation.

    I don’t think that the Chinese headphone manufacturer SoundMAGIC needs any further introduction, as the company that was founded in 2005 grabbed many people’s attention a couple of years ago when they released their E10 in-ear which caused a wide hype that spread around the whole world. For the paid price of about $50, I found the E10 good, but it also had some things I didn’t like, especially in the area of the mids and bass.
    What the E80 (which has got an MSRP of $99) does better and how it competes against other dynamic driver IEMs in the same price range will come to light in this review with included comparisons.


    Technical Specifications:

    Transducers:    10mm dynamic with neodymium magnet
    Frequency Range: 15 Hz ~ 22 kHz
    DC resistance: 64 +/- 10% Ohms
    Maximum input power: 20mW
    Cable Length: 1.2 m
    Connector: 3.5 mm Stereo, L-style plug, gold plated
    Weight: 13 g


    Delivery Content:

    The plain and rather simple package the E80 arrives in looks familiar with the E10 and doesn’t differ much. There is a large picture of the E80 on the front; the back has got a window on its upper half, which lets you take a look at the IEMs and their redesigned plug. On the back’s lower half is a brief description of the in-ears in multiple languages as well as a listing of the included accessories. On the sides, one can find a description of the company along with the technical specifications and a labelled schematic drawing of the E80.

    Inside, you will find (next to the IEMs, of course) the typical red and black SoundMAGIC carrying case, a shirt clip, three pairs of wide bore silicone tips (S/M/L), three pairs of narrow bore silicone tips (S/M/L), one pair of double-flange silicone tips as well as three pairs of Comply Foam T400 tips (S/M/L).
     

     
     



    Aesthetics, Build Quality:

    Just as the E10, the E80 is made of metal which is also silver in my case (different colour options are available as well). The bodies don’t have any manufacturing flaws, though there is one thing that I like less on the E80: while the E10 has coloured strain reliefs near the metallic cylinders to simplify identification of the correct sides, the E80 has got just small letters and a small tactile bump on the left side.
    The metallic y-split looks familiar and features the serial number next to the SoundMAGIC lettering and a small rubber chin-slider above which could have been a bit larger. The redesigned 3.5 mm stereo connector (which is by the way made of metal as well) is angled by 60°, which I actually like in this case due to its small profile, although I usually only like either straight or 90° L-shaped plugs – but on the E80, it is really nice and I like it.
    Strain reliefs look gentle, but are present on all relevant parts and very flexible as well as effective.
    The cable on the E80 is the same that is used with the E10 or Brainwavz M3. It is twisted and then coated and looks sturdy, but is unfortunately a bit springy.
     

     
     



    Comfort, Isolation:

    As an effect of the rather small size, the E80 is easy to insert and can be worn comfortably. The shape allows wearing it with the cables over the ears as well, which is something that I practise with all of my IEMs, as it improves fit, comfort and reduces microphonics.

    Isolation is rather mediocre, but clearly an improvement over the E10.


    Sound:

    Sound was mainly evaluated with my iBasso DX90 which played FLAC, WAV and MP3 files after I burnt it in for at least 50 hours (just in case). For my review, I also compared the E80 with other IEMs like the Brainwavz M3, Ostry KC06A and SoundMAGIC E10 – the results of the comparison can be found after my analysis and before the conclusion.

    Tonality:

    It is nice to see that SoundMAGIC includes two different kinds of silicone tips that have an influence on tonality.

    Wide Tips: With those wide bore tips, sound can be described as “v-shaped with present mids”, which means that it features emphasised lows and (upper) treble, but prominent mids as well.
    Lows are evenly emphasised by about 6 dB and also include the ground-tone area, where the emphasis reaches up to the lower upper areas, wherefore voices gain a rich and moderately warm character, but don’t appear veiled.
    Mids are boosted a bit, whereby they are rather on the darker side.
    Lower and middle treble are somewhat recessed, but level comes back with a narrow peak, which is also definitely north of the ground-line, in the upper highs.

    Narrow Tips: Interestingly, the narrow bore tips do indeed have quite a larger impact on tonality, thus sound gets darker and especially sub-bass gains audibly some more level along with the mid-bass. The peak in the upper highs gets audibly tamed, but is still slightly north of neutral.
    Due to the more present lows and the tamed upper highs, sound gets overall darker.

    Resolution:

    For a dynamic in-ear in this price range, resolution is pretty good and the SoundMAGIC E80 manages to stay quite effortless and doesn’t lose much control even with fast music.
    Sometimes, treble could be just a tad higher resolving, as it has got a slightly metallic character, but doesn’t really appear much artificial at all, though sibilance is a tiny bit present.
    Lows occur to be quite good: although they are rather soft, they don’t seem slow at all at the same time and have got a really good amount of control to them, which is especially noticeably with fast and complex tracks and ones with double- and triple-bass kicks. With just a bit less softness, the E80 would have got “killer lows” for a dynamic driver IEM – nota bene with the wide bore tips, as with the narrow ones, lows (especially sub-bass) appear somewhat uncontrolled, lose speed and sound muddier.

    Soundstage:

    The E80 adopts the E10’s remarkably well spaciousness and even manages to improve it further. Lateral expansion is really good and wide, but at the same time without neglecting depth. The whole sound is spacious and sounds airy. Instruments are placed very well on the imaginary stage and instrument separation is pretty good, too. Solely layering seems a tad blurry.
    Yes, I’d consider the soundstage of the E80 as being very well-made.

    ---

    vs.:


    SoundMAGIC E10 (wide tips): In short: regarding tonality and technical strengths, the E80 is a definite upgrade over the E10. Basic tonality in the lows is about the same, but the E80 has got the faster and especially more controlled bass, wherefore it appears leaner although it has got a bit more bass according to my measurement graphs I made – due to the slower decay, the E10 sounds bassier and mightier and even a bit boomy, which I kind of disliked a bit, but it is nice to see (/hear) that the E80 got rid of it.
    Mids are, regarding sounding, a clear upgrade. While they seem veiled and coated on the E10 due to the roll-off after 1.5 kHz, they are indeed better on the E80, as it has got more upper treble (/presence area), wherefore voices are still slightly warm and defused, but finally got rid of the veiled and muffled character of the E10.
    Regardless of which of the included tips are used, the E80 has got more middle highs and especially more level in the upper highs, wherefore the darkish character of the E10 wasn’t adopted, but rather a v-shaped fun sounding has been applied – despite, upper highs could, for my tastes, either be a bit less present or higher resolving, as they can be very slightly piercing at times.
    Regarding resolution, the E80 is at least one class above the E10 and also has got the better control and the faster lows. Spaciousness is superior on the E80, as soundstage seems better and more precisely marked.

    Ostry KC06A (treble tips): The sounding is extremely similar – apart from the upper treble peak, which is a bit defused on the Ostry.
    Resolution is very similar on both IEMs and all in all, I’d probably say that the Ostry is maybe the very close winner in this case.
    E80’s bass is faster and better controlled than the Ostry’s and more arid as well. In the treble department (especially the lower), I’d say the KC06A is better, as it appears to be more refined and differentiated.
    Regarding soundstage, both IEMs are quite similar as well, although the SoundMAGIC has got slightly more width.

    Brainwavz M3: The Brainwavz is the more balanced sounding out of the two, but has got a peak in the upper highs as well. In the lows, the M3 is audibly more arid.
    Instrument separation is superior on the IE80’s side, but layering is a bit less blurry on the Brainwavz.
    Regarding resolution, both are quite on par.


    Conclusion:

    SoundMAGIC’s E80 is a really good in-ear which is on a high technical level and I see it definitely as direct upgrade of the E10. Things I didn’t like about the E10 (slow and somewhat undefined lows, veiled and too dark voices) are clearly better on the E80 – bass has got good control and speed, mids are tonally better, although a bit on the warmer and meatier side as well, and spaciousness is more present, with a bigger soundstage.
    On the downside, the cable is springy, lows could be more arid and upper treble either less present or a bit higher resolving.
    Overall, the E80 delivers a fun sounding (which is not exaggerated) in an in-ear that is on a high technical level and very strong for a single-driver dynamic model, which leads me to an overall result of about 4.3 out of 5 stars.
    sodesuka likes this.
  5. mark2410
    4.5/5,
    "SoundMAGIC E80 Quick Review by mark2410"
    Pros - Mids. Neatly sculpted bass. Mids, and the mids.
    Cons - Treble lags a touch. Maybe too middy for some.
    SoundMAGIC E80 Quick Review
     
    Thanks to Hifiheadphones for the sample.
     
    Full review here http://www.head-fi.org/t/777574/soundmagic-e80-review-by-mark2410
     
    Brief:  SoundMAGIC takes it up a notch
     
    Price:  £65 which is about US$100
     
    Specification:  Driver: Dynamic, 10mm, Neodymium, Frequency range: 15Hz - 22kHz, Impedance: 64Ω, Sensitivity: 102dB, Maximum input power: 20mW, Cable: 1.2m, Connector: 3.5mm, angled jack, gold-plated, Weight: 13g
     
    Accessories:  3 pairs dome shaped silicone eartips (S/M/L), 3 pairs flat silicone eartips (S/M/L), 1 pair Double Flange silicone eartips (M), 3 pairs Comply foam tips (S/M/L), Hard carrying case, Cable clip
     
    Build Quality:  They would appear to be great. 
     
    Isolation:  Fairly good.  For a dynamic they are relatively sealed, notably more than the GR07 so you could use them for most duties.  Not really Tube or long flight but you know, fine for a bus or normal traffic.  Easily enough to get you run over too of you aren’t looking.
     
    Comfort/Fit:  Rather good.  I did get a bit of venting issues in my left ear, only the left.  Nothing huge and after a min or so it equalised and was fine.  Comfort was fine too.
     
    Aesthetics:  I, well, I’m not loving the red.  Its just so red and expect mountains of bass, you know a bit of a “mainstream” type sound and these are if anything middy.  Dunno the red just wasn’t doing it for me.
     
    Sound:  Lovely.  SoundMAGIC have long been a fav of mine, with their amazing little PL-50’s as one of my all-time fav’s.  These are dynamics but they retain a near magical mid-range.  Not unlike a GR07 that has been sculpted to make the vocals shine.  Not just shine but soar and sweep and vault and bank and just everything you could vocally want.  The bass is pretty great too, mildly polite but deep down its got a bit of grunt and can almost keep up to the mids.  The treble it’s not quite so grand, good but not amazing.  It can be touch lacking from time to time and it hasn’t the same nuance and detail level the GR07 has and if anything edgy tracks it can be abrasive.  However you stick to those mids and woah are they good.  Heavily acoustic stuff are just exactly what the E80 is made for.  Strings, male or female vocals it really doesn’t matter as it does them all with such passion, neither dry or over creamy, such fluidity out of a dynamic.  Mid heads who want something that can move more air than a singly BA can manage should take a good look at these.
     
    Value:  Lovely.  Not quite the generalist that the GR07 is but these are easily on a par with them and have notably superior mids.  One of the most enjoyable midranges of any dynamic drivered IEM’s.
     
    Pro’s:   Mids.  Neatly sculpted bass. Mids, and the mids.
     
    Con’s:  Treble lags a touch.  Maybe too middy for some.

  6. nmatheis
    4.0/5,
    "SoundMagic E80 Quick Review"
    Pros - Attractive, well-built IEM with good sound quality for the price.
    Cons - Springy cable. Bass could be faster. Lacking detail up top.
    First off, I got the E80 on loan from a generous fellow headfi'er.  You know who you are.  Thanks!
     
    I have absolutely no connection to SoundMagic and have no incentive to compose this review other than to provide my own honest opinion.
     
    I'm going to make this a quick, pictureless review (I know, I know.  Boring, right...).  I'll go through some highlights of what I thought made the E80 special and where I found room for improvement.
     
    For pictures, please check out one of the other five reviews HERE.  They all took absolutely fantabulous pics of these cute little guys!
     
    So, here we go...
     
    ABOUT ME
    I'm a 43 year old music lover who listens to a wide variety of genres and artists (but mostly electronic, metal, and modern composition these days).  I've been enjoying IEM since the venerable Shure E2C was released and have listened to a lot of IEM over the years.  As with a lot of people my age, I've got some hearing issues - some upper frequency loss and mild tinnitus.  So my reviews might be particularly valuable for people in the same boat.
     
    ACCESSORIES
    Since these were a loaner, I just got the E80 with some Lunashops heir-style tips and the carry case.  I have reviewed the provided accessories and think SoundMagic provides a great accessories package with the E80.  I really like it that they provide S, M, and L narrow bore, wide bore, and comply tips.  I also liked the compact semi-rigid carry case.  The only thing missing are ear guides, so those who go for those might be disappointed.  I abhor them, so it wouldn't be a loss for me if I were to purchase the E80.  Good job SoundMagic!  
     
    BUILD
    The E80 are a fairly small, straight barrel single dynamic IEM made of aluminum with some minor plastic accents.  You can choose between a couple colors.  The pair I was loaned were a sexy red color and were quite attractive!  Cable exit is out the back of the barrel.  Luckily SoundMagic provided a good strain relief there.  The nozzle is standard size and has a good lip to see your tips on nice and snug.  It made a nice popping noise when I put the Lunashop tips on.  There was one vent on the shell near the nozzle.
     
    The cable is a bit of a mess, honestly.  It seems to be the trend to affix shiny, springy cables to otherwise nice IEM these days.  It makes the cables hard to wind and increases microphonics.  I just don't get it, and hope the trend ends immediately!  I am glad SoundMagic included a cable cinch, and it's a really thin one.  I haven't seen one of this sort on IEM before.  You'll see it when you check out pics from the other reviews.
     
    Strain reliefs are good.  Nothing to write home about, but they'll do their job quite nicely.
     
    Y splitter and plug housing are both aluminum and color match the shells perfectly to my eye.
     
    Speaking of the plug, it's one of those 45º plugs that some people absolutely abhor.  Not me, I love them - good on you SoundMagic for being an in-betweener!  And the plug has ridges near the insertion point to make it easier to grip when unplugging from your phone or DAP.  Nice touch!  It also fits into smartphone cases, which quite honestly any IEM plug should nowadays.  (Shame on you manufacturers who don't do this!  Get with the times!!!)
     
    Ok, that's it.  Pretty good marks all around here besides the shiny, springy cable.  Seem like they're build pretty well.  Moving on...
     
    ERGONOMICS
    As I mentioned, I'm not a fan of the cable.  It's springy nature increased microphonics and made it more difficult to wear over ear.  The dreaded ear guides would've been useful if I actually wanted to try that.  As with most straight barrel IEM, I much prefer wearing them down and relying on the cable cinch + shirt clip to attenuate any microphonics, finding it much easier to get a good fit and seal.  The E80 were no exception.  I'm sure plenty of you will enjoy wearing them up.  Not me.  Once I got them into my ears, I found them really comfortable and easy to maintain a good seal.
     
    ISOLATION
    It's ok.  I've had better, but not too bad.
     
    SOUND
    As I mention in every review, I find describing what I hear a lot more difficult than some but enjoy trying.  It's a work in progress...
     
    For context, I really like the TPEOS Altone200's sound signature and can listen to it for long periods at a stretch out of my X5 without feeling fatigue.
     
    Also for context, I didn't tip roll with these - just used the provided tips.  They sealed well and were comfortable.
     
    I'd describe the E80 as having fairly full, round bass that's a bit slow, sweet mids, and slightly attenuated highs.  I'll try to explain with some examples.

    I listened to the E80 for a few days as my primary IEM with my Fiio X5 and iPhone + Calyx PaT and then did some comparative listening with a few IEM I thought would be of interest - the RHA MA750 and VSONIC VSD5 and ANV16.
     
    Here's what I found...
     
    vs. VSD5
    After becoming accustomed to the E80, the VSD5 sounds edgy and lacking in bass extension and quantity.  When I go back to the E80 after listening to a few songs with the VSD5, I notice that I'm missing some upper end details with E80 that I heard clearly with the VSD5.  A particularly noticeable example was one point in a song where the drummer simultaneously hit the kick drums and cymbals.  I can clearly hear kick drums and cymbals with VSD5, but the bass isn't as punchy as it should be.  With the E80, I get one punchy, sharp sound but can't separate out the cymbals from the kick drum.  It's as if the kick drums just sound a bit star for some reason.
     
    After listening to E80 for awhile, the VSD5 sounds stretched out and diluted. Give it a bit, and it sounds natural. Switch back to E80, and it sounds overly intimate. Give it some time, and it sounds just fine.  Our brains are just funny that way!
     
    Oh yeah, I'm not a big fan of VSD5 housing shape / construction.  It's got sharp angles, you can feel seams, and the strain reliefs aren't built to inspire confidence.
     
    Just a note that I found this comparison challenging because these two have quite different presentations, making comparison difficult - apples to oranges type stuff and all.  
     
    Overall, I'm giving the battle to the E80 even though I really missed some of the details the VSD5 can provide.  The E80 just sounds more natural to my ears and is easier to listen to for longer periods of time.
     
     
    vs. ANV16
    Another complementary pairing, although ANV16 pulls it off much better than VSD5.
     
    To set the stage, ANV16 is a lean / dry sound signature.  There's nothing sweet about it to my ears.  Bass isn't elevated at all and sounds tighter and more linear than VSD5.  It doesn't sound as edgy as VSD5 and has more air and better soundstage.
     
    As with the VSD5, I was able to clearly distinguish the kick drums and cymbals in the passage I mentioned above, and it sounded much tighter than VSD5.
     
    Compared to the E80, the ANV16 has tighter bass but with a lot less quantity, dry mids, and more upper mid and treble presence.  Bouncing between these two makes E80 drums sound slow and bloated.  I'm also missing out on details up top with E80 that I'm getting with ANV16.  E80's soundstage again sounds overly intimate.  Moving to ANV16 from E80 makes the ANV16 sound thin / diluted but also  quick / crisp / dry. 
     
    ANV16 have much better build and ergonomics than VSD5 and quite different vs. E80.  I love, love, love the ANV16's rotating nozzle!!!
     
    It's hard for me to pick a winner here because I think they're both quite good at the presentation they're shooting for.  I'd pick ANV16 for shorter, more detail oriented listening and E80 for longer, relaxed listening sessions.
     
    vs. MA750
    ​Whew, finally a much easier comparison...
     
    These aren't nearly so different. E80 wins again. Bass is similar but has a bit more attack than E80.  MA750 has recessed mids that make me miss the E80's sweet mids.  As with E80, I still can't clearly distinguish kick drum and cymbal with MA750, again getting more or less one sound like a sharp kick drum.
     
    For me, E80's ergonomics just completely destroy the MA750's, although the MA750 are built to last!  I swear you could use MA750 as a self-defense weapon!!!
     
    Hands down, no contest, the E80 is the clear winner here!
     
    Sound Wrap-up
    The E80 leave me wishing for quicker bass attack to speed things up a bit down there.  Leave the mids alone, as they're really nice.  A bit more detail up top so I don't miss things would be nice.  Overall, these are a nice, relaxed sound signature for longer listening sessions with just enough sparkle up top to keep things interesting.  Again, I love Altone200, so keep that in mind when gauging how I hear the E80!
     
    SUMMARY
    The SoundMagic E80 are an attractive, ergonomic IEM with a slight bass emphasis, sweet mids, and relaxed upper end.  It's got a lot going for it, even if it's not my preferred sound signature.  From the reviews so far, it's obvious that a lot of people will like, if not love the E80.  Personally, I'd like to see a more supple, less microphonic cable.  I'd also prefer tighter / quicker bass and more detail retrieval.  
    Ap616, RedTwilight and Light - Man like this.
  7. peter123
    5.0/5,
    "A magic moment!"
    Pros - Sound, build, accessories and fit
    Cons - Nothing at this price
    The Soundmagic E80 was purchased by me from Penon Audio.  I’m not in any way affiliated with Penon Audio or Soundmagic.
     
    The price was $69 when I bought them and this is where I ordered them from:
     
    http://penonaudio.com/SoundMAGIC-E80
     
    About me:
    I’m a 42 year old music and sound lover that changed my focus from speakers to headphones and IEM’s about five years ago. At that time I realized that it wasn’t realistic for me to have all the different setups that I wanted and still house a family of four children and a wife so my interest turned first to full sized headphones and later also IEM’s.
     
    My preferences are towards full sized open headphones and I believe that also says something about what kind of sound signature I prefer (large soundstage in all directions, balanced and organic sound).
     
    My music preferences are pretty much all over the place (only excluding classical music, jazz and really heavy metal). My all-time favorite band is Depeche Mode although I also listen to a lot of grunge/indie, singer/songwriter/acoustical stuff as well as the typical top 40 music.
     
    I do not use EQ, ever.
     
    I’m a sucker for value for money on most things in life, Head-Fi related stuff is no exception.
     
    Built and accessories:
    The Soundmagic E80’s are a single dynamic driver in ear monitor. They’re available in two models, one with microphone (E80S) and one without microphone (E80). I’ve got the version without a microphone. The housing is made from metal and they’re quiet short and wide and also very lightweight.  The short house and nozzle makes them very comfortable to wear and they work well to use even when lying on your side with you head on the pillow.
     
    The cable is L-shaped with a 45 degree angle and the chin slider is also in place on them.
     
    The retail package is nice and pretty basic for IEM’s in this price bracket:
     

     

     
    The cable is coated with some rubber material and do have quite a bit of microphonics if worn straight down.   Luckily they can easily be worn over the ears as well and I prefer to wear them this way it’s not only the most comfortable way but it also pretty much eliminates the mentioned microphonics. Initially I thought that the cable was a bit too stiff but after extensive use I’m not really bothered from it anymore.
     
    Overall they feel simple and solid and but still well thought trough in their construction.
     
    The accessories pack is very good and includes the following:
    3 pairs Comply T400 tips (S,M,L)
    3 pairs wide bore silicon tips (S,M,L)
    3 pairs narrow bore silicon tips (S,M,L)
    1 pair double flange tips
    1 Shirt clip
    1 zipped case to store them in when not in use
     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     
     
    As already mentioned I purchased my pair from Penon Audio and they were so kind to include an extra bag of tips as well:
     

     
    The Soundmagic E80’s are not as easy to drive as many other IEM’s and it does perform best with a more powerful source than my weak (in power) Sony Z3 Compact phone.
     
    The specs:
    Housing
    Metal
    Driver Unit
    Dynamic 10mm, Neodymium
    Frequenzy range
    15Hz-22KHz
    Sensitivity
    102 dB
    Impedance
    64 ohm
    Cable lenght
    1.2m
    Weight
    13g

     
    Sound:
    I’ve used these as my main IEM on a three weeks holiday to Spain and they’ve played for well over 100 hours. I’ve used them both around the house and when out and about and I haven’t really found any significant weaknesses in the way they’re designed.
     
    First I’d like to say that for me this was not an IEM that impressed me immediately with razor sharp clarity or thumping bass but rather one that grow over time (and still does) surprising me several times with its performance.
    I’ve used them with my Sony Xperia Z3 Compact phone (with and without the Elecom LBT-PAR500), FiiO X3/Bluebird 6.0 combo, the Gekk Out 720 and my Dragonfly/Cayin C5 combo and they’ve worked very well with all of them except directly from my phone that lacked enough power to get them to sufficient volume with some music.
     

     
    Demo list:
    Mark Knopfler – Sailing to Philadelphia
    Røyksopp (Feat.Susanne Sundfør) – Save Me
    Ane Brun – These Days
    Michael Jackson – Dirty Diana
    Metallica – Die Die My Darling
    The Peter Malick Group – Immigrant
    Eva Cassidy – Songbird
    Thomas Dybdahl – A Lovestory
    Norah Jones – Don’t Know Why
    Celldweller – Unshakeable
    Jack Johnson – Better Together
    Seinabo Sey – Younger (Kygo remix)
    Dire Straits- So Far Away
    Passenger – Let Her Go
    Lupe Fiasco - Deliver
    Morrissey – Earth Is the Loneliest Planet
     
    I like these best with wide bore tips but I don’t find them to be very tip dependent. Using wide bore tips makes soundstage slightly wider and treble more pronounced to my ears.
     
    The overall sound signature is balanced and smooth but still lively enough to be entertaining. The soundstage width is better than average for an IEM and depth is also very good. The mids are forward in its presentation and I don’t find them to be neither bright nor dark sounding. The E80’s just feel very natural and organic with great separation and space between the instruments.
     
    The lows have great extension and sub-bass have more impact than mid- and higher bass.  Initially I thought that the lack of mid-bass impact made them less suited for bass driven electronic music but after a lot of usage I find them to be enjoyable for all kinds of music.  Bass-heads would most likely want to look at something else due to the lack of mid-bass presence. The bass is not the fastest but it still feels well controlled and has no bleeding whatsoever.
     
    The midrange is forward and well balanced. The presentation is liquid and smooth and both male and female voices sound very natural. The midrange is probably the strongest part in the presentation on the E80’s although they’re not bad in any of the other areas either.
     
    The treble is also very good and I think that they remind me a lot of the ATH-CKR9’s in the way the treble is presented. It’s smooth but still with very good extension without any hint of sibliance.  
     
    Although the E80’s don’t have the best clarity and micro details they still feel very believable in their overall presentation and combined with the great sub-bass extension, liquid mids and excellent treble they make an very enjoyable listening.
     
    Comparison:
    Please note that the comments in the comparison section are not in absolute terms but in comparison between subject A and B. This means (as an example) that if subject A is found to be brighter than subject B it does not necessarily mean that subject B is bright sounding in absolute terms. I hope this makes sense.
     

     
    Soundmagic E80 vs ATH-CKR9LTD:
    Compared to the E80’s the CKR9LTD’s has a thicker sound with better clarity and micro details. The CKR9LTD’s has more impact from sub-bass to upper bass giving the bass more layers and the overall sound a better depth. The bass on the CKR9LTD’s is also tighter and faster and the sub-bass do dig even deeper. The mids are equally forward on both but once again the CKR’s has a fuller presentation. Separation is similar on both but the E80’s actually seem to have more air between the instruments, probably due to the toned down mid-bass. As already mentioned the treble is very similar on the two but the E80’s are slightly thinner in the presentation here as well.
     
    The E80’s actually share quite a bit of its sound signature with the CKR9, 9LTD and 10 and in my book this is a good thing, especially considering the price of the E80’s. The biggest difference is in the bass department (in various degrees between the different CKR models).
     
    I find them both very comfortable.
     
     The CKR9LTD’s are easier to drive.
     
    Isolation is pretty similar on the two.
      
    Soundmagic E80 vs Havi B3 Pro1:
    Compared to the E80’s the Havi’s has a larger soundstage width and an overall thinner presentation. The E80’s has significantly more sub-bass extension and impact while mid- and upper bass is pretty similar on both. The B3’s are a bit more relaxed while the E80’s has more attack and better speed. The voice reproduction on the B3’s is more natural to my ears but the E80’s are not far behind which is very impressive since I think that voices on the B3’s are among the best I’ve ever heard. Separation is slightly better on the B3’s but the E80’s are not far behind here either and I also find the B3’s to have even more air between instruments and a bit more timber to the notes.
     
    These two are quiet similar in some aspects such as the toned down mid-bass (which I personally like) and great separation and overall tonal balance. The biggest difference between the two is the difference in the sub-bass impact.
     
    The B3’s are over ear design and although I usually like that the best I’d say that I find the ergonomics on the E80’s to be better.
     
    The B3’s are harder to drive compared to the E80’s.
     
    The E80’s has better isolation.
     
    Soundmagic E80 vs Trinity Audio Delta (with silver filters):
    Compared to the E80’s the Delta’s has significantly more mid bass impact while the E80’s has a bit deeper sub-bass. The Delta’s also has more bass bloom into the lower mids. The higher midrange on the Delta’s are more forward and the Delta’s feel less relaxed compared to the liquid mids on the E80’s. The Delta’s also sound more hollow and metallic compared to the organic and more natural presentation on the E80’s. The clarity on the Delta’s is better while the E80’s wins out in separation and soundstage in all directions. The Delta’s can actually sound slightly congested in comparison.
     
    Out of the three IEM’s in my comparison these two are the most different from each other in the way they sound: One (the E80’s) being organic and liquid and the other (the Delta’s) having great clarity and a more lively sound.
     
    I like the ergonomics on both these IEM’s and fin them equally comfortable.
     
    The E80’s are slightly harder to drive.
     
    Isolation is significantly better on the E80’s.
     
    Summary:
    The Soundmagic E80’s is probably the best value (for my preferences) I’ve come across since I got the Havi B3’s almost two years ago.  It doesn’t stop there though the build quality, accessories pack and sound quality combined makes it an excellent performer not just in its price range but way beyond that as well.
     
    I’d recommend anyone looking for a balanced and organic but yet entertaining sound to add the E80’s to their shortlist.
  8. twister6
    4.5/5,
    "Reference Series flagship from SoundMagic"
    Pros - neutral revealing sound, durable build, nice case, and full set of Comply tips
    Cons - cable is a little springy, L/R marking is not as clear, chin slider is hard to slide

    Before I start my review, I would like to Thank SoundMagic for providing me with a review sample in exchange for my honest opinion.
     
    If you live in US, they are currently available at a discounted price on http://www.miccastore.com/soundmagic-e80-noise-isolating-inear-headphones-p-138.html and for those outside of US on http://penonaudio.com/SoundMAGIC-E80. More info could be found on their original website in this reference: http://www.soundmagic.com.cn/cn/Upload/E80S_B.jpg
     
    Also, want to bring to everyone's attention another great E80 review posted by Vince/Hisoundfi: http://www.head-fi.org/products/soundmagic-e80-in-ear-monitor-headphone/reviews/13331
     

     
    When the original SoundMagic E10 was released almost 4 years ago, they shocked everybody with their incredible price/performance ratio.  Years later and with a number of rewards under their belt, they still hold their own in sound and build quality when compared to other more expensive IEMs.  It looks like guys at SoundMagic haven’t been sitting still and decided to expand their lineup of more fun-tuned IEMs with a new Reference Series.  I just had a chance to review their flagship E80 model from this collection, and here is what I found.
     
    There are a lot of similarities in packaging with their original E10.  It arrived in the same compact box with a cover image of E80, brief but accurate summary of a sound description and a design bullet points, a detailed tech spec, and a clear display window on the back with headphones showing right through it – a very efficient presentation without any unnecessary magnetic flip cover or larger than needed box.
     
    Unboxing.
     

     

     

     

     
     
    Without wasting a square inch of the space, SoundMagic packed the box very efficiently with a foam cutout piece holding E80 IEMs and a spacious hard case holding all the eartips.  Though nothing can beat Brainwavz IEM cases, I found SoundMagic square IEM case with pockets on each side to be my 2nd favorite.  As a matter of fact, it’s spacious enough to hold comfortably both E10 and E80 where I have both of them now, and red zipper accent makes it stand out with red design of E-series IEMs.  Keep in mind, other finish colors might be available soon, but hasn’t been released yet.
     
    In addition to a cable clip, which you may or may not use and I do appreciate it being included separately rather than attached, there is also a plethora of included eartips.  You have 3 pairs of silicone S/M/L with narrow bore opening, 3 pairs of silicone S/M/L with wide bore opening, a pair of large double-flange tip, and 3 pairs of genuine Comply Foam eartips in S/M/L.  Though other silicone tips are generic, 3 pairs of Comply Foam tips have a $15 value you are getting along with a quality hard shell zippered cases.
     
    Accessories.
     

     

     

     

     
     
    As you can see, I already mentioned a few times the value E80 brings to the table in terms of its pricing, accessories, and also a build quality with all metal construction.  Everything from slim metal housing of gold plated 270deg headphone plug with a nice rubbery strain relief, to a slim cylindrical metal y-splitter with a great strain relief and a tight rubber chin-slider, and going up to metal barrel shells with a molded cap piece on the back flowing into a strain relief – all this speaks highly of a durable build quality.
     
    I like 270deg angled headphone connectors since they are perfect when used with a phone or a DAP in your pocket.  Cable is very similar to E10 with a twisted wire which is shrink-wrapped in a tight rubbery shielding.  Cable has some microphonics effect, also a little springy, and yet still soft enough for an easy storage management.  I have seen a lot worse stiff wires, so this one is not that bad in comparison.
     
    Earpieces are relatively small with a smooth rounded short barrel shape and rather unique wire attachment on the back.  Though I’m more used to a traditional wire connection from the bottom of the shell, SoundMagic wire attachment felt confident.  There is a vent at the base of the nozzle, and L/R marking at the bottom of the shell.  A small font in white color with a circle around it makes it a bit hard to read which is important considering symmetrical design, so I would like to see a better ID, perhaps making a Left side dot-bump on a strain relief a little bit bigger.
     
    Sound isolation is controlled by eartip selection, and you can get a decent level with a right seal.  Due to my wide and shallow inner ear, I found the best sound balance using UE900 eartips.  It seems that narrow boar stock tips and wide boar spiral dots didn’t provide a good enough balance between low end and treble, while using UE tips did the trick.
     
    Design details.
     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     
     
    Considering this E80 model is part of a new SoundMagic Reference Series, I’m sure a lot of you are curious to find out how they sound.  E80 has a neutral revealing bright sound with a touch of mid-forward signature.  I found it to have an excellent low end and treble extension, where it's all about quality rather than quantity, and a nice airy soundstage with a good level of depth.  Imaging is not exactly 3D, but it still has a good positioning of instruments thanks to an excellent separation of sounds with a decent layering effect between instruments and vocals.
     
    I find their low end to be a touch north of neutral, but it's not boosted or exaggerated.  Very natural balance between intelligent sub-bass rumble (only comes out to play when called upon) and a tight mid-bass punch.  There is no spillage into lower mids, bass is under control, and in perfect harmony with the rest of the spectrum.
     
    Lower mids are not too thin or too thick, with a bit of warmth that gives sound a convincing natural body.  Upper mids are a bit forward, bright and detailed, and never crossing analytical threshold or becoming harsh.  Vocals sound bright and clear, a bit less organic in comparison to a slew of warm multi-BA driver IEMs I have been listening to lately, but it still smooth, never becoming harsh or grainy.
     
    Treble has an excellent extension with a bright crisp sound.  I'm very cautious using “bright” in describing treble because it always leads to sibilance, but in here SoundMagic managed to tune their treble without crossing that sibilance threshold, while still remaining bright, crisp, and airy.
     
    I thought at first RE400 and B3 Pro I would be an interesting comparison due to their neutral and warmish nature, but I felt that E80 was in slightly different category with its brighter signature.  Here are some of the comparisons.
     
    E80 vs E10 - E10 mid-bass punch is stronger and a lot faster, mids a more recessed and not as smooth and organic as E80, treble is very similar and so does a soundstage.
     
    E80 vs KC06A - KC has a little more exaggerate bass, elevated quantity of sub-bass and mid-bass, a very similar lower mids, while E80 upper mids are a little smoother, and also both have a similar treble.  It will probably sound closer to KC06, due to lower bass quantity, but I still find E80 to be smoother and more transparent.
     
    E80 vs UE600 – both have a very similar low end, but 600 mids are more upfront, making their signature a bit more mid-centric vs E80 being more neutral and balanced, and also 600 treble doesn't have as good extension as E80.  E80 mids are a bit smoother, and also it has less background hissing.
     
    E80 vs VSD3 - VSD3 has stronger mid-bass punch, more quantity for sure; upper mids are a bit more upfront being brighter and harsher, while E80 mids are more neutral and smoother in comparison.  Also, VSD3 treble is not as extended as E80.
     
    E80 vs IM50 - IM50 has a stronger and faster mid-bass punch and deeper sub-bass, warmer mid, and having treble extension which doesn’t quite reaches E80 level.
     
    Conclusion.
     
    I typically stir away from neutral sound that is tuned toward bright signature because I’m “allergic” to analytical harsh sound.  Here I believe SoundMagic hit a sweet spot with E80 that "magically" draws you right into its "sound" filled with revealing details without any exaggerated peaks.  Sound is neutral, but it’s not flat-neutral, and actually very engaging.  To be honest, I was a big worried when I read “reference” series name, thinking it will have a bright analytical signature.  Instead, I was pleasantly surprised with a sound that is easy on your ears, gives you plenty of revealing details, even has a touch of a fun bass, and still great for an extended listening period without causing ear fatigue.  Definitely recommend this one!
  9. Zelda
    5.0/5,
    "The Transparency Wizard, a new Reference"
    Pros - Design, Excellent accessory pack, Outstanding Sound Quality. 6 stars rating!
    Cons - Cable is a bit springy and noisy.
    Full E50 & E50 review here:
    http://www.head-fi.org/t/772661/soundmagic-e50-e80-story-of-two-magicians-a-review
     

     
     
    The E80 is quite the game changer and will redefine what a truly balanced and neutral earphone should be like, and not just for the ridiculous $50-60 price. The E80 is a newcomer that simply competes among the best $150 sets (and I'd dare to say even $200). It does remind a lot of the old RE-0 and the last year both Ostry winners that made quite a stir (and both are still considered among the best $100 earphones nowadays). Yet, the E80 has the edge over those and has its aim set straight to the higher priced ones, like the RHA MA750, Dunu Titan1, Vsonic GR07 and T-Peos Altone200. Furthermore, the E80 might be found even more balanced than these, but of course it comes in exchange of less a "fun" and lively presentation, with less bass strength and treble brightness.
     
    The keyword to describe the E80 would be 'transparency'. It's pretty much a perfect neutrality with the dynamics and natural warmth each dynamic driver would have. But transparency is truly outstanding, too true to the source in use, be it bass, treble or stage. This would make it harder to describe the kind of sound of the earphone, but let's give a general idea of it.
     
    The bass on the SM E80 is very tight and quick, slightly punchy, fast in attack and natural in decay. As it follows the neutral signature, it does lack in body and weight, and while as not as deep as the E50, it extends further without effort. Good thing is that despite the lower quantity, the E80 responds very nice to EQ which may bring some extra amount for those who really need it.
     
    Midrange is very interesting, boosting a very high level of detail and resolution with the outstanding transparency and a delicate sweetness on it. It's hard to find such a nice mixture without going into a more analytical or drier signature (and higher price). SoundMagic made quite an achievement here with the E80 mids. The E50 is thicker and sweeter but also slower and fairly less detailed. The E80 midrange is smooth and very liquid, and shows a high sense of air and separates better each instrument and voice. While very neutral, it is difficult to define whether the mids are placed a bit forward or distant as the transparent sound makes them very true to the source and music in play. Whichever the case, the E80 won't be a V-shaped sound anytime soon.
     
    As to complete the whole neutral balance and bring details forward, the treble is slightly pushed towards the bright side. Luckily, the 64 ohm impedance makes itself obvious, as the highs won't show a hint of unnecessary sibilance or sharpness even at moderate to higher volume. The stronger source could play an important role here to add more energy if needed and open up an even higher resolution, but still the E80 will be enough on its own.
    twister6 and orion23rigel like this.
  10. Hisoundfi
    4.5/5,
    "Do you believe in magic? The Soundmagic E80 in-ear monitor headphone"
    Pros - Audiophile sound quality, Fantastic resolution, timbre and separation, Great accessories package, Out of this world price to performance ratio
    Cons - Cable has a lot of spring and memory (controlled with chin slider)
    At the time this review was written, the Soundmagic E80 in-ear monitor was on sale for $51.99 USD on Micca Store’s website. Here is a link to a listing of their product at the time of the review:

    http://www.miccastore.com/soundmagic-e80-noise-isolating-inear-headphones-p-138.html
     
    Introduction
    Reviewing headphones is a labor of love. To be completely honest, the better an earphone is, the easier it is to write a review. While many earphones fit into their respective price point in terms of build and sound quality, I am occasionally blessed with an opportunity to cover an earphone that reminds me of why I still live in the “budget-fi” world. Simply put, there are earphones that come in under the hundred dollar mark that set themselves apart from their competition, and give products that cost much more a run for their money. Today I have the opportunity to cover a real gem in the “budget-fi” realm, the Soundmagic E80 in-ear monitor.
     
    A few years back, Soundmagic raised the bar on the market for in-ears. They released the E10, an in-ear monitor that put many much higher priced earphones to shame with their ergonomic design and phenomenal sound. Several other models were released, including one of my all time favorites, the E30 (still one of my favorites to date). Other notable products are their full size headphones (HP100, HP150, HP200), as well as the PL and ES series of IEMs. Here is a link to their official website:
     
    http://www.soundmagic.com.cn/en/home/Default.html
     
    When Soundmagic reached out to me to review their new E50 and E80 earphones, I was ecstatic. Not only was I curious to try a new earphone from them, I was already a fan having owned several of their products.
     
    It is my pleasure today to present the new flagship of their Reference Series, the Soundmagic E80 in-ear monitor. It is an extraordinary earphone at a price that is almost too good to be true.
     
    Note: I also reviewed the Soundmagic E50 in-ear monitor. Here is a link to the review for them:
     
    http://www.head-fi.org/products/soundmagic-e50-e50s/reviews/13363

    Disclaimer
    I was given an opportunity to cover the E80 and E50 in exchange for my honest opinion and review. I am in no way affiliated with Soundmagic.
     
    My Background
    I AM NOT a numbers and graphs audiophile or sound engineer. Personal audio enthusiast? Absolutely! Headphone junkie? Possibly…
     
    There’s something about quality DAPs, DACs, Amplifiers and Earphones that intrigues me, especially if they can be had for low prices. I will buy the $5 to $500 earphone that looks promising, in hopes that I will discover that one new gem that can compete with the big names in this industry. If you look at my Head-Fi profile you will see that I have purchased MANY different headphones and earphones, ranging from from dirt cheap to higher end products. For me, this hobby is more about getting great price to performance ratio from a product, and have a variety of different gears with varying builds and sound to mix and match. With personal audio gear, we tend to pay a lot of money for minor upgrades. One thing I’ve learned over the last few years is that just because a headphone has a higher price tag, it doesn’t mean that it has superior build and sound quality.
     
    I’m always looking for great audio at a great price. I’m after headphones and IEMs that give me the “WOW” factor. I can appreciate different builds and sound signatures as long as they are ergonomic, and the sound is pleasing to the ear. It is my pleasure to share my experiences with audio products and make recommendations based gear I have owned and used.
     
    ~*~*REVIEW*~*~
    The Package came in a black and white box much similar to their previous reference series models. The front of the box had a picture of the housings and the product name along with a few brief notes describing them. The back of the box had a clear cellophane coated cutout showing the actual housings, along with a list of the accessories in eight different languages.


    Specifications:
    *Transducers:    10mm dynamic with neodymium magnet
    *Frequency Range: 15Hz~22KHz
    *DC resistance: 64+-10%Ohms
    *Maximum input power: 20mW
    *Cable Length: 1.2m
    *Connector: 3.5mm Stereo, 60 degree L-style plug, gold plated
    *Weight: 13g

    Accessories:
    *3 pairs silicone narrow bore tips (S,M,L)
    *3 pairs silicone wide bore tips (S,M,L)   
    *1 pair silicone double flange tips (M)
    *3 pairs Comply foam tips (S,M,L)
    *Cable clip
    *Semi hard zipper carrying case                                                             

    There are plenty of tips for just about everyone to get a secure fit and seal.
     
    Housings
    The E80 is a barrel shaped housing consisting of mostly metal. It has a short and slightly wider than normal nozzle. There is a venting hole on the bottom where the nozzle meets the housing. The back of the housing has a unique connection, using a rigid rubber backing that operates as the strain relief and leads to the cable. Everything is well built and very smartly designed. I have no complaints and find the design to be sleek and solid.

     

     

     
    Cable, Y-Split, Cable Jack, Strain Reliefs
    The cable is a shiny rubber coated wire that is the same material as the reference series cables of the later runs of the E10 and E30. One thing I wasn’t fond of was the amount of spring and memory of the cable. Its saving grace was a very useful chin slider that allowed me to negate the spring of the cable by snugging the cable into place under my chin or behind my neck. The Y-split had a rubber strain relief with a metal exterior that matched the rest of the cable and had the Soundmagic logo along with a specific serial number. The cable Jack was a sixty degree angled plug that is constructed of metal and gold plating and has a black rubber strain relief. The outside of the cable jack sported the E80 logo. Aside from the spring and memory of the cable (which is controlled by using the chin slider) everything is really well done.

     
    Ergonomics, Fit and Microphonics
    The E80 has a great fit. With the large selection of tips that come in the package it was easy to find a tip that seals well. The included chin slider made it easy to wear them under or over the ear. They were very comfortable and I had no issues wearing them for extended periods of time. They are one of the better fitting IEMs I’ve experienced.
     
     
    Functionality
    My pair of E80 didn’t come a microphone or remote. I assume there will be a model that will feature this coming up.
     
    Sound Review & Materials
    I primarily did my demo with my usual gear. I used an LG-G3 with the latest firmware, and Sony Walkman F806/Cayin C5 amplifier for portable use. For desktop I used my Toshiba Satellite Laptop in combination with a HIFIMEDIY Sabre ES9023 USB DAC/Bravo Audio Ocean Tube amplifier with a Mullard 12AU7 tube for higher impedance, and a Fiio E18 USB DAC & Amplifier for lower impedance products. Both were run at 24 bit, 96000 Hz. I also tested them with other DAPs/DACs and amplifiers as well. I used Google Music downloaded in its highest download quality (320 KBPS) and I also streamed FLAC via Tidal streaming service. I make sure that any gear I tested has has enough time play time for me to be able to confidently describe their sound.
     
    I used my usual same songs for testing gear:
    “Limit to your love” by James Blake (bass speed, punch, response)
    “Doin’ it Right” by Daft Punk (sub bass)
    “Get lucky” by Daft Punk (bass to midrange transition resolution, male vocals)
    “Madness” by Muse (soundstage, separation)
    “Some nights” by Fun (soundstage and male vocals)
    “The soundmaker” by Rodrigo y Gabriela (texture and imaging)
    “Bassically” by Tei Shi (bass to midrange resolution, female vocals)
    “Skinny Love” performed by Birdie (female vocals, acoustic playback)
    “One” by Ed Sheeran (male vocals, acoustic playback)
    “Outlands” from the Tron Legacy Soundtrack (symphonic presentation, imaging)
    “Sultans of swing” by Dire Straits (detail, separation, balance)
    “And Justic for All” by Metallica (driver distortion, treble response, rock playback)
    “Ten thousand fists” by Disturbed (driver distortion, treble response, rock playback)
     
    Note: Other tracks were used, but the listed songs were primarily used to asses and break down the gear’s response.
     
     
    Sound Signature
    This quickly became a personal favorite in terms of sound. It is one of the most impressive midrange presentations I’ve heard in any earphone, whether it be full size cans or in-ear monitors. The sound is organic and lush, and you won’t feel like anything is missing. There are no outrageous spikes or dips. They play every genre or music well. They are easy to listen to for extended periods of time. It is truly a complete package in terms of sonic presentation.
     
    Note: The E80 will work with a device like a cell phone and sound great, but they do call for more power than the average in-ear monitor. Its power requirements are somewhere along the lines of the Havi B3 Pro 1, maybe a touch less. I found a portable amplifier helped to get the best sound quality out of them. They sounded especially great with my Soundmagic A10 amplifier. However, most amplifiers should suffice.
     
    Note: Tip selection plays a considerable part in how they sound. Narrow bore tips brings the bass and treble a little more forward as compared to the wider bore tips. Comply foam tips seemed to render the most balanced sound from bass to midrange, and smoothed out the treble a bit. Wide bore tips rendered a very lush midrange with plenty of bass response and treble presence and was my preferred tip, with Comply foam coming in a close second. I will report my impressions based on using the wide bore silicone tips in my sound review.
     
    Bass
    The bass on the E80 has no limit in terms of extension. It goes as low as you can hear and then some. It isn’t necessarily the tightest bass, but it has very nice presence and hits every note with ease. It does take a very small step back from the midrange, but not in a bad way by any means. It has punch that could be tighter, but it works really well and supports an astonishingly good midrange. I think the best way to describe it would be powerful, smooth, and not overbearing in any way. It works well with every genre of music.
     
    Midrange
    I absolutely adore the midrange of the E80. It is lush with plenty of timbre and fabulous resolution. It is relatively balanced with a warm tilt. Vocals sound BEAUTIFUL with these! Male and female vocals sounded warm and natural. Midrange instruments could be felt as well as heard. I think the thing about them that is so special is their organic and sound that was able to also have an incredible amount of timbre at the same time. Separation of sounds is top notch. These sound very high end to my ears, and I don’t know if there will be anyone who can find any fault in the midrange of the E80.
     
    Treble
    Treble is universally well done so that anyone can enjoy it. It is as crisp as it can be without being harsh. There is great separation and detail. It is one of the better treble earphones I’ve heard at any price range. While many high end earphones have a spike to give listeners a sense of top end extension, the E80 takes a different approach. I think it is perfectly positioned so those who are sensitive to harsh treble can appreciate it, and those who are not will not find it lacking whatsoever.
     
    Sound Stage and Imaging
    The low end extension is awesome, giving it great sound stage depth. forward mid range and plenty of timbre and resolution, giving the listener a great sense of space. Treble is very natural and engaging, but doesn’t spike. Because of this a select few might find the top end to not be as extended as other earphones. Imaging is far better than average for a single dynamic driver earphone, but not as good as some other much higher priced IEMs I’ve heard. For its price point it is definitely one of, if not the best I’ve heard.
     
    Comparisons
    Dunu Titan ($100 to $130 USD on Many Sites)
    “How does it compare to the Titan?” seems to be the big question these days. There’s no denying the Titan is great.
     
    Both earphones have bass responses that could be a bit tighter. I personally prefer the bass tuning of the E80 because it is more extended into sub bass regions, and its extension is limitless. Doing an A-B comparison, the Titan mid bass really seems to jump out in front and make them seem a hair more unnatural to my ears. Midrange on the E80 has a more natural and organic presentation with more timbre. I prefer the midrange on the E80 over the Titan by a considerable margin. Let that be a testament to how good the E80 midrange is, because anyone who has heard the midrange of the Titan knows it is excellent. I give a slight edge to the Titan in terms of treble response thanks to its top end shimmer and detail, but it can also be sibilant and fatiguing with some genres of music. On a whole, I prefer the sound of the E80.
     
    Build quality goes to the Titan. Their cloth covered cable is more flexible and has less spring and memory. Under the ear fit goes to the Titan, but over the ear fit goes to the E80, as swapping channels to accomplish this isn’t necessary. I consider the Accessories to be a tie. Both offer a very nice carrying case and great selections of tips.
     
    Would I take the E80 over the Titan? I guess it comes down to preference. The more natural presentation and timbre makes the E80 a more enjoyable listen to my ears. Although the under ear fit of the Titan is superior, the fit of the E80 is more universal (I can go over the ear without swapping channels). The case is not as solid, but it is also less prone to scratches. Your mileage may vary, but if I had to choose between the two,I would pick the E80. However, both are fantastic and you can’t go wrong with either.
     
    Did I mention the E80 are fifty to eighty dollars cheaper?
     
    Soundmagic E50 ($45 USD on Micca Store)
    The E50 is the other model released in the reference series. It is more V-shaped. Both offer similar resolution. This one is a matter of preference. If forward midrange isn’t your cup of tea and you listen to mostly modern genres like Pop or Rock music, and you aren’t sensitive to treble, the E50 might be a better tuning for your preference.
     
    Accessories are almost identical between them, with the only exception being the two extra pairs of Comply foam tips included with the E80. The housing shapes are slightly different, but fitment was pretty much identical for me.
     
    For my music preference, and two extra pairs of comply foam tips, I would spring the extra cash and get the E80. Better yet, you could buy both and still be at a price lower than the Titan, just saying...
     
    Conclusion
    The E80 was an epic listening experience, and ranks extremely high on my list of IEMs, ahead of the likes of the VSONIC GR07BE and Dunu DN1000. Their price to performance ratio is legendary, and their timbre rich midrange presentation is world class. If you want to experience some of the best “bang for your buck” earphones on the planet, I would hope that these are on the top of that list.

    Thanks for reading and happy listening!