Periodic Audio Magnesium (Mg)

General Information

Specifications
Frequency Response
20 Hz to 30 kHz
Impedance
32 Ohms nominal
Sensitivity
101 dB SPL at 1mW in ear
Power Handling
20 mW continuous
THD
Less that 1% THD at 1mW

Material Properties

Melting Point
922 Kelvin
Speed of Sound
4940 meters per second
Young's Modulus
45 Gigapascals
Brinell Hardness
260 Megapascals

Latest reviews

Pros: accurate bass, exposed mids, good clarity of treble, distinct sound
Cons: treble is simplified, lows are not that extended
Another try with Amercian brand — Periodic Audio. Just several days ago I have shared the review of their flagship model — Beryllium. This take is on Magnesium — the least expensive IEMs in the lineup of this ambitious USA brand. Similar single dynamic driver structure but the diapragm is now utilizes magnesium content alloy (96%) instead of beryllium foil. Design, packaging and build quality is totally the same, therefore, this review would deposit some text from the previous one. Moreover, the comparison between MG and BE is inevitable despite totally different price segments.



Periodic Audio MG technical specifications:
  • Type: single dynamic driver IEMs
  • Diaphragm: high magnesium content alloy (96% Mg)
  • Magnets: N48H
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz — 30kHz
  • Impedance: 32Ω
  • Sensitivity: 101dB SPL@1mW
  • Peak SPL: 121dB
  • Power handling: 200mW continuous
  • THD: <1%@1mW
  • Shell material: polycarbonate + Metal-Injected-Molded grade 304 stainless steel logo caps + chemically etched grade 316 stainless steel grilles
  • Cable: 1.5m, integrated, 3,5mm audio jack
Graphs:







Packaging, design and build quality:

Periodic Audio made similar design of the boxes for all their IEMs — box contains graphical representation of IEM structure at the one side and full description at the bottom. AFR graphs are hidden behind the top folding cover.



Box compartment consists of the paper inlet with special opening that secures IEMs and protective case at place. All of the accessories are located inside the case.



One paragraph from the previous review which is also true for MG: couple of words about the quality of the box and storage case — yes, those do raise some questions for a person who got used to extremely good quality of packaging of IEMs from Chinese and Korean manufacturers. As far as I know, people from Periodic Audio do care much more about the resulting sound and build quality of IEMs instead of focusing on the additional accessories. The main quality question addresses pretty thin aluminum storage case that doesn’t have secure locking mechanism and won’t last long. On the other hand — the rest of the accessories look perfectly well, box is not that visually attractive but does the job of protecting the product during the transportation. Let’s say that we see two different approaches: either to provide visually attractive packaging to move the stock despite sound characteristics or to put an accent on the quality of sound which is the most important for IEMs.



Box contents:
  • Periodic Audio MG IEMs
  • Storage case
  • 6 pairs of silicone eartips
  • 2 pairs of memory foam eartips
  • 3.5mm -> 6.6mm adapter
  • 3.5mm -> 2 X 3.5mm L+R plane adapter
I have already mentioned some confusion about finding such accessory as 2×3.5mm plane adaptor. I believe that during a flight people are more likely to use the cheap disposable earphones, provided by the cabin crew instead of plugging their expensive stuff into poor and noisy audio outputs.



Good choice of eartips, made of medical grade silicone and uretanes.

Caps with brand logo are made of 304 stainless steel and really add a lot to the overall design of MG IEMs.



Shells are made of polycarbonate for zero resonance and extra strength to resist mechanical damages. All shell elements are perfectly aligned and neatly assembled with very small spaces between parts.



Cable is 1.5 meter long, covered with black silicone and ending with 3.5mm straight plug in rubber housing.



The cable is integrated, which is a kind of a drawback. However, it has good banding protection from IEMs side and looks pretty durable, in general, to live long and happy life. Nevertheless, I would still recommend to pay some extra attention to it during use as there is no chance to exchange the cable.

Fit:

MG IEMs are quite comfortable, thanks to low weight (only 9.3g for both) and quite a choice of eartips. Fit is secure and tight, so the IEMs are unlikely to fall out while walking or exercising. Pretty good and comfortable fit common for various IEMs with bullet-like shape.



Sound quality:

MG IEMs were tested on Hizdizs AP80 and HiBy R6Pro DAPs

Lows and midbass:

As in case with BE, MG bass is similarly well-developed, distinct and precisely contoured. The extension feels to be a little bit lower while the whole range is a bit more tight and congested. Presence of bass is neither too much nor too small — good balance and amount. Layering with other frequencies is very good, lows don’t tend to mix with mids. In overall, lows are quite close to the presentation in a flagship model with a little bit chopped of the exnetion and openess. Again, MGs are not oriented towards bassheads as the lows are rather more accurate than accented. Very similar to the performance of BE but with even less emphasis on bass.

Midbass is powerful and energetic. Drums sound natural. No lack of air or dynamics, no influence is spotted from the treble part which results in accurate and non-distractive sound in some tracks susceptible to excessive drum gain.



Mids and vocals:

In contrary to BE, MG shine with its mids. This range sound very natural, more exposed and having very good presence in sound picture. Timbre is on slightly warmer side, sound is rich and thick. Male and female vocals don’t have much difference in gain and perceived similarly exposed, while female vocals don’t feel distructing and shouting at higher volume levels. Most of the resolution is also focused in mids, resulting in good texturing and detalization of voices and instruments. In comaprison to BE, MG do sound less detailed and more muted. One of the reasons is that treble range is not that bright and elevated, thus, not adding imaginary sharpness to mids. But if to avoid the direct comparison with its more expensive sibling — MG are performing good in this respect.



Treble:

MG treble also differs from BE performance — it doesn’t overwhelm with the details — sounds pleasing, moderately clear, and transparent. Treble here is not so emphasized and less crisp in overall. This make MG more neutral and flat in sound, with more compact scene. Presence of treble is totally fine, just the extra accent is not made on this range and the sound of it is less bright, vivid and extended.

Soundstage:

Imaginary soundstage is only moderate in terms of depth and width. Some stage shrinkage (in comparison to BE) is due to less volumetric lows and less extension and clarity of treble. Instrument and range separation is still good and help to get the distinctive sound with good layering.



Sound in overall:

Periodic Audio MG sound can be described as well-balanced, sounding quite calm and complete, with reasonably textured bass, exposed mids and accurate treble. These IEMs sound more natural but less engaging than BE. This makes MG more universal for different music genres. Best performance was spotted with classic rock and electronic music.

Compared to Anew U1:



Anew U1 are also based on single dynamic driver, have neutral tonality with good resolving potential. MG do sound brighter and more engaging, while Anew U1 are like being lifeless in the direct comparison. Lows are more textured and having more accent in MG while the treble is brighter as well. Resolution in mids feels to be slightly higher in Anew U1 but MG do not suffer from the shouting female vocals as U1 do in which case it might be a problem with for people susceptible to lower treble peaks.



Conclusion:

Second take on IEMs from USA did not disappoint either. Similarly good performance of both Periodic Audio units in the respective price segments. MG sound impresses with accurate and textured bass, decent layering, good balance, smooth and comfortable perfromance. Build quality is very good. In overall, Periodic Audio MG is a good example of universal IEMs with natural sound and a pinch of expressive juice. The last, but not the least is the low price point which makes MG a great bargain for people that seek for a good dynamic driver IEMs.

You can buy Periodic Audio BE IEMs at official store
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Pros: Pleasant sound at price point
Sensitive enough to work well with a mobile DAP
Cons: Can be indistinct, particularly in bass region
Durability
Case
A bit about me and my approach to this review


Relatively inexpensive IEMs like the Periodic Audio Mg are a category of special interest to me. I spend a lot of time in either a noisy lab, or a noisy office environment, and I use IEMs for their combination of sound isolation and portability. While products with eye-watering prices, and hopefully performance to match do exist, they don't fit my use case. Background noise limits the impact of excellent audio performance, if it's present, and the constant wear-and-tear rewards robust construction, and the possibility of my leaving them behind somewhere, or of them walking off, makes sinking too much money into an expensive pair unattractive.

How the Mg fits into my use-case

Periodic seems to recognize that a market exists for durable IEMs for use in noisy environments exists, and they further seem to be positioning the Mg into that market, writing on their website:

"The sonic signature of the Mg IEM is relatively neutral but with a brighter top end [...]. Many people prefer this sound for use in noisier environments. All [Periodic] IEMs feature polycarbonate bodies for high strength [and] butyl rubber strain reliefs" (emphasis mine).

Accordingly I’ll discuss use both at home, in good listening conditions, as well as the suitability of the Mgs as a more mobile option.

The Beginning - Acquisition and Goodies

This particular Mg pair was given to the recent Bay Area meetup by @DanWiggins, the head guy over at Periodic, with the understanding that it would be used, and honest impressions given. I
I won the pair in a raffle, so this is me holding up my side of the bargain.



The Mg comes with a normal amount of kit, including an airplane adapter, a 1/8" to 1/4" adapter, several different size ear tips, and a carrying case straight out of the Skoal collection. The airline adapter I understand, same with the case (although I have more to say on it later) but the 1/4" adapter puzzles me a bit. I know they're often included as standard with headphones that have 1/8" terminations, because many amplifiers have 1/4" outputs. However, in a budget conscious product, with a published sensitivity of 101 dB SPL at 1mW in ear, making nice with desktop amplifiers seems a bit odd. On the other hand, if I'd just gotten my brand new Schitt Fulla 2 and Mgs out of the mailbox, excited to see what all the hifi fuss was about and then couldn't listen I'd be pretty unhappy. Maybe then the adapter is included as a gateway to non-phone based audio, an idea I can get behind. For me though I mostly used a Fiio X5 3rd gen DAP with the Mg, which like most DAPs has an 1/8" output.
About that case though - it's to small. The earphones can be made to fit inside, but only just, and only if they're laying flat. Keeping coiled up earphones in exactly the correct orientation, while installing a screw lid over them is tricky. Coiled earphones tend to come uncoiled, and if the coil is is constrained in the x-y plane the uncoiling then expands in the z direction, which doesn't help in closing the case. Also, since the case does have a screw-on lid, there's an area defined by the screw depth and the ID-OD difference between the lid and the case body which is just perfect for a cable to creep into and get pinched.

The difference in size between the Mg case (left) and, for example, a Massdrop X Noble Luxe case (right) is striking.

Sound


Now that the case talk is out of the way, let's consider the sound. Periodic does include frequency response plots in the packaging, but given the printing resolution I suspect they're really just science-y branding and not intended to be read.



If you do want to read frequency response charts for the Mg higher resolution ones are available on the Periodic website. Since I have the actual monitors in hand I'm not going to bother about that - I'll just listen to them, never mind the packaging.

All testing is done with the Mgs coming straight out of a Fiio X5 3rd gen with 44.1kHz FLACs unless otherwise noted.

Overall the sound coming out of the Mgs is pretty good, and these are $99 earphones, so pretty good is solid. Comparing to higher performing (and pricer) options it’s possible to detect a general indistinctness, but at this price point, the Mgs are very competitive. Periodic themselves recognize this price/performance tradeoff perhaps even more sharply than some of their competitors. They sell the Be for 4x the price. It’s exactly the same housing, cabling and kit, but with a different driver. Having heard the Be as well I can tell you that its clearer than the Mg.

Getting more specific I find the sound to be strongly titled towards the treble. In Queen's "We Will Rock You" for example, the foot stomps and handclaps that accompany Mr. Mercury are present and compelling, until the 1:22 mark, when a peal of feedback announces the arrival of Brian May and Red Special. It's at this point that the treble dominates, and particularly the foot stomps (bass) become indistinct and difficult to hear. Something similar happens with "Another One Bites the Dust". Here John Deacon plays his famous base riff unaccompanied twice to kick off the track. On the third repetition Brian May joins in, with a palm muted double of the baseline, two octaves up. Deacon keeps playing the riff, but with the Mgs it's difficult to tell. It's not that there isn't any lower frequency sound, it's just that it gets mushy and I have trouble picking it out as any instrument in particular. Now it could be the Brian May just doesn't like the rest of Queen, and is intentionally overshadowing them. However, I've just been to see Bohemian Rhapsody in the theater and he seems like a nice guy, so it's probably the monitors.

As I mentioned above, I find the inexpensive IEM space interesting, so I have two other ~$100 pairs on hand, the Massdrop x Noble Luxe, and a Echobox Finder X1. None of them, including the Mgs, are all that great in terms of bass response. The Luxe are probably the best of the bunch here (they have their own issues too, but that's a topic for another time).

On tracks without strong base presence, for example Carl St. Clair and the Pacific symphony Orchestra's recording of Toru Takemitsu's "From Me Flows What You Call Time" fare much better. The various xylophone parts, which are generally in the upper register, come through nicely but don't over-compete the midrange-focused orchestra.

Despite the treble focus the Mgs really aren’t fatiguing. I like the sound, particularly for classical music at home.

There is a sizable bass port on each monitor - I’m not really sure what it’s doing, but sound isolation does suffer somewhat as a result. I’m less impressed with the Mgs in noisy environments, preferential treble tuning or no.

In the interest of completeness I did also try the Mgs briefly with a Millet Hybrid Starving Student amp. This amp not an ideal partner for such sensitive IEMs. It has a relatively high noise floor and didn’t improve clarity vs. running straight out of the Fiio. I don’t have anything else amp-wise on hand that would be better suited to the Mgs - but again, I don’t think they call for a dedicated amp, nor would they particularly benefit from one.

Soundstage

I find the soundstage of the Mgs to be reasonably wide (in the horizontal plane), but quite also short (in the vertical direction). The width might be down to the relatively long geometry of the IEMs - I’m not exactly sure. Overall though, very pleasing at this price point.

Build Quality

Here’s where I start to have issues with Mgs, particularly given Periodic’s nods to durability on their website. The cables are extremely thin, 2mm before the split, 1.5mm afterwards, and very flimsy. They’re also not replaceable. Remember above when I said the case talk was done with? Well, I’ve changed my mind - here’s a picture of the result if you pinch a cable while screwing down the case lid. Why is the case so small?



You’ll want to use the case though because even though these earphones don’t have an inline remote/microphone module they also don’t have a collar that slides along above the split to keep both earphones together for storage. Even a $15 pair from Apple has one of those. Build quality is an area where the similarly priced Echobox Finder X1 (for example) beats out the Mgs handily. So while I like the Mgs' sound with a mobile DAP actually using them on the go is likely to result in damage.

Periodic does offer a 5 year warranty on workmanship and defects, but not on breakage due to mishandling, so it doesn’t really help with the Mgs’ inherent fragility.

In Summary

I’m confused by the Mgs. If you’re in the market for some inexpensive IEMs, for use out of a mobile source, but in quiet environments, and with a use case where wear and tear aren’t an issue, the Mgs are a good choice. That’s a lot of qualifiers. They are nice sounding IEMs for the price and I do like that about them, but at the same time, there are significant usability drawbacks that prevent me from giving the Mgs a full throated endorsement.

Attachments

Pros: Great clarity, Great build quality, accessory set, super portable.
Cons: Non-detachable cables.
I have always found it alluring to do things in simplicity, especially in a hobby such as audio where extravagance and lavishness seems to have taken over if not for the most part for the current trend, little did I know that there are some there who’d choose to take the path less taken, which was why I was delighted to have stumbled upon Periodic Audio.

Periodic Audio started way back 2016 with a “Portable Audio Excellence” vision banking on all the basic necessities portable audio needs; portability, comfort and sound quality. They presently fielded a trio of audiophile IEMs to carry their brand and vision namely the Periodic Audio Magnesium, Titanium and Beryllium and an upcoming portable amplifier, the Nickel. What we have now to realview though is the duo of Periodic Audio’s extremities, the Beryllium priced at $299 and Magnesium priced at $99. Thanks to Dan of Periodic Audio for providing the review samples in exchange for an honest review, you can secure this duo of IEMs from the Periodic Audio official website which also if you are short on funds offers a discounted blemished set.

Periodic Audio’s Beryllium relies on the new trend of employing the use of Beryllium in its diaphragm which can also be found on some other audio products from Focal and Master & Dynamic due to its high strength: weight ratio characteristics which is highly sought after for use as diaphragm material while the Periodic Audio Magnesium relies on 96% Magnesium alloy on its diaphragm which although has good strength: weight ratio still falls short of Beryllium’s superior sonic features which begs to question us, will Periodic Audio’s gamble on Beryllium and Magnesium coupled with simplicity more than enough to hit the bull’s eye of an audiophiles’ checklist? Let’s take the shot.

Packaging and Build Quality

I’m a sucker for everything black and white so when Periodic Audio’s duo of Magnesium and Beryllium IEMs arrived in my office clad in a straightforward semi-glossy black and white cardboard box with only the Periodic Audio name, a schematic diagram of the IEMs themselves and the periodic table style of the Mg and Be elements, I knew then and there that this has ticked my affinity towards things simple. Opening the box however was a struggle, the glue was so strong and I would hate to have to tear apart the box. Inside the box is a much simpler white flapped box which revealed the IEMs themselves, both the Be and Mg have identical packaging and accessory set. The IEMs rested on a glass-like pocket with an installed foam eartips to act as a cushion and a pseudo-gold coated metal carrying case which reminded me of my younger pomade days. Inside the metal carrying case were a set of foam tips, another set of silicon bi-flange tips, another set of silicon single-flange tips which were all in black, an airline adapter and a gold-plated 6.3mm adapter. There was no shirt-clip nor did a rubber pouch include which personally would have appealed better with regards to their company mission of portability since the metal carrying case is just too much to be carried around on a pocket.



The Periodic Audio Be and Mg IEMs uses bullet-type polycarbonate housings with no L-R markings except for the metal mesh on the nozzle being red for right and black for left. The nozzle doesn’t use another material but instead uses the same polycarbonate material as the housing so no worries with it falling off. A vent is present on both IEMs which is located on the upper portion of the IEM housing which is reinforced by metal which matches the bullet-type housing caps with Periodic Audio’s P and A unified logo. The cables are non-removable which is okay on the Mg IEM but would have personally preferred the Be to have removable cables although their upcoming releases is hinting on having removable cables. Although the cables are removable it is still a good one which doesn’t tangle and doesn’t retain folds and also not too rubbery and sticky. There is minimal strain reliefs on all cable joints which uses butyl rubber and has minimal microphonics when used on the go. Overall the build quality of both the Be and Mg IEMs whispers a silent “rest your mind easy, this would last” thought yet with all these specifications, does both IEMs stand the glare of extravagance from its counterparts? Let’s take a peek then.

Periodic Audio Beryllium Specifications:

Frequency Response: 12 Hz to 45 kHz

Impedance: 32 Ohms nominal

Sensitivity: 100 dB SPL at 1mW in ear


Periodic Audio Magnesium Specifications:

Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 30 kHz

Impedance: 32 Ohms nominal

Sensitivity: 101 dB SPL at 1mW in ear


Tonality
Do note that the both the Periodic Audio Be and Mg IEMs underwent the recommended 250-hour burn-in process and for the duration of the realview, the stock medium foam tips were used as well the Sony CAS-1 system off an MSI GF62 8RE laptop using Foobar2000 v1.4, Opus 1 and Xduoo x3ii outputting 16/44 Flac files which would be mentioned along the realview.

Be:
This is a great do-it-all IEM due to its superb detail retrieval and clarity giving it a balanced and flat sound signature. I cycled through Michael Buble’s Greatest Hits album and the Be was a very engaging set of IEMs which gives a full-on experience of the whole sound spectrum, no noticeable extremes from the lows, mids and highs.

Mg:
Riding on the almost all-out magnesium alloy diaphragm makes the Mg emanate a still near flat signature with much more emphasis on the upper frequencies which should be noted in comparison as to how the Be sounded so good on the balanced and flat sound signature.

Lows

Be:
Pulling out Arctic Monkey’s “Do I Wanna Know?” which drops loads of sub-bass and bass right off the bat enables the Be to easily cater to the lower frequencies with great response, not extended yet not lacking as well, the thump on the sub-bass has strong control on it and doesn’t make the lows sound too powerful while the bass drops gives a pinch of warmth, just enough to tease the audiophile’s crave for lower frequency preference.

Mg:
The Mg’s lower frequencies performance gives is at a notable plane which doesn’t overlap towards the midrange. Sub-bass hits has strong control on it and still doesn’t make the overall sound too powerful while the bass drops doesn’t provide enough body to make the Mg comfortably sound warm, it leans on the warmer spectrum but the bass drops doesn’t decay smoothly.

Midrange

Be:
The Be’s midrange performance was tested using Usher’s Hard to Love album, playing the “Bump” track specifically highlights the male vocals and the Be gives out strong distinct intelligibility of the different singers voices. The lower midrange performance is stellar and makes the bass performance much more perceived. Timbre is also natural and clarity once again takes the stage with grandiose.

Mg:
Usher's vocal prowess doesn’t sound too appealing and engaging on the Mg as compared to the Be although there is still distinct intelligibility of the different singers voices. Lower midrange performance falls short from the Be which supplants the bass region lacking the added thump. Timbre is a tad less natural and clarity takes a hit.

Highs

Be:
It would have been very easy for me to feel high with how the Be fares so far on the lower and midrange frequencies. The Be’s high frequency performance is another positive feedback for it. Train’s “Silver Dollar” gave out crisp and detailed treble hits. The occasional crash cymbal hits are highly distinct but doesn’t sound shrill while the ride cymbal hits had great definition while not sounding harsh. Sibilance is taboo for the Be and Sparkle is easily observed.

Mg:
At this stage of the realview, it is already evident that the Mg is already a slightly diverging listening experience than the Be however it is great to find that the high frequency performance allows for a strong semblance with the Periodic Audio duo of the Be and Mg. Train’s “Silver Dollar” still sounded crisp and detailed treble hits although the crash cymbal hits lost some of its trashy sound which was easily heard on the Be while the ride cymbals still had great definition. Sibilance is once again taboo on the Mg and Sparkle is harder to perceive now.

Soundstage and Imaging

Be:
The Be exhibits a wide soundstage in IEM parameters and imaging is stellar, the Beryllium diaphragms performs great in giving out the Be’s striking clarity. Left to Right panning is also great and easily observed as well as horizontal instrument placing.

Mg:
The Mg exhibits a narrower soundstage than the Be yet still retains the stellar imaging and clarity. Left to Right panning is still great while horizontal instrument placing is lesser


Conclusion
Putting one’s all eggs in a single basket has its pros and cons and yet Periodic Audio still decided to roll their eggs in one. Possessing identical silhouettes and accessory sets, the Periodic Audio Beryllium and Magnesium leaves the consumer to solely rely on their sound signature preference on choosing which to get and despite the lack of a detachable cable, the Periodic Audio Beryllium still shines bright with its plain looks amidst all its fancier counterparts while still going head to head on sounding excellent. The Periodic Audio Magnesium also compliments the Beryllium well, giving consumers a great price-to-performance ratio performer with an easier to swallow non-detachable cable price tag.

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