Cons: Not the greatest driver housing build quality
I was in the market for some IEMs for regular 'rough' use, a pair to throw in my pockets or my bag to take anywhere so after some consideration, I settled on the SoundMagic E10C purely because the E10 line was so well regarded. And the praise is definitely worth it.
The packaging is nothing extremely fancy but you do get a LOT of accessories. A pretty nifty lil carrying hard case, about 7 pairs of tips (including a double flanged one and ones with different sized bores), a splitter to plug into computers without a combo headphone/mic input, a lapel clip, a stereo to mono converter (???) and the earphones themselves.
On first impressions, the thing that struck me the most was the cable. It was brilliant blue, with a nice ridged plasticy texture that is probably to keep it relatively tangle free. There's a metal splitter in the middle leading up to the mic module with the remote. The C in the name stands for compatible as this remote is compatible with both Android phones and iPhones (a fact that I made sure to check). The only misgiving I have with them are the driver housings. They don't look very sturdy or premium but they seem to be well made.
I powered them through my Nextbit Robin with Foobar2k (with OpenSL) The first thing that anyone will notice is the presence of strong bass. I wouldn't call the E10C an overly bassy phone but it can definitely output some nice tight thumping and the best part is, it doesn't bleed into the mids. It's also quite bright, having a nice amount of sparkle without verging on unpleasant levels of sibilancy. The mids... are average really. Sometimes they get shouty if my volume is too high but generally they are nothing to write home about. I listen generally to Alt Rock, Pop and some House music and the E10C is a pretty good fit for them.
The absolute best part is their price. They go on sale for about 1300 INR or 20 USD and while I don't have experience with other popular Chi-Fi recommendations, I can definitely say it ranks up there as one of the best cheap IEM offerings. They are perfect for a pair to take while travelling or just general commutes/ going anywhere really, and not make you wince with terrible audio like some of the OEM earbuds that come with your phone. I've had them for a couple of months now and I've not found much to complain about. Definitely recommended. If the next version in the E10 series introduces better build quality and perhaps some more character into mids, they'll sell like hotcakes.
PS : Sorry for the terrible picture quality, was a rough shot just for this review
These earphones are some of the best I've used at this price range; it's fantastic value for money.
The sound quality is very good. The highs are clear, crisp and have a nice sparkle to them that isn't overwhelmingly harsh. Likewise, the bass is also very nice, loud and punchy without drowning out the mids or highs. Speaking about the mids, they have good clarity but feel a bit recessed compared to the bass or treble. It would be nice if the mids were just a bit more forward. Soundstage is also surprisingly spacious, and creates an airiness to the sound and vocals.
Next is build quality. The build is extremely solid and tough for £30 earphones, due to the aluminium construction. The braided cable also feels like it could take quite a beating on top of keeping the cable untagled. No complaints here.
The design is also equally good. The shiny gold metallic design looks flashy without being over the top, and the use of metal makes the unit look much more expensive than it actually is. Comfort is something which is dependent on people's ears, but for me they feel nice (when using the bi-flanges). Another success.
The cable can produce a bit of cable noise if worn straight down, although it isn't too much of a bother. Wearing the cable around the ears will, of course, reduce these sounds completely. As for isolation, it's good but not great. It is able to block out most sounds but will not provide total isolation.
Overall these are great earphones which represent brilliant value. I am interested to see how long these will last, as only time will tell.
Pros: Sound changes for better after burn in, Nice treble, forward mids, airy, great speed and timing, instruments have character
Cons: build quality, bass could have been bit better.
The review below is for the E10M but the E10 is exactly identical, bar the extra mic. So lets begin.
Mine came in a nice little box with plenty of tips. I tried swapping out the stock ones with each one of them. There’s also an adaptor that allows you to connect the earphones to a laptop or desktop with separate ports for head phone and mic. Theres an extra clip as well, just in case you smash the one that came with it. I don’t see how but anyways, nice addition there, Soundmagic!
Design and Build:
The design positively screams for your attention. All of Soundmagic’s products are like this. Some in a good way. This is in a good way! Thank heavens!
The build is a little suspect, but Oh yeah at this price point no one can really complain. IEMs that cost much more are sometimes not this well built. The wires are reasonably thick and most importantly, the mic on my E10M is placed at the right height and it is easy to pick it up and start a conversation. I would have liked to see a longer cable but hey at this price point…no complaints.
These buds isolate but not too well. They don’t cut out all the external noise though and you could hear a little of the outside. As long as it’s not my neighbor’s dog out there barking away at the newly painted wall(possibly because it didn’t like it), I don’t mind!
Now to the nitty gritty. Very quickly to it.
Treble: I am listening to it again as I write this. It started out very bright, almost an irritable brightness to be very honest but after a few hours of burn in, that has been replaced by a very sweet treble. The cymbals, bells and chimes are so beautiful, it is to be heard to be believed. It is not sibilant anymore.
Mids: They are not upfront, but they seem quite forward to me. Anything more and perhaps it could get uncomfortable. They were uncomfortable to start with, but not anymore but they have slowly recessed over time though not by much. Be well prepared for a thrashing on some tracks from Metallica! The instruments have some character!
Bass: Bass is quite good, but maybe a little bit more of an impact, a better resolution, texture and of course quantity would have been desired by bassheads, but on some dance tracks I must say they do give the music a good pounding, but yes this does depend on the track.
Airiness: These are quite airy, have an open characteristic to the sound.
Pace and timing: It is almost up there with the best. Though it can skip a beat or tow, I never knew my S&M album from Metallica had so much speed. Now how exactly did they manage that with the orchestra moving slowly in the background. Must have been quite a distraction. That’s why Metallica is a legend. Well I guess this is becoming a distraction. Back to the Soundmagics!
Changing the tips affects sound quality greatly. It can go from being very balanced with one of them to forwardness in mids and treble, though I am still to find one with pronounced bass. Me , I use the stock buds that came with my fake Apple earphones and find them to be quite good. Keep experimenting with different tips till you find the sound of your liking.
Run out to your local store and get them now if you already haven’t. I am by no means an expert but I enjoy them a lot and you should too(if you also listen to my kind of music! Rock, Metal, Instrumental!)
That’s all folks! If this wasn’t the review you were expecting, there are plenty here on head-fi. You could always find a better one
. I have chosen not to grade the various aspects as sound quality always should be the most important consideration at this price point or at any for that matter, but that is my opinion. The other aspects could vary in importance, so it is difficult to grade an assess a value for a newbie like me.
I am still listening and still enjoying the music as you can infer from my writing. Get them now so you can do the same! All the best and hope the Sandman doesnt get to you before the Soundmagics do! And that's not a joke there, you are in for an experience if you get this one, a very energetic one!